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Carboxy Methyl Cellulose(CMC)

A drilling-fluid additive used primarily for fluid-loss control, manufactured by reacting natural cellulose with monochloroacetic acid and sodium hydroxide [NaOH] to form CMC sodium salt. Up to 20 wt % of CMC may be NaCl, a by-product of manufacture, but purified grades of CMC contain only small amounts of NaCl. To make CMC, OH groups on the glucose rings of cellulose are ether-linked to carboxymethyl (-OCH2-COO-) groups. (Note the negative charge.) Each glucose ring has three OH groups capable of reaction, degree-of-substitution = 3. Degree of substitution determines water solubility and negativity of the polymer, which influences a CMC's effectiveness as a mud additive. Drilling grade CMCs used in muds typically have degree-of-substitution around 0.80 to 0.96. Carboxymethylcellulose is commonly supplied either as low-viscosity ("CMC-Lo Vis") or high-viscosity ("CMC-Hi Vis") grades, both of which have API specifications. The viscosity depends largely on the molecular weight of the starting cellulose material.

High Viscosity (HV)

CMC HV 508

Low Viscosity (LV)

CMC LV 502


Rheolon 50000 P


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