Improvement of Locally Available Raw Bentonite for Use as Drilling Mud

Kaffayatullah Khan1, *, Shaukat Ali Khan2, Muhammad Umair Saleem1, Muhammad Ashraf3
1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, King Faisal University, Hofuf Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology Taxila, Taxila, Pakistan
3 Department of Civil Engineering, CIIT, Abbottabad, Pakistan

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 5362
Abstract HTML Views: 1780
PDF Downloads: 950
ePub Downloads: 520
Total Views/Downloads: 8612
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 1975
Abstract HTML Views: 946
PDF Downloads: 590
ePub Downloads: 252
Total Views/Downloads: 3763

Creative Commons License
© 2017 Khan et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address Correspondence to this author at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia; Tel: +966-5966-88748; E-mails:,



Bentonite clays are widely used in a drilling operation and play a vital role as a drilling fluid. Bentonite clay mud performs several functions during the drilling operation and facilitates the drilling process.


In this study, the locally available raw bentonite clays were investigated to evaluate its potential use as a mud for borehole drilling operation after its improvement with the additives.


Rheological properties such as plastic viscosity, yield point and gel strength were evaluated by using a viscometer and filtrate loss test was performed by using filter press on both locally available raw bentonite clays and the commercial bentonite named as Mill gel.


From the test results obtained for the up gradation of clays with the different beneficiating materials, the drastic increase in the plastic viscosity, yield point and gel strength has been observed. It shows that Xanthum gum produced better results for the improvement of rheological properties of such clays. Carboxymethyl cellulose and starch were used as additives and it has been observed that carboxymethyl cellulose has improved both viscosity and filtrate loss control, whereas starch muds have the best filtration control properties.


Improved bentonite clays have rheological and filtration characteristics that have satisfied American Petroleum Institute specification at optimum conditions of clay. It was concluded that improved clays are the suitable material for the drilling operations and suitable to substitute commercial bentonite.

Keywords: Bentonite, Rheological properties, Filtrate loss, Carboxy methyl cellulose, Xanthum gum, Starch.