|Publication number||USRE35533 E|
|Application number||US 08/181,325|
|Publication date||Jun 17, 1997|
|Filing date||Jan 14, 1994|
|Priority date||Apr 30, 1990|
|Also published as||US5080400|
|Publication number||08181325, 181325, US RE35533 E, US RE35533E, US-E-RE35533, USRE35533 E, USRE35533E|
|Inventors||Frank C. Adamek, Dag H. Zeiner-Gundersen|
|Original Assignee||Abb Vetco Gray Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (26), Referenced by (8), Classifications (12), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
the maximum gap=0.1056[exp((In D--0.8324)sq/4.134)];
the minimum gap=0.0000009562[exp((In D+14.16)sq/28.85)];
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates in general to connection means for tubular connectors, and in particular to a clamp type connector for use in oil field applications.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Releasable pipe connection joints are used in many oil field applications. Applications include pipes for valve assemblies, wellheads, and other pressure vessels. One type of well known pipe connector is illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,216,746, Watts, Nov. 9, 1965 and 3,404,902, R. E. Latham, et al, Oct. 8, 1968. In these connectors, each conduit or pipe has an external flange on its end. The flange is conical in cross-section. The clamp is in two halves. The clamp has mating conical surfaces for clamping the pipe ends together. A T-shaped seal locates between the abutting ends. Bolts draw the clamp together to pre-load the connections.
While these clamp type connectors work well, it would be desirable to reduce the mechanical stresses in the connection. This would enable the clamp connection to be made smaller and lighter.
Also, in drilling and production applications, there are instances where large, heavy conduits must be connected together, and wherein considerable axial distance must be covered during the makeup. This occurs in wellhead housings that locate on top of the well. There are different types of connectors. One type utilizes dogs which are forced into grooves on the wellhead housing profile. The grooves on the profile have conical load shoulders formed at a single angle. In some instances, the dogs may have a lead-in angle formed on the edge to increase the axial drawdown. It is desirable to provide a clamp type connector that would provide a large axial drawdown as the clamp is being made up, then provide a large axial pre-load in the final stages of make up.
In this invention, a clamp type connector is provided that has two semi-circular halves clamping the ends of the conduits together. The ends of the conduits have dual lobes or load shoulders. These load shoulders are axially spaced apart from each other. The clamp has mating conical load shoulders for engaging the other load shoulders. The load shoulders of the clamp and the conduits are separated by flanks which face in opposite directions. When made up, the clamp flanks will be separated from the conduit flanks by a significant gap. This assures that the desired amount of axial pre-load is applied. The minimum and maximum gap is a function of the diameter of the conduit ends.
In the second embodiment of the invention, the load shoulders spaced closest to the ends of the conduits are formed with multiple angles. Similarly, the mating conduit shoulders are formed with multiple angles. The first portion, which is the entry or lead portion, is at a greater angle relative to a plane perpendicular to the axis than the second portion, which is the load portion. The lead portions slide together to provide a significant amount of axial travel during this sliding movement. This provides good axial drawdown. The load portions, when sliding together, provide much less axial movement, but a much greater axial pre-load.
Also, when used in vertical applications, the clamp halves will be mounted to the upper conduit. The mounting means allows the clamp halves to slide readily inward and outward during the clamping movement.
FIG. 1 is a vertical cross-sectional view of a connection means constructed in accordance with this invention.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of the connection means of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a graph illustrating the maximum and minimum gaps employed with the connection means of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a first alternate embodiment of a connection means constructed in accordance with this invention, and shown in a transverse, partially sectioned view.
FIG. 5 is a vertical sectional view of the connection means of FIG. 4, shown along the lines V--V.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged vertical sectional view of the load shoulders of the connections means of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a second alternate embodiment of a connection means constructed in accordance with this invention, and shown in vertical cross section.
Referring to FIG. 1, two pipes or conduits 11, 13 will be connected together in an end-to-end relationship. Each conduit 11, 13 has an axial bore 15. The bore 15 has a forward portion 15a that is conical. Each conduit 11, 13 has an end 17 that opposes the end 17 of the other conduit 11, 13. A T-shaped seal 19 locates between the ends 17. The seal 19 has a web 19a that will be compressed by the ends 17. The ends 17 do not actually touch each other.
Clamp 21 is generally formed in two semi-circular halves. Clamp 21 has on one side a pair of holes 23 for receiving bolts (not shown) for bolting the halves of the clamp 21 together. Clamp 21, when bolted together, secures the conduits 11, 13 together in an axial pre-load.
