Gilsonite is a natural, resinous hydrocarbon found in the Uintah Basin in northeastern Utah; thus, it is also called Uintahite. This natural asphalt is similar to a hard petroleum asphalt and is often called a natural asphalt, asphaltite, uintaite, or asphaltum. Gilsonite is soluble in aromatic and aliphatic solvents, as well as petroleum asphalt. Due to its unique compatibility, Gilsonite is frequently used to harden softer petroleum products. Gilsonite in mass is a shiny, black substance similar in appearance to the mineral obsidian. It is brittle and can be easily crushed into a dark brown powder. When added to asphalt cement or hot mix asphalt in production, Gilsonite helps produce paving mixes of dramatically increased stability.
Drilling Fluid Loss Control: For many years, Gilsonite has been used in the oilfield as an additive in drilling fluids. Gilsonite, in various grades and formulations, has been used to combat borehole instability problems, provide lubricity, especially in highly deviated holes, and more recently as a bridging agent to combat differential pressure sticking and provide a law invasion coring fluid. It has been well documented that appropriately formulated Gilsonite products can minimize hole collapse in formations containing water-sensitive, sloughing shales and reduce stuck pipe problems by forming a thin wall cake and an inter-matrix filter cake.
Gilsonite products are currently being widely used in water based, oil based, and synthetic based mud systems worldwide. Blended Gilsonite has proved to be very effective in all water-based systems.
Oil Sector:Gilsonite is used in drilling mud fluids and oil well cementing. Gilsonite, in a range of softening points and particle sizes, is a standard ingredient in oil-based drilling muds used in shales and other difficult geological formations. The addition of specially-treated Gilsonite to water-based drilling fluids helps minimize hole washout by stabilizing troublesome shales, and seals off highly permeable sands while reducing torque and drag. The addition of Gilsonite to oil well cements reduces slurry weight without loss of compressive strength and acts as an effective bridging and plugging agent to seal fractures in weak formations while cementing.
Asphalt and Road Paving Sector:Gilsonite is used as a performance-enhancing agent for asphalt mixes. Gilsonite-modified paving mixes achieve higher PG grades and incorporate perfectly into the asphalt blend with no need for high shear milling as is the case with many other modifiers. Gilsonite-modified asphalts have higher stability, reduced deformation, reduced temperature susceptibility and increased resistance to water stripping than non-modified asphalts. Gilsonite is also used to make both solvent-based and emulsion pavement sealers with superior appearance and weathering properties.
Foundry Sector:Gilsonite is combined with coal and other ingredients as an additive in foundry sands to insure the quality of the molded part by improving mold release and the overall finish of metal castings.
Chemical Products Sector:Gilsonite combines with many other chemicals and materials that take advantage of its unique physical and chemical properties. Binder and coating applications in metallurgical, wood product, refractary and other industries further demonstrate the versatility and usefulness of this remarkable material.
Inks and Paints Sector:Gilsonite Resin is widely used as the primary carbon black wetting agent for black news inks and headset and gravure inks. Gilsonite Resin competes advantageously with petroleum-based hydrocarbon resins, phenolic resins and metal resinates, all of which it can complement or replace to various degrees. Various concentrations of Gilsonite Resin are used to manufacture law-rub-off news inks with superior gloss and tack properties. Special grades of Gilsonite called Selects are also standard ingredients in black ink formulations and are used as additives in asphaltic paints and varnishes.