Main content area

Manufacture and performance of lightweight aggregate from waste drill cuttings

Ayati, Bamdad, Molineux, Chloe, Newport, Darryl, Cheeseman, Christopher
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.208 pp. 252-260
compression strength, cutting, ions, landfills, leaching, manufacturing, oil fields, salts, temperature, washing, wastes, water uptake, North Sea
This research investigated the technical feasibility of transforming waste drill cuttings into lightweight aggregate. Drill cuttings produced from the North Sea oil field were dried, ball milled, formed into pellets and fired at temperatures between 1160 and 1190 °C. Physical properties of the manufactured lightweight aggregate, including particle density, water absorption and compressive strength, were determined. The drill cuttings had a typical evaporite composition containing high concentrations of chloride salts. This limits the potential for using the as-received drill cutting samples in lightweight aggregate production as the products formed show high levels of leaching. The addition of a washing pre-treatment to reduce the leaching of chloride ions was necessary. Washing also reduced the initial sintering temperature and improved lightweight aggregate properties. Sintering at 1180 °C produced lightweight aggregate with particle density of 1.29 g/cm³, water absorption of 3.6% and compressive strengths of 4.4 MPa. The research showed that lightweight aggregate manufacturing represents a resource efficient option for the reuse of waste drill cuttings and provides significant material saving and landfill diversion.