US3907044A - Geopenetrator system - Google Patents

Geopenetrator system Download PDF

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US3907044A
US3907044A US50734474A US3907044A US 3907044 A US3907044 A US 3907044A US 50734474 A US50734474 A US 50734474A US 3907044 A US3907044 A US 3907044A
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means
end
hole
housing
casing
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Alan L Robertson
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United Research & Dev Company
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B7/00Special methods or apparatus for drilling
    • E21B7/14Drilling by use of heat, e.g. flame drilling
    • E21B7/15Drilling by use of heat, e.g. flame drilling of electrically generated heat

Abstract

A geopenetrator system is provided comprising an earth boring drill which is particularly adapted to be employed to perform a drilling operation under temperature conditions and at depths wherein ordinary drilling devices are inoperable. The drill includes a penetrator head, an extendible pipe casing means operable in the nature of a shaft which is connected at one end to the penetrator head and is capable of being extended so as to have a length sufficient to reach the surface of the hole being drilled, and power means operatively connected to the penetrator head for supplying the power thereto required thereby to perform the drilling operation. The penetrator head includes a housing, a forerunner, energy transmitting means, and means operable for purposes of causing withdrawal of the drill from a hole. The housing is composed of an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing which is operatively connected at one end to the upper feed casing and at the other end to the forerunner. The upper feed casing of the housing is in turn operatively connected to one end of the extendible pipe casing, i.e., shaft, the other end of which extends to the surface of the drilled hole. The circumference of the upper feed casing at the point of connection with the lower end of the shaft is greater than that of the shaft. As a result, there is an over lock established at the point of connection between the lower end of the shaft and the upper end of the housing which is operable to inhibit the passage of volumes of liquids and gases trapped below the surface of the earth up the drilled hole which in turn if permitted to flow up the drilled hole could pose a potential hazard to personnel working on the drilling rig. Preferably, the shaft at spaced intervals along the length thereof is provided with a multiplicity of sets of outwardly extending members embodying a configuration which is similar in nature to that of skis. Each set preferably consists of three skis projecting radially outwardly from the outer surface of the shaft and being movable between a retracted position and an extended position wherein the free end of each ski engages the sidewall of the drilled hole in substantially equally spaced relation around the circumference thereof whereby the weight of the shaft is at least partially supported by means of the interengagement of the skis with the sidewalls of the hole. The energy transmitting means extends down the shaft and through substantially the center of the housing, and includes an electrode connected at one end to the forerunner and at the other end to the power means. The electrode, at least a portion thereof which is surrounded by insulation thereby to be insulated from the housing, is operable to heat the forerunner to a temperature wherein the latter becomes molten. The housing of the penetrator head is provided with slag escape means operable to permit the escape of the slag formed during the drilling operation. The means for causing withdrawal of the drill includes a longitudinally extending opening formed in the upper feed casing through which pressure is capable of being applied to cause the drill to be withdrawn by being pushed back to the top of the hole.

Description

United States Patent 91 Robertson [451 Sept. 23, 1975 1 GEOPENETRATOR SYSTEM [75] Inventor: Alan L. Robertson, Newington,

Conn.

[73] Assignee: United Research & Development Company, Incorporated, Newington, Conn.

[22] Filed: Sept. 19, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 507,344

Primary Examiner-Ernest R. Purser Assistant ExaminerRichard E. Favreau [57] ABSTRACT A geopenetrator system is provided comprising an earth boring drill which is particularly adapted to be employed to perform a drilling operation under temperature conditions and at depths wherein ordinary drilling devices are inoperable. The drill includes a penetrator head, an extendible pipe casing means operable in the nature of a shaft which is connected at one end to the penetrator head and is capable of; being extended so as to have a length sufficient to reach the surface of the hole being drilled, and power means operatively connected to the penetrator head,for supplying the power thereto required thereby to perform the drilling operation. The penetrator head includes a housing, a forerunner, energy transmitting means, and means operable for purposes of causing withdrawal of the drill from a hole. The housing is composed of an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing which is operatively connected at one end to the upper feed casing and at the other end to the forerunner. The upper feed casing of the housing is in turn operatively connected to one end of the extendible pipe casing, i.e., shaft, the other end of which extends to the surface of the drilled hole. The circumference of the upper feed casing at the point of connection with the lower end of the shaft is greater than that of the shaft. As a result, there is an over lock established at the point of connection between the lower end of the shaft and the upper end of the housing which is operable to inhibit the passage of volumes of liquids and gases trapped below the surface of the earth up the drilled hole which in turn if permitted to flow up the drilled hole could pose a potential hazard to personnel working on the drilling rig. Preferably, the shaft at spaced intervals along the length thereof is provided with a multiplicity of sets of outwardly extending members embodying a configuration which is similar in nature to that of skis. Each set preferably consists of three skis projecting radially outwardly from the outer surface of the shaft and being movable between a retracted position and an extended position wherein the free end of each ski engages the sidewall of the drilled hole in substantially equally spaced relation around the circumference thereof whereby the weight of the shaft is at least partially supported by :means of the interengagement of the skis with the sidewalls of the hole. The energy transmitting means extends down the shaft and through substantially the center of the housing, and includes an electrode connected at one end to the forerunner and at the other end, to the power means. The electrode, at least a portion thereof which is surrounded by insulation thereby to be insulated from the housing, is operable to heat the forerunner to a temperature wherein the latter becomes molten. The housing of the penetrator headis provided with slag escape means operable to permit the escape of the slag formed during the drilling operation. The means for causing withdrawal of the drill includes a longitudinally extending opening formed in the upper feed casing through which pressure is capable of being applied to cause the drill to be withdrawn by being pushed back to the top of the hole.

ulfil 10 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,907,044

SLAG

GAS

GENERATOR l 66 3o 68 r PUMP CRUST 8 MILES i BUFFER [6 MILES MANTLE GEOPENETRATOR SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Although for many years there existed people who espoused the fear that an energy crisis was developing, for the most part their concern went ignored. It was not until some of our larger cities in recent years experienced periods during the summer months when the demands for electricity to power air conditioners, etc. exceeded the capacities for generating electricity causing the residents of these cities to suffer through voltage reductions, demands that electricity be conserved, etc. that credence first began to be given to the possibility that an energy crisis might have developed. Subsequently, additional concern over the possible existence of an energy crisis was expressed when during the winter some areas of the United States found it difficult to obtain adequate supplies of home heating fuels. In regard to the latter, there have been forecasts made moreover that such shortages may well occur again this winter. Finally, universal acceptance of the fact that an energy crisis was present was reached when late this spring there developed a shortage of gasoline for motor vehicles which has ultimately led to the rationing of gasoline by many service stations located along major arterial highways as well as the actual closing of some stations because their owners were unable to obtain assurances of being able to purchase gasoline in sufficient quantities.

