The Measurement of Mud Density


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In order for us to determine the density or weight of a given mud, we can use a mud balance. In our experiment a 4-scale metal mud balance was used. The mud balance is being made in a way that the fixed volume cup at one end of the beam is balanced by a fixed counter weight at the opposite end, with a sliding weight rider free to move along the graduated scale and calibrated to read directly the density of the mud in four scale ranges, density also affects drilling mud because of the the mud balance used which are:

  • 6.5- 23.0 lbs/gal (ppg)
  • 0.79 – 2.73 specific gravity (s.g)
  • 49 – 179 lbs/ft3
  • 340 – 1190 psi/1000ft


  1. 4-scale mud balance
  2. Hamilton beach mixer
  3. Measuring cylinder
  4. Weighing balance
  5. Spatula
  6. Syringe



  1. Remove the lid from the cup, and fill the cup with water.
  2. Replace the lid and wipe it dry
  3. Set the rider on 8.3 ppg or 1.0 s. g (density of water). Add or remove lead shot from the shotwell until instrument is in balance.

Mud Mixing

70g of bentonite in 700 ml of water Sample 1: 35g mixed in 350 ml of water

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Sample 2: sample 1 + 10g of barite

  1. Measure appropriate amount of bentonite and barite.
  2. In the mixing cup, pour the measured amount of water.
  3. Turn on the mixer and carefully add the bentonite.
  4. Mix until it is completely homogenous.
  5. For Sample 2, add barite and repeat step 4.


  1. Place the mud balance base (in its carrying case) on a level surface
  2. Ensure the cup is clean and dry, remove the lid and fill with the mud being tested.
  3. Replace the lid on the cup. Make sure that some mud is expelled through the hole in the cup as this shows that the cup is full and will remove any trapped air or gas.
  4. Place finger on the hole in the lid while cleaning and wiping off the mud from the outside of the cup
  5. Place the balance on the knife edge and move the rider along the arm until the cup and arm are balanced.
  6. Take the readings if the mud weight
  7. Repeat this for sample 2.


MUD DENSITY Ppg lb/ft3 s.g psi/1000ft Sample 1 (WATER AND BENTONITE) 8.7651.04450Sample 2 (with barite, WATER AND BENTONITE) 8.966.551.11460.05


At the end of this experiment, I have come to the conclusion that this method is very accurate in the measurement of mud density and also barite can be used to increase mud density.


  1. I ensured that I poured the water first into the mixer to reduce the amount of lumps in the mud.
  2. I ensured that I removed the trapped air in the cup before taking my measurement of density.
  3. I ensured accurate measurement of the mud density.
  4. I avoided error due to parallax when taking my reading at the lower meniscus.
  5. I ensured that the cup was completely wiped before making sure it was balanced.
  6. I also ensured that I was wearing the appropriate safety equipment the experiment.

Also, from my results, it shows that solution 2 (with barite) is denser than solution 1 and this is because of the addition of barite to the solution as barite is a weighting material.


I recommend that this method be encouraged as the mud balance is a fast, easy and accurate method of measuring mud weight/density. Also, barite is a suitable weighting material that can be used to increase the density if mud.


  • Max R. Annis, Martin V. Smith (1974); EXXON COMPANY, USA (August 1996). Drilling Fluids Technology
  • King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (April, 2003). PETE 203: Drilling Engineering Laboratory Manual
  • FANN (2012). Model 821 Rig Laboratory Instruction Manual
  • Baker Hughes (2006). Drilling Fluids Reference Manual
  • Engr. Seteyeobot (2018). Drilling Mud Manual.
  • Adam T.beurgoynejr, k.k, applied drilling engineering
  • Equipment, O.T (2007) instruction manual
  • Hamilton beach mixers

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