Excessive drill stem (DS) vibration while rotary drilling of oil and gas wells causes damages to drill bits and bottom hole assemblies (BHAs). In an attempt to mitigate DS vibrations, theoretical modeling of DS dynamics is used to predict severe vibration conditions. To construct the model, decisions have to be made on which beam theory to be used, how to implement forces acting on the DS, and the geometry of the DS. The objective of this paper is to emphasize the effect of these assumptions on DS vibration behavior under different, yet realistic, drilling conditions. The nonlinear equations of motion were obtained using Hamilton's principle and discretized using the finite element method. The finite element formulations were verified with uncoupled analytical models. A parametric study showed that increasing the weight on bit (WOB) and the drill pipe (DP) length clearly decreases the DS frequencies. However, extending the drill collar length does not reveal a clear trend in the resulting lateral vibration frequency behavior. At normal operating conditions with a low operating rotational speed, less than 80 RPM, the nonlinear Euler–Bernoulli and Timoshenko models give comparable results. At higher rotational speeds, the models deliver different outcomes. Considering only the BHA overestimates the DS critical operating speed; thus, the entire DS has to be considered to determine the critical RPM values to be avoided.

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