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Патент USA US2038757

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April 2s, 1936.
» _
Filed March 1, 1955
L. O Do n 27 el?.
läatentecl Ápr. 28,
2,038,757 l
Lawrence O’Donnell, Houston, Tex.
Application March 1, 1935, Serial No.A 8,914
7 Claims. ~ (Cl. 262-3)
This invention relates to the mining of soluble
and it has heretofore been'found'diíflcult and eX-_
pensive to eiîect' the necessarycha'nges or varia
a section of the earth is shown in'v connection with
One object of this invention is -to provide an
’ the mining apparatus in a conventional or dia#
grammatic way.
Heretofore, the mining of sulphur has been ac
of salt in the water used‘for melting the sulphur; »
tions, also-'expensive to supply the salt and to
mix it with the water, so-
'Y '
apparatus that supplies the brine ready-mixed
and in-a highly heated condition direct from 'a
salt-mine subjacent or adjacent‘to the sulphur
complished by drilling down into the sulphur
deposit, forcing super-hot water into the deposit
for melting the adjacent sulphur, then pumping
mine, and thereby eliminate thetrouble andrex-V
pense of obtaining, mixing and varying the salt
content and of heating it in‘a container thatV
or otherwise'forcing the melted sulphur up into
would be detrimentally affected thereby.
15 the receptacle where the sulphur solidiñes to
thereafter be removed for shipment and use.
Here, it should be understood that the term super
h‘ot means not only above the boiling point at at
mospheric pressure, but as used herein, it also
means above »the melting point of -native_sulphur.
Another object is to provide Valved pipe con
nections between the water-heater and the Well
casin’gs and supplyv and delivery tubes in a prac- ‘
tical reîation for varying the density or saltiness
of the brine by manipulating the'valvesY accord
While that previous method accomplished a limit- n
ing to various and varying requirements.
- 20
Other objects and important features are point- »
ed degree of success, the cost of super-heating the
Water and- maintaining its temperature above the
connection with the accompanying drawing. f
melting point of sulphur throughout each cycle
was found to be quite expensive and to require
great vigilance in operating the plant to prevent
the sulphur from solidifying in the delivery pipe
that leads to the receptacle where it is left to
cool and solidify.
quire, for best-results, variations in the proportion
materials, and especially to Aan improved method
and apparatus for mining sulphur.
In certain known localities, there exist the
geological conditions and arrangements shown in
the -'accompanying ligure Íof drawings in which
` -
Therefore, in'Patent No.V 1,814,539, it was pro
posed to use as the sulphur-melting agent a brine
or aqueous solution of sodium-chloride, instead
of pure (non-saline) water, so as toincrease the
density of the melting fluid (for -purposes stated
35 in that patent), and for raising the boiling point
ofrsuch ñuid; but since the normal boiling. pointA
of a saline solution or brine is less than the melt
ing point. of sulphur, it was proposed to subject
edV out or implied in the followingrde'scription, in
In the drawing, the upperustratum of earth is
indicated at E; the ycap-rock of limestone,at C; 25»
a stratum of anhydrite and gypsum, at -A-G; a
deposit of native sulphur, at S; a pocket of melted
sulphur and super-hot water, at S-`W; a lower
stratum of salt or sodium-chloride, at S---C;- and
a pocket of super-hot'brine, at S-C-W. Y
Although, in some instances, these natural de
posits are under Water, as at Lake Piegneur, La.,
so the mining apparatus (infwhole or in part) is
supported on or in the wateigthe present appa
ratus is shown onY dry land and consists of co-V
operative parts described as follows:
- Y
A well-casing l» extends down into aA Well -2,
through the strata E and C and terminates in thef
the sulphur-melting agency to pressure of a suf
sulphur deposits or in the solution -Sj-W, and
40 ñcient degree to raise the temperature to about i has a sulphur-delivery'pipe 3- extending there#
240°, F. or up to 340€’ F., according to various and through and -helping to seal itat its upper end.»
varying conditions of the sulphur-deposit; .for
obviously, the more ground-water encountered in
A second well-casing 4 extends down through a ~
well 5 which goes through the strata E, C, Si, A--GfT
the sulphur deposit, the ïmoreï heat ’will be re
and terminates in the salt deposits-_0, prefer-`
ably at a distance far below the e’arth’s‘surfacev 45
45 quired to overcome the' coolingtendency of the
same: , However, less pressure is required to keep
the brine atja given degree of super-heat than is
requiredfor _pure water, 'for thevlatter tends to
be converted into steam at atemperature far be
low the melting point of sulphurrand torpass away
into the adjacent parts of porous deposits of sul
phurand other materialsg'> hence, less power is
required to supply the pressure to the Vbrine than
tov the superèheated‘pure Water.
