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Mechanical engineering doctoral student wins best paper at national meeting

Yasmeen Ebada and Marissa McDaid | Jan 11, 2019

Mechanical engineering doctoral student wins best paper at national meeting

Yasmeen Ebada and Marissa McDaid | Jan 11, 2019

A mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate at Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology received the best paper award at the 2018 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting, held in Pittsburgh from Oct. 28-Nov. 2. It is the premier chemical engineering educational forum for innovation and professional growth.

Michael Spencer, who is also a researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE), presented his paper, “Investigation of Scaling as a Means for Decreased Petroleum Production from the Utica/Point Pleasant Unconventional Play,” at the session “New Technologies to Enhance the Production of Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas: Experimentation.”

According to Spencer, peak performance of hydraulically fractured wells occurs during the first few months of production – after one year, the production of a well is about 75 percent of the peak value. The formation of scale in the reservoir is believed to be one of the factors causing this product decline.

“In hydraulic fracturing, hydrocarbon flows to the wellbore through a complex chain of fractures, and if a relatively impermeable substance such as scale were to form, it can clog the fracture network and reduce productivity,” Spencer said.                 

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jason Trembly, who is also ISEE director and Spencer’s adviser, called the award a tremendous honor because the session included many quality research presentations from other leading universities and national laboratories.

Spencer said the Russ College has created an environment for his success. “The faculty, staff, and students at ISEE have had a tremendous impact on my research by helping me develop my ideas, making reason of my results, and providing assistance whenever it was needed,” he said. “Dr. Trembly has influenced me by showing me how to communicate in a professional setting, and how to develop and reason my ideas,” Spencer said.

As part of the award, Spencer’s paper will be published in a special edition of the AIChE Journal highlighting the best research work from the annual meeting. After receiving his Ph.D., he aspires to work in an area where he can make a positive impact on the world for current and future generations.  

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.