Measurement of particle size in drilling muds

A new application note from Malvern Instruments explores the role of particle size and the importance of particle size measurement in optimizing the formulation of drilling muds used in oil extraction processes.

The particle size of drilling mud components exerts a significant influence on the performance of the final drilling mud product. Rapid, reliable measurement and control of particle size is especially important when tailoring drilling mud formulations for individual geological situations and drilling operations. This new publication focuses on the use of laser diffraction particle sizing for this application, exploring the steps involved and providing examples of typical data generated. Delivering specialist information and advice, this application note adds to Malvern’s extensive range of expert resources and is downloadable from the company website.

Malvern’s highly robust Mastersizer 3000 system is widely used in drilling mud analysis. With a dynamic range spanning 0.01 to 3500 microns and exceptional sample dispersion capabilities, the Mastersizer 3000 delivers precise, particle size measurements for both water- and oil- based muds. Its small footprint compared with previous Mastersizer models enables its use in many different environments.

Powerful Mastersizer software provides automatic data quality checks that guide the user towards good measurements, particularly important in routine QC where rapid, robust measurement is essential and where the system may be used by multiple operators. The software includes support for method transfer from other particle sizing instruments, whether older Malvern systems or those from other manufacturers, and Malvern specialists will provide comprehensive applications support to limit the need for any specification changes.

In a recent extension to the Mastersizer family, Malvern has added the new Mastersizer 3000E, an entry level laser diffraction particle sizing system. It has a measurement range of 0.1 to 1000 microns and is offered with semi-automated wet dispersion units. The performance of the Mastersizer 3000E can be extended over time, with add-on software packages providing users with access to automated dispersion units and the advanced analysis and method development support capabilities of the Mastersizer 3000.

New deal with RheoSense over low viscosity measurement

Malvern Instruments has announced an exclusive global distribution agreement with RheoSense, Inc. (San Ramon, CA, USA) to promote, market, sell and support the VROC product range into industrial applications. The agreement enables Malvern to add the mVROCi, microfluidic Viscometer/Rheometer On a Chip, to its existing portfolio of rotational and capillary rheometers, extending the company’s offering to industrial customers across the globe. Delivering accurate, robust, fully enclosed viscosity measurement, at high shear rates, the m-VROCi addresses an established need to measure low viscosity fluids under process relevant conditions. The results have proven application for the characterization and enhancement of inkjet inks, coatings, rechargeable batteries, lubricants, chemical and food additives, and drink formulations.

Steve Carrington, Product Manager for Malvern Instruments. “The m-VROCi is highly complementary to the existing Malvern rheological portfolio, extending robust, fully enclosed (no solvent loss) flow curve measurement into areas that simply aren’t accessible with alternative rheological instrumentation.” The m-VROCi is a hybrid microfluidic and MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-system) sensor-based instrument. It determines viscosity by controlling sample volume flow rate and measuring changes in pressure as the sample passes along a microfluidic scale flow channel with embedded MEMS pressure sensors.

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