Barite or barytes (barium sulphate) is a mineral largely used (77% of it) as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration. It is an essential component and there is no substitute that has all of its properties.
A drilling fluid is used to aid the drilling of boreholes and barite is used as a weighting agent to increase the density of the fluid to help control pressure from the gas or oil reservoir. Its other properties of being relatively soft, inert and non-magnetic have benefits in terms of drill wear.
Chemical Name: Barytes
Chemical Formula: BaSO4
|Physical Properties of Barite|
|Color||Colorless, white, light blue, light yellow, light red, light green|
|Luster||Vitreous to pearly|
|Diaphaneity||Transparent to translucent|
|Cleavage||Very good, basal, prismatic|
|Mohs Hardness||2.5 to 3.5|
|Diagnostic Properties||High specific gravity, three cleavage directions at right angles|
|Chemical Composition||Barium sulfate, BaSO4|
|Uses||Drilling mud; high-density filler for paper, rubber, plastics|
Parameter % by Weight
Loss on Ignition 6-8%
Bulk Density 0.84 Gm/CC
This mineral ore has many important industrial and commercial uses such as:
- A major amount (77%) of the total Barite found is used as weighting agent for drilling muds. The non-magnetic properties of this material make it more useful for this purpose as it does not interfere with the magnetic measurements of the borehole during the whole process.
- Blue, black, gray or brown Barite is widely used for petroleum well drilling. The applicable Barite color is selected depending on the ore body.
- This is the main ore of barium metal.
- It is also used as paint and plastic filler.
- It is applied for sound reduction in various engine compartments.
- This mineral is used for making smooth and corrosion resistant coat of trucks and automobiles.
- It is used in radiation shielding cements and glass ceramics.
- This mineral also has medical applications. It is used for a barium meal or an upper gastrointestinal series before doing a contrast CAT scan.
- This mineral was used for producing barium hydroxide for the purpose of sugar refining.
Historically it was also used as a pigment for paper, textiles, and paint.