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Title:
APPARATUS FOR THE CONTROLLED RAPID EXPANSION AND ACCELERATION OF AN AQUEOUS SOLUTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/068170
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A high velocity accelerator comprising: an internal chamber; a material inlet port; a material outlet port; a back wall surrounding the inlet port; an internal wall having a first end connected to the back wall and a second opposite end tapering to the outlet port, the first end being located proximate the inlet port and the second end being located proximate the outlet port; a plurality of injection ports positioned along the periphery of the internal wall proximate the first end; wherein said inlet port having a diameter smaller than the diameter of the internal chamber, and the injection ports are adapted to inject at a high rate of displacement a fluid which, in operation, will create a vortex inside the chamber thereby entraining a material towards the outlet port. Uses and methods using such are also disclosed.

Inventors:
HARRISON, James (1262 Copperhead Drive, Kamloops, British Columbia V2E 0A1, CA)
L'ECUYER, Emmanuel (Unit 106, 3921 -81st AvenueLeduc, Alberta T9E 8S6, CA)
Application Number:
CA2018/000190
Publication Date:
April 11, 2019
Filing Date:
October 05, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
STITECH INDUSTRIES INC. (Unit 109, 3th AvenueLeduc, Alberta T9E 0K3, 903 75, CA)
International Classes:
F15D1/00; B04C9/00; B24C5/00
Foreign References:
CA2455127A12002-12-24
US20150300385A12015-10-22
GB1356573A1974-06-12
CA2295855A11999-01-21
CA2791950A12013-04-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PIGEON, Charles O (Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP2400, 525 - 8 Avenue S, Calgary AB T2P 1G1, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A high velocity accelerator comprising:

- an internal chamber;

- a material inlet port;

- a material outlet port;

- a back wall surrounding the inlet port;

- an internal wall having a first end connected to the back wall and a second opposite end tapering to the outlet port, the first end being located proximate the inlet port and the second end being located proximate the outlet port;

- a plurality of injection ports positioned along the periphery of the internal wall proximate the first end;

wherein said inlet port having a diameter smaller than the diameter of the internal chamber, and the injection ports are adapted to inject at a high rate of displacement a fluid which, in operation, will create a vortex inside the chamber thereby entraining a material towards the outlet port.

2. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 1, wherein the material inlet port comprises a centerpoint which is in substantial linear alignment with a centerpoint of the material outlet port.

3. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the material inlet port is in fluid communication with an inlet pipe and comprises a centerpoint which is in substantial linear alignment with a cylindrical axis of the inlet pipe.

4. The high velocity accelerator according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the material outlet port is in fluid communication with an outlet pipe and comprises a centerpoint which is in substantial linear alignment with a cylindrical axis of the outlet pipe.

5. The high velocity accelerator according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the injection ports are adapted to inject a fluid in a fan-spray pattern.

6. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 5, wherein the fan-spray pattern of each one of the plurality of injection ports are adjusted to meet at a center point within the outlet pipe.

7. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 5, wherein the fan-spray pattern of each one of the plurality of injection ports are adjusted to have an effective spray width not greater than the diameter of the outlet pipe.

8. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 1 , wherein the substantially the entire width of the spray stream reaches inside the exit port.

9. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 1, wherein each one of said injection ports are adjusted at angle offset from a straight line between the outlet port and said injection port.

10. The high velocity accelerator according to any one of claim 1 to 8, wherein each one of the plurality of injection ports, in operation, projects a stream of liquid which will intersect, at a pre-determined point, with the stream of each one of the other injection port.

1 1. The high velocity accelerator according to any one of claim 1 to 8, wherein the pre-determined point where streams intersect will be located beyond the outlet port within the outlet pipe.

12. The high velocity accelerator according to claim 1, wherein the internal chamber is adapted to receive a slurry at high pressure.

13. A system to clean solid waste material, said system comprising:

- a high velocity accelerator comprising;

an internal chamber

a material inlet port;

a material outlet port;

a back wall surrounding the inlet port;

an internal wall having a first end connected to the back wall and a second opposite end tapering to the outlet port, the first end being located proximate the inlet port and the second end being located proximate the outlet port;

a plurality of injection ports positioned along the periphery of the internal wall proximate the first end;

wherein said inlet port having a diameter smaller than the diameter of the internal chamber, and the injection ports are adapted to inject at a high rate of displacement a fluid which, in operation, will create a vortex inside the chamber thereby entraining said material towards the outlet port; - a transport system adapted to transport a slurry of the solid waste material to the high velocity accelerator.

