The maxim “Necessity is the mother of invention” is proven true in the drilling industry.
Advancement in technology has driven drill rig companies to design and develop cutting-edge equipment to address the various challenges in drill sites.
One of the positive outcomes of this innovation is the introduction of more efficient, safer, and cost-effective drilling methods such as sonic drilling. This method has been applied in multiple industries, including construction, infrastructure, mining, and oil and gas exploration.
We will explore in this article the different applications of this method in various industries and the benefits of choosing this technique.
The Concept of Sonic Technology
The concept of sonic technology was introduced way back in the 1950s. And since then it was further developed by different companies.
However, there were issues with its reliability due to the high-frequency vibrations to cut through rocks or soil. But in recent years, the problem with reliability has been addressed, and now sonic technology is the most preferred drilling method for its unmatched speed and quality of the sample.
The sonic drilling works by utilizing high-frequency resonance that liquefies the soil or rock as the drill rods advances into the subsurface, allowing the recovery of virtually undisturbed samples.
Industry Applications of Sonic Drilling
Among other drilling methods available in the market today, sonic technology is one of the most preferred methods for its speed and ability to provide a continuous and undisturbed sample in any material.
In designing and building megastructures such as bridges and dams, engineers must understand the subsurface conditions where the foundations will be founded or built upon.
During this phase, sonic technology provides continuous data that will help engineers grasp and decide what better designs or strategies to be employed that are reliable and cost-effective.
In the mining industry, sonic drilling can help do a geotechnical investigation to determine the most cost-effective design based on the subsurface condition.
It will also assist the design engineers in identifying the quantity of ore in a particular area and the distribution of waste materials to be excavated.
Construction and Development
In building infrastructure projects funded by the governments, sonic technology is also applicable to these development projects. It provides engineers with a continuous sample that helps them understand where soil to rock transitions occurs.
The information sonic provides to the engineers of these infrastructure projects has massive cost implications for foundation design.
Various industries nowadays are so focused on sustainability. In the mining industry, for example, they need to report their fluid tailings volumes to make sure that they are not beyond the legal limits.
Tailings are the processed materials left over after open-pit mining. It is a mixture of mostly sand, some water, clay, and traces of residual bitumen (an oil mix).
Sonic technology is very effective in determining these fluid volumes. And also a very cost-effective technique for mining companies to utilize.
There are other drilling methods used in numerous industries before sonic. However, sonic technology offers multiple benefits because of its speed, higher recovery rate, and ability for continuous sampling.