US 3154940 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 3, 1964 G. L. Looms 3,154,940
WELL TOOL WITH PRESSURE RESPONSIVE VALVE Nov. 3, 1964 A G. L. Looms 3,154,940
` wsu. Toor. wrm PRESSURE REsPoNsIvE vALvE United States Patent O 3,154,946 WELL TOOL WITH PRESSURE RESPONSIVE VALVE Glenn L. Loomis, RO. Box 728, Pasadena, Tex. Filed .lune 12, 1962, Ser. No. 201,929 14 Claims. (Cl. 73-405) The present invention relates to Well tools of the type lowered into well pipe for the purpose of owing a fluid into the well pipe at 'a predetermined pressure. More particularly, the present invention relates to improvements in pressure responsive valves for such well tools.
The present invention will be described in connection with a well ltool such as a testing apparatus of the type disclosed in my prior United States Patent No. 2,841,007, issued July 1, 1958. However, it will be understood the present invention is also applicable to other tools used in wells or the like wherein duid must be flowed at extremely high pressures and wherein the valve structure through which the nids flow might be subjected to other fluids which would cause the valve structure to operate improperly.
The testing tool of the heretofore-mentioned Patent No. 2,841,007 includes a tool body having spaced resilient packers thereon which are adapted to be set within the well pipe to deline `an annular space to which testing fluid is subsequently flowed at a high pressu-re to test an increment of the well pipe. The packers are set by the application of uid under pressure rand then the pressure of the duid is increased to a predetermined amount and a pressure responsive valve opens and allows uid toI ow into the annular sealed off space. After la test has been completed Kthe valve structure closes and pressure of the liuid within the tool becomes less than the pressure of uid in the annular space and a second pressure responsive valve structure opens to relieve pressure of any fluid exteriorly of the tool and trapped between the packers so that the packers may be released from the sealing position within the well pipe.
Quite frequently during testing operation of tubing strinfvs being inserted in oil and gas wells, weighting mud used in the completion process is encountered inside the tubing strings. Weighting mud is a viscous mixture of water, clay, barium and cellulose particles and some of this iiuid -oftentimes is drawn back into the tool when pressure is relieved from the section of pipe being tested. When the mud is drawn back into the tool it results in contamination of the testing fluid land oftentimes causes the valves within the testing` tool to malfunction. The same condition occurs in testing well pipe of a completed well especially when the well pipe being tested is corroded or dirty.
Heretofore pressure responsive metallic valves having a spring urged ball valve element and a valve seat or a spring urged plunger valve element and a valve seat have been used in testing -apparatus as well as in other well treatment tools and the conditions mentioned above have caused a great amount of lost work time yas the tools had to be frequently removed from the well, dismantled and the valves cleaned or replaced. A small ilake of foreign matter lodged under such metallic valve element and its valve seat have rendered the valve and its seat inoperative.
An important object of the present invention is to provide a well tool with a pressure responsive valve system which is not critically affected by foreign matter in the testing uid or foreign matter in other fluid encountered in the well pipe.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a well tool with a pressure responsive valve system which increases the length of work time for the tool without ICC repair or replacement of the Valve `or valves of the tool.
Ancillary to the immediately preceding object it is a further object of the present invention to provide pressure responsive valve means for Well tools or the like having a large tarea of contact between the valve element and the valve seat, the valve element and valve seat being capable of compensating for any foreign material which may be lodged therebetween.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved valve structure utilizing la resilient valve element made from an elastomeric material or a plastic material, the valve element having a large area of contact with the valve seat whereby foreign matter does not affect operation of the valve.
Another advantage of the present invention is to provide a pressure responsive valve means for use in Well tools which may be more easily adjusted to open at different pressures and which eliminates the use of changing metal springs and the like.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide la pressure responsive valve system for use in well tools or the like wherein a larger volume of fiuid can pass the valve at a given pressure than heretofore possible thereby allowing a faster testing operation.
