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Патент USA US3086756

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April 23, 1963
Filed March 25. 1960 '
2 Sheets-Sheet 1
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April 23, 1963
Filed March 23. 1960
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
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United States Patent 0 ”1C6
Patented Apr. 23, 1963
El ()PEN l’GSiTlON
William K. Holler-on, Houston, Tex., assignor to U. S.
Industries, Inc., a corporatien of Delaware
23, 1960, Ser. No. 17,126
1 Claim. (Cl. 251-83)
types, contain a great deal of ‘abrasive material. This
abrasive material is derived vfrom the clays from which
the muds are originally compounded, and from the strata
of rock through which the drill string penetrates. Since
5 large volumes of mud heavily loaded with abrasive par
This invention is an improved ball check valve for
handling abrasive liquids. It is particularly useful as
a kelly valve for controlling wells which are subject to
trouble from blowout and back pressure through the
drill pipe in rotary drilling of deep oil and gas wells.
It is customary to carry out deep rotary drilling of oil
and gas wells with a drill string extending into the well 15
ticles circulate rapidly through the kelly and drill string
during drilling operations, a conventional check valve
installed in the mud ?owway is rapidly worn away, and
then when the checking operation is urgently required, the
valve is ineffective.
It is an object of this invention to provide an auto
matic check valve especially useful for controlling blow
out or back .pressure through drill pipe caused by sud
den back pressures encountered in rotary drilling opera
Another object is to provide a check valve for con
through a blowout preventer. When unexpected high
pressure is encountered, which often may be high enough
trolling drilling ?uid which will still be in good condition
to blow the drilling mud out of the well, the blowout
and operative when high pressure zones are encountered
preventer is closed upon the drill string thus sealing the
after a drill string has penetrated thousands of feet of
annular space between the drill stern and wall of the
low pressure strata.
Another object is to provide a check valve for grit
laden ?uid wherein a back pressure operable valve clo
sure member may be moved into or out of e?ective posi
While a blowout preventer prevents upward ?ow of
tion in a ?owway through the valve at will.
mud in the well bore outside the drill stern, there is still
Another object is to provide a valve of the class
communication of high bottom hole pressure with the 25
well and preventing drilling mud from being blown up
ward from this space.
interior of the drill string through openings at the bit.
Unexpected high pressure may force inud up through
the drill stem against the pressure normally exerted by
described which may be approximately dynamically bal
anced during a large part of the drilling operation.
Still another object is to provide a valve of the class
described in which the valve closure member and a seat
mud pumps.
A suitable check valve to prevent upward flow of mud 30 cooperable therewith are easily formed from abrasion
resistant materials.
through the drill string is a very desirable element of
In the attached drawings, FIG. 1 is a vertical section
rotary drilling equipment. Check valves have been used,
through one preferred type of valve constructed accord
and are frequently installed in the standpipe. At this
location a check valve is effective against high back pres 35 ing to the principles of my invention. FIG. 2 is a verti—
cal section of the valve of FIG. 1 taken at a right angle
sure, provided that the check valve has not been so eroded
by abrasion of hard, sharp particles carried by the mud
to the section of FIG. 1.
In both FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the reference numeral 5
so that it is inoperative when needed, and provided fur
indicates a principal valve body member which is, to
ther that the mud hose, normally connecting the upper
end of the standpi e with the mud swivel, does not burst. 40 gether with a later described cover member, substantially
globular in shape, and has an upper projecting part sub
A mud hose bursting from high back pressure easily
stantially centered on the vertical axis of the body which
may result in a well getting out of control and perhaps
preferably comprises an API standard tool joint box 6
becoming ignited with ensuing great damage to property
and danger to the crew.
The upper end of the kelly would be a better location
for a check valve, since back pressure would be checked
between its source and the mud hose, but this location is
subject to certain disadvantages.
A kelly frequently ro
tates at some three or four hundred revolutions per min
ute and it is ditlicult to arrange a check valve so that
it does not badly unbalance the upper end of the kelly
and cause undue vibration of the rotary table. Loca
tion of the check valve on the vertical axis of rotation of
threaded on its interior ‘at 7 to receive a corresponding
pin it} of the tool joint carried by a swivel. A ?owway
8 for drilling ?uid extends entirely through the valve
body pin and box to provide communication between a
mud swivel and a kelly. The kelly may be attached to
the downward projecting part 12 threaded at 13 to form
a pin of an API standard tool joint by means of a stand
ard tool joint box 13a at the upper end of the kelly.
