Geotechnical Drilling Birmingham What’s the Difference between Percussive and Rotary Drilling in Geotechnical Drilling?

Birmingham, Alabama geotechnical drilling crews may have a number of different drilling rigs available for use, but the type of drilling technique used will vary depending upon factors such as the drilling depth and the objectives of your drilling project.

Two of the most common types of drilling are known as percussive drilling and rotary drilling. When scheduling project involving geotechnical drilling, Birmingham clients may hear one or both of these techniques references. So what’s the difference between these two types of drilling and how are they used? Well that’s precisely what we’ll explore in today’s article.

What’s Rotary and Percussive Geotechnical Drilling?

Birmingham natives will typically see percussive drilling in cases where the geotechnical drilling crew is seeking to drill small, relatively shallow holes into the earth. Most often, percussive drilling is used in other types of drilling projects such as a project that involves drilling holes for blasting projects or mining, whereby holes are drilled into rock which is then blown apart with explosives.

Percussive drilling may also be used for drilling into rock or concrete to create anchor points as part of some sort of construction project.

Percussion drilling involves a drill that’s more similar in nature to a jack hammer. So, there is a carbide of other super strong drill bit that repeatedly strikes the rock to create a hole. Percussive drilling is fairly uncommon in geotechnical drilling, as it’s not commonly used in soil or to collect soil samples.

The other common drilling method, which is more commonly used for geotechnical drilling is rotary drilling. As the name implies, rotary drilling involves a drill bit that rotates in a circular motion. Rotary drilling is more effective for deeper drilling efforts, including some of the deepest drilling projects such as those that involve deep oil wells or water wells.

Equipped with carbide or diamond tips, the drill bit rotates to create the hole. This technique is also used for extracting core samples, which are commonly dealt with in geotechnical drilling. For these projects, the drilling bit is in the shape of a round, hollow cylinder which has teeth on the leading edge. The cylinder rotates, cutting down into the earth. This allows our geotechnical drilling team to extract a vertical column of earth with the distinctive layers intact. The core samples can be examined, evaluated and tested for water saturation, density, composition and other qualities.