Assessment of Lost Circulation Material Particle-Size Distribution on Fracture Sealing: A Numerical Study

Lee, Lu (Pennsylvania State University) | Dahi Taleghani, Arash (Pennsylvania State University (Corresponding author))

OnePetro 

Summary Lost circulation materials (LCMs) are essential to combat fluid loss while drilling and may put the whole operation at risk if a proper LCM design is not used. The focus of this research is understanding the function of LCMs in sealing fractures to reduce fluid loss. One important consideration in the success of fracture sealing is the particle-size distribution (PSD) of LCMs. Various studies have suggested different guidelines for obtaining the best size distribution of LCMs for effective fracture sealing based on limited laboratory experiments or field observations. Hence, there is a need for sophisticated numerical methods to improve the LCM design by providing some predictive capabilities. In this study, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element methods (DEM) numerical simulations are coupled to investigate the influence of PSD of granular LCMs on fracture sealing. Dimensionless variables were introduced to compare cases with different PSDs. We validated the CFD-DEM model in reproducing specific laboratory observations of fracture-sealing experiments within the model boundary parameters. Our simulations suggested that a bimodally distributed blend would be the most effective design in comparison to other PSDs tested here.

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