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Publication numberUS3919850 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 18, 1975
Filing dateMay 1, 1974
Priority dateMay 1, 1974
Publication numberUS 3919850 A, US 3919850A, US-A-3919850, US3919850 A, US3919850A
InventorsCoone Malcolm G, Miller Stanley D
Original AssigneeLynes Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Structure and method of positioning for use in water covered areas
US 3919850 A
Abstract
An elongated, hollow tubular member is compartmented to enable it to be floated in a water covered area to a desired location. Each compartment is provided with valve means in the form of an inflatable arrangement, which upon deflation communicates water to the compartment for flooding thereof. At least one piling may be positioned longitudinally within the hollow tubular member and sealably engaged by the valve means so that when the valve means is opened, and the tubular member sunk and positioned on the bottom in the water covered area the piling may thereafter be driven into the water covered area to aid in positioning the tubular member.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Coone et a1. Nov. 18, 1975 [5 1 STRUCTURE AND METHOD OF 3,503,443 3/1970 Blanding et al. 166/.6 3,620,026 11/1971 Mallard 61/535 POSITIONING FOR USE IN WATER COVERED AREAS Malcolm G. Coone; Stanley D. Miller, both of Houston, Tex.

Lynes, Inc., Houston, Tex.

May 1, 1974 Inventors:

Assignee:

Filed:

Appl. No.:

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Primary Examiner-Jacob Shapiro Attorney, Agent, or FirmJack W. Hayden [57] ABSTRACT An elongated, hollow tubular member is compartmented to enable it to be floated in a water covered area to a desired location. Each compartment is provided with valve means in the form of an inflatable arrangement, which upon deflation communicates water to the compartment for flooding thereof. At least one piling may be positioned longitudinally within the hollow tubular member and sealably engaged by the valve means so that when the valve means is opened, and the tubular member sunk and positioned on the bottom in the water covered area the piling may thereaf ter be driven into the water covered area to aid in positioning the tubular member.

10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures US. Patent Nov. 18, 1975 STRUCTURE AND METHOD OF POSITIONING FOR USE IN WATER COVERED AREAS Attention is first directed to the structure shown in CROSS REFERENCE To RELATED APPLICATION FIG. 1 wherein a first elongated, hollow member is il- The inflatable elements employed in the present invention may be those of the type described and claimed in US. Pat. No. 3,401,946 issued on Sept. 17, 1968.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In various types of operations conducted in water covered areas such as mining, or exploration for oil, gas or other minerals, it is often desirable to first float a structure to the desired location and then to submerge it, or partially submerge it to position it on the bottom in the water covered area to form a support arrangement for a working surface that is generally located above the water level to enable the mining or other operations to be conducted.

Sometimes the size of such structures is relatively large and in transporting them to the desired location such structures may suffer damage due to heavy seas or by collision with other ships or other objects which affects the integrity and ability of the structure to be maneuvered to the desired location.

An object of the present invention is to provide a structure, or support leg for a platform wherein a plurality of water tight compartments are formed in the structure to enable it to be more safely maneuvered to a desired location in a water covered area and thereafter the compartments selectively opened to flooding so that the structure may be positioned on the surface be neath the water covered area.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a support leg for a mining, drilling or other type of platform for use in a water covered area wherein a plurality of inflatable elements are employed along with bulkheads to form a plurality of water tight compartments so long as the elements are inflated, and thereafter deflating the elements to enable the compartments to selectively flood to sink the structure in a desired manner for support on the bottom in a water covered area.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a method and arrangement for selectively flooding a compartmented structure to position it in a desired manner on the bottom in a water covered area.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings along with the description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view of one embodiment of the structure showing an elongated, hollow compartmented member with inflatable valve means and means for selectively controlling inflation and deflation of the valve means;

FIG. 2 is a partial vertical sectional view illustrating an alternate closure arrangement for one end of the tubular member;

FIG. 3 is a schematic sectional view illustrating a plurality of pilings in an elongated, hollow structure; and FIG. 4 is an alternate arrangement for compartmenting the elongated tubular member by inflatable means when no pilings are present in the tubular member.

lustrated generally by the numeral 10. Such elongated, hollow member 10 may be of any desired configuration and size, such as by way of example only a 20 foot diameter member for use as a supporting leg for a platform in a water covered area.

Extending longitudinally of the first elongated, hollow member 10 is a second elongated, hollow member 11 and a plurality of bulkheads 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 are provided at longitudinally spaced intervals extending inwardly from the tubular, elongated first tubular member 10.

