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Hydrodynamics (related to the oil leak in the Gulf)

  1. Jun 7, 2010 #1
    Ok heres a basic idea that I read somewhere else. See the attached image.

    Basically, its a pipe with inflatable "tires" surrounding it, that will be inserted into the well, and then the "tires" pumped full of hydrolic fluid. Hopefully capping the well, while still being able to retrieve oil from the well.

    The problem, not knowing much about physics, I think the high pressure would put too much stress on the bottom most valve, and they could all fail one at a time. starting at the bottom

    If this it true, is there a way to spread the PSI amoungst all of the tires so each is holding back some of the pressure.

    Could this be accomplished by allowing flow past each "valve". Maybe holes that get smaller as you get to the top of the pipe, until finally, no flow at all at on the very last "valves/tires". Would this effectivly spread the PSI between all the valves

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2010 #2


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    Gold Member

    What you are proposing is basically a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth_seal" [Broken]. To maintain a pressure drop across each successive seal you would have to constantly draw from the last "reservoir." This type of seal is typically used in rotating service.

    A Thaxton plug, or similar would probably be better suited for this typed of service (plugging a pipe).

    Edit- To address your proposed seals I am speaking in a very general sense, and certainly not the specific case of plugging the very deep well currently leaking in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The newest solution to the leak that I have seen proposes cutting the pipe cleanly above the old BOP, sealing around the outside, and adding an additional BOP which would allow for retrieval of the oil.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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