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Development of an Impregnated Diamond Bit with an Improved Rate of Penetration

Authors: Tim Dunne, Weicheng Li, Chris Cheng, Qi Peng


Deeper petroleum reservoirs are more challenging to exploit due to the high hardness and abrasive characteristics of the formations. A cutting structure that consists of particulate diamond impregnated in a supporting matrix is found to be effective. Diamond impregnated bits are favored in these applications due to the higher thermal stability of the matrix material. The diamond particles scour or abrade away concentric grooves while the rock formation adjacent to the grooves is fractured and removed. The matrix material supporting the diamond will wear away, leaving the superficial dull diamonds to fall out. The matrix material wear will expose other embedded intact sharp diamonds to continue the operation. Minimizing the erosion effect on the matrix is an important design consideration, as the life of the bit can be extended by preventing early diamond pull-out. A careful balancing of the key parameters, such as diamond concentration, tungsten carbide and metal binder must be considered during development. Described herein is the design of experiment for developing and lab testing 8 unique samples. ASTM B611 wear testing was performed to benchmark the material performance against baseline products, with further scanning electron microscopy and microhardness evaluations. The recipe S5 with diamond 25/35 mesh size, narrow size distribution, high concentration blended with fine tungsten carbide and Co-Cu-Fe-P metal binder has the best performance, which shows 19% improvement in the ASTM B611 wear test compared with the reference material. In the field trial, the rate of penetration (ROP) is measured as 15 m/h, compared to 9.5, 7.8, and 6.8 m/h of other commercial impregnated bits in the same formation. A second round of optimizing recipe S5 for a higher wear resistance is further reported.

Keywords: Diamond containing material, grit hot press insert, impregnated diamond, insert, rate of penetration, ultrahard formation.

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