Definition - What does Agitation Pump mean?
An agitation pump is a part of the drilling mud agitation system that keeps the drilling mud moving and prevents drilled cuttings and fine solids from settling. It is used in the mud mixing and storage tanks to maintain the properties of the drilling fluid that will be circulated into the borehole.
While agitation can be achieved using mechanical paddle agitators, using an agitation pump is cheaper, more manageable and effective, and has a smaller carbon footprint.
Trenchlesspedia explains Agitation Pump
The agitation pump is usually a centrifugal pump that allows the mud to be circulated through a nozzle. The agitation system circulates the fluid continuously, keeping the constituents in suspension which is then effectively pumped out into the drilling system.
Drilling fluids consist of bentonite clay and added polymers to give it the desired viscosity and gel strength. Adequate circulating pressure has to be maintained for the drilling fluid to function effectively.
For effective working, the upward velocity generated should be faster than the settling velocity of the suspended solids. When agitation is stopped, the dispersed clay particles form flocs because of the forces of attraction between negative and positive particle edges.
Effective mixing and agitating maintain good mud characteristics by reducing settlement. Agitation is also required for drilling mud maintenance such as removal of drilled solids.