Synthesis and Characterization of High Temperature Cement-Based Hydroceramic Materials
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Cement-based materials are of importance in the construction of geothermal wells and high-temperature oil and gas wells. These materials fill the annulus between the well casing and the rock forming a protective layer, known as sealant, which is used primarily to secure and support the casing inside the well. In addition it prevents entry of unwanted fluids into the well and communication between formation fluids at different levels. These cement based sealants need to perform for many years at high temperatures and in severe chemical environments; conditions which can cause the material of the well-casing to degrade resulting in reduced strength and increased permeability. The aim of this study is to develop new materials which will have the potential properties (high strength and low permeability) for use as sealants in geothermal and deep, hot oil wells. In order to do this special cement slurries, based on the CaO−Al2O3−SiO2−H2O (CASH) hydroceramic system, have been synthesised over the temperature range 200 to 350 °C (i.e. the typical working temperature of these wells). The additives used in these cement slurries are silica flour and alumina. A detailed description of a suite of novel hydroceramic compositions over the temperature range 200 to 350 °C is given. X-ray diffraction has been used to determine the mineralogical composition and Rietveld refinement to quantify the known phases present at different temperatures. In addition the chemistry of some of the major phases present has been examined using electron probe microanalysis. Scanning electron microprobe and simulation software have been employed to study the crystal shape of these major minerals. The engineering properties of the hydroceramic materials are very important. A study of the compressive strength and permeability has been carried out over a range of temperature (200 to 350 °C). In addition permeability has been calculated using simulation software and the results compared with experimental values. Hydroceramic formulations with excellent strength and permeability measurements have been found. Some of these formulations have been tested for durability under simulated well conditions. These materials have been immersed into different brines for a certain period of time at temperatures between 200 to 300 °C. Some preliminary results regarding the changes in mineralogy in these samples are presented in this thesis. These experiments have been carried out at the Synchrotron Radiation Source (SRS) using tomographic energy-dispersive diffraction imaging (TEDII).