`However, 'varying andl Various conditions re
where the » inherent Vtemperature v_is relatively
great, also increasing the Vpressure'in Vconsequence
of the pressure-head in the well> casing, and there-Y
by raising the temperature so as to minimize the
essential power applied to the pressure-pump that
connects to the water-heater -1- through a ymain
supply pipe 8, and to the casing 4 through a
pump-delivery pipe 9.
' A brine-raising'fpipe I0 vextends throughv thek 5.5
we11-c'asing4, helping to _seal the top of 'the lat same can be broken, removed and _loaded for
ter,` and connects with a suction pump I I whose
' Aoutlet pipe I2 is inopen communication with the
Variations in operation are necessary for va
rious ñelds of operation and’for changes that`
take place during a long-continued operation;
for instance, as the pockets increase in size, the
well-casing I. The pump IIV may be dispensed
lwith under> certain conditions, and may be such
that water can be forced through it by external
A fresh-Water pipe or by-pass conduit I3 corn
more heat is absorbed by the surrounding earthen
materials, so more heat must be applied to the
municates with the water-heater ‘I and the pipe
I 0 through v_alves`I14> and ’I5 which are'operable
sulphur-pocket to insure keeping _the sulphur
from solidifying in the pipe 3;__‘so, by'op'ening
to regulate the rate of flow or to entirely cut off
the flow through'this pipe. Between the valves
the valves I4 and I5, non-'saline super-hotwater
can be supplied or by-passed independently of '
I4 and I_5, a pressure-transfer pipe lßisrin corrl- 1 the casing 4, direct from the water-heater to the Y
intakel of the pump I I, or, by a slight changeeof
munioation with the pipe I3, Yandea‘lïSQ Communi
_cates with the pipe 9 at a point between thepump pipe. connections, direct to the Well-casing I,
6 and thecasing 4. This pipe I 6 is provided with, thereby not only raising the temperature of the4
sulphur-melting brine, but also diluting it while "
' a valve I1 for regulating the rate 'of flowithere
retardingits flow through the brine-pipe I Il. How
ever, if the` pressure in the pipe IIl is greaterrthan
' Ythrough'or- for entirely cuttingoiìthe flow, ace`
cording to requirements under Various
' ing conditions.
that inthe pipe I3 so as to cause back-pressure
YEach casing I and 4__is'provided with _a `seal or
alzplurality _of seals,_„a_s indicated ¿at :I-8¿,_f I_Sfand 20,
to prevent thel solutions from. flowing Vupward
in theY latter in consequence of thei‘orce-pump
6, the valve I4 maybe closed andthe valve;v I;1~V `
therearound end_decreasingthe pressure in the
E between. the` pipe I6_1__anda.the outletgif:v the pipe _
opened, thereby Vdividing the force _o_f the pump;
pocketscontaininglthe solutions; also to prevent `El, so this _pump then simultaneously forcesQbrine
the pressure from raising .the comparatively short through the pipe I0 and pure Super-hot Water
and light-_weight casing I These seals maybe through the pipes Iii-I3 into the brine-current;
p1_fovided{ir1_¿any,v appropriate way, Yflor instance,
'Whendrillingtheîwells,rat theLtime the drilling
so` as to simultaneously dilutev and super-heat"
the brine, or raise its temperature to _extra-,superz-...f
heat. This dilution of the brine is l_of importance>
Y30 tool ¿_ enters _ the ¿sulphur> deposit, super-hot water
is forced into lsaid deposit so as to melt away the _ forpreventing it from becoming too dense` and,
' adjacent sulphur from a pocket-to be filled with heavy; for a perfectly saturatedsolution i_s_p_r_o_-Vv
` portland vcement after the casing is properly _ duced in the pocket S-C-W, inasmuch
placed in_ the _welll _A similar operation is per
super-hot water holds the maximum of saltzin.
