Well cements are an important aspect of wellbore integrity and recent investigations focus on describing the cement lifetime using, when possible, non-destructive tests like ultrasonic measurements. However, the original API and ASTM testing standards were based on destructive mechanical testing of cements, leading to the decision to investigate the backward and forward compatibility between ultrasonic measurements and mechanical testing, which makes the subject of this work.
Ultrasonic cement measurement became a very popular method to assess the mechanical properties of the cement in a non-destructive manner. Since various measurement systems exist on the market, the development of an accurate reference data base that can be used to calibrate such measurements becomes very important. Two major systems have therefore been compared: the ultrasonic compressive strength, using the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) principle, and the unconfined compressive strength (UCS), using the standard testing frame according to API and ASTM standards. The tests have been performed at different curing times, using both devices, on class G API cements with bentonite and other additives.
This paper presents the results of over two hundred experiments that have displayed a different UPV response as a function of the additive content. These allow us to expand the existing UPV vs. UCS correlations. Moreover, it was observed that after a given curing time, depending on the additive and its concentration, the UPV response is not as sensitive as the results yielded by the UCS method. The outcomes are an important step forward to improve and understand the wellbore integrity.