Mechanical Properties Characterization of 3D Printed Reservoir Sandstone Analogues

  • Author / Creator
    Gomez, Juan S
  • This research work is focused on the characterization of the mechanical properties of 3D printed sandstone analogues produced using silica sand and binder jetting additive manufacturing technology. With control of grain size, grain size distribution, grain angularity, density distribution, discontinuity networks and type of cementing material, additive manufacturing technology offers a novel means to generate nearly equivalent specimens with controllable hydromechanical properties. The 3D printed rocks can serve as valuable proxies for test specimens in experimental studies of rock strength, deformation and failure modes while serving to minimize the influence of inter-sample variability and sample disturbance within the experiments. Consequently, for the purpose of replicating the mechanical behavior of natural reservoir materials, uniaxial compression tests, Brazilian indirect tensions tests, direct tension tests and consolidated drained triaxial tests were conducted on 3D printed sandstone analogues. The specimens were built with a systematic variation of the main printing configurations: binder saturation, layer orientation and layer thickness. By these means, a comprehensive evaluation of the influence of the additive manufacturing process’ printing features on the stress-strain behavior, peak strength, elastic properties, failure modes and strength parameters of this type of material was accomplished. Further comparison of these results with the properties of three representative sandstones found in nature and a descriptive statistical analysis (mean values, ranges, standard deviations and coefficient of variations) assisted in determining the suitability of the resultant range of properties and the repeatability and consistency of the results. This study demonstrated that 3D printing technology generates defensible and repeatable sandstone replicas with a deformation behavior analogous to the properties of natural reservoir rocks. Nonetheless, additional work on alternative techniques to increase peak strength, Young’s modulus and bulk compressibility must be performed to meet the range of values corresponding to natural reservoir rocks. For instance, a decrease of 64% on the average peak strength was found when comparing the results for the 3D printed sandstone analogues with the average values of Berea Sandstone. Furthermore, the bulk compressibility of the sandstone proxies is around 6 to 7 times lower the compressibility of uniform natural reservoir rocks as Berea Sandstone.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.