Saturday, May 15, 2010

How To Stop The Oil Leak

The oil leak in the gulf consists of two problems. Solve them sequentially.

First, the pipe is broken. Second, the oil is coming through at such a velocity that it makes repair impossible. Repairers must stop or slow the flow of oil before fixing the pipe. The mass of fast-moving oil in the pipe is like a freight train that blows away any attempt to obstruct it directly.

Could the flow be progressively slowed until it is stopped or at least reaches a level of tolerable seepage?

Suppose a fifty foot square of galvanized chain link fencing, heavily weighted at the edges, were laid down over the leak? It would diffuse the flow. It would add just a little back pressure, slowing the flow perhaps a couple of percent.

Suppose three or four more more layers of chain link went down. Would it slow the leak ten percent?

Remember chicken wire? The holes in chicken wire are slightly smaller than chain link. Suppose a mesh of chicken wire under a layer of chain link went down? And then another couple of these. Would it slow the flow 25%?

Remember half-inch wire mesh? Window screen?

Once the flow is slowed to a trickle, the well-head can be fixed at leisure.

It would be like using a 10-pound trout line to catch a 20 pound trout. You tire him out first, then reel him in and lift him up in a net.

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