Evaluation of the reuse and recycling of drill cuttings in concrete applications

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Drill cutting (DC) is a major waste produced during petroleum extraction, which could present a major source of contamination to soil and groundwater, if not disposed properly. The objective of this study aims to test the hypothesis that drill cuttings can be incorporated as an aggregate in the production of concrete, and is suitable for use in controlled, low-strength material (CLSM) for non-structural applications. To achieve this objective, the physical and consensus properties of drill cuttings were characterized. Concrete mixtures were designed for CLSM applications with and without drill cuttings sampled from two sources. Prepared concrete mixes were then evaluated in terms of strength for use in non-structural concrete applications. Results showed that well-graded drill cuttings performed better than poorly-graded samples. Furthermore, when compared to the control samples, no significant compressive strength reduction was observed for concrete mixes prepared with drilled cuttings at high strength targets (2800, 1200 and 300 psi). Yet, a significant reduction was observed at low strength targets (80 and 200 psi). This may be due that the higher content of cement in high strength concrete mixtures compensates for the lack of strength as a result of drill cuttings. At high strength targets, it is feasible to replace the fine aggregates up to 20% without reducing the target compressive strength significantly.

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Construction and Building Materials

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