In the oil and gas industry, a desilter is a piece of equipment used in the solids control process during drilling operations. Its main function is to remove smaller particles, typically ranging from 15 to 44 microns, from the drilling fluid or mud.
During drilling, the drilling fluid circulates down the drill string and back up the wellbore, carrying cuttings and other solid particles to the surface. The drilling fluid serves multiple purposes, such as lubricating the drill bit, cooling the drill string, and carrying the cuttings to the surface for proper disposal. However, the drilling fluid can become contaminated with solid particles, which need to be separated to maintain its properties and effectiveness.
Desilters are typically part of a larger solids control system that includes other equipment such as shale shakers, desanders, and centrifuges. The desilter unit usually consists of a set of hydrocyclones, which are cone-shaped devices that use centrifugal force to separate solid particles from the drilling fluid.
The drilling fluid enters the desilter unit, and the hydrocyclones create a swirling flow, causing the heavier particles to settle towards the wall of the hydrocyclone. These particles are then discharged through an underflow nozzle. The lighter drilling fluid, with fewer solid particles, flows towards the center of the hydrocyclone and exits through an overflow nozzle. This process effectively removes the smaller solid particles from the drilling fluid.
By removing the smaller particles, desilters help to maintain the properties of the drilling fluid, such as its density, viscosity, and filtration properties. This is crucial for efficient drilling operations, as maintaining proper drilling fluid characteristics improves the overall drilling performance and helps protect the drilling equipment.
Overall, desilters play an important role in the solids control process during oil and gas drilling operations by removing smaller solid particles from the drilling fluid, contributing to efficient and cost-effective drilling operations.