CIGMAT Report 2013

By C. Vipulanadan, PhD, P.E., professor and director of Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) and Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology (THC-IT), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Houston | October 2013, Vol. 68 No. 10
Figure 1. Piezo-resistive behavior of modified oil well cement

CIGMAT organizes an annual conference and exhibit on the first Friday in March on “Infrastructures, Energy, Geotechnical, Flooding and Sustainability Issues Related to Houston & Other Major Cities” at which speakers are invited from major cities, transportation authorities and energy industries around the country to present and discuss projects and problems related to construction, maintenance and rehabilitation issues. Speakers also discuss technical issues related to maintenance and rehabilitation of water and wastewater systems, nondestructive testing methods, oil wells and pipelines, hydraulic fracturing and development of smart materials for various applications. Geotechnical topics related to expansive clay, rapid deep foundation construction and ground faulting are also discussed. Conference proceedings for the past 16 years are posted on the CIGMAT website at The CIGMAT-2014 Conference and Exhibition will be held on March 7, 2014. For conference details, visit

Smart cement, smart drilling dud for oil well applications

As deepwater exploration and production of oil and gas expands around the world, there are unique challenges in well construction beginning at the seafloor. For a successful well construction, drilling and cementing operations are critical. During the drilling process it is critical to monitor the changes in the drilling mud due to contamination from formation, fluid loss and circulation loss. During cementing, the flow of cement slurry between the casing and formation, the depth of circulation loss and fluid loss, the setting of cement in place and how the cement performs after hardening needs to be monitored. Recent case studies on cementing failures have clearly identified some of these issues that resulted in various types of delays in the cementing operations. At present there is no technology available to monitor the cementing operation in real-time from the time of placement through the entire service life of the borehole. Also there is no reliable method to determine the length of the competent cement supporting the casing.

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