# Tag: Engineering

## The Creative Math of BP’s 20, no 40%, Containment

BP has claimed that the new 4 inch Pipe inserted into the 21 Riser pipe is siphoning off 20% of the leaking oil. And then they updated that figure to 40% the next day.

Sounds good on the Morning News, but how did they get those numbers?

I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out the cross-sectional area of a 4″ Pipe vs the cross-sectional area of a 21″ Riser Pipe (minus its reported .812″ wall thickness)

And those calcs ended up: roughly 4.4% of the larger [inner] area would be covered by the smaller [outer] area — BUT all that was just a Red Herring — it turns out due to this BP picture (and its large rubber gaskets)

Looks good on Paper. Could the insert pipe with its many rubber stoppers actually be blocking up to 40% of the leaking oil from the larger pipe?

Yet one wonders, where did that 40% number come from, especially since BP is not all that keen on measuring and monitoring?

## Deep Water Engineer explains how to Stop the Gushers — Updated with BP info

I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR yesterday,

when I heard this Oil Rig Engineer call in

and explain a “common sense” way to put a halt to the Oil Gusher in the Gulf.

He was a shocked by BP’s incompetent, “shotgun” approach —

to contain the mess, as most of us have been.

Here’s the eye-opening clip, with my transcript of Engineer Henry’s simple advice to BP.

Diane Rehm Show Audio

“Oil Rig Henry” starts his Engineering lesson, at Time Mark 40:20

My transcript of the his Engineering insights, and simple containment and shut-off recommendations, follows next:

## BP’s containment problems, may go further than Oil.

BP’s containment problem is unprecedented

The company must stop a relentless gush of oil nearly a mile below the surface, in a situation that hasn’t been dealt with before.

By Jill Leovy, LATimes — April 30, 2010

The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn’t really a spill: It’s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker, which might empty in hours or days.

[…]

And “everything is bigger and more difficult the deeper you go,” said Andy Bowen, a research specialist who works with undersea robotics at the Woods Hole center. “Fighting gravity is tough. It increases loads. You need bigger winches, bigger cables, bigger ships.”

An analogy, he said, is the difference between construction work on the ground versus at the top of a mile-high skyscraper.

Gee … sounds kind of Dangerous …

## On Improbable Realities, Part One, Or, “I Want A Jet Car With Frickin’ Lasers…”

When it comes to getting around, Americans love to consider the question of “what if…?”

As a result, our cars have evolved into “land yachts”, our trucks have become “monster trucks”, and the desire to drag our living spaces around with us has morphed into converted busses with rooms that pop out of the side, a Mini-Cooper hidden under the master bedroom floor, and self-tracking satellite dishes that fight for space on the roof with air conditioning equipment.

And for more than a few of us, “what if…?” has even extended to “what if my car…was a jet car?”

In today’s improbable reality I’m here to tell you that Chrysler engineers asked that exact same question, for roughly a quarter of a century, and as a result they actually designed and deployed seven generations of cars with jet engines-and they came darn close to putting the eighth-generation design on sale to the general public.

It’s a story of pocket protectors and slide rules and offices full of guys who look a bit like Drew Carey…but as we’ll see in Part Two, it may also be a story of technology that couldn’t be perfected “back then”, but could be reborn in our own times.

## A Fake Consultant Exclusive: Political Robots Fail In Operational Service

It has been quite some time, Gentle Reader, since we addressed the issue of political robot design, but recent events have forced us to return to the subject once again.

As you undoubtedly are aware, three high profile ‘bots from Robotican™ Labs have recently experienced major failures.

It was originally thought that the problems were isolated to the Robotican™.1 Congressional Series of Devices…but it is now known that the failures also extend to the.2 Gubernatorial Series as well.

In today’s story we will examine what is known about these failures, how they may impact other devices in Political Service, and what solutions might be available to address these issues.