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mass balance

1. n. [Drilling Fluids]

Equality between the mass (density × volume) of a mixture or blend such as a drilling mud or completion fluid and the sum of the masses (density × corresponding volume) of its components. Assumptions are: (1) masses and volumes of components are additive and (2) material is neither generated nor lost from the system. As a simple example, below are the two material-balance equations for a three-component mixture of oil (o), water (w) and solids (s), where V = volume percent, D = specific density and MW = mixture weight. (This could represent a simple, weighted oil-base mud formulation.)

MW = DsVs + DoVo + DwVw
100% = Vs + Vo + Vw.

By solving these equations simultaneously, an unknown parameter can be found if other parameters are known or can be estimated accurately. Material-balance equations are used to derive formulations of muds, to calculate the amount of barite needed to weight-up a mud, to determine the amount of water needed to dilute a mud, and to find the volume of two or more muds to mix together to achieve a new mud weight and volume. Material balance is also the basis for calculating solids content of muds based on mud testing data.

See: high-gravity solidslow-gravity solidsmake-up watermaterial-balance equationmud densityretort solidsslurry

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