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Publication numberUS3285186 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 15, 1966
Filing dateApr 26, 1965
Priority dateApr 26, 1965
Publication numberUS 3285186 A, US 3285186A, US-A-3285186, US3285186 A, US3285186A
InventorsMatula Theodore D, Tracy Herbert E
Original AssigneeBorg Warner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sand and gas separator
US 3285186 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 15, 1966 E. TRACY ETAL SAND AND GAS SEPARATOR 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 26, 1965 Nov. 15, 1966 H. E. TRACY ETAL 3,285,186

SAND AND GAS SEPARATOR Filed April 26, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent 3,285,186 SAND AND GAS SEPARATOR Herbert E. Tracy, Alhambra, and Theodore D. Matula, Fresno, Califi, assignors to Borg-Warner Corporation, Chicago, Ill., a corporation of Illinois Filed Apr. 26, 1965, Ser. No. 450,588 14 Claims. (Cl. 103-113) This invention relates to a sand and gas separator for use in combination with a pump for pumping water from wells.

The usual form of pump for pumping water from water wells comprises a plurality of vertically stacked stages, each having an impeller mounted for rotation on a common shaft and driven by a common motor. The pump is preferably inserted near the bottom of the well and water, entering the first stage, is discharged into the next succeeding stage, etc., until the water reaches the desired pressure where it is discharged into a suitable pipe for flow to the surface of the earth for consumption.

A common problem in pumping water out of water wells by the aforesaid form of pump has been the presence of sand and gas in the water which interferes with the operation of the pump. Sand entering the inlet of the pump has acted as an abrasive in the pumping stages, causing damage to the impellers and other parts such as to the shaft and its bearings. This, of course, reduces the life of the pump causing frequent repair and down time. Gas, on the other hand, entering the inlet to the pump has reduced the efficiency of the impellers which are designed to pump liquids and, as a result, the amount of water pumped is below the pumps capacity.

Numerous attempts have been made heretofore to remove the sand and gas from the water being pumped by the use of sand and gas separators, but these attempts have been largely unsatisfactory. Some separators either have themselves contributed to the inefficiency of the pump impellers by reducing the pressure at the inlet to the pump due to internal friction losses and the like, or have been unable to remove a sufiicient amount of sand and gas from the water to overcome the aforesaid wear and loss of efficiency problems. Other separators, in addition to their inability to remove enough sand and gas, have been unable to rid themselves of the sand and gas removed from the water, and have thus allowed sand and gas to accumulate within the separator which eventually rendered the separator inoperative. To remove the sand, of course, required the pump to be withdrawn from the well, and to clear the gas out of the separator required the pump to be stopped until the gas dissipated. Too, the accumulation of gas within the separator, if not enough to require stoppage of the pump, still reduced the efiiciency of the separator with the result that the water entering the pump contained more gas than could have otherwise been removed.

One of the reasons for the accumulation of sand and gas in the separators has been the lack of provision in the separators for coping with the problem caused by the pressure differential existing between the higher pressure water in the well and the lower pressure of the sand and gas laden water within the separators which prevents the flow of sand and gas out of the separator and back into the well water.

The sand and gas separator which comprises this invention and which solves the aforesaid problems comprises a tubular housing connected to the inlet of the first stage of the pump and provided with means in the form of internal vanes within the housing to spin and induce a vortex in the sand and gas ladened water entering the housing. This vortex causes the heavy sand laden water to move toward and follow the inner wall of the tubular housing, while a lighter gas laden water is caused to move ice toward the center of the vortex. This lighter gas laden water is removed by a pickup, located in the housing in the path of the center of the vortex, and is connected to a jet pump which reduces the pressure in the pickup below the pressure of the gas laden water within the vortex so that the gas laden water will flow through the pickup and back to the water in the well. The sand laden water following the housing wall is discharged into sand collector chambers which terminate the spinning action of the sand laden water from whence it is conveyed via tubes to a discharge tube where it is discharged back into the well below the intake of the separator. Inasmuch as the sand laden water will tend to accumulate and clog the tubes and the collector chambers, a second jet pump is provided so as to induce a continual flow from the collector chambers through the tubes and out into the well.

