What are these plumbing things called?

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What are these plumbing things called? Yea, I know they're a plug, but what's the actual name?
They're a rubber device with a bolt in the middle. When the nut is tightened on the bolt, the rubber expands to form a tight seal inside a pipe. I've seen them used for basement floor drains, during flooding. Also used for temporary plugs in any pipes. I've also seen them sold for boating. I dont know much about boating, but I assume they are some sort of plug for the bottom of the boat.
I'm asking this because I cant understand why this method has not been tried on the BP oil pipe in the ocean. It's a 20 inch pipe, as I saw on the news. Why cant they make a 20" plug of this type, and their robots can tighten the nut. Why is this so difficult? Seems that the BP company workers are all total idiots. They stuck what looks to be a 6" pipe in the hole. Like what the f__k is that going to do. Sure, they're getting some of the oil up that pipe, but think about this. They had to make and install one mile of pipe, and it only solved a small percentage of the problem. It took them weeks to do this, and it's not doing much good. Wouldn't it have been easier to take down a 20 inch plug that probably weighs 50 lbs at most, and tighten a nut. Seems to make much more sense than one mile of pipe that probably weighs many tons.
Anyhow, what are these plugs called? As soon as I know, I'm going to find who manufactures them, and see if they can make something to help. Relying on BP is about the same thing as a doctor putting a bandage on the finger of someone who just had a heart attack. Since BP has proven they are completely illiterate, the time has come for all of us to find a solution. If we keep relying on the idiots from BP, pretty soon we'll all be affected.
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I think the real problem is overcoming the 760,000 pounds of force to insert the plug.
22 inch pipe at 2000 estimated psi.
basilisk
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That type of plug is used on pools to winterize them and at least for that application they are called pool plugs or pool expansion plugs.
As for why you can't just shove one into a large oil pipe 5,000 feet under the sea, I think the above answer covers it. I haven't done the math, but with such a large plug area, any reasonable amount of PSI pressure is going to exert a huge force on the plug. You can insert a 2" plug into a drain line, but try inserting that into a water pipe that is spewing water at even 50psi where you have easy access. And on the ocean floor, what is a robot supposed to hold onto to keep it from just being pushed away?
That's why they used a plug type arrangement with a smaller pipe in the middle, so the oil and gas can flow while the apparatus is being put in place, greatly reducing the force.
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On 5/21/2010 8:44 AM, basilisk wrote:

Every hillbilly out there thinks he has the answer. There's a cute one about absorbing the oil with straw ;)
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On Fri, 21 May 2010 09:23:02 -0400, Frank

_Kevin Costner may hold key to oil spill cleanup_
"The actor has invested 15 years and $24 million in a cleanup system involving centrifugal oil separators. BP and the Coast Guard plan to test six of the machines on the spill next week."
.."The machines are essentially like big vacuum cleaners, which sit on barges and suck up oily water and spin it around at high speed," Houghtaling said. "On one side, it spits out pure oil, which can be recovered. The other side spits out 99% pure water."
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-hollywood-20100521,0,2351299.story?track=rss
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I thought the pipe was much smaller, like 4-6". I also think the outside forces (forces exerted on an object at 6000ft below sea level) are somewhere around 6K psi. I don't think the pressure inside the pipe is quite as high as you guess. On another factor is the weight of the water IF it were contained in a pipe to the surface. Anyway, the oil is normally PUMPED out of the well because the pressure in the well is unable to overcome the lift required to bring it to the surface.
Since it is ruptured, it is flowing out at a minimum pressure and then surfacing.
That is the way I understand it, but I could be wrong in many ways.
Hank
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wrote:

