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Fall 2014 PET 303 Experiment #1 Mud Balance, Marsh Funnel, and Sand Content

PURPOSE: This lab is to be performed to measure the viscosity of water using a Marsh
funnel, calibrate and use a mud balance to measure a mud batch density, and use laboratory tools
to mix a batch of mud.

The primary objectives of this experiment are to learn how to use a mud balance, measure the
Marsh funnel viscosity of water, and determine the sand content of a drilling fluid.
Safety goggles, distilled water, bentonite, mud balance, Marsh funnel, sand content kit,

stop watch, mixer, electronic scale.

Marsh funnel - Methods& Procedures:

Viscosity is a measurement of a fluids resistance to flow: the greater the resistance, the higher the
viscosity. As measured by the Marsh Funnel, the viscosity of the fluid in question is influence by
the density of the fluid (solids content) and gelation rate (beneficiated solids content). The
viscosity of the drilling fluid in use should be based on a combination of the following
parameters: Drilling rate, pump and output capacity, mud density, cuttings size, hole size and
solids removal equipment.

Marsh Funnel, Vis-Cup

PROCEDURE: (For seconds/quarts)
1. Hold funnel in upright position with index finger over outlet.
2. Pour the test sample through the screen in top of the funnel until the mud level just reaches
the under side of the screen.
3. Remove finger from outlet and measure number of seconds for a quart of sample to run
4. Repeat timings 3 times and average your times. Report this time as your Marsh funnel
viscosity (seconds).

Mud Balance - Methods& Procedures:

The mud weight may be determined using any instrument that will permit accurate measurement
within 1/10 lb/gal or lb/cu. ft. The mud balance is the instrument generally used. Mud weight
can be expressed in lb/gal, lb/cu. ft., psi/1000 ft. of depth or specific gravity (S.G.).
The mud balance should be calibrated frequently with fresh water. Fresh water at 70 F will give
a reading of 8.33 lb/gal or 62.3 lbs/cu ft.
To adjust the mud balance to the proper reading, add or remove lead shot from end of balance
arm or adjust set screw at the end of the balance arm.

1. Prepare a batch of mud. (26g bentonite + 350 ml distilled water; 26 lb/bbl). ). Follow the
following procedure:
Start the blender on low speed.
Slowly add the bentonite to the water to ensure even mixing.
Increase the blender speed to highest speed without sloshing mixture out of the
blender cup and mix the batch for 10 minutes.
2. Fill the cup with the mud to be weighed.
3. Place the lid on the cup and seat it firmly but slowly with a twisting motion. Be sure some
mud runs out of the hole in the cap.
4. With the hole in the cap covered with a finger, wash or wipe all mud from the outside of the
cup and arm.
5. Set the knife on the fulcrum and move the sliding weight along the graduated arm until the cup
and arm are balanced.
6. Read the density of the mud at the left-hand edge of the sliding weight.
7. Report the result to the nearest scale division in lb/gal, lb/cu ft, S.G., or psi/1000 ft of depth.
8. Wash the mud from the cup immediately after each use. It is absolutely essential that all parts
of the mud balance be kept clean if accurate results are to be obtained.

Sand content - Methods & Procedures:

It is desirable to know the sand content of drilling muds because excessive sand may result in the
deposition of a thick filter cake on the wall of the hole, or may settle in the hole about the tool
when circulation is stopped, thus interfering with successful operation of drilling tools or setting

of casings. High sand content also may cause excessive abrasion of pump parts and pipe

1. Fill the sand content tube to the indicated mark with mud. Use the wash bottle to add water (or
diesel oil for oil-based drilling fluids) to the next mark. Close the mouth of the tube and shake
2. Pour the mixture onto the clean screen. Discard the liquid passing through the screen. Add
more fluid from the wash bottle to the tube, shake, and again pour onto the screen. Repeat until
all the drilling fluid has been washed out of the tube.
3. Flush the screen with fluid from the wash bottle to free the sand remaining on the screen of
any remaining mud.
4. Fit the funnel upside down over the top of the screen. Slowly invert the assembly and insert
the tip of the funnel into the mouth of the glass measuring tube. Wash the sand into the tube by
spraying a fine spray of fluid from the water bottle through the screen (tapping on the side of the
screen with a spatula handle may facilitate the process). Allow the sand to settle.
5. Using the scale on the graduated tube, read the volume percent of sand. Report this along with
the source of the mud sample (above shaker, suction, pit, etc.). Coarse solids other than sand (lost
circulation material, coarse barite, coarse lignite, etc.) may be retained on the screen. The
presence of such solids should also be noted.


Marsh funnel viscosity of water (sec)
First Measure:


Second Measure:


Third Measure:


Average Measure:


Data for Mud Batch (26g bentonite + 350 mL; 26 lb/bbl)

Sand Content (Volume %):


Solids Content (Screen):

few particles observed to be on screen

Density of 26 (lb/bbl mud)

Density (lb/bbl)


During the Marsh Funnel Viscosity test of water it was found that the average time it took for
one quart of water to drain from the funnel was 25.99 seconds. This average was found from
first, second, and third time trials reporting at 26.59 s, 25.65 s, and 25.72 s, respectively. The
second step of the lab required that the mud balance be calibrate to a value of approximately 8.33
lb/gal at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. From the mud batch consisting of 26 grams of bentonite plus 350
mL that is scaled down to weigh 26 lb/gal the sand content was recorded as 0.5%. This value is a
volume percent. Furthermore, on the solids contents screen, few particles of sand were found
after using the sand content tube. This mud batch was then measured and reported to have a
density at 8.70 lb/gal.

The time averages in testing the viscosity of water using the Marsh funnel seemed very
reasonable due to the fact the each trial was only off from the others on the order of a tenth to
two tenths of a second. The average of these trials suited and reflected the three trials recorded
very similarly. When calibrating the mud balance, it was found the calibration was off only
slightly to about a tenth of a unit. This, however, was corrected by adjusting the lead shot inside
one end of the balance. After this adjustment, a value of 8.33 lb/gal was achieved. The mud batch
prepared during lab was found to have a sand content (volume %) of 0.5%. Observing this
minuscule amount, another trial was done to ensure that validity of this number. The second trials
yielded a value of 0.5% as well. Making note of this allowed the determination that the sand
content in the mud batch was acceptable. During the process of testing the mud batch, solids
content was also observed. After pouring the desired amount of mud into the sand content tube,
the screen was observed to see if any particles were present on the screen. Very few particles
were noticed and deemed an acceptable observation for this experiment. Additionally, the density
of the mud batch was measured using the mud balance. A density of 8.70 lb/gal was reported and
recorded and regarded a reasonable value for this part of the experiment.

2+t 3 )
Avg .time =

Avg . time=

(26.59+ 25.65+25.72)
=25.99 seconds

1) Name 5 of many drilling fluid functions during drilling activities.

Controlling formation pressures
Removing drilling cuttings from borehole
Cooling and lubricating the bit
iv. Maintaining wellbore stability
v. Transmitting hydraulic energy to the bit and down hole tools

The average time measuring the viscosity of water using the Marsh funnel was reported as 25.99
seconds. There were three time trials conducted to achieve this value. The mud batch that was
prepared had a sand content of 0.5% and very little particles of sand were observed on the solids
screen. The density of this mud batch was determined to be 8.70 lb/gal. Each of these
calculations performed along with the results from them fulfilled to purpose of this lab.