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University of Tripoli

Faculty of Engineering

Civil Engineering Department

Assignment 3

(Drilling tools)
CE 645

Geotechnical Investigation

Prepared by: Abdelghani Bashir Asalai

Lecturer of course: Prof Adel Binlatayef

In order for any drilling machine to be able to advance through

the different types of earth subsurface layers it has to be
equipped with tools that are attached to these machines. These
tools depend on the type of soil layer that is to be advanced and
the ground conditions. Each of these tools could be used for
specific soil conditions for example ( the continues flight auger is
best used with clay and cohesive sands , while rotary drilling is
used when it comes to hard rock layers ).
In this paper the most common and widely used drilling tools shall
be mentioned.
The hand augers
These types of drilling tools have many shapes and types;
they drill through the soil layers by rotating them either by
hand or by a small mechanical motor. They have small
diameters and can drill into the soil for a couple of meters,
after that drilling using these tools becomes difficult. The
following Figures show the different types and shapes of the
hand augers.

Figure 1 the different types of hand augers

Percussion drilling clay-cutter tool

From its name (clay-cutter) this tool cuts through the soil
with its lower semi-sharp rim and it collects the soil inside it.
the clay-cutter consists of a heavy tube that has a heavy
solid or slotted weight on its upper end, and a semi-sharp
rim at its lower part , above the rim there is a one way valve
that allows the soil to go up through the tube but prevents it
from falling down again which is also called a clack. The soil
that is caught inside the tube can then be taken out from the
upper slot by turning the shell of the tube upside down out of
the hole.

Figure 2 the clay-cutter

The power auger drilling tools

Power augers have many different shaped and different
types of drilling tools that could be attached to them. There
is the continues flight auger , the short flight auger, the
double flight auger and the bucket auger. Each type has its
ups and downs. But the most commonly used types are the
continuous flight augers that are classified as the solid stem
continuous flight auger and the hollow stem continuous flight

The solid stem continuous flight auger consists of a drilling

shaft that has a continuous flight attached to the length of
its shaft where the flight continuous above the ground
surface during drilling and the Kelly rod does not enter the

Figure 3 three different types of the solid stem continuous flight auger
drilling shafts

The hollow continuous flight auger is the same as the solid

one except that it has a hollow shaft, and inside the hollow
there is an inner shaft that goes all the way through the
hollow shaft reaching the bottom of the hollow shaft where a
drilling bit is attached to its lower tip, the drilling bit is made
of carbide or from solid steel and is either fishtail shape or
finger bit. Both the hollow and the solid continuous flight

augers have carbide bits furnished on the lower edge of the

flights where there is contact between the flights and the soil
at the bottom of the hole. The hollow continuous flight auger
has an advantage where any tests or soil samples could be
taken from the bottom of the hole without having to take out
the outer shaft out of the hole.

Figure 4 the hollow stem continuous flight auger

Rotary drilling tools

When using the rotary drilling machine there are two types
of drilling tools that could be attached:
1- Drilling bits that are used to advance through a hole
without the relief of a rock sample. These types of bits
have strong carbide teeth or diamonds all over a closed
surface that only cuts the rock into bits allowing the hole
to be advanced without being able to obtain a sample of
the layer being advanced.

Figure 5 the different types of drilling bits

2- Drilling using the corebarrel. This type of drilling tool in its

simplest form is made of a tube that has an inner free
length of 1.5meter, and it has hard carbide or diamond
bits attached to its lower rim, it cuts through the rock
allowing a core of the rock to enter into the tube, where
the rock sample could then be retrieved as a sample.
There is a double and triple tube core barrel that have
been made after the single tube corebarrel due to the
many deficiencies that the single tube core barrel has
shown in the past .

Figure 6 the core barrel sampler

The selection of the right core bit for drilling is quite difficult
and depends on a number of variables :
a- Face contour
b- Cutting material
c- Diamond types, grades and sizes
d- Mounting matrix
e- Waterway size, shape and position
f- kerf width
The shape of the contour of the cutting edge could be round, flat
and semi round or semi flat. In practice the semi round or semi
flat shaped faces are the most bits used.
The cutting material used to cut the rock may be tungsten,
impregnate diamond or hand set diamonds.
The tungsten bits usually have large tungsten inserts mounted
radially along the kerf. This type of bits are used in soft
formations, due to the increase of bearing pressure caused by the
coarseness of the inserts this type of bits will lead to the
disturbance and fracture ahead of the bit.

Figure 7 Tungsten cutting bit

Diamond impregnate bits are suitable for hard rocks and are used
in the casing of shoes where casing has to advance in the rocks;
the diamond impregnate bits consist of a sintered powder metal
matrix with fragmented or fine Bortz embedded uniformly
throughout it.

Figure 8 Impregnate diamond cutting bit

Hand-set diamonds (hand set selected Bortz) are used to make

the best quality diamond bits. The diamonds are selected size
grade and placed in the matrix by hand keeping the sharpest
vector of each diamond in the direction of work. This type of bits
differs from the tungsten and the impregnate types of bits,
because this type is used until either the diamond is worn or the
matrix holding the diamond is abraded and the diamond is overexposed. At this stage the diamond bit is returned to the
manufacturer, where the diamonds are removed and reset.

