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Physical Properties of Oil & Gas Particulate Solids - Overview (B-FSM-012)

Fibrous “Solids” from Produced Water Stream Blocking Pipe Orifice

In article post #7 (B-FSM-007) produced solids were defined as “inorganic, insoluble, particulate material that are produced from oil & gas wells.” These produced solids have a physical, chemical, and mineralogical nature that will be discussed, but the physical properties are exploited in the separation and handling processes.

Below is a listing of the particulate solids physical properties that are measured for design of a Facilities Sand Management system. Each of these properties will be detailed in future article posts, including methods, calculations, and conversions.


  • Bulk: density of all the particles in a specific volume, needed for volume filling and weight conversion
  • Apparent: density of individual particle (inclusive of pores space and cracks), needed for determining particle movement
  • True: density of base material, primarily used in determining mineral character

Volume Fraction

  • How solids fill or pack in a specific volume, also called packing density
  • Inverse of void space or effective porosity


  • Form and shape of individual particle (includes roundness and sphericity)
  • Affects particle stacking, flow, abrasiveness, and oil coating

Angle of Repose

  • Steepest angle of descent relative to horizontal plane where material is on verge of sliding for piling of sand

Particle Size

  • Includes particle size distribution (PSD), average/mean size, min/max size, volume or weight or area basis, individual vs cumulative percent, and imperfection

The next article will discuss the three densities of particulate solids.


  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.
  2. Merkus, H.G. Particle Size Measurements – Particle Technology Series Book 17. Springer. 2009.

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