IIT Jodhpur
Seminar on "Granular Mixtures as Proppants: Experimental & Computational Investigation" - 02 February 2018

Date and Venue Information:
02 February 2018, Room 105, 5:00 PM, Lecture Hall Complex

Title of Seminar:
" Granular Mixtures as Proppants: Experimental & Computational Investigation " by Mandar C. Kulkarni

Hydraulic fracturing is a process where a highly pressurized fluid is pumped in a well at a sufficiently high rate to create fractures. These fractures orient radially away from the well bores and provide highly conductive flow paths for oil/gas. Proppants are small particles mixed with the fracturing fluid and delivered to these fractures to ensure that the flow paths remain open while resisting closure stresses i.e. pressure from the rock faces. Historically, sand has been the most commonly used proppant material. However as the well depth increases, the stresses exerted by the rock faces increase and crush the sand particles, generating free fines. This reduces the permeability of the fractures and adversely impacts well production. Resin coated sand and ceramic particles are capable of withstanding high closure stresses up to 20000 psi, but their high density hinders proppant transport and placement. On the other hand light weight proppants remove this constraint and are an attractive alternative to the conventional proppant materials.
My talk will focus on the development of computational and experimental methods to study the feasibility of utilizing a discarded product, specifically, granulated walnut and pistachio shells coated with a resin layer as ultra-light weight proppants. The presentation is divided into two parts; the first details the study of cellular microstructure and evaluation of the feasibility of resin infiltration utilizing microscopy and imaging techniques coupled with single particle compression testing. In the second part of the presentation a combination of analytical and experimental methods to evaluate the mechanical response of particle mixtures composed of brittle and ductile particles will be presented. The modeling approach takes into account polydispersity in size, shape and material type of individual particles. Variables influencing proppant pack stiffness, particle fragmentation, pack porosity and flowback resistance are identified through a combination of experimental and computational modeling approaches. I will conclude by identifying key takeaways and path forward.
Brief Profile:
Mandar Kulkarni holds MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. For the last 5+ years he has been working with Stress Engineering Services, Inc. a premier engineering consulting company based out of Houston, Texas. His work is mainly focused on providing technical solutions to the oil and gas industry. His main area of expertise is finite element analysis including static, dynamic, coupled thermo-mechanical, steady-state and transient heat transfer with geometric and material nonlinearities including difficult contact interaction problems. He is also experienced in fatigue life calculations using both S-N and fracture mechanics methodologies, engineering criticality assessments (ECA), and failure assessment diagram (FAD) evaluations for new and in-service equipment. He received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Sardar Patel University in Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat. After completing his BE, he worked as an executive engineer with Larsen & Toubro Ltd in their technology services group for 2.5 years following which he moved to USA for higher studies. In his spare time he likes to spend time relaxing with his family, loves to read novels and is an avid follower of Hindustani classical music.
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