Vulcan Frac Sand Dryer

How is Frac Sand Made?

By: Brandon Drew

Frac sand is a key material for hydraulic fracturing of bedrock and other rock layers when drilling for oil, natural gas, and other resources that are embedded in the ground. When drilling through rock, frac sand is blasted into the cracks and crevices in a liquid mixture called proppant. The sand acts like a wedge and props the cracked rock open, allowing the natural resource to come to the surface. But how is frac sand made or processed?

Frac sand is generally made from processing mined sandstone or digging sand deposits. There are two types of frac sand, Ottawa White Sand from upper Midwest states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, and Brady Brown Sand from southern states such as Texas and Louisiana. The sand is washed to remove any unwanted solid particulates and then dried so that it won’t clump up and is able to flow as needed. The typical way of drying frac sand is to make large piles and allow it to dry naturally under the sun. Since the sand is exposed to the elements and piled on top of itself, complete drying is difficult to achieve due to rain and trapped moisture in the bottom particles.

Vulcan Drying Systems® has an easy, efficient, and cost-effective solution for drying frac sand with the use of a direct fired rotary dryer system. These systems are designed from the needs of the customer. Vulcan designs drying systems that range in capacity from as small as 1 ton per hour up to 300 tons per hour. Our drying systems can include feed/discharge conveyors, rotary dryer with burner, and pollution control. Vulcan Drying Systems® uses three types of pollution control which are cyclones, baghouses, venturi scrubbers, or a combination if needed. Our drying systems are easy to operate and come with a manual for your specific dryer. The manual includes safety measures, general components, handling and storage, initial set up instructions, plc guides, and all other information needed to get your drying system up and running.

Vulcan Video Link:

Below is a link that shows a more in depth look at the steps of mining and processing frac sand. The article was posted to the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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