Effects of Pressure and Fluid Saturation on the Attenuation of Elastic Waves in Sands
- G.H.F. Gardner (Gulf Research And Development Co.) | M.R.J. Wyllie (Gulf Research And Development Co.) | D.M. Droschak (Gulf Research And Development Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1964
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 189 - 198
- 1964. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.6.1 Open hole/cased hole log analysis, 2.4.3 Sand/Solids Control, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 1.2.3 Rock properties, 1.14 Casing and Cementing, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems
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The velocity and attenuation of elastic waves in sandstones were measured as a function of both pressure and fluid saturation. A large change occurs in these quantities if water is added and the rock is not compressed, but the change is small if the rock is subjected to a large overburden pressure. Measurements were made by vibrating cylindrical samples in both the extensional and torsional modes at frequencies up to 30,000 cycles/sec. Formulas were derived which enable the attenuation of dilatational waves in dry rocks to be deduced from the data. Similar experimental methods were used to investigate the properties of unconsolidated sands. Velocities were found to vary with the 1/4 power of the overburden pressure and attenuations to decrease with the 1/6 power. The effects of grain size, amplitude and fluid saturation were studied. Formulas by which the effects produced by a jacket around the sample may be calculated were derived. The practical application of these results to formation evaluation is discussed.
The attenuation of elastic waves in the earth has been of interest to the seismologist and geophysicist for many years, but only recently to the petroleum engineer. Engineering interest has been brought about by the success of velocity logging devices, for it is possible by modification of these instruments to measure the attenuation of sound waves in addition to their velocity and, hence, deduce the mobility of formation fluids as well as the porosities of the rocks which contain them. The main problem is to decide whether field measurements can be made with sufficient accuracy to be of practical use. This problem can only be solved after we know the magnitude of the attenuations which are typical of the earth at various depths. The logarithmic decrement of a fluid-saturated rock is the sum of a "sloshing" decrement and a "jostling" decrement, the former caused by the mobility of the fluid contained within the rock and the latter by the granular framework of the rock. Sloshing decrements can be calculated using Biot's theory, but the jostling losses are less well understood. The present paper reports an experimental investigation of jostling losses in consolidated and unconsolidated sands, particularly with respect to the effect of overburden pressure and fluid saturation. Born showed that the decrement of a sandstone may increase dramatically when only a few per cent by weight of distilled water is added, and that the additional loss is proportional to the frequency of vibration. His measurements were made with no compressive stress on the framework of the rock. M. Gondouin investigated similar phenomena for fluid-saturated plasters but also did not compress the samples. In the present paper it is shown that compression of the framework reduces this effect, so that at depth the jostling decrement of a sandstone may be expected to be almost independent of fluid saturation and frequency. Decrements for many sedimentary rocks have been given by Volarovich, but all for the state of zero overburden pressure. Anomalously low velocities have been logged in shallow unconsolidated gas sands. Results of the present investigation confirm that these velocities are not caused by correspondingly high attenuations, because the jostling decrement in a packing of sand grains is small and much less than in a consolidated sandstone at the same depth. Velocities in sands have been measured by Tsareva and by Hardin as a function of pressure, but the corresponding decrements do not appear to have been measured previously. The widely used "resonant bar method" of measuring velocities and decrements was employed. Comments on variations of this technique have recently been published by McSkimmin. The main novelty of the present technique was the application of pressure to the samples. It was found possible to do this by placing the apparatus inside a pressure vessel, provided the conditions leading to large additional losses were avoided. These conditions are discussed below.
Cylindrical samples were caused to vibrate in both the extensional and torsional mode of vibration and the amplitude of vibration was measured as a function of frequency in the neighborhood of a resonant frequency. The resonant frequency, fr, is related to the corresponding elastic modulus by the formulas
where E and N are Young's modulus and the modulus of rigidity, p is the density of the sample, and the wavelength of the vibration.
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