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Publication numberUS3475055 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 28, 1969
Filing dateJun 8, 1967
Priority dateJun 8, 1967
Publication numberUS 3475055 A, US 3475055A, US-A-3475055, US3475055 A, US3475055A
InventorsSnedden Louis L
Original AssigneeMason & Hanger Silas Mason Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Thermal tunneling apparatus and method
US 3475055 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

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THERMAL TUNNELING PARATUS AND METHOD 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed June 8. 1967 n n r v 4 n o o o .o o 00o @Gc ooo 0Go oOo 0Go oOo 00D awr 00.000 own 00o 00o vGo oOo oOo Oo 00o 0G. o o o o o o o o .:o o" o o o o z a o o o v Oct. 28, 1969 L.. SNI-:DOEN 3,475,055

THERMAL TUNNELING APPARATUS' AND METHOD Filed June a, 1967 e sheets-sheet 3 n/Arfi aw 35 lli/VENTO@ a wk L. ne/en BYLAQM Jaffa/hey Oct. 28, 1969 L. L. SNEDDEN 3,475,055


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` l y l al S31-Quei n; 70 g, .IQ d I Mx Oct. 28, 1969 L.. l.. SNEDDEN THERMAL TUNNELIhG APPARATUS AND METHOD 6 Sheets-Sheet n 4% W P M# m5 j ML?. WQ ya@ Oct. 28, 1969 L.. L. SNEDDEN THERMAL TUNNELING APPARATUS AND METHOD 6 Sheets-Sheet E Filed June 8, 1967 T lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll 1| /NVL-'NTOR au/.s- Snelle".

United States Patent O 3,475,055 THERMAL TUNNELING APPARATUS AND METHD Louis L. Snedden, Jacksonville, Fla., assignor to Mason & Hanger-Silas Mason Co., Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., a

corporation of West Virginia Filed .lune 8, 1967, Ser. No. 644,536 Int. Cl. E21c 37/16, 1/02 U.S. Cl. 299-14 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The apparatus comprises a carriage movable forwardly toward a tunnel face and in reverse, the carriage being provided at its front area with a hollow shield which may be cooled, and forwardly thereof is an elongated carrier of a length preferably substantially equivalent to the diameter of the bore to be produced, the carrier being mounted on the carriage for either rotation or oscillation. On the carrier are a plurality of longitudinally positioned groups of jet nozzles, the embodiment showing four jet nozzles in each group so that the carrier nozzles may act upon the entire surface of the bore by carrier oscillation of 180 or by complete rotation. The carrier is an elongated hollow member mounted on a tubular shaft rotated by power means on the carriage, pipes being led through the shaft for supplying fuel and air (or oxygen) to the nozzles, together `with water for the hollow carrier, the arrangement being such that heat may be extracted from the hot gases at the flame `area to convert cooling water into steam for driving turbines, fans, compressors and pumps in the assembly. On the carrier each group of nozzles is shown in the embodiment as consisting of four nozzles to be swung angularly and connected to an adjustment member by which they as a group may be simultaneously swung angularly toward or from each other to permit either converging or diverging flame, the velocity of which can be varied to greatly increase energy density over the action-sum of the same number and capacity of nozzles not having such arrangement. A method of thermal tunneling with the above machine is also disclosed.

The invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a view in side elevation showing the carriage and primary elements carried thereby in a tunnel partial bore, certain elements being broken away.

FIG. 2 is a vertical Section through the fluid-flow manifold, shown at the end of the tubular shaft of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical section through the front end area of the apparatus.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary front elevation, partly broken away, on the line 4 4, FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary section on the line 5 5, FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged horizontal section through one of the nozzles and its mount.

FIG. 7 is a front elevation taken generally on line 7-7, FIG. 5 and looking in direction of the arrows.

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary section taken on the line 88, FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged vertical view partly in section, showing the elements of FIG. 5 turned 90.

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary elevation taken on the line 10-10, FIG. 8.

FIG. 11 is a vertical section taken o-n the line 11-11, FIG. 9.

FIG. 12 is a detail view partly in section, showing three of one group of nozzles (one being eliminated by the section) adjusted in angular converging position to produce a single flame.


