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Only in the last decade has the importance of minimizing drilled solids in drilling fluids
been fully realized. Both laboratory tests and practical field experience have revealed
that by closely monitoring and maintaining a minimum of drilled solids in the mud,
large savings in both money and time can be achieved. These savings can be categorized
as follows:
Increased drilling rate - less days per well
Increased bit life
Increased life of mud pump parts
The key to these three areas of savings is reducing and minimizing the concentration of
"undesirable" drilled solids. Formation pressures dictate the amounts of weighting
agents (i.e., barite, calcium carbonate, etc.) that must be present in the mud. These types
of solids are necessary and hence they are not considered in this discussion. Solids that
are considered "undesirable" are any solids that become incorporated in the mud during
the drilling process, i.e., salt, carbonates, clay. The accumulation of these types of solids
can present mud property problems (increases in viscosity and rheology, build-up of
mud weight, etc.) and decrease the drilling rate, bit life, and the life of mud pump parts.
Treatment of muds exhibiting solids related problems can involve any or all of the
Chemical treatment
Dilution rates
Mechanical removal
Chemical treatment involves the use of flocculants to drop unwanted solids out of the
mud. However, this type of treatment is not recommended for use with many mud
systems because of the resulting adverse effects on mud properties.
Dilution is most often used as a means of correcting mud properties that have been
altered by the accumulation of drilled solids. By this method, the solids are not removed
- only their concentration has been lessened. Given further build up of solids in the mud
as drilling progresses, the problem in mud weight, rheology, etc. will once again
reappear. Dilution is often expensive due to:
• Increased consumption of the products required to maintain desired mud
• Large scale dilution often leads to discarding hundreds of barrels of valuable
drilling mud because of a lack of storage space
• In environmentally sensitive areas, extra expenses must be incurred in hauling
the excess mud away from the drilling location and in cleaning up the remains of
the discarded mud, i.e., sumps
Treatment of solids build up by mechanical means is often the most practical and cost
effective of the three available methods. Unwanted alterations in mud properties are
avoided and savings due to less dilution are realized. Generally speaking, the greater the
cost per barrel of a given mud, the greater the savings in using mechanical equipment to
rectify mud properties. The equipment used to mechanically remove solids from the mud
must be designed to fit the requirements of a given drilling operation, and not every
piece of equipment is relevant in every situation. Furthermore, the equipment
specifically selected to aid in mechanical removal of solids must be rigged up and
maintained to insure the units operate at peak performance.
Solids removal equipment systems can consist of any of the following:
Conventional shakers with screen sizes up to 30-40 mesh
High-speed shakers with screen sizes up to 100-200 mesh
A bank of 6, 8 or 12 inch cone desanders
A bank of 3 or 4 inch cone desilters
An 8 or 12 inch cone desilter over a fine screen shaker 100- 200 mesh - i.e., a
mud cleaner
High Speed Shakers
Various high-speed shakers are available from different companies.
Double Deck Shaker
The double deck shale shaker introduced by BAROID has two screens mounted on a
flatbed construction. This unit differs from conventional shakers in three important
The shaking motion is circular rather than the up and down movement of
conventional shakers
The shaker screens themselves are virtually horizontal, and not like conventional
screens that can be at angles up too as high as 30 from the horizontal
The acceleration of the mud hitting the screens has been measured at 5 G's (i.e.,
These three factors result in the mud stream having a much harder and longer contact
time with the screens, which increases the efficiency of separation of solids from the
liquid phase. In addition, less mud is lost over the screens. The screens themselves can
range down to 100 mesh with the mesh cross section varying from square to an
exaggerated rectangle. A common combination of mesh sizes used is a 30 mesh screen
on the upper deck and an 80 mesh screen on the lower deck, as the working life of very
fine mesh screens is quite short. Drilled solids down to 177 microns in size are removed
by 80 mesh screens as opposed to 840-micron size particles on a 20-mesh screen. In
addition, if an inhibitive mud system is used, finer particles are often removed in
conjunction with particles greater than 177 microns in size. The shaker is powered by a
three-phase electric motor that plugs into rig supply systems.
Desilters and Desanders
Desilters and desanders should be chosen to handle the volumes of drilled solids
expected at the fastest anticipated drilling rate.
The required capacity of desilting/desanding may be calculated using the following
Hydrocyclone capacity, gpm =8 x hole volume (gallons per foot) x maximum
penetration rate (feet per minute)
The desilters/desanders must be equipped with centrifugal pumps capable of providing
sufficient pressure to the hydrocyclones to allow them to operate in the desired pressure
range. In order to obtain the desired results from desanders and desifters, some of the
following points must be observed:
Correct installation of the desifter/desander banks
Provision of the correctly sized centrifugal pumps
Operation of the hydrocyclone in the design pressure ranges
Removal of large particle size solids upstream of the hydrocyclone bank to
minimize plugging of cones
Regular inspection and replacement of cones
When correctly installed and operating in the design range, desilters and desanders are
capable of removing up to 95% of solids particles greater than 15 microns in size.
Practical limitations:
When desanders and desilters are used with coarse screen shakers, plugging of
cones often occurs in the fast drilling top-hole sections, particularly when
drilling formations containing plastic shales.
Barite is ejected with the fine solids, therefore desilters cannot be used in
weighted mud systems, (i.e., in systems with densities of 11.0 ppg or greater).
Desilters and desanders should be used as early as possible when drilling with
unweighted fluids so that the maximum number of drilled solids may be mechanically
removed on the first circulation. While making a trip, the mud in the pits can be
circulated through the desilting equipment to remove the fine drilled solids.
Desilters and desanders are used for solids removal in unweighted mud systems having
mud weights up to 11.0 ppg. In general, the use of a centrifuge cannot be economically
justified for mud weights under 12.5 to 13.0 ppg.
Mud Cleaner
BAROID developed a piece of solids removal equipment designed specifically for the
intermediate mud weight ranges of 11.0 to 14.0 ppg. It consists of an eight-cone desilter
bank mounted over a small high-speed shaker, which works on the same principle as the
BAROID Double Deck Shaker. This piece of equipment is known as a Mud Cleaner.
The mud cleaner combines the advantages of:
Solids separation by means of the application of centrifugal force, i.e., the same
principle which desanders and desilters operate
Solids removal by screening
The first stage in the operation is the processing of the mud through the desilter bank.
The overflow is returned to the circulating system and the underflow is discharged on to
the vibrating shaker screen. This permits the recovery of the liquid phase and most of
the barite present in the underflow and the remainder of the solids are discarded.
The screen sizes vary, but the size most commonly used screen is a 200-mesh screen. It
has been found to be impractical to use screen sizes much below 200 mesh due to the
excessive loss of barite over the shaker screen. A 200-mesh screen removes fines down
to 75 microns in size.

In weighted mud systems it is often desirable to reduce mud maintenance costs by
methods other than dilution. Since it is not practical to use desilting equipment in
weighted mud systems, a centrifuge is often used.
Mud centrifuges work on the decanting principle. The mudflow enters a chamber
rotating at a high speed and the action of the centrifugal force separates the mud stream
into two components.
Low specific gravity solids with most of the fluid phase
High specific gravity solids with a small amount of fluid phase
Most centrifuges consist of three units:
Control panel
Power unit
Each unit is normally mounted on a separate skid, though in practice the centrifuge and
control panel may be mounted together on a large combination skid. The control panel is
equipped with flow-rators for mud and dilution water, and a tachometer to show the
revolutions per minute of the decanting centrifuge.
It is important that the mud and water through put and the number of revolutions per
minute of the centrifuge are kept in the correct operating ranges since the efficiency of
solids removal is directly dependent on both of these factors.
In unweighted mud systems, a high volume decanting centrifuge removes low specific
gravity drilled solids most efficiently and economically. The centrifuge can be operated
on unweighted muds at speeds up to 2200-2400 rpm, creating centrifugal forces in
excess of 200 G-force. The high volume centrifuge can remove fine solids down to two
microns (bentonite, clays, etc). The standard mud centrifuge used in processing
weighted muds can also be used in unweighted systems by simply using the machine in
the "desander mode".
Solids Removal - Principles and Techniques
The mechanisms of separation of solids from fluids can be classified according to the
nature of the forces that cause the removal of the particles from the fluid.
External forces - due to external fields of acceleration such as gravity,
electrostatic and magnetic fields
Internal forces - occur within the fluid itself: inertia, diffusion,
electrostatic field of charged particles, thermophoresis,
diffusiophoresis, etc.
No forces - screening principle; filtration can also be regarded as
an extreme case of screening
The principles most frequently used in solid-liquid separation are shown below:
(settling tanks,
(high shearing stresses,
low underflow concentration
Sedimenting Centrifuges
(low shearing stresses, high
concentration of thickened product)
(difference in density
(no difference in density
Separation of solids from liquids

Screening is a method of sorting particles according to their size. The solids are brought
into contact with a screening surface, which acts as a stop-go gauge. The undersize or
"fines" pass through the screen openings - the oversize or "coarse" do not.
Woven wire screens are often referred to by their mesh number; that is, the number of
wires per linear inch. The 75-micrometer screen is 200-mesh screen having a wire
thickness of about 50 micrometers and an open area of approximately 36%. The smallest
mesh used in industrial screens is about 160 mesh. With finer mesh sizes, other methods
of separation are usually more economical.
Screens, which vibrate rapidly with small amplitudes, are less likely to blind than
gyrating screens.
In an ideal situation, complete solids separation is achieved at the cut point. In actual
operation, the screen mesh size is usually chosen so that a balance is achieved between
the capacity and the effectiveness of the screen. Effectiveness may be defined as the
percentage of recovery of fines or coarse solids, or a combination of the two.
Capacity and effectiveness are opposing factors; increasing the former leads to a
decrease in the latter. Granular materials are the easiest to screen, however the
effectiveness falls off with acicular particles, which only pass through the screen in
certain orientations and they tend to blind the screen.
Cohesive materials also inhibit screening. Particle size distribution is also of importance
because narrowly classified particles are more difficult to screen than particles of a wide
size range.
Screens are usually the first piece of equipment used in the removal of drilled solids.
Screens may remove as much as 100% of the drilled solids or as little as 30% depending
upon the following conditions:
Bit type - i.e., conventional or diamond, short tooth, long tooth, etc.
Bit size - smaller bits make smaller cuttings
Types of drilling fluid
Oil muds tend to keep the cuttings intact
Water tends to finely disperse the cuttings
Resident time of cutting in the annulus
Mesh size of shaker screens
The reduction of screen size will greatly improve solids removal. The efficiency of these
devices are influenced by such factors as the fluids properties, the particle size of the
solids to be removed, and the work input of the screen on the fluid.
Fluid Properties
Because of the mechanics of the screen, the fluid properties can best be expressed in the
generalized Reynolds Number (R
) for Power Law fluids as shown below:
N - 2 N
V (d/12)
1.86 R =
where: d = inches
V = ft/sec
p = lb/gal
N = power law index
K = consistency index, lb/sec/ft
= Reynolds Number
As the Reynolds number increases, the inertial forces increase and the fluid should flow
through the screen faster.
Particle Size
As the particle size of the solid approaches the screen size, the effective flow area is
reduced and the screen will tend to blind. If the solids particles are larger than the screen
size, the fluid will flow around the particles and then through the screen.
Separation of Solids by Sedimentation
Due to the difference in density of the solids and the liquid, solids will settle due to
gravity. The rate of settling can be estimated from the general equations for particles
moving in fluids as shown below.
Strokes Law
1.0 R for g r
p -

≤ =

Velocity under Newtonian Resistance
p -
• =
Vm = terminal velocity, (cm/sec)
σ = SpG.Solid
p = SpG. Liquid
r = radius of sphere, (cm)
g = acceleration of gravity, (9.81)
Q = coefficient of resistance =0.4
μ = coefficient of viscosity, (poise)
Equal Settling Particles (Free-settling condition)

– p) r
– p) r

– p) r
– p) r
General Equation

- p)

– p)
m =1 Newton
m =0.5

Hindered-Settling Ratio
) p' -
) p' - (
= m =1
m =0.5
where p'=density of suspension
Particle shape
particle the of surface actual
sphere equivalent of Surface
Sphericity = μ
The settling rate can be increased in drilling fluids by two methods. Increase the particle
size by the use of flocculants or increase the gravitational field by centrifugal forces.
In unweighted muds, certain polymers are effective flocculants, which will reduce the
amount of time and the pit area needed for settling. Tests should be run on the drilling
fluid to determine the optimum polymer treatment for maximum settling.
Centrifugal Sedimentaiton - Hydrocyclone
The basic separation principle employed in hydrocyclone is centrifugal sedimentation;
i.e., the suspended particles are subjected to centrifugal acceleration, which makes them
separate from the fluid. Unlike centrifuges, hydrocyclone have no moving parts and the
necessary vortex motion is performed by the fluid itself.
The flow pattern in a hydrocyclone has circular symmetry, with the exception of the
region in and just after the tangential inlet duct. The velocity of flow at any point within
the hydrocyclone can be resolved into three components: tangential velocity, radial
velocity, and vertical velocity, and these can be investigated separately.
A particle at any point within the flow in a hydrocyclone is basically subjected to two
forces: one force due to both external and internal fields of acceleration (gravity and
centrifugal forces) and the other force due to drag exerted on the particle by the flow.
The gravity effect is normally neglected in a hydrocyclone, therefore only centrifugal
and drag forces are taken into account. The movement of the particle in both tangential
and vertical (axial) directions is unopposed by any force, so that the velocity
components can be taken equal to the corresponding flow components. Since the
centrifugal force acts in the radial direction, it prevents the particles following the
inward radial flow. If the centrifugal force acting on a particle exceeds the drag, the
particle moves radically outwards and, if the drag is greater, the particle is carried
Hydrocyclone performance is particle concentration sensitive. As the concentration of
particles increases, they affect the flow. The lower the inlet concentration, the closer the
performance is to the theoretical.
The separation efficiency of hydrocyclones is dependent upon four general factors:
Fluid properties
Particle properties
Flow parameters
Hydrocyclone parameters
The fluid properties, which affect the separation efficiency of a hydrocyclone, are:
Viscosity of the fluid
Density of the fluid

The properties of the particles affecting hydrocyclone separation are:
Density of the particles
Diameter or size of the particles

The flow parameters affecting the hydrocyclone efficiency are:
Flow rate
Tangential velocity
Pressure drop across the hydrocyclone

The hydrocyclone parameters affecting the separation efficiency are too interrelated to
be presented in a simple form. However, the three parameters of special concern, which
can be characterized, are:
Diameter of hydrocyclone (maximum diameter of cone)
Diameter of inlet
Cone angle

Decanting (scroll) centrifuges achieve centrifugal forces by a rotating horizontal conical
or cono-cylindrical bowl with an internal conveyor turning at a slightly different speed.
The conveyor removes the settled solids and therefore allows continuous processing of
the fluid.
For efficient separation, dilute suspensions are needed. As the solids concentration
increases, particle interference (hindered settling) occurs and reduces the settling rates.
The particle trajectory (T) in a centrifuge is a function of two forces, the direction of
flow (V) and Stokes settling velocity (μ).

