Vibrations are known as destructive loads and thus are leading to downhole fatigue failures, severe bottom hole assembly and bit wear and may cause wellbore instabilities. Downhole measurement of vibrations, however, can provide valuable information about downhole conditions and characteristics of the formations drilled. Uniaxial compressive strength is one of the representative characteristics of rock properties. It shows the capacity of a rock to withstand a certain amount of axial loads. Optimizing weight on bit and rotary speed of the drill string are the ways to continue drilling a hole – of course by exceeding uniaxial compressive strength of formations – and to keep rate of penetration in an optimal range during drilling operations. Therefore, it is expected that the axial vibrations change with variations of the uniaxial compressive strength of formations. Previous experiments with several layered concretes cubes proved that the drill string vibrations are related to the uniaxial compressive strength of concretes. To extend the study in this area, complex rock samples such as sandstone, dolomite and limestone were drilled with optimized ranges of weight on bit and rotary speed of drill string. Experimental drilling operations were conducted using a laboratory drilling rig (CDC miniRig) with a vibration sensor sub attached to the drill string. The uniaxial compressive strength of all samples was measured prior to the experiments. During all experiments, drilling parameters were recorded with a sampling rate of one second and the vibration data with a sampling frequency of 3200 Hz. Analysis of magnitude and higher order frequency moments of vibration data in combination with the mechanical specific energy demonstrated a change of the drill string’s axial vibration measurements due to variations of uniaxial compressive strength. From that it is concluded that the formations can be recognized in real-time by incorporation of the vibration measurements.


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