Abrasive wear to electric submersible pumps (ESPs) and its effects on ESP system performance and failure are the result of a set of interrelated, complex phenomena. Existing literature is replete with theories of relationships and observed indications of relationships amongst wear mechanisms and between wear mechanisms and failure modes; these relationships between wear mechanisms and failure modes can be captured by a set of state diagrams called damage processes. Abrasive wear testing data compiled and analyzed in this work supports the existence of several of these proposed relationships and supports the simultaneous activation of several process that both compete to reach failure modes and reinforce each other to reach a single failure mode. Using test results from several sets of selected pumps, the interplay between pump performance degradation, dimensional changes, and relative vibration peak growth is used to identify which damage processes are active and indicate that, because of the nonlinear relationships amongst damage processes, abrasive wear impacts ESP systems in a nondeterministic fashion.

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