In the article in C&EN's current edition, Senior Business Editor Melody M. Bomgardner explains that fracking or hydraulic fracturing involves pumping massive amounts of grainy substances, called proppants, down oil or natural gas wells.
Proppants enable production from rock formations 10,000 or 20,000 feet below the surface. To access the oil and gas in these deposits, they need to be fractured open with a mixture of fluid and proppants pumped down wells under high pressure. The grains literally prop up the fissures in these rocks so that oil and gas can flow to the surface.
The article describes development of a new genre of proppants to meet the needs of today's drillers. For wells that reach more than a mile down, drillers may need 10 million to 20 million pounds of proppants to get oil or natural gas flowing.
Drilling companies are going after more-difficult-to-access reserves of oil and gas that require tougher proppants. Some of the new materials, for instance, use high-tech ceramics like those used in aerospace and military applications or sand with each particle coated with curable resins.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
The world's most powerful acoustic tractor beam could pave the way for levitating humans
22.01.2018 | University of Bristol
Siberian scientists learned how to reduce harmful emissions from HPPs
22.01.2018 | Siberian Federal University
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
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