Development and Application of Novel Sodium Silicate Microcapsule-Based Self-Healing Oil Well Cement.

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Al-Tabbaa, Abir 

A majority of well integrity problems originate from cracks of oil well cement. To address the crack issues, bespoke sodium silicate microcapsules were used in this study for introducing autonomous crack healing ability to oil well cement under high-temperature service conditions at 80 °C. Two types of sodium silicate microcapsule, which differed in their polyurea shell properties, were first evaluated on their suitability for use under the high temperature of 80 °C in the wellbore. Both types of microcapsules showed good thermal stability and survivability during mixing. The microcapsules with a more rigid shell were chosen over microcapsule with a more rubbery shell for further tests on the self-healing efficiency since the former had much less negative effect on the oil well cement strength. It was found that oil well cement itself showed very little healing capability when cured at 80 °C, but the addition of the microcapsules significantly promoted its self-healing performance. After healing for 7 days at 80 °C, the microcapsule-containing cement pastes achieved crack depth reduction up to ~58%, sorptivity coefficient reduction up to ~76%, and flexural strength regain up to ~27%. The microstructure analysis further confirmed the stability of microcapsules and their self-healing reactions upon cracking in the high temperature oil well cement system. These results provide a promising perspective for the development of self-healing microcapsule-based oil well cements.

high temperature, oil well cement, self-healing, sodium silicate microcapsules
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Materials (Basel)
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P02081X/1)
Shell, Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future, Cambridge Trust and EPSRC Resilient Materials for Life (RM4L) Programme Grant (EP/P02081X/1)