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Title:
SEPARATION DUCT HAVING LONGITUDINAL SPACERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/073673
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention discloses a separation duct [100] for encompassing an elongate member [502]. The duct includes longitudinal internal spacers [208-1...208-8] extending longitudinally in a direction of a longitudinal axis of the duct. The spacers [208-1...208-8] support the elongate member [502] and resist slippage of the duct [100] relative to the elongate member [502]. The duct may be used to provide separation and protection for elongate members of a range of outside dimensions.

Inventors:
SCHAEFER, Thomas E. (499 Crows Mill Road, Fords, New Jersey, 08863, US)
Application Number:
IB2017/055699
Publication Date:
April 26, 2018
Filing Date:
September 20, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TYCO ELECTRONICS SUBSEA COMMUNICATIONS LLC (250 Industrial Way West, Eatontown, New Jersey, 07724-2296, US)
International Classes:
H02G1/08; F16L7/00; H02G9/06
Foreign References:
US20070051419A12007-03-08
DE102013108856A12015-02-19
EP0221481A11987-05-13
DE29918882U12000-01-20
US20070051419A12007-03-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOEWENSTEIN, Kangping Karen (4550 Linden Hill Road, Suite 140Wilmington, Delaware, 19808, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A separation duct segment [102] configured to be combined with at least one additional separation duct segment [104] for encompassing an elongate member [502], the separation duct segment comprising:

an elongate body [202] having an outer surface [304] an inner surface [306], the outer surface [304] and the inner surface [306] being bridged at ends thereof by associated mating faces [308,310]; and

a plurality of spacers [208-1...208-8] extending inwardly away from the inner surface [306] and extending longitudinally from a location adjacent a first end [204] of the elongate body [202] in a direction toward a second end [206] of the elongate body [202], wherein a longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3-L4] associated with each of the spacers [208-1...208-8] is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3- L4] associated with the other ones of the spacers [208-1...208-8], the longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3-L4] associated with each of the spacers being a plane extending along a length of the spacer [208-1...208-8] and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

2. A separation duct segment according to claim 1, wherein the longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3-L4] associated with each of the spacers [208-1...208-8] bisects the spacer.

3. A separation duct segment according to claim 1, wherein the spacers [208- 1...208-8] have different heights.

4. A separation duct segment according to claim 1, wherein first one of the spacers [208-1...208-8] closest to one of the associated mating faces [308,310] has a height greater than second one of the spacers [208-1...208-8] furthest from the one of the associated mating faces [308,310].

5. A separation duct segment according to claim 1, wherein the spacers [208- 1...208-8] do not extend inwardly beyond the mating faces [308,310].

6. A separation duct segment according to claim 1, wherein an end surface [318] of each of the spacers [208-1...208-8] is flush with an end surface [322] of the elongate body [302] .

7. A separation duct segment according to claim 1, wherein the spacers [208- 1...208-8] are resiliently deformable.

8. A separation duct [100] for encompassing an elongate member [502], the separation duct [100] comprising:

an outer surface [106], an inner surface [108] and a central cavity [110]; and a plurality of spacers [208-1...208-8] extending inwardly away from the inner surface [108] at intervals along a length of the duct [100], the spacers [208-1...208-8] extending longitudinally in a direction of a longitudinal axis [Al] of the duct [100], wherein a longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3-L4] associated with each of the spacers [208- 1...208-8] is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3-L4] associated with the other ones of the spacers [208-1...208-8], the longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3- L4] associated with each of the spacers [208-1...208-8] being a plane extending along a length of the spacer [208-1...208-8] and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

9. A separation duct according to claim 8, wherein the longitudinal plane [L1-L2, L3-L4] associated with each of the spacers [208-1...208-8] bisects the spacer.

