Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering (MSPE)


Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering

Document Type



Lost circulation occurs when mud or cement is lost to the formation while drilling. Lost circulation has been a huge problem and may cause heavy financial costs in the form of lost rig time, mud fluid and in severe cases, well blowout with serious environmental and safety consequences. Despite extensive advances in the last couple of decades, lost circulation materials used today still have disadvantages such as damaging production zones, plugging drilling tools or failing to seal the fractures. Here, we propose a new class of smart expandable lost circulation material (LCM) to remotely control the expanding force and functionality of injected LCM. The utilized smart LCM is made out of anionic shape memory polymers and becomes activated by formation natural heat; hence it can effectively seal fractures’ width without damaging production zones and strengthen the wellbore. The activation temperature of the LCMs can be adjusted based on the formation temperature.

In this work, a series of experiments were conducted using a HPHT permeability-plugging apparatus (PPA) to measure the sealing efficiency of the smart LCMs as a proof of concept. Various slot disc sizes were used to mimic different size fractures in the formation. The API RP 13 B-1&2 have been followed as standard test methods to evaluate fluid loss in water based muds. In addition, a fully coupled CFD-DEM model is developed to further study the effectiveness of different size distribution of smart LCMs and to calculate compressional stresses acting on the wellbore from their expansion. These tests will then allow us to improve the design of the smart LCM and also allow us to see if the smart LCM can be implemented in the field.



Committee Chair

Taleghani, Arash Dahi