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I can plug oil leak, says NY genius

jujuman13

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Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national

Quote(BP's engineers can't stop the gushing oil spill, but a young genius from Long Island says she found the solution in less time than it takes most people to finish a crossword puzzle.

Since the "top kill," "junk shot" and "top hat" techniques failed to end the environmental nightmare, Alia Sabur -- who started her engineering Ph.D. at age 14 -- is pushing for a more radical idea.

The Northport native, who started reading before she could walk and who at 18 broke a 300-year-old record to become the youngest-ever college professor, proposes surrounding a pipe with deflated automobile tires, inserting it into the leaking riser, and then inflating the wheels to form a seal.)

Perhaps BP should be considering idea's like this, especially as they seem to be getting no where with their own idea's?
 

Middleground

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Not only should BP be listening, but also the government.
 

Goshin

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Nothing else has worked so far, why not. At least it sounds cheap and relatively harmless.
 

donsutherland1

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It should be noted that as attractive as the idea sounds, there is the reality of pressure of 1 ton per square inch where the leak is situated. Auto tires would not withstand such pressure. If the leak were near sea level, the idea would be far more viable.
 

Tucker Case

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Are we sure this girl is actually a genius and not someone who recently stayed at a holiday inn express?
 

Jerry

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.....proposes surrounding a pipe with deflated automobile tires, inserting it into the leaking riser, and then inflating the wheels to form a seal.)
.....because even fully deflated, automobile tires are significantly larger than the well's diameter.

Even if you could fit them down the well, they would have to sit horizontal, and then oil would escape through the wheel.

You would need a long, narrow version of those high-pressure air bags major salvage companies use to move barges off land.

And then there's still the problem of how to make the inflatable go down the pipe while all that oil is blasting up.
 
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ADK_Forever

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Something I haven't seen yet. Why don't, or can't, they replace the BOP?
 

505

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And then there's still the problem of how to make the inflatable go down the pipe while all that oil is blasting up.
Exactly. This so called "genius" doesn't understand "pressure" and "physics" I guess. lol.

Something I haven't seen yet. Why don't, or can't, they replace the BOP?
Because at this point, the BOP is holding back most of the flow. If they were to remove it, the full 13,500psi from the well would be released, and there would then be no way to mount the replacement BOP. Had they been able to temporarily stop the flow with the drill mud during top kill, replacing the BOP would have been very high up on the list of possible fixes.

edit- Also, there is concern that one of the inner production casings has been dislodged and is jammed up into the bottom of the BOP. IF that is the case, then removing the BOP would allow that production casing to shoot out of the hole. Think of a blowdart gun shooting the worlds biggest blowdart... too many unknown variables to take the chance.
 
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Jerry

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It should be noted that as attractive as the idea sounds, there is the reality of pressure of 1 ton per square inch where the leak is situated. Auto tires would not withstand such pressure. If the leak were near sea level, the idea would be far more viable.
The pressure at a depth of 5000+ft is approximately 1780 psi, so one would have to inflate the tire to 1780 psi just to achieve equal pressure. On the ocean floor, if you then proceed to mount a tire inflated to 1780 psi to a car, it would be flat.

If my math is correct, then if you wanted a tire with a maximum rated psi of 45lbs to be fully inflated at a depth of 5,000ft, then you would have to inflate the tire to 80,100psi. Given the pressure exerted by the environment at that depth, the tire should behave as though it were inflated to 45psi at ocean level.
 

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Something I haven't seen yet. Why don't, or can't, they replace the BOP?
It's ankered to the well head, and it has a couple hounded feet of drill string running down it, which is in turn tangled up in the debris from the blown out well.

What they can do, however, is put another BOP on top of it. BOPs are designed to stack on top of each other. The only reason why they can't simply plop one down in this case is due to the drill string being in the way.
 
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Jerry

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Exactly. This so called "genius" doesn't understand "pressure" and "physics" I guess. lol.
She may find the cure for cancer one day, but that day is not today. Good luck to her and her PhD.
 

donsutherland1

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The pressure at a depth of 5000+ft is approximately 1780 psi, so one would have to inflate the tire to 1780 psi just to achieve equal pressure. On the ocean floor, if you then proceed to mount a tire inflated to 1780 psi to a car, it would be flat.

If my math is correct, then if you wanted a tire with a maximum rated psi of 45lbs to be fully inflated at a depth of 5,000ft, then you would have to inflate the tire to 80,100psi. Given the pressure exerted by the environment at that depth, the tire should behave as though it were inflated to 45psi at ocean level.
Its structure would be compromised by the pressure before one even got the chance to begin inflating it. Only the most durable materials can survive such pressure.
 

Deuce

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Plus, inflating a tire is a ****ing pain in the ass on the side of I-95. Just imagine doing it at 5000 feet underwater. How are you supposed to twist off that stupid little valve cap? And good luck operating that stupid little foot pump they give you with the spare tire kit, that thing is freaking useless. And whose idea was it to make this extra tire a different size anyway? That's just what we need, tires attached to the same axle of DIFFERENT SIZES.

Wait I forgot what we were talking about.
 
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BWG

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The oil and gas industry is well aware of inflatable bags or bladders made specifically for use as pipe plugs.

Hey, at least she's trying. :)

Pipeline Supply
 

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A tire wouldn't work for the reasons mentioned above, but couldn't some type of ultra-durable and somewhat inflatable material serve a similar purpose?
 

