Cutting Action of a Single Diamond Under Simulated Borehole Conditions
- N.E. Garner (Esso Production Research Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1967
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 937 - 942
- 1967. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.5 Drill Bits, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 4.3.4 Scale
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Laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the cutting of a single diamond on limestone and shale under simulated down-hole conditions. A high-pressure chamber was modified by adding a rock-rotating device so that planing tests could be run. Weight on the diamond, diamond geometry and differential pressure across the face of the rock were varied. It was found that (1) high differential pressure reduced the volume of rock cut by the diamond at a given bit weight by strengthening the rock and changing the mode of failure; (2) a finely powdered rock left in the bottom of the grooves reduced the volume cut by as much as 50 percent; and (3) orientation of a single diamond about the axis of a drill point had considerable influence on diamond cutting efficiency.
Diamond bits consist of many diamonds held in a matrix provided with water courses for fluid passage to clean, cool and lubricate the diamonds as they drill formation. Each diamond contributes its share to the overall effectiveness of a bit, but a lack of understanding of the performance of a single diamond has hampered efforts to engineer improvements in diamond bits. The need for those improvements prompted this study. This paper describes the findings of a laboratory investigation of the cutting action of a single diamond where the differential pressure between the wellbore and formation, diamond geometry and vertical force on the diamond were independently varied. The tests were conducted in a pressure chamber that provided relative horizontal motion (planing) between a rock and diamond under simulated down-hole pressure conditions.
HIGH-PRESSURE CHAMBER WITH ROTATING DEVICE
The high-pressure chamber used in previous rock mechanics studies' was modified for this study by addition of a rock-rotating device. The modified chamber (Fig. 1) differs from the old chamber in that the rock can be rotated to provide relative horizontal movement between the rock and the penetrator which may be a small element of a diamond or a drag bit. In this study the penetrator was a single diamond. The rock sample holder inside the chamber is mounted on a thrust bearing and is connected to the external drive mechanism by a stem that passes through two seal elements. The seal elements are needed to allow formation pressure to enter the bottom of the rock sample through a small hole in the stem. The Kapseal seal elements (Teflon boots backed by O-rings) provide low friction (hand free) even at differentials of 5,000 psi. The drive mechanism is a variable-speed transmission with a speed range from 0 to 30 rpm and an output torque of 2,800 in.-lb. A right-angle-drive gear box couples the drive to the stem. The new design has two independent pressure systems (formation and borehole) to simulate down-hole rock stress environment. Formation pressure enters from the bottom of the rock through a 6-in. diameter area, and borehole pressure acts over the remaining surface. A 1/4-in. layer of zero fluid loss oil-base mud poured over the top of the rock and an O-ring seal on bottom allow a differential between the borehole and formation pressures. Bayol 50 was used as the hydraulic fluid in the chamber. The differentials reported here were obtained by elevating the borehole pressure while keeping the formation pressure at zero.
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