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Technical Paper: Particle Size Distribution Measurement Techniques and Their Relevance or Irrelevance to Sand Control Design

Society: SPE
Paper Number: 168152
Presentation Date: 2014
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Abstract

Sand particle size distributions (PSD) are used for various purposes in sand control: decision between various sand control techniques, sizing of the filter media (sand screens and/or gravel packs) through either rules of thumb or physical experiments or theoretical models. PSD of formation sand samples are also often used to generate “simulated” formation sand for laboratory experiments. The two most commonly used techniques for PSD measurements are sieve and laser, while some engineers use one technique for no obvious or justifiable reasons, others use both techniques for measurements and don’t know what to do with the data when significant differences exist in PSDs obtained from each technique. Although the inherent limitations of, and the differences between, these two techniques as well as other factors impacting the measurements are well known, a systematic study as to what is relevant to sand control and why, is lacking.

In this paper, we critically review the current practices in PSD determination, use (and misuse) of the information obtained from these measurements, propose a methodology towards determining what is relevant, when and why, and present initial experimental results that support our conclusions.

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