The paper presents the results of an investigation into drilling mud flow with cuttings in a vertical well. The drilling mud rheology was described with the Herschel-Bulkley model. The axial Reynolds number was around 1000, the flow regime changing together with drill pipe RPM. The investigation covered the flow’s structures, integral parameters and cuttings transport in relation to drill pipe RPM and rate of penetration (ROP). In the laminar flow, most of the particles were localized in the quasi-solid region to move together with the last; the integral parameters had little dependence on drill pipe RPM increase. Increasing drill pipe RPM resulted in formation of the Görtler vortices near the channel’s external and internal walls, whose interaction led to the formation of smaller eddies converting the flow into a turbulent one. Due to the turbulence dispersion, the region taken by the particles widened. Particles suppress the vortex intensity near the channel’s external wall. Under the conditions described, increasing drill pipe RPM and ROP resulted in higher pressure drops and lower transport efficiency.

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