The flow velocity (V) is a function of bowl size and throughput.
Stokes settling velocity (μ) is a function of the gravitational field, the relative mass of
the particle, the size of the particle, and the viscosity of the liquid.
As particles settle and therefore concentrate, their relative mass is reduced and the
viscosity increases both acting to reduce efficiency.
Centrifuges are used in conjunction with other solids removal equipment to control
undesirable solids because the centrifuge removes the colloidal fine material that causes
viscosity problems.
The formula for calculating the centrifugal force in a centrifuge is:
Nc =0.0000142 N
= centrifuge force in "G"
N = Bowl R.P.M.
D = Bowl diameter, inches
Proper control of drilled solids in drilling fluids should be the basic objective of a mud
engineer in order to maximize drilling performance with minimum costs. Thorough
analysis and evaluation of mud processing equipment in conjunction with proper
chemical control and excellent planning can and will reduce overall well costs
Determination of the solids content of a drilling fluid should be carried beyond
measurement of the volume percent solids as determined by the mud retort. The actual
solids content in terms of pounds per barrel and the distribution of the solids into the
categories of barite (specific gravity 4.2) and low gravity solids (drilled solids and added
clay viscosifiers with specific gravities near 2.6) is frequently desired, particularly for
high weight muds in temperature wells. The necessary data for making such a
calculation should be included in the mud check taken on the rig each day. Data needed
for the complete calculation are (1) mud density (D
, lb/gal), (2) water, oil, and solids
content from retort (V
, V
, V
, percent by volume), (3) filtrate salinity (chloride,
mg/L) and (4) the methylene blue test (cc/cc).
Salinity Correction
Prior to calculating the average solids density and solids content, the volume percent
solids and water must be corrected for dissolved salts in muds having 10,000 mg/L
chlorides or higher. In most instances, the salt is sodium chloride and it will show up in
the retort analysis as solids.
The volume percent water from the retort analysis (V
) is corrected using a multiplier
(F) that is dependent on the chloride content of the mud filtrate. A plot of F versus
filtrate chloride is shown in Figure 1. The corrected water content is determined as
(corr) = (F) (V
) (1)
(corr) = Volume percent water, corrected
F = Multiplier, from attached chart
= Volume percent water, retort
The corrected solids content is then:
(corr) = 100 - V
(corr) - V
= Volume percent oil, retort
All equations below are written assuming the salinity correction has been made, using
the notations listed.
= Volume percent water
= Volume percent solids
= Volume percent oil
F = Salt volume correction multiplier
= Mud density, lb/gal
= Water density lb/gal
SpG = Specific gravity of solids
= Weight of barite, lb/bbl
= Weight undissolved solids, lb/bbl
= Weight of low gravity solids, lb/bbl
The density low gravity solids =21.66 lb/gal (8.33 x 2.6 =21.66)
Barite weighs 1470 lb/bbl., 35.0 lb/gal, 4.2 SpG.
Low gravity solids weigh 910 lb/bbl., 21.7 lb/gal, 2.6 SpG.
Average Specific Gravity of Solids
The average specific specific gravity (SpG) of solids is calculated using the mud weight
), the corrected volume percent of water, oil and solids, and the densities of the
water and oil phases. Water density (D
), including dissolved salts, is given in Figure 1
as a function of filtrate chloride. The specific gravity (SpG) of the solids is then:
O W W m
V 8.33
V 7.1 - D V - D 100
SpG = (3)
The oil density is assumed here to be 7.1 lb/gal (0.85 grams per cc).
For muds containing no barite, it is best to assume a solids specific gravity of 2.6
rather than relying on the retort. The retort must still be used to determine the oil content
if oil is present. The procedure given above is reversed; assuming a solids specific
gravity of 2.6, and the volume percent solids (V
) is calculated by the following
W O W m
D - 21.66
7.1) - (D V ) D (D 100
+ −
= (4)
Solids Content and Composition
The total undissolved solids content (W
) is given by:
(lb/bbl) =3.5 V
SpG (5)
The distribution of solids into barite (W
) and low gravity solids (W
) is as follows:

SpG 2.6) - (4.2
(2.6) (4.2) - SpG 4.2
W (lb/bbl) W
S barite
(lb/bbl) =W
– W
For any given total solids specific gravity, the fraction of solids, which are barite and
low gravity solids, is illustrated in Figure 2. When the average specific gravity of solids
is 3.21, 50% of the solids by weight are barite and 50% are low gravity solids.
For unweighted fresh water muds with no oil, W
=0. In this case, the low gravity
solids content can be read directly from Figure 3, which is more accurate than using the
retort for measuring the volume percent solids.
Low Gravity Solids Composition
The term "low gravity solids" includes a wide variety of minerals, both formation solids
and commercial clays. Quartz, feldspar, limestone, dolomite, shale, etc. all have specific
gravities near 2.6. This value is chosen to represent the entire group of these minerals.
Some mud engineering manuals use a value of 2.5 to represent low gravity solids but we
feel 2.6 is a more representative value. Thus, added drilling clays and drilled solids are
grouped together under the low gravity solids designation. It is often important to
distinguish active clays, those which impart gel structure to the drilling fluid, from
inactive, low gravity solids which impart viscosity but little gel structure or filtration
control. The methylene blue test (MBT) is used to make the differentiation by
determining the cation exchange capacity of the mud. The cation exchange capacity, in
turn, can be related to an equivalent bentonite content, (E) by the following equation:
(cc) volume Sample
(cc) Volume Blue Methylene
x 5 (lb/bbl) E = (8)
This equation assumes a cation exchange capacity for commercial bentonite of 70-
meq/100 g using a methylene blue test solution of 0.01 meq/ml. If the bentonite
equivalent is assumed to represent active clays in the system, the inactive low gravity
solids are determined as follows:
(lb/bbl) =W
– E (9)
Alternatively if the cation exchange of the drilled solids (C) is known, the low gravity
solids can be separated into the amount of commercial bentonite (B) and the amount of
actual drill solids (D). The procedure is as follows:
C - A
W C - E A
= (10)
B - W D
= (11)
A =cation exchange capacity of commercial bentonite, meg/100 g
C =cation exchange capacity of drilled solids (meq/100 g), (equal to the ml of
methylene blue per gram of formation material)
E =bentonite equivalent of the mud, lb/bbl
D =drilled solids, lb/bbl
The weak point in this scheme for calculating solids content is the retort analysis for
volume percent water, oil, and solids. As normally run, a 10-ml sample of mud is heated
in the retort and water and oil are evaporated leaving the mud solids in the sample
holder. The oil and water are condensed and collected in a 10 ml graduated cylinder.
The volume of each is read and multiplied by ten. The difference between 100 percent
and the sum of the oil and water volumes is considered the solids content. It should be
noted that the retort analysis was designed for determination of oil content and not for
solids. An error of one percentage point in the water volume, and thus in the solids,
volume can after the final calculated average specific gravity and solids composition
significantly. The retort tends to be particularly inaccurate at low solids contents. There
may also be a variation from sample to sample when a series of muds are being run
although generally, muds run by one operator or on one mud retort will yield consistent
results. The technique is accurate for observing trends in low gravity solids content over
a period of time, particularly when used in conjunction with the methylene blue analysis.
To make the retort analysis as accurate as possible, it it essential that the sample holder
be calibrated with water and thoroughly cleaned after each test and that the graduated
cylinder be calibrated to insure that it reads the proper total volume.
Mud weight, D
=18 lb/gal
Chloride, =15,000 mg/L
Retort water, V
Retort oil, V
Retort solids,V
MBT (mud) =4 cc/cc mud
C.E.C (formation) =12 mg/100 g
From Figure 1
F =1.008
=8.47 lb/gal
From equation 1 and 2
(corr) =(1.008) (56) =56.4
(corr) =100 - 56.4 - 4 =39.6
From equation 3, the average specific gravity of the solids in the mud is:
(39.6) (8.33)
(7.1) (4) - (8.47) (56.4) - (18) (100)
SpG = =
The total weight of solids is then:
=(3.5) (3.92) (39.6) =543 lb/bbl
The breakdown of solids between barite and low gravity solids is then (from equations 6
and 7):
(543) (0.844)
(3.92) 2.6) - (4.2
(2.60) (4.2) - (3.92) (4.2)
543 W

=480 lb/bbl
=543 - 480 =63 lb/bbl
The next and last step is to separate the low gravity solids (63 lb/bbl) into commercial
bentonite and drilled solids. The bentonite equivalent is:
E =(5) (4) =20 lb/bbl
The amount of commercial bentonite (B) and drilled solids (D) are then:
lb/bbl 11
12) - (70
(63) (12) - (20) (70)
B = =
D = 63 – 11 = 52 lb/bbl
Of the 20-lb/bbl bentonite equivalent, 11 lb/bbl is derived from added commercial
bentonite and the rest is the drilled solids contribution.
The overall analysis of one barrel of the mud is then:
Water (15,000 mg/L chloride) 0.564 bbl
Oil 0.040 bbl
Barite 480 lb
Bentonite 11 lb
Drilled solids 52 lb
The calculation can be checked by adding up the volume of each component. The final
volume should be 1 bbl.
Water 0.564
Oil 0.040
Barite 0.327 (1470 lb/bbl)
Bentonite 0.012 (910 lb/bbl)
Drilled solids 0.057
Total 1.000
Student problem No. 1
Calculate the solids content of the following muds by Shell's Method.
MW = 15.50 ppg
Cl = 1000 mg/L
= 62 %
= 8 %
= 30 %
MBT = 17.5 lbs/bbl
CEC = 12