The term pressure responsive valve as used throughout the specification and claims is intended to cover a valve through which fluid is positively flowed Iat a given pressure or a valve which is used as a relief valve to relieve the pressure of iluid in a given space.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will appear more fully from the following speciication, claims and drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, partly in elevation, of a testing apparatus of the present invention incorporating the improved pressure responsive valve system, the apparatus being shown in a Well pipe at la position for testing a collar joint between two stands of well pipe making up a string;
FIGURE 2 is =a sectional view taken on the line 2 2 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken on the line 3 3 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 4 is a vertical sectional view, partly in elevation, of the upper portion of a modified form of testing tool of the present invention; and
FIGURE 5 is a vertical sectional view, partly in elevation, of the lower portion of the testing tool of FIG- URE 4.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like character or reference numerals represent like or similar parts, the present invention is illustrated in connection with a testing ytool generally designated by the numeral 10 for testing an increment of well pipe generally designated by the numeral 12. The well pipe 12 comprises a plurality of stands I4 coupled together by threaded collars 16. While the well pipe has been illustrated as flow tubing for a gas or oil well, it will -be understood that it could be the casing for such a well.
Testing tool 10 which is suspended into the well pipe l2 to a point where a test is to be conducted includes spaced packer elements 18 and 2li which abut packer back-up rings 22 and 24 respectively. The packer elements 1S and 2li are resilient and made of an elastomer-ic material such as rubber, synthetic rubber or the like. Cylindrically shaped piston elements 26 and 28 slidable on a body member 30 of the testing tool l@ are adapted to be simultaneously extended by application of fluid pressure beneath their respective heads against the packer element 13 and 20 to compress the sarne longitudinally and expand the same transversely so that the packer elements seat against the wall of the Well pipe as shown in FIGURE l. In more detail, the body member Btl is provided with an axially extending passage 32, the upper end of the passage 32 being open and in fluid communication with a flexible conduit leading to a suitable source of iluid pressure (not shown). The lower end of the passage 32 is closed and laterally extending passages 3d in the body member Til communicate with the passage 32 and the area beneath the heads of the respective pistons 26 and 2S.
As shown in FIGURE l iluid under pressure hows down the passage 32 and Kthrough the transverse passages 34 moving the pistons 2d and 23 against 4,the :packer elements to seat the same in the well pipe. While the packer elements have been disclosed as piston actuated packer elements, it is of course within the scope of the invention to utilize other types of packer elements such as those shown in my United States Patent No. 2,807,955, issued October l, 1957.
In order that fluid can be iiowed into the annular space A between packers i8 and 2d after the same have been set, the testing apparatus or tool lil is provided with a fluid pressure responsive valve means 36. The valve means .'56 is operable at a pressure of testing fluid iowiug through the conduit 32 higher than the pressure necessary to set the packers i8 and 29 and, thus, the valve means opens after the packer elements set and when the pressure builds up within the tool Ito the predetermined amount. The iiuid will then ow into the annular space A and the `threaded joint of the collar i6 as well as the walls. ot the stands 14 between the packer elements are tested for leaks.
After a test has been conducted, pressure of the uid within the passage 32 is relieved and the valve means 35 immediately closes. Also the pressure beneath the piston elements 2o and 2S is simultaneously relieved and the piston elements tend to return to their normal retracted position. Giften-times there is liuid trapped between the packer elements 13 and 2li which has a pressure sumcient to maintain lthe packer elements in their set position and to relieve this pressure, a second pressure responsive valve means or relief valve means 3S is provided. rthe pressure responsive valve means 3S is opened when the pressure of the iluid in the annular space A is higher than the pressure of the fluid within the testing apparatus lib.
In more detail, the pressure responsive valve means 36 incluf es an enlarged bore di) extending transversely of the body member 319, the bore 43 intersecting the passage 32 and opening at its ends in diametiically opposed ports or openings d2 on the surface of the body member Si). A counterbore i4 is provided in the bore 49 and provides an arrangement encircling the bore so as to permit a continuous passage of iiuid lthrough `the passage 32 past the valve means 3d when the packer elements are set. The walls of the bore di? on each side of the counterbore 44 deiine annular valve seats de spaced apart by the width of the counterbore.
