The invention of PDC cutters pushed fixed cutters to the forefront of the drilling industry, and the idea immediately took off. Because the shearing action of PDC cutters is more effective than the breaking action of buttons or tooth-shaped bits, the demand for fixed cutters is high.
In 1982, PDC drill bits accounted for only 2% of the total footage. In 2010, PDC drill bits accounted for 65% of the total footage.
Impact damage, thermal damage, and abrasive wear will affect the performance of the drill bit, even in the softest geological formations. However, for PDC bits, the most difficult formations to drill are extremely abrasive formations.
With the increasing popularity of PDC, bit manufacturing companies are looking for new materials and designs to make tougher bits without affecting ROP.
How are PDC Cutters made
The cutter is made of a combination of high temperature and high pressure. Artificial diamonds can be grown in 5-10 minutes. Because of this diamond content, fixed cutter bit may be also called diamond drill bit.
High temperature and high pressure can be made into PDC (polycrystalline diamond compactor) cutter.
The cutter is made of cemented carbide substrate and emery. The high temperature of about 2800 degrees and the high pressure of about 1,000,000 psi form a compact model. There is also a cobalt alloy, which is a catalyst for the sintering process. Cobalt helps to bond cemented carbide and diamond.
During the cooling process, the shrinkage speed of tungsten carbide is 2.5 times faster than that of diamond. Controlling this pressure, like most aspects of drill bit design, is called intellectual property, and few manufacturers, if any, share their secrets.
Large cutters and small cutters
Generally speaking, large cutters (19mm to 25mm) are more aggressive than small cutters. However, they may increase torque ripple. In addition, if the BHA is not designed to cope with increasing aggressiveness, it may lead to instability.
In some applications, smaller cutter (8mm, 10mm, 13mm and 16mm) have a higher drilling speed than large cutter. Limestone is one such application.
In addition, drill bits designed with smaller cutter can withstand higher impact loads.
In addition, small cutters produce smaller cuttings, while large cutters produce larger cuttings. If the drilling fluid cannot bring the cuttings into the annulus, large cuttings may cause problems in hole cleaning.
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