A Primer on Sonic Drill Technology

Why is there so much fuss about a sonic drill? 

What is it all about and why is it so relevant in the oil exploration mining industry? If there is one simple definition that we can come up with for this, it is a drilling technology for soil penetration efforts. 

Sonic type of drilling is of invaluable help in the oil exploration mining business because it alleviates the production of friction on the drill string and drill bit which is due to liquefaction. Hence, it makes the process of drilling way lot easier and seamless compared to another traditional penetration method. It also reduces to a great lengths the soil porosity. 

The combination of inertia effects, liquefaction and temporary reduction of soil porosity renders the penetration for a wide array of soil types easy and convenient for sonic tooling and rigs. The rate of penetration for the majority of bedrock using this type of drill technology is also remarkably way faster. 

Generating Sonic Vibration

The oscillator found inside the drill head will produce high-frequency, resonant energy and will direct this down the drill string. While the drilling process is in progress, the resonant energy melds together with rotational movement. By this measure, the energy can be evenly distributed, impacting the tooling drill string as well as the drill bit. 

The drill operator controls and manages the amount of sonic vibration which the drill head generates. This should be matching the intensity of force needed to penetrate the ground and the succeeding bedrock formations.  

Sonic Mechanics

When working on a sonic drill head, you will take the vibration frequency of the drill string up to 150 Hz. Upon reaching this level, it induces a thin zone around the drill string and drill bit causing it to lose its structure and form. If this will take place, the soil friction is reduced and the succeeding drill cuttings become fluid, which makes it easy to flush them away or removing them from the bore becomes easier. 

The strong and intense vibrations which are produced by the drill bit renders the surrounding soil to become loose and give up its structure, eventually losing its density and porosity. It also allows the soil and cuttings to freely move about while they are inside the barrel. This is helpful to your tooling, so they can advance freely, without any obstructions.  

The collection of long and continuous samples is made possible by the inertia effects and liquefaction. The drill string’s vertical high-frequency movement causes the drill string to stay extremely straight with a slight  deflection

Less energy is tantamount to fewer problems

Due to the alleviated amount of friction found on the drill string, it renders the sonic type of drilling to use less amount of energy and achieve the exact and same impact offered by traditional method of drilling. This characteristic, which is exclusively unique to sonic drilling, is helpful in keeping torsional forces intact on the drill string.  

One other advantage of the sonic high-frequency application is the ease of drill string retrieval, which is quite observable in boulders or quick expanding clays and difficult conditions. All casings, drilling rods, and toolings are puller much easier and faster.  

Sonic Drilling is a Clean Way to Drill 

Sometimes, when you are overseeing a drilling activity, you would want to veer away from the use of air, water or drilling mud during an ongoing drilling process. 

In sonic drilling, there is no need for you to have drilling mud or make use of air while the drilling process is ongoing. This explains the reason why the sonic drill is the chosen method of many for geo-construction, geotechnical and environmental applications. 

With sonic drilling, environmental and other similar ground-penetration projects can realize a significant amount of savings. They may necessitate a substantial amount of time and financial resources, too, to make it possible to have proper disposal of investigation derived waste.  

In mining projects, the integration of air or water can sometimes induce disturbance, and with that happening, it can induce impact to the ground/soil’s mechanical properties. Under extreme cases, this can bring about soil erosion and pave the way for failure to happen, sometimes in the form of a partial landslide.