Cooperating with and supponted in the annular valve seats 'fi-o is an elongated cylindrically shaped resilient valve element 43 which in its relaxed position has a radial thrust into sealing engagement with the valve seats. The cylindrioally shaped valve ele-ment d3 is preferably made of an elastomeric material such as rubber, synthetic rubber or rubber substitutes which have an elastic memory. It may also be made or any plastic lmaterials having elastic memory.
The operation of the valve means 36 may be brielly described as follows. After iluid flows down the passage 32 around the counterbore 4d tothe lower portion of Ithe passage 32 and both the lower and upper packer elements have been set the pressure of the iiuid within the passage 32 and counterbore ed is then increased to a predetermined value. When the pressure liuid reaches the predetermined value, the uid -aoting on the portion of the valve element 4S bridging the bore 44 causes a deformation of the cylindrical Valve element 43 as a cold flow of the material occurs. This causes unseating of the valve element from both of the annular seats 46 and the fluid can ow outwardly of both sides of the bore through the diametrically opposed ports or openings 42 into the annular space A. As soon as pressure within the passage 32 is relieved, the elastic memory of the valve element 48 causes it to return to its relaxed position where it exerts a radial thrust on the annular seats de. Should a flake or particle enter between the valve element and a valve seat, the valve element will deform about the iake or particle still forming a seal with the valve :seat and, thus, the valve will perform its normal function when pressure is initially applied to set the packer elements during a subsequent test.
The valve means 36 may be adjusted to open at diierent fluid pressures. To accomplish this, the valve element 48 is provided with an axial bore 5d tapered at each end as indicated at 52 and an adjusting Screw 54 having a head 56. The screw is inserted through the bore Si? and a nut 53 is threaded onto the end of the adjusting screw 54. Both the nut 58 and the head 56 have tapered surfaces complimentary to the tapered surfaces 52 oi the bore 54). By tightening the nut, the valve element da is compressed longitudinally and exerts a great thrust radially on the valve seats de. The greater the thrust exerted on the valve seats i6 by the valve element d8, the greater the pressure necessary to cause cold flow and escape of iiuid outwardly of the bore into the annular space A.
The adjusting screw 54 is provided with a by-pass passage 60 having one end 62 opening to the bore di) and annular space A and the other end o4 opening to the interior surface of the bore 50 of the valve element 43. When the pressure of iluid acting on the open end 62 of the by-pass passage uit is greater then the pressure of fluid in the counterbore 44 and passage 32, it will act on the interior of the valve element 4S forcing the same into tight seating engagement with the valve seats 46 and thereby assisting in preventing uid from entering the body member 30.
As mentioned heretofore, in order to relieve pressure in the annular space A after a test has been completed and when the pressure has been relieved on the uid in the passage 32, the pressure responsive relief valve means 38 is provided. This valve means 38 includes an enlarged bore 66 provided in the passage 32, the bore 66 communicating with a laterally extending passage 63 having an opening '7th on the surface of the body member 36. The passage 68 divides the bore into spaced annular valve seats '72 which are adapted to support a cylindrically shaped resilient valve element 7d. The valve element 74 is made of the same material as the4 valve element d and is provided with an enlarged axial bore 76 therethrough so that duid can flow from the upper portion of the passage 32 to the lower portion of the passage 32. Normally the elastic memory of the material of the cylindrical valve element 74 sets the same against the valve seats 72 when the pressure within the body member 30 is greater than the pressure of huid externally of the body member. Also, the higher pressure of iluid flowing through the passage 32 and through the bore 76 ot" the valve element 74 causes the valve element to have a high radial thrust and, thus, tighter seating engagement.
The pressure responsive valve means 3S uuseats or opens when fluid pressure in the annular space A is higher than pressure of duid within the body member 36, the pressure in the space A acting through the passage 68 against the outside of the cylindrical valve element 38 to cause the same to deform or cold dow away from the seat or seats 72. The iluid will how between the valve seat and the valve element into the bore 66 in passage 32. It will be noted that the valve element 74 has a length slightly less than the length of the bore 66 so that the fluid passing the valve seat and the valve element can iiow into the passage 32.
