Research Papers: Petroleum Wells-Drilling/Production/Construction

An Innovative Ultradeepwater Subsea Blowout Preventer Control System Using Shape-Memory Alloy Actuators

[+] Author and Article Information
Gangbing Song

 University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77004

Ziping Hu

 Baker Hughes Inc., 14990 Yorktown Plaza Drive, Houston, TX 77040

Kai Sun

 WellDynamics Inc., 445 Woodline Drive, Spring, TX 77386

Ning Ma

 OptiSolar Inc., 31302 Huntwood Avenue, Hayward, CA 94544

Michael J. Economides

 University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77004

Samuel G. Robello

 Halliburton, Houston, TX 77242

Christine Ehlig-Economides

 Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843

J. Energy Resour. Technol 130(3), 033101 (Aug 11, 2008) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2955558 History: Received February 26, 2007; Revised March 10, 2008; Published August 11, 2008

This paper presents an innovative undersea blowout preventer (BOP) using shape-memory alloy (SMA). The new device using SMA actuators could easily be implemented into existing conventional subsea control system so that they can work solely or as a backup of other methods. Most important, the innovative all-electric BOP will provide much faster response than its hydraulic counterpart and will improve safety for subsea drilling. To demonstrate the feasibility of such a device, a proof-of-concept prototype of a pipe RAM type BOP with SMA actuation has been designed, fabricated, and tested at the University of Houston. The BOP actuator uses strands of SMA wires to achieve large force and large displacement in a remarkably small space. Experimental results demonstrate that the BOP can be activated and fully closed in less than 10s. The concept of this innovative device is illustrated, and detailed comparisons of the response time for hydraulic and nitinol SMA actuation mechanisms are included. This preliminary research reveals the potential of smart material technology in subsea drilling systems.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

SMA wire as an actuator

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Figure 3

SMA BOP prototype

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Figure 4

Battery cells providing power for BOP

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Figure 5

Top view of the BOP prototype

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Figure 6

Front view of the BOP prototype

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Figure 7

Schematic section view of the SMA actuator subsystem

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Figure 8

Schematic backside view of the SMA actuator subsystem

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Figure 9

Schematic of the SMA BOP system

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Figure 11

Structure of the control unit

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Figure 12

Ram position versus time

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Figure 13

PWM control voltage

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Figure 14

Diagram of the backup on/off control unit

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Figure 15

Ram position versus time using backup on/off controller




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