14. Use of a high velocity accelerator according to any one of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein said use on sand particles increases the sphericity of said sand particles.

15. Use of a high velocity accelerator according to any one of claims 1 to 1 1 to accelerate material processed therethrough.

16. A method of using a high velocity accelerator according to any one of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein said method comprises the steps of introducing material into said high velocity accelerator and recovering resulting material from the outlet port.

17. The method according to claim 16, further comprising the step of preparing a slurry containing the material prior to introducing such into the high velocity accelerator.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR THE CONTROLLED RAPID EXPANSION AND

ACCELERATION OF AN AQUEOUS SOLUTION

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an apparatus and method to rapidly expand and accelerate an aqueous solution and/or aqueous slurry of material, in a vacuum state.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are numerous processes which may require the rapid expansion and acceleration of materials for numerous purposes as may be required by the user of the apparatus.

It may be beneficial to the user to use an apparatus which will rapidly expand and accelerate materials in a manner that is cost efficient and/or for an apparatus of this nature to have the capacity to process materials at various flow volume rates without being required to recalibrate and/or to require different systems for different volume flow rates.

It may be beneficial to a user to use an apparatus which may separate liquid or semiliquid materials from solids and/or from other liquid or semiliquid materials.

It may be beneficial to a user of the apparatus to remove certain liquids or gaseous materials from an aqueous solution or aqueous slurry of materials.

It may be beneficial to a user of the apparatus to blend liquid materials or liquid and aqueous slurries of materials in a manner that requires an infusion of the liquid material which is to be blended.

It may be beneficial to a user of the apparatus to impart forces on, and/or cause abrasive collisions of, solid materials such as aggregate materials which may smooth, round or remove jagged or protruding edges of the solid materials.

It may be beneficial to a user of the apparatus to impart forces on a solid material which may cause the solid material to move forward at a higher velocity than other materials in an aqueous material and/or condensed with a greater level of forward velocity then may be efficiently obtainable by other means or methods. It may be beneficial to a user of the apparatus to impart forces of aqueous material on a surface or a body of material and to generate a desired amount of work potential with the intent to displace a body or propel a body in a forward or rotational direction.

Therefore, there is a need in the art for methods and system for an apparatus that is versatile in application, can control the reaction outcome and can operate at a wide range of volume flow rates and aqueous material densities, temperatures, pressures and velocities.

Therefore, there is a need in the art for methods and system that may provide the user of the apparatus the opportunity to accomplish one or more than one desired action in a single step or a reduced number of steps.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided an apparatus to focus forward momentum of a material using a heretofore novel apparatus. Other preferred applications employing the apparatus according to the present invention can include: infusing a liquid into an aqueous solution or aqueous slurry of materials, separate liquids and/or semiliquid materials from solid materials and/or other liquid/and or semiliquid materials, vaporize specific and/or a number of specific liquid materials in an aqueous solution and/or aqueous slurry, increase the sphericity and/or roundness of a solid and/or a number of solid materials suspended in an aqueous solution and/or aqueous slurry of materials, impart work energy on a surface to cause directional motion of a body.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method to focus forward momentum of a material present in a slurry.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the method overcomes efficiency losses in processing materials in the described manner and for the described purposes, where the inflow of material composition characteristics may not be consistent and/or where the feed rate, feed pressure and/or feed velocity are not consistent, but where there may be a requirement of the materials which are processed by the apparatus to continue to be reasonably consistent to the intent of the user.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the apparatus may provide the same benefits with the same or similar operating parameters which may be required for effective and efficient use of the apparatus and the shape or size of the apparatus physical chamber should not be considered criteria of the effectiveness of all embodiments of the invention. According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a high velocity accelerator comprising:

- an internal chamber

- a material inlet port;

- a material outlet port;

- a back wall surrounding the inlet port;

- an internal wall having a first end connected to the back wall and a second opposite end tapering to the outlet port, the first end being located proximate the inlet port and the second end being located proximate the outlet port;

