Rheological Design of Cementing Operations
- Knox A. Slagle (Halliburton Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- March 1962
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 323 - 328
- 1962. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 2.2.2 Perforating, 2 Well Completion, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 1.14.3 Cement Formulation (Chemistry, Properties), 1.11 Drilling Fluids and Materials
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Hydraulic analysis of the wellbore has become increasingly important for designing cementing operations and selecting equipment, materials and techniques to complement modern well-completion practices. Non-Newtonian fluid technology has advanced beyond the point where former empirical methods of analysis adequately define the hydraulic system and fluid properties. In view of these factors, this paper describes a series of rheological calculations which have been found practical, through field usage, for assistance in selecting a cementing program. A relatively simple laboratory method using standard viscometric equipment is suggested for determination of the rheological properties of slurries, and data are presented on some of the more common cementing compositions. A criterion for divergence from laminar-flow characteristics has been proposed. Usefulness of the calculations is indicated by examples of cementing operations where they have been used.
With the changing aspects of well-completion practices during the past few years, it has been increasingly important to have a relatively simple method of analyzing the flow conditions existing in the well during cementing operations. This is particularly true in view of the improved economics toward which most of the changes have been directed. Rheological characteristics of slurries used for cementing should be a major consideration in the trend toward smaller casing sizes, either single or multiple strings. Receiving increased attention is the practice advocated in 1948 by Howard and Clark of attaining turbulent flow with the fluids circulated during a primary cementing operation. While there may still be a difference of opinion concerning this technique, most available information indicates that superior primary-cementing results are generally obtained when high displacement rates are employed. Fluid properties of the slurry to be used must be available, as well as calculation methods, to determine what flow rates should be attained and the probable consequences in terms of frictional pressure and horsepower utilization. It would certainly be inappropriate to attempt high displacement velocities if sufficient pressure might be developed to create lost circulation. Since cementing slurries are non-Newtonian fluids, it is not possible to define their rheological or fluid properties by the single factor of viscosity and then make calculations for the quantities just described. Because the shear stress-shear rate ratio is not constant, it becomes necessary to establish at least two parameters for adequate fluid-flow calculations. It is not the purpose of this paper to delve into the mathematical development of non-Newtonian technology, nor to discuss the arbitrary classification system under which a single fluid may resemble two or three different classes depending upon experimental conditions. Rather, the intention is to present a useful series of calculations based on a concept applicable to both Newtonian fluids and to the preponderance of non-Newtonian fluids encountered in the oil-producing industry. Development of this approach was begun some 32 years ago, and has most recently been brought to fruition by Metzner and his co-workers at the U. of Deleware. Some non-Newtonian fluids encountered in the petroleum industry, other than cementing slurries, have also had the benefit of this method of analysis. The two parameters required to define the fluid are usually denoted by the symbols and and, for the purposes of this discussion, are called "flow behavior index" and "consistency index", respectively. These two slurry properties permit calculation of the Reynolds' number and the "critical" velocity, or the velocity at which departure from laminar flow begins.
The two principal instruments used for rheological studies are the pipeline (capillary-tube) viscometer and the rotational viscometer. When conveniently possible, a capillary-tube viscometer (where the pressure drop and flow rate of the material can be measured) is the better method for rigorous determination of the flow behavior index and consistency index for non-Newtonian fluids. With pressure-drop data at various flow rates, it is then possible to prepare a logarithmic plot of shear rate as the abscissa-shear stress as the ordinate. For fluids which do not exhibit time-dependency, these data will usually produce a straight line. The flow behavior index represents the slope of this line, while the consistency index becomes the intercept of this line at unity shear rate in accordance with the mathematical derivations associated with this concept of rheology. Due to the difficulties anticipated in maintaining a uniform, pumpable cement slurry for the time interval required to obtain measurements from the pipe viscometer, the and data reported herein were obtained using a direct-indicating rotational viscometer (Fig. 2).
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