An annular valve seat 9 ‘is disposed to surround the
?owway 8 in the upper part of the body. This valve seat
the kelly places it in position, subject to maximum ero
is made of an abrasion resistant ‘material such as abra
sion from grit laden mud ?owing at high velocity.
55 sion resistant carbide, preferably tungsten carbide. The
‘ Two general types of kelly valves have been used for
annular valve seat 9 has a ?at upper surface adapted to
fit snugly against shoulder 11 of the upper portion of the
controlling ?uctuating back pressures in the past. The
valve body. The outer surface 114 of the valve seat con
?rst type of kelly valve is an ordinary plug valve having
tains a pair of slots 15 having an O-ring 16 disposed in
a ?owway communicating with the kelly and mud swiv
el which is closed by manual revolution of the plug. A 60 each of the slots, and is provided with a notch v1'7 adapted
to receive ‘a suitable retaining member, which preferably
valve of this type is disadvantageous when used with
is a pair of Allen screws 118 arranged as shown.
wells subject to sudden fluctuations of back pressure be
cause it is not automatic and is necessarily slow and
belated in operation.
A cover ‘member 19 is disposed to form one side of
the globular valve body and is attached to body member
The second type of valve which has been used in com 65 5 by a suitable retaining device illustrated as a series
of machine screws 21 threaded into principal body mem
bination with kelly joints, is a flapper-type check valve
ber 5. The face of cover member 19 contacting body
having a ?apper hung in the mud flowway. A valve of
member 5 has a suitable annular slot and an O-ring seal
this type overcomes the disadvantage of manual operation
22 disposed .therein to prevent leakage of ?uid under
but is frequently ineffective at the time its use becomes
critical, because of wear and abrasion to which it has 70 pressure from the hollow interior of the body through
the joint formed by abutting faces of cover 19 and body
been subjected.
member 5.
Drilling ?uids, Whether of oil, aqueous or emulsion
V A rotary spindle 23 is disposed through the globular
body, preferably through cover member 19, and has a
noniround, preferably square or hexagonal socket in its
outer surface for insertion of a handle to turn the spin
dle. Spindle 23 carries an eccentric arm 24 and is adapt
ed to the lubricated through grease ?tting 26.
V Spindle 23 is retained in cover member 19 by shoul
ders 27 which bear upon an annular sealed thrust bear
ing 28 and by a suitable retaining assembly designated
generally as 29 disposed at the exterior end of spindle
23. The retaining assembly 29 may comprise a plate
carrying a pointer 37, as shown, and a pair of annular
lock nuts or other suitable retaining device.
, The eccentric arm 24 carries a ball cage 31 in posi
in the ineifectivevalve-closing position in the cavity out
side flowway 8 shown by broken lines ‘in FIG. 2. Drill
ing always will be conducted with the ball in this position
at the beginning, when imbalance of the kelly would no
ticeably increase vibration at the rotary table. As the
hole deepens, a longer and longer drill string is suspended
‘from the kelly and dynamic balance of the valve becomes
less important, until at depths where troublesome back
pressure is likely to be encountered, imbalance of the
valve is of substantially no importance. When the ball
is moved into e?ective valve closing position, ‘as shown in
FIG. 1, the valve is no longer in dynamic balance, but
by the time this position is desirable, many tons of drill
string are suspended along the central vertical axis of the
tion to bring a ball 32 in line to seat upon valve seat 9 15 valve (projected) and the slight imbalance of the valve
is of no importance.
and close flowway 8 when the spindle is rotated into op
From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention
erative position. The ball 32 is mounted on a spring
is one well ‘adapted to attain all of the ends and objects
33 within the cage which has sufficient resilient force to
support the'weight of ball 32 and bring the ball into con
hereinabove set ‘forth, together with other advantages
tact with the valve seat ‘at low back pressure, thus per 20 which are obvious and which-are inherent to the appara
mitting the ball to be depressed and the ?owway opened
by very little force of mud applied from above the ball
and at the same time permitting the ball to be seated
and close the ?owway when pressure below the ball
slightly exceeds that above the ball. The ball cage 31
It will be understood that certain features and sub
combinations are of utility and may be employed with
out reference to other features and subcombinations.
