The size of frac sand is a critical factor for operations, as it must correlate with mesh sizes. In this article, we’ll look at the different frac sand sizes, how to determine which is right for you, and industry-leading processes with providers like Pontotoc Sand & Stone.
Mesh size refers to the number of openings in one square inch of screen. The more openings per square inch, the more too-small particles slip through and evade capture. Therefore, higher mesh sizes correlate with smaller frac sand sizes, and vice versa.
Because fracing forms cracks with pressurized water, the sand becomes a slurry that helps prop open gas, extending the extraction window. The specific characteristics of the targeted rock formation determine the size of the frac sand required for a particular operation. The right mesh size of frac sand must be chosen to achieve optimal results.
Frac sand specifications refer to the chemical, physical, and additional requirements that must be met for hydraulic fracturing operations to be effective. Common characteristics tested include mineral content, sphericity and roundness, crush resistance, acid solubility, and turbidity. Following these specifications minimizes operational risks or complications.
For effective fracing, high-grade silica sand is key. It must be gas-permeable and have a large space between particles to endure intense pressure. You can have quality with thorough washing, sifting, and inspection, but using the wrong proppant can hurt yields or cause delays. Let’s take a deeper dive into different mesh and frac sand sizes:
The most common type, 100 mesh size frac sand is highly effective for oil and gas extraction due to its high crush strength and excellent sphericity. It generally has between 95–100% passing through a 200 mesh sieve with a median diameter range of 10–20 microns. The 100 mesh frac sand is also very cost-effective compared to other frac sands available on the market.
The 40/70 mesh frac sand is an essential component of many well configurations. The mesh ranges between 40–70 microns in diameter with an average particle size of 55 microns. This can be used as a proppant in fractures with higher closure stresses due to its superior conductivity and ability to provide greater fracture widths. Its flow capacity and capability to cause more efficient fracturing results than larger grains is especially beneficial when using slickwater techniques.
This type of frac sand has a median diameter ranging 37–53 microns. While not as strong as other types, this finer-grained variety provides greater conductivity during fracing operations, improving overall job site results. 40/80 mesh can cause more significant damage if lodged in fractures or pores, so extra caution must be taken during an oil or gas operation.
Generally, 100 mesh frac sand’s smaller particles are more effective at propping open the fractures and allowing oil and gas to flow. However, 40 mesh frac sand’s larger particles are much less likely to block the wellbore. The choice between the two depends on the specific geological conditions of the well and the desired outcome of the fracing process.
Looking for a provider that can supply the full line of frac sand sizes? Check out and learn more about Pontotoc Sand & Stone’s tier 1 frac sand.
Proppant sand mined straight from the ground isn’t ready for immediate use. That’s why Pontotoc uses strict testing and sorting procedures to guarantee our products are “in spec.” This process includes:
Our sieve testing determines how much of our sand is within standard frac sand size specifications. At least 90% must fall within marketed mesh size standards to be considered acceptable.
All frac sand sizes need to be a specific uniform shape to have the proper structure and filtration capabilities. The API RP 19c manual recommends that sphericity and roundness be .6 or above.
We determine quality by electronically analyzing millions of sand particles to identify an entire sample’s size and shape properties.
Our acid tests indicate the amount of non-silica contaminants in a sample. High contaminant percentages that exceed 3% in 40/80 and 100 mesh sand are considered unsatisfactory.
Turbidity testing determines how dirty frac sand is and whether additional cleaning is needed.
Crush resistance is determined by crushing sand at predetermined stress levels and sieve analyzing again to determine the percentage of fines produced.
We know tier 1 frac sand’s critical role in the oil and gas industry. That’s why we use a thorough quality control process that washes and grades sand while removing debris before arrival at your facility. Our system allows you to use our sand immediately, saving you time and money. Contact the experts at Pontotoc Sand & Stone for the complete line of frac sand sizes today.