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3
A mud system during drilling and circulation is undergoing continual change. Because
of the change, the mud must be treated to maintain its desired properties. In order to
make the most economical treatments, it is important to know the current component
concentrations, and based on assumed or calculated losses, be able to calculate the
amounts of materials required to maintain the system.
Utilizing material balance techniques it is possible to estimate the quantities of materials
needed to maintain a mud system. Assumptions and known information will be utilized
in developing the values for the material balance problems. Known information includes
hole size, penetration rate and nature of the solids drilled. Assumed data includes losses
to the formation through seepage and filtrate, hole wash-out, and losses through solids
control equipment. With this information, estimates of the daily chemical consumption
rates can be calculated.
For the purpose of this exercise, assume the following:
Hole sizes: 8.5"
Washout: 10%
Penetration rate: 35 ft/hr
Total circulating volume: 1,000 bbls
Losses due to solids control equipment: =15 bbl/hr (1.5%/hr)
Losses due to filtration and seepage: 10 bbl/hr (1%/hr)
Losses due to adsorption on cuttings: 1 bbl/1 hr (0.1 %/hr)
The last analysis of the drilling fluid yielded the following data:
Mud weight: 12.0 ppg (1.44 SG)
Solids: 18.0% by volume
Water: 82.0% by volume
Determine the Average Specific Gravity of Solids
, where:
=volume fraction of water (82%)
=Density of water (8.33)
=Volume of solids (unknown)
=Density of solids (unknown)
=Volume of mud (100%)
=Density of mud (12.0 ppg)
(82) (8.33) +(18) (D
) =(100) (12.0)
683.06 +18 D
18 D
=28.72 ppg
ASG = =
Determine the concentrations of low gravity and high gravity solids in pounds/barrel.
Assume a specific gravity of 2.65 and 4.20 for low gravity solids and barite respectively.
(0.18) (3.45) =V
(4.20) +(0.18 - V
) 2.65
0.18 (3.45 - 2.65) =(4.20 - 2.65) V
2.65 - 4.20
2.65) - (3.45
0.18 V
=18% - V
=18% - 9.29% =8.71
Pound/bbl barite: 4.2 (8.33) (42) (0.0929) =136.51
Pound/bbl low gravity solids: 2.65 (8.33) (42) (0.0871) =80.75
The composition of the mud is as follows:
Mud weight: 12.0 ppg
Solids: 18.0% by volume
Low gravity solids: 80.75 ppb
Barite: 136.51 ppb
Average specific gravity of solids: 3.45
The next step is to calculate the daily maintenance requirements. The requirements will
be related to the additions of water required to maintain the mud properties within
optimum limits. Water additions will be regulated by hole size, rate of penetration,
nature of solids drilled and removal of solids. As solids accumulate in the fluid, mud
weight, plastic viscosity and yield point may increase, and the rate of increase will be
governed by the degree of hydration, swelling and dispersion of the solids which is
controlled by the chemical environment of the mud.
It is necessary to know the amount of solids generated. Therefore, calculate the amount
of solids drilled per hour using the data supplied earlier.
Average hole size: Bit size +Washout
Average hole size: 8.5" +(8.5) (0.1) =9.35 inches
Volume of hole/ft: (Average hole size) (0.000971)
Volume of hole/ft: (9.35)
(0.000971) =0.0848 or 0.085 bbl/ft
Volume of hole/hr: (0.085) (35) =2.975 bbl/hr
The volume of drilled solids generated each hour is 2.975 barrels. Assuming a specific
gravity of 2.65 for the solids, pounds per hour of drilled solids will be:
Low gravity solids, bbl/hr: (350) (2.65) (2.975) =2,759 lb
Note: The figure 350 used above denotes the weight of 1 bbl of fresh water (42 gal x
8.33 ppg =349.86, or 350 lb).
We now need to calculate the rate at which water must be added to maintain a constant
mud weight. If the operating efficiency of the solids control equipment is known, those
efficiency values will be used. If the operating efficiency is not known, assumptions
must be made. This exercise assumes an operating efficiency of 50 percent.
The material balance equation used to calculate the amount of water required is as
) D - (D
) D - (D V
2 F
F 1 1
=Volume of mud (V
=Final specific gravity (1 .44)
=Volume of low gravity solids, V
=(0.50) (2.975) =1.488
=Specific gravity of low gravity solids (2.65)
=Volume of water to add (unknown)
=Specific gravity of water (1.00)
1.00) - (1.44
1.44) - (2.65 1.488
=4.09 bbl H
Therefore, 4.09 barrels of water/hour must be added to maintain a constant mud weight
of 12.0 ppg. At the same time, low gravity solids are being incorporated into the mud at
the rate of 1,380 lb/hr (remember the solids control equipment is operating at 50%
efficiency - 2,759 x 0.5 =1,380). This is equivalent to 1.49 bbl/hr (2.975 x 0.5 =
1.4875). At these rates, the density of the mud will decrease due to the addition of the
water and the mud properties will deteriorate due to the accumulation of low gravity
drilled solids. Additional water and barite must be added to maintain the desired
properties and a 3.45 average specific gravity of solids.
Calculate barite requirements to maintain a 3.45 ASG of solids using:
( )
: where ,
D - D
) D - D ( V
F 2
1 F 1
= Final volume of solids (V
= Final ASG of solids (3.45)
= Volume of low gravity solids (1.488)
= Specific gravity of low gravity solids (2.65)
= Specific gravity of high gravity solids (4.20)
= Volume of high gravity solids to add (unknown)
: where ,
3.45) 2 . 4 (
2.65) - (3.45 1.488

=1.58 bbl
Converting to pounds of barite per hour:
(1.58 bbl) (1,470 lb/bbl) =2,323 lb/hr
Next, the amount of additional water must be calculated. We know that 2,323 pounds of
barite are being introduced into the system each hour.
Determine the amount of water required to maintain a 12.0 ppg mud weight using:
: where ,
) D - (D
) D - (D V
1 F
F 1 1
= Final mud volume (V
= Specific gravity of final mud (1.44)
= Volume of solids added (1.58 bbl)
= ASG of Barite added (4.20)
= Specific gravity of water added (1.00)
= Volume of water to be added (unknown)
: where ,
1.00) - (1.44
1.44) - (4.2 1.58
=9.91 bbl
Therefore, the required additions of barite and water which must be made to the system
to maintain a constant mud weight of 12.0 ppg and an ASG of 3.45 are:
bbl/hr lb/hr
Water 14.00 4,900
Barite 1.58 2.323
Low Gravity Solids 1.49 1,380
Total 17.07 8,603
This can be validated using the formula:
: where ,
4 4 3 3 2 2 2 1
+ + +
= Volume of initial mud (1,000 bbl)
= Specific gravity of initial mud (1.44)
= Volume of water added (14.00 bbl)
= Specific gravity of water (1.0)
= Volume of barite added (1.58 bbl)
= Specific gravity of barite (4.2)
= Volume of low gravity solids added (1.49 bbl)
= Specific gravity of low gravity solids (2.65)
= V
= Specific gravity of final mud (unknown)
1.49 1.58 14.02 1,000
(2.65) (1.49) (4.2) (1.58) (1.0) (14.02) (1.44) (1,000)
+ + +
+ + +
=1.44 specific gravity of final mud
(This calculation ignores the volume and density affects of other materials such as
bentonite and thinners required to maintain and control the muds properties.)
Next, determine the amount of new mud, which must be mixed and added to the system
to compensate for:
Volume of new hole drilled
Losses to filtration and seepage
Losses through solids control equipment
Remembering our initial assumptions:
New hole volume: 2.975 bbl/hr
Losses to filtration and seepage: 10 bbl/hr
Losses through solids control equipment and adsorption: 16 bbl/hr
The total volume lost per hour which must be replaced is 29 barrels less the 17 barrels of
solids and water added to the system while drilling and maintaining a mud weight of
12.0 ppg and an ASG of 3.45.
Calculating the amount of barite and water required to build 12 bbls of 12.0 ppg mud per
: where ,
) D - (D
) D - D ( V
1 2
1 F F
= Final volume (12 bbl)
= Specific gravity of final volume (1.44)
= Volume of water (V
- V
= Specific gravity of water (1.00)
= Volume of barite (unknown)
= Specific gravity of barite (4.2)
Volume of Barite:
1.00) - (4.20
1.00) - (1.44 12
Volume of barite required: 1.65 barrel/hour
Pounds of barite required: 2,426 pounds/hour
Volume of Water:
=12 - 1.65
Volume of water required: 10.35 bbl/hr
The last step is the determination of the amounts of other materials required to maintain
the desired properties for the system. This exercise assumes a fresh water mud having
the following composition:
Chemical lb/bbl
Lignosulfonate 8.0
Lignite 4.0
Bentonite 20.0
Caustic soda 2.5
The hourly additions of barite and water were calculated to be:
Barite: 4,749 lb/hr
Water. 24.4 bbl/hr
The consumption of the other materials will be based on the addition of 29 barrels of
new mud volume per hour at the concentrations stated above.
Chemical lb/hr lb/8 hr tour lb/12 hr tour lb/day
Barite 4,749 37,992 56,988 113,976
Lignosulfonate 232 1,856 2,784 5,568
Lignite 116 928 1,392 2,784
Bentonite 580 4,460 6,960 13,920
Caustic soda 72.5 580 870 1,740
Converting the above to sacks:
Chemical sk/8 hr tour sk/12 hr tour sk/day
Barite 380 570 1,140
Lignosulfonate 38 56 112
Lignite 19 28 56
Bentonite 45 70 140
Caustic soda 12 18 36
For the purpose of this exercise, the assumption was made that the solids contributed by
bentonite and barite which are not lost from a system due to filtration or seepage were
deposited as wall cake, and therefore removed from the system.
It must be emphasized that actual consumption rates will vary greatly depending on a
number of different factors such as:
Nature of formations being drilled
Efficiency of solids control equipment
Composition of the drilling fluid
Physical and chemical properties of the drilling fluid
Hole size and penetration rates
Barite Reclamation
A decanting centrifuge will normally process 12.0 ppg mud at the rate of 18 gpm and
recover approximately 70% of the barite in the mud processed. Using this assumption,
the amount of barite recoverable from the system can be estimated.
The amount of barite contained in this 12.0 ppg mud was calculated to be 136.51 ppb.
The centrifuge will process 25.7 bbls of mud per hour.
(18 gpm) (60 min/hr) (0.0238 bbl/gal) =25.70 bbl/hr
At 70% efficiency, the amount of barite recovered =(136.51 ppb) (25.70 bbl/hr) (0.70)
=2,456 lb/hr
Converting to barrels of barite/hr
recovered barite of bbl/hr 1.67
Determining the amount of water, low gravity solids and chemicals discarded:
25.70 - 1.67 =24.0 bbl/hr discarded
The amount of additional water required to maintain a constant mud weight of 12.0 ppg
due to the barite being returned to the system via the centrifuge must also be calculated
: where ,
) D - (D
) D - (D V
2 F
F 1 1
= Final volume of barite and water (V
= Specific gravity of final volume (1.44)
= Volume of barite (1.67)
= Specific gravity of barite (4.2)
= Volume of water to add (unknown)
= Specific gravity of water (1.00)
1.00) - (1.44
1.44) - (4.2 1.67
=10.48 bbl
Volume of water to add to maintain a mud density of 12.0 ppg is 10.48 bbl/hr.
Total volume returned to system while centrifuge is running is equal to the volume of
barite returned plus the water added to the system.
Volume returned =10.48 +1.67 =12.15 bbl/hr
The centrifuge is processing 25.70 barrels of mud per hour and 12.15 barrels is being
returned to the system. New volume must be added to the system equal to the difference
between the processed volume and the returned volume.
New volume =25.70 - 12.15 =13.55 bbl/hr
Barite and water additions to build 13.55 bbl of new mud per hour.
: where ,
) D - (D
) D - D ( V
1 2
1 F F
= Final volume of barite and water (13.55)
= Density of final volume (1.44)
= Volume of water (V
- V
= Specific gravity of water (1.0)
= Volume of barite (unknown)
= Specific gravity of barite (4.2)
1.0) - (4.2
1.0) - (1.44 13.55
=1.86 bbl
=13.55 - 1.86
=11.69 bbl
The additions of barite and water that must be added to the system each hour.
Barrels Pounds Sacks
Barite 1.86 2,734 28
Water 11.69 -0- -0-
Other materials must again be added to maintain the desired properties. The total
volume, 25.70 barrels per hour, processed by the centrifuge and replaced by discharged
barite and added water will need to be treated.
Chemical sk/8 hr tour sk/12 hr tour sk/day
Barite 224 336 672
Lignosulfonate 33 50 99
Lignite 17 25 50
Bentonite 41 62 124
Caustic soda 11 16 31
Daily Maintenance of Polymer Systems
Daily maintenance treatments for polymers consist of the polymer required to build new
volume and replace polymer lost through filtrate invasion and solids removal.
In addition to normal maintenance, the polymer concentration, ppb, is adjusted for
changes in volume and the type of mud solids.
If we assume a required concentration of 0.50-ppb polymer and a 10% loss of polymer
while drilling, we can calculate the required daily maintenance.
, where:
= Pounds polymer lost while drilling per day, lb/day (unknown)
= Concentration of polymer to maintain, ppb (0.5)
= Volume of mud, bbl (1,000)
= Percentage of polymer lost from system each day (0.10)
=(0.5 ppb) (1,000 bbl) (0.10)
=50 lb
To replace polymer lost from system, we must add 50lbs of polymer each day.
In our previous calculations, we found it necessary to create 54.88 barrels of new
volume per hour.
, where:
= Polymer to be added to maintain required concentration in new volume,
lbs (unknown)
= New volume added to system, bbls (54.8)
= Required concentration of polymer, ppb (0.5)
= (54.8 bbl) (0.5 ppb)
= 27.4 lb
27.4 pounds of polymer will need to be added each hour to maintain a concentration of
0.5 ppb in the new mud volume. The total polymer to be added each hour is that
required to replace lost polymer (2.1 lb/hr) and that required to build new volume (27.4
lb/hr). 29.5 lb/hr of polymer is required each hour as a maintenance treatment.
Converting the maintenance treatment to 50 lb sacks:
sk/8 hr tour sk/12 hr tour sk/day
5 7 15
The equation for calculating the shaker capacity with solids-laden fluid (Q
) based on
the shaker capacity with fluid only (Q
), is given by
[ ]
[ ]
P 1
(Eq. 1)
In this equation, Q and (Q
) are as previously defined in gal/min: δ is an empirical
plugging-blinding factor with corresponding values for various screens tabulated on
Figs. 1 and 2: and P is the volume percent (not fraction) of freshly drilled solids in the
annulus given by
[ ]
[ ] Q
0.0678 P
= (Eq. 2)
ROP = rate of penetration, ft/hr
D = hole diameter, in.
Q = actual rig circulation rate, gal/min
To illustrate the use of Figs. 1 and 2 as well as Eqs. 1 and 2, compare the performance of
the shakers with downward-sloping (-15°) deck (Fig. 1) to that of the flat-deck shaker.
The following conditions are assumed:
• Drilling an 8.75 in. hole
• Rig circulation rate is 325 gal/min
• ROP is 15 ft/hr.
• Mud density is 9.0 lb/gal
• Plastic viscosity is 9.0 cp
• 80 mesh (80 x 80, market grade) screening is desired
First, P is calculated as follows:
(8.75) (15)
0.0067 P
From the tables on Figs. 1 or 2 δ is equal to 0.64 for the market grade 80 x 80-mesh
screen. Substituting P and δ into Eq. 1 gives
[ ]
[ ]
0.24 1
Q =0.52 Q
Looking first the Figure 1 for the shaker with downward-sloping (-15°) deck, we see that
for a PV/MW ratio of 9.0/9.0 or 1.0 and an 80 x 80 screen. Q
=330 gal/min. The
capacity for this shaker with solids-laden fluid Qs is
Qs =0.52 (330)
Qs =172 gal/min
for the flat deck shaker, with 80 x 80 mesh screens and PV/MW =1.0 is found to be
about 750 gal/min (from Fig 2). The capacity for this shaker with solids-laden fluid, Qs
Qs =0.52 (750)
Qs =390 gal/min
For the stated conditions, the capacity of the flat deck shaker is more than twice that of
the shaker with downward-sloping (-15°) deck and in fact, is adequate for the task at
hand. Two shakers of the downward sloping deck design would only marginally
accommodate the rig's circulation rate under these conditions.
The finest screens, which could be run on the shaker with downward-sloping deck under
these conditions, can be found from by trial an error. Assuming that the finest possible
screen is 50 x 50 mesh market-grade, δ is 0.77
[ ]
[ ]
0.24 1
Qs =0.62 Q
From Fig. 1,Q
is found to be about 870 gal/min. The capacity for this shaker with
solids-laden fluid, Qs is then
Qs =0.62 (870)
=540 gal/min
This is in excess of the required capacity of 325 gal/min so one might wonder if 60 x 60
mesh screens would be possible.
For the 60 x 60 mesh screen, δ =0.71 and
[ ]
[ ] 0.24 1
Q =0.57 Q
From Fig. 1, Q
is seen to be about 600 gal/min, and
QS =0.57 (600)
=342 gal/min
This capacity is only marginally adequate for the stated conditions. If it becomes
necessary to increase the rig circulation rate, or if the PV/MW ratio should increase only
slightly, mud loss over the end of the shaker will certainly result with the 60 x 60-mesh
screen. In practice, the shaker with downwardsloping deck will be limited to 50 x 50
mesh screens under these conditions.
Summarizing this example, the flat-deck shaker, under the stated conditions, will run 80
x 80 mesh screens, while the shaker with a downward-sloping deck will run only 50 x
50 mesh screens. To use the latter results in a 44% increase in median (D50) cut point,
from 160 to 230 microns, and for typical drilled solids distributions in flow line muds, a
significant reduction in total solids removed at the shaker. This, in turn, results in
additional solids loading on hydroyclones, diminishing their efficiency and accelerating
wear on both hydrocyclone and pumps.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3
Definition of Terms
ADG = Average specific gravity of solids
= Specific gravity of dissolved solids
= Specific gravity of weight material
C = Water phase salinity, ppm
= Drilling fluid density, ppg.
= Solids volume corrected for dissolved solids, %
= High gravity solids, %
= Low gravity solids, %
LGS = Low gravity solids, lb/bbl
HGS = High gravity solids, lb/bbl
= Volume of oil, %
= Volume of water, %
= Volume of dissolved solids, %
= Fractional volume of dissolved solids coefficient
C 10 - 1
C 10
6 -
6 -
10 x C x 12.8 - 17.2
X V 3.5
V =
V - V - V - 100 V =
10 x C x 3.652 - 4.91 A =
) A x (V - ) (0.84V - V - ) (12M
2.6) - (A
) A - (A V
9.1 x V LGS
V - V V =
14.7 x V HGS
MW =17.7 ppg
O =10%
OIL =50%
SOL =40%
C =350,000 ppm
10 x 350,000 - 1
10 x 350,000
6 -
= =
6 -
10 x 350,000 x 12.8 - 17.2
0.5385 x 10 x 3.5
V = =1.48%
1.48 - 50 - 10 - 100 V
= =38.52%
10 x 350,000 x 3.652 - 4.91 A = =38.52%
3.63) x (1.48 - 0.84) x (50 - 10 - 17.7) x (12
ASG = =4.02