- a plurality of injection ports positioned along the periphery of the internal wall proximate the first end;

wherein said inlet port having a diameter smaller than the diameter of the internal chamber, and the injection ports are adapted to inject at a high rate of displacement a fluid which, in operation, will create a vortex inside the chamber thereby entraining said material towards the outlet port. Preferably, this reactor is coupled to a system which transports slurry into it and collects the material exiting the reactor

The person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the shape of the back wall of the reactor may vary without impacting the performance of the reactor when it comes to achieving the desired result of providing immediate and sudden expansion of the slurry as such enters into the reactor. This sudden and immediate expansion is a result of the change in diameter between the inlet pipe/inlet port and the internal diameter of the reactor chamber proximate the inlet port. Therefore, the back wall of the reactor can be according to a preferred embodiment cone-shaped, according to another preferred embodiment semicircular, according to another preferred embodiment flat, etc. without impacting the performance of the reactor

Preferably, the material inlet port comprises a centerpoint which is in substantial linear alignment with a centerpoint of the material outlet port. Preferably, the material inlet port is in fluid communication with an inlet pipe and comprises a centerpoint which is in substantial linear alignment with a cylindrical axis of the inlet pipe. Preferably also, the material outlet port is in fluid communication with an outlet pipe and comprises a centerpoint which is in substantial linear alignment with a cylindrical axis of the outlet pipe.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the injection ports are adapted to injected fluid in a fan-spray pattern. Preferably, the fan-spray pattern of each one of the plurality of injection ports are adjusted to meet at a center point within the outlet pipe. Preferably, the fan-spray pattern of each one of the plurality of injection ports are adjusted to have an effective spray width not greater than the diameter of the outlet pipe. Preferably, the substantially the entire width of the spray stream reaches inside the exit port.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, each one of the plurality of injection ports, in operation, projects a stream of liquid which will intersect, at a pre-determined point, with the stream of each one of the other injection port. Preferably, the pre-determined point where streams intersect will be located beyond the outlet port within the outlet pipe.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a system to clean solid waste material, said system comprising:

- a high velocity accelerator comprising;

an internal chamber

a material inlet port;

a material outlet port;

a back wall surrounding the inlet port;

an internal wall having a first end connected to the back wall and a second opposite end tapering to the outlet port, the first end being located proximate the inlet port and the second end being located proximate the outlet port;

a plurality of injection ports positioned along the periphery of the internal wall proximate the first end;

wherein said inlet port having a diameter smaller than the diameter of the internal chamber, and the injection ports are adapted to inject at a high rate of displacement a fluid which, in operation, will create a vortex inside the chamber thereby entraining said material towards the outlet port;

- a transport system adapted to transport a slurry of the solid waste material to the high velocity accelerator.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a use of a high velocity accelerator on sand particles to increase the sphericity of said sand particles.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a use of a high velocity accelerator to accelerate material processed therethrough.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of using a high velocity accelerator comprising the steps of: introducing material into said high velocity accelerator and recovering resulting material from the outlet port. Preferably, the method comprises the step of preparing a slurry containing the material prior to introducing such into the high velocity accelerator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The following figures form part of the specification and are included to further demonstrate certain embodiments or various aspects of the invention. In some instances, embodiments of the invention can be best understood by referring to the accompanying drawings in combination with the detailed description presented herein. The description and accompanying drawings may highlight a certain specific example, or a certain aspect of the invention. However, one skilled in the art will understand that portions of the example or aspect may be used in combination with other examples or aspects of the invention.

Figure 1 shows a process flow diagram of the apparatus of one embodiment of the apparatus;

Figure 2 shows a cross section of one embodiment of the apparatus;

Figure 3 shows a schematic of optional embodiments of the apparatus;

Figure 4 shows a schematic describing the physical changes in the state of certain materials resulting from the use of the apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 5 shows the potential for focusing an amount of potential energy to a specific focal point and with a desired amount of usable energy and/or to control the expansion of energy in an aqueous flow for beneficial use as a means of imparting energy on a surface to generate motion of a body;

Figure 6 is a perspective view of the ring on which the plurality of injection ports is located within the high velocity accelerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

Figure 7 is a perspective view of the ring on which the plurality of injection ports is located within the high velocity accelerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the effectiveness and process of the apparatus is not dependent on the introduction or use of chemical aids or surfactants, although there may be applications where chemical use is desired to modify a specific intended result. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the system may be configured to incorporate the introduction of chemicals as required or desired by the user.

