Explore Student Teams
Payton is at Mewbourne College’s Well Construction Technology Center at the Drillbotics Rig. Drillbotics® is an international student competition where teams design and build a miniature 500-pound drilling rig that uses sensors and control algorithms to autonomously drill a rock sample. Each year, the team is given a new challenge to complete for the competition.
Just as with actual rigs, the OU Drillbotics® rig is outfitted with a unique steering technique, which allows students to precisely control the trajectory of the wellbore from the surface.
Students master a complicated array of electronics to ensure that controls, sensors and rig mechanics are all properly communicating with each other. When problems arise, team members work together to identify a solution. With the theoretical understanding gained in the classroom, they branch out – digging through textbooks, talking to professors and consulting experts.
OU Drillbotics® teams have brought home first-place international wins twice.
Learn More About Drillbotics®
Research is an important part of life at Mewbourne College. Undergraduate and graduate students work together to conduct cutting-edge research. Here Payton is demonstrating nanotechnology research happening in the lab of petroleum engineering professor Ramadan Ahmed.
OU students are actively involved in nanotechnology research and development activities including the treatment of produced water using magnetic nanoparticles. During oil and gas production, more than 20 billion barrels of water is co-produced nationwide. The treatment of produced water is aimed to limit injection-induced seismicity potential, reduce disposal costs, and provide an alternate source of water for other industrial needs.
Watch a video here of the nanoparticles in action!
“Magnetic nanoparticles have the potential to separate residual oil from produced water. This project focuses on the development of new treatment technology for removing emulsified and dissolved oil from produced water. Surface-active magnetic nanoparticles will be used as the main functional element of the treatment system. The removed oil will be recovered as a useful by-product. Thus, the treatment system is not expected to generate secondary pollutants.”
Dr. Ramadan Ahmed
Explore The Field
“Experience cannot be taught. Experience is learned by doing. Our field trips help our students have the most unique hands-on experience that will prepare them for the reality beyond classroom, beyond school. As Benjamin Franklin once said: Tell me, and I forget. 'Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn.'
We do offer our students the foundation in the class, but when students through experience, lessons become knowledge. From the chalk board, to the NOV Drilling simulator, students gain the understanding of what their profession could be. But it’s only through a field trip that students fully grasp the life as an engineer, with the dirt, the smell and the life out there searching the depth of earth for the energy that propels mankind.”
Dr. Catalin Teodoriu
This image was pulled from Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering's Centennial Documentary.
Explore Human Factors
Students’ time on the field is not limited to learning technical knowledge. Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering faculty member Dr. Teodoriu is a leading expert in the research and teaching of Human Factors, the study of human error. This is a non-technical skill we consider nothing short of essential for our students.
“Cognitive psychology is defined as the science of the mind and includes domains like perception, memory, knowledge, thinking and beyond. A good training of the mind requires hands-on training and thus the ability to see, touch and understand one’s surrounding, which in the end, will strengthen the memory, enhance the knowledge and push critical thinking beyond the limits.
To build a strong Human Factor skillset for our students, we start within a controlled environment like our in-house Drilling Simulator Center. There, our students learn to perform various drilling tasks without the fear of a catastrophic outcome. To complete their training, a field visit allows them to see, understand and touch the picture they’ve seen in their mind throughout their education: a drilling rig in action.
The AHA! moment is priceless, and thus as a professor, it it the biggest reward.”