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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


The interaction between drilling fluid and shale has a significant impact on wellbore stability during shale oil and gas drilling operations. This paper investigates the effects of the drilling fluid activity on the surface and osmotic hydration characteristics of shale. Experiments were conducted to measure the influence of drilling fluid activity on surface wettability by monitoring the evolution of fluid-shale contact angles. The relationship between drilling fluid activity and shale swelling ratio was determined to investigate the osmotic hydration behavior. The results indicate that, with increasing drilling fluid activity, the fluid–shale contact angles gradually increase—the higher the activity, the faster the adsorption rate; and the stronger the inhibition ability, the weaker the surface hydration action. The surface adsorption rate of the shale with a KCl drilling fluid was found to be the highest. Regarding the osmotic hydration action on the shale, the negative extreme swelling ratio (b) of the shale was found to be: bKCl < bCTAB < bSDBS. Moreover, based on the relationship between the shale swelling ratio and drilling fluid activity, shale hydration can be divided into complete dehydration, weak dehydration, surface hydration, and osmotic hydration, which contributes to the choice of drilling fluids to improve wellbore stability.

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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( Publisher’s version of record:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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