I want to take a moment to post what might be a solution to capping the well in the gulf. I’m not a mechanical engineer but I think that the approach I’m about to suggest is very simple and do-able. I’ll try to briefly describe the concept in words but I think the very crude movie that I put together very rapidly does a better job of illustrating how this solution might work.
In your mind’s eye visualize a car piston that has rings on it and a connecting rod attached to it. Remove the connecting rod. Hollow out the piston such that it resembles a cylinder. Enlarge the size of this object such that it will fit into the top of the well. I believe that the well is around 2 feet in diameter. Our hollowed out piston is slightly less than this diameter. Let’s adjust the thickness of the sides of our cylinder such that they are 4 inches thick. Next we drill 1 inch holes at 6 inch intervals thru the center of the outside walls of the piston around the entire circumference of the hollow cylinder. The top 4 to 6 inches of these holes get threaded. Remember that our cylinder has rings on it? Well the drilled holes intersect the cut-out within which the rings are seated. We drop what resembles a slug-javelin into the holes that we drilled. The real shape of these slugs more closely resembles a wedge made from a cylindrical piece of steel. We next insert bolts into our threaded holes until they meet up with the slugs. At this point our rings are not extended. The action of further tightening our bolts pushes the rings out very forcefully. Were this action to take place within the broken well cap this part would be held firmly in place.
What has been described so far has been a very rough description so I’ll elaborate a bit more. As opposed to having multiple grooves in this cylinder (like a regular car piston) our cylinder only has one groove in it for ring placement. Within this groove we place two rings. All these parts fit snugly into place with nominal room for moving around (this restricts oil flow – nominal voids). The two rings are placed such that their open ends are on opposing sides. This placement gets rid of a void thru which oil might flow (openings in the rings). Perhaps our rings might have a small groove on the outside of them. Within this ring-groove one might place a rubber seal? The top of this cylinder that we inserted would be made such that a real cap and/or valve could readily be mounted to it after its placement.
If you think that this solution might work please forward a link of this blog article to someone that you think might be able to act on it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.