In response to the above set of circumstances, industry as well as the government has embarked on the pursuit of programs which it is hoped will lead to the development of more abundant sources of energy. Some of these programs involve the focusing of attention on various forms of energy sources which have long been known to exist but which have heretofore been considered to be too uneconomical to utilize. Other programs are directed to seeking ways of more efficiently employing the energy sources which are presently available. Furthermore, there are programs being undertaken which have for their objective obviating the concerns of environmentalists, etc. regarding the damage being done to the environment as a result of the manner in which presently constructed fossil fueled plants are operated as well as the concerns expressed over the .and in rural areas, in the mountains and along the plains, on islands and in desert areas, in the tropics and in the artic, and during winter as well as summer. However, in addition to the fact that the aforementioned types of potential energy sources are relatively costly to employ, they also possess the disadvantages that their use depends on large part on weather conditions. Moreover, another disadvantage thereof is that in order to be utilized they require the power generating instal lation to be located at considerable distances from the areas in which the power is to be used. More specifically, it is readily apparent in this regard that sun power is wasted by night, clouds, seasons and dispersions.

Wind is wasted by calms. Harnessing the tides requires that the power generated therefrom be transmitted from the seashore where it is produced to inland areas where it will be used.

With reference to the energy sources presently being utilized, it is estimated that there exists in the world over 200 billion dollars worth of electricity generating capacities that are powered by combustion with a small percentage of these being powered by fission. Of this total about one third or about 66 billion dollars is located in the United States. However, combustion wastes coal, oil, and gas and pollutes. Similarly, fission wastes fission fuels already in short supply. On the other hand, fusion as it becomes practical will involve a waste of energy to start it up and could conceivably because of the need for cooling purposes involve raising water and air temperatures to a degree wherein it would effect their capability to support life.

There does exist however, one'form of energy source which is not subject to the above discussed disadvan' tages. In this connection, reference is had to the thermal energy which is available inside the earth. Essentially, only the first mile of the earths depth is cool enough to support life. On the average, the earth begins to glow red hot, i.e., has a temperature of approximately 1,000F. at a depth of only eight miles, and on the average the earth begins to glow white hot, i.e., has a temperature of approximately 2,100F. at a depth of about 16 miles. From then on, the remaining portion of theearth, nearly 8,000 miles in diameter, is white hot. This means that nearly 290 billion cubic miles of the earths mass exists in a white hot state, having an average temperature thought to be about 8,000F, This is over 31 million times the number of B.T.U.s that would result from the combustion of all of the known fossil fuel reserves of the world. In addition, it is well established that at least four times each century more B.T.U.s transfer from the inside of the earth through its crust than would result from the combustion of all of the known fossil fuel reserves of the world. However, except in a few locations where the surface of the earth is broken by hot springs, very little has been done to exploit the potential which this massive source of thermal energy represents.

To tap this source of energy requires that access be provided thereto by drilling a hole to the required depth. However, heretofore, this has been impossible because conventional drilling equipment has not had the capability of reaching the required depth. More specifically, ordinary equipment can only withstand temperatures of about 675F. and therefore can only be used for drilling to depths of four to seven miles. Beyond that, the heat weakens the metal drill shaft so much that when an attempt is made to pull the mechanism out of the hole, the shaft will snap, leaving the drill head at the bottom of the hole. On the other hand, it has been proposed to employ tungsten in this connection for purposes of drilling to the desired depths inasmuch as it is claimed that tungstens considerable tensile strength capacities would provide the drilling equipment with the means to enter and return from the required high temperature depths. Such a proposal would be feasible if it were possible to fashion holes down to such depths having their inside diameter larger than the outside diameter of the drill. However, the

depths to which it is necessary to drill in order to tap the subject source of thermal energy are too dangerously hot to attempt to reach with vertical holes fashioned having an inside diameter above the hole fashioning device which is larger than the outside diameter of the latter device. More specifically, all hole fashioning means to and from such depths must have a continuously suitable calculated amount of upper hole overlocking capable of functioning as a part of a comprehensibly complete fail safe system. The reason for this is that trapped pockets of liquids such as water and petroleum, gas such as steam, CO and natural gas all have been found at various depths in the crust. Moreover, the higher the temperature associated with such pockets, the higher their pressure. Consequently, if even relatively small volumes of such liquids and gases were permitted to reach the surface of the earth unabated they would consitute a danger to the men working the drilling rig. Obviously, vast volume pockets could pose a hazard to a considerable area around the rig. Overlooking is therefore required to prevent such a situation from existing. Since this is the case and since remelting and recompression of the overlock during refeeding will be considerable, working with operating temperatures well above even the tensile strength capacities of tungsten, i.e., operating temperatures above 5,500F., back feeding by pulling exclusively is therefore not possible. Accordingly, a system is required wherein the hole fashioning device is capable of being brought back to the surface other than by pulling. In summary, there has existed a need to provide a system which would be capable of being employed to drill a hole in the earths surface to a depth wherein it would be possible to tap the enormous amounts of thermal energy trapped in the center of the earth for use as an energy source, thereby to alleviate the energy crisis which faces the world today. This energy source might then be expected to function as a power supply for producing such bulk commodities in the future as electricity, fresh water, hot water, process steam, the processing of organic waste into combustibles such as petroleum and gas, the manufacture of many chemicals and conceivably even the conversion of desert wastes into life supporting real estate.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved geopenetrator system operable for purposes of drilling holes under temperature conditions in which ordinary metals become molten.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide such a geopenetrator system which is capable of being utilized for purposes of drilling a hole in the earths surface to a depth which is sufficient to enable the heat which exists in the earths center to be tapped as an energy source.

It is another object of the present invention to provide such a geopenetrator system wherein drilling is accomplished by burning a hole through the earth by means of a molten forerunner.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such a geopenetrator system wherein overlocking is employed to prevent trapped gases and liquids below the surface of the earth from posing a danger to personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide such a geopenetrator system wherein after a hole has been drilled therewith to the desired depth it is withdrawn therefrom by being pushed back to the top of the hole.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide such a geopenetrator system which is operable to drill holes at an increased rate of speed.

Yet still another object of the present invention is to provide such a geopenetrator system which is operable to drill holes with a sufficient degree of perpendicularity that two parallel holes having considerable depth may be drilled in closely spaced relation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It has now been found that the foregoing and related objects can be readily attained in a geopenetrator system which is particularly adapted to be employed to perform a drilling operation under temperature conditions and at depths wherein ordinary drilling devices are inoperable. The drill includes a penetrator head, an extendible pipe casing means operable in the nature of a shaft which is connected at one end to the penetrator head and is capable of being extended so as to have a length sufficient to reach the surface of the hole being drilled, and power means operatively connected to the penetrator head for supplying the power thereto required thereby to perform the drilling operation. The penetrator head includes a housing, a forerunner, energy transmitting means, and means operable for purposes of causing withdrawal of the drill from a hole. The housing is composed of an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing which is operatively connected at one end to the upper feed casing and at the other end to the forerunner. The upper feed casing of the housing is in turn operatively connected to one end of the extendible pipe casing means, i.e., shaft, the other end of which extends to the surface of the drilled hole. The

