How It Works

Petram Technologies employs a leasing model for its patented NASA-funded electrohydraulic fracturing (EHF) systems and related services.

A small hole of approximately 1-2inch diameter at a depth of 6-18 inches is drilled into the concrete or rock and several ounces of a non-Newtonian water-cornstarch mixture is inserted. Pulsed power is supplied to a probe with two electrodes submerged in the water-cornstarch mixture, causing an electric arc. The high voltage pulsed power discharges at 1 gigawatt for 30 microseconds, creating a plasma channel of high energy density within the rock. The energy required for each discharge is very small, approximately 0.01 kW-hr, and can be charged using 120 V or a small standard commercial off the shelf generator.

The electric energy is transformed into internal thermodynamic energy with plasma channel temperatures above 10000 degrees C and pressures of the order of 10^9 Pa, which subsequently expands and produces a pressure wave into surrounding rock material. Like in any other high-velocity impact phenomena, the deformation of the rock material goes beyond the elastoplastic limit and thus fractures the rock.

However, unlike with jackhammer and hoe ram operations, the pressure wave is thin, and the material is not moved and dissipates quickly, allowing a near vibration-free discharge with no harm to surrounding infrastructure and with minimal noise and dust. The recharge time in between discharges is around 15 seconds. Our solution is non-hazardous, producing extremely minimal non-toxic fumes since there is no chemical explosion.