Shape memory polymer foam is currently being deployed in down-hole sand control applications. The shape memory polymer is molded in a cylindrical geometry with a desired outer diameter and inner diameter. The geometric profile is altered to specifications with an inner drainage layer, to satisfy the run in requirements of the tool. Once set down hole, the shape memory polymer will start deploying to the original outer diameter of the original geometric profile. The polymer will continue to deploy and conform to the bore wall. This shape memory polymer has a permeability that is 25 times greater than that of the formation permeability to prevent plugging risk, and ensure that there is negligible to no impedance to production.
Gravel packing is a form of sand management used for decades during the production of oil and gas. This paper compares the sand control characteristics of shape memory polymer foam against conventional gravel packs under similar conditions, loads, and formation sands. We will show how the performance of the shape memory polymer can eliminate the need of gravel packing altogether within a given bottom hole temperature range.