The outer most bulkhead 20 is shown as extending diametrically across the first tubular member 10 to close off one end thereof and as being secured to the second tubular member 11 by suitable means such as a weld 15 on the exterior of the bulkhead 20.

The intermediate bulkheads l6, l7, l8 and 19 extend radially inward from their outer edges adjacent member 10 to which they are connected by welds, 16a, 17a, 18a, and 19a respectively and are connectedat their inner ends to the annular support means referred to generally at 25 by suitable means such as welds 16b, 17b, 18b, and 191) respectively.

The support means 25 includes a hollow, tubular member 26 which is of sufficient longitudinal extent to enclose and receive the inflatable element 28 therein. The specific form of inflatable elements may be of any suitable type.

Means provided for inflating the annular inflatable members 28, such means including the conduit 29 secured to the cylindrical housing 26 and extending to the exterior of the first elongated tubular member 10 as illustrated at 30. Suitable conduit means 31 may be secured to the exterior of member 10, therebeing a plurality of separate conduits 32 within conduit means 31 for communicating one of the conduits 32 with each conduit 29 to selectively inflate and/or deflate elements 28 as will be described. Passage means in the housing 26 conduct fluid from the conduit 29 to its respective element 28.

A plurality of check valve means referred to at 35 in such passage means aid in maintaining the element 28 inflated after it has been inflated as illustrated in the drawing, and additional valve means referred to generally at 40 include a shear pin 41 so that by increasing the pressure on the annular inflatable member 28 above the predetermined strength of the shear pin 41, the shear pin may be sheared whereupon fluid may be released from the annular inflatable element 28 to flow out through the passage means 42 to enable the annular inflatable elements 28 to deflate.

When the elements 28 are inflated as illustrated in the drawing, such elements along with the support means 25, the respective bulkheads connected therewith and the first and second elongated members 10 and 11 provide a plurality of water tight compartments such as shown at 50a, 50b, 50c and 50d in member 10 in FIG. 1.

In employing the invention as shown in FIG. 1, the member 11 is positioned longitudinally in member 10 and inflatable elements 28 are then inflated by conducting fluid through the conduits 32 to seal off with the second elongated member 11 to form the water 3 tight compartments 5011-5011. A retrievable closure of any suitable form as illustrated at 35 is positioned to close off one end of member 11 and a cap 36 may be welded on the other end of member 11 to close it off.

The structure may then be moved into open waters and floated to the desired location in a water covered area. The cap 36 is then cut off and plug 35 retrieved. By selectively flooding the compartments in member it may be gradually sunk to assume substantially a vertical or inclined position as desired on the bottom of the water covered area upon which it is to rest. It can be appreciated that conduits 32 extend to water level where they may be operated aboard a floating vessel to control flow of fluid therethrough. For example, the conduit 32 communicating with the inflatable element that seals off compartment 50a is pressured with fluid to open valve means 40 whereupon the element deflates and enables compartment 500 to flood. Similarly, by actuation of suitable controls at the water surface to conduct fluid through other of the conduits 32, the other compartments may be flooded stepwise as necessary to sink and position the member 10 and endwise position on the submerged surface.

In leiu of the retrievable plug 35, the lower end of the member 11 may be closed off by any suitable means such as by way of example a diaphragm 38 of suitable elastomer secured to member 10 by any suitable means as illustrated in FIG. 2.

As shown, an annular flange 38a on the lower end of 10 is provided for receiving the enlarged circumferen- .tial edge 38b of the diaphragm 38, and the annular flange 38c abuts 38a and is held in position by bolts 38:].

After the welds holding the cap 36 and the welds 15 are removed and the member 10 positioned on bottom, the member 11 may have another member 11 welded thereto at its upper end to form a piling of desired longitudinal extent and it may be driven into the subsurface in a manner well known in the art after the retrievable closure has been removed. If the diaphragm closure 38 is employed, the member 11 may be driven therethrough.

In FIG. 3 a plurality of members 11 are shown as extending longitudinally of 10 with an inflatable element 28 surrounding each. The elements 28 are each supported adjacent a bulkhead B by the support means and may be inflated and deflated as described with regard to FIG. 1. The manipulation and sinking of this structure would be similar to that described with regard to FIG. 1.

In FIG. 4 the member 10 is again shown and the piling or members 11 are eliminated. A bulkhead B is shown with support means 25 adjacent each bulkhead B. An inflatable element 28a is shown expanded to seal off and form water compartments between adjacent, spaced bulkheads. The element 28a seals against itself when expanded and may be of any suitable type, such as by way of example, the type shown in US. Pat. No. 3,401,946. Conduit means 29 and deflate valve means are employed with each inflatable element or means and are similar in function and purpose to that previously described.

