Mud Weight Marsh Funnel Viscosity And pH


The density of the drilling fluid must be controlled to provide adequate hydrostatic head to prevent influx of formation fluids, but not so high as to cause loss of circulation or adversely affect the drilling rate and damaging the formation.

Normal pressure gradient by water is equal to (0.433 psi/ft) and equal to 433 psi/1000 ft.

Test Equipment

The Baroid Mud Balance as shown below is used to determine density of the drilling fluid. The instrument consists of a constant volume cup with a lever arm and rider calibrated to read directly the density of the fluid in ppg (water 8.33), pcf (water 62.4), specific gravity (water = 1.0) and pressure gradient in psi/1000 ft. (water 433 psi/1000 ft.)

Mud Balance
Figure 1.1: Typical Mud Balance


  1. Remove the lid from the cup, and completely fill the cup with water.
  2. Replace the lid and wipe dry.
  3. Replace the balance arm on the base with knife-edge resting on the fulcrum.
  4. The level vial should be centered when the rider is set on 8.33. If not, add to or remove shot from the well in the end of the bream.

Test Procedure

  1. Remove the lid from the cup, and completely fill the cup with the mud to be tested.
  2. Replace the lid and rotate until firmly seated, making sure some mud is expelled through the hole in the cup.
  3. Wash or wipe the mud from the outside of the cup.
  4. Place the balance arm on the base, with the knife-edge resting on the fulcrum.
  5. Move the rider until the graduated arm is level, as indicated by the level vial on the beam.
  6. At the left-hand edge of the rider, read the density on either side of the lever in all desired units without disturbing the rider.
  7. Note down mud temperature corresponding to density.


The viscosity of a fluid is defined as its resistance to flow. The desired viscosity for a particular drilling operation is influenced by several factors, including mud density, hole size, pumping rate, drilling rate, pressure system and requirements, and hold problems. The indicated viscosity as obtained by any instrument is valid only for that rate of shear and will differ to some degree when measured at a different rate of shear. For field measurements the marsh funnel has become the standard instrument. For laboratory, the Fann V-G meter, a direct indicating rotational multi-speed instrument, has become the standard, allowing measurements of plastic viscosity, yield point, gel strength to be made.

The Stormer viscometer is still, however, used to some extent for single point (apparent) viscosity and 0-10 min. gel.

Test Equipment

The Marsh Funnel is a device that is common to every drilling rig. Details of the Marsh Funnel and receiving cup are shown in Figures 1-2, and 1-3. The viscosity is reported in seconds allowed to flow out of the funnel. API specifications call for 1500 ml and one quart (946) ml out.

For API water at 70 F + 0.5oF = 26 + 0.5 sec. The Marsh Funnel measures the apparent viscosity.


Fill the funnel to the bottom of the screen (1500 ml) with water at 70 F (plus or minus 0.5 F) time of outflow of the quart (946 ml) should be 26 seconds plus or minus 1/2 second.

Marsh Funnel
Figure 1.2: Marsh Funnel and One-liter Cup

Test Procedure

  1. With the funnel in an upright position, cover the orifice with a finger and pour the freshly collected mud sample through the screen into a clean, dry funnel until the fluid level reaches the bottom of the screen (1500 ml).
  2. Immediately remove the finger from the outlet and measure the time required for the mud to fill the receiving vessel to the 1-quart (946 ml) level.
  3. Report the result to the nearest second as Marsh Funnel Viscosity at the temperature of the measurement in degrees Fahrenheit or Centigrade.



The acidity and the alkalinity of the drilling fluid can be measured by the concentration of the (H+) ion in the fluid. As for instance, if H+ is large (1 x 10-1), then the (OH-) hydroxyl concentration is very low (1 x 1013), the solution is strongly acidic. If the (OH-) concentration is (1 x 101) very high then (H+) concentration is very low then the solution is strongly alkaline. The pH of a solution is the logarithm of the reciprocal of the (H+) concentration in grams moles per liter, expresses as:

Example: If the solution is neutral then H+ and OH- concentrations are the same equal to 1 x 10-7.

1x10 -7

Therefore, if the pH of a mixture drops from 7.0 to 6.0, the number of (H+) increase ten times.

The pH of a mud seldom is below 7 and in most cases fall between 8 and 12.5 depending upon the type of mud. The pH is important because the pH affects the solubility of the organic thinners and the dispersion of clays presents in the mud.

Methods of measuring pH in the laboratory:

  1. The pH Paper: The pH paper strips have dyes absorbed into the paper display certain colors in certain pH ranges. It is useful, inexpensive method to determine pH in fresh water muds. The main disadvantage is that high concentrations of salts (10,000 ppm chloride) will alter the color change and cause inaccuracy.
  2. The pH Meter: The pH meter is an electric device utilizing glass electrodes to measure a potential difference and indicate directly by dial reading the pH of the sample. The pH meter is the most accurate method of measuring pH.

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Figure 1.3: Hydrion pH Dispensers.

Drilling Fluid Meter
Figure 1.4: pH Meter

The Laboratory Test:

  1. Take 2 samples of mud from each of the mud tanks.
  2. Stir the samples for 2 minutes and determine:
  • a) The Mud Weight
  • b) Marsh Funnel Viscosity in seconds
  • c) pH value using - pH meter
  • Hydrion papers


(Density, Viscosity, pH)

Room Temp. oF/ oC

Sample No.

