Reuse and Recycling Drill Cuttings in Concrete Applications
By: Maziar Foroutan (2017)
This study delves into the potential of repurposing drill cuttings, a predominant waste by-product of petroleum extraction that poses environmental concerns, as a component in concrete production. The primary aim was to ascertain if drill cuttings could be effectively used as an aggregate in controlled, low-strength material (CLSM) for non-structural applications. Initial steps involved characterizing the physical properties of the drill cuttings. Concrete mixtures were subsequently developed, incorporating drill cuttings sourced from two different locations, and their strength was assessed for suitability in non-structural applications. The findings indicated that drill cuttings with a well-graded composition outperformed their poorly-graded counterparts. Importantly, concrete blends made with drill cuttings maintained their compressive strength at higher targets (2800, 1200, and 300 psi) when juxtaposed against control samples. However, they demonstrated reduced strength at lower targets (80 and 200 psi). A plausible explanation for this disparity might be the compensatory effect of the increased cement content in high-strength concrete mixes, negating the weakened effect of the drill cuttings. The study concludes that, for high-strength applications, substituting fine aggregates with up to 20% of drill cuttings doesn't detrimentally impact the desired compressive strength.