formed when ._ the drilling tool has passed _into
solution at a given pressure.; so if this saturated
the saltrdeposít, and such seal may b_e either at
’thetop of thedeposit, or atany desired place
solution is delivered into the pocket S-_W,_thef
salt beginsto precipitate-_as the water; cools and“,
to mixwith the sulphur as_the latter precipitates.;V
but by diluting the'brine with pure water„it,holds_z_
'The` operation. is as follows: When thefresh
or non-saline Water in the- water-heater 'I has thev salt _in _suspension _wh-ile. the sulphurrpl‘ecipl:.
attainedl a temperature of from 300° F.‘to 4:00"v F., tates'to thel mouth of the delivery pipe 3. _ oneven higher, all. the valvesf` being closed, the ' I do not intend to limit my Ypatentprotection to;V Y
pump G_is then operated (_by'any- appropriate ~ the precise details of construction,arrangement
means) and begins to ¿force _superfhot Water into or method-here shown and describedfforY them
l, the _salt-deposit, Sj-jfC, so. as to'_ dissolve some of
vention isfsusceptible _of numerous modiñcations- «
within the scope of the inventive ideas as implied:
theA vsalt and vform a_ hot brine and atV the same
time'build up apressure that._maintains or in-_
and claimed.__
creasesthe temperaturefof the brine; next, Athe
pumpII .is started._toV operate and to cooperate
ï' '
What I _claim as my invention is:V f
' 1. The method of miningsulphurA from- aged-_»
with the pressure _in__the-brine-raising pipe IIl- for
delivering the super-hot brine into the casing I
logical sulphur _deposit adjacentto a. geological a
and thence to the lsulphur-depositl S _so as rto melt
_ the .adjacent sulphur. If thel‘ejs'îcold non-saline
ter into the salt deposit and thereby creatingV a.
salt deposit, consisting in forcing super-hot Wa
brine while applying pressure'to.- maintaim the.;
heat above the melting temperature- of,sulplciur...V
or slightly saline _groundéwaterf in the sulphur
deposit, thesuper-hot brine _(being lighter than
and, forcing the super-hot brinefrom. thefsalti‘î
deposit to the sulphur deposit so ‘as-„to melt/the,v
spreads to the sides of the, `cavity or _pockets-W _ adjacent sulphur and hold itnsuspended in_the hot.,À
and melts theîsulphur thereat, so the melted sul
brine, and .to utilize theçpressure. for for,cing__._the,~î
the cold water) immediately rises, to--thetopfand
phur (being heavier) _ precipitates tothe bottom brine vand suspended sulphur
of.¿jthe pockettobe passed- upward through the Y cal sulphur deposit.
Ypipe 3.vr The ground-waterV soon `becomes mixed
with the super-_hot brine _and'partakes of vthe heat
and the salt thereof, so! that, by makingthe brine
suiîiciently hot >and ’salty,f the'_ whole Y mass of
out;- f of:r the geologi.- -
2._ The method of mining sulphurfrom aged.-U
logical >sulphur deposit adiacenti to .I_a. ,geological'f
salt deposit, consistingin forcingfihot,Watenintp,
said saltv deposit and thus forming;- a.._saturiaited.v=`
= waterin the _poekëtsfvvbeeqmes eñective in salinevr solution'while applying. pressure. to .forcemelting the sulphur -from all ¿sides of' the pocket Vthe saturated saline solution in aßurrentlthati-I
Y orfcavity,v upper, lower Vandrlateral. As the sul
passes to said 'geological sulphur deposit-¿and
phur is forced out from the bottomr of the pocket,- Vforcing a non-saline super-hot current of ~water' .
throughpi'peß', by ¿pressure and/or other means,
' more roommis provided-'in'th'e'pocketY for super
hot'brine'to vkeep up’the» sulphur-melting tem
perature. From the 'piper 3,i the melted sulphur
into the saturated saline current so as to dilutef
the- saturated saline current and raise its‘temQl
peraturefabove the melting
of sulphur s_o
as to meltthe adjacent sulphur jand’_in_tern‘inç>yitUV
with theV diluted saline solution _while _maintainff
can be haclatoj the. soliñedisulphurì and-so the ing, apressure. .suflicient to Vkeep _the ,Sulphur Cmelt
fl’ow's‘into»> the tank- or» receptacle 2I which may
have at least one reinovablefwallf;soeasyfaccess
ed and to force the melted sulphur and saline
solution out of said geological sulphur deposit.