10. A separation duct according to claim 8 wherein the spacers [208-1...208-8] have different heights.

11. A separation duct according to claim 8, the duct further comprising a second plurality of spacers [208A] extending inwardly away from the inner surface in opposing facing relationship to the plurality of spacers [208-1...208-8] at the intervals along a length of the duct [100], the second plurality of spacers [208 A] extending longitudinally in a direction of a longitudinal axis [Al] of the duct [100], wherein a longitudinal plane associated with each of the second plurality of spacers [208A] is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane associated with the other ones of the second plurality of spacers [208 A], the longitudinal plane associated with each of the second plurality of spacers [208A] being a plane extending along a length of the spacer [208A] and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

12. A separation duct according to claim 11, wherein a tension band [112] is provided around the duct [100] at an area of reduced external dimension [114] to compress the plurality of spacers [208-1...208-8] and the second plurality of spacers [208 A] against an elongate member [502].

Description:
SEPARATION DUCT HAVING LONGITUDINAL SPACERS

[0001] Elongate members such as optical or electrical cable, pipelines, risers used in hydrocarbon extraction, etc., particularly but not exclusively those deployed underwater, are often positioned adjacent other structures such as other elongate members, buildings, rock formations, etc. There is often a need to provide physical separation between the elongate members and the other structures to protect the elongate member and/or the other structures from damage. For example, in the case of an undersea optical cable the cable may cross over an undersea oil or gas pipeline. To avoid damage to the cable and/or the pipeline, the cable is often encompassed within a separation duct. The separation duct establishes a separation distance between the cable and the pipeline and may be formed of a material that will not damage the pipeline in the event of contact between the pipeline and the separation duct. One example of such a separation duct is described in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US2007/0051419, the teachings of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

[0002] One challenge associated with known separation duct configurations is that there has been a need match the internal dimensions of the separation duct with the external dimensions of the elongate member to be received thereby. If the separation duct is too large compared to the cable, the separation duct may not properly grip the cable and may slip along the length thereof to an undesirable position. If the separation duct is too small, it may not fit around the cable. These problems are exacerbated when, for example, an elongate member and separation duct are deployed via a ship at sea and the ship has been mistakenly loaded with separation duct of an incorrect size. In such a case, the ship may be required to return to port to obtain a correct size of separation duct and then return to the location where the elongate member is to be deployed. This can result in significant delays and cost increases associated with deployment of the elongate member.

[0003] The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0004] FIG. 1 is a side view of a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure.

[0005] FIG. 2 is a top view of a bottom portion of a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure.

[0006] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one segment of a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure. [0007] FIG. 4 is sectional view of one segment of the separation duct consistent with the present disclosure taken along lines IV-IV in FIG. 1.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a sectional view of a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure enclosing an elongate member.

[0001] The present disclosure relates to a separation ducts having longitudinal spacers for receiving elongate members and separating the elongate member from other structures.

[0002] In general, a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure includes a plurality of longitudinal internal spacers extending inwardly away from an inner surface at intervals along a length of the duct. The longitudinal internal spacers extend longitudinally in a direction of a longitudinal axis of the duct. A longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane associated with the other ones of the spacers. The longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers is a plane extending along a length of the spacer and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

[0003] Advantageously, the longitudinal spacers support the elongate member centrally within an internal cavity of the separation duct and separate the elongate member from the exterior surface of the duct by a desired distance. This separation is useful in avoiding damage to the elongate member and/or other adjacent structures. Contact between the spacers and the elongate member along the length of the spacers also provides frictional resistance to slippage between the duct and the elongate member. Advantageously, a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure may be used to encompass elongate members of different outside diameters. This substantially avoids difficulties associated with providing incorrectly sized separation duct for use with a particular elongate member.

