Nanosized Magnesium Oxide With Engineered Expansive Property for Enhanced Cement-System Performance
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Original versionSPE Journal. 2017, 22 (05), 1681-1689. 10.2118/180038-PA
The bulk shrinkage of cement sheaths in oil wells can result in loss of long-term zonal isolation. Expansive additives are used to mitigate bulk shrinkage. To compensate effectively for bulk shrinkage during the late plastic phase and the hardening phase of the cement system, the performance of the expansive additive needs to be regulated considering the actual cement system and placement conditions. This paper presents an introductory investigation on the potential engineering of nanosized magnesium oxide (MgO) (NM) through heat treatment for use as an expansive agent in oilwell-cement systems. In this study, the bulk shrinkage of a cement system was mitigated by introducing NM with designed reactivity to the fresh cement slurry. The reactivity of NM was controlled by heat treatment. A dilatometer with corrugated molds was used to measure the linear strain of samples cured at 40°C and atmospheric pressure. The effect of NMs differing in reactivity on tensile properties of cement systems cured for 3 days at 40°C was examined by use of the flattened Brazilian test. The reactivity of the NM played a key role in controlling the bulk shrinkage of the cement system. Addition of only 2% NM by weight of cement (BWOC) with appropriate reactivity was sufficient to maintain expansion of the cement system. Adding NM to the cement system also resulted in improved mechanical flexibility. The NM with highest reactivity caused the largest reduction in Young’s modulus at 3 days and, in general, the ratio of tensile strength to Young’s modulus improved through the addition of NM to the cement system. Our work demonstrates that controlling the reactivity of the additive is a promising method to mitigate bulk shrinkage of cement systems and thereby to sustain the mechanical properties of the cement sheath in the oil well at an acceptable level.