a plurality of openings 30 in it to permit free application
This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the
As many possible embodiments may be made of the
invention without departing from'the scope thereof, it is
of pressure to the lower side of the ball.
to be understood that all ‘matter herein set forth or shown
rotated to move arm 24, ball cage 31 and ball 32 entirely
outside direct line of flow of ?uid through ?owway 8,
An improved kelly valve which comprises in combii
nation a substantially globular body attachable between
is attached to eccentric arm 24 by any suitable attach—
ment means illustrated as a machine screw 34, and has
The ?owway ‘8 has an enlarged part forming a cavity 30 in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as il
lustrative and not in a limiting sense.
35 within the body, best shown in FIG. 2. This cavity
The invention having been described, what is claimed
is of such size and shape as to permit spindle 23 to be
and to one side thereof.
‘ In operation with the valve of my invention, the ball,
eccentric arm and cage are rotated to the position illus
trated by broken lines in FIG. 2 so long as the drill is
penetrating strata not subject to difficulties due to back
a mud swivel and an upper end of a kelly, said body in-'
cluding a detachably connected cover plate forming at
least a part of a side of the body; a vertical flowway
through the body, said ?owway having an enlargement
degree against eddy currents by the surrounding cage 31.
providing a cavity within the body outside direct line of
how of ?uid through the body; an annular valve seat
around the flowway within the body, the lower end of
said valve seat forming a part of an upper wall de?ning
Although both ball 32 and seat 9 preferably are made
said cavity; an externally operable spindle rotatably
pressure, or likely to cause a blowout.
It will readily
be seen from FIG. 2 that in this position the ball is
entirely out of the main ?owway and is protected to some
of tungsten carbide, they would become badly worn dur 45 mounted through the cover plate; an eccentric arm car;
ried by the spindle within the cavity; a ball cage carried
ing ordinary drilling operations in which large volumes
upon a side of the eccentric arm radially outward from
of mud carrying abrasive particles would, of necessity,
?ow by them under pressure ‘and impinge upon their sur
said spindle; a ball-valve-closure member made of tung
faces except for the out-of-line position occupied by
sten carbide carried within the ball cage and movable
them. When the ball is in position, there is substantially 50 therein toward and awayrfrom said eccentric arm; a spring
streamline ?ow across the valve seat and relatively little
in the ball cage disposed to press the ball away from said
wear since there is little constriction or increase of ve
eccentric arm, the spindle being rotatable through an arc
locity in this location.
moving the ball and ball cage upward to effective back
As the drill bit approaches a stratum in which variable
back pressures are likely to be encountered, the spindle
is rotated into the position illustrated in full lines in FIG.
2. In this position, the unworn ball and substantially
unworn seat are in position to cooperate to close the
pressure-responsive valve-closing position in the ?owway
adjacent to said valve seat and downward to ineffective
valve-closing position in thecavity outside the flowway,
the weight of the globular body and dimensions of the
?owway on development of back pressure. The trouble
some formation then can be drilled without danger of
cavity therein and the weight and dimensions of the ec
centric arm, cage and ball being cooperative to dynam
sudden back pressure blowing mud out of the drill stem.
When the troublesome strata have been drilled through
and sealed on’, and it is desired to continue drilling to a
ing position in the cavity outside the flowway.
deeper level, the spindle is again rotated to bring the ball 65
out of the principal ?owway into cavity 35, the position
shown by broken lines in FIG. 2.
Flowway -8 ‘and cavity 35 are so proportioned that the
valve is substantially in dynamic balance when ball 32 is
rhoved into cavity 35; i.e., the weight of the’ globular 70
body, and the dimensions of the cavity 35 therein which
includes :a section of flowway 8, cooperate with the
ically balance the valve in rotation on a vertical axis when
the valve-closure member is in the ineffective valve-clos
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
Dembowsky _________ __ Aug. 12, 1919
' 1,711,519
Cox -____'_;. ___________ __ May 7, 1929
Mc‘Fee _______________ _.. Apr. 9, 1940
St. Clair ______________ __ July 3, 1956
Frahce ___________________ __ of £908
dimensions and weight of eccentric arm 24, ball cage 31
and ball 32 to dynamically balance the valve in rotation
around a vertical axis when the arm, cage and ball are 75
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