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An Essential: What Are Drilling Muds and Polymers?

December 13, 2020

Plastech Plus, Drilling muds, Polymers

Drilling mud is a strong fluid blend that helps with drilling holes into the earth for gas, oil and mineral extraction, carry rock cuttings, clean the bottom and many other things. It can also be used for simpler boreholes like water wells. Its main purpose is to stop formation fluids from entering the well and keep the drill bit clean and cool during drilling.

They are classified as water-based drilling muds that may contain oil (WBMs), oil-based drilling muds that can contain water (OBMs), and synthetic-based fluids (SBF). Water-based drilling muds are used for less-demanding drills of standard vertical holes at medium depths while oil-based drilling muds are much better for larger ones. SBFs are more often used because it causes less damage to the environment and it biodegrades quicker than water and oil-based fluids.

Drilling Mud Structures

Drilling mud contains bentonite clay, which carries cuttings to the surface, and barite mineral (barium sulfate) for stabilizing the borehole. Other ingredients can be added such as caustic soda that will increase alkalinity and decrease corrosion, potassium salt that decreases the infiltration of water from drilling fluid, and many other petroleum-derived drilling lubricants.

Natural Polymers

Polymers are natural or artificial substances that consist of large molecules made up of linked series of repeated simple monomers. A polymer is a material made of chain molecules and they are in almost every aspect of our life.

Some can bend and stretch; others are hard and tough. In everyday life, polymers are often called “plastics”, but they are actually a large group of different substances with different properties and uses. There are natural and synthetic polymers. Wool, cotton and silk are natural polymeric materials that have been used since ancient times.

Synthetic Polymers

The group of synthetic polymers is very numerous and makes up most of the chemical organic industry. Many items that were once made of wood or leather are now made of plastic. Numerous items that we use every day in our lives are made of plastic: bottles and other packaging, parts of furniture, household appliances and cars, stationery, and much more.


Polymerization is a method of creating a synthetic polymer by combining many small monomer molecules into a chain that holds covalent bonds together. There are two main forms of polymerization, step-growth polymerization and chain-growth polymerization.

The main difference between the two types of polymerization is that in chain-growth polymerization, monomer molecules are added to the chain one by one. In the case of step-growth polymerization, the monomer molecules can be directly linked to each other.

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