A method is described for enhanced rock fragmentation in drilling, cutting, tunneling, and grinding at constant applied mechanical stress, while also prolonging the life of the bits, cutting tools, and grinding media. Water-soluble, high-molecular weight nonionic polymers (e.g., polyethylene oxide) are used in drilling fluids to neutralize the surface charge on the rock, thereby promoting increased drilling (cutting, etc.) performance, resulting in increased penetration rate, extension in tool life, and dust suppression.
Chem. Abstr. 110:118,105F, Sept. 25, 1990 U.S. Pat. 4,959,164