Referring to FIG. 1, a carriage frame is shown at 1 on which is mounted for rotation a tubular shaft 2 supported by bearing members 3. The carriage is supported on wheels 5, one carrying a drive pulley connected by belt 6 to the driven pulley in a box 7 which box may contain reduction gearing leading to the shaft of a motor 8 mounted on the carriage frame.

For rotation of the tubular shaft 2, a motor is shown at 9 having Vdrive connections 10 with the shaft tube, the drawing indicating a pulley and belt drive.

Supported on the carriage by any suitable means is a hollow shield 10 having a set of inlets, for example 11,

for a cooling medium, and a set of outlets, for example 12, for outflow. It will be seen that the tubular shaft 2 runs through a sleeve at the center of shield 10 and progresses rearwardly to a point where it carries an elongated hollow bar-like carrier 14. Arranged longitudinally on carrier 14 are a plurality of groups of nozzles diagrammatically indicated in FIG. 1 at 15, the form and arrangement of which being hereinafter described.

As shown in FIG. l the hollow carrier 14 has at its ends scoop members 16, adapted to scoop up disintegrated rock and dirt in such manner that when either scoop reaches uppermost position, it will be inverted and drop its contents to an inclined trough 17 leading to a funnel 18 which discharges into a conveyor tube 19. In practice the latter will be provided with means for conveying the rock particles and dirt forwardly of the carriage for removal. In FIG. 1 simple means consisting of a motordriven fan assembly 20 in a box 21 is shown as serving said purpose. Also in the embodiment shown in FIG. l the hollow carrier 14 is provided with slanting guide plates 22 for directly receiving the rock particles of dirt preliminary to their continued movement into trough 17.

The fluid-flow manifold forwardly of hollow shaft 2, FIG. 1, is, in the present embodiment, constructed of an apertured casing 23 fixed to shaft 2 and rotating therewith. Casing 23 is supported by split ring members 24 which are carried by a supporting strut 25 leading to an extension 4X of standard 4 adjacent thereto. The rotary casing 23 is formed with a bore at 27 for receiving fuel from pipe 28 via a circular passageway in the left 4hand member 24X, FIG. 2. The casing 23 also is formed with a passageway 29 leading to an air pipe 30X and communicating with the right hand split ring member 24 of FIG. 2, and pipe 31 leading to a supply of water, and located at the axial center of casing 23. This pipe 31 and the split rings remain stationary during the rotation of the hollow shaft 2 and the casing 23, and they are sealed relatively to the casing member by suitable packing glands, as shown in FIG. 2. It will be understood that the stationary mount for the hollow shaft shown in FIG. 2 is merely illustrative of a general principle and in practice it may be varied in form. The fuel pipe rear area within rotary casing 2 is indicated at 32, FIG. 3. It communicates with a manifold supply pipe for the nozzle groups, shown at 32X, and extending Ifrom end to end of the hollow carrier 14. This manifold fuel supply pipe carries short branch pipes, each leading to one of the groups of nozzles. In FIG. 3 only two of the said short branch pipes are indicated, at 32XX. As shown more particularly in FIGS. 5 and 9, each branch pipe 32XX leads to a manifold block 33, from which four feed pipes 34 lead to the four nozzles of the appropriate group of nozzles. In the present embodiment, twenty groups of nozzles have been indicated in the drawings as mounted on hollow carrier 14, and thus there are twenty manifold blocks each feeding to four nozzles.

Each nozzle N projects through its own curved cam slot in a toothed cam-disk 35, FIGS. 5, 7 and 8, the disk cam slots being indicated at 36. The cam disk is oscillated lby any suitable means, a rack bar 37 being shown as driven by power, or manually, via the gear 38 and its squared shaft 38X, which may lead to a handle for manual turning or to power means therefor.

Each cam disk is mounted for rotation on a stub shaft indicated at 39 bolted on a member of plate assembly 40. A series of these plate assemblies will customarily be em ployed to close the rear face of the hollow carrier 14.

Each nozzle is lformed with three passageways, two for air or oxygen, at 41, FIGS. and 6, and one for fuel, at 42. In the present embodiment each nozzle has a ball and socket connection with a member of the appropriate plate assembly 40 of carrier 14.

