Oilfield Glossary
Oilfield Glossary
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spacer fluid

1. n. [Drilling]
Any liquid used to physically separate one special-purpose liquid from another. Special-purpose liquids are typically prone to contamination, so a spacer fluid compatible with each is used between the two. The most common spacer is simply water. However, chemicals are usually added to enhance its performance for the particular operation. Spacers are used primarily when changing mud types and to separate mud from cement during cementing operations. In the former, an oil-base fluid must be kept separate from a water-base fluid. In this case, the spacer may be base oil. In the latter operation, a chemically treated water spacer usually separates drilling mud from cement slurry. For proper performance and to prevent unanticipated problems, the spacer should be tested with each fluid in small-scale pilot tests. Some spacer fluids are designed to induce a particular flow regime. Ideally, a cement slurry should have turbulent flow to efficiently displace drilling fluids, but there might be pumping restrictions on fluid velocity. Therefore, a spacer that can achieve turbulent or pseudolaminar flow might be selected.