eProcess Technologies

Physical Properties of Oil & Gas Particulate Solids - Density (B-FSM-013)

Client Measuring Bulk Density Using a Gauging Stick in a Dewatering Bag

Particulate solids have three types of density that can be measured – bulk, apparent, and true. Each type provides specific information for design of a Facilities Sand Management system.

Bulk Density

  • The weight of the many particles divided by total volume
  • Depends on particle apparent density, particle size distribution, and degree of compaction or settling
  • Used to convert weight to volume of total solids handled and transported
  • Measured with bulk container – easy to measure in the field
  • Value dependent upon degree of compaction and fluid filling void space
  • The photo below shows field measurement (estimate) of collected solids using a glass container

Apparent Density

  • Density of individual particles inclusive of any closed pore space or cracks
  • Also includes density of clusters or aggregates that act as single particle
  • Measured with immersion pycnometer (Archimedes Principle)
  • Used to calculate movement of actual particle through fluid and calculation of bulk density (packing) from concentration
  • The photo below shows sand from a Texas oil well showing particle fractures

True Density

  • Density of base material (mineral) making up individual particles
  • The particles are ground/crushed to expose all particle pore space or cracks then measure with immersion pycnometer
  • Used to compare mineralogy of particle
  • Photo below shows immersion pycnometer measuring density of ground sand

All densities have the value of mass per unit volume. Common units are kg/m³, lb/ft³, or g/cm³. A comparison of densities for common minerals encountered in oil and gas industry are listed in the table below.


  1. Lowell, S., Shields, J.E., Thomas, M.A., Thommes, M. Characterization of Porous Solids and Powders: Surface Area, Pore Size and Density – Particle Technology Series Book 16. 2006.

Comments are closed.


Copyright © 2024 eProcess Technologies.