Adjustable Particle Separator for Drilling Mud

Abstract PDF: 

National Oilwell Varco (NOV), a worldwide leading company in the design, manufacture and sale of equipment used in oil and gas drilling, sponsored a team of BYU students to design, build, and develop the actuation for an adjustable hydrocyclone. A hydrocyclone is a fluid separation device used in oil and gas drilling that filters drilling mud by cen-tripetally separating dense particles from less-dense fluid. The new product is intended to replace an expensive and complex particle separating device as a more cost effective device that can achieve proper separation performance over varying feed conditions.


The BYU Capstone team acquired the project and, under the direction of NOV, produced an adjustable hydrocyclone that can successfully vary its geometry in order to adapt to changes in feed conditions and maintain constant separation performance over a range of feed characteristics. Actuation of the critical geometry was developed such that the hydrocy-clone can be controlled remotely. The product was also designed to be reliable for intensive operating conditions, easily assem-bled/disassembled for ease of service, and cost effective.


The adjustable hydrocyclone is to be delivered to NOV where it will ad-vance through further stages of product development. This development will include additional acceptance testing and producibility refinement where the product will be prepared to be manufactured in large quanti-ties for use in the oil field. The new hydrocyclone, featuring improved separation performance at lower cost, is expected to attract the market as an innovative solution to a longtime industry problem. The product continues National Oilwell Varco’s reputation of delivering excellent tech-nology to solve industry challenges and also demonstrates the excellent engineering and technology education at Brigham Young University.

School Year (term): 
2013-2014
Team Name: 
20: Team Maelstrom
Coach: 
Kelly Rasmussen
Team Members: 
Marlies Finch, Andrew Haymond, Scott Kunz, Mike Mikkelsen, Russell Peterson, Rafael Vecchi

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Capstone Webmaster, Department of Mechanical Engineering, BYU, Provo, UT 84602 - (801) 422-8657 Address/Directions



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