Figure 9 Hand set diamond cutting bits

Diamonds also could be classified upon a geographical basis, such

as West African, Congos, Brazilians, Angolans, etc. the
commonly used types in drilling bits are the west Africans and
the Congos.

The following table has a number of the West African diamond

US Army Corps of Engineers Classification

First quality, round

diamond, for the most

West African Bortz

difficult fin hard rocks (also

called Creams. 4A and
special rounds)

High quality round or blocky

Bortz suitable for hard rock
jobs (also called Select
round, 3A, Best, Fine,



Medium quality semi-round

Bortz, a commonly used
diamond for average
conditions(also called
good, second)


Irregularly shaped Bortz

only suitable drilling soft


The size of diamonds used in the cutting bits are tailored to the
type of soil or rock being drilled , large size diamond has good
clearance and allows good washing without blocking the bits,
large diamonds are more capable of surviving the shocks
administered during the drilling fractured rock.
When drilling in hard rocks, smaller and more numerous diamonds
are necessary to provide more cutting edges and therefore keep
the cutting at a reasonable level. Also the large number of
diamonds spread the load evenly on the bits. The weight of
diamond stones are measured in terms of its carat where 1 carat
= 200mg. there may be from 5 and 50 carat of diamond on the
bit depending on the bit size.
The matrix holds the diamonds in the required position, resist
shock, and transfer heat away from the diamonds. The more the

hardness of the matrix is the more it takes to wear down. The

hardness of the matrix is measured by Vickers or Rockwells scale.
The passage of water and its route to between the bits also
depend on the rocks being drilled. Also the type of fluid used
needs to be taken in consideration for example air or mud fluids
need larger passageways. Soft formations require more than one
water passageway to allow quick removal of bits before the
blockage of water which could cause in rapid overheating and
inefficient drilling.
There are two types of bits available regarding to the waterway
1- Normal or face (bottom) discharge.
2- Step-taper bit
Diamond drill sizes
Letters were used to identify the sizes of the drilling equipment in
the UK, USA, Canada and South Africa , the earliest Sizes have
been given the letters E,A,B and N (1 inch, 2 inch , 2 inch
and 3 inch hole sizes) during the expansion of drilling work before
the 1930 many problem were found. The drilling equipment had
some problems, the main problem was that these sizes where not
exact between the manufacturers, which made these equipment
not interchangeable. A conference was then held in Chicago to
solve this problem and to discuss the united sizes of casings and
the front ends (bits, catchers and reaming shells). A new letter X
was then added to the previous Letters to identify the new
namings of the united sizes (EX, AX, BX and NX).
By that time the drilling rods were not as standard, and were not
considered in the Chicago conference. As a result of changing the
drilling equipment sizes , this caused companies to change their
rod sizes to fit in with the new equipment sizes , the Canadian
Diamond Drilling Association (C.D.D.A) introduced larger rod sizes,
for which the letter C was added ( EC,AC,BC and NC), then after


further work was done the US Diamond Core Drill Manufacturers

(D.C.D.M.A) introduced also a larger rod sizes, the two
organizations then came out with a standard that used the letter
W for worldwide ( EW,AW,BW and NW). Then the corebarrels also
had to be standardized to fit in with the new world wide W series
rods, the corebarrels that matched these rods were termed (EWX,
AWX, BWX and NWX).
The British Standards Institution(BS4019:1966) developed larger
sizes P, S, U and Z that could be used for both rotary drilling and
oil well drilling, and based the smaller sizes on the existing
DCDMA and CDDA equipment.
There are four interchangeable standard corebarrel designs
1) WF series (BS4019:1974).British design, using medium kerf
bits, and available in HWF, PWF, SWF, UWF and ZWF sizes.
The barrels features:
a. Face discharge bits
b. Double tube swivel type barrel
c. Knock on catcher box and are suitable for mud flush
2) WT series (CDDA) Canadian design, using narrow kerf bits,
sizes are limited the smaller end of range that is: double
tube rigid EWT, AWT, BWT, NWT, and HWT; and double tube
swivel BWT, NWT and HWT. Because of the narrow kerf this
series barrels is of particular use in drilling hard dense rock
3) WM series (DCDMA) American Design, using medium kerf
bits, with WG core sizes. Screw catcher box, available with
either conventional or face discharge bits, all barrels are
double swivel type, available in sizes EWM, AWM, BWM and
4) WG series. A fully standard version of the WX design, where
only the bit, catcher, reaming shell and the rod thread were
standard. The barrel uses medium width kerf bit and is of


rigid design, convertible to swivel type in all sizes: doubletube rigid EWG, AWG, BWG, NWG, HWG.
The Following figure shows corebit sizes,
respective casings in a diagrammatic form.





Figure 10 Casing and core bit sizes (mm).