Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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swellable packer

1. n. [Drilling, Well Completions]
An isolation device that relies on elastomers to expand and form an annular seal when immersed in certain wellbore fluids. The elastomers used in these packers are either oil- or water-sensitive. Their expansion rates and pressure ratings are affected by a variety of factors. Oil-activated elastomers, which work on the principle of absorption and dissolution, are affected by fluid temperature as well as the concentration and specific gravity of hydrocarbons in a fluid. Water-activated elastomers are typically affected by water temperature and salinity. This type of elastomer works on the principle of osmosis, which allows movement of water particles across a semi-permeable membrane based on salinity differences in the water on either side of the membrane.