For intake of fuel and air or oxygen each ball 43X carrying a nozzle, oscillates in a beveled face of a member of the plate assembly and the beveled inner face of a socket head 43, FIG. 5, at the rear end of a pipe-connection 44 of a 4branch pipe 45 leading to the air-oxygen manifold tube 46 for all of the groups of nozzles, FIG. 3 and FIG. 5. For fuel flow, each fuel feed pipe 34 discharges into a duct 47, FIG. 8, rearwardly of socket head 43 and the ball 43X is formed with a hole at 48, at its axis communicating with said duct, whereas the ball has throughapertures leading to the air-oxygen passageways in the nozzle.

For cooling the carrier 14 (and providing steam in desired cases), the water tube 28X which runs through tubular shaft 2 leads into water inlet manifold tube 48 which extends along carrier 14 and connected to short branch pipes S0 leading -to the interior of the carrier. Water outlet pipe 48x is shown in FIG. 3 as leading into the interior of the hollow shaft 2. It may continue parallel with the tubes therein to a suitable outlet in manifold casing 23. In FIG. 2 it may be considered as back of and hidden by tube 28x, and the dotted lines marked drain are merely shown to indicate an outlet and are inclined for purposes of illustration. When pipe 48X is led to casing 23 an outlet through the casing will communicate with its end. Of course such outlet may of itself lead to a third fixed split ring, as at the right side of the split rings 24, and in accordance therewith, but with an outlet duct. Should the apparatus be operated in such manner as to convert the carrier water into a material volume of steam, the steam can be led outwardly by suitable means such as outlet pipe 28X, for discharge to a steam box, and the steam used to drive a turbine for a dynamo supplying power to the motors of the apparatus, and `for lighting, or to augment the effect of the shield in steam production, it having the effect of a heat exchanger.

Summarizing the apparatus, it comprises a mobile drill carriage of a size sufficient to carry the burners, the shield heat exchanger, a turbine, compressor, auxiliaries and a distribution system for consumable materials. The carriage is designed to have sufficient strength and reliability to endure many miles of tunnel construction and to resist back thrust from the burner jets and the torque from scooping up the muck. The carriage is self propelled and capable of moving forward or backward and adapted to the extent required for maneuvering and maintaining alignment. The Iforward section of the carriage includes the rotating radial carrier which supports and supplies the burner nozzles and the scoops for removing muck from the bottom of the heading, and dumping it into a conveyor at the center of the carriage.

The shield section aft of the burners is a heat exchanger which extracts a large portion of the heat formed by combustion of the fuel oil, for conversion to power. The shield, which is rearwardly adjacent the said carrier, seals off the products of combustion and contains means through which the muck is discharged. The rear portion of the carriage contains the power and auxiliary power producing apparatus, and the means of feeding the muck to a conveyor for discharge to the spoil area at the ground surface.

Some excess oxygen is desirable, for the combustion in the embodiment shown may require 3.54 lbs. oxygen per pound of oil and yields about 3 lbs. carbon dioxide and 1.5 lbs. water and releases about 20,000 B.t.u. per pound of oil burned. It is in certain cases desirable to use oxygen rather than air for combustion to reduce mass ow, except that compressing the air is more economical at presently indicated cost. In either instance, the heat produced is suitable for production of power and the product gases, after heat removal, are a suitable medium to convey the muck. While a pair of nozzles for a group may be employed, by employing four nozzles which can be adjusted as directed so that the discharges are caused to combine into a single jet, the velocity of the single jet will increase, to 1.414 times that of a single jet for each pair of jets for a 45 configuration. Thus the available momentum is increased and will remove a greater volume of particles from the difficult rocks. When all four nozzles are directed it is apparent that the velocity of the combined jets will be 2.818 times that of a single jet for a 45 configuration.

It will be understood that various modifications may be made in the form and arrangement of the elements of the embodiment illustrated, without departure from the spirit of the invention.

Having described my invention, what I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is as follows:

1. A method of thermal tunneling through rock formations and the like, which consists of producing a plurality of flame jets from each of a plurality of groups of jet nozzles, each group having at least two adjacent jet nozzles, the groups being positioned in an elongated row on a carrier forwardly of a tunnel bore and toward its face, swinging the carrier laterally thereof on an axis intermediate its ends and at least absorbing heat from the hot gases produced by the llame jets by a hollow shield interposed in the bore forwardly adjacent the carrier, the shield receiving water and acting as a heat exchanger for production of steam, repeatedly removing muck, progressively moving the carrier and shield rearwardly, and for meeting rock formations requiring increase in jet velocity and energy density adjusting the jet nozzles of each of a plurality of groups thereof angularly toward each other and thereby combining the flames from the nozzles of each of said adjusted groups into a single intensive flame jet.

