Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.C.E.

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Austin G. Mullins

Keywords

Drilled Shaft, Drilling Fluid, Mineral Slurry, Polymer Additives, Polymer Slurry

Abstract

Drilled shaft construction often requires the use of drill slurry to maintain borehole stability during excavation and concreting. While drill slurry may be composed of fluids ranging from air to petroleum, drilled shaft construction typically makes use of water based drilling fluids. Although clean water may be utilized as a drilling fluid, a premixed slurry consisting of water, minerals, and/or polymers is more commonly used. Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) specifications require the use of mineral slurry for all primary structures. The slurry resists the intrusion of groundwater, slows the outward migration of drilling fluid from the excavation, and aids in the removal of suspended soil cuttings. The mechanisms by which mineral slurries work are quite different from those of polymer slurries. Due to these differences, it is unclear whether a mineral based slurry, which has been fortified with polymers by manufacturers or enhanced through the addition of polymers in the field, behaves more like a mineral slurry rather than polymer slurry.

This thesis provides an overview of the methods used to measure physical slurry parameters of interest. These parameters include density, viscosity, pH, sand content, and filtration control. Methods employed to describe the slurry parameters include tools and instrumentation commonly used in both field and laboratory settings.

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