circumference of the upper feed casing at the point of connection thereof with the lower end of the shaft is greater than that of the shaft. As a result, there is an overlock established at the point of connection between the lower end of the shaft and the upper end of the housing which is operable to inhibit the passage of volumes of liquids and gases trapped below the surface of the earth up the drilled hole which in turn if permitted to flow up the drilled hole could pose a potential hazard to personnel working on the drilling rig. The energy transmitting means extends down the shaft and through substantially the center of the housing. The housing of the penetrator head is provided with slag escape means operable to permit escape of the slag formed during the drilling operation. The means for causing withdrawal of the drill is operable upon completion of drilling to push the drill back to the top of the hole.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, both the upper feed casing and the lower feed casing are preferably formed from solid tungsten. In addition, preferably the shaft at spaced intervals along the length thereof is provided with a multiplicity of sets of outwardly extending members embodying a configuration which is similar in nature to that of skis. Each set preferably consists of three skis projecting radially outwardly from the outer surface of the shaft and being movable between a retracted position and an extended position wherein the free end of each ski engages the sidewall of the drilled hole in substantially equally spaced relation around the circumference thereof whereby the weight of the shaft is at least partially supported by means of the interengagement of the skis with the sidewalls of the hole. The energy transmitting means includesan electrode connected at one end to the forerunner and at the other end to the power means. The electrode, at least a portion of the length thereof which is surrounded by insulation thereby to be insulated from the housing, is operable to heat the forerunner to a temperature wherein the latter becomes molten. The means for causing withdrawal of the drill includes a longitudinally extending opening formed in the upper feed casing through which a suitable gas or liquid is pumped under pressure so as to cause an upward force to be applied thereby against the lower sur face of the upper feed casing causing the latter as well as the other components operatively connected thereto to be pushed to the top of the hole.

In accord with the present invention, another embodiment thereof is provided which is particularly adapted to be employed in situations wherein the sidewalls of the hole being drilled do not have sufficient strength to remain integral thereby to provide a space between the drill and the sidewalls of the hole to enable the slag which is produced during the drilling operation to be received therebetween. Accordingly, in one form of the invention, the earth boring drill comprising the geopenetrator system is provided with a pair of longitudin-ally extending parallel openings, one of which is operable to provide a flow path for a fluid and the other of which is operable to enable debris, i.e., slag formed during the drilling operation to be removed therethrough by the fluid which flows from the top. of the hole, down through the first opening and then back up to the top of-the hole through the second opening carrying the debris, i.e., slag therewith.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention. illustrated performing a drilling operation in the earths surface;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view ofa portion of one embodiment of a penetrator head for a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the penetrator head of FIG. 2 constructed in accordance withthe present invention;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a portion of another embodiment of a penetrator head for a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a schematic representation of the manner in which a pair of holes drilled by a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention are capable of being utilized to tap the thermal energy present below the surface of the earth;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a portion of a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention, illustrating the manner in which the overlock is provided adjacent the location whereat one end of the shaft is connected to the housing; and

FIG 7 is a side elevational view of a portion of a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention. illustrating more clearly the nature of the construction of the ski-like members which are mounted on the shaft at spaced intervals therealong.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and more particularly FIG. 1 thereof, there is illustrated therein one embodiment of a geopenetrator system comprising an earth boring drill, generally designated by reference numeral 10, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The earth boring drill 10 includes a penetrator head 12, an extendible pipe casing means 14 connected at one end to the penetrator head 12 and capable of being extended so as to have a length sufficient to reach to the top of the hole 16 being drilled, and power means 18 operatively connected to the penetrator head 12 for supplying the power thereto required thereby to conduct the drilling operation.

The pipe casing means 14 includes one or more sec tions 20 of pipe casing operable in the manner of a shaft. The exact number of pipe casing sections 20 which are utilized in connection with a drilling operation varies depending on the particular depth to which the hole 16 is being drilled. In accordance with the practice commonly employed in the drilling art, each pipe casing section 20 preferably is provided with suitable locking means (not shown) operable for purposes of connecting an end of one section 20 of pipe casing to an end of another section 20 of pipe casing thereby to provide a continuous length of pipe casing. Any of the forms of locking means generally used by those skilled in the art for this purpose may be employed. With further reference to FIG. 1 of the drawings, as depicted therein the lower end of the first section 20 of pipe casing is connected to the upper end of the penetrator head 12 in such a manner as to provide an overlock at this point along the lengthof the drill 10. The purpose of the overlock 70 as well as the manner in which it is provided will be described more particularly hereinafter in connection with the description of FIG. 6 of the drawings. The upper end of the last section 20 of pipe casing is operatively connected, for a purpose to which reference will be had in more detail subsequently, to the power means 18. However, at this point. it is deemed sufficient to merely note that penetrator head 12 is connected to the power means 18 by conductor means 22 and that the latter to accomplish this function extends longitudinally through each of the pipe casing sections 20. In this regard, the conductor means 22 may comprise a plurality of individual portions, with one of the latter being built in as a part of each section 20 of pipe casing so that interconnecting the ends of the pipe casing sections 20 functions to also cause the simultaneous connection of the individual portions which comprise the conductor means 22. On the other hand, it is also contemplated that the construction of the conductor means 22 may be such that the latter is formed separate from the pipe casing sections 20 with the conductor means 22 being merely passed therethrough. Finally. as depicted in FIG. 1 of the drawings each section 20 of the pipe casing is preferably provided with a support means 72 located intermediate the ends thereof for a purpose to which further reference will be had hereinafter.

Turning now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, the penetrator head 12 as illustrated therein. includes a housing 24, a forerunner 26, energy transmitting means, and means operable for purposes of causing withdrawal of the drill 10 from the hole 16. The housing 24 includes an upper feed casing 28 and a lower feed casing 30 which is operatively connected at one end to the upper feed casing 28 and at the other end to the forerunner 26. In accord with one embodiment thereof, the upper feed casing 28 is formed of solid tungsten and is generally circular in cross section. The sidewalls 28a of the upper feed casing 28 taper inwardly to provide the latter with one end portion, i.e., end 28b thereof which is of reduced diameter relative to the remainder of the upper feed casing 28. The end portion 28b of upper feed casing 28: is fixedlyattached to one end, i.e., end 26:! of the .forerunner 26 whereby theupper'feed casing 28 and the forerunner 26 are capable of being moved together'as an integral unit.

The lower feed casing 30, in the formof the invention illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings, has a diameter which is greater than that of the upper feed casing 28, for a purpose which will subsequently be set forth. As best understood with reference to FIG. 3, the lower feed casing 30, which like the upper feed casing 28 is formed from solid tungsten, has a cross sectional configuration which is like that of a wheel, ie, a plurality of spokes 32 are provided extending outwardly from a hub portion 34 and are interconnected at their outer ends by a circular rim 36 which constitutes the external sidewall of the lower feed casing 30. The spokes 32 are located relative to each other so as to divide the interior of the lower feed casing 30 into four areas 38 to which further reference will be had hereinafter. The interior portion of the upper end 30:! of the lower feed casing 30 is preferably formed so as to taper-inwardly at substantially the same angle as the sidewalls 28a of the upper feed casing 28 are tapered whereby to be complementary thereto. The lower end. of'the lower feed casing 30 as viewed with reference to FIG. 2 of the drawings extends downwardly a sufficient distance so as to envelope a portion of the upper section of the forerunner 26. The hub portion 34 is suitably dimensioned so as to be'capable of receiving therein the end portion 28b of upper feed casing 28 which. extends therethrough into engagement with the forerunner 26. The lower feed casing 30 is also provided with a slag escape means which comprises a plurality of slag escape openings 40. The latter openings'40 are suitably formed in the sidewalls 30b of the lower feed casing 30 whereby to provide communication between the areas 38 and the interior of the lower feed casing 30 and the exterior thereof so as to permit the slag which is formed during the drilling operation to escape therethrough. Each of the openings 40 preferably is ofthe same size and has the same shape.