According to various preferred embodiments of the present invention, the apparatus may comprise of other apparatuses which may be inventive themselves and/or may comprise of other generally known apparatuses including but not limiting to: Eddy Current Generators used to confine specific materials at the inflow or outflow points of the apparatus; and additions to remove moisture vapor from the apparatus chamber.

According to preferred embodiments of the invention, the system encourages mechanically induced chemical reactions which assist in the separation of various materials from each other. These chemical reactions may be naturally occurring by mechanical induction and do not produce any substantial negative or by-product based residual effect at any point in the process, or by the end of the process.

According to various preferred embodiments of the present invention, the configuration of the system can be altered to include supportive or additional user required classification and/or treatment of materials.

According to preferred embodiment of the present invention, the method (system) can be operated as a batch process. According to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the method (system) can be operated as a continuous flow-through process.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the apparatus can be scaled to suit a required application capacity as defined by the user and has the capacity to operate with no change in effectiveness of process at efficiency ranges of 10% to 100% and further with any variation of proportion of solid particles to liquid parts.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the use of the method (system) can be incorporated at any number of process volume rates and can be incorporated in permanently located processes for any applicable application. According to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the use of the method (system) can be incorporated at any number of process volume rates and can be incorporated in mobile or semi-mobile processes for any applicable application. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, one can vaporize only a specific pre-determined amount (or percent) of a specific liquid and/or a number of liquids, or to vaporize all of a specific liquid or all liquids having a vaporization temperature below a certain level.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the user may require systems and methods to minimize the volume of air as related to the volume of other material to prevent an adverse effect on the process, or prevent the desired result of the process.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the system comprises a series of apparatuses to accomplish the desired outcome of the process to ensure the efficiency of each component of the desired result of the process.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the system comprises a means to transport material to the apparatus, and the transport of materials may require specific and/or minimum and maximum physical characteristics. The physical characteristics may include, but not be limited to:

a) aqueous material density

b) pressure of material at the apparatus inlet

c) velocity of the material at the apparatus inlet

d) volume feed rate of material to the apparatus

e) temperature of the material mass at the apparatus inlet

f) percent of entrained and/or dissolved air in the material at the apparatus inlet g) Viscosity of the material at the apparatus inlet.

h) Percent of solid material comprising an aqueous slurry at the inlet of the apparatus i) A minimum or maximum pressure of water, or other liquid as may be required by the user, at the inlet of the high-pressure jets of the apparatus

j) A minimum or maximum temperature of water, or other liquid as may be required by the user, at the inlet of the high-pressure jets of the apparatus

k) A minimum or maximum volume flow rate of water, or other liquid as may be required by the user, at the inlet of the high-pressure jets of the apparatus

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the process result may require specific physical characteristics of the apparatus, including but not limiting to:

a) A minimum or maximum outflow opening size of the apparatus

b) A minimum or maximum inflow opening size of the apparatus c) A minimum or maximum internal conical chamber size with specific diameters, horizontal length and/or internal volume

The total energy of the process is the sum of the energy of the inflowing suspended material plus the energy imparted by the creation of high velocity water streams. The energy of the material leaving the apparatus will be the total sum of the energy of the materials entering the apparatus but less the amount of energy that is lost due to a number of actions undergone in the apparatus which include but are not limited to; expansion loss, thermal transfer loss and friction

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the user may adjust a single or a number of physical characteristics of the material which may eliminate and/or reduce the adverse effect of the process as a result of unattainable requirements of another physical characteristic. A person skilled in the art will be capable of determining requirements for physical characteristics of the material and if required physical characteristics for the process are unattainable, as well, the person skilled in the art has the knowledge to determine which physical characteristics of the material may eliminate or reduce other unattainable physical characteristics.

