Cutting Efficiency of a Single PDC Cutter on Hard Rock


Polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits have gained wide popularity in the petroleum industry for drilling soft and moderately firm formations. However, in hard formation applications, the PDC bit still has limitations, even though recent developments in PDC cutter designs and materials steadily improves PDC bit performance. The limitations of PDC bits for drilling hard formations is an important technical obstacle that must be overcome before using the PDC bit to develop competitively priced electricity from enhanced geothermal systems, as well as deep continental gas fields. Enhanced geothermal energy is a very promising source for generating electrical energy and, therefore, there is an urgent need to further enhance PDC bit performance in hard formations.

In this paper, the cutting efficiency of the PDC bit has been analyzed based on the development of an analytical single PDC cutter force model. The cutting efficiency of a single PDC cutter is defined as the ratio of the volume removed by a cutter over the force required to remove that volume of rock. The cutting efficiency is found to be a function of the back rake angle, the depth of cut and the rock property, such as the angle of internal friction.

The highest cutting efficiency is found to occur at specific back rake angles of the cutter based on the material properties of the rock. The cutting efficiency directly relates to the internal angle of friction of the rock being cut.

The results of this analysis can be integrated to study PDC bit performance. It can also provide a guideline to the application and design of PDC bits for specific rocks.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Cutting Efficiency; Depth Of Cut; Electrical Energy; Enhanced Geothermal Systems; Force Model; Gas Fields; Hard Formation; Hard Rocks; Internal Angles; Material Property; PDC Bit; PDC Cutters; Polycrystalline Diamond Compact Bits; Rake Angle; Rock Properties; Diamond Drilling; Friction; Gas Industry; Geothermal Fields; Geothermal Wells; Petroleum Industry; Petroleum Refineries; Renewable Energy Resources; Voltage Control; Well Drilling; Cutting

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Article - Journal

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© 2009 Canadian Institute of Mining, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2009