Transition time of cement slurries is a term that has been used throughout the oil industry for many years. During this time, the term has been defined, redefined and misused to cover a wide range of cementing topics. This has led to numerous misconceptions and confusion as to what transition time really means. For many years, this term has been directly tied to the term right-angle-set, which relates to the speed in which slurries undergoing continuous shear go from a pumpable to a non-pumpable state. Once pumping is stopped, the profile of how cement transition from a liquid, to a gel, to a set cement changes. These changes can directly affect the performance of cement slurries to control fluid migration.
With the advent of the Ultrasonic Cement Analyzer (UCA), the term "transition time" of cement slurries was redefined. UCA&s have developed into an essential piece of equipment. Not only can they achieve compressive strength information, but the apparatus can also provide a continuous measurement of how cement sets in static state. This information has shortened wait on cement (WOC) time, and provides an excellent profile on how fast cement develops strength. However, the transducers in a standard UCA only provide information after the cement develops a compressive strength set. With improvement in computerization and transducers, a more sensitive evaluation of gel strength development can be studied.
Another definition for transition time is the use of a static gel strength (SGS) analyzer to measure the time from which cement goes from 100 lbf/100 sq. ft (48 Pa) to 500 lbf/100 sq.ft (240 Pa). It has become an industry standard that once cement slurries reach an SGS of 500 lbf/100 sq. ft (240 Pa)., gas or other fluids cannot be transmitted through the cement. The faster that you achieve this optimum SGS, the less likely that the cement will transmit gas.
This paper will establish a definition for cement transition time and discuss the misconception of only using gel strength development to control gas migration. Test data that exhibits gas tight slurries with long transition and those with short transition that allowed gas influx will be shown. Also discussed in the paper will be the advantages of cements with a short transition in controlling high-pressure water flows.