Poster presented at the IOM3 conference "Innovations in Rubber Design" 7-8 December 2016.
Swellable elastomeric seal is a type of specifically engineered packer that swell upon contact with wellbore fluids. Such packers have been widely employed in various oil-&-gas and minerals applications including slimming of well design, zonal isolation, water shut-off, and multi-stage fracturing. Downhole conditions are difficult to be reproduced using physical testing environment, but feasible to be simulated in virtual environment using CAE software. A better understanding of packers’ mechanical behaviour in downhole conditions would provide a higher confidence and improvement of existing engineering design practices for manufacturing of packers. The numerical simulation can be incorporated into optimisation procedure searching for an optimal shape of packers with the goals to minimise the time to seal the borehole and maximise the contact pressure between the seal and borehole. Such an optimisation would facilitate the development of a packer with various designs optimised for different downhole conditions. The objective of this research project is to develop a design tool integrated into a CAE to implement parametric numerical studies using FEM simulation. However, development of such a CAE plugin is associated with a number of technical challenges specific to this class of multiphysics problems, which are addressed and discussed in a poster.