We report a nanoindentation study of shales on 144 samples from Barnett, Eagle Ford, Haynesville, Kimmeridge, Ordovician, and Woodford plays. Mineralogy is found to play an important role in controlling mechanical properties of shales: An increase in carbonate and quartz content is correlated with an increase in Young’s modulus, whereas an increase in total organic content, clay content, and porosity decreases Young’s modulus. We had a close agreement between indentation moduli measured on small samples (millimeter scale) and dynamic moduli calculated from velocity and density measurements made on larger samples (centimeter scale). By taking an average of a large number of indentation Young’s moduli, 100 indentations in our case, and using an appropriate penetration force, nanoindentation technology measured an acceptable average Young’s modulus even for heterogeneous samples such as shale highlighting the potential of applying this technology to plug and perhaps field-scale problems.

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