According to another aspect of the present invention, aqueous material meeting the minimum and/or maximum physical characteristic allowance for variation, which is transported to the apparatus (being the high velocity accelerator according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention) will, enter the apparatus and, immediately on entering the apparatus, rapidly expand. Aqueous material entering the apparatus and rapidly expanding will lose unrecoverable pressure due to the laws of expansion of a liquid. The incoming velocity of the material will rapidly decelerate due to the laws of conservation of energy. The incoming pressure of the material may not increase in pressure as is normally required by the laws of conservation of energy. The incoming material may be imparted with an area of lower pressure which may cause the aqueous solution to further expand outwards and further reduce forward velocity while simultaneously reducing in pressure which may result from an artificially implied constricted flow area as described in Figure 4. Materials are drawn outward and toward a low-pressure flow stream that is created by high pressure water jects in an angular forward direction along on conical surface. As the material enters in to the low-pressure flow stream and leading in to the high velocity jet stream, the material flow velocity will rapidly increase and the material flow pressure will rapidly decrease. Materials leaving the artificially constricted low-pressure flow area and entering into the high velocity jet stream will rapidly accelerate at a rate which causes the rate of displacement to exceed the rate of replacement capacity, in normal liquid material state, and results in the creation of a vacuum. Liquid materials accelerated into a vacuum state may begin to vaporize and expand as they accelerate forward on a conical, rotational angle to the apparatus outflow point.

High velocity accelerator HVA (also referred to as the STERN reactor system)

In an implementation of the apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention as part of a process, a material slurry enters the STERN reactor system (HVA), which induces a state which reduces effects of gravity and friction and generates a highly turbulent flow state of the suspension while simultaneously applying energy to create shear forces and vacuum states which act on the various components of the suspension, which encourages rapid separation of the various components of the suspension.

Entry of material into the HVA during operation results in a pressure drop and rapid increase in the velocity of the suspension equally to the medium as a singular mass, but imparts specific and different actions to the individual medium components. As a result, the HVA outputs a high-energy material flow, which assists in maintaining separation as it passes to a subsequent separator or settlement treatment system.

The HVA may separate individual materials from each other and flow them forward as a bulk mass however, individual material components will flow as individual masses and at different velocities within the bulk mass. The variation of velocities may be dependent on the temperature, pressure and specific densities of each of the individual materials.

Figure 3 illustrates a lengthwise cross-sectional view of the apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The material inflow pipe (301) is in fluid operational connection with the apparatus' internal apparatus chamber (302). The size and configuration of the internal apparatus chamber (302) is determined by the intended application. There is a pressurized fluid chamber (303) which is in operational fluid connection with the internal chamber (302). There is also an inlet (304) for the pressurized fluid chamber (303), the fittings of which are also determined by the requirements of the intended application. There are high pressure seals (306) found around the internal chamber (302). A gas or air inlet (305) is located in fluid operational connection to the internal apparatus chamber and is used depending on the needs and requirements of the application. The outflow pipe (307) is in fluid operational connection with the internal chamber (302). According to a preferred embodiment, an eddy current or magnetic apparatus may be located at the inflow section (308) of the apparatus. According to another preferred embodiment, an eddy current or magnetic apparatus may be located at the outflow section (309) of the apparatus. Vacuum states may form areas of space within the apparatus which may be void of liquid and/or solid materials such as in areas like, the core of the conical flow and/or in the area above the jet stream and between the jet stream an inner conical surface of the apparatus, as depicted in Figure 4 and 5. As a result of the high energy cavitation forces imparted to the system by the high velocity water streams, the particles in suspension will collide with each other, particularly at the apex (9) of the vortex where the particles will have concentrated, as shown schematically in Figure 4. The collisions occur with sufficient energy to fracture weaker state particles. All particles will undergo surface rounding, increasing the sphericity of the individual particles and the compressive strength of the bulk mass. Individual particles will undergo directional changes, rotational velocity and momentum changes as they accelerate, collide and are compressed in the vortex.

As the solid particles are buffeted in the vortex, contaminants, which adhere to the particles' surfaces, are dislodged. As such, contaminants will typically be less dense, they will migrate outwards and move with the liquid mass. Clay particles such as bentonite or other porous and or adherent type contaminants are also dislodged and flow freely in the liquid mass. Slag type materials are also dislodged but may become entrapped in the flow of other solids and can be separated, if desired, in secondary treatments.