While the valve element 74 has been shown with an unobstructed bore 76 therethrough, it will be understood that an adjusting screw mechanism such as that described with respect to the valve element 43 may be utilized to adjust the radial thrust oi the valve element 74 against its valve seat 72. Or" course, a suitable passage by-passing around the valve means 3S would have to be provided so that fluid could ow through to the lower portion of the passage 32.
Referring now to FIGURES 4 and 5 a slightly modified form of testing apparatus is illustrated. In FGURES 4 and 5 the testing tool lil is provided with spaced packers 18' and 2li operable in an identical manner to those previously described by pistons 25 and Z8'. Valve means 35 provided at the lower end of passage 32 includes a metallic ball valve element AS which seats against an annular seat 46. `A spring 49 urges a follower 51 together with the ball 4S toward the seat 46. The follower 51 is provided with suitable longitudinally extending grooves 53 so that tiuid can pass thereby into the lower section of a bore 55 which houses the valve. A passage 57 extending from the bore 55 to an opening at 59 on the surface of the tool body member 3%' permits tluid to flow to the annular space A when a test is to be accomplished.
The tool body Sii is provided with a by-pass passage 61 which communicates with the passage 32 lip-stream of valve means 46. The passage 6l communicates with a lower passage 33 which extends to a position adjacent the lower piston 28. In passage 33, an enlarged bore ci-6 is provided, the bore 66 communicating with a laterally extending passage 53 opening to the surface of the tool body member 30 as indicated at 7h'. A cylindrical resilient valve element 74 supported in the bore 66' and having engagement with the valve seats 72 defined by the wall of the bore on either side of the passage 6g fune tions as a pressure responsive relief valve 3S in an identical manner to the relief valve 3h. ri`he bore 76 through the valve element 74' permits lluid to pass through the valve element so as to actuate the ilow piston 28.
The testing tool illustrated in FlGURES 4 and 5 operates in an identical manner with the testing tool previously described with respect to FiGURES l through 3 in that the packer elements 1S and Ztl are lirst set and then the pressure on the iiuid within the testing tool is increased to a predetermined amount to cause the ball 48 to unseat and permit uid iiow to the annular space A externally of the tool. The relief valve 33 operates identically when fluid pressure within the tool is relieved to a point where it is less than the pressure or" fluid externally of the tool. While the testing tool illustrated in FGURES 4and 5 is not as preferred an embodiment as that shown in FlGURES l through 3, it does have the advantage over prior testing tools in that utilization of the specic pressure responsive relief valve means 38 is advantageous over the use of a metallic valve such as shown in the prior art. rl`here is less likelihood of a flake or particle lodging between the valve seat and valve element of the valve 36 than there is between the valve seat and valve element of the valve 3d and consequently the conventional metallic spring urged ball valve can be utilized at this position in the tool.
The terminology used in the specication is for the purpose of description and not limitation the scope of the invention being defined in the claims,
l. A pressure responsive valve mechanism comprising a body member having a bore therein and a ilow passage for tluid under pressure, said bore having at least two ends with at least one of the ends open, said low passage extending in said body member transversely of said bore and opening to said bore intermediate the ends of said bore, said bore having Walls on each side of the opening of said passage thereto dening spaced annular valve seats, a cylindrically shaped valve element carried in said bore with its ends supported in sealing engagement in said spaced annular valve seats, said cylindrically shaped valve element being made from a resilient material having an elastic memory whereby a predetermined pressure ot fluid in said ilow passage deforms the valve element off of at least one of said valve seats and permits flow from said passage between said valve element and the valve seat outwardly of said bore.
2. A pressure responsive valve as claimed in claim 1 including means to adjust outward pressure of said valve element against said valve seats whereby pressure of fluid necessary to unseat said valve element may be varied.
3. A pressure responsive valve mechanism comprising a body member having a bore therein and a ow passage for luid under pressure, said bore having at least two ends with at least one of the ends open, said ilow passage extending in said body member transversely of said bore and opening to said bore intermediate the ends of said bore, said bore having walls on each side of the opening of said passage thereto dening spaced annular valve seats, a cylindrically shaped valve element carried in said bore with its ends supported in sealing engagement by said spaced annular valve seats, said cylindrically shaped valve element having Ian axial bore therethrough, said cylindrically shaped valve element being made from a resilient material having an elastic memory whereby a predetermined pressure of fluid in said iiow passage deforms the valve element olif .at least one of said valve seats and permits flow from said passage between said valve element and the valve seat outwardly of said bore, an adjusting screw extending through the axial bore in said valve element, and a nut threaded onto said screw for compressing said valve element longitudinally and causing radial thrust of said valve element against said valve seats whereby the predetermined pressure of iiuid at which said valve element unseats may be adjusted.
