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A mud cleaner is a type of cleaning and purifying system in a drilling system. When mud goes into a drilling system, such as one used for oil drilling, it first passes through a hydrocyclone, which is the first step in purifying the mud. After solids pass through this system, they next meet the mud cleaner, which is a mesh that has tiny holes to keep larger solids from passing through to the fluid. The mesh itself typically is made to block barite, because this is a common substance used and found in drilling. This keeps the mud from becoming too thick and stopping the drill, and it allows the larger particles to be used for other purposes.
The first step in using a mud cleaner is to send the mud through a hydrocyclone, because it would be too thick for the cleaner to effectively work with. A hydrocyclone is a device that uses force to push purified mud through the top of the cyclone as thicker particles pass through the bottom section. Anything that goes through the bottom section then meets the mud cleaner.
While a hydrocyclone can help purify mud to an extent, the mud cleaner is responsible for purifying the mud even further. The cleaner is little more than a mesh with fine holes made to let tiny particles pass through. Anything that is tiny enough to pass through the holes then meets and mixes with the purified mud expelled from the hydrocyclone.
Larger particles are treated differently, depending on the needs of the user. The mud cleaner mesh is made to allow particles smaller than barite to pass, and barite may be useful for some drilling processes. If the user does not need barite, or if there are other particles that cannot be used, then they are simply discarded. Barite can be used to weigh down drilling solutions, and the weight can be useful in making a fluid that is stronger and better able to be used with drilling applications for thick liquids or solids.
Regardless of what the barite and larger particles are used for, they commonly are removed from the drill and purifying system after the mud cleaner separates the particles. This is because the large particles may cause the liquid to become too thick, meaning it no longer will be able to pass through the machine. By thinning the liquid, it makes it easier for the drill to continue drilling.