Strengthening materials through grain refinement often results in reduced ductility necessitating means to augment their elongation to failure for engineering applications. Grain boundary engineering (GBE), encompassing novel thermo-mechanical processing has shown promise of simultaneously enhancing both strength and ductility of materials and fracture behavior, especially with low stacking fault energy materials. The ultrahigh strength and reasonable ductility originate from dislocations being effectively blocked at the nano-twinned boundaries resulting in dislocation accumulation and entanglement. This necessitates the careful design of alloys and nano-composites, an effective harnessing of these unique sub-micron features to the benefit of engineering downhole tools for strategic applications. Enabled by these novel material developments, here we present two such articles for the unconventionals. First, a frangible barrier to abet placement of casings and liners through trapping an air column below the barrier while supporting a fluid column in the casing above, providing an up-thrust, a buoyant force that significantly reduces drag and lateral casing weight during placement. This is a viable concept because "shales don't kick". Second is the unmet need for a clean perforating tunnel allowing reduced fluid friction thus better reservoir connectivity. This has been achieved through the development of a novel shape charge with a reactive liner which during the detonation event, additionally generates reactive metallic glassy phase(s) and high entropy alloy complex(s) and their segregation in the deposited jet debris that lines the perf-tunnel. During flowback, reaction with aqueous fluids selectively etch these phases and stimulates the disintegration of the impervious skin on the perf-tunnel into fine particulates subsequently removing them, leaving behind a clear, clean tunnel.

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