Technical Paper: Force Generated by a Swelling Elastomer Subject to Constraint

Paper Number: 103535
Presentation Date: 2010


When an elastomer imbibes a solvent and swells, a force is generated if the elastomer is constrained by a hard material. The magnitude of the force depends on the geometry of the constraint, as well as on the chemistry of the elastomer and solvent. This paper models an elastomer crosslinked on the exterior surface of a metallic tubing. The elastomer then imbibes a solvent and swells. After the swollen elastomer touches the wall of the borehole, a significant amount of time is needed for the solvent in the elastomer to redistribute, building up the sealing pressure to the state of equilibrium. The sealing pressure and the sealing time are calculated in terms of the geometric parameters (i.e., the thickness of the elastomer and the radii of the tubing and borehole), the number of monomers along each polymer chain of the elastomer, and the affinity between the elastomer and the solvent.

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