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Drilling fluids are some of the most indispensable tools used in the field of geotechnical engineering. Used primarily to aid in drilling boreholes into the earth, drilling fluids have become essential for the day-to-day operation of oil and gas wells, exploration rigs, and water well excavations. Historically, drilling fluids have been used to eliminate cuttings and lubricate/cool drill bits. However, modern drilling fluids have been specially engineered at the nanoscale level to add further utility including supporting the structural integrity of the drilled hole as well as the prevention of formation fluids from entering the drilled hole. Further benefits of drilling fluids include increasing the efficiency at which hydraulic energy is transmitted to the drill bit and the mitigation of corrosion caused by factors such as dissolved gasses.

This talk looks at the nanoscience being employed to enhance drilling fluid performance. With conventional water and oil-based drilling fluids more likely to experience undesirable effects such as polymeric deterioration and gelation, nanoscience engineers have begun looking at nanoparticle-based additives to eliminate these key drawbacks and maintain (or improve) critical performance. Discussion on the mechanics of drilling fluids and speculation on where their development will go will be covered in a supplementary Q&A session after Prof. Advincula's talk.

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