dispersant | Energy Glossary

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1. n. [Drilling Fluids]

A chemical that aids in breaking up solids or liquids as fine particles or droplets into another medium. This term is often applied incorrectly to clay deflocculants. Clay dispersants are various sodium phosphates and sodium carbonates aided by heat, mechanical shearing, and time. Powdered polymers are dispersed by precoating the particles with a type of glycol to prevent formation of "fish-eye" globules. For dispersing (emulsification) of oil into water (or water into oils), surfactants selected on the basis of hydrophile-lipophile balance (HLB) number can be used. For foam drilling fluids, synthetic detergents and soaps are used, along with polymers, to disperse foam bubbles into the air or gas.

Synonyms: emulsifier

See: clay-water interactioncoatingdeflocculantdispersionHLB numberhydrophile-lipophile balance numberpolymersodium carbonatesodium phosphatesurfactant