Generally, components with higher density will concentrate in the centre of the vortex, while lighter density components will migrate to the outer zones. Materials that may vaporize in the apparatus process may condense at points of the process where there is an increase in pressure to a point where the state of vacuum is no longer sufficient to maintain the material in a vaporized state.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, at some points in the process of using the apparatus the increase in pressure may be sufficient to cause all vaporized liquids to condense. In some cases, materials that vaporize into a gaseous state may not condense as pressure increases. Notwithstanding any theory the conclusion is specific to specific physical characteristics and properties of some materials. At a point where vaporized materials condense, the action will generate an effect commonly referred to by persons skilled in the art, as a "water hammer". The term "water hammer is not intended to describe an effect specific to water and may describe different materials condensing. Notwithstanding any theory, it is believed the effect of "water hammer ", occurring at points where there may be a rapid compression and deceleration of materials, may produce either supersonic and/or subsonic Shockwaves as depicted in Figure 5. According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the process can generate material velocities which are supersonic.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, at a point where all materials in the apparatus process are condensed to a maximum density and at a point where the material is condensed in to the smallest flow area of the process, the total sum of the energy of the process may be imparted on the material in a forward direction. Simultaneously, Shockwaves will impart forces on the material consistent with energy disbursement laws and impart forces in both, a forward direction, and away from the condensed material.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, where the material is condensed to a maximum density within the process, is the outflow point of the material from the apparatus, the forces imparting on the material may transport the materials forward in a spiral motion. Preferably, materials in the process which remain in a vaporized state may expand outwardly. Preferably also, materials in the process which are liquid and emulsified with dissolved air and/or other gaseous may expand outwardly at a rate consistent with the laws of expanding fluids and fluids with dissolved air and/or gases.

Solid materials in the materials which are condensed may have forces imparted onto the materials which propel the material forward in a spiral motion and at a velocity which may not be consistent with liquid or vapor components of the material as described in Figure 4. Material components which may be able to disburse imparted forces may not propel forward at velocities consistent with materials which may not disburse imparted forces at the same values. Notwithstanding any theory, it is believed materials which are propelled forward at lower velocities than other materials will be imparted by centripetal forces to a greater degree than materials with more forward velocity such as solid materials. Materials moving forward at lower velocities and imparted by centripetal forces to a greater degree may continue to expand outwardly and rapidly decrease in forward velocity.

According to the preferred embodiment illustrated in Figure 3, the inlet pipe (301) leads to an inlet transition zone where the internal diameter of the reactor increases and liquid and/or semi liquid states begin to vaporize and, in some cases, to completely vaporize. It is understood that the inlet pipe may protrude into the reactor chamber according to an embodiment of the present invention, without departing from the person skilled in the art's understanding that the back wall surrounds the inlet port.

According to the preferred embodiment illustrated in Figures 2 and 3, the HVA comprises a conical reaction chamber having where the internal diameter decreases towards the outlet pipe (307). In this chamber, high velocity water jets (308) are created through a water inlet (304) and pressure chamber (305), and introduced at the largest diameter point of the chamber. The jets (308) are aimed along the conical inner surface to create high velocity streams which collide at the apex (309) of the HVA. In one embodiment, the jets may be aimed slightly tangentially so that the high velocity streams spiral along the inner surface, creating a central vortex in the chamber. By operation of the venturi principle, a low-pressure zone is created in the central volume of the internal chamber of the HVA.

As illustrated in Figure 4, when the suspension enters the inlet transition zone, it rapidly decelerates with a resultant increase in pressure and coinciding loss of pressure due to expansion of liquid materials. It is then very rapidly accelerated by the action of the high velocity water streams towards the apex (41 1). Thus, the suspended material is displaced into the apex by the action of the high velocity streams. Shear forces are focused at the apex (411 ) of the vortex and act on the solids which are concentrated there. The inventors surmise that, at an ideal point of maximum material compression or at an ideal point of expansion of the material after the point of maximum material compression, the material may have the required amount of energy imparted on a substance or body to cause displacement through a conserved level of work power and the imparted work power may be sufficient to propel and/or move a body or object in a forward direction, and/or propel and/or move the apparatus in the opposite direction of the material leaving the apparatus.

Figure 5 shows a schematic representation of the chamber with transitional areas which may provide graduated material flow from the inlet into the chamber, and out of the chamber to the outlet.

