Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Resonant Proppant and Interrogation Antenna for Hydraulic Fracture Mapping

Technology #6003

A research team has developed a mapping system for monitoring hydraulic fractures in oilfield applications where accurate characterization can increase extraction efficiency and yields. The research team’s distributed sensor system is designed to withstand the high temperatures and pressures associated with hydraulic fracturing and the interrogation antenna has been optimized for conventional bore geometries. The individual sensors are embedded in proppants, or granular particles used to ensure drilled hole integrity and maintain permeability to the desired extracted material. In contrast to conventional systems including microseismic monitoring and tiltmetering, which rely on external measurements, the proppant geometry enables sensor penetration throughout the fracture system enabling more accurate fracture characterization.

Resonant Proppant and Interrogation Antenna for Hydraulic Fracture Mapping

This technology includes proppants that incorporate an electromagnetic oscillator that can be stimulated and detected using the dedicated antenna. The research team has simulated and experimentally demonstrated the sensor system, which each have a diameter of 1 mm and operate in the MHz spectral region. They have developed several methods of ensuring proper orientation of the oscillator and have optimized the antenna system to provide the required interrogation and listening capabilities in a form factor that can be easily integrated into conventional workflow. The mapping system’s distributed sensor system and easily integrable interrogation antenna have the potential to enhance fracture mapping, which will enable more efficient extraction in many oilfield applications.

Applications

  • Shale Gas Extraction
  • Oilfield Exploration

Advantages

  • Distributed sensor system
  • Sensors embedded in proppants
  • Antenna designed to fit conventional bore geometries