In recent years, there has been an obvious trend within the drilling industry: geotechnical site investigation companies have been steering towards using sonic drilling solutions. Why? Unlike the more conventional drilling techniques, sonic drilling proves to be a much more efficient, cleaner, and versatile method.
In this week’s blog, Borehole Solutions, a leading provider of geotechnical services across the UK, explain why sonic drilling is advantageous compared to other auger drilling methods. After reading this, you’ll be wondering why all geotechnical companies don’t use this technique; sonic drilling rigs are the present and future of the drilling industry.
What is Sonic Drilling?
Sonic drilling uses high-frequency energy generated inside a sonic head to advance a core barrel downwards to penetrate through the substrate. The emanating vibrations have a liquefying effect, loosening the surrounding soil’s integrity. Subsequently, the rig’s telescopic casings are placed over the core barrel to retrieve the core, with no risk of collapse. Whilst sonic drilling rigs can be used for more solid formations, they are ideal for overburdened conditions.
Advantages of Sonic Drilling Solutions
The benefits of this drilling method are manifold in comparison to other conventional drilling techniques. These advantages include, but are not limited to:
Excellent Recovery Rates
Sonic drilling solutions deliver the best recovery rates compared to any other drilling technique, especially for continuous core samples. The quality of the collected samples can be three times greater than that of auger drilling. For instance, the Eijkelkamp SonicSampDrill consistently achieves recovery rates of over 95%!
No two site investigations are the same – every project has different variability, meaning a high degree of adaptability is required. With sonic drilling, rubber caterpillar tracks are fitted to the rigs. These provide great manoeuvrability and flexibility, even in tough conditions. In addition, the operation of these rigs is simple and carried out via an on-board master console.
More Environmentally Friendly
Investigation derived waste (IDW) is often a worry that comes alongside geotechnical site investigation work. With sonic drilling, however, the integrity of the returned samples is incredibly high in comparison to other established drilling methods. This results in less waste being produced, hence less environmental contamination and ecological impacts.
Did you know that sonic drilling operates at up to 400% more quickly than rotary drilling? This quick operation of the rig means less time is spent on-site, resulting in less energy used to power the machinery. The high-frequency oscillations within the sonic head allows the drill bit to carve through unconsolidated formations with ease. This reduced friction upon the drill bit also means less energy is required to operate the equipment. This reduction in waste and quick operation means that sonic drilling solutions are more environmentally conscious compared to other techniques.
Superior Safety Measures
It is no surprise that geotechnical site investigations tend to come with the danger of personal injury. A lot of these risks stem from clothing being caught on the rig’s components, such as the auger flights. However, sonic drilling rigs mitigate this risk due to their hands-free operating system. These rigs also feature safety cages, guarding measures, counterbalance valves, non-skid walking platforms, and much more.
Borehole Solutions offer an array of geotechnical drilling services, including one of our most popular methods: sonic drilling solutions. Whilst the other methods have their own advantages, nothing compares to the efficiency of sonic drilling rigs. If you would like more information about our sonic drilling and geotechnical site investigation services, call us on 01733 200501 or click here!