Sonic Drilling

by | Sep 12, 2022

There are many different drilling methods available, from cable percussion to rotary drilling. In recent years, however, more and more geotechnical drilling companies are using sonic drilling rigs. Why? Well, sonic drilling provides a much more efficient and versatile alternative to other conventional drilling techniques.

The team at Borehole Solutions, who provide geotechnical solutions across the UK and overseas, would like to explain why sonic drilling is one of their most popular services. Having previously discussed the process involved with this drilling technique, today we would like to show you why these rigs are the present and future of geotechnical drilling.

Heterogenous Ground Profiles

If you’re dealing with a homogenous ground profile, then a conventional drilling method would probably be appropriate. If, however, you’re working with a landscape that contains both large rocks and much finer gravels and sands, then sonic drilling is the favourited option.

How does it work? The high-frequency energy generated inside the sonic head advances the core barrel downwards into the substrate. The vibrations emanating have a liquefying effect, which loosens the integrity of the surrounding soil and allows for smoother drilling as a result. The core is then retrieved with no risk of collapse, even in more difficult substrates. Whilst these drilling rigs can be used for more solid formations, they are undoubtably superior in overburdened conditions. There is rarely a struggle for this rig when drilling through these harder strata, but it may take a slightly longer drilling time.

Recovery Rates

Sonic drilling provides the best recovery rates compared to any other drilling method, especially when providing continuous core samples. The quality of the samples can be up to three times higher than that of auger drilling. For example, the Eijkelkamp SonicSampDrill – a rig that Borehole Solutions frequently uses – consistently achieves recovery rates of greater than 95%!


There are not many site investigation methods that are as versatile as sonic drilling. With this method of drilling, rubber caterpillar tracks are fitted to the rigs, which provide a high degree of manoeuvrability and flexibility. The technology utilised within these rigs may be complicated, but the operation can be simply carried out from an on-board master console.


When compared to rotary drilling, these rigs operate up to 400% more quickly! This is due to the high-frequency oscillations within the sonic head that allow the drill bit to carve through unconsolidated formations with ease. In addition, unlike other machines, sonic drilling rigs can carry out continuous coring.

Environmentally Conscious 

One of the main problems arising from site investigations is the amount of waste that is produced. Investigation derived waste (IDW) can have ecological impacts, contaminate the environment and damage sample integrity. With sonic drilling rigs, the integrity of the returned core samples is incredibly high when compared to other geotechnical methods.

This reduction in waste, in-conjunction with the quicker operation, means sonic drilling is a more environmentally conscious method to use. A shorter time spent on-site means less energy is used to power the equipment, meaning the rig itself is more efficient than conventional rigs. In addition, the reduced friction upon the drill bit and drill string means that less energy is required to operate the machinery.

Get in Touch 

Borehole Solutions are proud of their sonic drilling rigs and services. Whilst the other drilling solutions have their advantages, there are few drilling options as versatile and efficient as sonic drilling.

If you would like to find out more about our geotechnical drilling and site investigation services, call us today on 01733 200501 or email our team at