2. In thermal tunneling apparatus, a movable support, a carrier mounted for rotational movement on said support, groups of jet nozzles on said carrier and comprising a plurality of jet nozzles in each group, means for feeding fuel and air-oxygen to each nozzle, and means for adjusting angularity of nozzles in each group so that their discharges may be combined in a single jet ame or in separate jet llames, the carrier being an elongated hollow member provided with inlet means for a uid coolant and an outlet, a pivotal mount for the carrier, and means for swinging the carrier on said mount, the groups of jet nozzles being disposed in plurality at each side of the pivotal point of the carrier.

3. A thermal tunneling apparatus constructed in accordance with claim 2, comprising ball and socket mountings for the nozzles of a group of nozzles, said mountings projecting from a plate of the carrier, a cam disk pivoted on the plate and having apertures receiving the nozzles, camming wall at sides of said apertures, and means for rotating said cam disk.

4. A thermal tunneling apparatus constructed in accordance with claim 2 in combination with a hollow shaft on which the hollow carrier is mounted, meansfor irnparting rotary movement to said shaft, fuel and air-oxygen flow-passages in said shaft and extending to the carrier, ducts extending along the carrier at opposite sides of the pivotal support provided by said shaft and connected to said flow passages, and means connecting said ducts to the jet nozzles.

5. A thermal tunneling apparatus constructed in accordance with claim 2, in combination with power rotating means for the carrier and its hollow shaft and adapted to impart at least a 180 movement thereto, a scoop carried by the carrier at an end thereof, inclined trough means adapted to take muck discharged by said scoop, and power conveyor means in communication with said trough means.

6. A thermal tunneling apparatus, constructed in accordance with claim 2, in which the support is a wheeled carriage having a frame and spaced upright bearing members thereon, a tubular shaft in said bearing members and serving as a mount for the jet nozzle carrier, driving means on the carriage and connected to the tubular shaft for imparting rotary movement thereto, a hollow shield forwardly of the carrier and adapted as a heat exchanger, means for leading water into the shield and for discharge of water and steam therefrom, fluid ducts adapted for fuel air and oxygen, running through the tubular shaft and connected to the jet nozzles on said carrier, water inflow means for the carrier and uid outlet means therefor, scoop means on the carrier, trough means extended through the shield for receiving muck from the scoop means, and power conveyor means on the carriage in communication with said trough means for feeding the muck forwardly of the carriage.

References Cited ERNEST R. PURSER, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1284398 *Apr 6, 1918Nov 12, 1918Edward S MckinlayTunneling-machine.
US1865904 *May 12, 1930Jul 5, 1932Nat Welding Equipment CompanyGas burner shield
US2492526 *Mar 14, 1945Dec 27, 1949Linde Air Prod CoMultinozzle adjustable attachment
US2548463 *Dec 13, 1947Apr 10, 1951Standard Oil Dev CoThermal shock drilling bit
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4274765 *Nov 17, 1978Jun 23, 1981Winster Engineering LimitedMining equipment
US4483403 *May 5, 1982Nov 20, 1984Mannesmann AktiengesellschaftShaft drilling machine
US7073869 *Sep 16, 2004Jul 11, 2006Nakakuro Construction Co., Ltd.Shield tunneling machine
US20050077775 *Sep 16, 2004Apr 14, 2005Kenichi NakakuroShield tunneling machine
WO1996003566A2 *Jul 19, 1995Feb 8, 1996John NorthImprovements in or relating to drilling with gas liquid swirl generator hydrocyclone separation combustion thermal jet spallation
WO2009039667A1 *Sep 29, 2008Apr 2, 2009Stephane LabelleSystems for exploiting the thermal energy at the bottom of the ocean
U.S. Classification299/14, 239/587.4, 175/15, 299/56, 239/536
International ClassificationE21D9/10, E21B7/14
Cooperative ClassificationE21D9/1073, E21D9/10, E21B7/14
European ClassificationE21D9/10H, E21D9/10, E21B7/14