Surface Energies of Rocks Measured During Cleavage
- T.K. Perkins (Atlantic Refining Co.) | L.E. Bartlett (Atlantic Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- December 1963
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 307 - 313
- 1963. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 5.4.2 Gas Injection Methods, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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Values of rock surface energy (i. e. energy required to form a unit area of new surface) are useful for interpretation of drilling and fracturing phenomena. This paper describes the adaptation of a cleavage technique (splitting of large rocks under controlled conditions) for measuring surface energies. Values of surface energy obtained at room temperature and at low crack extension rates are reported for a variety of sandstones and limestones. Elastic moduli, tensile strengths and compressive strengths of the samples are also reported. The values of Young's moduli (measured in bending) are relatively low, probably because of the low stress levels imposed. Measured values of surface energy are generally higher than anticipated and probably reflect inelastic yielding near the extending tip of the crack.
The technology of petroleum production includes many operations such as drilling and fracturing, which involve rock breakage. One of the fundamental properties of a rock needed to fully explain breaking and fracturing phenomena is the surface energy (i. e. the energy required to form a unit area of new surface). In this paper we describe an adaptation of the cleavage method (splitting of the rock under controlled conditions) to utilize large rock samples. Application of the theory of elastic cantilever beams and the Griffith concept of mechanical stability permits the calculation of surface energies from simple measurements. Values of surface energies obtained at room temperature on dry samples and at low, crack extension rates are reported for a variety of sandstones and limestones. Measured values of Young's Moduli, compressive strengths and tensile strengths are also reported for the rocks.
THE EXPERIMENTAL METHOD
Equipment designed to cleave large rock samples is shown on Fig. 1. This equipment consists essentially of two steel blocks cemented to a rock sample and forced apart with a steel rod. A ball joint and a pivot prevent bending stresses in the rod. A differential thread arrangement permits the rod to advance only 0.012 in./revolution of the driving nut. The axial force in the rod is measured with type FA-50-12 Baldwin Lima Hamilton strain gauges and a BLH type 20 strain gauge reader. Separation of the blocks is measured with a Starrett 656-617 dial gauge. The massive nature and design of the equipment minimize the amount of elastic energy stored in the steel parts as the stress in the rod is increased. This will permit the rock to split under controlled conditions as will become clear later. Fig. 2 shows a sketch of the rock sample during cleavage. Guide slots are cut longitudinally along the rock sample as suggested by Berry. An initiating slot is also cut across the top of the block to a depth of 1 to 2 in. During cleavage, elastic energy is stored in the flexed beams of rock of length C. If the length of steel rod L is held constant and the crack extends in length, then the elastic potential energy stored in the rock decreases. However, surface energy must be supplied as the crack extends in length. Griffith has proposed the following criteria for mechanical stability. The crack will extend as long as the potential energy available is greater than the surface energy required. However, the crack will stop extending when the change in potential energy with change in crack length is just equal to the change in surface energy with change in crack length. See Eq. 1.
U = potential elastic energy stored in the system S = surface energy of the system C = crack length L = length of steel rod
The surface energy of the system is given by Eq. 2. The coefficient 2 is necessary since two new surfaces are being created.
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