The HVA does not create cyclonic separation. In fact, in conventional cyclonic separation, denser material is accelerated by centrifugal force to the periphery, while lighter material collects in the center. In the HVA, the centrifugal forces are overcome and concentrate the denser materials towards the center of the flow and the center of the apex due to an internal vacuum state. Immediately upon entering the HVA chamber, the materials will experience a rapid deceleration, followed by rapid acceleration towards the apex, as the material is sucked into the vortex by the outer low-pressure region created by the high-pressure water jets. Upon entry into the lower pressure area of the reaction chamber, the reduced pressure may reduce the friction of the layered flow, producing a highly unstable but directional flow pattern characteristic of a cavitational flow profile.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, material flow patterns may be manipulated with the introduction of an electric and/or magnetic fields generated at the inlet of the chamber with an electromagnet (2) and a rotating ferrous plate (3). These electric or magnetic fields may encourage a more parallel flow conducive of laminar flow and/or segregation of ferrous materials in the material.

The total energy of the system in the HVA is the sum of the energy of the inflowing suspended material plus the energy imparted by the creation of high velocity water streams. The energy results in a significantly increased velocity of the suspended material, as well as an increase in energy of the solid particles carried in the flowing liquid carrier. Without restriction to a theory, it is believed that the significant energy of the system results in physical actions on the suspended material which results in separation of liquids clinging to the surface of the particles, degasification of liquids, particle size reduction and rounding to due fracturing and abrasive collisions, as may be seen schematically in Figures 4.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a high-pressure jet stream may accelerate incoming material flows which enter the apparatus at 3.4 meters per second, to 27.5 meters per second in a horizontal distance of 30 mm and cause a rapid pressure depression which may create a vacuum state. In the same embodiment, if the incoming material is comprised with little air, an amount of water, quartz sand, and small amounts of crude oil adhered to the quartz sand, the lighter components of the crude oil and a percentage of water may vaporize in the vacuum state. The vaporized water which is rapidly expanding and accelerating may cause a zonal area of energized cavitation which may cause sand to collide with itself.

The expanding components comprising the medium crude oil caused by vaporization in a vacuum state, combined with the percent of vaporizing and expanding water may prevent the crude oil from remaining bonded to the sand.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, high pressure jet streams are established at specific angles of decline and compounded angles of decline along a conical plane to create a low-pressure stream along a rotational and conical axis.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the specific angles, rotational distance, rotational axis, velocity, pressure, material type, material temperature and material volume flow rate of the high-pressure jet stream are determined by a person skilled in the art to provide the energy required to impart the desired process result with consideration to the process material physical characteristics and properties.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the system and accompanying method can be operated as a batch process either as a fully mobile or semi-mobile implementation, or in a permanently installed facility. According to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the system and accompanying method can be operated as a continuous flow-through process, either as a fully mobile or semi-mobile implementation, or in a permanently installed facility. Systems may be scalable to suit a required application capacity as defined by the user and has the capacity to operate with no change in effectiveness of process at efficiency ranges of 10% to 100% and further with any variation of proportion of solid particles to liquid parts. The effectiveness and process of the system is not dependent on the introduction or use of chemical aids or surfactants, although there may be applications where chemical use is desired to modify a specific intended result. The system may be configured to incorporate the introduction of chemicals as required or desired by the user, at different entry points in the process.

In some preferred embodiments, the system may promote mechanically-induced chemical reactions which assist in the separation of various materials from each other. These chemical reactions may be naturally occurring by mechanical induction and do not produce any substantial negative or by-product based residual effect at any point in the process, or by the end of the process.

Variations of preferred embodiments according to the present invention process can be applied to a number of waste streams and associated industries.

According to a preferred embodiment, the following components can be present in a system according to the present invention: material conveyor; high pressure reactor system (HVA); separators; and water recycling.

According to a preferred embodiment of a system, in a first step, the material is introduced into a blow off tank, where easily separated coarse solids are separated and then mixed with sufficient water to produce a transportable and treatable slurry, which may optionally include chemical process aids if such are desired. The liquids separated from the coarse solids may have suspended fine particles and other components, and may be treated in an oil- water separator or other conventional separator.

Preferably, the material conveyor operates to convey the solid material to be treated while homogenizing the material to facilitate the next step. In one embodiment, the material conveyor may comprise any apparatus which can transport an aqueous slurry of material, preferably while simultaneously mixing or homogenizing the material. Screw drive augers, hydrotransport pipelines, jet pumps or other known machinery may be suitable.

