Improved Drilling of Coal Measure Rocks for Underground Mine Void Detection and Exploration Programs
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines has demonstrated in laboratory tests that drilling with surface-charge-neutralizing concentrations of polyethylene oxide (PEO) polymer solutions simultaneously improves penetration rates and extends bit life. The applicability of this additive to improve drilling performance in coal measure rocks was demonstrated under field conditions at an abandoned mine land site in Pennsylvania and a producing coal mine property in Ohio. Penetration rate improvements ranging from 15 to 50 pet were obtained when core drilling through a variety of coal measure lithologies. Drilling cost analysis indicates that the small added cost of using the polymer is more than offset by the savings that result from demonstrated increased drilling penetration rates, which translate into drilling cost savings of about 10 to 30 pct. This report also gives chemical analyses of a variety of coal measure rocks and some corresponding local drilling water samples, obtained from a wide geographical base, along with threshold concentrations of PEO required to effect the improved drilling performance in these rocks. From these data, the threshold PEO concentrations needed to ensure improved drilling performance can be estimated for any coal measure rock suite. Proper techniques for mixing PEO solutions are also presented.
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