I thought the pipe was much smaller, like 4-6". I also think the outside forces (forces exerted on an object at 6000ft below sea level) are somewhere around 6K psi. I don't think the pressure inside the pipe is quite as high as you guess. On another factor is the weight of the water IF it were contained in a pipe to the surface. Anyway, the oil is normally PUMPED out of the well because the pressure in the well is unable to overcome the lift required to bring it to the surface.
Since it is ruptured, it is flowing out at a minimum pressure and then surfacing.
That is the way I understand it, but I could be wrong in many ways.
Hank
I got the pipe size and psi from news reports, but TV news reports aren't noted for their accuracy, who knows?
basilisk
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Well a 20 inch plug has an area of around 310 square inches. Pi x R squared! The pressure of the oil and gas coming out of the broken well must be considerable in water of a depth of say 5000 feet. Many times atmospheric pressure anyway lets say it's only a 1000 pounds per square inch? (That's way too conservative by the way).
So with a pressure of around 300,000 pounds on the plug it's not the kind of thing where you hold it in place with one hand while tightening the expanding bolt with the other hand. All while kneeling on the basement or kitchen floor!
One would however imagine the much maligned engineers have figured that out? But it is true that sometimes the best ideas are the simplest!
Usually the problem with these situations is not only the technology but the managerial ethics and political will to do the right thing and spend the money and resources, beforehand, to avoid a problem in the first place. This spillage should never have happened. But it and BPs attitude makes one wonder about other wells, and oil industry practices and procedures!
And, considering regulation! Just look at the countries that are recovering nicely (Australia, Canada, China, India and others) from the financial problems caused by the bad credit crisis! It is those that have tough and enforced 'Banking regulations'!
Same with the oil industry there is too much emphasis on the bottom line profit and executive bonuses and maybe lobbying? Somewhere along the line the welfare of everybody else involved, included other users and residents, immediately in this case, the residents, fishers, tourist industry employees of those coastal areas get lost in the scramble.
In the longer term that's all of us; I'm certainly not going anywhere near Florida, for example, if there are oiled beaches and oil slicks fouling my boat!
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It's not the absolute pressure that matters. It's the relative pressure difference between the well and the water at the bottom of the sea.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I'm puzzled that BP...BRITISH Petroleum...hasn't gotten any flak from the British gov't., or the Brit's from the US. At least I haven't heard of it. Is the gusher in international waters? How far out are US, or state waters?
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On Sat, 22 May 2010 10:34:39 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

Day trips on ships with gambling, off the coast of Florida requires 12 miles before they the turn on the slot machines.
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On Sat, 22 May 2010 10:34:39 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/2503227/posts
Looks like about 200mi due South of Dauphin Island, AL.
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On May 22, 7:13am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Exactlyl. All that gas and oil needs is at least 1 psi above whatever the water pressure is down there. It appears that it is much higher than that pressure though.
Harry K
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Hustlin' Hank wrote: ...

Well, the pressure has to be larger than the static head or that would be sufficient to prevent flow other than diffusion/displacement by differential density. That clearly isn't the case from the video and size of the flow.
As another says, those are reported numbers I've seen as well; what, specifically they have to do w/ reality is also as he notes anybody's guess....
--
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Hustlin' Hank wrote:

The pipe they inserted into the leaking well is 4" in diameter. The well pipe is much larger. The pressure from the weight of the water is the same whether it is in a pipe or not.. When the water has been displaced by oil, then the pressure will be less.
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wrote:

I agree with your answer but not your multiplication. Assuming your numbers are right, 2000 x 22 x pi = 138,000 pounds.
Still too much, I'm sure. Compare how easy it is to close off part of a garden hose with your thumb versus the whole thing. OTOH, the OP's point is that his plug is smaller than the hole when put in, and would be likea thumb closing off part of hose. I guess the high pressure is still the problem
Not that I have a better suggestion but I don't like relying on BP to do this. They seem to have put all their energy into avoiding a leak and little into what to do about it if one occured.
And the OP is right, the current pipe is only about 6 inches in a 22 inch pipe, but i think it was actually 4 inches.
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it would psi*pi*radius squared. 2000 X 3.1459 X (11 X 11) v1,307.8 My information may be bad, but not my math.
basilisk

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wrote:

Ooops. I shouldn't have dropped out of high school half way through geometry. :(

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mm wrote: ...

...
pi.D is circumference, not area...
pi.r^2 = A --> 121*3+ --> > ~360*2000 = >~720klb-f
The question is what is the differential pressure at the wellhead -- what are the numbers being bandied about in the press???? There's no way of telling and there's probably not a reporter or reporterette in a 1000 that would have a clue if you told 'em... :(
This beating up on BP is simply populist Monday-morning qb'ing for the consumption of the press and populace.
There does seem to have been some culpability in the operations but before the full incident review it's certainly too early to say for sure who or what was root cause.
I've little doubt there's not much any of the gov't "experts" in FEMA or HSA or any other agency know or have experience in that will outpace that of BP production combined w/ Halliburton and their contractors. These aren't "johnny come latelies" to the party.
--
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