Rock Drilling Bits: Types and Materials

Drilling holes deep into the earth is a daily requirement of oil and gas equipment. In the search for valuable natural resources, companies rely on their engineers to define the geological composition lying beneath the surface. They also depend on technology to produce the right type of rock drilling bits for the intended purpose.

Types of Drill Bits

Rock drill bits come in two basic types: handheld or hydraulic rig mounted. Some operators also categorize them as either

  • Rolling cutter bits aka roller cone bits, rotary or tri-cone bits: This type of drill bit possesses 3 cones – each of them capable of individual rotation. This type, providing the right equipment is in place, can cut through any formation. Subtypes include:
    *Milled-tooth bits
    *Tungsten carbide inserts
  • Fixed cutter bits: They are examples of an integration between the cutting elements and the bit bodies. They excavate using a shearing method rather than either gouging or chipping.

Materials

Rock drilling bits are available in diverse materials. The most common type is steel tooth; however, other types include:

  • Tungsten carbide
  • Polycrystalline diamond a synthetic diamond
  • Diamond

Often these materials combine with different inserts, creating hybrids capable of conquering specific types of drilling issues. It all depends upon what rock formation comprises the well or dig. The drilling engineer selects the right rock drilling bits based on his or her knowledge of the geological composition of the earth formations.

Rock Drilling Bits: Choose to Suit the Purpose

Drill bits serve two purposes:

1. They must maximize the rate they penetrate (ROP) into the earth
2. They must be durable, providing lengthy duty on challenging tasks before requiring replacement

To ensure the achievement of these two goals, it is important to confer with the geological engineer before selecting the right equipment. Only by understanding completely what lies below the surface is it possible to select the right rock drilling bits for the job.

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