In same situations the infaltable means may be carried by the member 10 and the bulkheads eliminated.

In the FIG. 4 modification, the inflatable means 28a may be stepwise deflated by conduit means as shown and described with regard to FIG. I to stepwise flood the structure and sink it in a desired manner.

When the apparatus with which the present invention is employed, such as a drilling platform, or other type of platform employed in any other operation in a water covered area is maneuvered to the area where it is desired to conduct such operations, the inflatable members 28 may be selectively deflated by increasing the pressure so as to shear the pin 41 whereupon compartments 50a-50d may be selectively and stepwise opened and supplied with water to cause the structure shown in the drawing to submerge in a desired manner and rest on the surface beneath the water covered area.

When the structure is positioned vertically, or substantially vertically, the piling or members 11 associated therewith may be driven into the subsurface to position the structure in a desired manner.

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 construction may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. 7

What is claimed is:

1. A structure for maneuvering to a desired location in a water covered area comprising:

a. a first elongated, hollow member;

b. bulkheads at longitudinally spaced intervals extending radially inward from said first elongated member;

c. support means secured to said bulkheads;

d. inflatable means carried by said support means for sealing off the space between said bulkheads; and

e. means to inflate said inflatable means.

2. A structure for maneuvering to a desired location in a water covered area-comprising:

a. a first elongated, hollow member;

b. at least one additional elongated member extending longitudinally within said first elongated hollow member;

c. bulkheads at longitudinally spaced intervals extending inwardly from said first elongated member;

d. support means secured to said bulkheads;

e. inflatable means carried by said support means for sealing with said additional elongated member upon inflation; and

f. means to inflate said inflatable means.

3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said means to inflate includes conduit means extending from said support means to the exterior of said first elongated member.

4. The invention of claim 2 including check valve means to retain said inflatable means inflated.

5. The invention of claim 4 including additional valve means which opens upon a predetermined pressure to deflate said inflatable means.

6. The invention of claim 2 wherein said first and second elongated members, said bulkheads and said support means form a plurality of water tight compartments when said inflatable means is inflated to seal with said second elongated member.

7. The invention of claim 1 including means to deflate said inflatable means to selectively flood between said bulkheads.

8. A method of flooding a structure to position it on bottom in a water covered area comprising the steps of:

a. positioning a plurality of inflatable elements at spaced intervals longitudinally within the structure;

b. inflating the elements to form a plurality of water tight compartments;

LII

6 a. a first elongated, hollow member; b. inflatable means carried by the structure for sealing off the structure internally; 0. means for inflating said inflatable means; d. means for deflating said inflatable means; and

e. means to close off said first elongated member.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE fiERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION patent 3,919,850 Dated November 18 1975 Inventor s) Malcolm G. Coone; Stanley D. M ll It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Col. 2, line 34, "Means provided" should be --Means are provided-- Signed and Scaled this thirtieth D f March 1976 [SEAL] AIIESI.

RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer Commissioner oj'Parems and Trademarks

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US467927 *Jul 16, 1891Feb 2, 1892 Apparatus for laying iron pipe under water
US2187871 *Aug 9, 1937Jan 23, 1940Standard Oil CoUnderwater drilling
US2775869 *Apr 22, 1952Jan 1, 1957L B De LongPlatform construction
US3503443 *Sep 11, 1967Mar 31, 1970Gen Dynamics CorpProduct handling system for underwater wells
US3620026 *Nov 17, 1969Nov 16, 1971Mallard J TPile driving method and apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4063421 *Aug 4, 1975Dec 20, 1977Lynes, Inc.Grouting system and arrangement for offshore structure
US4063427 *Aug 4, 1975Dec 20, 1977Lynes, Inc.Seal arrangement and flow control means therefor
US4337010 *Dec 13, 1979Jun 29, 1982Halliburton CompanyInflatable grout seal
US4510985 *Sep 20, 1983Apr 16, 1985Phillips Petroleum CompanyStacked open bottom temporary guide base for offshore drilling
US4552486 *Mar 21, 1984Nov 12, 1985Halliburton CompanyGrouting method - chemical method
US4906130 *Jul 26, 1988Mar 6, 1990Davy Mckee CorporationAnti-scouring device for a dam stilling basin or approach
US4968184 *Jun 23, 1989Nov 6, 1990Halliburton CompanyGrout packer
Classifications
U.S. Classification405/205, 166/358, 114/121
International ClassificationE02B17/00, E02D23/00, E02D23/02
Cooperative ClassificationE02B17/00, E02B17/0008, E02D23/02
European ClassificationE02B17/00B, E02D23/02, E02B17/00