hydraulic fracturing injects water, chemicals, and sand. The sand is called frac sand or proppant and combined with the water and chemicals is called slickwater. It’s injected at a fast volume under high pressure through a surface well and into bedrock formation. The pressure and volume fracture the gas-rich shale, releasing it to be pumped back up to the surface. The frac sand fills the voids in the fracture, keeping it open so the gas can be released.
What’s in Frac Sand?
Frac sand gets its name from its from the process of “fracking”. Frac sand is similar to common crystalline silica (quartz) sand in a playground, however, purity and consistency are important for the fracking process.
While other sands made up of various minerals and rocks types crush under the high-pressures of fracking. Frac sand quartz grains stand up to the high pressures of the fracking process and aren’t easily crushed, keeping the fractures open when the water pumps are turned off. These open fractures are kept open to release the gas and oil. Holding up against the enormous pressure and with the porous round-shaped granules allow for the free flow of liquid and gas. The more gas and liquid that can be extracted the more efficient the well.