2.6) - (4.2
4.02) - (4.2 x 38.52
= =4.33%
4.33 - 38.52 V
= =34.19%
9.1 x 4.33 LGS = =39.4 lb/bbl
14.7 x 34.19 HGS = =502.6
Student Problem No. 2
Calculate the solids content of the following oil base mud.
MW = 14.0 ppg
= 52%
= 18%
= 30%
C = 300,000 ppm
Specific Gravity of Oil =0.84
Glossary of terms and definitions
Absolute 1 Is used to define a degree of filtration usually
referring to 100% removal of solids, an
impossibility in liquid/solid separation.
2 A degree of filtration that guarantees 100%
removal of suspended solids over a specified
particle size.
Absolute particle size See Absolute rating.
removal rating
Absolute pressure (psia) The total pressure relative to a total vacuum.
Absolute rating 1 (NFPA) The diameter of the largest hard
spherical particle that will pass through a filter
under specified test conditions. This is an
indication of the largest opening in the filter
2 The absolute rating determines the size of the
largest size hard spherical particle passing through
the filter under closely controlled laboratory
3 The number that expresses the particle size
removal of a medium. It shows an efficiency of
99.99% removal of all particles of a stated size and
larger. This value is determined by particle count
4 Beta ratio of 75.
Absorb To take up a liquid, as a sponge takes up water.
Absorbent A solid material which absorbs, such as clay or
Absorption 1 The physical state where particles, dispersed in a
liquid medium, invade or permeate the matrix of
solid particles.
2 The penetration or apparent disappearance of
molecules or ions of one or more substances into
the interior of a solid or liquid.
In hydrated bentonite, the planar water that is held
between the mica-layers is the result of absorption.
3 Surface adhesion of liquids or gases to solid
Absorption (API) The penetration or apparent disappearance of
molecules or ions of one or more substances into
the interior of a solid or liquid.
Acid Any chemical compound containing hydrogen
capable of being replaced by positive elements or
radicals to form salts.
Acidity (API) The relative acid strength of liquids as measured
by pH. A pH value below 7. See pH.
Activated carbon An absorbent carbon which removes dissolved
color, odor, taste, etc. from liquids or gases.
Activated clay An absorbent carbon which removes color, etc.
from oils and tallows.
Adhesion (API) The force which holds together unlike
Admix Filter aid that is added directly into the batch tank
of prefilt to create a permeable filter cake. Usually
used in place of body feed in order to create more
residence (contact) time
Adsorption 1 The physical state where particles dispersed in a
liquid medium attach themselves to or wet the
surface of solid particles.
2 A surface phenomenon exhibited by a solid
(adsorbent) to hold or concentrate dissolved
substances such as polymer molecules upon its
In hydrated bentonite, the planar water that is held
between the mica-layers is the result of absorption.
Agglomerate The larger groups of individual particles usually
originating in sieving or drying operations.
Agglomerate (API) The larger groups of individual particles usually
originating in sieving or drying operations.
Agglomeration The grouping of individual particles.
Agglomeration (API) The grouping of individual particles.
Physical adhesion of molecules of colloids to the
surfaces of solids without chemical reaction.
Aggregate A group of two or more individual particles held
together by strong forces.
Aggregates are stable to normal stirring, shaking,
or handling as powder or as a suspension. They
may be broken by drastic treatment such as ball
milling a powder or by shearing a suspension.
(v) to gather together; (n) a solid mass
Aggregate (API) A group of two or more individual particles held
together by strong forces.
Aggregates are stable to normal stirring, shaking,
or handling as powder or suspension. They may be
broken by drastic treatment such as ball milling a
powder of shearing a suspension.
Aggregation (API) Formation of aggregates.
Alkali (API) Any compound having distinctive basic,
properties. See base, pH.
Alkalinity 1 A quantitative measure of an aqueous solution's
capacity to react with hydrogen ions.
2 The combining power of a base measured by the
maximum number of equivalents of an acid with
which it can react to form a salt. In water analysis,
it represents the carbonates, bicarbonates,
hydroxides, and occasionally the borates silicates,
and phosphates in the water.
Hydroxyl (OH
Carbonate (CO
Bicarbonate (HCO
3 The measure of the concentration of water
soluble ions that neutralize acids.
Alum Sulphate salt of aluminum commonly used in water
clarification as a coagulant.
Amorphous Noncrystalline. Having no ordered molecular
structure of its own.
Amphoteric Polymers Polymers that possess polyampholytes (negative
and positive charges) along the macro-molecular
Anhydrous (API) Without water.
Anion A negatively charged atom or radical, such as Cl
, SO
, etc., in solution of an electrolyte.
Anions move toward the anode (positive electrode)
under the influence of an electrical potential.
Anionic Electrostatic state of a polymer where the
hydrophilic group carries a net negative charge.
Anionic polymers Polymers that possess polyanionic (negative
charges) functional group in polymer molecular
Apparent viscosity (API) The viscosity a fluid appears to have on a given
instrument at a stated rate of shear. It is the
function of the plastic viscosity and the yield point.
The apparent viscosity in centipoises, as
determined by the direct indicating viscometer, is
equal to 1/2 of the 600-RPM reading. See also
viscosity, plastic viscosity, and yield point. In a
Newtonian fluid, the apparent viscosity is
numerically equal to the plastic viscosity.
API American Petroleum Institute, Production
Department, Suite 1700, 211 North, Ervay, Dallas,
Texas 75201.
API gravity The gravity (weight per unit volume) of crude oil
or related fluids as measured by a system
recommended by the API.
Area (surface area) The surface available in a filter for the passage of
liquid and formation of a filter cake usually
measured in square feet.
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916
Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.
Attapulgite clay A colloidal, viscosity-building clay used
principally in salt-water muds.
Attapulgite, a special ftillers earth, is a hydrous
magnesium aluminum silicate.
Attapulgite clay (API) colloidal, viscosity-building clay used principally
in salt-water fluids.
Attapulgite, a special fullers earth, is a hydrous
magnesium aluminum silicate.
ATM atmosphere A measurement of pressure. The air pressure at sea
level: 14.7 psi.
Attrition Breaking down or wearing away, by friction,
usually as particle to particle degradation of a
diatomite slurry.
Backwash To reverse flow of air, liquid, etc., through the
filter media to effect solids removal.
Baffle A plate or deflector to provide flow distribution in
a filter. Primary functions are to prevent erosion of
a precoat an settling of body feed in a filter tank.
Balance, fluid (API) A beam type balance used for determining fluid
Balance, mud (API) A beam type balance used for determining mud
Barite (API) Natural barium sulphate used for increasing mud
density. If required, it is usually upgraded up to a
specific gravity of 4.20.
Baroid milling fluid (BMF) BMF is Baroid's milling fluid. The system uses
Aquagel Gold Seal and MMH achieve a unique gel
structure that furnishes the necessary carrying
capacity to remove metal cuttings quickly from the
wellbore. BMF is characterized by very high/flat
gel strengths that prevent metal cuttings from
Barrel (API) 42 gallons.
Barrel equivalent (API) A laboratory unit used for testing fluids. One gram
of material when added to 350 milliliters of fluid is
equivalent to one pound of material when added to
one 42 gallon barrel.
Basal surface The surface on the face of the unit layer.
Base A compound of a metal, or a metal-like group, with
hydrogen and oxygen in proportion to form an OH
radical which ionizes in aqueous solution to yield
excess hydroxyl ions. Bases are formed when
metallic oxides react with water. Bases increase the
Caustic soda
Base (API) Chemical species, ionic or molecular, capable of
accepting or receiving a hydrogen ion from another
substance; the other substance acts as an acid in
giving of the proton.
Base exchange (API) The replacement of cations associated with the
clay surface by those of another species, e.g., the
conversion of sodium clay to calcium clay.
Basicity (API) pH value above 7. Ability to neutralize or accept
protons from acid.
Bentonite (GEL) 1 A clay containing appreciable amounts of
montmorillonite used as a viscosifier for water
based drilling fluids. Bentonite may contain
polymers as extenders. For use in drilling fluids,
bentonite has a yield in excess of 85 bbl/ton.
The generic term "bentonite" is neither an exact
mineralogical name, nor is the clay of definite
mineralogical composition.
2 A plastic, colloidal clay, largely made up of
Beta ratio 1 The ratio of the number of particles of a
specified size and larger in the influent fluid to the
number of particles of the same specified size and
larger in the effluent fluid.

larger x size count particle downstream
larger x size count particle upstream
ratio Beta