Continuing with the description of the penetrator head 12 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and'3 of the drawings, the energy transmitting means thereof comprises an electrode 42. The electrode 42 is of a length sufficient to extend through both the upper and lower feed casings 28 and 30, respectively, and so as to have a portion thereof which is inserted into an opening (not shown) provided therefore in the forerunner 26. The electrode 42 is maintained in the forerunner 26 through the use of any suitable means commonly found employed in the art for purposes of affixing an electrode to another member. The electrode 42 is substantially uniform in diameter throughout its length, with the diameter thereof being dimensioned so as to enable the electrode 42 to pass through the hollow interior of the end;por-,

tion 281; of the upper feed casing 28. In accord with the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 .of the drawings, the electrical characteristics of the electrode 42 are such as to permit the latter to transmit ten thousand K.W.H. of electrical energy to the forerunner 26. For this purpose, the upper end of the electrode 42, as viewed with reference to FIG. 2 of the drawings, is connected through the previously described conductor means 22'to the power means 18 depicted in FIG. 1, the latter functioning as the source of supply forthe required amount of electrical energy.

Continuing with a description of the penetrator head 12 and more particularly a description of the nature of the overlock which is formed between the lower end of the pipe casingmeans l4 and the upper end of the 'penetrator head 12, reference will be had for this purpose to FIGS. 2 and 6 of the drawings. As is wellknown, trapped pockets of liquids such as water and petroleum, gas such as steam, CO and natural gas have all been found at .various depths in the earths crust. The higher the temperature associated with such pockets, the higher their pressure. Should even relatively small volumes of such. liquids and gases be permitted to reach the surface of the earth uncontrolled through the drilled hole, they would present a hazard to the personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation, Obviously, vast volumes pockets could pose a potentially serious danger to a large area surrounding the drilling rig. There therefore existsa need to provide an overlock within the drilled hole operable to inhibit the undesired passage of such trapped liquids and gases to the earths surface through the drilled hole. For this purpose, as best understood with reference to FIG. 6 of the drawings, the upper end of the upper feed casing 28 is tapered inwardly. Consequently, the upper end of the upper feed casing 28 is provided with inclined sidewalls 74 which function to provide the upper end of the upper feed casing 28 with a configuration which in appearance resembles that of a cone. More'specifically, the'angle of'inclination of the sidewalls 74 is selected to be such as to provide a smooth transition between the circumference of the upper feed casing 28 and the circumference of the lower end of the first section 20 of pipe casing, the former as shown in the drawing having asignificantly larger diameter than the latter. By providing such a=construction,-it is possible for the inside diameter of the portion of the drilled hole located above the upperfeed casing 28 to be smaller than the diameter of the upper feed casing 28. This'results from the fact that the slag which is produced during the drilling operation is" caused to flow along the outer wall surface of the upper feed casing 28 as referred to previously hereinabove in an upwardly direction. When the slag reaches the upper end of the upper feed casing 28, it is free to flow inwardly along the inclined sidewalls 74 thereof during which process the slag is solidifying. As the slag solidifies it forms a build-up along the inner surface of the drilled hole thereby functioning to decrease the-inside diameter of the drilled hole located above the upper feed casing 28 such that is is less than the diameter of the upper'feed casing 28. Finally, as best understood with reference to FIGS. 2 and 6 of the drawings, an overlock 70 is formed through the engagement of the inclined sidewalls 74 of the upper feed casing 28 with the inside wall of the drilled hole. This overlock 7-0 is operable to substantially close off the portion of the drilled hole located below the lower end of the first section 20 of pipe casing wherebythe overlock 70 functions to inhibit the undesired passage of any trapped liquids and gases upwardly through the drilled hole to the earths surface.

To complete the description of the construction of the penetrator head 12, reference will now be had to the means which is operable for purposes of withdrawing the drill from the hole 16 when drilling ofthe latter is completed. As noted hereinabove previously, the drill 10 is withdrawn from the hole 16 by being pushed to the top thereof rather than bybeing pulled thereto in accordance with conventional practice. It is not possible to employ the latter method of withdrawing a drill from extremely deep holes of the nature contemplated to be drilled through operation of the drill 10 because of the fact that the heat which is present at the bottom of such holes is sufficient to weaken the metal drill shaft so much that when an attempt is made to pull the drill out of the hole, the shaft will snap thereby leaving a portion of the drill within the hole which is operable to block up the hole. On the other hand, by applying a pushing force against the bottom of the drill 10, it is possible to push the drill 10 back to the top of the hole 16 notwithstanding the fact that portions of the drill 10 have been subjected to extremely high temperatures. More precisely, while a pushing force is being applied against the bottom of the drill 10, a pulling force is preferably being applied also to the top of the drill 10. It is through the action of these combined forces that the drill 10 is actually caused to be withdrawn from the drilled hole. Inasmuch as the pulling force will be constant and the pushing force is capable of being varied, it is possible to control the rate of withdrawal of the drill 10 from the hole so as to prevent the hydrofracture of the stone comprising the walls of the hole as well as preventing damage to the sections of the pipe casing particularly as the drill 10 moves through the upper reaches of the hole.

Accordingly, to accomplish the withdrawal of the drill 10 from the hole 16, the former in accord with the preferred embodiment of the invention is provided with means operable for this purpose including an opening 44 formed in the upper feed casing 28 so as to extend completely therethrough. The opening 44 is in communication with the top of the hole 16 by means of suitable conduit means 46 used within the pipe casing means 14. The conduit means 46 which functions to establish a passage (not shown) which extends from the top of the hole 16 to the opening 44 may either be formed as an integral part of each section of the pipe casing means 14 or as a separate conduit which is inserted into the pipe casing means 14 in supported relation thereto. The manner in which the opening 44 and the passage (not shown) created by the conduit means 46' are employed will be referred to again hereinafter. However, at this point it will merely be noted that a suitable gas or liquid is pumped under pressure therethrough to the bottom of the hole 16 where it exits from the drill 10 and causes an upward force to be applied against the latter and more particularly the upper feed casing 28 causing the latter as well as the components operatively Connected thereto to be pushed to the top of the hole 16. In accord with one embodiment of the invention, the gas or liquid pumped to the bottom of the hole 16 is intended to apply a pressure of 20,000 psi to the penetrator head 12 thereby building up the pressure under the latter allowing the components thereof which are too hot to be pulled up to the top of the hole 16 to be pushed back out of the hole 16 under compression. As the drill 10' is being withdrawn to the earths surface, the forerunner 26 which is in the form of a molten mass remains positioned at the bottom of the drilled hole 16. Moreover, it is to be understood that although the inside diameter of the drilled hole 16 above the upper feed casing 28 is slightly smaller than the diameter of the latter, the pushing force being applied to the bottom of the drill 10 is sufficiently strong to cause a slight enlargement in the diameter of the drilled hole 16 to occur resulting from the engagement of the sidewalls of the hole 16 with the inclined sidewalls 74 of the upper feed casing 28 whereby the penetrator head 12 is capable of passing therethrough.

