Acoustic Measurements Aid Mechanical-Damage Characterization in Proppant Packs

Topics: Completion fluids
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The strength and conductivity of proppant packs are key parameters for assessing their performance. Mechanical damage of proppants usually is analyzed by crush tests. However, measurements from these tests remain questionable because of discrepancies in procedures and test results. This paper introduces a new technique based on interpretation of acoustic measurements to quantify mechanical damage in propping agents.


Mechanical damage that leads to compaction and crushing is studied for sands by measuring ultrasonic velocities. Elastic properties can be estimated from compressional- and shear-wave velocities calculated from acoustic ­measurements. The elastic properties of unconsolidated sands usually are ­studied by use of effective-medium models for granular media. Effective-­medium-theory approaches such as the Hertz-­Mindlin model are often used to derive the effective elastic moduli of packings of identical and spherical granular materials. This model combines the Hertzian contact model, which is used to estimate the normal (compressional) stiffness for two identical spheres, and the Mindlin contact model, which is used to estimate the tangential (shear) stiffness of the spheres.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper IPTC 18092, “Mechanical-Damage Characterization in Proppant Packs Using Acoustic Measurements,” by Aderonke Aderibigbe, SPE, Clotilde Chen Valdes, and Zoya Heidari, SPE, Texas A&M University, and Tihana Fuss, Saint-Gobain Proppants, prepared for the 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Kuala Lumpur, 10–12 December. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2014 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Acoustic Measurements Aid Mechanical-Damage Characterization in Proppant Packs

01 November 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 11