A NOVEL CUTTING TECHNIQUE FOR DEEP OCEAN APPLICATIONS

Period of Performance: 01/01/1993 - 12/31/1993

$48.3K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Waterjet Technology, Inc.
21414 68th Avenue South
Kent, WA 98032
Principal Investigator

Abstract

TRADITIONAL ROCK CUTTING, CORING, AND METAL CUTTING METHODS HAVE SERIOUS TECHNICAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND SAFETY LIMITATIONS FOR UNDERWATER APPLICATIONS. HIGH-PRESSURE ABRASIVE-WATERJET (AWJ) CUTTING IS DEMONSTRATED AS A REVOLUTIONARY TECHNIQUE FOR CUTTING ANY MATERIAL AT OCEAN DEPTHS UP TO 20,000 FEET. THIS METHOD IS MARGINAL IN PERFORMANCE AND OPERATIONAL RELIABILITY, HOWEVER, AND FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS ARE NOT EXPECTED. THIS PROJECT ADDRESSES A NOVEL CONCEPT FOR CUTTING WITH HIGH-VELOCITY ABRASIVE PARTICLE BEAMS. IN THIS CONCEPT, THE ABRASIVES ARE DIRECTLY PUMPED THROUGH A NOZZLE, RATHER THAN ENTRAINED AS IN AN AWJ NOZZLE, TO FORM A HIGH-PRESSURE ABRASIVE SLURRY JET (ASJ). IT HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED THAT CUTTING RATES (UNDER ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS) CAN BE INCREASED FIVEFOLD COMPARED TO AN AWJ USING THIS NEW METHOD. A FEASIBILITY STUDY ON USING ASJS FOR UNDERWATER CUTTING IS BEING CONDUCTED. A HIGH-PRESSURE (50,000 SPI) ABRASIVE SLURRY PUMP IS USED IN THIS INVESTIGATION. PARAMETRIC CUTTING TESTS ARE BEING PERFORMED ON ROCKS AND METALS. ANALYTICAL STUDIES ARE USED TO SUPPORT THE WORK. A CONCEPTUAL DESIGN FOR AN OCEAN FLOOR CUTTING SYSTEM IS BEING PREPARED.