You are on page 1of 8

Development of a WhirlResistant Bit

Thomas M. Warren, SPE, .I. Ford Brett, SPE, and L. Allen Sinor, SPE, Amoco Production Co.

Summary. Bit whirl is a major cause of early failure and reduced performance of polycrystalline-diamond-compact (PDq bits. At-
tempts to control bit whirl by stabilizing the drill string have been unsuccessful, but a "low-friction" bit design has been discovered
that substantially eliminates whirl. The low-friction design is based on placing the cutters so that the net imbalance force from the cutters
is directed toward a smooth pad that slides along the wellbore wall.

Introduction the bit away from a constant point of rotation, but it cannot tell
The detrimental effects of impact loading on PDC bits have long whether the bit will have a tendency to return to or move farther
been recognized, but most previous discussions 1-3 of PDC bit wear away from that point when it is displaced. This limitation of the
have concentrated primarily on thermal effects. Amoco Produc- static analysis results from the assumption that the cutter forces are
tion Co. 's field tests have shown that cutter failure, especially ear- constant for a full revolution of the bit.
ly in the life of a bit, is more likely to be caused by impact damage The restoring force necessary for a stable bit design can poten-
than by thermal effects. Impact damage is sometimes difficult to tially result from forces that act on the drill collar above the bit,
observe because it often precedes and is destroyed by the subse- from features that are built into the cutting structure of the bit, or
quent thermally accelerated wear that is frequently evident when from stabilizer pads on the bit. No matter how the restoring force
dull bits are pulled. A reduction in the frequency of broken and is created, a relatively large force for a small displacement is re-
chipped cutters, which accelerate cutter wear, would allow longer quired to prevent whirl. .
bit runs, faster rates of penetration (ROP's), and possibly cheaper
bits because fewer diamond cutters would be needed. Stabilization Above the Bit Face
Brett et al. 4 describe bit whirl and show that it is the In most rotating machinery, the problem of vibration and whirl is
predominant cause of impact loading. Whirl is defined as a condi- minimized by ensuring that the rotating member is properly aligned,
tion where the instantaneous center of rotation moves about the bit balanced, and adequately confined with tight-fitting, properly
face as the bit rotates. This type of loading chips cutters and ac- spaced, low-friction bearings. A similar solution to bit whirl could
celerates cutter damage and wear for PDC bits. exist for drilling assemblies, where stabilizers are used as the bear-
The objective of the research presented here was to extend use ings. If the stabilizers fit tightly in the borehole, then the stiffness
ofPDC bits into rocks that are too "ratty" (i.e., inhomogeneous) of the drill collar is generally large enough to generate restoring
for acceptable performance from current PDC designs. Most of the forces. Unfortunately, this often is not the case because the hole
field testing was conducted at the Catoosa test facility near Tulsa. is enlarged and/or because slightly undergauge stabilizers are used.
Warren and Canson 5 describe this test rig, and Winters et al. 6 One major difference between most rotating systems and a drill-
describe the site's geology. string is that the drillstring moves axially along a path cut by a mem-
ber on the rotating system. If for any reason the hole becomes
Bit Stability slightly overgauge, the bearings (stabilizers) fit loosely in the hole
Several papers 1,7,8 discuss the desirability of producing a bit with and the string is unconstrained for small displacements. Once the
a balanced cutting structure. A balanced design is one in which the bit is even slightly unconstrained, it begins to whirl and the hole
cutting forces acting on the cutters can be resolved into an axial becomes more overgauge. Once started, the process is self-
force or weight on bit (WOB), moment about the bit centerline (bit perpetuating.
, Stabilization mechanisms above the bit must fit tightly in the hole
torque), and a near-zero radial force called the bit imbalance force.
to prevent whirl and must not hinder the axial progression of the
Because the magnitude of the imbalance force is almost directly
string. These two requirements are somewhat contradictory. The
proportional to the WOB, the imbalance force is normally referred
bottom line is that the conventional bit and stabilizer system can-
to as a percentage of the WOB.
not reliably prevent whirl. Any perturbation at the bit that causes
Reasonably good analytical tools are available to evaluate the bal-
even the slightest overgauge hole will reduce the stabilizing benefit
ance of a particular bit design. 1,7,8 These tools provide a static
and the. hole may be further enlarged as the bit progresses. The
evaluation based on the assumption that the loads on all cutters are
very nature of the system where the bit and stabilizers rotate on
constant for a full revolution of the bit.
a common shaft dictates that the stabilizers cannot prevent bit whirl.
A general trend in the industry is to apply these analytical tools
In a vertical hole, little force is required to displace the drillstring
to design bits with lower degrees of imbalance. Our measurements
laterally if it is not confined by the stabilizers or forces on the bit.
of numerous bits indicate that a highly balanced commercial bit
In a directional hole, a force determined by the drill-collar weight,
might be 2 % imbalanced; however, 10 % imbalanced is more typi-
stiffness, and borehole inclination is required to move the string
cal, and values greater than 15% are not unusual. The imbalance
laterally. This provides a damping that may reduce the effects of
of a particular bit design may vary considerably from bit to bit as
bit whirl at higher inclinations.
a result of manufacturing tolerances.
As Brett et al. 4 discuss, high rotational speeds increase the ten-
Although some evidence indicates that improvements in bit bal-
dency for a bit to whirl, resulting in much larger side forces and
ance will improve performance, low static imbalance alone is not
displacements. In most situations, these create a greater tendency
sufficient to prevent whirl. Figs. 1 and 2 show the bottomhole pat-
for a bit to whirl when it is run on a downhole motor than when
tern and the spectrum data for a bit with only 2 % imbalance. There
it is rotated by the drillstriog. There is also a greater tendency for
is no doubt that this bit whirled. Other similar tests confirm that
the motor stabilizers to hang up on ledges caused by intermittent
a low static balance will not prevent whirl. bit whirl. In cases where a motor is run and the drill string is rotat-
In the case of bit whirl, the instantaneous center of rotation con- ed, an opportunity exists to uncouple the cutting of the final hole
tinues to move around the bit face. A dynamically stable bit must diameter from the bit. This can be accomplished by use of a slight-
have its center of rotation at a fixed point on the bit that is a node ly undersize bit and by stabilization of the motor with a radial
of stability. Any perturbation from this point must be resisted by stabilizer preceded by an axial cutting section to cut the final bore-
a restoring force that moves the bit back to its original position. hole wall, as shown in Fig. 3. Because the motor is rotated more
The static analysis of bit balance can determine the force pushing slowly than the bit, the tendency to whirl is reduced. Consequent-
Iy, the stabilizers have a much better chance of making tight con-
Copyright 1990 Society of Petroleum Engineers tact with the wellbore wall. Another benefit of this reamer/stabilizer

