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Improving Barrel Yield of Polymer-Treated Clays

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000241072D
Publication Date: 2015-Mar-24
Document File: 2 page(s) / 31K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The barrel yield of bentonites is often a property of interest to drillers, since a higher number means less material that is required to prepare drilling fluids of similar quality. High-yielding bentonites can occur naturally, but many are treated with additives such as polyacrylate salts to increase their yield. For unknown reasons some bentonites do not interact favorably with polyacrylate and maintain a low yield in spite of treatment. We investigated whether magnesium oxide could be added to improve the yield of these clays in the presence of polyacrylate and found promising results.

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Improving Barrel Yield of Polymer-Treated Clays

Abstract

The barrel yield of bentonites is often a property of interest to drillers, since a higher number means less material that is required to prepare drilling fluids of similar quality. High-yielding bentonites can occur naturally, but many are treated with additives such as polyacrylate salts to increase their yield. For unknown reasons some bentonites do not interact favorably with polyacrylate and maintain a low yield in spite of treatment. We investigated whether magnesium oxide could be added to improve the yield of these clays in the presence of polyacrylate and found promising results.

Introduction

Certain drilling grade bentonites require a high barrel yield (“yield”), which may occur naturally or be achieved via the addition of additives (“extenders”) at low concentration. Barrel yield is a measure of the volume of 15 cP apparent viscosity fluid that can be prepared from one ton of bentonite, and increases with viscometer dial reading at 600 rpm. One of the more commonly used bentonite extenders is sodium polyacrylate, but it is not clear a priori which clays will show enhancement with addition of the polymer and which will not. In light of this, clays with naturally lower yields are mixed with several different concentrations of polyacrylate and then tested; at a plant level those clays that do not “respond” well are reallocated to other product blends or used as filler material in high-yield blends. Since there are currently no known methods of increasing the yield of polyacrylate-unresponsive clays, we decided to investigate whether the addition of magnesium oxide could offer any improvements.

Method

Materials

Thirty samples of bentonite were initially screened to determine their naturally-occuring and polyacrylate-enhanced barrel yield. Four clays that did not achieve a high barrel yield (minimum 600 rpm dial reading of 20 for 10 g clay and 350 mL deionized water) under either condition were chosen for study. All clays were primarily sodium montmorillonite and originated from Wyoming. Sodium polyacrylate was used as a bentonite extender – specific chemical properties of the polymer are proprietary.

Sample Preparation

Each of the selected clays was blended with varying amounts of sodium polyacrylate and magnesium oxide to examine the effects of all possible chemical interactions. For each data point, approximately 10.00 g of dry material were mixed with 350 mL deionized water for 20 minutes and then tested on a rotating-bob viscometer at 600 rpm (“initial” data). Each sample was then left static in a plastic container for 16 hours, then re-mixed for 5 minutes and retested in the same manner (“aged” data). All mixing was performed using a milkshake mixer.

Results

The results of this study are outlined in Table 1, and are plotted graphically in Figure 1. The data confirm that these clays did not have a high natural yield and did not improve when treated with...