Bx =
Bx = Beta ratio at particle diameter x
Ux = number of particles upstream size x and
Dx = number of particles downstream size x
and larger
X = particle diameter, microns
Bingham Model A mathematical description that relates shear stress
to shear rate in a linear manner.
- Two constants for this model are plastic
viscosity and yield point.
- This is the simplest model to describe non-
Newtonian liquid.
Biopolymer Extracellular polysaccharides synthesized by
various micro-organisms.
Xanthan, widely used in oilfield operation, is the
product of the plant pathogenic bacterium
Xanthomous Campestris.
Bleed through Contaminant or filter aid that passes through the
filter under certain conditions.
Blind spots Any place on a filter septum where liquid cannot
flow through due to blinding.
Blowdown The use of air or inert gas pressure to displace a
liquid out of a filter. Continued blowdown is used
to dry filter cake in situ.
Body feed Filter aid that is continuously added to the filter
while it is on stream. Its purpos is to create a
permeable filter cake.
Bottomhole pressure The pressure in the bottom of the drilled hole
caused by the column of mud in the annulus plus
flow friction to the surface plus back pressure of
the chokes.
Bridging 1 The act of particles forming an arch over the
openings in a septum.
2 Filter cakes that have grown to a size where they
actually touch each other in the filter.
Brine (API) Water saturated with or containing a high
concentration of common salt (sodium chloride);
any strong saline solution containing such other
salts as calcium chloride, zinc chloride, calcium
nitrate, etc.
Brownian motion (API) Continuous, irregular motion exhibited by particles
suspended in a liquid or gaseous medium, usually
as a colloidal dispersion.
Bubble point (initial) The pressure at which the first steady stream of gas
bubbles is emitted from a wetted filter element
under specified test conditions.
Bubble point test A quality control test for filter cartridges where the
media is immersed and gas is introduced into the
media until bubbles appear. The pressure at which
bubbles appear relate to the permeability of the
media and its average pore size.
Bypass valve A device which allows fluid flow to be diverted
around a filter (relief valve automatic when
differential pressure reaches a predetermined limit)
C-spacing The distance between a sheet in one unit layer and
its corresponding sheet in the adjacent layer.
Cake The accumulation of solids (and filter aid) on the
surface of a precoat, septum, o media.
Cake filtration Where particles in suspension are deposited in a
layer at or near the surface of the filtering medium
or septum, and subsequent particles are subjected
to filtration by a combination of the substrata and
the layer of previously deposited particles.
Cake space The volumetric space available in the filter to
support the formation of a filter cake.
Cake consistency According to API RP 13B, such notations as
"hard," "soft," "tough," "rubbery," "firm," may be
used to convey some idea of cake consistency.
Cake deposition index (CDI) Change in filtration rate; with time, CDI
approaches zero if filter cake can be (CDI) eroded.
Cake thickness The measurement of the thickness of the filter cake
deposited by a drilling fluid against a porous
medium, most often following the standard API
filtration test. Cake thickness is usually reported in
32nd of an inch.
Calcium One of the alkaline earth elements with a valence
of 2 and an atomic weight of about 40. Calcium
compounds are a common cause of the hardness of
water. It is also a component of line, gypsum,
limestone, etc.
Calcium carbonate (CaCO
) An insoluble calcium salt sometimes used as a
weighting material (limestone, oyster shell, etc.), in
specialized drilling fluids. It is also used a unit
and/or standard to report hardness.
Calcium chloride (CaC1
) A very soluble calcium salt used to increase the
density of fluid.
Calcium contaminants Dissolved calcium ions in sufficient concentration
to impart undesirable properties in a drilling fluid,
such as flocculation, reduction in yield of
bentonite, increase in fluid loss, etc.
Calcium hydrate Ca (OH)
The active ingredient of slaked lime. It is also the
main constituent in wet cement. This material is
referred to as "lime" in field terminology.
Cation The positively charged particle in the solution of
an electrolyte which, under the influence of an
potential, moves toward the cathode (negative
, H
, NH
, Ca
, Al
Cationic 1 Ions or molecules possessing a positive charge;
ions are monovalent or divalent: monovalent ions
have one electron available for reactions; divalent
ions have two electrons available for reactions.
2 Electrostatic state of a polymer where the
hydrophilic group carries a net positive charge
Cationic polymers Polymers that possess polycationic (positive
charges) functional groups in polymer molecular
Capacity 1 The maximum volume of a vessel.
2 That mass of solids suspended in a liquid or gas
that can be fed a unit area of filter medium before
that medium suffers some predetermined loss in
Cellulose The major constituent of the cell wall of plants
and, with lignin, the major component of wood; it
consists of a single repeating unit, D-glucose,
linked through carbon 1 and 4 by B linkage.
Native cellulose is a linear polymer with an
average molecular weight ranging from 300,00 to
over a million.
Centipoise (cP) A unit of viscosity. See Darcy's law.
The viscosity of water at 20° C is 1.005 cP (1
cP=0.000672 lb/ ft-sec.)
Centipoise (cP)(API) A unit of viscosity equal to 0.01 poise. A poise
equals one gram per meter second. The viscosity of
water at 20° C is 1.005 cp.
Centrifuge A device for the mechanical separation of high
specific gravity solids from a fluid to determine
content of contaminants.
Centrifugal pump A machine with an impeller in a casing arranged so
fluid entering the casing in a central inlet is
accelerated by the spinning impeller to a much
higher velocity. The circular shape of the casing
causes the high-velocity fluid to flow in a circular
path. The fluid presses against the casings inside
wall and develops a pressure head, which pushes
on the fluid. The actual flow rate is controlled and
limited or stopped by the resistance to flow
in the external piping system. Pressure head
developed in the casing is generally highest at no
flow from the pump (it is not a positive
displacement pump.).
Centrifugal separator A general term applicable to any device using
centrifugal force to shorten and to control the
settling time required to separate a heavier mass
from a lighter mass.
Chemical potential Energy that molecules possess which allows them
to react with other molecules.
Check valve A form of valve used to permit flow in only one
(Foot valve)
Clarity Clearness of a liquid as measured by a
turbidimeter. Usually reported in NTU’s.
Clay 1 A naturally occurring material usually being
activated and used as an absorbent.
2 A hydrous silicate of alumina formed by the
decomposition of feldspar and other alumina
silicates. A plastic, soft, variously colored earth,
commonly a hydrous silicate of alumina, formed
by the decomposition of feldspar and other
alumina silicates. Clays minerals are essentially
insoluble in water but disperse under hydration,
shearing forces such as grinding, velocity effects,
Clay extender Any of several substances, usually high molecular
weight organic compounds that, when added in
low concentrations to a bentonite or to certain
other clay slurries, will increase the viscosity of the
system, e.g., polyvinyl acetate-maleic anhydride
Cleavage Expanding the C-spacing between unit layers.
Cloth A type of woven filter septum (medium) made
from natural or synthetic yarns.
Coagulation 1 A chemical and physical process in which the
electrical charge of colloidal particles is
neutralized by chemical of the opposite charge,
allowing them to coalesce and eventually settle.
2 In drilling-fluid terminology, a synonym for
Coalesce, coalescence The combination of globules in an emulsion
caused by molecular attraction of the surfaces.
Cohesion The attractive force between the same kind of
Collapse pressure The differential pressure at which a filter will fail
Colloid 1 Very small, insoluble nondiffusible solid of
liquid particles that remain in suspension on a
surrounding liquid.
2 Solids usually on the order of 0.2 microns or
3 Solid particles have sizes between 10
cm and
Colloid (API) A state or subdivision of matter which consist of
single large molecules or of aggregations of
smaller molecules dispersed to such a degree that
the surface forces become an important factor in
determining its properties. The size and electrical
charge of the particles determine the different
phenomena observed with colloids, e.g., Brownian
movement. The sizes of colloids range from 0.001
to 0.5 microns in diameter, although the particle
size of certain emulsoids can be in the micron
Colloidal Referring to particles which will not settle out of
solution (suspension) and are incapable of passing
through a semi-permeable membrane.
Colloidal suspension Finely divided particles of ultramicroscopic size
suspended in a liquid. The size of colloidals range
from 0.001-0.5 microns in diameter.
Colloidal suspension (API) Finely divided particles of ultramicroscopic size
swimming in a liquid.
Completion fluid Any fluid used in the completion phase of finishing
a well.
Compressibility Degree of physical change in suspended solids (or
filter cake) when subjected to pressure.
Concentration The weight per volume of particulate matter in a
fluid. Usually stated in LB/GAL, LB/BBL, mg/l,
ppm, etc.
Conductivity (electrical) In water, the ability to conduct electricity. A
function of the total dissolved solids.
Consistency The viscosity of a non-reversible fluid, in poises,
for a certain time interval at a given pressure and
Contaminant In a fluid generally refers to particles. Use
discouraged for two reasons: the particles may be
that which one wants to recover; and, a
contaminant may be a soluble material, which
cannot be separated by filtration.
Contamination The presence in a polymer solution of any foreign
material that may tend to produce detrimental
properties of the polymer solution.
Contract Time The length of time an absorbent is in contact with a
liquid, prior to being removed by a filter.
Controlled aggregation A condition in which the clay platelets are
maintained stacked by a polyvalent cation, such as
calcium, and are deflocculated by use of a thinner.
Copolymer A substance formed when two or more substances
polymerize at the same time to yield a product
which is not a mixture of separate polymers but a
complex having properties different from either
polymer alone; a polymer prepared from more than
one monomer.
Core The internal duct and filter media support (tubular
Corrosion (API) The adverse chemical alteration on a metal or the
eating away of the metal by air, moisture, or
chemicals; usually an oxide is formed.
Corrugations (Pleats) A series of folds in the filter medium, usually of
uniform height and spacing. (Pleated Cartridges.)
Covalent bonds Sharing of atoms between sheets that contribute to
the crystalline structure of the clay (octahedral to
Coulter counter A brand of electronic particle counter that
classifies and counts particles in a fluid.
Critical flowrate The fluid velocity which prevents a stationary bed
of cuttings from forming in the annulus. Critical
flowrates are usually observed, not calculated,
Crosslink Covalent chemical bonds that occur between
macromolecules; polymers prepared by the
crosslinking process between polymer molecules
are known as crosslink polymers.
Crystal lattice Face-to-face stack of unit layers (platelets) to form
Crystalline swelling Swelling resulting from the adsorption of non-
molecular layers of water on the basal crystal
surfaces on both the external and the inter-layer
Cubic centimeter (cc) A metric system unit for the measure of volume.
Cumulative efficiency Efficiency based upon counts of a given size
particle and larger.
Cuttings (drill) Small pieces of formation that are the result of the
chipping and/or crushing action of the drill bit.
Cycle Filtration interval. Length of time a filter is on-
stream before cleaning is needed. Currently meant
to include cleaning time as well.
Darcy A unit of permeability equivalent to the passage of
one cubic centimeter of fluid of one centipoise
(water) viscosity flowing in one second under a
pressure of one atmosphere through a porous
medium having a cross-section area of one square
centimeter and a length of one centimeter.
Darcy's Law French scientist who develop Darcy's law. Darcy's
law states that the rate a fluid flows through a
permeable substance per unit is equal to the
DE Abbreviation for diatomaceous earth.
Deflocculant 1 Breakup of flecks of gel structures by use of a
2 A material that thins the mud or decreases the
yield point by bonding with the positive electrical
charges of the clay in the mud.
Degradation Reactions organic materials undergo which lead to
a loss of their desirable characteristics; the
reactions involve thermal, chemical and shear.
Degree of polymerization The number of repeating the polymer
chain; related to the length of the chain.
Degree of substitution Designates the average number of hydroxyl
positions on the anhydroglucose units that have
been reached with ethylene oxide.
Delta (F) Symbol for differential pressure.
Dendritic deposition The tree-like growth of particles as they are
deposited upon the surface of a filter.
Density 1 Mass/volume, compactness or thickness.
2 May also be used to express weight per volume.
Desander 1 A hydrocyclone capable of separating a very
high proportion of the API sand (particles larger
than 74 nidcrons) from an unweighted drilling
2 Desanders are used on unweighted muds.
Desilter A hydrocyclone capable of separating a significant
portion of the API silt and larger-size particles in
an unweighted drilling fluid.
Diatomite This is the name of the animal that forms
diatomaceous earth.
Differential pressure sticking Sticking that occurs because part of the drillstring
becomes embedded in the sticking filter cake; this
results in a nonuniform distribution of pressure
around the circumference of the pipe.
Differential pressure The difference in pressure between two given
points, usually across the filter cake, precoat,
septum, and leaf. Usually expressed as dP.
Differential efficiency Efficiency expressed based upon counts of
particles of a given size or in a narrow size range