Mud Weight

Marsh Funnel Viscosity

(Hydrogen Ion Conc.)



pp ft3



PH Meter



Answer the following:

  1. List any five (5) very important functions of the drilling fluid?
  2. What requirements should a drilling fluid meet?
  3. Using the mud weights (ppg) obtained for Samples #1 and 2 of your experiment, calculate, how much hydrostatic pressure that each sample will exert on a formation at a depth of 10,000 ft.
  4. What is the difference between Over-balance and Under-balance?
  5. Estimate the mud weight needed to balance a formation pressure equivalent to 10,000 ft. depth with 0.561 psi/ft. pressure gradient.

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  • Mustapha Goni Umar
    thank you all for your contribution in making petroleum eng'g progress.
    9 years ago
  • Rhoda Gawkroger
    How to remove mud weight to psi?
    9 years ago
  • christine
    What is viscosity of water through a mud funnel?
    9 years ago
  • eric
    How to measure apparent viscosity of drilling fluid?
    9 years ago
  • felicita
    What is the difference between pressurized mud balances?
    9 years ago
  • fred
    How is drilling mud metered?
    9 years ago
  • Ernest
    What is the best type of ph tester for drilling mud?
    9 years ago
  • leevi
    How can viscosity be maintained when mud density changes?
    9 years ago
  • haddas
    What requirements should a drilling fluid meet?
    9 years ago
  • Sara
    How to figure mud weight and viscosity?
    8 years ago
  • Mattia Zetticci
    How to read marsh funnel viscosity results?
    8 years ago
  • sanelma
    How big is the outlet hole on a marsh funnel?
    8 years ago
  • ann
    How many seconds for 1 quartof water to pass through a marsh funnel at 70 degrees f?
    8 years ago
  • elias
    How to get mud weight temperature?
    8 years ago
  • michael
    Why calibrate the marsh funnel?
    8 years ago
  • Scudamor
    How to clean the marsh funnel and mud cup?
    8 years ago
  • liya haylom
    How to measure mud weight?
    8 years ago
  • Ansegar
    Why must a mud scale be calibrated with 70 degree water?
    8 years ago
  • santeri
    How to measure drilling mud viscocity?
    8 years ago
  • linda
    What is the average funnel viscosity of water?
    7 years ago
  • Yorda Yonas
    How many seconds to fill a qaurt useing a marsh funnel?
    7 years ago
  • hilda
    How to increase drilling mud wieght?
    7 years ago
  • birgit
    Does funnel viscosity increase with mud wieght?
    7 years ago
    7 years ago
  • delma
    How many seconds does it take for drill water to fall through a marsh funnel?
    7 years ago
  • Daniela Eisenhauer
    How does mud weight compare to seconds?
    6 years ago
  • holman
    What is the viscosity of water through a marsh funnel?
    6 years ago
  • marmaduke
    What should the plastic viscosity of a 12.0 ppg fluid be?
    6 years ago
  • elizabeth
    How does marsh funnel screen looks like?
    6 years ago
  • stefan
    Why would mud weight drop when pressurized?
    6 years ago
  • tobold
    How to write a report on mud weight and marsh funnel viscosity?
    5 years ago
  • rosa
    How long for 1 quart water at 70 degrees pass through a marsh funnel?
    4 years ago
  • What to conclude on mud weight on drilling fluid?
    4 years ago
  • may banks
    What is the theory of mud weight?
    4 years ago
  • Jack
    What mud balance normally gives a higher reading?
    4 years ago
  • Ren
    How to check density of solids using a mud balance?
    3 years ago
  • hagos
    Why is the Bariod mud balance calibrated with water?
    3 years ago
  • semere
    What is baroid mud balance?
    3 years ago
  • claudia
    What requirement should a drilling fluid meet?
    3 years ago
  • Gianni Udinese
    How does the flow of mud through a funnel determine its viscosity?
    3 years ago
  • sofia
    How to measure drilling mud weight?
    2 years ago
  • venanzio baresi
    What Requirements should a drilling fluids meet?
    2 years ago
    What are the procedures for obtaining mud weight?
    2 years ago
  • adonay
    What is the objective of measuring mud viscosity?
    2 years ago
  • armas
    Does mud weight have api standards?
    2 years ago
  • Sari Myllys
    What is the price mud cups from baroid?
    1 year ago
    How much does mud weigh if the viscosity is 70?
    1 year ago
  • lamorac
    What is typical drilling mud weight for viscosity of 65 sec/qt?
    1 year ago
  • Harrison Duncan
    What are the objective of ph in drilling fluid?
    11 months ago
  • tammy menard
    Does mud engineer still use funnel viscosity?
    8 months ago
  • algisa
    How dense is 28 viscosity mud compared to water?
    8 months ago
  • Cedivar
    How to determine marsh funnel number?
    4 months ago
  • Suvi
    What is the aim of determining mud weight of drilling fluid?
    2 months ago
  • jasmine
    What is the important of mud weight test?
    2 months ago
  • Codi
    What should the vescosity be for drilling in clay?
    1 month ago

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