This video illustrates how slick waters differ when eluting from presumably identical silica columns (200 mesh silica). The video was taken after both glasses of water (CleanFRAC & a regular FR at 1.0 GPT, respectively) eluted for 30 minutes.After 30 minutes, the elution rate for CleanFRAC was ca. 1 sec/drop (left side), while the regular FR was ca. 3 sec/drop (right side). CleanFRAC finished eluting in slightly over one hour (on par with that for fresh water). Conversely, the regular FR still had 24% (60 mL) of its original volume retained after five days. By then, the elution rate was at ca. 20 min/drop (near standstill) and only further slowing down.
Based off of the results from the video, an estimation predicts that it could take the regular FR more than two years to elute the original volume (250 mL) in its entirety. Yes, that’s correct – two years versus one hour.
The video above shows the possibly damaging effects of slick water, which could explain the reasoning behind the incredibly low shale gas and oil recovery rates of 7% and 5%, respectively.