Surrounding at least a portion of the electrode 42 as the latter passes through the upper feed casing 28 is a suitable insulation means 48. In accord with one form of the invention, the insulation means 48 comprises a styropor porotonized graphite insulator operable to provide insulation between the electrode 42 and the upper feed casing 28.

As depicted in FIG. 1 of the drawings and as illustrated more clearly in FIG. 7 of the drawings, the drill 10 is preferably provided with a multiplicity of support means 72. The latter are employed for purposes of providing at least a partial support for the weight of the shaft. To this end, each section 20 of pipe casing is preferably provided with one such support means 72. Each support means 72 in accord with the preferred embodiment of the invention is mounted on a corresponding section 20 so as to be located intermediate the ends thereof. More particularly, each support means 72 includes three ski-like members 76 which are movable between a first position wherein they are located in a retracted condition relative to the shaft and a second position wherein they are located in an extended condition relative to the shaft. In order to enable the aforedescribed movement of the ski-like mem bers 76 to be accomplished the support means 72 may embody a variety of different constructions. However, in accord with one embodiment thereof, each of the ski-like members 76 is of two-part construction. Namely, each ski-like member 76 includes a first portion 78 and a second portion 80. The first portion 78 has one end thereof pivotedly connected to the outer wall of the shaft by means of a conventional type of hinged joint. The other end of the first portion 78 is pivotably connected in turn to one end of the second portion 80, also preferably by means of a conventional type of hinged connection. At its other end, the second portion 80 has suitably attached thereto a foot 82 which is mounted thereon so as to be movable at least slightly relative thereto. Although the foot 82 may embody a variety of different configurations, in accord with one form thereof, the foot 82 is suitably configured so as to present a substantially vertical face when the foot 82 is moved into engagement with the sidewalls of the hole 16 as will be now further described. A spring 84 preferably is mounted between the first and second portions 78 and 80 so as to have one end thereof attached to the first portion 78 intermediate the ends thereof and the other end thereof attached to the second portion 80 intermediate the ends of the latter. The spring 84 is operable to apply a biasing force to the first and second portions 78 and 80 whereby to cause the foot 82 to move into engagement with the sidewalls of the hole 16 which corresponds to the extended con dition of the ski-like member 76. However, when the drill 10 is being withdrawn from the hole 16, the spring 84 permits the second portion 80 to move relative to the first portion 78 as a result of which the foot 82 is retracted towards the shaft and thereby moved out of engagement with the sidewall of the hole 16. The latter described relationship of the components of the ski-like member 76 represents the positions occupied thereby when the ski-like member 76 is in its retracted condition. Obviously, rather than employing the aforedescribed arm-like construction for the ski-like member 76, the first and second portions 78 and 80 thereof could be constructed so that one of the portions 78 and 80 was larger than the other whereby the portion which possessed the smaller diameter was retractable within the portion which embodied the larger diameter. It is, of course, to be understood that if such a construction were to be employed, a spring would preferably also be housed within the portion of larger diameter whereby one end of the spring is seated against one end of the portion which has the smaller diameter and the other end thereof bears against a surface of the portion which has the larger diameter so that the spring is operable to bias the portion which has the larger diameter. Finally, as best understood with reference to FIGS. 1 and 7 of the drawings, the ski-like members 76 included in each set thereof are preferably arranged so as to be located in equally spaced relation around the circumference of the corresponding one of the sections 20 of the pipe casing means 14.

Referring now to the method of operation of the drill 10, the latter as has been set forth previously hereinabove is operable to drill a hole in a substance such as the earths surface by burning the material away rather than by following the conventional practice of boring the hole by revolving the drill therein or by applying a succession of blows to a drill. More specifically, in accord with the present invention, electrical energy is transmitted from the power means 18 which functions as a source of supply thereof through the conductor means 22 to the electrode 42. To this end, in one form of the invention 10,000 K.W.I-I. are supplied to the electrode, i.e., heating element 42 causing the latter to become heated. This heat in turn is transmitted to the forerunner 26 which is affixed thereto causing the forerunner 26 to become very hot and eventually molten. The heat from the forerunner 26 operates to burn away any substance brought into contact therewith, i.e., the heat will vaporize rock and form glass-like walls along the hole. The slag which is formed during the drilling operation escapes through the slag escape openings 40 provided in the lower feed casing 30 and becomes interposed between the drill 10 and the sidewalls of the hole 16 as schematically depicted in FIG. 2 of the draw ings through use of the arrows 50. In drilling a hole in the earth s surface some of the forms of rock which will be encountered are granite, quartz, etc. Granite, it is known, melts at 1250C. while quartz starts to melt at 1750C. Accordingly, the 10,000 K.W.H. of electricity which is supplied to the electrode 42 is sufficient, for example, to melt 24 tons of granite per hour. Solid tungsten of which both upper feed casing 28 and the lower feed casing 30 are made has a melting point of 3380C. Thus, it is necessary to ensure during the drilling operation that the maximum temperature of the lower feed casing 30 is maintained below the melting point of tungsten. As the depth of the hole 16 being drilled increases, additional sections 20 of pipe casing are connected together to form a continuous pipe casing, the length of which is sufficient to reach from the top of the upper feed casing 28 to the top of the hole 16. The aforedescribed procedure is continued until the forerunner 26 has burned a hole to the desired depth. In addition, for purposes of withdrawing the drill from the hole 16, gas or liquid under pressure is pumped through the conduit means 46 to the opening 44 provided in the upper feed casing 28. The gas or liquid which is fed to the opening 44 exits therefrom and exerts a pressure in the order of 20,000 psi to the penetrator head 12. This pressure is effective to exert an upward force against the lower portion of the upper feed casing 28 thereby causing the 5,500F. drill 10 to be pushed back up through its overlock out of the hole 16 under compression. Upon reaching the top of the hole 16, the drill 10 is removed therefrom and thus is available to be utilized for purposes of drilling another hole therewith.