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They use telescoping pipe to go into the earth, for the oil well. Why can't they use the same, or similar, going up to the ship or into a smaller hose/tube that goes to the ship?

Or bring a tube down over the end of the spewing pipe. It could also lead up to smaller tubes then into a ship. The kind of tube I'm thinking of is the kind roofers throw debris down that goes right into a dump truck. It doesn't have to be pipe or even leak proof. All its purpose is is to lead the oil some place. Hell, if they could slow this down to 100 barrels a day that would be considered a huge success.

There must be many ways they can at least try to control the leak until they can stop it.
 

505

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A tire wouldn't work for the reasons mentioned above, but couldn't some type of ultra-durable and somewhat inflatable material serve a similar purpose?
The biggest problem with her plan is that the drill string is inside the riser. Once they finish the wire saw cut and the riser is open at the top of the BOP, 3 things can happen...

1 - The weight of the drill string overcomes the flow, and falls down the hole.

2 - The force of the flow shoots the drill string out the top.

3 - The rams inside the BOP hold the drill string in place.

Now they all THINK that 3 is what will happen. In that case there will be a 7" pipe inside of a 21" pipe, both cut flush with eachother. At that point it will be easier to CAP the flow than it will be to insert anything INTO the flow.

They pretty much already did exactly what she is proposing at the end of the damaged riser, where the smaller of the 2 initial leaks were. They didn't have great success with that capture method, and the LMRP cap will theoretically be able to catch a much higher percentage of the total flow.
 

505

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They use telescoping pipe to go into the earth, for the oil well. Why can't they use the same, or similar, going up to the ship or into a smaller hose/tube that goes to the ship?

Or bring a tube down over the end of the spewing pipe. It could also lead up to smaller tubes then into a ship. The kind of tube I'm thinking of is the kind roofers throw debris down that goes right into a dump truck. It doesn't have to be pipe or even leak proof. All its purpose is is to lead the oil some place. Hell, if they could slow this down to 100 barrels a day that would be considered a huge success.

There must be many ways they can at least try to control the leak until they can stop it.
That is pretty much what the LMRP cap will do. You have to remember the force of that flow and how tricky that connection is... it's not something you can just dangle a hose over and expect to start sucking up. With the pressure down there that deep, there is a lot of gas hydrates being formed. I am no chemist so I won't try to explain the exact process, but basically the methane molecules are forced to bond with a hydrogen molecule when the pressure is that high, they all clump together, and eventually form a crystaline like "crust" on everything. This is what caused the tophat style of collection to fail, and the only way to eliminate it is to keep the methane from touching the water.

That brings us to the situation we have now where they are trying to cut off all the damaged stuff, so they can get a better seal and hopefully at least cut back on the hydrate formation. If they succeed and the collection hose no longer gets clogged with hydrates, it is not out of the question that the leak will be reduced to that low of a number.
 

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Its structure would be compromised by the pressure before one even got the chance to begin inflating it. Only the most durable materials can survive such pressure.
Hmm I didn't think of that.

Even if you have equal pressure inside and out, that's still an ungodly force sandwiching the material between the internal and external pressures. +1 internetz for you.
 

Jerry

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A tire wouldn't work for the reasons mentioned above, but couldn't some type of ultra-durable and somewhat inflatable material serve a similar purpose?
If I had to deploy this idea right now, I would turn to something like these:





Ship-Launch Rubber Rollers

Underwater Air-lift Bags-air lift bags, salvage airbags, marine airbag-Evergreen-Maritime ISO17357 Approved

IMO an inflatable would only be a temporary fix. At best it would slow or stop the flow of oil until the relief wells were operational. These air-bags were not designed for sustained pressure.
 
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505

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What they can do, however, is put another BOP on top of it. BOPs are designed to stack on top of each other. The only reason why they can't simply plop one down in this case is due to the drill string being in the way.
You are correct, but that isn't the only reason. There is some concern that the original BOP was somewhat damaged when the rig sank, and will not be able to handle the full brunt of the capped pressure. This is why they are trying to capture rather than fully cap.
 

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They use telescoping pipe to go into the earth, for the oil well. Why can't they use the same, or similar, going up to the ship or into a smaller hose/tube that goes to the ship?

Or bring a tube down over the end of the spewing pipe. It could also lead up to smaller tubes then into a ship. The kind of tube I'm thinking of is the kind roofers throw debris down that goes right into a dump truck. It doesn't have to be pipe or even leak proof. All its purpose is is to lead the oil some place. Hell, if they could slow this down to 100 barrels a day that would be considered a huge success.

There must be many ways they can at least try to control the leak until they can stop it.
This was the idea behind the "dome" and "top hat" projects.

It worked for a very short time, but methane hydrates quickly clogged the hose leading back up to the ship. Some methane hydrates were expected, but the temperature and pressure variance at these depths produced a greater problem then was hoped for.
 

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You are correct, but that isn't the only reason. There is some concern that the original BOP was somewhat damaged when the rig sank, and will not be able to handle the full brunt of the capped pressure. This is why they are trying to capture rather than fully cap.

I thought the rig landed about 1500 feet away from the BOP.
 

Jerry

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You are correct, but that isn't the only reason. There is some concern that the original BOP was somewhat damaged when the rig sank, and will not be able to handle the full brunt of the capped pressure. This is why they are trying to capture rather than fully cap.
Do you know in what way the BOP is damaged? Are we talking about parts flying of the BOP or the BOP blasting off the base?
 
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