SPE Drilling Engineering, December 1990 267


Fig. 1-Bottomhole pattern showing evidence of whirl for a

bit with 2% Imbalance.
14.000 Accelerometer

Z 59.4 Hz
_ Torsional
::2: -Ringing
0.0 --l""'---''''-.------';'--''--=---.-----.-----.---,-----r---I ____ ROTATING
0.0 200 Hz 400.00
Fig. 2-Frequency spectrum data for whirling bit.

combination is that if the bit does whirl and create ledges, then the
reamer on the motor body will prevent it from getting hung up.
A reamer/stabilizer was built and tested at the Catoosa test facil-
ity. An SJh-in. bit was run on a 7-in., 120-stage turbine with an UNDERGAUGE
S}4-in. reamer/stabilizer. The field test was conducted with the same BIT
motor and bit that had exhibited a significant tendency to get hung
up during drilling of the same section on previous tests. The ream-
er/stabilizer assembly completely eliminated the hang-up problem
on the test well. It also seemed to reduce damage to the bit and
allowed more footage to be drilled; however, according to
I 1
, .
... ." t( ...
downhole-vibration measurements and cutter chipping, it did not
eliminate whirl.
Fig. 3-Reamer/stablllzer for preventing drlllstring hang-up.
Stabilization on the Bit Face
It does not appear likely that bit whirl during rotary drilling can stantaneous center of rotation can change quite severely. For ex-
be eliminated by a stabilizer located on the drill string above the ample, if the bit is arbitrarily displaced 0.050 in. in the direction
bit. Consequently, we evaluated several concepts for stabilizing the of Blade 1, the forces on the blades are radically altered, as shown
bit with features on the bit face. by the face-up schematic in Fig. 5. Figs. 6 and 7 show the cutter
Brett et at. 4 discuss what happens when a bit whirls and show loading before and after the bit is offset. The circumferential force
that very high centrifugal forces can exist that maintain the whirl on Blade 1 increases from 3,414 to 4,764 lbf, which causes the
once it is started. Any technique for preventing whirl by modify- instantaneous center of rotation to move from the center of the bit
ing the bit face must be aimed at stopping whirl at the point where to the point shown in Fig. 5.
it starts. To do this, one needs a basic understanding of how whirl When the instantaneous center of rotation is moved away from
is started. the center of the bit, the bit torque causes the load on Blade 4 to
Consider Bit A, the hypothetical four-bladed bit shown in Fig. increase and the loads on Blades 2 and 3 to decrease. The high loads
4, which is well-balanced according to the normal definition of bit on Blade 4 cause the center of rotation then to move to a point on
balance. The bit rotates about the point that requires the minimum that blade. This process continues and systematically causes the bit
torque, which in this case is the center of the bit. When homogene- to "walk" around the hole.
ous rock is drilled with constant bit load, there is no tendency for As soon as the bit begins to walk around the hole, a centrifugal
the bit to rotate "off center. " force is generated that increases the side loading on the bit. With
If the bit is perturbed so that it moves slightly off center, the in- a rotary speed of only 120 rev/min, the centrifugal force can be

268 SPE Drilling Engineering, December 1990

... ~

Bit C

CENTER 3413 Ibs. . .
., .,
.0 .0
4764 Ibs. '<tit)
_ N
Ol -


.0 VI

Bit B -t-
- .0

-.,; ~
2940 Ibs.
2071 lb . "
-" ...J




Fig. 5-Top view of blade positions for Bit A.


1100 0
aDo 0
RADIUS (IN.) =-w 800
0 500 X006
Fig. 4-Hypothetical bit profiles. u..
...I Xo 0
400 Legend 6
~ x
11,700 lbffor a borehole enlargement of 'Is in. with an 8 V:z-in. bit. a: 300 o BLADE 1 0
0 u
This very high, sustained force associated with whirl can cause the Z o BLADE 2 x 0
!I [k
whirling condition to be much more stable than the nonwhirling 200 f0{
condition. Thus, any whirl-arresting feature must prevent whirl from
!I BLADE 3 .'r':t.
"t .
starting. .~
Cutter-Edge Geometry. Laboratory testing has shown that the 0 1 2 3 4
cutter-edge geometry for new cutters is important from the stand- RADIAL LOCATION (IN.)
points of initiating whirl and of determining the tendency for the
cutters to chip. A sharp, right-angle edge on a new cutter creates Fig. 6-Cutter loading for Bit A before displacement.
a very aggressive cutting surface that increases the tendency for
a bit to "grab" and start to whirl. The sharp cutter edge is also
much more prone to chip. Repeated testing with bits with cham- profile of three bits that range from very tapered to flat. Each bit
fered cutters demonstrated a very significant reduction in the num- has cutters laid out on four equally spaced blades. When Bits A,
ber of chipped cutters that occur during laboratory testing. B, and C are each displaced 0.050 in. toward Blade I, the center
The chamfered cutters initially required about two times as much of rotation shifts by 0.69, 0.40, and 0.30 in., respectively. This
weight to drill at the same rate as the cutters with sharp edges. Quite shifting indicates that a flat-profile bit is less prone to whirl than
often in field tests, the cutters with sharp edges chip early in the a more tapered-profile bit.
bit run and the weights quickly become nearly the same for bits The reduced tendency for a flat-faced bit to whirl was confirmed
with both types of cutters. Allowing this uncontrolled chipping to by laboratory tests with various bits. In some cases, the flat-profile
occur often damages long-term performance of the cutter more than bit will drill a gauge, smooth hole at 120 rev/min. At turbine speeds,
chamfering the cutter. After the chamfered cutters develop wear- however, the hole in Indiana limestone can be more than V:z in. over-
flats, little difference exists between the chamfered and noncham- gauge. Even though the flat-profile bit shows a lower tendency to
fered cutters. whirl, it still whirls under certain conditions. Another drawback
of the flat-profile bit is that it severely reduces the space available
Bit Profile. The center of rotation of a tapered bit is more sensi- for cutters, especially when a bladed bit is needed to control bit
tive than that of a flat bit to lateral displacement. Fig. 4 shows the balling or when a high cutter density is needed for wear resistance.

SPE Drilling Engineering, December 1990 269


w 800
() I)
II: x
0 500
u.. 0 I)
...J x
400 Legend 0
~ II 0
II: ,. BLADE 1
300 I]
200 t..
\ BLADE 3 .U
, BLADE 4 ,\ I]

0 1\ 'II
0 1 2 3 4

Fig. 7-Cutter loading for Bit A after displacement.

Deep Cone in Center of Bit. Cutters in a deep cone at the center

of a bit are loaded on the opposite side from those cutters outside Fig. 8-Schematlc of low-friction gauge bit.
the cone when the bit is laterally displaced . A bit with this arrange-
ment not only tends to resist lateral displacement, but the cutters
on interaction between the cutters and the rock to generate the restor-
inside the cone tend to whirl in the opposite direction from the cut-
ing force necessary to prevent the start of whirl. A perturbation
ters outside the cone. Results from tests with commercially avail-
in the cutter loads resulting from formation inhomogeneity or
able deep-cone bits show a tendency for them to whirl less than
changes in WOB is often sufficient to cause enough lateral move-
many other bits; however, they still whirl, especially at high speeds.
For shallower cones , the cone appears to be drilled away by the ment of the bit so that the restoring force nonlinearly decreases (by
lateral movement as the bit whirls. This reduces the contact on the cutting away the rock) rather than increases as needed. After the
inside of the cone, and the bit impacts the formation primarily on external perturbations that initiate whirl exceed some level, the cut-
its nose and flanks after whirl starts. The reduced contact of the ters destroy the stabilizing bottomhole geometry. The methods for
cutters inside the cone often results in their being less damaged than stabilizing the bit with the cutters apparently have a rather low limit
the nose and flank cutters . of stability.
The results of tests with these three methods of reducing bit whirl
indicate that they all worked to some extent , but within rather nar- Low-Friction Gauge. Even though it is theoretically possible to
row limits. Warren et at. 9 describe two other techniques for sta- eliminate bit whirl by stabilizing the bit with the cutting forces,
bilizing a bit with cutter placement and orientation (positive siderake actually doing so is difficult. The stability achieved by balancing
and stabilizing grooves) with similar results . All the techniques rely cutting forces is similar to the stability achieved by adjusting the

Jt O{)/rt
60 RPM 120 RPM 1000 RPM
Before Modification After Modification After Modification
Fig. 9-Comparlson of bottom hole pattern before and after bit modification.

270 SPE Drilling Engineering, December 1990

Before Modification

2000 ft-Ib
------~,,-- I


' \ Touched Boltorn t, .. I

" . ......~i\);i~
"" ~~~~I1 - - - :_ . _ _ _ _ _ 120R_PM
_ _

After Modification
Fig. 11-Bit whirl observed as bit first touches rock.
2000 ft-Ib
TORQUE 5 sec I
12 .-----~--~~---~~----,---~----::;;_-,-~-----,

~ I
I ; ! I i
- -----.-- - - - - ' - r - - - ' ----+---... ----r~----+~____I

~ 3 I---------------~-----__t__-__,___--~-_____t--~-__j

Fig. 10-Vlbratlon data for bit before and after modification.

rotors on a helicopter. What is really needed is a technique that

provides a stability similar to that of a freight train rather than that
of a helicopter.
A technique was discovered that provides much better stability
than any of the methods described earlier. The procedure uses a
large, noncutting wear pad to balance the forces created by the cut-
ters (see Fig. 8). The vector sum of the cutting forces is directed
to a pad that has a much lower frictional contact with the borehole
wall than the gauge cutters. Because the friction in the direction
of the imbalance force is low, the bit slides at the borehole wall
and does not begin to walk around the hole. If the pad is relatively
wide, the force on the cutters can change quite drastically without
causing the resultant force to move off the pad. As long as the net
Fig. 12-Example of abrupt stop in penetration.
radial force on the bit is directed toward the pad, the bit will not
The low-friction idea was discovered by investigating why a very friction-gauge idea is used with gun drills to bore deep, high-
highly imbalanced (25%) 4:j4-in. bit performed much better than tolerance holes. A gun drill typically has one or more cutting blades
any other bit previously tested at the Catoosa test site. (See Ref. that extend from the center of the bit to the OD of the hole and
9 for the details of this discovery.) two wear pads that stabilize the bit. This technique allows holes
After studying the 4:j4-in. bit, we modified an SIh-in. bit that to be drilled with close tolerances, minimizes chatter of the tool
whirled at 60 rev/min by removing 12 cutters outside a radius of that results in a rough hole wall, increases the machining rate, and
2 in. to create a low-friction pad. Laboratory testing of the bit dem- minimizes the tool wear. Osman and Latinovic 10 discuss the prin-
onstrated that it was stable at rotary speeds> 1,000 rev/min. Fig. ciples used in gun-drill design.
9 shows the bottomhole pattern for the bit at 60 rev/min before
modification and at 120 and 1,000 rev/min after modification. The Operating Procedures
modifications eliminated all evidence of whirl from the bottomhole Laboratory tests showed that when a bit first touches the rock, it
pattern. This is most amazing considering that the same bit vibrat- is very unstable. As the rotary speed increases, the stability
ed so violently that it could not even be tested at high speeds be- decreases, but as the WOB increases, the bit becomes more stable.
fore it was modified. Fig. 11 shows an example of bit whirl as a bit first touches the
Fig. 10 shows vibration data for the bit before and after modifi- rock at 120 rev/min during a laboratory test. These low-weight
cation. Roughly one-half of the cutters were chipped during the vibrations occurred even tl\Ough a good pilot hole previously had
drilling of just 2 ft of Carthage limestone in the laboratory before been drilled. In some cases, the WOB must be increased to 3,000
the bit was modified. Attempts to test the bit at high speed resulted to 5,000 lbfbefore severe whirl diminishes. Similar vibrations are
in the borehole being enlarged to 0.75 in. and a stalled test drive. seen when the WOB is lowered to retrieve the bit off bottom.
After the modifications, the borehole was completely gauge. Much of the impact damage to a bit apparently occurs from lateral
While discussing the benefits of the bit modifications with a bit movement; thus, the energy that causes cutter damage comes
machinist, it was discovered that a technique similar to the low- from the string rotation, not the WOB. Because the damage is caused

SPE Drilling Engineering. December 1990 271

Fig. 15-Typical drilling performance at Catoosa test site.

:-... Opinions differ about the best operating procedure to minimize
damage to the bit when a POC bit is used to drill through a hard
stringer. Some drillers think that it is best to lower the WOB and
increase the rotary speed (primarily to decrease the cutter temper-
ature), while others think that the opposite is better. Our research
indicates that it is much better to decrease the rotary speed and pos-
sibly increase the WOB. This response should minimize impact
damage, but possibly at the expense of cutter temperature. Unfor-
tunately, the transition from soft to hard rock may not be recog-
nized quickly enough at the rig site to prevent whirl damage.
A POC-bit run often is terminated because the bit abruptly "stops
drilling" and the torque decreases significantly. Fig. 12 shows a
typical example of this from our Catoosa test site. The bit was pulled
5 minutes after drilling stopped. Most of the cutters had slight wear-
flats, typical of the one shown in Fig. 13, but none had diamond
lips protruding above the carbide. This abrupt halt in penetration
"",. appears to occur most often when the bit is drilling shale at a good
ROP and then hits a sandstone stringer. The diamond lips (see Ref.
""" . 4) are.sheared off the cutters, prohibiting the bit from drilling the
harder rock. The WOB typically is increased until it is decided that
the bit should be pulled . This may drastically accelerate the rate
of cutter wear. Fig . 13 also shows the same cutters after the bit
was rerun at high WOB for an additional 44 minutes . Oiamond lips
Fig. 14-Geology at Catoosa test site. were undetectable on any of the cutters when the bit was pulled .
Evidence such as this indicates that much more of the cutter damage
by impacts, it can occur over a very short time period and may seen on dull POC bits from the field may occur near the end of
occur while the driller is seating the bit on bottom. To minimize their runs than previously thought.
the damage that occurs when the bit contacts the rock with low
weights, the rotary speed can be reduced to less than 50 rev/min Field Evaluation of WhlrlEllmlnatlon Technique.
when the bit is set on bottom and again when it is picked up. This Laboratory testing can be used to evaluate the whirl tendencies of
procedure was field tested and causes no operational problems. a bit by examining the vibrations during drilling and the bottom-

272 SPE Drilling Engineering. December 1990

16.000 _ Accelerometer





0.0 200 Hz 400.00

Fig. 16-Vlbratlon data for low-friction bit.

-. Fig. 18-Cutter layout of low-friction bit showing location of

cutter damage.
"BASEUiiii u.:r== ~
- w. ....... ~
~ Sr- t;r ~
-- Ir;;..
- -r ~




~ ~


IIIiO f - - IlL-
- I~ ~ !....{
f---.: I~,..J
~ ~
7IiO -
~ ~
800 1-= r.-=;~
~ ..... -J"-
--;E ~ :2 -t;,:
r~ ~f- ~r-
.... ~~ .......l ~ Because the test wells are closely spaced, the geology from one
--- t test to the next is very similar.

3~Et- ~~
DlO Fig. 14 shows the geology at the Catoosa test site. The primary

-11== - -~
"""'""! ~

::; ~

test section (200 to 1,350 ft) consists of soft shales; hard limestone
sections; moderate-strength, thin sandstone stringers; and a short
interval of abrasive sandstone. Other than being shallow, it is typi-
cal of intervals that are difficult to drill economically with PDC
bits because of the hard stringers.
eo ....:: Numerous tests were conducted at Catoosa to establish the base-
line performance of various drilling techniques. Fig. IS shows three

10 200
~ 1)
typical drilling curves representative of drilling with a roller-cone
bit, with a PDC bit on rotary, and with a PDC bit on a turbine. The
roller-cone bit can routinely drill the entire section, but the ROP with
an 8':12-in. bit averages about 55 ft/hr for the interval when run at
90 rev/min and 40,000 lbf. The PDC bit on rotary initially drills
Fig. 17-Drllllng performance of low-friction bit at Catoosa much faster than the roller-cone bit, but rarely is able to drill the
test site. entire interval. A PDC bit on the turbine drills at about the same rate
as the PDC bit on rotary, but is damaged much earlier in the section.
To test the low-friction concept, a commercial four-bladed, 8':12-
hole pattern after drilling. In some instances, it can even show that in. PDC bit was converted into a low-friction bit by removing all
the cutters are chipped during drilling of a very short distance. But the cutters on one blade outside a radius of roughly 3 in. and run
generally, the long-term effects of whirl cannot be demonstrated at the Catoosa site. Before modification, the bit whirled readily in
in the laboratory. the laboratory, as shown in Figs. i and 2. After modification, the
The Catoosa test site is a rather uncommon facility for the field bit was retested and all evidence of whirl was eliminated, as shown
testing of bits to evaluate their wear characteristics. Because the in Fig. 16.
facility is operated strictly for research purposes, a bit can be pulled The bit was run at the Catoosa site from 227 to 1,256 ft and aver-
and examined at any point during its run. High-quality data are col- aged 155ft/hr, as shown in Fig. 17. This can be compared with
lected, and the operating parameters for the bit are well controlled. the performances of typical bits shown in Fig. 15.

SPE Drilling Engineering, December 1990 273

Authors Use of a low-friction gauge pad to eliminate bit whirl has been
the most successful technique tried. It can completely eliminate whirl
at rotary speeds up to 1,000 rev/min in the laboratory is relatively
insensitive to slight variations in cutter placement resulting from
manufacturing tolerances. The low-friction gauge idea was success-
fully demonstrated at the Catoosa test facility. The technology need-
ed to design commercial bits according to the low-friction concept
is still being refined, but the concept is proved.
The elimination of whirl is expected to make a significant con-
tribution toward extending the application of POC bits into rocks
that are currently difficult to drill with POC bits. It will not pro-
vide a solution to all POC bit problems, particularly abrasive wear
Warren Brett Sinor and thermal degradation.

As research supervisor of the Drilling Mechanics and Hydraul- Acknowledgments

Ics Group at Amoco Production Co. 's Tulsa Research Center,
We thank Diamant Boart Stratabit and Smith Intl. for providing
Tommy W.rren Is responsible for research relating to down-
hole tools, bits, horizontal and directional drilling, cement- the standard and prototype bits used in this study. We also thank
Ing, and fluid mechanics. Warren Is currently a Review Jim Powers for processing the test data and preparing the figures
Chairman on the Editorial Review Committee, was chairman presented in the paper.
of the 1986 Drilling Engineering Award Committee, and served
on the 1985 and 1988 Annual Meeting technical committees. References
He holds MS and BS degrees In minerai engineering from the
1. Glowka, D.A.: "Development of a Method for Predicting the Perform-
U. of Alabama. oJ. Ford Brett, a staff research engineer at ance and Wear of PDC Drill Bits," Report, SAND86-1745.uc-66c,
Amoco Production Co. In Tulsa, currently works on advanced Sandia Natl. Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM (Sept. 1987).
PDC bit development. He previously worked on projects In 2. Zijsling, D.H.: "Analysis of Temperature Distribution and Perform-
the Bering Sea, the North Slope, offshore Trinidad, and the ance of PDC Bits Under Field Drilling Conditions," paper SPE 13260
Gulf of Mexlco.,Brett holds BS degrees In mechanical engi- presented at the 1984 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibi-
neering and physics from Duke U., an MS degree In mechan- tion, Houston, Sept. 16-19.
Ical engineering from Stanford U., and an MBA degree from 3. Prakesh, V.: "Finite Element Method for Temperature Distribution
Oklahoma State U. Allen Sinor, senior research engineer at in Synthetic Diamond Cutters During Orthogonal Rock Cutting," PhD
Amoco Production Co. In Tulsa, currently works on advanced dissertation, Kansas State U., Manhattan (1986).
PDC bit development. His responsibilities Include design anal- 4. Brett, J.F., Warren, T.M., and Behr, S.M.: "Bit Whirl-A New The-
ysis and application of Improved PDC bits. He previously ory of PDC Bit Failure," SPEDE (Dec. 1990) 275-81.
worked on projects responsible for 3D bit measurement, and 5. Warren, T.M. and Canson, B.E.: "High Speed Drilling Research Ad-
modeling of PDC bits, rig-site data collection, satellite trans- vances," Drilling. The Wellsite Publication (MarchlApril1987) 16-19.
fer, and remote display of drilling data. Sinor holds a BS 6. Winters, W.J., Warren, T.M., and Onyia, E.C.: "Roller-Bit Model
degree In petroleum engineering from the U. of Tulse. With Rock Ductility and Cone Offset," paper SPE 16696 presented
at the 1987 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas,
Sept. 27-30.
The bit was pulled at 592 and 1,256 ft to inspect the cutters. No 7. Warren, T.M. and Sinor, A.: "Drag-Bit Performance Modeling,"
damage to any of the cutters was evident at 592 ft, but six cutters SPEDE (June 1989) 119-27; Trans., AIME, 287.
began to show slight wear at 1,256 ft. Fig. 18 shows the locations 8. Sinor, A. and Warren, T.M.: "Drag Bit Wear Model," SPEDE (June
of the damaged cutters. Fig. 19 shows the most severely worn cutter. 1989) 128-36; Trans . AIME. 287.
This test demonstrated that the elimination of bit vibrations as- 9. Warren, T.M . Brett, J.F., and Sinor, L.A.: "Development ofa Whirl-
Resistant Bit," paper SPE 19572 presented at the 1989 SPE Annual
sociated with bit whirl improves not only laboratory performance, Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antoni~, Oct. 8-11.
but also field performance of the bit. 10. Osman, M.O.M., and Latinovic, V.: "On the Development of Multi-
Edge Cutting Tools for BTA Deep-Hole Machining." 1. Engineering
Review for Industry (May 1976) 474-80.

Bit whirl is a significant factor contributing to the early failure and 81 Metric Conversion Factors
reduced performance of POC bits. Attempts to control bit whirl cycles/sec x 1.0* E+OO Hz
by drillstring s.tabilization alone have not been successful. Several ft x 3.048* E-Ol m
techniques for controlling bit whirl by incorporating stabilizing fea- in. x 2.54 E+OO cm
tures in the cutting geometry have demonstrated some promise but lbf x 4.448222 E+OO N
have not been completely successful. They reduce whirl tenden- psi x 6.894757 E+OO kPa
cies and probably could be used to improve typical POC bit per-
'Converslon factor is exact. SPEDE
formance. With improved manufacturing tolerances, they might
even be completely successful at eliminating bit whirl at rotary Original SPE manuscript received for revi$w Oct. 9, 1989. Paper accepted for publication
Sept. 27, 1990. Revised manuscript received Sept. 17, 1990. Paper (SPE 19572) first
speeds below 200 rev/min. Research continues on the application presented at the 1989 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held In Sen Anto-
of these techniques. nio, Oct. 8-11.

274 SPE Drilling Engineering, December 1990