Gallium filled degradable frac ball
Publication Date: 2018-Aug-28
The IP.com Prior Art Database
A degradable frac ball is filled with gallium to be solid enough (voids permitting) to withstand frac pressures at the frac treating temperature. Then as the pumping stops the well heats back up and melts the gallium. The gallium may then expand due to temperatures and weaken the ball by building internal pressure or escape the ball and leave a weaker remnant with a larger surface area (internal area exposed) that will degrade faster. A degradable ball that is hollowed out and then filled with a liquefied gallium. As the ball cools below 85F, the gallium solidifies into a non reactive core within the degradable ball. The solidified core of the ball gives strength to the ball and enables it to land on its ball seat and shift its sleeve. The core would be sealed off with a weak-point cap. The cap is made to degrade faster than the rest of the ball material and thereby release the gallium that would be liquid at the warmer downhole environment. The liquid gallium that is now released from the ball is much denser than the ball or surrounding fluids and then falls to the sump below. The hollow ball will more easily degrade and prevent the completion from being plugged. The ball may be designed so that the cavity and the heavier gallium is located at one end of the ball to ensure the weak-point cap lands in the orientation that facilitates the passing of the gallium or the degraded ball material to the sump.