Choosing the appropriate drilling methods for the job is extremely essential for obtaining the desired outcome during the exploration and grade control procedures. The decision depends on several factors like cost, time, environmental impact, depth of drilling as well as sample quality. In the drilling realm, Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling and diamond drilling are two methods well sought after to achieve quality results. Let us see how both the prevalent methods of drilling in the exploration industry compare to each other. We shall look into the definition, mechanisms, advantages, and applications of both sides to draw a thorough comparison for your reference.
Diamond core drilling essentially involves a hollow drill bit that is engraved with industrial-grade diamonds which rotates to bore through rock. This leads to the creation of a solid rock core within the hollow drill which is easy to extract and further examine as per the requirement. The use of diamonds in the machinery makes it ideal for cutting through almost any type of material no matter how hard it is.
Reverse circulation drilling can be defined as the methods that utilize compressed air to create an adequate drilling force. In layman terms, it works through this air hammer that repeatedly pushes into the rock whilst the drill bit at the other end simultaneously rotates. The other part is generally made of tungsten steel. The cuttings created in the process are then extracted, transferred to dedicated tubes, and further analyzed by the experts.
Diving straight into the points of the essence, one of the significant advantages of choosing reverse circulation drilling is that it is easier on the wallet when compared to diamond drilling. The materials and equipment required for the process of diamond drilling can get a little pricey. Certain data demonstrates that reverse circulation drilling costs 25% to 40% less than diamond drilling.
Another major advantage of RC drilling when being compared to diamond drilling is that reverse circulation drilling quite faster and the process takes less time by a wide margin. This trait can be attributed to its high drilling penetration rate. The clients are able to observe results much faster when opting for reverse circulation drilling.
While RC drilling offers inexpensive and quick drilling procedures, diamond drilling presents extremely precise drilling outcomes after each and every try. RC drilling is preferred when collecting bulk samples but when talking of accurate sampling and proper analysis of the layers. Diamond drilling extracts a core that is intact where one can obtain smaller rock chips as an outcome after RC drilling. The preference entirely depends upon the kind of job being carried out.
Diamond drilling is also known for achieving greater depths at a time, while this factor acts as a shortcoming for reverse circulation drilling. RC drilling can go up to the depth of 500 meters while diamond drilling can work efficiently up to approximately 1800 meters of depth which provides a rather advantageous edge to diamond drilling in large-scale projects.
Both the drilling mechanisms prove to be useful in their own terrain. Deciding whether one should opt for reverse circulation drilling or diamond drilling should be done keeping the above-mentioned pointers in mind. Sometimes RC drilling is chosen as it works well in areas with water scarcity while diamond drilling proves to be environmentally sensitive and can work its magic on a greater variety of materials when considering the hardness of the substance. As every drilling job differs from the other, analyze the situation thoroughly, and choose the methods that suit the project, in order to guarantee the best, fastest, and safest drilling outcomes.