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bentonite water well drilling mud

2023-06-21

Formed from montmorillonite, an aluminum silicate, bentonite is a clay-like mineral that serves as a glue-like substance when drilling water wells. This gravity-defying powder is mixed with water to form a slurry that penetrates through stone. Together these matching elements work as one to unlock the mysteries kept hidden beneath our feet.

The mission at hand when drilling for water is to break through the upper layers of rock and reach the aquifer – a layer that holds water. Depending on the hardness of the rock, different types of drill bits will be employed. If the rock is soft, a bit with teeth will suffice, but if it is hard, then a drill bit with a diamond tip is essential to break through.

The selection of a drill bit is partially dependent on the kind of drilling fluid needed – one that will lubricate, cool, and clear out the boreholes cut by the rotating bit. Bentonite is a common choice for this purpose when drilling a water well.

When it meets water, bentonite clay turns into a thick fluid that can cut through solid rock. The substance’s absorbent properties cause it to swell and form a plug-like seal around the drilled hole, keeping any further water from hastening the bore’s destruction. Furthermore, bentonite is safe to handle and won’t corrode drill bits.

Employing bentonite drilling fluid comes with its own set of drawbacks, such as when the clay swells and is encrusted about the drill bit, creating a jam-like situation. This cake-like obstruction can keep the drill bit from turning, leading to a full stall of the machinery.

Bentonite clay has a tendency to suspend particulates of rock and dirt in the groundwater, making it turbid. Unfortunately, this sedimentation can obstruct the filters used to extract water from wells, thus limiting access to resources.

Despite its drawbacks, bentonite remains the top pick for water well drilling due to its affordability and ease of use. Additionally, it is a non-toxic option that won’t cause any corrosion to drill bits, making it the preferred choice among professionals.



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