[0004] FIG. 1 is a side view of one example of a separation duct 100 consistent with the present disclosure. The illustrated embodiment includes a plurality of separation duct segments 102-1, 102-2, 102-3, 102-4, 102-5 and 104-1, 104-2, 104-3, 104-4, 104-5 coupled to form a duct 100 with an exterior surface 106, an interior surface 108, a central cavity 110 and a longitudinal axis Al. Although embodiments illustrated herein may be described in connection with a duct formed of separation duct segments, a separation duct consistent with the present disclosure may be provided in other configurations, such as a split tube.

[0005] In the illustrated embodiment, the separation duct segments 102-1, 102-2, 102-3, 102-4, 102-5 and 104-1, 104-2, 104-3, 104-4, 104-5 have identical configurations. Each separation duct segment may be a unitary molding formed of an elastomeric material, such as polyurethane. In the illustrated embodiment, each of a first group of the separation duct segments 102-1, 102-2, 102-3, 102-4, 102-5 is positioned in opposed facing relationship to an associated one of a second group 104-1, 104-2, 104-3, 104-4, 104-5 of the separation duct segments to define the central cavity 110 in which the elongate member is disposed. The separation duct members are coupled to each other by tension bands, e.g. tension band 112, provided at reduced external dimension areas, e.g. area 114.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a top view of the separation duct segments 102-1, 102-2, 102-3, 102-4, shown in FIG. 1 (i.e. with the separation duct segments 104-1, 104-2, 104-3, 104-4, in FIG. 1 removed). Each separation duct segment, e.g. segment 102-1, includes an elongate body 202 having a first end 204 and a second end 206. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the first end 204 defines a spigot formed as a reduced external diameter portion of the elongate body 202 and the second end 206 defines a socket formed of an increased internal diameter portion of the elongate body 202. Axially adjacent separation duct segments, e.g. segments 102-1 and 102-2, engage with each other by a mating connection of the spigot of one separation duct segment matingly engaged with the socket of the axially adjacent separation duct segment.

[0007] The first end 204 of the elongate body 202 includes a plurality of resiliently deformable longitudinal spacers 208. When separation duct segments are disposed in opposed facing relationship, e.g. as shown in FIG. 1, longitudinal spacers 208 of the opposing ones of the separation duct segments are in opposed facing relation to each other at the educed external diameter areas, e.g. area 114 (FIG. 1), at intervals along the length of the duct 100 (FIG. 1). The tension bands, e.g. band 114 (FIG. 1), compress the longitudinal spacers 208 against an elongate member.

[0008] Although the illustrated exemplary embodiment includes a plurality of separation duct segments, each having a single set of spacers at one end thereof, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that any number of sets of spacers may be provided along the length of a separation duct segment consistent with the present disclosure. The spacers may be placed at any interval along the length of the segment at locations of reduced diameter. A tension band may be placed at each section of reduced diameter to compress the spacers against an elongate member. The separation duct segments positioned on either side of the elongate member may have identical configurations and the segments on one side may overlap the segments on the other side by 50%. The sets of spacers in each segment are however provided in opposed facing relationship to each other along the length of a duct consistent with the present disclosure so that the tension bands compress spacers onto opposite sides of the elongate member.

[0009] FIG. 3 is an isometric view of one example of a separation duct segment 102 consistent with the present disclosure. The segment includes an elongate body 202 with an exterior surface 304 and an inner surface 306 that are bridged at ends thereof by associated mating faces 308, 310. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the segment 102 is generally semi-annular in shape with a convex semi-circular exterior surface 304 and a convex semi-circular inner surface 306 and the mating faces 308, 310 lying in a common plane. The terms "semi-annular" and "semi-circular" as used herein refers to any portion of an annular or circular shape, respectively. Those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize the outer 304 and inner 306 surfaces need not be semi-circular and may take different shapes with various features thereon. Also, the mating faces 308, 310 need not lie in the same plane.

[0010] Each separation duct segment 102 may include a projection 312 on one mating face 310 thereof and a recess 314 on the opposite mating face 308 thereof. The projection 312 and recess 314 may mate with a corresponding projection and recess of a separation duct segment positioned in opposed facing relationship to align the separation duct segments and restrict relative axial motion of the segments.

