Solution to stop the oil well with a new smart pipe plug

By Physicist Wolfhart Willimczik


  Inserting a self-arresting new smart pipe plug will cap the oil gusher for good. Unfortunately this is not more useable in case of the BP oil gusher. In case the inside of the pipe is not accessible at all there is another solution :

There is also a new BOP for all new oil wells. I have it just invented 7/4/2010

Task of this invention is to plug the inside of a pipe-like-design (failed blow out preventer etc) in deep water against an out coming stream at high volume of oil and gas at high pressure of an out of control oil well. (This is a physical problem, ergo must it be solved by a physicist):


smart pipe plug (loaded)

Top view (Without the spring (6))


Phase 1:

The devise is a smart pipe plug with a small cross section and can be pushed in an open end of a broken pipe against the flow of oil to a certain predetermined dept.
(The device distinguish itself from all other pipe plugs by a small cross section compared with the cross section of the pipe (1) that it is able to overcome the force created by the dynamic pressure (Staudruck) from the oil stream. The oil stream will not be restricted in this phase.) The oil flows outside around the body (2) and through the wide open gaps between the coils of the uncompressed tapered spring (6).

  smart pipe plug inserted and legs (3) are sprung

1 – pipe    2 – body     3 – 6  strong moveable legs  4 – 12  rigid fins   5a  6 guiding fins   5b – 4 guiding fins  6 -  tapered spring   7 -  strong radial spring   8 -  release ring 9 -  steel wire  10 -  husk     11 -  handle bar for nut 12 -  thread  13a -  nut – 13b  bigger nut  14 -  threaded rod  15 -  cross bar


Phase 2:

If the smart plug is pushed in the pipe the cross bar (15) will hit the rugged end of the pipe and  the also stopped trigger ring (9) releases all six preloaded legs (3), which will be pushed outward by the inner spring (7).  Hard metal tips hit the wall at a predetermined depth and penetrate the wall of the pipe (1) .  The oil is still flowing around this device and through the uncompressed tapered spring (6).

(The dynamic oil pressure is trying to push the device back out of the pipe, but in this case the oil pushes the legs only deeper in the wall of the pipe if the right angle of the legs is used and the hard tips on the end of the legs have the right shape. Some weights or a ROV may hold the device in this situation also.

Phase 3:

Without delay a big nut (13b) on the outside end will be tightened until the legs are pressed deeper in the wall that they are able to take the full load of the static oil pressure. The oil is still flowing and there is no static pressure (only the much lower dynamic pressure), but the smart pipe plug is now secured.


smart pipe plug sealing against high pressure

Phase 4:

After the smart pipe plug is firmly attached to the pipe (1) the shut-off process can begin. A second nut (13a) on the outside will be tightened. This compresses a big tapered spring (6) via the husk (10) until the entire cross section of the pipe (1)  is tightly sealed by the spring. The oil gusher is stopped.

This process can be made slowly to avoid any pressure spikes. To turn this nut will go easy, because the oil pressure supports this process and on the end  the spring (6) is hold down by high static pressure - and by the nut (13a). 
(Small leaks will remain. They are smaller the better the spring is manufactured or if the wire of the spring is hard rubberized etc.)

Phase 5:

Now concrete can be pumped in sealing the well permanently.


Many tons of force must be diverted to the wall, depending on the pressure and the size of the pipe. For an ID of 21” (BP is not cooperative and has given no exact measurements, pressure data etc) of the pipe the wire of the tapered spring has about a diameter of 1”. The tapered spring (6) is the main sealing element. It must not be in hardened steel because – as a spring – it has to stand up only against the dynamic pressure of the oil. The wire of the spring is supported by 12  rigid fins (4) both sides of the legs (6) fixed on a massive body (2) transferring the forces from the wires to the body – to the 6 legs and finally to the wall (1).
If one leg damages a weak wall nothing is lost, because this puncture is behind the oil, if the smart plug is closed. For weak pipes several rows of legs can be used to spread out the load over a greater area.
The spring (7) can never be too strong, but if the hard cutting edges should get not find immediately a hold on the wall  a sort of rattling movement or short stroke motion of the entire device can help.
This smart pipe plug is made for every type of pipe over and under water specially for difficult circumstances and high pressure.
The end of the pipe can be rough and  crooked.  The edge of the pipe is not part of the sealing action. It must only hold a cross of steel bars (15).
If there is a groove in the pipe or a flange the legs find good footing in the groove. The legs can find hold in the gap between the “blow out preventer” (what was in reality a “shut off preventer”) and flange.

(The used BOP is always open and must be shut off in an emergency. A real BOP must be closed always and can only be opened for the oil if a signal (electrical or hydraulic) is given. If everything fails – no humans are around – no electricity etc - it must be automatically shut off itself . Such constructions are possible. If necessary I offer my help in this.)

A modified version could also be used very deep in an oil well, if a bottom kill operation is desired. With its own propulsion like a torpedo or/and with its own heavy weight it will sink against the oncoming stream of oil and gas due to its small cross section.  At a predetermined depth  2 sets of legs will be tightened against each other by – for instance - an electrical gear motor – and penetrate the wall of the pipe to get a firm grip. If the smart pipe plug is firmly fixated the tapered spring (6) can be tightened and the pipe sealed. An eventual small leakage can be brought to the surface and loaded in a tanker or the pipe will be closed permanently with concrete. It seems for the BP oil gusher in the Gulf  the drill stem can’t be removed for this operation.

A tapered spring has several advantages compared with other sealing elements, for instance like 2 half disks, which could open up like the wings of a butterfly etc. Such disks must exactly fit to the ID of the pipe and will close with a bang, causing an enormous pressure spike. The spring is designed in the way to adapt itself to the wall of the pipe, if the exact diameter is unknown and even if the pipe is not exactly round. The wire of the spring has a round cross section, what is required to push the coils against each other and against the wall of the pipe sealingly. But on both ends are small holes between the coils. They can be closed with a small piece welded on; or the cross section of the tapered spring changes to a square on the ends. This device is easy to build (there are no tight tolerances) and can be tested with water pressure on land with the same sort of pipe as in deep see.



Such similar tapered spring could be tried. You see how much free cross section a spring has to let the oil freely flow uncompressed and that it can close the entire cross section of a pipe if compressed. The importance of this invention lies in the fact, that it has a low cross section in the open stage, that it can easily pushed in a pipe against the flow and not restrict the flow if it if inserted. Other pipe plugs have a cross section already similar to the cross section of the pipe. They can not be pushed against a strong flow of oil as the BP oil gusher has.

I am a hard boiled Physicist and invent since the sixties last century and every of my inventions worked exactly as predicted. (See for instance the turbine as fire extinguisher :

(America had non to extinguish the oil fire on the burning rig!)

Non of my inventions failed like the improper attempts to plug the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico so far. (In this time nothing is plugged.)

It is imperative for the entire Gulf region that a feasible solution will be tried very soon.

Wolfhart Willimczik
 Physicist & Inventor

In case the inside of the pipe is not accessible at all there is another solution :



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