A technical and economic evaluation of thermal spallation drilling technology

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Thermal spallation of rock may be defined as a type of progressive rock failure caused by the creation of thermal stresses induced by a sudden application of heat from a high temperature source. This technology is applicable to only certain types of hard rock, such as dolomite, taconite, and granite. In 1981 and 1982, the deepest holes ever drilled by this process were drilled in granite to depths of 1086 feet and 425 feet respectively. Penetration rates at the bottom of the deeper hole reached a maximum of 100 ft/hr. Because of these high rates, considerable interest was generated concerning ... continued below

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Creator: Unknown. July 10, 1984.

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Description

Thermal spallation of rock may be defined as a type of progressive rock failure caused by the creation of thermal stresses induced by a sudden application of heat from a high temperature source. This technology is applicable to only certain types of hard rock, such as dolomite, taconite, and granite. In 1981 and 1982, the deepest holes ever drilled by this process were drilled in granite to depths of 1086 feet and 425 feet respectively. Penetration rates at the bottom of the deeper hole reached a maximum of 100 ft/hr. Because of these high rates, considerable interest was generated concerning the use of this technology for the drilling of deep holes. Based on this interest, this study was undertaken to evaluate the technical and economic aspects of the technology in general. This methodology has been used for blasthole drilling, the cutting of chambers at the bottom of drilled holes, and the cutting of narrow grooves in rock. However, because of the very high temperatures generated by the flame jet and the application of the technology to only certain types of rock, other areas of use have been very limited. In this report, evaluation of the technology was performed by conceptually designing and costing a theoretical flame jet drilling rig. The design process reviews a number of different concepts of the various components needed, and then chooses those pieces of equipment that best suit the needs of the system and have the best chance of being properly developed. The final concept consists of a flexible umbilical hose containing several internal hoses for carrying the various required fluids. An evaluation of this system was then made to determine its operational characteristics. The drilling capabilities and the economics of this rig were then compared to a conventional rotary drilling rig by theoretically drilling two holes of approximately 15,000 feet in depth. This comparison was done by use of a spread sheet type computer program. The results of this study indicate that flame jet drilling performs significantly better in both time and cost. These results are due primarily to the high penetration rates, the reduced number of trips, and the decreased trip time due to the use of the umbilical. However, this significant time and cost advantage must be tempered by the fact that they are based on the assumption that the main components of the flame jet rig can be realistically and reliably built. Unfortunately, the use of an umbilical system presents very realistic and difficult design problems as hole depth extends beyond 7000 feet. Thus, unless a significant market for the use of this equipment can be found, further development of an umbilical type system is very questionable. An alternate system suggests by LASL may circumvent many of the problems stated. This concept consists of using concentric pipes and a down hole fluid separation system. Concentric pipe built by the Walker-Neer Manufacturing Company, Wichita Falls, Texas, has been used successfully in the drilling industry for years. Fluid separators have also been developed and used. Although this concept also presents problems, it may be worth investigating.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: None
  • DOI: 10.2172/896256 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 896256
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887931

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • July 10, 1984

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 10:58 p.m.

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A technical and economic evaluation of thermal spallation drilling technology, report, July 10, 1984; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887931/: accessed July 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.