With reference now to FIG. 4 of the drawings, there is depicted therein another embodiment of penetrator head, generally designated by reference numeral 52, which is capable of being embodied in the drill 10. The penetrator head 52 is particularly adapted to be employed in situations wherein the sidewalls of the hole being drilled do not have sufficient strength to remain integral thereby to provide a space between the drill and the sidewalls of the hole to enable the slag which is produced during the drilling operation to be received therebetween. For purposes of the following description, those elements which are common to both the penetrator head 12 and the penetrator head 52 are designated herein by the same reference numerals. The penetrator head 52 as depicted in FIG. 4 of the drawings is similar in construction to the penetrator head 12 in that it includes a forerunner 26, a lower feed casing 30 having slag escape means 40 provided therein, an upper feed casing 54 having an opening 44 formed therein which is utilized for purposes of withdrawing the drill 10 from the hole 16, and an electrode 42 which is surrounded, at least in part, by an insulator 48. Structurally, the basic differences between the construction of the penetrator head 52 and the penetrator head 12 resides in the respective upper feed casings thereof. More specifically, the upper feed casing 54 of penetrator head 52 differs from the upper feed casing 28 of penetrator head 12 in that the former has an additional two passages 56 and 58 formed therein extending longitudinally therethrogh in parallel spaced relation relative to each other. To accomplish this purpose, the diameter of the upper feed casing 54 is made the same as the diameter of the lower casing 30 of the penetrator head 52. This is in contrast to the relationship which exists between the diameter of the upper feed casing 28 and the lower feed casing 30 of the penetrator head 12 wherein the diameter of the lower feed casing 30 is greater than the diameter of the upper feed casing 28. The passages 56 and 58 function as means of removing from a hole 16 the slag which is formed during the drilling operationv Although not depicted in the drawings in the interest of maintaining clarity of illustration, it is to be understood that the passages 56 and 58 are each connected to suitable conduit means (not shown) supported within the pipe casing means 14 whereby to provide a pair of continuous passages which extend from the base of the upper feed casing 54 to the top of a hole 16 wherein the slag is received by suitable means (not shown) operable to remove the slag from the vicinity of the hole 16 and to dispose of the slag in a location designated for use for this purpose. One of the passages, i.e., passage 56 is operable to provide a flow path for a fluid such as a gas, etc. The other of the passages, i.e., passage 58 is operable to enable slag formed by the drilling operation to be removed therethrough by the fluid which flows from the top of the hole 16 down through the passage 56 and then back up to the top of the hole 16 through the second passage 58 carrying the slag therewith.

Insofar as concerns the mode of operation of a drill embodying the penetrator head 52, such a drill is intended to function in a fashion similar to the manner in which a drill embodying the penetrator head 12 operates. Namely, electrical energy from a power means 18 is transmitted to the electrode 42 for purposes of heating the latter thereby. The heat generated by the electrode 42 causes the forerunner 26 to be transformed into a globe of moltenmetal. The latter forerunner 26 operates to burn a hole into any substance such as, for example, the earths surface at a rate of up to' 120 ft. per hour. The heat from the molten forerunner 26 vaporizes the substances which are in its path. Thus, it can be seen that in this regard, a drill equipped with the penetrator head 52 operates in the same manner as has been set forth hereinabove in connection with the description of the mode of operation of a drill equipped with the penetrator head 12. Moreover, basically the only difference in the mode of operation in a drill embodying the penetrator head 52 and a drill embodying the penetrator head 12 is that in a drilling operation in which the former is employed, while the drilling operation is in progress the slag which is formed is continuously being removed from the hole rather than being permitted to remain in the hole in the case of a drilling operation which is performed with a drill equipped with the penetrator head 12. The slag is removed from the hole by being entrained and carried up the passage 58 to the top of the hole with a fluid which is fed down the passage 56 and which is returned to the top of the hole through the passage 58. Apart from this difference insofar as concerns slag removal, a drill equipped with the penetrator head 12 and a drill equipped with the penetrator head 52 both function in the same fashion, and are both withdrawn from a drilled hole upon the completion of the drilling thereof by being pushed back up to the top of the hole under compression. As has been mentioned hereinabove previously, one function for which the geopenetrator system is particularly adapted to be employed is that of drilling a pair of relatively closely spaced parallel holes in the earth to sufficient depths to permit the thermal energy present therewithin to be tapped as an energy source. The manner in which this operation would be conducted has been schematically represented in FIG. 5 of the drawings. Accordingly, with reference thereto it is known temperature is about 2200F. The geopenetrator system 10 is then removed from the first hole 60 and is used for purposes of burning another hole 62 parallel to and spaced about 50 feet away from the first hole 60. In this connection, in FIG. 5 of the drawings, the spacing between the holes 60 and 62 has been increased beyond the aforementioned fifty feet in the interest of maintaining clarity of illustration. Once the second hole 62 has been drilled and the geopenetrator system 10 has been removed therefrom, our base connector invention will provide an interconnection therebetween. As seen with reference to FIG. 5 of the drawings, the two holes 60 and 62 are thus connected at the bottom providing a U-shaped loop 64 deep inside the earth. To employ the thermal energy present thereat, a primary working fluid is forced down hole 60 by means of pump 66. As it reaches the loop 64, this working fluid is superheated by the white hot working surfaces. Then it rises through hole 62 back to the surface of the earth where its heat is used to make steam to drive turbines whereby the turbines function to drive the generators 68 from which in turn electricity is generated. Although the thermal energy which has been obtained from the earths center has been described and illustrated in FIG. 5 as being employed in a turbogenerator power system, it is to be understood that this thermal energy could equally well be employed to run almost any existing process requiring heat, replacing fuel-burning boilers or nuclear reactors. In this regard, it is noted that most plants now already use some form of heat to produce a high pressure gas or vapor and use that to run tubines. Other applications in which this thermal energy could be employed include running desalinization plants or other operations which require vast amounts of energy. In this connection, one particularly attractive use for this thermal energy is to provide the vast amounts of power required to manufacture hydrogen. Finally, it is to be noted that the geopenetrator system 10 is capable of being employed to drill the aforedescribed pair of holes which when the bases are connected can provide power practically any place in the world, from the most remote areas to the heart of the cities. For example, it wouldbe feasible to drill the holes 60 and 62 in the Saudi ,Arabian desert 4 or 5 miles inland from the shore. Thereafter, the salt water would be converted into clean steam by the heat from the bioloops. This steam could then-be employed to power a turbogenerator system to provide electricity. In addition, the waste steam could be put through a heat conversion system to provide airconditioning. Finally, the remaining steam could be condensed into fresh water for use in an irrigation system. Although only two embodiments of a geopenetrator system constructed in accordance with the present invention have been shown in the drawings and described hereinabove, it is to be understood that modifications in the construction thereof may be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the essence of the invention. In this connection, some of the modifications which can be made in the geopenetrator system 10 have been alluded to hereinabove while others will become readilyapparent to those skilled in the art when exposed to the present description and illustration of the construction of the geopenetrator system 10. For example, although the forerunner 26 has been illustrated in the drawings as being shaped in the form of a globe, it is to be understood that the forerunner 26 could have other configurations without departing from the'essence of the invention. Also, the particular width of the geopenetrator system, i.e., drill 10 used will be related to the constant amount, temperature, and, pressure of superheated steam or other type of working fluid desired for aspecific application although in accordancewith the preferred form of the invention the geopenetrator system 10 is approximately 36 inches in diameter. In addition, although the geopenetrator system 10 is particularly adapted for purposes of drilling holes to extreme depths, it is to be understood that the geopenetrator system 10 is not limited to such applications but rather can also be used for purposes of achieving increased speeds in drilling holes to more conventional depths.

