The determination of the transition zone between the laminar and turbulent flow regimes of particular importance in optimizing the hydraulics of drilling operations. The principal advantage which laminar flow in the annular space has in drilling operations in the avoidance of wall enlargement (wash-outs), maintaining formation integrity as much as possible. On the other hand, a lower-energy regime such as laminar flow does not provide the same cuttings-carrying capacity as that obtained when the drilling fluid is in turbulent flow. However, to be able to optimize the hydraulics it is necessary to have determined, among other parameters, the transition zone, in order to maximize the drilling rate while obtaining the hole clear of cuttings and maintaining the hole diameter constant over the whole of the section drilled. This paper presents, based on experimental results obtained on the SHS physical simulator, the transition zone expressed through the critical Reynolds numbers and those for low stable turbulence of various drilling fluids tested over the temperature range of 25-80 deg C. (author) 20 refs., 7 figs., 4 tabs.
Silva, Maria das Gracas Pena 
- PETROBRAS, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Centro de Pesquisas. Setor de Tecnologia de Perfuracao