Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Kevin Negus

First Advisor

Lee Richards

Second Advisor

Dan Trudnowski

Third Advisor

Bryce Hill


Current technologies for downhole communication in oil and gas drilling applications are severely limited in data rate and latency. This work proposes that a system based upon guided wave propagation could be designed to utilize a wireless, radio frequency (RF) signal to yield tens of megabits per second of data transfer. To determine the feasibility of the proposed system, a test setup was built to measure attenuation of RF signals transmitted through a pipe filled with various drilling fluids. A finite element analysis model was also built to further investigate waveguide propagation of electromagnetic signals in a fluid filled pipe. The measurement setup was validated using fluids of known dielectric properties. A number of a drilling base fluids and oil-based fluids were measured and their dielectric properties calculated. The feasibility of the proposed communication system is not promising for liquid based fluids. However, there is significant potential in an air-based system.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Science Electrical Engineering