What Does Mud Engineer Mean?
A mud engineer is a professional trained in the science of drilling fluids (drilling mud.) The mud engineer ensures that the drilling mud mix is right for the project at hand and will make necessary changes as the drilling progresses.
The mud engineer is a graduate with experience working on rigs, being a derrick hand, or a pump man in offshore rigs. They undertake a special training course known as mud school and spend time working with a senior mud engineer to gain experience.
A mud engineer also called a drilling fluids engineer or archaically, a mud man.
Trenchlesspedia Explains Mud Engineer
The mud engineer has to ensure that the right amount of mud and the right mud mix is available at all times. Any additives to be added to the mix for correcting the mud properties also have to be monitored and specified by the mud engineer. He or she is also provided with adequate computer aids and manuals by the mud supply company to be prepared for problems and to find solutions.
Depending on the expected geology, the mud mix is designed, altering as necessary as drilling proceeds and geology changes. Drilling fluid is customized to the prevalent ground conditions in the path of the bore and requires extensive geotechnical and soil investigation before arriving at the correct mix of additives.
Drilling fluid is an important part of a trenchless construction process such as in horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and microtunneling. During the drilling process, mud exerts pressure on the borehole wall and affects the stresses that act on it.
When the mud pressure falls below the lower limit, the borehole becomes unstable and can collapse due to a lack of support. When the mud pressure exceeds the upper limit, the borehole can collapse due to excessive pressure and the drilling fluid can flow out into formation fractures.
The amount of drilling fluid required depends on the borehole diameter and soil condition. Since drilling fluid disposal has become very difficult and costly, making the right amount of drilling fluid and recycling it can help control cost to some extent.