, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 7091–7112 | Cite as

Cellulose nanofibrils as a replacement for xanthan gum (XGD) in water based muds (WBMs) to be used in shale formations

  • Yurany Villada
  • María Celeste Iglesias
  • Natalia Casis
  • Eleonora Erdmann
  • María Soledad Peresin
  • Diana EstenozEmail author
Original Paper


In this work, the potential replacement of xanthan gum (XGD) by cellulose nanofibrils in the composition of water based muds (WBMs) was studied. Bleached (B-CNF) and unbleached (L-CNF) cellulose nanofibrils, mainly differentiated by their lignin content, were tested and their performances were compared with that of XGD. The effects of cellulose nanofibrils on the rheological and filtration properties of WBMs were investigated. Rheometric analysis showed a shear-thinning behavior more noticeable for fluids containing B-CNF and XGD, while filtration properties were improved using L-CNF. The Sisko model was used to determine rheological parameters. Finally, it was found that by replacing XGD by double concentration of L-CNF in a WBM for Argentina shale, similar rheological properties were obtained. Structural changes were assessed by using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Particles agglomeration and good film formability were observed. Furthermore, WBMs with lignin-containing cellulose nanofibrils exhibited a better thermal stability after aging.

Graphical abstract


Lignin Cellulose nanofibrils Water based drilling fluid Xanthan gum Argentina shale 



Cross section area in Eq. (1)




Fully-bleached cellulose nanofibrils


Cellulose nanofibrils


Lignin-containing cellulose nanofibrils


Oil based muds


Polyanionic cellulose


Systems of fluids containing BT, B-CNF, PAC and H2O


Systems of fluids containing BT, L-CNF, PAC and H2O


Systems of fluids containing BT, XGD, PAC and H2O


Water based muds


Xanthan gum


Flow consistency coefficient at low shear rate (mPa·s)


Permeability (mD)


Flow behavior index


Filtrate rate (cm3/s)


Thickness of filter cake (cm)

\(\dot{\gamma }\)

Shear rate (1/s)

\(\Delta P\)

Pressure difference (6.80 atm)

\(\eta_{\infty }\)

Viscosity at infinite shear rate (mPa·s)


Viscosity of the filtrate at 25 °C (1.00 cP)



The authors are thankful to Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) and Universidad Nacional del Litoral (UNL) for the funding. Raquel Martin Sampedro and Maria Eugenia Eugenio from the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA, Spain) are acknowledged for providing the cellulose pulps. CNF suspensions were produced under Panu Lahtinen from VTT Technical Research Center of Finland Ltd. (Espoo, Finland) is acknowledged for producing the CNF suspensions.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yurany Villada
    • 1
  • María Celeste Iglesias
    • 2
  • Natalia Casis
    • 1
  • Eleonora Erdmann
    • 3
  • María Soledad Peresin
    • 2
  • Diana Estenoz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.INTEC (Universidad Nacional del Litoral – Conicet)Santa FeArgentina
  2. 2.Forest Products Development Center, School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.ITBA (Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires)Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina

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