Each conduit 11, 13 has first and second load shoulders 25, 27. The load shoulders 25, 27 are conical and are formed on the exterior of the conduits 11, 13. The first load shoulder 25 will be spaced closer to the end 17 than the second load shoulder 27. The load shoulders 25, 27 are preferably parallel and intersect the longitudinal axis of the conduits 11, 13 at an angle of about 70 degrees. A flank 29 separates the two load shoulders 25, 27. Flank 29 is also conical, and is shown in the embodiment of FIG. 1 to be about the same angle as the load shoulders 25, 27, but facing about 90 degrees away.
The clamp 21 has two sets of load shoulders 31, 33 for engaging the load shoulders 25, 27 of each conduit 11, 13. The first load shoulder 31 will engage the first load shoulders 25. Each second load shoulder 33 will engage a second load shoulder 27. Load shoulders 31, 33 will be formed at the same angle and have the same dimensions as the load shoulders 25, 27. A flank 34 is formed between the load shoulders 31, 33. Flank 34 will be parallel to the flank 29.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show the clamp 21 in a fully made up position. Referring to FIG. 2, the first and second load shoulders 25, 27 will be located at an angle 35 relative to the longitudinal axis that could be from 30 to almost 90 degrees, but is preferably around 70 degrees. Also, in this embodiment, the first and second load shoulders 25, 27 are at the same angle 35. The flanks 29, 34 are at an angle 37 that could be from 15 degrees to almost 95 degrees, but preferably is about 45 degrees.
The dimensions and positioning of the load shoulders 25, 27 and 31, 33 will be selected so that when fully made up, a gap 39 exists between the flanks 29, 34. This gap 39 assures that the desired amount of axial pre-load will be reached. If the flanks 29, 34 abutted each other, it would be possible for the connection to be fully made up without the desired mount of pre-load. FIG. 3 illustrates the desired amount of gap for a given diameter D (FIG. 2). the diameter D is the outer diameter of the conduit 11 or 13 at the end 17. The curve 41 illustrates the maximum gap that is acceptable. The curve 43 indicates the minimum gap that is acceptable. A mathematical relationship has been derived for maximum and minimum gaps. The relationships are as follows:
the maximum gap=0.1056[exp((In D--0.8324)sq/4.134)];
the minimum gap=0.0000009562 [exp((In D+14.16)sq/28.85)];
The symbol "sq" means squared, while D is the outer diameter previously mentioned. The other symbols are standard mathematical terms.
In the operation of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, the seal 19 will be placed between the ends 17 of the conduits 11, 13. The halves of the clamp 21 will be placed around the conduits 11, 13. The clamp load shoulders 31, 33 will engage the conduit load shoulders 25, 27. Bolts will be placed through the holes 23 and tightened. As the bolts are tightened, the load shoulders 31, 33 slide on the load shoulders 25, 27 respectively. When the proper amount of torque has been reached, the seal 19 will be properly compressed and the desired axial pre-load will exist. The gap 39 (FIG. 2) between the flanks 29, 34 will exist when the connection joint is fully made up.
Referring to FIGS. 4-6, and in particular to FIGS. 5 and 6, this second embodiment will be particularly for use in vertical applications. The conduit 111 will locate on top of the conduit 113. Conduit 113 may be a wellhead housing with conduit 111 being a tubular member that connects on top of the conduit 113. The clamp 121 will connect the conduits 111, 113 together. The conduits 111, 113 each have load shoulders 125, 127. Similarly, the clamp has two pairs of load shoulders 131, 133.
As shown in FIG. 6, in this embodiment, the first conduit load shoulder 125 has two separate portions 125a and 125b. The portion 125a is the lead portion and is located at the entrance to the load shoulder 125. It will be at an angle 45 that is in the range from about 20 degrees to 50 degrees relative to a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the conduit 111. In the embodiment shown, angle 45 is approximately 45 degrees. The second or load portion 125b is preferably only about 5 degrees to 30 degrees for angle 147. In the embodiment shown, angle 47 is about 15 degrees.
The lead and load portions 125a, 125b will be located only on the first load shoulder 125, not the second load shoulder 127. Also, preferably the first load shoulder 125 has a greater radial depth 46 than the depth 48 of the second load shoulder 127. The clamp first load shoulder 131 will have lead and load portions 131a and 131b which mate with the portions 125a, 125b. They will be formed at the same angles as the angles 45, 47.
