Definition - What does Silicate Mud mean?
Silicate Mud, also known as sodium silicate mud is a water-based drilling fluid which contains sodium silicate polymeric ions in higher proportions. The mud is shale inhibitive and has water or salt water as its major component. This makes it an environment-friendly drilling fluid. Sodium Silicate Mud is less expensive and easy to maintain as compared to oil-based drilling fluids. This drilling fluid is used as a wetting agent in the external phase of drilling operations.
Petropedia explains Silicate Mud
When a fracture in porous rock or tightly packed rock grains has to be made, there are variety of drilling fluids available which can be used after evaluating the rock properties. The drilling fluids fall into three types of categories, i.e., water-based drilling mud, oil-based drilling mud and air-based drilling mud. Out of these three, water-based mud is commonly used due to its environment friendly nature and environmental policies. Also these types of drilling fluids are less expensive.
Silicate mud is a water-based drilling fluid. When it is used during drilling, the sodium or potassium silicate polymeric ions adsorb over the tightly packed shale (sedimentary) rocks and form a semi-permeable osmotic membrane that does not allow any water to flow inside the pores of the shale. It injected with a high pressure impact that allows the rock molecules to loosen up and enable the trapped hydrocarbons to flow easily.