Low Gel Strength

Published: April 17, 2019 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Low Gel Strength Mean?

Low gel strength is an indicator of the drilling fluids inability to suspend cuttings in the annular space. Drilling fluid is an important part of trenchless construction methods such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Drilling fluid is designed depending on the project and subsurface conditions.

Gel strength helps evaluate the suspension characteristics of a drilling fluid and is measured in pounds per 100 square feet (lbs/100 sq.ft.).


Trenchlesspedia Explains Low Gel Strength

The property of a drilling fluid is an important factor to achieve good displacement during cementing by regaining and maintaining the mobility of the fluid. A driling fluid that can be easily displaced indicates low gel strength. Low gel strength can cause stuck pipe and packing of the borehole because of its inability to suspend cuttings.

Gel strength is measured on a viscometer and indicates the gelling that will take place once circulation of drilling fluid is stopped. It measures the inter-particle forces that will prevent the cuttings from settling in the borehole. To break circulation in a high gel mud, high pump pressure is required.


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