Frac Sand Services

Testing natural (sand) and synthetic proppants used in hydraulic fracturing operations

SRC has developed a method of testing frac sand that has improved the standard methods of the ISO 13503- 2 recommendations. The analysis is done using a Quanta 650F QEMSCAN®, with typically 3,000- 5,000 grains analyzed for sphericity, roundness and composition.

In ISO documentation, only a visual estimate of 20-40 grains is required for adequate testing, which can increase bias and is more difficult to consider representative or thorough. 

SRC’s method provides superior statistics and a more reliable, reproducible and representative measurement. 

false colour grain image
A false colour grain image taken using the QEMSCAN. Pink grains represent quartz, with other colours representing detriment minerals, such as feldspar, mica and iron oxide.

We test for the most important frac sand parameters: 

  • >99% quartz (silica) content
  • Conforms to a specific size range (typically 20/40 Mesh size)
  • Well rounded
  • Spherical
  • High-crush resistance
  • Low fines content

In addition to the morphological measurements, the quantitative mineralogy is determined for each sample and reported in weight percent (wt.%) values.

Any mineral detriments (e.g., iron oxide) will be recognized and a strategy can be developed in conjunction with SRC’s Minerals team to remove the contaminants and upgrade a marginal deposit (beneficiation).

Learn more about the measurements we can perform.