Pumping a gravel-slurry between a downhole screen and the rock matrix has been used to prevent production of undesirable solids or sand from the formation in traditional oil and gas completions. Recently developed expandable technology attempts to eliminate this operation by expanding metallic sand control screens against the wellbore. However, a problem with this process is borehole irregularity. It is desirable to have a smart downhole screen structure that is capable of self-expanding and conforming to the borehole surfaces in certain downhole conditions. Use of an advanced shape memory polymer structure offers breakthrough performance for sand management applications. Proper characterization and full understanding of the mechanical and functional behavior of the shape memory polymer structure in simulated downhole pressure, temperature, and fluid conditions is critical for successful applications.

This study used a high-pressure/high-temperature in-situ mechanical test system and test method to characterize the in-situ hot-wet mechanical and functional behavior of the shape memory polymer foam. This included deployment and contact pressure development functional properties, compressive and time-dependent stress-relaxation and creep properties. These properties were determined during immersion in a fluid environment at various temperatures under ambient pressure and 3,000-5,000 psi hydrostatic pressure. Effects of the test temperature, fluid condition and the hydrostatic pressure on mechanical and functional properties of the shape memory polymer foam were identified. Study results were used to establish the operational window of shaped memory polymer screen as a sand control solution.

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