Chief scientist Eric Cayeux with the new 3D printer // Photo: IRIS
3D-prints flowrate sensor prototype
07.11.2016If you step inside the E-force lab at IRIS’s main office in Stavanger these days, you will find chief scientist Eric Cayeux busy printing out plastic objects on a brand new 3D printer; Ultimaker 2 Extended+.
The 3D printer is a very effective tool to test out new ideas, and Cayeux, who is currently working on a prototype for a new flowrate sensor, says the printer saves him both cost and time. - I am printing different mini-models of the sensor, with different types of material, and will test them in our petroleum laboratory. This way I hope to verify that the measurements are precise enough and that they will work in real life, Cayeux says.
In drilling operations, the pressure difference between the well and surrounding formations can lead to undesirable flow into the well (called a kick). Today’s measuring techniques for flow rate out of the well are not ideal for sensing small changes in flow rate, and because of that early kick detection remains challenging. Hopefully, Cayeux’ invention will make drilling safer and more predictable in the future, if the sensor is capable of achieving a precision as low as 2-3 %.
The development of the sensor is done in the DrillWell research center,
in the project Drilling Process Optimisation, and the technology will be developed further during 2017.