Thus, it can be seen. that the present invention .pro-

vides a novel and improved geopenetrator system which is operable for purposes of drilling holes under temperature conditions in which ordinary metals be come molten. Moreover, the geopenetrator system of the present inventionis capable of being utilized for purposes of drilling a hole in the earth to a depth which is sufficient to enable the thermal energy which exists in the earths center to be tapped as an energy source. Furthermore, in accord with the present invention a geopenetrator system has been provided wherein drilling is accomplished by burning a hole into the substance by means of a molten forerunner. In addition, a geopenetrator system has been provided in accord with the present invention wherein an overlock isemployed for purposes of preventing trapped liquids and gases from passing upwardly through the drilled hole to the earth s surface whereat they would pose a danger to the personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation. The geopenetrator system of the present invention is operable after a hole has been drilled therewith to be withdrawn therefrom by being pushed back under power 5,500F. through its overlock to the top of the hole under compression, Also, in accord with the present invention a'geopenetrator system has been provided which is operable to drill holesat an increased rate of speed. Finally, the geopenetrator system of the present invention is operable to drill holes with a'sufficient degree of plumb that two or more nearby parallel holes may be drilled to considerable depths in closely spaced relation relative to each other. l

Having thus described the invention, I claim:

' 1. A geopenetrator system operable for drilling a hole into the earth several miles deep comprising:

a. a penetrator head for forming-a hole in a substance by burning including a housing, a forerunner affixed to one end of said housing, energy transmitting means extending through said housing-into engagement with said forerunner and operable for heating said housing and forerunner, and means formed in said housing operable for use in with-- drawing the geopenetrator system from a hole thereof by pushing the geopenetrator system therefrom;

b. extendible pipe casing means having a lesser diam smaller diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said overlock means cooperating with a portion of the sidewalls of the hole being drilled located above said penetrator head so as to form an overlock therewithoperable to inhibit the passage of trapped liquids and gases encountered while drilling the hole from passing upwardly through the hole to the top thereof whereat these liquids and gases could pose a danger to the personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation; and d. power means operatively connected to said energy transmitting means providing a source of power thereto to cause said energy transmitting means to become heated.

2. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 1 wherein conductor means are supported in said pipe casing meanshaving one end connected in electrical circuit relation with said power means and the other end connected in electrical circuit relation with said energy transmitting means, and said energy transmitting means comprises an electrode.

3 The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pipe casing means comprises a plurality of individual sections of pipe casing interconnected together to form a continuous length thereof.

4. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said housing includes an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing, said lower feed casing having an opening formed therethrough substantially at the center thereof receiving therein one end of said upper feed casing and the other end of said lower feed casing having depending sidewalls formed thereat operable to encircle at least a portion of said forerunner, and said overlock means comprising a cone-shaped portion having a first end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said upper feed casing and a second end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said coneshaped portion having said first end thereof joined to the other end of said upper feed casing and said second end thereofjoined to said one end of said extendible pipe casing means.

5. The geopenetrator system-as set forth in claim 4 wherein conduit means are supported in said pipe casing means extending the length thereof, and said means formed in said housing operable for use in withdrawing the geopenetrator system from a hole comprises an opening formed in said upper feed casing extending longitudinally the length thereof and having one end connected to said conduit means to form a continuous passage extending from the upper end of said pipe casing means to the base of said upper feed casing operable to enable a fluid to be pumped under pressure therethrough: for applying an upward force to the base of said upper feed casing effective to push the geopenetrator system to the top of a hole under compression.

6. A geopenetrator system operable for drilling a hole into the earth several miles deep comprising:

a. a penetrator head for forming a hole in the earth by burning including a housing comprising an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing, a forerunner affixed to one end of said housing. energy transmitting means extending through said housing into engagement'with said forerunner and operable for heating said forerunner, and means formed in said. upper feed casing for use in withdrawing the geopenetrator system from a hole upon completion of the drilling thereof by pushing the geopenetrator system therefrom;

b. extendible pipe casing means having a lesser diameter than the diameter of said housing and being extendible in length so as to be capable of reaching from said housing of said penetrator head to the top of the hole being drilled;

0. support means mounted on said extendible pipe casing means along the length thereof for movement between a retracted position relative to said extendible pipe casing means and an extended position relative to said extendible pipe casing means wherein said support means engages the sidewalls of the hole being drilled and is operable to provide at least a partial support for the weight of said extendible pipe casing means;

d. overlock means interconnecting one end of said extendible pipe casing means to the other end of said housing so as to form a smooth transition between the larger diameter of said housing and the smaller diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said overlock means cooperating with a portion of the sidewalls of the hole being drilled lo cated above said penetrator head so as to form an overlock therewith operable to inhibit the passage of trapped liquids and gases encountered while drilling the hole from passing upwardly through the hole to the top thereof whereat these liquids and gases could pose a danger to the personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation;

e. power means for providing a source of supply of power to said energy transmitting means to cause said energy transmitting means to become heated; and

f. conductor means supported in said pipe casing means having one end connected in electrical circuit relation with said power means and the other end connected in electrical circuit relation with said energy transmitting means for transmitting power between said power means and said energy transmitting means.

7. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said overlock means comprises a cone-shaped portion having a first end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said upper feed casing and a second end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said cone-shaped portion having said first end thereof joined to one end of said I upper feed casing and said second end thereof joined to said one end of said extendible pipe casing means.

8. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said upper feed casing is of a lesser diameter than said lower feed casing thereby to provide a space between said upper feed casing and the sidewalls of the hole being drilled for receiving therein the slag formed during the drilling operation.

9. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said upper feed casing includes means operable for use in removing the slag formed during the drilling operation from the hole being drilled,

10. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said support means comprises a multiplicity of sets of supports, each of said sets of supports includes a plurality of members mounted in equally spaced relation in substantially the same plane around the circumference of said extendible pipe casing means, each of said plurality of members includes a first portion and a second portion, said first portion having one end thereof pivotable connected to said extendible pipe casing means and the other end thereof pivotably connected to one end of said second portion, said second portion having a foot attached to the other end thereof capable of being moved into engagement with the sidewalls of the hole, and a spring having one end attached to said first portion intermediate the ends thereof and the other end of said spring being attached to said second portion intermediate the ends thereof, said spring being operable to bias said first portion and said second portion apart.

Claims (10)