Thus, it is a principal object of this invention to provide a new and improved sand and gas separator for effective removal of sand and gas from water being pumped from a well, thus eliminating the damage that sand can do to the working parts of the pump and eliminating the efficiency loss due to gas entering the pump.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a sand and gas separator which includes a means for inducing a spin to the sand and gas laden water so as to separate both the sand and the gas from the water before it enters the inlet of the pump and to provide means for eflicient removal of the sand and gas from the separator so as to maintain the separator operation at a high efficiency level.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a sand and gas separator with jet pumps so as to provide effective removal of the separated sand and gas from the separator notwithstanding a lower pressure level in the separator and the higher pressure level of the well water.

Other advantages and features'of the present invention will become apparent from a more detailed description of the drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of the pump and sand separator as shown located in a well;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarge-d cross-sectional, elevational view showing the sand collector chambers located in the separator;

FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 33 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG- URE 1 to show the top of the sand discharge tube in more detail;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional, elevational view showing the pickup for the removal of the gas laden water from within the separator;

FIGURE 6 is an elevational view of the discharge of the pickup;

FIGURE 7 is a plan view of one of the blades used in the separator as vanes to induce the spin to the water traveling therethroug'h, but before the blade is twisted to form the vanes; and

FIGURE 8 is a partial view showing one of the vanes located within the separator housing.

In FIGURE 1, it can be seen that the sand and gas separator 10 constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention is located below the last stage 12 of the pump 14. Stage 12 comprises an impeller 16 mounted on a shaft 18 and driven by motor 20 so as to rotate in pump bowl 22. The last stage 12 is connected to a pump inlet adaptor 24 having internal vanes 26 to direct water entering the pump inlet 30 into the impeller inlet 32 where it is discharged out into passages 34 of the bowl and into the inlet of the next succeeding impeller, etc., until the desired pump discharge pressure level is reached.

Sand and gas separator 10 comprises a hollow tubular housing 40 of substantially the same diameter as the pump stages 12 in axial alignment with the pump axis. One end of the tubular housing is connected to the inlet adaptor housing 24 in any suitable manner as by threads 42 so as to be suspended from the pump. The tubular housing 40 has a separator inlet 44 at the end of the tubular housing opposite the pump inlet and inlet 44 is covered with a strainer 46 to prevent large particles entering the separator inlet.

The separator housing 40 is also provided with a plurality of internal vanes 48 spaced at intervals within the tubular housing so as to cause the fluid flowing from the separator inlet 44 to the pump inlet 30 to spin and form a vortex therein. Vanes 48 are formed, in this embodiment, by twisting flat blades 50, one of which is shown in FIGURE 6, so that each vane of each blade is inclined with respect to one another and fitted in any suitable manner within the tubular housing such as by welding 52 clearly shown in FIGURE 7. All vanes are inclined in the same direction to induce the spin into the water although the blade axes are located at 90 from one another throughout the separator housing to induce the aforesaid spin on the water.

Located downstream of the vanes, that is, at at point above the vanes as shown in FIGURES 1 and of the drawings, is a pickup 54 with it diverging inlet 56 facing downwardly toward the vanes and separator inlet, and coaxially of the center of the-vortex so as to pickup the gas laden water and gas at the center of the vortex where it will be conveyed by horizontal pipe or tube 58 into a vertical chamber 60 located on the outs de of the tubular housing. Chamber 60 diverges at its lower end to form a downwardly directed discharge opening 62 for the flow of the gas and gas laden water from pipe 58 past protecting vanes 63 and out into the well. The protecting vanes 63 are for the purpose of protecting the chamber 60 when the separator is lowered in the well such as to a position shown in FIGURE 1.

The upper end of chamber 60 is closed and narrower than the discharge end of the chamber, but extends past the discharge port 64 of the tube 58 and is provided with a nozzle 66 located within the chamber and in close proximity to the discharge 64 so as to form a jet pump 68 within the chamber 60. Nozzle 66 is, in turn, in open communication with a zone of high pressure liquid such as to the high pressure side of stage 12 by a tube 70 so as to convey high pressure liquid to the nozzle 66 to create a zone of low pressure at the discharge 64 and in accordance with the principle of operation of the jet pumps. This low pressure 'zone creates a flow from the mouth 56 of the pickup, thus creating a low pressure zone within the mouth 56 to pickup the gas and gas laden water in the center of the Vortex and cause a continual flow thereof from the pickup 54 to the discharge opening 62 of the chamber.

