The Mechanics of Sand Movement in Fracturing
- L.R. Kern (The Atlantic Refining Co.) | T.K. Perkins (The Atlantic Refining Co.) | R.E. Wyant (The Atlantic Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1959
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 55 - 57
- 1959. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 3.2.3 Hydraulic Fracturing Design, Implementation and Optimisation, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 5.6.5 Tracers, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 2.5.2 Fracturing Materials (Fluids, Proppant)
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Many factors influence the results of hydraulic fracturing to stimulate well productivity. Most of these factors have been studied and their effects discussed in the literature. However, the movement of sand through the crack during fracturing has received little consideration. Exactly where the sand goes in the fracture, how it gets there, and how this might influence results have not been studied, judging from published reports.
To get an answer to some of these questions we have studied sand movement through a simulated crack segment in the laboratory. Although the work is preliminary, we have answered some questions about sand movement in a semiquantitative sense. We are reporting our results at this time in the hope of stimulating interest and further study in this important aspect of fracturing.
Fig. 1 is a schematic diagram of equipment used in this study. A segment of a vertical crack 0.25-in. wide was formed between two Plexiglas plates, and movement of sand in fluid through the crack was observed under various conditions.
Sand and fluid were injected into the crack at constant rates. The top and bottom of the crack were closed so that the fluid flowed horizontally. Because of gravity most of the sand settled to the bottom before moving very far through the crack. If the fluid velocity exceeded a certain critical value, then all the sand injected was washed on through the crack even though it had settled to the bottom.
When the fluid velocity was less than this value when sand injection was started, most of the sand which settled in the crack remained in place until enough of the area open to fluid flow was blocked by the settled sand to increase the fluid velocity to the critical value. At this point all injected sand moved on through the crack even though it settled to the lower portion of the moving fluid section. All sand previously settled remained in place.
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