3. In an apparatus for mining sulphur from a
geological sulphur deposit adjacent to a geologi
cal salt deposit, the combination of a well-casing
extending into said sulphur deposit, a sulphur
delivery pipe extending into said sulphur deposit,
a well-casing extending into said salt deposit, a
brine delivery pipe extending into said salt de
10 posit and being in open communication with the
first said well casing so as to conduct a saline
solution from said salt deposit to said sulphur
deposit, a water heater which is effective to heat
Water and maintain a pressure sufficient to pro
15 duce super-hot water -at a temperature above
the melting point of sulphur and means to con
duct the super-hot waterv into the second said
well casing under pressure suñicient to force it
through this well casing into said salt deposit
20 and to maintain a high pressure for producing
a super-hot saline solution and to force the latter
through the said brine conducting pipe and the
ñrst said well casing into said sulphur deposit for
melting adjacent sulphur and forcing the melted
25 sulphur and super-hot saline solution out of the
sul’phur deposit by way of the sulphur conducting
4. In an apparatus for mining sulphur from a
geological sulphur deposit adjacent to a geologi
30 cal salt deposit, the combination of means to
produce a super-hot saturated saline solution
within said geological salt deposit, and means to
conduct said saturated saline solution from said
salt deposit toward said sulphur deposit, means
35 being provided in conjunction with the ñrst said
means and second said means to dilute and raise
the temperature of said saturated solution and
to force the diluted highly heated solution into
said sulphur deposit with suflicient heat and
pressure to meltl the adjacent sulphur and cause
a current of the melted sulphur and solution to
flow out of said sulphur deposit.
5. In an apparatus for mining sulphur from a
geological sulphur deposit which is adjacent to a
45 salt deposit; the combination of means to super
heat water above the melting temperature of sul
phur and maintain a pressure for sustaining said
temperature above said melting point, means to
conduct a current of water from said heater into
50 said salt deposit and thereby create a saturated
saline solution in said salt deposit, means to con
duct a current of the saline solution out of said
salt deposit into cooperative relation to said wa.
ter heater, a well casing in open communication
with the last said means and extendingv into said
sulphur deposit, a pipe extending from said water
heater to the third said means and in open com
munication therewith so as to conduct super-hot
non-saline water to the saline solution for dilut
ing the l‘atter and raising its temperature as it
flows towards the sulphur deposit, said pipe be
ing provided with means to regulate the ñow of
non-saline water therethrough and to stop said
ñow, a pressure> pump operatively connected to the
second said means so as to increase the pressure
of the saline solution in said salt deposit, and a 15
Valved pipe in open communication with the ñrst
said pipe and with the second said means, the
valve of the second said pipe being operable for
opening and closing the pipe, the first said pipe
being provided with a closing valve between the 20
second said pipe and the third said means, Where
by a current of water can be by-passed from said Y
water-heater into the second said means inde- Y
pendently of said pump'.
6. In an apparatus for mining sulphur from a 25
geological sulphur deposit which is adjacent to a
deposit of brine, the combination of means to con
duct the brine into a sulphur deposit, means to
apply pressure and conduct heat simultaneously
to the brine in a proper manner and degree to 30
melt the adjacent sulphur sol it mixes with the
brine and passes therewith from the sulphur de
posit under the urge of said pressure, and means
to dilute the brine with super-hot non-saline wa
ter during its passage into said sulphur deposit.
7. In an apparatus for mining sulphur from a
geological sulphur deposit which is adjacent to a
deposit of brine, the combination of means to
conduct the brine into said sulphur deposit, means
to supply pressure to the brine for raising its tem 40
perature and causing it to ?low through the ñrst
said means into said sulphur deposit, means in
cooperative relation with the first and second said
means for diluting and super-heating the brine
while being conducted to said sulphur deposit so 45
as to melt adjacent sulphur and hold it in sus
pension, and means to conduct the diluted brine
and melted suspended sulphur from said sulphur
deposit under urge of said pressure.
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