As hereinbefore mentioned, under certain conditions the pressure of the gas laden water, etc., in the center of the vortex may be lower than the pressure of the water in the well due to friction losse in the separator and due to inherent function of the vortex, and thus the gas laden water would not flow out of the separator. However, this problem is solved by use of the aforesaid jet pump 68 which creates a zone of low pressure at the discharge 64 of the pipe 58, which low pressure is maintained lower than the low pressure in the mouth of the pickup so that there is a continual flow past the discharge 60 where it is directed by the jet from the pump out of the separator and back into the Well. This prevents the accumulation of gas within the separator and increases its efliciency and prevents gas from entering the pump inlet 30.

Referring again to FIGURE 1, and also to FIGURES 2-4, inclusive, it will be seen that the tubular housing 40 is also provided with a pair of openings 80 almost diametrically opposite to one another and located below a conically-shaped baflle 86, both of which are located below the pump inlet 30. The openings 80 communicate with a pair of sand collector chambers 82 and 84 located on the outside of the tubular housing so that the sand laden water traveling upwards on the inside of the tubular housing will flow into these sand collector chambers. Openings '80 have sharp, vertical edges 88 to prevent the formation of eddies in the spinning sand laden water as the latter passes through the openings and the bafile 86, located immediately above the openings, obstructs the travel of any sand laden water past the openings to prevent sand from entering the pump inlet 30.

Sand collector chambers 82 and 84, being semi-annular, extend substantially around the outer periphery of the tubular housing and are closed at their respective top and sides and provided with an apertured bottom 90 to collect the sand laden water after the latter has passed through the openings 80. Chambers 82 and 84 reduce the velocity of the sand laden water and allow the same to settle toward the bottoms 90 of the chambers. The apertures 92 (four shown in FIGURE 3) in the bottoms 90 form the discharge from the chambers and are connected by a plurality of tubes 94 which extend downwardly on the outside of the housing and converge within a discharge pipe 96. Discharge pipe 96 is closed at its top as at 98 and extends downwardly a distance below a separator inlet 44 a sufiicient distance not to disturb the flow of Water into the separator inlet 44 and is open at its bottom as at 100 to discharge the sand laden water back into the well. It should be noted too that where the tubes 94 converge toward the discharge pipe, wires 102 are aflixed thereto so as to form the strainer 46 for the separator inlet.

As hereinbefore mentioned, in prior separators there has been a tendency for sand to accumulate and to clog these separators. One of the reasons for this is that prior separators were unable to cope with the pressure differential between the pressure of the water in the well and the pressure within the separator which was almost always less than the pressure in the Well. As a result, the prior separators could not rid themselves of this sand. Too, unless the sand could be kept in motion, there is a natural tendency for it to clog the inner parts of the separators. This accumulation and clogging of this sand is prevented in this invention by providing a source of pressure at the discharge end 100 of the discharge tube which is lower than the pressure with the sand collector chambers so that the sand laden water will flow toward the discharge. This low pressure source is provided by a nozzle 104 located within the tube 96, but closely ad jacent its end 100 and held in place by transverse support fins 106, the latter permitting sand and water to pass through and out the discharge pipe. This nozzle 104 is connected by tubes 108 to a source of high pressure which, in this case, is the high pressure side of the first stage 12 of the pump so as to direct high pressure water toward the discharge 100 and thus form a jet pump 110 and which, in accordance with the principle of this device, creates this low pressure zone in the discharge pipe 96 so that the sand laden water will continually flow toward the discharge and will be directed by the jet of the pump back into the well. I

From the foregoing, after the pump and separator are lowered into the well, as illustrated in FIGURE 1, water containing sand and gas entering the separator inlet 44 will travel upwardly toward the pump inlet 30, but during its travel will be induced to form a vortex by the operation of the blades48. The lighter, gas laden water, by the operation of the vortex, will travel toward the center while the heavier sand laden water is forced to travel upward along the inner walls of the tubular housing. The gas laden water will then be picked up by the pickup 54 and conveyed out into the well by operation of the jet pump 68. The sand laden Water will travel further up the tubular housing where it will enter the sand collector chambers and be conveyed out into the well through the discharge by the jet pump 110. In the meantime, the sand-gas-free water will travel upwardly past the bafiie 86 above the openings 80 where the diagonal vanes 112 Will stop the spin of the water traveling past the baflle to prevent any adverse eflects on the pump because of spin.

