Discrete Element Modelling of Rock Drilling

Conference paper presented in European Geothermal Congress 2022 held in Berlin, 17-21 October

Title: Discrete Element Modelling of Rock Drilling

Language: English

Authors: Albin Wessling (*1), Jörgen Kajberg (*1), Simon Larsson (*1), Giselle Ramírez Sandoval (*2), Montserrat Vilaseca Llosada (*2)

*1: Division of Solid Mechanics, Luleå Univeristy of Technology
*2: Unit of Metallic and Ceramic Materials, Eurecat, Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya

Abstract: Percussive rotary drilling is recognized as the most efficient method for hard rock drilling. Despite clear advantages over conventional rotary methods, there are still some uncertainties associated with percussive drilling. For geothermal applications, drilling accounts for a large portion of the total cost. Specifically, the wear of drill bits when drilling in hard rock is a predominant cost factor and drilling parameters are often based on the experience of the field operator. Within the framework of the H2020 project GEOFIT, numerical simulations of percussive drilling are performed in order to evaluate the rock drilling process and gain insight about the trade-off between wear and Rate of Penetration (ROP). In the simulations, the rock material was represented by the Bonded Discrete Element Method (BDEM), the drill bit by the Finite Element Method (FEM), the drilling fluid by the Particle Finite Element Method (PFEM) and the abrasive wear on the surface of the drill bit was represented by Archard’s wear law. The drilling simulations were conducted for two rock materials; a sedimentary rock material corresponding to what was found when drilling at the GEOFIT pilot site in Aran Islands, Ireland, and a harder reference rock similar to granite. The results show that, at a drill bit impact force of 10 kN, the ROP in the sedimentary rock was 6.3 times faster than for granite. When increasing the impact force to 40 and 50 kN, however, the ROP for the sedimentary rock is only 1.9 and 1.6 times faster, respectively. Furthermore, the wear rate decreased with increased impact force when drilling in the granite rock. For the sedimentary rock, however, the loading resulting in the best trade-off between abrasive wear and ROP was the second highest loading of 40 kN, which suggests that an increase in impact energy may increase the rate of penetration but may not be economically motivated.

Raw data is available for download here.

Towards Discrete Element Modelling of Rock Drilling (2021)

Towards Discrete Element Modelling of Rock Drilling

Author: Wessling, Albin

Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Mechanics of Solid Materials.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1345-0740

2021 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)

Abstract [en]

The method of percussive rotary drilling is recognized as the most efficient method for hard rock drilling. Despite the clear advantages over conventional rotary meth-ods, there are still uncertainties associated with percussive rotary drilling. For geothermal applications, it is estimated that 50 % of the total cost per installed megawatt of energy is associated with drilling and well construction, with drill bit wear being a predominant cost factor. Numerical modelling and simulation of rock drilling, calibrated and validated towards rigorous experiments, can give insight into the rock drilling process. This thesis is focused on the prerequisites of numer-ical simulations of rock drilling, i.e. the development of a numerical model and experimental characterization of rock materials. A new approach for modelling brittle heterogeneous materials was developed in this work. The model is based on the Bonded Particle Method (BPM) for the Discrete Element Method (DEM), where heterogeneity is introduced in two ways. Firstly, the material grains are rep-resented by random, irregular ellipsoids that are distributed throughout the body. Secondly, these grains are constructed using the BPM-DEM approach with mi-cromechanical parameters governed by the Weibull distribution. The model was applied to the Brazilian Disc Test (BDT), where crack initiation, propagation, coalescence and branching could be investigated for different levels of heterogene-ity and intergranular cement strengths. The initiation and propagation of the cracks were found to be highly dependent on the level of heterogeneity and cement strengths. In the experimental study, the static and dynamic properties of two rock materials – Kuru grey granite and Kuru black diorite – were obtained from uniaxial compression and indirect tension tests. A Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar was used to obtain the dynamic properties. Using high-speed photography with frame rate 663,000 fps, the crack initiation and propagation could be studied in de-tail, and the full-field exterior deformation fields of the samples were evaluated by using digital image correlation. From the high-speed images, the onset of unstable crack growth was detected. The crack-damage stresses, associated with unstable crack growth, was approx. 90 % of the peak strength in the dynamic compression tests, whereas the tensile crack-damage stress was approx 70 % of the tensile peak strength.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages

Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2021.


Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757

Raw data is available for download here.