Shaped Charges


Explosive Shaped Charge animation for oil drilling litigation

Software Skill — Blender, After Effects

This project was to demonstrate the way a patented oil explosive design works and the benefits the patented technology brings to the oil field. It was a part of a patent litigation in 2018. To protect the clients and myself, I will not be specific about anything else.

We wanted to show the jurors how the explosive really worked and how it compared to other explosives at the time. Why was this one better and why would someone want the patented features?

The problem

This video shows a very simplified version of what the typical oil well is like.

This scene required more math than you might expect, especially since the client wanted it to look as close to “real” as possible, while maintaining an orthographic perspective.

After the hole is drilled, a casing is lowered into it and then the space between the casing and the inside of the hole is filled with concrete. This keeps the casing secure and allows the explosive to travel more efficiently into the rock layer. The explosive (carried in a “gun”) is lowered into the casing (usually there are many, up to 30 I’ve heard) and discharged. The problem in question happens at the end when the explosion is complete and the oil starts to flow. Namely, the flow rate of the oil is slow because the hole is clogged with debris from the explosion.


These 2 videos show the difference between a conventional charge and what we termed a “Reaction” charge. So called because there is a chemical reaction that takes place as secondary effect of the explosion. It is this chemical reaction that loosens the debris so it will come out with the oil. This also allows the oil to flow at a much greater rate. Notice on the reaction video, the slug (also known as the liner) throws out small particles as it travels through the earth.


This video represents the reaction on a molecular level. Nickel and Aluminum exothermically react under the extreme pressure and heat, which causes even more heat to be released, loosening the material.

This last video demonstrates the process taken to investigate a particular claim in the legal case. It shows a substance being compressed using flat, round piece of its container which is broken off and propelled by an explosive. This was the most technically challenging video to make since the client wanted specific real-life things to be included and excluded.

3D, AnimationPJMComment