Insight into Class G Wellbore Cement Hydration and Mechanism at 150 degrees C Using Molecular Dynamics

RG Liu and Y Li and T Du and SM Zhou and PQ Lu and YL Wang, ENERGIES, 15, 6045 (2022).

DOI: 10.3390/en15166045

Neat well cement experience significant strength retrogression at high temperatures above 110 degrees C, especially at approximately 150 degrees C. To reveal the mechanism of performance degradation and guide the preparation of high-performance cement, we investigate the hydration process, mechanical behavior, and fracture process for well cement at the temperature of 150 degrees C based on molecular dynamics simulations and experiments. From triaxial pressure tests and Brazilian splitting tests, the strength, elastic modulus, and Poisson's ratio of well cement decrease drastically with temperature increases from 80 degrees C to 150 degrees C. According to XRD, TG/DTG/DSC, and SEM, the hydration degree is insufficient, and larger pores exist in the microstructures. As the main binding phase of well cement, the mechanism of calcium silicate hydrates (C-S-H) influenced by curing temperatures is investigated through molecular dynamics simulations. C-S-H with calcium/silicon ratios (C/S) of 1.1 and 1.8 are simulated in the aqueous and solid states to investigate precipitation and mechanical behaviors. By reducing the C/S ratio to 1.1, the strength rebounds to a certain extent, and the adequacy of the hydration degree improved. It is found from the polymerization process that the increasing temperature promotes the polymerization rate, which is higher with C/S = 1.8 than that of 1.1. However, an increase in the C/S ratio will lead to a decrease in bridging oxygen content, thus a lower polymerization degree. The fracture simulations of C-S-H gels at different temperatures indicate that the failure of the C-S-H structure is mainly attributed to the disassembling of the calcium oxygen layers. With a higher temperature, there are fewer Ca-O bonds breaking, thus less strain energy consumed, resulting in worse performance. The elasticity of C-S-H, including Young's and shear moduli, also exhibits certain degradations at a higher temperature. The elastic behavior of C-S-H with a low C/S ratio is generally higher than the high C/S.

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