Differential efficiency Efficiency expressed based upon counts of
particles of a given size or in a narrow size range.
Diffusion (APT) The spreading, scattering, or mixing of a material
(gas, liquid, or solid.)
Direct indicating A direct-indicating viscosimeter shears mud by
rotation on an outer
viscosimeter cylinder with viscosimeter displacement taken
from an inner cylinder. The
(Fann VG Meter) shear-rate range is 0-1022 sec
(API standard.)
The drag of the mud on an inner cylinder twists the
cylinder against a spring. The angle of the twist is
the reading indicating shear stress.
Dirt holding capacity The amount of contaminant (dirt) a filter can hold
before reaching the maximum allowable
differential pressure. Syn: Dirt Capacity,
Contaminant Capacity, Dust Capacity, Retention
Capacity, etc.
Dispersant A chemical that keeps insoluble foulants
suspended in water.
Dispersed phase The scattered phase (solid, liquid, or gas) of a
dispersion. The particles are finely divided and
completely surrounded by the continuous phase.
Dispersion 1 Solids having the same charge and zeta potential
greater than 30 millivolts s they are suspended in
2 The state where larger particles (in the oilfield,
clays) have subdivided into smaller units.
Dispersion of aggregates Subdivision of aggregates. Dispersion increases the
specific surface of the particle; hence, it results in
an increase in viscosity and gel strength.
Dispersoid A colloid or finely divided substance.
Dissociation The splitting up of a compound or element into
two or more simple molecules, atoms, or ions;
applied usually to the effect of the action of heat or
solvents upon dissolved substances. The reaction is
reversible and not as permanent as decomposition;
i.e., when the solvent is removed, the ions
Dissolved solids Any solid material that is dissolved in the liquid
that is being filtered, such as sugar in water.
Doctor blade (Knife) A sharp, hard blade that cuts the cake off the
surface of a filter. Usually found on belt or rotary
precoat filters.
Drilling fluid A mixture consisting of gases, liquids, and solids
distributed throughout a liquid or gaseous phase
drillpipe pressure. Pressure measured at the top of
the drillpipe when it is not pumping; the flow is
static. Note: For normal drilling with no gas in the
mud, no formation fluid entering the wellbore, and
using the flowline, a drillpipe pressure reading will
be a small number if not zero.
Drilled solids Formation solids produced by a bit. All formation
solids that enter the system.
Dry cake Filter cake that has had the liquid removed by
expression or blowdown.
Duplex An assembly of two filters with valving for
selection for either or both filters.
Eccentricity 1 The position of an inner tube or pipe as it relates
to an outer tube or pipe.
2 Positive eccentricity: when the inner tube is
positioned toward the lower side of the hole.
3 Negative eccentricity: when the tube positioned
toward the upper side of the hole.
Efficiency The ability, expressed as a percent, of a filter to
remove specified artificial contaminant, at a given
concentration, under specified conditions.
Efiluent Liquid that is discharged from a factory, waste
treatment facility, etc. Frequently used erroneously
to mean filtrate.
Electrical double layer Layer of liquid (water is hydrogen bonded) bonded
to the solid due to charge imbalances in the
Electro-chemical The combination of electrical and chemical forces
that comprise a major mechanism to particle
removal and filtration.
Electrolyte A substance when in solution dissolves into
charged positive and negative ions which then
conduct an electric current.
Acids, bases, salts
Electrostatic The natural, electrical characteristics of particles.
May also include their behavior due to these
electrical charges.
Element 1 Any structural member in a filter on which the
septum is supported. May be round, rectangular, or
2 Term may also be used for filter cartridge.
Encapsulation A shale stabilization process that is accomplished
by adsorption of a high molecular weight polymer
on the surface of the active shale cuttings to
prevent shale from swelling.
Entrainment The pickup and movement of sediment (or air) as a
bed load or in suspension by current flow.
Equivalent circulating The effective mud weight exerted at the bottom of
the borehole by the
density (ECD) combined effect of the drilling mud density and the
pressure required to circulate the mud up the
annulus. Note: ECD includes mud weight, cuttings
in the annulus and annular pressure loss.
Equivalent weight The atomic pr formula weight of an element,
compound, or ion divided by
(combining weight) its valence. Elements entering into combination
always do so in quantities proportional to their
equivalent weights.
Equivalents per million Unit chemical weight of solute per million unit
weights of solution. The
(epm) epm of a solute in solution is equal to the ppm
(parts per million) divided by the equivalent
Feed The mixture of particles and fluid that is
introduced into the filter. Terms used
synonymously include influent, incoming slurry,
and incident flow.
Feed head The height in feet or meters of a column of
hydrocyclone feed mud to create a pressure equal
to the pressure, in psi or metric units, specified or
actually measured with the same feed mud density
at the cyclone feed header.
Fiberglass Monofilament fibers made of glass usually woven
or rolled to form a filter medium.
Filter (noun) 1 A device carrying out the process of filtration.
2 A device containing the filter media.
3 A filter may be defined as a porous medium
through which a fluid (liquid or gas) is passed to
separate and collect particles in suspension.
Filter (verb) To pass a fluid (liquid or gas) containing particles
in suspension through a medium whereby the
particles in suspension are removed from the fluid
Filter aids See filter aid - sand, "DE", perlite, cellulose, and
Filter cake Residue from the filtration process containing
solids and liquid encapsulated with solids filter
cake compressibility.
Filter cake (API) The suspended solids (contaminants and filter aids)
that are deposited on a porous medium during the
process of filtration.
Filter cake compressibility 1 The suspended solids that are deposited on
porous medium during the process of filtration.
2 The solids deposited on the walls of the hole.
3 Change in
filter cake permeability caused by dewatering
of the filter cake during filtration by the
differential pressure.
Filter cake texture 1 Change in filter cake permeability caused by a
change in differential pressure.
2 Change in filter cake permeability caused by
dewatering of the filter cake during filtration by the
differential pressure
3 The physical properties of a cake as measured
by toughness, slickness, and brittleness
Filter cake thickness A measurement of the solids deposited on filter
paper in 32nds of an inch during the standard 30
minute API filter test. The cake deposited in a
Filter element See element.
Filter leaf A leaf-like filter element.
Filter life See "cycle".
Filter media Plural of medium.
Filter medium The permeable material that separates particles
from a fluid stream passing through it.
Filter performance Those factors which describe the function and
attributes of a filter.
Filter press Common name of plate and frame or recessed plate
filter unit.
Filter press (API) A device for determining fluid loss of drilling
fluid. This device can also be used to determine
filterability of completion fluids.
Filter rating The results of a specific test or measurement. More
generally, the results of a specific filtration test.
Filter system The combination of a filter and the associated
hardware required for the filtration process.
Filter vessel See Housing.
Filterability index Liquid - Generally a measure of fine particle
content. More specifically a measure of that
volume which can be filtered through a unit area of
a specific fine filter medium before that medium
Filtrate 1 Solid free liquid obtained form the filtration
2 Fluid that has passed through the filter, often
erroneously called effluent.
Filtration 1 Process to separate suspended solids from liquid.
2 The process by which particles in suspended
solids retained by the filter medium.
Filtration efficiency That fraction of suspended solids retained by the
filter medium.
Filtration rate 1 Change in volume of filtrate with change in
2 The volume of liquid that passes through a given
area of filter in a specific time. Usually expressed
as gallons per square foot per minute.
Filtration ratio The ratio of the number of particles of a given size
range entering a filter to the number of particles of
the same size range leaving a filter. (Easily
confused with Beta Ratio).
Fines Particles at the low end of a range of particle sizes.
Flat gel A condition wherein the 10-min gel strength is
substantially equal to the initial (10-sec) gel
Flocculate Groups of aggregates of particles in suspension
subject' to being broken up by normal shaking and
stirring; can reform when standing.
Flocculants Substances which bring about the thickening of the
consistency of a drilling fluid. In Bingham plastic
fluids, the yield point and gel strength increase.
Most electrolytes, some polysaccharides, certain
natural or synthetic polymers
Flocculant (API) Loose association of particles in loosely bonded
Flocculating agent Substances, such as most electrolytes, some
polysaccharides, certain natural or synthetic
polymers, that bring about the thickening of the
consistency of a drilling fluid. In gingham plastic
fluids, the yield point and gel strength increase.
Flocs See flocculate.
Flocculation 1 The state where electrolytes or other agents
having strong electro-chemical potential alter solid
particles' physical environment, causing them to
become associated in edge-to-face orientation.
2 Loose association of particles in lightly bonded
groups, non-parallel association of clay platelets.
3 Process used to separate suspended solids form
liquids in a static condition.
4 Solids having low charge or zeta potentials (<
10 millivolts) and separating from the liquid to
form gels and move as a single unit.
Flow density Combination of filtration rate (flux) and fluid
viscosity. Expressed as gallons per square foot per
minute multiplied by fluid viscosity, in centipoises.
(gpm/ft2) x vis. (cp) =flow density.
Flow rate The unit rate at which a product is passed through
a system, usually expressed in gallon per minute,
barrels per minute, etc.
Fluid loss Measure of the relative amount of fluid lost
(filtrate) through permeable formations or
membranes when the drilling fluid is subjected to a
pressure differential. For standard API filtration-
test procedure, see API RP 13B.
Flux See Filtration Rate.
Flux rate Flow rate per square foot of surface media.
Formation damage Damage to the productivity of a well resulting
from invasion into the formation by mud particles
or mud filtrates.
Formation pressure The pressure of the liquid or gas contained in the
formation. It generally depends on the depth of the
formation from the surface. Sometimes it increases
more than the depth would indicate because of
confinement compression of the formation.
Formation sensitivity The tendency of certain producing formations to
react adversely with invading mud filtrates.
Frazier A test to measure the air permeability of filter
septums. Expressed in cfm of air measured at ½”
water column.
Friable Easily crushed or crumbled.
Friction loss The part of the total head used to make the liquid
move as it drags on the inside walls of the pipe.
Fullers earth Clay; a hydrous aluminum silicate.
GPH Gallons per hour.
GPM Gallons per minute.
GSPM Gallons per square foot per minute. (See filtration
Gel 1 Highly colloidal, high-yielding, viscosity-
building commercial clays, such as bentonite and
attapulgite clays; solids bonded together by the
attractive forces between them.
A state of colloidal suspension in which shearing
stresses below a certain finite value fail to produce
2 Solids having low charge or zeta potential (<10
millivolts) and separating from the liquid to form
gels and move as a single unit.
3 Solids bonded together by the attractive forces
between them.
Most electrolytes, some polysaccharides, certain
natural or synthetic polmers
Gel strength 1 The ability or the measure of the ability of a
colloid to form gels.
2 The minimum shearing stress that will produce
permanent deformation; also known as shear.
3 Gel strength is a pressure unit usually reported
in lb/100 sq. ft. It is a measure of the same
interparticle forces of a fluid as determined by the
yield point except that gel strength is measured
under static conditions and yield point is
determined under dynamic conditions. The
common gel-strength measurements are initial and
the 10-min gels.
Gel Strength (API) The ability or the measure of the ability of a
colloid to form gels.
Gel strength, initial The measured initial gel strength of a fluid is the
maximum reading (deflection) taken from a direct-
reading viscometer after the fluid has been
quiescent for 10 sec. It is reported in lb/100 sq. ft.
See API RP 13B for details of test procedure.
Gel strength, 10 min The measured 1-min gel strength of a fluid is the
maximum reading (deflection) taken from a direct-
reading viscometer after the fluid has been
quiescent for 10 min. The 13B for details of test
Gelatinous Used to describe suspended solids that are slimy
and deformable causing rapid filter plugging.
Gelation Association of particles to form a continuous
Gelled up Oil-field term usually referring to any fluid with
high gel strength and/or highly viscous properties.
Often a state of severe flocculation.
Graft copolymer Polymer structure arranged in a nonlinear block
form, consisting of one polymer with another
polymer branching from it homopolymer polymer
prepared from a single monomer
Grains per gallon (gpg) ppm equals gpg x 1.71
Gravimetric Of or pertaining to measurement by weight.
Gravimetric efficiency Efficiency based upon weight of suspended solids
per unit volume upstream of a filter divided by
weight of solids per unit volume downstream of a
Gravity, specific The weight of a particular volume of any substance
compared to the weight of an equal volume of
water at a reference temperature. For gases, air is
usually taken as the reference substance, although
hydrogen is sometimes used.
Gumbo Any relatively sticky formation, such as clay,
encountered in drilling.
Gyp or Gypsum Gypsum is often encountered while drilling. It may
occur as thin stringers or massive formations.