In the above description of this invention, reference has been made to that which is picked up by the pickup 54 as gas and gas laden water? and gas and gas laden water. These terms were used almost interchangeably inasmuch as more often than not that which is picked up will be a mixture of gas, water having entrained gas and Water, and these term-s were intended to mean that which moves toward the center of the vortex to be carried out to the well water outside the separator.

While only a single embodiment of the present invention is disclosed and described herein, it will be readily apparent to persons skilled in the art that numerous changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing disclosure and description thereof are for illustrative purposes only and do not in any way limit the invention which is defined only by the claims which follow.

What is claimed is:

1. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden well water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet, means in said housing for separating the lighter gas laden water from the heavier sand laden water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet,

means for removing the gas laden water from the housing and discharging the same back under the influence of high pressure Water into the well, and

means for removing the sand laden water from the housing and discharging the same back under the influence of high pressure water into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet.

2. A device for removing sand and gas from water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet, means in said housing for separating the lighter gas laden water from the heavier sand laden water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet,

means including a jet pump for removing the gas laden water from the housing and discharging the same back into the well, and

means including a second jet jump for removing the sand laden water from the housing and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet.

3. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing Water into the pump inlet, means in said housing for separating the lighter gas laden water from the heavier sand laden Water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet,

means connected to a source of low pressure outside said housing for removing the gas laden water from the housing and discharging the same back into the well, and

means connected to a source of low pressure outside said housing for removing the sand laden water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet.

4. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a. tubular housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet, means in said housing for separating the lighter gas laden water from the heavier sand laden water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet,

means for removing the gas laden water from the housing and discharging the same back into the well, said means including a jet pump, and

means for removing the sand laden water and discharg ing the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet,

said means including apertures in said housing, sand collecting chamber means communicating with said apertures to collect said sand laden water [flowing into collecting chamber means, a discharge tube, means connecting said collector chamber means to said discharge tube, and a second jet pump in said discharge tube to pump said sand laden Water from said sand collector chamber means.

5. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden well water before entering a pump inlet, comprising:

a housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet,

means in said housing for inducing a vortex in the sand and gas laden water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet by which lighter gas laden water is transferred to the center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water is transferred to the inner wall of the housing,

means for removing the gas laden water from the center of the vortex and discharging the same under the influence of high pressure water back into the well, and

means for removing the sand laden water and discharging the same under the influence of high pressure water back into the well so that sand and gas free Water will continue to flow into the pump inlet.

6. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden well Water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a tubular housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet, means in said housing for inducing a vortex in the sand and gas laden water as it flows through the tubular housing toward the pump inlet by which lighter gas laden water is transferred to the center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water is transferred to the inner wall of the housing,

means located at the center of said vortex and connected to a source of low pressure for removing the gas laden water from the center of the vortex and discharging the same back int-o the well, and

means located at the periphery of the vortex and connected to a source of low pressure for removing the sand laden water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet.

7. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden well water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet,

means in said housing for inducing a vortex in the, sand and gas laden water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet by which lighter gas laden water is transferred to the center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water is transferred to the inner wall of the housing,

means including a jet pump for removing the gas laden water from the center of the vortex and discharging the same back into the well, and

means including a second jet pump for removing the sand laden water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free Water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet.

8. A device 'for removing sand and .gas from sand and gas laden water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a tubular housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directing water into the pump inlet, means in said housing for inducing a vortex in the Water as it flows through the tubular housing toward the pump inlet by which lighter gas laden water transferred to the center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water is transferred to the inner wall of the housing,

means for removing gas laden water from the center of the vortex and discharging the same back into the well, said means including a pickup located at the center of the vortex, a jet pump located so as to direct the gas laden water in said pickup to said well, means connecting aid jet pump with said pickup, and

means for removing the sand laden Water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet, said means including sand collector chamber means located so as to receive said sand laden water from said vortex, a second jet pump located so as to direct said sand laden water in said collector chamber means to said well, and means connecting said second jet pump with said collector chamber means.

9. A device for removing sand and gas from sand and gas laden water before the latter enters a pump inlet, comprising:

a housing for connecting to the inlet of the pump and for directin water into the pump inlet,

blade means in said housing for inducing a vertex in the sand and gas laden water as it flows through the housing toward the pump inlet by which lighter gas laden water is transferred to the center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water is transferred to the inner wall of the housing,

means including a jet pump for removing the gas laden water from the center of the vortex and discharging the same back into the well,

means including a second jet pump for removing the sand laden water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water will continue to flow on into the pump inlet,

baffle means located adjacent said pump inlet to prevent any sand laden water from flowing past said means for removing said sand laden water, and

means for stopping the spin of said sand and gas free water as it enters said pump inlet.

