Previous studies considered the water-based drilling fluid filter cake as homogenous, containing one layer with an average porosity and permeability. The filter cake was recently proved to be heterogeneous, containing two layers with different properties (thickness, porosity and permeability). Heterogeneity of the filter cake plays a key role in the design of chemical treatments needed to remove the filter cake. The objectives of this study are to describe filter cake buildup under static and dynamic conditions, determine change in the filter medium properties, and obtain the local filtration properties for each layer in the filter cake. A high pressure high temperature (HPHT) filter press was used to perform the filtration process at 225 °F and 300 psi. A CT (computed tomography) scanner was used to measure the thickness and porosity of the filter cake. The results obtained from the CT scan showed that under static conditions, the formation of filter cake changed from compression to buildup; while under dynamic conditions, the filter cake was formed under continuous buildup. The CT results explained the changes in the thickness and porosity of each layer of the filter cake with time. The CT scans showed the change in the properties of the ceramic disk, such as porosity and permeability, which affect the calculation of the filter cake permeability. The change of the properties of the filter medium was ignored in previous studies.

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