Hardness of water The hardness of water is due to the calcium and
magnesium ions present in the water and is
independent of the accompanying acid ions. The
total hardness is measured in parts per million of
calcium, or calcium carbonate (sometimes in
equivalents per million of calcium).
Magnesium Zinc
Iron Aluminum
Head The height in feet of a column of water measured
above a point in a pipe or at a pump. The head at
any place in a pipe where flow is the force needed
to move the liquid onto the end or through the pipe
and any equipment attached to it. The open end of
the equipment is not defined very well.
Heel 1 The liquid left in a filter shell (housing, vessel)
at the end of a cycle.
2 The precoat left on a rotary vacuum precoat
filter at the end of a cycle.
Heterogeneous A substance that consists of more than one phase
and is not uniform with respect to properties, such
as colloids, emulsions, etc.
High pH mud A drilling fluid with a pH range above 10.5; a
high-alkalinity mud.
High-yield drilling clay A classification given to a group of commercial
drilling-clay preparations having a yield of 35 to
50 bbl/ton and intermediate between bentonite and
low-yield clays. High-yield drilling clays are
usually prepared by peptizing low-yield sodium
montmorillonite clays or, in a few cases, by
blending some sodium bentonite with the peptized
low-yield clay.
Homogeneous Of uniform or similar nature throughout; or a
substance or fluid that has at all points the same
property of composition.
Homopolymer Polymer prepared from a single monomer.
Housing (Filter) A ported enclosure, which diverts the flow
through the filter element.
Hydrate 1 The force exerted by a moving fluid stream.
2 A crystalline structure formed when
hydrocarbon gas and water combine (n) To absorb
and/or adsorb water (v).
3 A substance containing water combined with the
molecular form (such as CaSO
O). A
crystalline substance containing water of
Hydration The act of a substance to take up water by means
of absorption and/or absorption.
Hydrocyclone A liquid solids separation device utilizing
centrifugal force for settling.
Fluid enters tangentially and spins inside the cone.
The heavier solids settle to the walls of the cone
and move downward until they are discharged at
the cone bottom (cone apex). The spinning fluid
travels part way down the cone and back up to exit
out the to of the cone through the vortex finder.
Hydrodynamic The force exerted by a moving fluid stream.
Hydrodynamic torque (Hydrodynamic Drag) - The force exerted upon a
particle in a fluid stream by a combination of fluid
velocity and fluid viscosity.
Hydrodynamic volume The effective volume occupied by the solvated
polymer chain in aqueous solution; hydrodynamic
volume can be calculated from the product of
intrinsic viscosity and average molecular weight of
the polymer.
Hydrogen ion A measure of the acidity of a solution expressed as
Hydrolysis 1 The process of splitting a molecule into smaller
parts by chemical reaction with water.
2 The reaction of a salt with water to form an acid
and base.
Hydrometer A floating instrument for determining specific
gravity or density of liquids, solutions, and
Hydrophile A substance usually in the colloidal state or an
emulsion which is wetted by water; it attracts water
or water adheres to it.
Hydrophilic A property of a substance, having an affinity for
Hydrophobic Descriptive of a substance which repels water.
Hydrostatic head The pressure of a substance enabling it to absorb
water from the air.
Hydrostatic pressure The part of the pressure at the bottom of the
drillstring caused by the true vertical depth of the
column of uniform weight mud in the full
drillstring. Note: It does not include pump pressure
nor flow friction.
Hydroxide A designation that is given fro basic compounds
containing the OH radical. When these substances
are dissolved in water, they increase the pH of the
Hyper-filtration (Reverse osmosis) Filtration of particles in the
ionic range of particle sizes : 1-2 angstrom units.
Impingement The direct high viscosity impact of fluid flow upon
or against any internal portion of the filter.
Inertial deposition Where a particle in suspension falls out of a fluid
stream as the fluid stream bends to pass around a
filter (fiber) due to the forward inertia of the
particle, and is then deposited upon that filter
Influent 1 The fluid entering a component. (Feed)
2 Initial input for any process.
Inhibited mud 1 A drilling fluid having an aqueous phase with a
chemical composition that tends to retard and even
prevent (inhibit) appreciable hydration (swelling)
or dispersion of formation clays and shales through
chemical and/or physical means.
2 A drilling fluid that has the ability to retard the
swelling of hydratable shales; this is extended to
include a fluid that exhibits minimum reactivity
with the borehole.
Inhibitor 1 A chemical substance which is capable of
stopping or retarding a chemical reaction; to be
technically useful, it must be effective in low
2 Substances generally regarded as drilling mud
contaminants, such as salt and calcium sulfate, are
called inhibitors when purposely added to mud so
that the filtrate from the drilling fluid will prevent
or retard the hydration of formation clays and
Initial efficiency Efficiency based upon percent removal of specified
particle size and larger in the fluid that passes
through a filter media at the beginning of a test.
Interface The boundary between any two phases; among the
three phases (gas, liquid, and solid) there are five
types of interfaces: gas-liquid, gas-solid, liquid-
solid, liquid-liquid, and solid-solid.
Interfacial tension The force required to break the surface between
two immiscible liquids.
Interstices Any void spaces in and around solid particles that
are packed together.
Intrinsic viscosity 1 A limiting viscosity number, it is dependent on
the nature of the polymer and the solvent.
2 Intrinsic viscosity can be determined by
extrapolating a plot of either reduced or inherent
viscosity versus polymer concentration to zero
Ion 1 Acids, bases, and salts (electrolytes) when
dissolved in certain solvents, especially water, are
more or less dissociated into electrically charged
ions or parts of the molecules, due to loss or gain
of one or more electrons.
Loss of electrons results in positive charges
producing a cation.
A gain of electrons results in the formation of an
anion with negative charges.
The valence of an ion is equal to the number of
charges home by it.
2 A charged (+or -) atom or radical
Ion exchange A reversible reaction by which ions are
interchanged between a solid and a liquid with no
substantial structural changes in the solid.
Anion exchange A form of ion exchange in which common raw
water anions are normally exchanged for either
chloride or hydroxyl ions.
Cation exchange A form of ion exchange in which divalent cations,
predominately calcium or magnesium, are
normally exchanged for either sodium or hydrogen
Ions Atoms that are seeking electrons to satisfy charge
deficiencies ionization process where molecules
will break into ions when placed in a liquid.
Ionization Process where molecules will dissociate into ions
when placed in a liquid.
Kick A situation caused when the annular hydrostatic
pressure in a drilling well temporarily (and usually
relatively suddenly) becomes less than the
formation, or pore pressure in a permeable section
downhole and before control of the situation it
totally lost.
Knife (Blade) A scraper for filter cake removal.
Normally found on drum or belt type filters.
Laminar flow 1 Fluid elements flowing along mixed streamlines
which are parallel to the walls of the channels of
flow; the fluid moves in plates or sections with a
differential velocity across the front which varies
from zero at the wall to a maximum toward the
center of flow.
Laminar flow is the first stage of flow in a
Newtonian fluid; it is the second stage in a
Bingham plastic fluid.
This type of motion is also called parallel,
streamline, or viscous flow.
Layer (sheet) The individual layers within the clay structure such
as octahedral, tetrahedral, hexagonal.
Leaf A flat support for the filter septum, named for its
similarity to a "leaf".
Leaf filter A filter unit utilizing filter leaves.
Life See filter life.
Life efficiency 1 Filter efficiency calculated for the total "life" of
a filter.
2 Average efficiency of a cartridge over its useful
life (terminal pressure drop).
Lignosulfonates Organic drilling fluid additives derived from by-
products of sulfite paper manufacturing process
from coniferous woods. Some of the common salts
such as ferrochrome, chrome calcium, and sodium,
are used as universal dispersants while others are
used selectively for calcium-treated systems. In
large quantities, ferrochrome and chrome salts are
used for fluid loss control and shale inhibition.
Lipophilic Descriptive of a substance which has an affinity for
Liquor Material to be filtered - as in feed liquor.
Low specific gravity solids All solids in drilling fluid, except barite or other
commercial weighting material (salts, drilled solids
of every size, commercial colloids, lost circulation
materials, and insoluble filtrate additives).
Low yield clay Commercial cldys such as montmorillonite which
have an approximate yield of 15-30 bbl/ton.
mg/L Milligrams per liter.
The methyl orange alkalinity of the filtrate
reported as the number of milliliters of 0.02 normal
(N150) acid required per milliliter of filtrate to
reach the methyl orange endpoint (pH 4.3).
Manifold 1 Pipe or assembly into which the filter elements
are connected to form one common discharge for
the filtrate.
2 A pipe into which several lines are connected to
form a common discharge or inlet.
Marsh Funnel An instrument used in determining the Marsh
Funnel viscosity. The Marsh funnel is a container
with a fixed orifice at the bottom so that when
filled with 1500 cc fresh water, 1 quart (946 ml)
will flow out in 26 ±0.5 seconds
Marsh Funnel Viscosity Commonly called the funnel viscosity. The Marsh
Funnel Viscosity is reported as the number of
seconds required for a given fluid to flow 1 quart
through the Marsh Funnel. When a Marsh Funnel
is filled with 1500 cc., fresh water will flow out in
26 ±0.5 seconds.
Mean pore size The arithmetic average pore size, often confused
with "medium" pore size
Media Plural of medium
Media migration Material passed into the filtrate stream composed
of the materials making up the filter medium.
Median pore size Mid-point pore size.
Medium The material that performs the actual separation of
solids from liquids. Sometimes erroneously used to
mean septum.
Membrane Media through which a liquid is passed: usually
associated with a very tight and fine type of
Mesh 1 The number of openings in a square inch of wire
2 Number of strands in a lineal inch of woven
filter fabric.
3 A commonly used synonym for septum, as in
wire mesh.
4 (API) A measure of fineness of a woven
material, screen or sieve; a 200 mesh sieve has 200
openings per linear inch.
Mesh count A square or rectangular mesh cloth.
A mesh count, such as 30 x 30 (30 mesh) indicates
a square mesh; a 70 x 30 mesh indicates a
rectangular mesh.
Micro-filtration Filtration of particles in the micro molecular range:
0.5 - 3.0 microns in size.
Micron 1 A unit of length: 10-6 meters, 39 x 10-6 inches,
1/25,400 of an inch.
2 A unit of length equal to one thousandth of a
millimeter. A micron is used to determine particle
size (25,400 microns =1 inch).
Microscopic counting The act of actually counting particles removed
from a fluid stream by placing them under a
Migration See media migration.
Milliliter A metric system unit for the measure of volume;
literally, 1/10000th of a liter. The term is used
interchangeably with cubic centimeter (cc).
Mixed metal hydroxide (MMH) 1 Inorganic materials that are made up of discreet
layers consisting of two or more metal ions
surrounded by hydroxide ions.
2 Due to symmetry considerations, there is not
enough room in the unit cell to accommodate a
stoichiometric number of hydroxide ions. Thus, the
sheets are electron deficient and a crystallographic
positive charge is generated.
3 Because this positive charge must be balanced
by anions to achieve electrical neutrality, anions
associate with the basal plane of the crystallites.
Molecular When atoms combine, they form a molecule. In the
case of an element or a compound, a molecule is
the smallest unit, which chemically still retains the
properties of the substance in mass.
Molecular substitution The average number of ethylene oxide molecules
that have been reacted with each anhydroglucose
Molecular weight The sum of the atomic weights of all the
constituent atoms in the molecule of an element or
Monomer The small molecules used as the basic building
blocks for the large molecules.
Montmorillonite 1 A clay mineral commonly used as an additive to
drilling muds. Sodium montmorillonite is the main
constituent of bentonite.
2 The structure of montmorillonite is
characterized by a form which consists of a thin
plate-like sheet whose breadth and width are
indefinite, and the thickness is that of a molecule.
The unit thickness of the molecule consists of three
Sodium montmorillonite is the main constituent in
Calcium montmorillonite is the main constituent in
low yield clays.
Monofilament A single synthetic fiber of continuous length; used
in weaving filter cloths.
Mud cleaner A generic term for a screen in series with the
underflow of hydrocyclones. A device that places a
screen in series with the underflow of
The cyclone overflow returns to the mud system
and the underflow reports to a vibrating system.
The screen solids discharge is discarded and the
screen liquid throughput returns to the system.
Mud/gas separator A vessel into which the choke line of flow line
discharges when a kick is being taken.
Gas is separated in the vessel by the mud flowing
over baffle plates and is passed through a line to a
The liquid mud discharges into the shale shake
mud box or into the sand trap.
Multifilament A number of continuous fiber strands that are
twisted together to form a yarn - used in weaving
filter cloths
NACE National Association of Corrosion Engineers,
P.O.Box 218340, Houston, Texas 77218.
NFPA National Fluid Power Association.
Natural clays Clays that are encountered when drilling
formations; the yield of these clays varies and they
may or may not be purposely incorporated into the
drilling fluid system.
Negative pressure Vacuum or suction.
Neutralization (pH) Addition of an acid or base to an aqueous solution
in order to adjust the pH of the solution of 7.0.