10. In combination with a submersible pump;

a gas separator unit having a cylindrical housing suspended from the bottom of the pump and forming substantially a coaxial continuation thereof,

said separator housing having an outlet at one end thereof which connects to the pump inlet and a separator inlet at its other end, 7

means in said separator housing to induce a vortex in the water entering the separator inlet as it moves toward the pump inlet whereby lighter gas laden water will move towardthe center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water will move toward the inner wall of the separator housing, 1

means for separating the lighter water and discharging the same back into the well by creating a low pressure zone outside said separator housing and causing a flow of said lighter water thereto, and

means for separating out the heavier water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water enters the pump inlet by creating a second zone of low pressure outside said separator housing and causing a flow of said heavier Water thereto.

11. The combination claimed in claim 10, wherein said second zone of low pressure is located below said separator inlet so as not to disturb the flow into said separator inlet.

12. In combination with a submersible pump:

a .gas separator unit having a cylindrical housing suspended from the bottom of the pump and forming substantially a coaxial continuation thereof,

said separator housing having an outlet at one end thereof which connects to the pump inlet and a separator inlet at its other end,

vane means in said separator housing to induce a vortex in the water entering the separator inlet as it moves toward the pump in-let where-by lighter gas laden water will move toward the center of the vortex and heavier sand laden water will move toward the inner Wall of the separator housing,

means for separating the lighter water and discharging the same back into the well including a pickup to receive the lighter water, and a jet pump connected to said pickup to pump the lighter water in said pickup out said separator housing, and

means for separating out the heavier water and discharging the same back into the well so that sand and gas free water enters the pump inlet, sand collector chamber means communicating with the inside of said housing to receive said heavier Water and a jet pump connected to said sand collector chamber means to pump the heavier Water in said sand collector chamber means out said chamber means.

13. in a combination with a submersible pump:

a gas separator unit having a cylindrical housing suspended from the bottom of the pump and forming substantially a coaxial continuation thereof,

said separator housing having an outlet at one end thereof which connects to the pump inlet and a separator inlet at its other end,

means in said separator housing to induce a vortex in the water entering the separator inlet as it moves toward the pump inlet whereby heavier sand laden water will move toward the inner wall of the separator housing, and

means including a jet pump for separating out the heavier water and discharging the same back into the well.

14. In combination with a submersible pump:

a gas separator unit having a cylindrical housing suspended from the bottom of the pump and forming susbtantially a coaxial continuation thereof,

said separator housing having an outlet at one end thereof which connects to the pump inlet and a separator inlet at its other end,

means in said separator housing to induce a vortex 1n the Water entering the separator inlet as it moves toward the pump inlet whereby lighter gas laden water will move toward the center of the vortex, and

means including a jet pump for separating the lighter Water and discharging the same back into the well.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,795,873 6/ 1957 Hoffman. 2,872,985 2/1959 Bertu-zzi et al 103-203 X 3,106,526 10/1963 Schmidt 103-203 X 7 ROBERT M. WALKER, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2795873 *Sep 12, 1947Jun 18, 1957Hoffman Richard TMethod of hydraulic dredging
US2872985 *Dec 26, 1956Feb 10, 1959Phillips Petroleum CoCyclone gas anchor
US3106526 *Sep 22, 1960Oct 8, 1963Schmidt Benjamin FSand and gas deflector for oil well pumps
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4330306 *Oct 17, 1977May 18, 1982Centrilift-Hughes, Inc.Gas-liquid separator
US5389128 *Jun 23, 1993Feb 14, 1995Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. - PetrobrasMultiple, self-adjusting downhole gas separator
US6066193 *Aug 21, 1998May 23, 2000Camco International, Inc.Tapered flow gas separation system
CN101672272BSep 11, 2008Jan 12, 2011中国石油集团渤海石油装备制造有限公司Gas and sand anchor device of electrical submersible pump
Classifications
U.S. Classification96/215, 55/439, 55/434, 55/467, 55/456, 55/431, 55/340
International ClassificationE21B43/34, E21B43/38
Cooperative ClassificationE21B43/38
European ClassificationE21B43/38