US 1648210 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 8, 192 7;
Filed June '7, 1927 manioc .nl un.. vl a.. .......,....1.....1.,., .A
liberan-aq Patented Nov. s, 1927. 'y
UNITED STATES BENJAMIN ANDREWS, or HoUs'roN, TEXAS;
METHOD OF SULPHUR MINING.
- Application led'June 7, 1927. Serial No. 197,203.
sulphur occurs in awaterflooded porous lime and gypsum rock which bocomes connected with the water sands above, through caving's `incidental to the application of the mining process. As a result it is found that the heavier cold water above flows down into the sulphur cavityv displacing the lighter hot water that has'been discharged into the formation through the wells forcing this heat bearing water out of the sul hur cavity into the ,l overlying barren san s, thereby causing the loss of this valuable vehicle and vitiating entirely its sulphur melting eEect, and making the heating and fusing of the sulphur diflicult and expensive due to the waste of the predominant proportion of the.
thermal units carried off by this Water escaping into the upper sands.
An object of my invention is to prevent the overlying cold water lfrom flowing down into the sulphur bearing horizon and displacing the hot waters therein, and thus to place the removal of the mine waters entirely under control of the operator so that the heating fluid may be applied to specific zones where unmelted sulphur deposits are known to exist.
Reference isl made to the drawing herewith in which 'a vertical section of a sulphur v mine is shown in such manner as to illustrate the carrying out of my invention.
The drawing is intended to show the various formations such as ordinarily occur in a mound where sulphur is found. The sulphur, indicated at 1, is ordinarily present in a porous gypsum rock'2 lyino' above a stratum of salt 3. A stratum of water bearing sand 4 is usuall present closely above the sulphur deposits, but separated from it by a bed of clay or shale 13.
A sulphur Well may be drilled down through the different strata to the sulphur formation. Such a well is shown somewhat diagrammatically at 5. The numeral 6 present.
designates the casing, which at its upper end 1s provided with a casing head 7 through which the heated liquid may be pumped. A sulphur outlet pipe 8 extends through said casing head to the sulphur stratum. It
forms a fluid-tight fit through the casing head, as shown. An air discharge -pipe 9 of small diameter extends downwardly inside the sulphur pipe. Said air pipe discharges the air into the sulphur pipeh at a point spacedupwardly somewhat above the bottom and serves to aerate and lift the sulphur so that it may be raised to the Surface by the fluid pressure in the well. The hot water ordinarily pumped into the mine is fresh water which has been heated to a teinperature above the fusing point of sulphur. Such water, as well as the mine water to which it has imparted some heat, because of specih'c gravity than the free cold water in the water bearing sands above the mine. For this reason, the cold waters above tend to descend in convectional currents downwardly into the sulphur bearing formation 'its high temperature, is necessarily of lighter overlying sands. In order to secure the best effect and bring any of the heated water in contact with the sulphur in the formation, it becomes necessary, to pump immense quantities of hot water into the mine and depend more or less on accident for results, as
the supply of cold water above'is practically inexhaustible. system of mining sulphur is thermally extremely inelicient; probably the most successful. operations do not secure a thermal eficiency of 5% of perfect.
To overcome this diificulty, I contemplate pumping into'the sulphur mine, through the system of pipes, such as are now employed for delivering the hot water therein, a large quantity of water which I. make ofheavy specific gravity through the mixing therewith of salt. This cold heavy water is pumped into the mine until it displaces the larger portion of the cold water already The said cold water originally in the mine is thereby forced upwardly away bearing sands above. After the mine has Needless to say the presentbeen flooded with the heavierliquid there will be no tendency for the light colder waters from above to run down into and cool the mine.
I next drill an additional well, such as is shown in the drawing at 10. This well is preferably drilled to a point lower in the for.- mation than the bottom of the well shown at 5. It has an outer casing v11 and an air inlet pipe 12. This well will act as a socalled bleed well to take water from thel salt. laden hot water, as is described in my co-pending application No.'28,020, filed May 4th, 1925.
The action of the process thus to be carried out will be about as follows:
The heating medium will be discharged, or applied, adjacent the sulphurl stratum through well 5, and will at first rise upwardly-toward the upper surface. of the sulphur stratum heating and carrying with vit some of the cold water already present.. It will then serve to heat the upper portion of the mineA and this heat will be gradually extended downwardly as the cold water is removed from the. bleed well lO. The Water in the formation will be of heavier gravity than that of the cold water in the sands and this cold water will have no tendency to run down and displace the hot mine water. Thus the hot water pumped into the sulphur formation will be confined thereto and no further addition of cold water to the sulphur stratum will tend to occur. The final result will be that the total sulphur bearing stratum will be filled with hot water and the cold heavy water first pumped into the mine will b e gradually drawn off through the bleed well 10. A
In this way, the hot water may be efiiciently brought into contact with the sulphur in the formation which'will all be fused, and will rrun by gravity toward the lower end vof the mine -5 where it may be raised Ato the surface and thus saved. It willbc obvious that this method will be much mow.` economical than the present method and will ,also makeit possible to remove more eff-cctively the greater quantity of sulphur from the sulphur producing stratum. The further objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. What I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is: y
1 In the mining of sulphur from underground Vdeposits by means of the hot water process, the improvement comprising first preparing the same for operation `by displacwith a liquidl of heavy specific gravity, lthen applying to the same the heating agent and controllingthe zones of application of the heat by removing the mine Waters through suitably located outlets.
ing part or all of the natural mine waters 2. In the mining of sulphur from under-v ,l
ground ydeposits .by means of the hot water process, the improvement comprising first Adisplacing the natural mine waters with a liquid of comparatively heavy specific gravity, then forcing into the mine a liquid of heavy specific gravity heated to a point ,above th-e fusing point of sulphur, and simultaneously removing the heavy mine waters through suitably located outlets'.
`3. In the mining of sulphur from underground deposits .by means of the'hot water process, the improvement comprising firsty displacing thel natural waters in the formation with a liquid of comparatively heav specific gravity, then applying a suitabe heating agent and simultaneously removing the heavy liquid first pumped through suitably located outlets.l
4. In the mining of sulphur from underground deposits by means of the hot water process; the improvement comprising first displacing the natural waters present in the mine with a liquid of comparatively heavy specific gravity, then introducing a hot liquid whose specific gravity has been raised above that of the water originally present in the mine, and gradually eliminating the heavy water and thereby controlling the zones of application of the hot Water. i
5. In the mining of sulphur from underground deposits having cold water present therein, the method comprising first drivin from the formation the free cold wat-er a vready present and substituting therefor a cold water in the mine. and at the same time drawing oft' through van adjacent well the heavy cold water first pumped into the mine. In' testimony whereof I hereunto affix mv Isignature this 1st day of June, A. D. 199'?.
BENJAMIN ANDREWSf into lthe Well