A Centrifuge Core Cleaner
- Francis R. Conley (Continental Oil Co.) | David B. Burrows (Continental Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1956
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 61 - 62
- 1956. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 1.6.9 Coring, Fishing
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A prerequisite to the evaluation and management of oil properties is accurate information derived from the analysis of core samples; but reliable data, such as porosity and permeability, can result only if all oil and water have been removed from the core samples analyzed. The most common method of core cleaning used to date has been Soxhlet extraction - a somewhat static technique, which depends upon the slow diffusion of hot solvent through the core sample. Soxhlet extraction performs satisfactorily only with highly permeable samples and at best requires long cleaning periods.
The centrifuge method was developed in 1951 by Continental Oil Co. to overcome the inefficiencies inherent in the Soxhlet method. The new method is basically an operation in which hot solvents are caused to flow through the samples under the influence of centrifugal force.
The centrifuge unit has proved so successful that samples which formerly required days for partial extraction can now be completely cleaned in approximately one hour.
The original idea was conceived in 1950 by Elmer S. Messer, whose early experiments consisted of flowing solvent over sandstone samples suspended in a revolving basket and driven by a vertically mounted vacuum cleaner motor. Results were so outstanding that more permanent units were constructed.
A modified model using this basic design was recently built by Core Laboratories, Inc., and is now used regularly in their operations.
Fig. 1 shows a photograph of the two extractors routinely used to clean small core plugs in the Production Research Div. of Continental Oil Co.'s Ponca City laboratories. For illustrative purposes, the basket from one of the units has been removed, and because both extractors are of identical design only one is described in the following discussion. Each extractor unit consists of a centrifuge and a solvent still.
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