4. A pressure responsive valve as claimed in claim 3 wherein said adjusting screw includes a by-pass passage opening at one end to said bore and at the other end to the wall of the axial bore in said valve element.
5. A pressure responsive valve as claimed in claim 3 wherein the opening of said passage into said bore in- `cludes a counterbore in the said bore encircling said valve element.
6. A pressure responsive valve as claimed in claim 3 wherein said axial bore in said valve element is tapered at each of its ends and wherein said adjusting screw and said nut are provided with complimentary tapered surfaces for engaging the tapered ends of the axial bore.
7. A pressure responsive valve mechanism comprising a body member having a bore therein and a flow passage for fluid under pressure, said bore having at least two ends with at least one of the ends open, said ilow passage extending in said body member transversely of said bore and opening to said bore intermediate the ends of said bore, said bore having walls on each side of the opening of said passage thereto deining spaced annular valve seats, a cylindrically shaped valve element carried in said bore with its ends supported in sealing engagement with said annular valve seats, said cylindrically shaped valve element having au axial bore therethrough and at least one end terminating short of at least one end of said bore, said cylindrically shaped valve element being made from a resilient material having an elastic memory whereby a predetermined pressure of fluid in said flow passage deforms the valve element ott at least one of said valve seats and permits flow from said passage between said valve element and the valve seat outwardly of said bore.
8. ln an elongated Well tool insertable into well pipe and having spaced packers thereon set by the application of iluid under pressure ilowing through the tool, the improvement comprising: an elongated body member on which the spaced packers are mounted, said body member having a uid passage extending therethrough for applying liuid t0 set the packers, said body member having a first pressure responsive valve means operable at a predetermined pressure higher than the pressure necessary to set the packers for supplying tiuid outwardly of said body member to a space between the set packers, said pressure responsive valve means including a transversely extending bore in said body communicating with said duid passage by an opening intermediate its ends, said bore having diametrically opposed openings on the surface of said body member, a resilient cylindrical shaped valve element carried in said bore and making sealing engagement with the same on each side of the opening of said passageway with said bore, and a second pressure responsive Valve means for iowing iiuid from externally of the tool into said fluid passageway.
9. A Well tool as ciaimed in claim 8 in which said opening of said iiuid passage with said bore includes a counter-bore in said bore intermediate the diametrically opposed end openings of the same.
10. A well tool as claimed in claim 8 wherein said irst pressure responsive valve means includes means to adjust the thrust of said resilient valve element against the wall of said bore.
l1. A well tool as claimed in claim 10 wherein said adjustment means includes an adjustment screw extending axially through said valve element and having a head abutting one end of the sanie and a nut carried on the other end of said screw and abutting the opposed end of said valve element.
12. A weil tool as claimed in claim 1l wherein said screw has a passage therein having one end opening in said bore and the other end opening against the interior of said valve element, said passage providing a by-pass whereby fluid in said bore under a greater pressure than iiuid in said tiuid passage maintains said valve element in tight sealing engagement with the wall of said bore.
13. A well tool as claimed in claim 8 wherein said second pressure responsive valve means includes an enlarged bore in said Iiuid passage, a resilient cylindrical shaped valve element carried in said bore and having a length less than the length of said bore and a transverse passage in said body extending from the exterior of the tool to the bore and exterior of the cylindrical shaped valve element.
14. A tool as claimed in claim 13 wherein said cylindrical shaped valve element of the second pressure responsive valve includes an axial bore therethrough.
Rererenees Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,662,485 Ilfrey Dec. 15, 1953 2,719,536 Stone Oct. 4, 1955 2,841,007 Loomis July 1, 1958 2,954,043 Canalizo Sept. 27, 1960 3,022,796 Cummings Feb. 27, 1962