Scientists in a lab at North Dakota State University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), Fargo, are completing analysis of the clay, often referred to as kaolin, which could eventually play a role in proppants used for hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota oil exploration.
As part of a research agreement with the North Dakota Geological Survey (NDGS) in Bismarck, N.D., the Materials Characterization and Analysis Laboratory at NDSU CNSE is completing initial analysis of more than 200 clay samples from Stark and Dunn counties in North Dakota to determine their composition and suitability for use as a component in hydraulic fracturing. “The alumina was above 20 percent for 66 percent of the Bear Den claystone samples and 38 percent of the Rhame Bed samples,” said Ed Murphy, North Dakota state geologist. “Roughly one third of the sites sampled averaged above 20 percent alumina for the entire exposed bed thickness.”
A final report of the study conducted at NDSU CNSE is expected in late 2012 or early 2013. “We generated an alumina map of western North Dakota that companies can use to guide clay exploration if they determine that the alumina content is sufficiently high for their needs,” explained Murphy. “We will publish a final report with the clay mineralogy when that information is available.” https://www.dmr.nd.gov/ndgs/Clay map/GI_158.pdf
Murphy said it was extremely useful to have specialized scientific expertise available in North Dakota to conduct the study. “CNSE utilizes excellent analytical equipment and employs knowledgeable people with valuable experience. We have had a very good working relationship with the NDSU CNSE. We found them to be very dedicated to their work and generating a product that we could have confidence in.”
The clays show early promise for potential use as a key material known as ceramic proppant, used in the fracking process to help keep fractures open, particularly in the Bakken formation in North Dakota. “It could potentially lead to the establishment of a ceramic proppant manufacturing plant if these claystones are determined to be suitable for this process. The chemistry and bed thickness that we are providing will answer a number of the initial questions from industry,” explained Murphy. “If companies deem these results to be promising, they could potentially do additional exploration on their own which might ultimately lead to test manufacturing of ceramic proppant using these clays.”
Currently, proppants used in western North Dakota oil development typically come from other states or other countries. Murphy notes that companies will use approximately five million tons of proppants in North Dakota oil development in 2012. In a recent report, the North Dakota Geological Survey estimates about 1.7 billion tons of economically mineable kaolin in western North Dakota.
Researchers at NDSU CNSE use x-ray fluorescence to determine which elements and how much of those elements the samples contain. CNSE scientists also conduct analysis of clay samples using x-ray diffraction to determine the amount of kaolinite, illite, chlorite and other substances in the samples.
“We frequently partner with agencies and industry on projects,” said Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research at NDSU. “CNSE provides specialized instrumentation and scientific expertise to a variety of research partners across a spectrum of industries.”About NDSU CNSE
Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power
14.12.2018 | Purdue University
Studying how unconventional metals behave, with an eye on high-temperature superconductors
13.12.2018 | Princeton University
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy