A logging while drilling acoustic isolation technology by varying thickness of drill collars at a distance greater than wavelength


A key technology for logging while drilling (LWD) acoustic measurements is the design of an acoustic isolator to suppress tool waves propagating along the drill collar, such that acoustic signals from earth formations can be effectively measured under LWD conditions. Up to now, the LWD acoustic isolation is achieved by periodically cutting grooves along the drill collar between acoustic transmitter and receivers. Such a technique, although it is effective, reduces the mechanical strength of the drill collar and adds cost to the manufacturing and maintenance of the LWD tool, hindering the application of the LWD acoustic technology. We have developed an LWD acoustic technology that does not use the groove-cutting design. We utilize the inherent frequency stopband for extensional wave propagation along a cylindrical pipe and effectively broaden the stopband by combining drill pipes of different cross-section areas whose lengths are greater than a wavelength but are shorter than the transmitter-to-receiver distance. After propagation through the combined drill collar system, the stopband in the collar extensional wave is significantly widened and the wave amplitude in the stopband is substantially reduced. Making LWD acoustic measurements in this widened stopband allows for recording acoustic signals from the surrounding formation.

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