Mud Mixers Posts

Advantage Performix: Part III – The Mixing Tank

In the previous two installments of the Advantage Performix Series, we explored the science driving the world’s best mud mixing platform (read Part I here, Part II here). In our third and final installment, we cover the last step in the journey from raw materials to fully sheared fluids: the mixing tank.

A critical part of the overall system, Performix tanks are far from ordinary.  In fact, considerable time and engineering effort went into the development of the Performix tank. Of course, like almost everything else in the mixing process, all the "action" cannot be easily observed by the casual observer.

n the journey from the pump to the tank, the Performix Mixer functions as a system with one singular goal: To get you mixing fast and drilling better than any mixer on the planet.

So why spend the time and resources to engineer a hunk of plastic? It’s really quite simple:  If you want to build the best mud mixing system on the planet, the entire system – from the power plant and pump, to Venturi jet and tank—must be considered as an interconnected system, with each part playing a vital role.

There are two elements that make Performix tanks a vital piece of a total mixing solution.                                                    

  • Fluid Dynamics. You don’t have to ponder the fluid dynamics of your mud tank—because we’ve already done it for you. A year in development, our engineers designed interior tank contours that direct fluid on a path that generates maximum speed.
  • Agitation. Fast water is only half of the story. Considerable engineering was devoted to interior tank guns. Decisions on gun design, placement and angle—relative to the aforementioned interior tank curves—were all oriented to achieve a single goal: maintain maximum agitation.

With the engineered interior tank curvature working together with highly engineered tank guns, the Performix Mix System tanks are capable of turning an entire tank over in as little as two minutes.

Advantage Performix: Part II


Editor’s Note: In Part I of this series (read it here), we learned the Performix Mixer's centrifugal pump produces a highly streamlined water flow (i.e. high laminar flow). We also learned streamlined water flow is only a part (albeit an important part) of a process that ends with fully sheared drilling fluids. In Part II, we cover what happens to streamlined water as it encounters a narrowing in the pipe at the moment Bentonite is introduced into the water stream.  

The Science Behind The Performix Mix System

Way back in the 16th century, two scientists studying fluid dynamics made what would, hundreds of years later, become the core science behind the world’s best HDD mud mixer.

It started with a discovery by Swiss mathematician and all-around smart guy, Daniel Bernoulli. The principle, known as the Bernoulli Principle, states: “For fluids in an ideal state, pressure and density are inversely related (source: scienceclarified, click here). Simply stated, the Bernoulli Principle asserts slow-moving fluid exerts more pressure than fast-moving fluid.

Expanding upon Bernoulli’s observation, Italian physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi observed that as fluid flows through an enclosure (i.e. a pipe), encounters a “choke point,” it’s speed and kinetic energy increase, while pressure drops. The sudden drop in pressure creates a vacuum.

This is known as the Venturi Effect, seen in the illustration below.


As high laminar flow fluid (i.e. streamlined) emerges from the centrifugal pump, it encounters a "choke point" - or Venturi Jet. It is at this point where the fluid undergoes a rapid change in speed, kinetic energy and turbulence. Additionally, rapidly changing water composition creates a corresponding drop in pressure --a vacuum.

For more details on the Bernoulli's principle and the Venturi effect click here.  

Together, the discoveries of Bernoulli and Venturi are key concepts in numerous industrial applications—particularly aviation and fluids transport.  

Enough of the History Lesson. Tell Me Why I Should Care!

Here’s how the Bernoulli Principle and Venturi Effect are applied in the Performix Mix System. StraightLine HDD engineers incorporated a pump that produces a high laminar flow water (see Part I of this series here). This streamlined water flows into a “choke point” in the pipe. This choke point is called a Venturi jet.

Venturi Effect

For users of Performix Mixers, the Venturi Effect is clearly observed by the speed in which Bentonite disappears from the hopper. The forces acting on the Bentonite are not just gravity (present in competitive mixers), but suction created by a sudden decrease in pressure created by the Venturi.

Locating the Bentonite induction port precisely at the point where the Venturi Effect is most pronounced, creates two powerful effects.

  1. Increased water velocity in the narrowed pipe “slams” into the Bentonite with great kinetic force, shearing the Bentonite’s microscopic clay platelets with extreme efficiency, and
  2. The sudden decrease in pressure at the Venturi literally sucks Bentonite from the hopper at a much higher rate than a gravity-fed system.

So, there you have it:  How two “old” guys’ discoveries in the study of fluid mechanics played a critical role in making the Performix Mix System the absolute best in the world.

Advantage Performix: Part I – Laminar Flow

Laminar Flow, noun, Hydraulics, Mechanics.

  1. the flow of a viscous fluid in which fluid particles move in parallel layers; each of which has a constant velocity but is in motion relative to its neighboring layers.

The Performix Mix System produces fully sheared, ready-to-drill fluids faster and more efficiently than anything on the market. There are a number of technical reasons why (which will be covered in future posts), but it starts with a pump that produces the industry’s highest laminar flow. 

Laminar Flow

As fluid flows from the Performix pump, it is described as having high laminar flow (or streamlined). This orderly state will quickly change as fluid intersects the Venturi.

High Laminar Flow…So What?

For many, a mud mixer pump’s laminar flow means little. It should. Laminar flow describes how fluid particles flow in an orderly path through a passage (i.e. pipe), without intersecting with the paths of each other. This fluid flow type—high pressure/low velocity—is said to be “streamlined.”

This high state of laminar flow generated by the Performix pump is important because as the highly streamlined fluid flows into the Venturi Jet - and then out - dramatic changes in velocity, pressure and density occur.

  • From pump – Streamlined, Low Velocity/High Pressure
  • Into the Venturi - High Velocity/Low Pressure
  • Out of the Venturi – Turbulent, Low Velocity/High Pressure

The Bottom Line

Having a pump that produces fluid in a state of high Laminar flow is the first stage in producing fully sheared, ready-to-drill fluids. Additional stages are required to alter velocity, pressure and turbulence.

These stages will be covered individually in future blog posts.

Dual Performix

What's better than a Performix Mixer? Two!

BREAKING NEWS – StraightLine HDD Announces Upgrade to Performix Mixers

New Silicon-Carbide Seal Offers Three Times the Service Life

Hutchinson, Kansas – StraightLine HDD, Inc. announced the implementation of an upgrade to its popular Performix Mud Mix System. At the heart of the Performix System is the centrifugal pump, which generates the best laminar flow in the industry. The performance pump now features an upgraded silicon-carbide shaft seal. 

Learn more about the upgrade, click here.

Compared to traditional ceramic seals, the new silicon-carbide seal represents a 3x improvement in service life.

Compared to traditional ceramic seals, the new seal represents a considerable advancement in resiliency when subjected to the highly abrasive elements present in mud mixing. In field testing, silicon carbide seals improve service life by a factor of three over ceramic seals.

The Performix pump retains its lubricated housing feature, which protects the pump seal from mechanical damage if the pump ever runs dry. The new seal is a direct, no-modification required, replacement to the existing ceramic seal.

Straightline Introduces New Diesel Powered Performix Mixer

In response to customer demand StraightLine is proud to introduce our Performix D250 mud mixer. Powered by a 25Hp Lombardini diesel the D250 will deliver the rugged reliability that the Performix Family of Mixers have become known for. The D250 is a self contained skid with a small footprint that makes it easy to configure on any truck or trailer. The Performix D250 will inhale a 50-pound bag of bentonite and deliver a clump free mix in 30-seconds.