Monday, November 9, 2015
Ballroom F (Salt Palace Convention Center)
In hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" operations, solid particles are often injected with the fracking fluid. These particles, or proppants, will prop up the induced cracks in the rock formations to ensure the continuous flow of oil or gas from the reservoir. Proppants tend to degrade over time in the high-pressure and high-acidity environment under the well. In this study, resin (polymer) coatings are developed to improve the proppant stability. In the coating process, the resin is melted and mixed with the proppant particles while a crosslinking agent is added to induce its curing in situ. For optimal coating outcome, operating parameters must be carefully chosen to achieve the desired balance between the fluid mechanics of polymer melts and crosslinking kinetics. Experiments are carried out to systematically study the effects of different coating conditions and characterize the coating quality. Molecular dynamics simulation is used to provide further insights into the formation kinetics of polymer networks and their structure-property relationship. Improvements made in this study can benefit the process development of polymer coating on granular materials in general.