US 3899631 A
An inflatable element including spaced annular heads with a reinforcing sheath extending therebetween is provided with an elastomer outer cover. At least one electrical conductor is embedded in the cover and projects from each end of the cover.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ Aug. 12, 1975 United States Patent [191 Clark Allen MNM 2 70 4 57 mwmw uwuu 5227 3232 7382 9474 3 2223 me w m 0 m mm M s ER E0 Gm U mm OH m w EL L A m BCH AIT. T m E m F L n m E T M U  Inventor: Billy E. Clark, Houston, Tex.
Asslgnee: Lynes Houston Primary Examiner-Laramie E. Askin Filed: Apr. ll, 1974 Attorney, Agent, or FirmJack W. Hayden 21 Appl. N0.: 459,889
ABSTRACT An inflatable element including spaced annular heads with a reinforcing sheath extending therebetween is provided with an elastomer outer cover. At least one electrical conductor is embedded in the cover and projects from each end of the cover.
6 7 57 M 9 5 5 ll a DO 92 m 1. 6 7 wy/ QM 7 1| 2 3 1 64 EH63 7 B M n. w u 2 E W3 wmwz W;H 37 mh m m 3 mm .m .IC .mF UN 55  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures PAIENTED AUG 1 21915 INFLATABLE SEALING ELEMENT HAVING ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS EXTENDING THERETHROUGH SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Inflatable elements are employed in mining operations, in oil and gas well drilling and in other situations where it may be desired to provide a closure within an opening. In some circumstances it is desirable to position instruments or apparatus remote relative to the closure formed by the inflatable element. Suitable electrical conductors must be provided for supplying power to the instruments or for receiving electrical impulses therefrom without interfering with inflation or deflation of the inflatable element.
The present invention overcomes this problem in that it provides an inflatable element in which is embedded at least one electrical conductor so that power may be supplied to a pump, instrument or any type of other apparatus or for conveying pulses from an instrument without interfering with the inflation and/or deflation of the inflatable element.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from a consideration of the description and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view illustrating a form of an inflatable element with a plurality of conductors embedded in the elastomer cover thereof; and
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating a portion of the outer cover of the packer surrounding a reinforcing sheath with the electrical conductors embedded therein.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Attention is first directed to FIG. 1 of the drawings wherein the inflatable element 4 is shown as including spaced annular heads 5 and 6, such annular heads having a suitable means such as threads or the like (not shown) for enabling the heads 5 and 6 to be threadedly secured in a well string as referred to generally at 8. It can be appreciated that the use of the present invention in connection with the well string is for purposes of illustration only and is not intended as a limitation, as it may be used in any environment.
An annular reinforcing sheath referred to generally at 10 in FIG. 2 extends continuously circumferentially and longitudinally between the heads 5 and 6 and is secured thereto and provides an arrangement for receiving an inflating fluid to expand the elastomer cover referred to at which is adjacent and surrounds the reinforcing sheath 10.
During the forming of the annular outer cover 15, a plurality of openings such as referred to at may be formed longitudinally through the elastomer cover 15 by any suitable method. For example, suitable means may be positioned in the cover 15 to form the openings 20 during the curing of the elastomer cover 15 to provide access openings for extending conductors repre sented generally at longitudinally through the elastomer outer cover 15.
In FIG. 2, it will be noted that four of such openings 20 are provided for receiving four electrical conductors. It can be appreciated that any suitable number of electrical conductors may be provided in the outer cover and may be spaced radially relative to the reinforcing sheath l0 and the outermost circumferential edge 16 of the elastomer cover as well as being spaced circumferentially relative to each other to provide proper and desired insulation.
In some circumstances, the electrical conductors represented at 25 may be integrally formed with the elastomer cover during curing thereof. At any event, whether the conductors are positioned in the elastomer cover 15 after curing, or are integrally formed therein during curing, it is desirable to provide suitable sealing means between the cover 15 and conductors 25 so that there will be no communication longitudinally through the inflatable element 4 and along the electrical conductors 25 when the inflatable element is employed in use.
To accomplish this, any suitable sealant or adhesive may be employed when the conductors 25 are positioned in the elastomer cover after the openings 20 are formed therein and after the elastomer cover 15 has been properly cured, or if the conductors 25 are positioned in the elastomer cover 15 prior to curing, then such curing in and of itself may provide intimate contact and adhesion between the elastomer cover 15 and the electrical conductors 25 to inhibit communication between one end 17 and the other end 18 of the inflatable element during use.
When it is desired to utilize the inflatable element of the present invention, it is positioned in the desired location, whether it is in a well bore or other type of opening by any suitable means. In the form of the invention illustrated for purposes of description only, the element may be positioned on a well string 8 and then lowered into an oil or gas well bore. It can be appreciated that the electrical conductors 25 extend from beneath the element and are initially connected to the apparatus to which power is to be supplied before the well string 8 and inflatable element 4 are lowered into the well bore. The conductors 25 extend along the well string 8 and upwardly through the element and to the earths surface in a manner well known in the art.
After the element 4 has been lowered into the well bore, the element may be inflated to seal off with the surrounding well bore wall in a desired manner and thereafter power supplied to the apparatus or instrument at the lower end of the well bore, or beneath the inflatable element 9 for operation thereof, or electrical impulses may be conveyed from the apparatus or instruments to the earths surface.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape, and materials as well as in the details of the illustrated consturction may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An inflatable device for positioning in a well string in a well bore comprising:
a. spaced annular members having threads for securing the annular members in a well string;
b. an annular reinforcing sheath extending continuously longitudinally and circumferentially between and secured to said spaced annular members for receiving an inflating fluid from the well string;
c. an elastomer cover surrounding said sheath and extending between said spaced annular member said cover and extend from each and thereof.
3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said electrical conductors are spaced in said expansible elastomer cover radially from said reinforcing sheath and are spaced circumferentially of each other.
i l I! UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION 3 899 6 1 Patent No. 3 Dat d August 2, 1975 Inventor(s) BILLY CLARK It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Col. 3, line 7, "and" should be are Signed and Scaled this fourth Day Of November 1975 [SEAL] Arrest:
RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer (mnmissiuner of Parents and Trademarks USCOMM'DC GUB'IG-PGQ 9 U.S GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: I969 C 366-33l,
F ORM P04 050 (10-69)