Retort Water Oil and Solids

Accurate measurement of water, oil and solids content provides fundamental information for con trol of mud properties and is essential for evaluating solids control equipment.

The volume percent of liquid phase (water and oil) are measured by heating a known volume of whole mud in a retort unit. The liquid is evaporated from the mud, vapor is condensed and measured as oil and fresh water in a graduated glass tube. Suspended solids are calculated by difference of liquid collected subtracted from whole mud volume (retort cup volume).

Retort Test Procedure


  1. Clean and dry the retort assembly and condenser. Condenser passage should be cleaned using a pipe cleaner.
  2. Mix the mud sample thoroughly to ensure homogeneity, being careful not to entrain any air, and that no solids remain on the bottom of container. Air or gas entrapment will cause erroneously high retort solids due to reduced mud sample volume.
  3. Use a clean syringe to obtain a sample of the mud to be tested.
  4. Fill retort cup slowly to avoid air entrapment. Lightly tap side of cup to expel air. Place lid on the cup. Rotate lid to obtain a proper fit. Be sure a small excess of mud flows out of the hole in the lid. Wipe off any excess mud without wicking any of the sample from inside the cup. Wipe the cup clean with towel.
  5. Pack retort body with steel wool.
  6. Apply Never-Seez to threads of retort cup. With lid in place, hand tighten retort cup onto retort body (refer to Figure 16).
  7. Apply Never-Seez to threads on retort stem and attach the condenser.
  8. Place the retort assembly inside the heating jacket and close the lid.
  9. Place the clean, dry, liquid receiver below the condenser discharge tube. The length of the receiver may require that it be angled out from the retort and supported off the edge of the work table.
  10. Plug cord into 110-volt outlet. Allow the retort to run for a minimum of 45 minutes.

Note: If mud boils over into the receiver, the test must be rerun. Pack the retort with a larger1* amount of steel wool and repeat the test.

  1. Allow the receiver to cool. Read and record: (1) total liquid volume, (2) oil volume, and (3) water volume in the receiver.
  2. Unplug retort and allow to cool. Disassemble and clean the retort assembly and condenser.
  3. Calculate volume percent water (VW), volume percent oil (VO), and volume percent retort solids (VS), as follows:

vS = 100 - (vW + vO) VRC = Volume of the retort cup

(See Retort Cup Verification Procedure) Retort Cup Verification Procedure Step

  1. Allow retort cup, lid and distilled water to reach ambient temperature. Record the temperature.
  2. Place the clean, empty retort cup and lid on a balance (precision of 0.01 g) and tare to zero.
  3. Fill retort cup with distilled water. Place lid on the cup. Rotate lid to obtain proper fit. Be sure a small excess of water flows out of hole in lid. Wipe excess water from lid; avoid wicking out water.
  4. Place filled retort cup and lid on the previously tared balance. Read and record weight of water to 0.01 g.
  5. Calculate the retort cup Volume, VRC, using density of water at measured temperature from Table 1 as follows:

V Weight of water, g

Density of water, g/cm3

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  • girmay nuguse
    How to use a retort for drilling mud?
    6 years ago
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    How to use retort drilling fluids?
    5 years ago
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    What is retort test for drilling?
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