Newtonian fluid The basic and simplest of fluids from the
standpoint of viscosity consideration in which the
shear force is directly proportional to the shear
Diesel oil
The yield point as determined by the direct
indicating viscometer is zero.
Nominal rating 1 An arbitrary micrometer value plated on a filter
by the manufacturer.
2 An arbitrary particle removal value assigned to a
filter cartridge based upon a given manufacturers
set of performance measurements and
Removal efficiencies range from 90 % - 98 %
depending upon media type.
Nonionic 1 Molecules with balanced charge distribution will
not ionize easily in liquids.
2 Structure of nonionic polymers consist of
nonionic function groups along or pendant to the
molecular backbone.
3 Electrostatic state of a polymer where neither
hydrophilic nor the hydrophobic group carries any
Non-Newtonian fluid Fluids where the shear force is not proportional the
shear rate.
Polymer viscosified fluids
These fluids tend to become thinner at higher shear
Nonwoven (Medium) A filter medium composed of a mat of
On-stream 1 Describes when a filter system is producing a
filtered product.
2 As on-stream testing (adj.)
Osmotic swelling Swelling that occurs because the concentration of
cations between layers is greater than that in bulk
solutions; water is then drawn between the layers,
increasing the c-spacing.
The phenolphthalein alkalinity of the filtrate,
reported as the number of milliliters of 0.02
Normal (N150) acid required per milliliters of
filtrate to reach the phenolphthalein end point.
pH 1 Potential hydrogen.
2 A measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a
substance. A pH
3 An abbreviation for potential hydrogen ion; the
negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion activity in
aqueous solutions. PH numbers range from 0-14,
with 7 being neutral.
The pH may be expressed as the logarithm (base
10) of the reciprocal (or the negative logarithm) of
the hydrogen ion concentration.
The pH of a solution offers valuable information as
to the immediate acidity or alkalinity, as contrasted
to the total acidity or alkalinity (which may be
The alkalinity of the drilling fluid to a pH of 8.3
(the phenolphthalein endpoint); reported as mL of
0.02N (N150) H2SO4 per mL of drilling fluid.
(PSD: particle size distribution)
A particle size in microns of the drilling fluid
solids where 50% by volume of the solids have
particle diameters above and below this value.
Particle A minute unit of matter, usually a single crystal or
of regular shape.
Particle motion See Brownian Motion
Particle/Pore ratio Ratio of PSD
/average pore size of the filter
Particle size The average diameter of a particle as determined
by a particle counter.
Particle size distribution The distribution obtained from a particle count
grouped by specific micron sizes.
Particulates Solid particles.
Particulate contamination Unwanted solid particles in a fluid (stream).
Parts per million (ppm) 1 A unit of concentration.
3 ppm would be 3 pounds of solids in 1,000,000
pounds of water.
2 Unit weight of solute per million unit weights of
solution (solute plus solvent), corresponding to
weight-percent except that the basis is a million
instead of a hundred. The results of standard API
titrations of chloride, hardness etc. are correctly
expressed in milligrams (mg) of unknown per liter
but not in ppm. At low concentrations, mg/l is
about numerically equal to ppm.
Peptization An increased dispersion due to the addition of
electrolytes or other chemical substances.
Peptized day A clay to which an agent has been added to
increase its initial yield.
Soda ash is frequently added to calcium
montmorillonite clay.
Pill A small volume of a special fluid slurry pumped
through the drillstring and, normally placed in the
Permeability The property of the filter medium that permits a
fluid to pass through under the influence of a
pressure differential.
Permeability coefficient The ratio of the rate of fluid flow to the driving
force under a specific set of conditions.
Plastic fluid 1 A non-Newtonian fluid
2 A complex, non-Newtonian fluid in which the
shear force is not proportional, to the shear rate. A
definite shear stress is required to start and
maintain movement of the fluid. This critical shear
stress is called yield stress.
Plastic viscosity 1 When using the direct reading viscometer. The
PV is found by subtracting the 300-rpm reading
from the 600-rpm reading.
2 A measure of the internal resistance to fluid flow
attributable to the amount, type, and size of solids
present in a given fluid.
Plate Any flat surfaced filter element. Usually found in
horizontal plate filters.
Pleated cartridge A filter cartridge with a pleated medium.
Pleated paper A type of pleated medium used to construct filter
Plugged A filter that has collected sufficient quantity of
insoluble contaminants to prevent further flow.
Polar molecules Molecules that have an unbalanced electrical
charge since they are formed with atoms of
different sizes and charges
Polyelectrolyte A substance which, when dissolved in water or
other ionizing solvents, dissociates to give a multi-
charge, larger molecular weight ion.
Polymer 1 A large molecule built up from numerous
smaller molecules; large molecules may be linear,
slightly branched or highly interconnected.
2 Substance made of giant molecules formed by
the union of simple molecules (monomers).
3 Charge characteristics may be cationic, anionic,
or essentially nonionic with varying charge
Polymers Solids formed by combining a molecule with other
molecules to increase the molecular weight; this
change in molecular weight can change the
molecules' solubility, melt point, size and charge.
Homopolymer - single molecule is used
Copolymer - two different molecules are used
Polymer flocculant Long-chain polymeric electrolytes having
molecular weights typically greater than 1,000,000.
High molecular weights make them particularly
effective in flocculation of coagulated particles by
forming molecular bridges.
Polypropylene Synthesized from propylene gas usually found as
an extruded fiber from which filter media is
formed; wound, wover, etc.
Polysaccharides 1 One of three major classifications of polymers
such as starch (IMPERMEX®) and cellulose
2 One of three major classifications of nature
Pores Openings or spaces within a rock.
Pore diameter The average diameter of the pore of a porous
Pore size distribution The ratio of the number of effective holes of a
given size to the total number of effective holes per
unit area.
Porosity 1 The ratio of the void volume to the total bulk
2 The condition of something that contains pores
usually filled with some fluid; the volume of the
filter cake not occupied by solids.
ppm Volume of filter cake not occupied by solids
Precipitate 1 Ratio of PSD50/average pore size of the filter
2 Material that separates out of solution or slurry
as a solid; precipitation of solids in a drilling fluid
may follow flocculation or coagulation.
Precoat 1 The initial layer of filter aid that is deposited on
the filter septum, usually 1/8" thick on pressure
filters and 2" to 6" on rotary vacuum precoat
2 The act of precoating a filter.
Precoat filter Any filter where a filter aid precoat is the primary
filter medium.
Prefilt Material to be filtered.
Premature blinding Blinding (plugging) of the filter septum or media
before normal accumulation of filter cake occurs.
Pressure drop The combination of differential pressure across a
filter septum (media) and system pressure
Pressure filter Any filter where fluid is driven through the filter
media by pressure (positive).
Pretreatment Term applied to define mechanical or chemical
treatment of water prior to its end use.
Pseudoplastic fluid Fluid which exhibits an increasing shear rate with
a progressive decrease in fluid viscosity; most
polysaccharide fluids are pseudoplastic due to the
alignment of the long polymer chains along the
flow lines.
Pulsation Pulses in the fluid flow to a filter caused by pump
strokes, etc.
Quaternary amine The product of a chemical alteration of NH
groups so that the 4H +units become four carbon-
bonded groups; the product continues to carry
positives charge.
Quebracho 1 A drilling fluid additive used extensively for
thinning or dispersing to control viscosity and
2 A crystalline extract of the quebracho tree
consisting essentially of tannic acid.
Quiescence The state of being quiet or at rest. Static.
R.V.P.F. Rotary Vacuum Precoat Filter
Regeneration Preparing the filter for another cycle by cleaning or
replacing the filter media.
Resin bonded Fibers bonded together to a predetermined form;
usually a tubular filter cartridge.
Retention The amount of dirt collected on a filter during its
useful life.
Reverse osmosis See Hyperfiltration.
Salinity The concentration of salt in the water phase; it is
normally reported as mg/l chloride.
Salt 1 The term salt is applied to sodium chloride.
2 Chemically, the term salt is also applied to any
one of a class of similar compounds formed when
the acid hydrogen of an acid is partly or wholly
replaced by a metal or a metallic radical.
3 Salts are formed by the action of acids on
metals, or oxides and hydroxides, directly with
ammonia, and in other ways.
Saturated solution A solution is saturated if it contains at a given
temperature as much of a solute as it can retain.
At 68° F it takes 126.5 lb/bbl sodium chloride to
saturate 1 bbl of fresh water.
Scavenger A filter, or element in the bottom of a filter, that
recovers the liquid heel that remains in the tank at
the end of a filter cycle.
Screen 1 A term commonly used for septum.
2 Wire mesh, hardware cloth, woven wire cloth.
Screening The act of removing particles from a fluid stream
by capturing particles because of their inability to
pass through a pore space due to size.
Sedimentation Gravitational settling of solid particles in a liquid
Septum Any permeable material that supports the filter
media. May also be used as filter media.
Shale shaker Any of several mechanical devices (vibrating
screen rotating cylindrical screen, etc) for
removing cuttings and other large solids from mud.
Shear force A force created by a viscous fluid flowing over a
Shear rate The rate of movement of the fluid between plates.
It is determined by dividing the velocity of
movement of the plates by the distance between
them. The unit of shear rate is measured in
reciprocal seconds (1/sec).
Shear stress The force required to move a given area of the
fluid. The units of shear stress are pounds per 100
square feet or dynes per square centimeter.
Shear thickening An increase in temporary associations among
chains made possible by elongation under shear
flow of the charged polymers.
Shear thinning The viscosity of a polymer solution decreases with
increasing shear rate. A consequence, in part, of
the disruption of overlapping chains faster than
their ability to associate at higher deformation rate.
Sheet (layer) The individual layers within the clay structure
(octahedral, tetrahedral, brucite).
Sieving See screening.
Slug The addition of particles in a single batch.
Slurry Any liquid containing an appreciable amount of
suspended solids.
Solids content The total amount of solids in a drilling fluid,
expressed as percent by net dry volume.
In muds not containing commercial heavy
additives, the total solids can be most accurately
obtained by weighing the mud and referring to a
graph of total solids U.S. mud weight constructed
using 2.5 or 2.6 specific gravity for the solids
A mud retort is used for weighted muds.
Solid particle A particle with the physical characteristics of
solidity such as sand, etc.
Solubility The degree to which a substance will dissolve in a
particular solvent.
Solution A mixture of two or more components that form a
homogeneous single phase.
Solutions are solids dissolved in liquid, liquid in
liquid, gas in liquid.
Sp. G. -1 1 Specific gravity.
2 The weight of any substance relative to the
weight of water; SP G. Water =1.0
Specific gravity The ratio of the density of a weight of a substance
to the density of fresh water at a reference
temperature with water being 1.0 sp gr.
Specific surface area The ratio of surface area per unit weight of
As a solid is subdivided into smaller particles, the
specific surface area increases. This enhances the
influence of electrostatic charges on the particle
Spun bonded A process for forming tubular filter cartridges
where molten fibers are spun on a hollow tube.
Spun wound See Spun bonded.
Standpipe pressure The pressure of the pumps measured at the
standpipe. For normal drilling this pressure is used
mainly at the bit nozzles, partly in the drillstring
and surface piping, and a small amount in the
annulus to overcome the friction losses caused by
the flow.
Starch A white granular substance which occurs widely in
the higher plants, frequently in seeds (as in corn
and wheat), or in various roots and tubers (tapioca
and potato) or sometimes in the stem piths (sago);
it consists of two polysaccharides: amylose and
Amylose is a linear polymer with molecular weight
ranging from 300,000 to one million.
Amylopectin is a highly branched polymer and has
molecular weights of over a million.
String wound See Spun bonded.
Supernatant Liquid above settles solids.
Supersaturation 1 If a solution contains a higher concentration of a
solute in a solvent that would normally correspond
to its solubility at a given temperature, this
constitutes supersaturation. This is an unstable
condition, as the excess solute separates when the
solution is seeded by introducing a crystal of the
2 The term "supersaturation" is frequently used
erroneously for hot salt muds.
Surface area The area of media available for filtration.
Surface filtration Where filtration occurs at or near the surface of a
Surface tension 1 A property of liquids, especially water, where
the molecules in the outer layer are held tightly to
those below them.
2 The force acting within the interface of a liquid
and its vapor. Usually equivalent to the interfacial
tension between the liquid and air.
Surfactant In water, any molecule that modifies the interfacial
tension between the water and the surface of
anything with which it comes in contact such as
air, metal hydrocarbons, etc.
Suspended solids Solids that do not dissolve in liquid; those solids
that remain suspended and can be removed by
Suspension Any liquid containing undissolved solids, such as a
diatomite slurry.
Synergism, Term describing an effect obtained when two or
more products are used
Synergistic properties simultaneously to obtain a certain result. Rather
than the results of each product being additive to
the other, the result is a multiple of the effects.
Temperature The thermal state of matter. A measure of the
ability of a substance to give heat to or receive heat
from another source.
Thermal decomposition The chemical breakdown of a compound or
substance by temperature into simple substances or
into its constituent elements. Starch thermally
decomposes in drilling fluids as the temperature
approaches 250 F.
Thinner Any of various organic agents (tannins, lignins,
lignosulfonates, etc) and inorganic agents
(pyrophosphate, tetra phosphates, etc.) That are
added to a drilling fluid to reduce the viscosity
and/or thixotropic properties.
Thixotropy The ability of fluid to develop gel strength with
time. That property of a fluid, which causes it to
build up a rigid or semirigid gel structure if
allowed to stand at rest, yet can be returned to a
fluid state by mechanical agitation. This change is
Total dissolved solids (TDS) The sum of the organic and inorganic materials
dissolved in liquid.
Total suspended solids (TSS) The sum of all insoluble particles suspended in
True yield point The value of shear stress when the shear rate
equals zero as calculated by Hershel-Buckley
rbeological model.
Tubular filter A filter element shaped like a tube.
Turbidity 1 Opacity of a liquid imparted by insoluble
2 A suspension of fine particles that obscures light
rays causing the appearance of a haze. Usually
expressed as NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity
Turbidimetric efficiency Degree of turbidity removal, expressed as percent
(%) of NTU removal.
Ultrafiltration Filtration of particles in the molecular size range,
0.002 - 0.12.
Unit layer (platelets) Face to face stack of sheets or layers which
determines the clay's structure or classification.
Unloading The release of contaminant that was initially
captured by the filter medium.
Valence The number of charges, either positive or negative,
associated with an ion.
Visco eleastic properties The group of properties that describes a fluid's
characteristics: viscosity, yield point, plastic
viscosity, etc.
Viscometer, 1 Commonly called a V-G meter.
Direct indicating 2 The instrument is a rotational type device
powered by an electric motor or and crank, and is
used to determine the apparent viscosity, plastic
viscosity, yield point and gel strength of fluids.
Viscosity 1 See Darcy's Law
2 The internal resistance offered by a fluid to
3 This phenomenon is attributable to the
attractions between molecules of a liquid, and is a
measure of the combined effects of adhesion and
cohesion to the effects of suspended particles, and
to the liquid environment. The greater this
resistance, the greater the viscosity.
Voids The openings or pores in a filter medium.
Volume percent 1 The number of volumetric parts of any liquid or
solid constituent per 100 like volumetric parts of
the whole.
2 Volume-percent is the most common method of
reporting solids, oil, and water contents of drilling
Wall cake The solid material deposited along the wall of the
hole resulting from filtration of the fluid part of the
mud into the formation.
Workover fluid Any type of fluid used in the workover operation
of a well.
Wound medium A filter medium comprised of layers of helical
wraps of continuous strand or filament in a
predetermined pattern. See also "String Wound".
Woven medium A filter medium made from strands of fiber, thread,
or wire interlaced into cloth or a loom.
Yield 1 A term used to define the quality of a clay by
describing the number of barrels of a given
centipoise slurry that can be made from a ton of the
2 Based on the yield, clays are classified as
bentonite, high-yield, low-yield, etc., types of
clays. Not related to yield value below. See API
RP 13B for procedures.
Yield Point 1 Yield point means yield value. Of the two terms,
yield point is by far the most commonly used
2 The resistance to initial flow or the stress
required to start fluid movement, measured from a
dynamic condition. The intercept of the shear
stress/shear rate when the shear rate equals zero as
defined by the Bingham Plastic rheological model;
a term derived from a direct-reading viscosimeter
(Baroid FANN VG or equivalent) and based on
subtracting the plastic viscosity from the 300 rpm
reading given by the measurement device.
3 The relative carrying capacity of a fluid due to
electro-chemical attractive forces within the fluid.
Yield value 1 The yield value (commonly called "yield point")
is the resistance to initial flow, or represents the
stress required to start fluid movement. This
resistance is due to electrical charges located on or
near the surfaces of the particles. The values of the
yield point and thixotropy, respectively, are
measurements of the same fluid properties under
dynamic and static states.
2 The Bingham yield value, reported in lb/100 sq.
ft, is determined by the direct indicating
viscometer by subtracting the plastic viscosity
from the 300 rpm reading.
Zeta potential 1 The electrical potential that exists across the
interface of all solids and liquids. Also known as
electrokinetic potential.
2 An electrical potential measured in millivolts
that measures the strength of a particle's electrical
double layer/hydrated volume.