Date of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Committee Chair

Susan Schrader

First Advisor

Richard Schrader

Second Advisor

Paul Conrad


The current API Short Term Fracture Conductivity (volume number) testing procedure provided by the American Petroleum Institute doesn't consistently provide repeatable results. For example, in an independent review of three commercial lab results testing the same sample of proppant the variation between the three had a data spread of nearly 80% (Anderson, 2013). Continuing and refocusing the research performed by Kent Blair's thesis "Modifying Fracture Conductivity Testing Procedures" (Montana Tech, 2015), the goal of this thesis is to expand the lab research results on the use of vibration in the cell loading procedure to improve the repeatability of test results. Use of two separate methods of applying a vibration energy to the proppant loaded cell was explored with varying powers and times under vibration. The first method for the application of vibrational energy was utilizing the Vibration Test Machine which utilized a constant frequency of 50 Hz and had a varying amplitude range of zero to two millimeters. The results for this first method where promising with significant reduction of the variability in results, however, due to the inability to constantly apply a constant amplitude that was quantifiably measurable resulted in sets of results that did not undergo similar test loading procedures and such had to be removed from consideration. The second method for the application of vibrational energy was utilizing the Sonochemical Reaction Vessel which utilized a constant frequency of 20 kHz, adjustable power levels, and varying amplitudes that ranged from 0 to 1 millimeter. This application of vibrational energy to the proppant during the later loading portion of API RP–61 reduced the variance of conductivity results 70% to 90% when compared to Blair’s API RP-61 results. The values of the fracture conductivity also dramatically decreased when compared to the standard API results ranging 50% to 70% at each of the varying closure stresses specifically at the initial stresses.