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The Things We Carry Part 2

September 20, 2012

The Things We Carry Part 2

Spotlight on Bentonites

PVC Plus Drilling is proud to carry some of the best brands available, such as Baroid and Quik-Grout.This article is the second in a series that aims to explain the categories of items that we offer, beyond our own PVC Plus products like our geothermal piping or our environmental pumps. Part 2: What are bentonites? How are they used in drilling projects? What sorts of bentonites do we sell?

Bentonite is so named because of its discovery in the 1800s at the Benton Shale geological site in Wyoming. Although many countries in the world now mine and produce bentonite, the world’s top producer is still in the United States, in Wyoming.

Bentonite has an almost magical quality: it swells. Its this attribute that makes it indispensable to drilling endeavors. When bentonite is added to the mixture of things pumped down the drill shaft, it is very helpful because it binds easily to debris and so brings it out.

For most industrial purposes, sodium or calcium bentonite are used but you may also hear of potassium bentonite or aluminum bentonite. Sodium bentonite is excellent because when it’s wet it expands to several times—as much as five times—its dry mass.

  • QUIK-GROUT by BAROID is a single-sack sodium-based bentonite intended for as grout for water wells and plugging holes. It does not contain any polymers and it is easy to use.
  • HOLEPLUG® graded sodium bentonite is a perfect example of the impressive feats that sodium bentonite is capable of. Hole Plug will fall through a standing column of water in the hole and reach the bottom with delayed hydration without bridging to the wall of the borehole. Let the boring begin!
  • BENSEAL® is not recommended as a drilling mud but instead, for sealing and grouting well casings and earthen structures. It is a granular, 8-mesh, natural sodium Bentonite (from Wyoming, of course!).

I bet you didn’t know: sodium bentonites are also used in products as diverse as animal feed, cat litter, colon detoxes and facial cleansers! It truly is the “clay of a thousand uses”.

Still curious about the Benton Shale? Visit the Wyoming State Geological Survey

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