1. A geopenetrator system operable for drilling a hole into the earth several miles deep comprising: a. a penetrator head for forming a hole in a substance by burning including a housing, a forerunner affixed to one end of said housing, energy transmitting means extending through said housing into engagement with said forerunner and operable for heating said housing and forerunner, and means formed in said housing operable for use in withdrawing the geopenetrator system from a hole thereof by pushing the geopenetrator system therefrom; b. extendible pipe casing means having a lesser diameter than the diameter of said housing and being extendible in length so as to be capable of reaching from said housing of said penetrator head to the top of the hole being drilled; c. overlock means interconnecting one end of said extendible pipe casing means to the other end of said housing so as to form a smooth transition between the larger diameter of said housing and the smaller diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said overlock means cooperating with a portion of the sidewalls of the hole being drilled located above said penetrator head so as to form an overlock therewith operable to inhibit the passage of trapped liquids and gases encountered while drilling the hole from passing upwardly through the hole to the top thereof whereat these liquids and gases could pose a danger to the personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation; and d. power means operatively connected to said energy transmitting means providing a source of power thereto to cause said energy transmitting means to become heated.
2. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 1 wherein conductor means are supported in said pipe casing means having one end connected in electrical circuit relation with said power means and the other end connected in electrical circuit relation with said energy transmitting means, and said energy transmitting means comprises an electrode.
3. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pipe casing means comprises a plurality of individual sections of pipe casing interconnected together to form a continuous length thereof.
4. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said housing includes an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing, said lower feed casing having an opening formed therethrough substantially at the center thereof receiving therein one end of said upper feed casing and the other end of said lower feed casing having depending sidewalls formed thereat operable to encircle at least a portion of said forerunner, and said overlock means comprising a cone-shaped portion having a first end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said upper feed casing and a second end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said coneshaped portion having said first end thereof joined to the other end of said upper feed casing and said second end thereof joined to said one end of said extendible pipe casing means.
5. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 4 wherein conduit means are supported in said pipe casing means extending the length thereof, and said means formed in said housing operable for use in withdrawing the geopenetrator system from a hole comprises an opening formed in said upper feed casing extending longitudinally the length thereof and having one end connected to said conduit means to form a continuous passage extending from the upper end of said pipe casing means to the base of said upper feed casing operable to enable a fluid to be pumped under pressure therethrough for applying an upward force to the base of said upper feed casing effective to push the geopenetrator system to the top of a hole under compression.
6. A geopenetrator system operable for drilling a hole into the earth several milEs deep comprising: a. a penetrator head for forming a hole in the earth by burning including a housing comprising an upper feed casing and a lower feed casing, a forerunner affixed to one end of said housing, energy transmitting means extending through said housing into engagement with said forerunner and operable for heating said forerunner, and means formed in said upper feed casing for use in withdrawing the geopenetrator system from a hole upon completion of the drilling thereof by pushing the geopenetrator system therefrom; b. extendible pipe casing means having a lesser diameter than the diameter of said housing and being extendible in length so as to be capable of reaching from said housing of said penetrator head to the top of the hole being drilled; c. support means mounted on said extendible pipe casing means along the length thereof for movement between a retracted position relative to said extendible pipe casing means and an extended position relative to said extendible pipe casing means wherein said support means engages the sidewalls of the hole being drilled and is operable to provide at least a partial support for the weight of said extendible pipe casing means; d. overlock means interconnecting one end of said extendible pipe casing means to the other end of said housing so as to form a smooth transition between the larger diameter of said housing and the smaller diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said overlock means cooperating with a portion of the sidewalls of the hole being drilled located above said penetrator head so as to form an overlock therewith operable to inhibit the passage of trapped liquids and gases encountered while drilling the hole from passing upwardly through the hole to the top thereof whereat these liquids and gases could pose a danger to the personnel working the drilling rig during the drilling operation; e. power means for providing a source of supply of power to said energy transmitting means to cause said energy transmitting means to become heated; and f. conductor means supported in said pipe casing means having one end connected in electrical circuit relation with said power means and the other end connected in electrical circuit relation with said energy transmitting means for transmitting power between said power means and said energy transmitting means.
7. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said overlock means comprises a cone-shaped portion having a first end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said upper feed casing and a second end corresponding in diameter to the diameter of said extendible pipe casing means, said cone-shaped portion having said first end thereof joined to one end of said upper feed casing and said second end thereof joined to said one end of said extendible pipe casing means.
8. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said upper feed casing is of a lesser diameter than said lower feed casing thereby to provide a space between said upper feed casing and the sidewalls of the hole being drilled for receiving therein the slag formed during the drilling operation.
9. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said upper feed casing includes means operable for use in removing the slag formed during the drilling operation from the hole being drilled.
10. The geopenetrator system as set forth in claim 6 wherein said support means comprises a multiplicity of sets of supports, each of said sets of supports includes a plurality of members mounted in equally spaced relation in substantially the same plane around the circumference of said extendible pipe casing means, each of said plurality of members includes a first portion and a second portion, said first portion having one end thereof pivotable connected to said extendible pipe casing means and the other end thereof pivotably connected to one end of said second portion, said second portion having a foot attached to the other end thereof capable of being mOved into engagement with the sidewalls of the hole, and a spring having one end attached to said first portion intermediate the ends thereof and the other end of said spring being attached to said second portion intermediate the ends thereof, said spring being operable to bias said first portion and said second portion apart.
US50734474 1974-09-19 1974-09-19 Geopenetrator system Expired - Lifetime US3907044A (en)

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US4024916A (en) * 1976-08-05 1977-05-24 The United States Of America As Represented By The United States Energy Research And Development Administration Borehole sealing method and apparatus
US4466354A (en) * 1981-04-03 1984-08-21 Nitro Nobel Ab Apparatus for charging rising drillholes
WO1998037301A1 (en) * 1996-05-07 1998-08-27 Exxon Research And Engineering Company Subsurface probe system for chemical and mineral exploration
WO2014065764A2 (en) * 2012-10-24 2014-05-01 Ga Drilling, A.S. Process of formation of casing by additive manner in boreholes and device for its performing

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US2471695A (en) * 1946-12-27 1949-05-31 Ira J Mccullough Method of and apparatus for forming wells
US3115194A (en) * 1962-02-14 1963-12-24 William M Adams Nuclear reactor apparatus for earth penetration
US3300253A (en) * 1963-11-29 1967-01-24 Inst Gas Technology Resistance heating device and method for melting concrete
US3357505A (en) * 1965-06-30 1967-12-12 Dale E Armstrong High temperature rock drill
US3390729A (en) * 1967-01-25 1968-07-02 Army Usa Pendulum steered thermal probe
US3396806A (en) * 1964-07-28 1968-08-13 Physics Internat Company Thermal underground penetrator
US3693731A (en) * 1971-01-08 1972-09-26 Atomic Energy Commission Method and apparatus for tunneling by melting

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US2471695A (en) * 1946-12-27 1949-05-31 Ira J Mccullough Method of and apparatus for forming wells
US3115194A (en) * 1962-02-14 1963-12-24 William M Adams Nuclear reactor apparatus for earth penetration
US3300253A (en) * 1963-11-29 1967-01-24 Inst Gas Technology Resistance heating device and method for melting concrete
US3396806A (en) * 1964-07-28 1968-08-13 Physics Internat Company Thermal underground penetrator
US3357505A (en) * 1965-06-30 1967-12-12 Dale E Armstrong High temperature rock drill
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US3693731A (en) * 1971-01-08 1972-09-26 Atomic Energy Commission Method and apparatus for tunneling by melting

Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4024916A (en) * 1976-08-05 1977-05-24 The United States Of America As Represented By The United States Energy Research And Development Administration Borehole sealing method and apparatus
US4466354A (en) * 1981-04-03 1984-08-21 Nitro Nobel Ab Apparatus for charging rising drillholes
WO1998037301A1 (en) * 1996-05-07 1998-08-27 Exxon Research And Engineering Company Subsurface probe system for chemical and mineral exploration
AU718865B2 (en) * 1996-05-07 2000-04-20 Exxon Research And Engineering Company Subsurface probe system for chemical and mineral exploration
WO2014065764A2 (en) * 2012-10-24 2014-05-01 Ga Drilling, A.S. Process of formation of casing by additive manner in boreholes and device for its performing
WO2014065764A3 (en) * 2012-10-24 2014-11-27 Ga Drilling, A.S. Process of formation of casing by additive manner in boreholes and device for its performing

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