According to a preferred embodiment of a system, the material conveyor comprises a paddle conveyor, commonly referred to as a pug mill. As each paddle rotates, it agitates the slurry sufficiently to maintain fine solid material in suspension, while encouraging separation of heavier solids from the slurry. The heavier solids are collected and passed to a material feeder, sometimes referred to as a venturi inductor, which uses a pressurized water flow to re-suspend the material at a desired density. In one embodiment, the solids are mixed with a small amount of primer water which assists in maintaining fluidity of the solids and isolates the vacuum pressure caused by the pressurized water feed from the material feed inlet. The introduction of the pressurized water flow creates a vacuum feed of the solids and results in a flow of well- mixed and balanced material suspension.

It is understood that a preferred embodiment of the present invention can be incorporated into methods and systems used to clean solids contaminated with hydrocarbons and other fossil fuels. The contaminated solids may comprise any solid such as sand, clay, soil, or other particulate solids, or mixtures thereof, regardless of the source of the solid and the contamination. The contaminant may comprise any viscous and unwanted hydrocarbon and/or other fossil fuel substance which is mixed with the solids, and/or coated or adhered onto the surface of the solid material. In one exemplary implementation, the contaminated solid comprises waste material from oil and gas operations, which comprises primarily of sand contaminated with hydrocarbons. Other contaminated solids may include, without limitation: oil waste sand and clays; oil waste pond water and materials; chemical and/or petroleum contaminated soils.

One result of the use of the apparatus according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention includes increasing the sphericity of particles processed therethrough. Indeed, colliding of the sand suspended in the cavitation zone may abrasively collide in an energized state that may cause jagged and/or protruding edges of the sand to break free of the particle and may increase the roundness, smoothness and/or sphericity of the sand particle while simultaneously grinding off residual crude oil from the sand surface. The resulting sand may be employed in various applications, including fracking operations.

Definitions and Interpretation

The description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, but it is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the invention in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. To the extent that the accompanying description is of a specific embodiment or a particular use of the invention, it is intended to be illustrative only, and not limiting of the claimed invention. The corresponding structures, materials, acts, and equivalents of all means or steps plus function elements in the claims appended to this specification are intended to include any structure, material, or act for performing the function in combination with other claimed elements as specifically claimed.

References in the specification to "one embodiment", "an embodiment", etc., indicate that the embodiment described may include a particular aspect, feature, structure, or characteristic, but not every embodiment necessarily includes that aspect, feature, structure, or characteristic. Moreover, such phrases may, but do not necessarily, refer to the same embodiment referred to in other portions of the specification. Further, when a particular aspect, feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with an embodiment, it is within the knowledge of one skilled in the art to combine, affect or connect such aspect, feature, structure, or characteristic with other embodiments, whether or not such connection or combination is explicitly described. In other words, any element or feature may be combined with any other element or feature in different embodiments, unless there is an obvious or inherent incompatibility between the two, or it is specifically excluded.

It is further noted that the claims may be drafted to exclude any optional element. As such, this statement is intended to serve as antecedent basis for the use of exclusive terminology, such as "solely," "only," and the like, in connection with the recitation of claim elements or use of a "negative" limitation. The terms "preferably," "preferred," "prefer," "optionally," "may," and similar terms are used to indicate that an item, condition or step being referred to is an optional (not required) feature of the invention.

The singular forms "a," "an," and "the" include the plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. The term "and/or" means any one of the items, any combination of the items, or all of the items with which this term is associated.

As will be understood by one skilled in the art, for any and all purposes, particularly in terms of providing a written description, all ranges recited herein also encompass any and all possible sub-ranges and combinations of sub-ranges thereof, as well as the individual values making up the range, particularly integer values. A recited range (e.g., weight percent or carbon groups) includes each specific value, integer, decimal, or identity within the range. Any listed range can be easily recognized as sufficiently describing and enabling the same range being broken down into at least equal halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, or tenths. As a non-limiting example, each range discussed herein can be readily broken down into a lower third, middle third and upper third, etc. As will also be understood by one skilled in the art, all language such as "up to", "at least", "greater than", "less than", "more than", "or more", and the like, include the number recited, and such terms refer to ranges that can be subsequently broken down into sub-ranges as discussed above. In the same manner, all ratios recited herein also include all sub-ratios falling within the broader ratio.