Steels which are used in drill stem for conventional drilling have been selected primarily to satisfy certain static strength requirements and cost considerations. As the environments in which drilling is performed become more severe (e.g., in geothermal fluids) additional considerations must be given to the design of alloys which are resistant to general corrosion, stress corrosion, and corrosion fatigue. General design considerations for steel alloys which should provide an enhanced resistance to geothermal drilling operations are presented. These considerations include discussion of the chemistry and metallurgical substructure, and how their variation affects the mechanical and corrosion properties of steel used for drill stem applications. A duplex ferritic-martensitic steel has an advantageous combination of compositional and microstructural features which should lead to improved chemical resistance (particularly to hydrogen sulfide) as well as provide a good combination of strength and toughness properties. This duplex steel is based on the iron-2.0 weight percent silicon-0.1 weight percent carbon system, and offers the potential of enhanced performance in geothermal drilling as well as low alloy cost.

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