Referring again to FIG. 5, each half of the clamp 121 will be supported on the upper conduit 111 by a supporting means. This includes in the embodiment of FIG. 5, a rod or bolt 49 which screws into a hole in the upper conduit 111. The bolt 49 extends radially outward. It extends loosely through a hole 51 provided in each half of the clamp 121. Hole 51 serves as cooperating means for allowing the halves of clamp 121 to move radially, inward and outward relative to the upper conduit 111. A nut 55 prevents the halves of the clamp 121 from sliding off of the bolts 49. As shown in FIG. 4, the hole 51 extends through a flange 53. Flange 53 is a lug type member integrally formed on the clamp 121 and extending upward.
The halves of the clamp 121 will be bolted together by bolts 57, as shown in FIG. 4. The bolts 37 extend through the holes 123 in the halves of the clamp 121. A spring 59 encircles each bolt 57 for urging the halves of the clamp 121 apart from each other.
In the operation of the embodiments of FIGS. 4-6, the halves of the clamp 121 will be mounted to the upper conduit 111 by the bolts 49. The halves of the clamp 121 will be spaced outward from the upper conduit 111 in the release position shown in FIG. 4, and in the left half of FIG. 5.
When it is desired to connect the upper conduit 111 to the lower conduit 113, the entire assembly will be lowered over the lower conduit 113. The clamp 121 will slide over the top of the lower conduit 113. Then, the operator will tighten the bolts 57. This draws the halves of the clamp 121 together to the position shown in the right half of FIG. 5. When bolting together, as illustrated in FIG. 6, the clamp lead portions 131a will slide on the conduit lead portions 125a. The large angle 45 creates a significant axial travel for each increment of sliding movement. The upper conduit 111 will move quickly axially downward toward the lower conduit 113.
Then, the load portions 131b will begin sliding on the load portions 125b. The smaller angle 47 creates less axial drawdown than the larger angle 45. However, it has a mechanical advantage of creating a much higher axial force than the lead portion 125a.
In the embodiment of FIG. 7, the only difference from the embodiment of FIGS. 4-6 is the means for retaining the halves of the clamp 221 to the upper conduit 211. In this instance, rather than a pair of bolts 49 (FIG. 5), a semi-circular flange 61 extends outward from the conduit 211. Flange 61 may be located on the lower end 217, or it may be located at a point above the load shoulders 225, 227. The clamp 221 will have a semi-circular slot 63 formed in it. The slot 63 will receive the protruding flange 61. Flange 61 and the slot 63 allow the clamp 21 to slide radially inward and outward when being bolted and unbolted.
The invention has significant advantages. The multiple load shoulders reduce the mechanical stresses in the connection over a single load shoulder clamp. This allows a lighter and smaller clamp. The gap between the flanks assures the desired amount of pre-load. The multiple angles on the first load shoulders provide a high axial drawdown and a high pre-load force as well. The carrying means provides convenience for carrying the clamp with the upper conduit in vertical applications.
While the invention has been shown in only three of its forms, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that it is not so limited, but is susceptible to various changes without departing from the scope of the invention.
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|US8038174 *||Aug 8, 2008||Oct 18, 2011||Ge-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas Llc||Apparatus for repairing a core spray downcomer pipe slip joint coupling|
|US8777277 *||Nov 30, 2011||Jul 15, 2014||Victaulic Company||Pipe element having shoulder, groove and bead and methods and apparatus for manufacture thereof|
|US9010164||May 28, 2014||Apr 21, 2015||Victaulic Company||Methods for manufacture of pipe element having shoulder, groove and bead|
|US9333543||Mar 28, 2014||May 10, 2016||Victaulic Company||Pipe element having shoulder, groove and bead|
|US20100032938 *||Aug 8, 2008||Feb 11, 2010||Ge-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas Llc||Method and apparatus for repairing a core spray downcomer pipe slip joint coupling|
|US20120014765 *||Jul 18, 2011||Jan 19, 2012||R-Tech, Inc.||Frac nut and method of using|
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|U.S. Classification||285/23, 285/367, 285/334.2|
|International Classification||E21B17/08, F16L23/08, E21B33/03|
|Cooperative Classification||E21B33/03, F16L23/08, E21B17/08|
|European Classification||E21B17/08, E21B33/03, F16L23/08|
|Jun 24, 1999||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jul 14, 2003||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12