[0011] The example embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3 includes eight (8) longitudinal spacers 208-1...208-8 at the end 204 of the elongate body 202. The longitudinal spacers 208- 1..208-8 each have a bottom at the inner surface 306 of the elongate body 202 and a top spaced from the inner surface 306 such that the spacers 208-1..208-8 project inwardly from the inner surface 306. With reference also to FIG. 4, the spacer 208-8 for example has a bottom 402 and a top 404. The spacers 208-1...208-8 have a first end positioned adjacent a first end 204 of the body 202 and extend longitudinally in the direction of a central axis A2 of the elongate body 202 toward a second end. The spacer 208-3, for example has a first end 318 and a second end 320. The first end of the spacers 208-1...208-8 may be positioned flush with an end face 322 of the elongate body 202 or may be spaced therefrom.

[0012] The spacers 208-1..208-8 have a length measured in the direction of a central axis A2 of the elongate body 202 from the first end of the spacer to the second end of the spacer that is longer than their width measured in a direction transverse to the central axis A2 of the elongate body 202. The spacers have a height measured from the inner surface 306 in a direction from the bottom to the top of the spacer. [0013] The length of the spacers 208-1..208-8 may be chosen to provide desired support for an elongate member and desired contact with the elongate member to avoid slippage of the elongate member. The width and height of the spacers 208-1..208-8 may be chosen such that elongate members of a range of external dimension may be supported by the spacers 208-1..208-8 with the elongate member being positioned substantially centrally within the cavity 110 (FIG. 1) formed by the segments. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the spacers 208-1...208-8 are generally triangular in shape and narrow in width from the bottom to the top. Those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other shapes for the spacers are possible. Also, in the illustrated embodiment, the spacers 208-1..208-8 closest to the respective mating faces 308, 310 have a height greater than the spacers 208-1..208-8 furthest from the respective mating faces 308, 310 and the spacers 208-1..208-8 do not extend inwardly beyond the mating faces308, 310. This configuration helps to center the elongate member within the cavity 110 (FIG. 1).

[0014] The spacers 208-1...208-8 may be positioned on either side of the central axis A2 and may cover only about 40-50% of distance along the inner surface 306 between the mating faces 308, 310. The remainder of the inner surface 306 on each side of the central axis A2 may be free from spacers.

[0015] A longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers 208-1..208-8 is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane associated with the other ones of the spacers 208-1..208-8, i.e. not all of the spacers 208-1..208-8 extend in a direction that is normal to the inner surface 306. The longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers 208-1...208-8 is a plane extending along a length of the spacer and through a top and bottom of the spacer, and may bisect the spacer. The spacer 208- 1 , for example, has a longitudinal plane in which the lines LI and L2 lie, and the spacer 208-2 has a longitudinal plane in which the lines L3 and L4 lie. The longitudinal planes for the spacers 208-1, 208-2 are substantially parallel to each other when an elongate member is not supported thereby. With this configuration, the spacers 208-1..208-8 deflect when compressed against an elongate member to centrally support the elongate member within the cavity 110 (FIG. 1) and to provide a frictional resistance against sliding movement between the elongate member and the duct thereby avoiding repositioning of the duct relative to the elongate member.

[0016] FIG. 5, for example, is a sectional view of a duct 100 consistent with the present disclosure with an elongate member 502 disposed within a cavity 110 defined by separation duct segments 102, 104 consistent with the present disclosure. As shown, when the separation duct segments 102, 104 are compressed against the elongate member, the spacers 208 A on the top segment 104 and the spacers 208B on the bottom segment 102 deflect and substantially center the elongate member 502 within the cavity 110. Advantageously, the spacers 208A, 208B may be configured to deflect and centrally support elongate members 502 of different outside dimensions. For example, larger diameter elongate members 502 may cause greater deflection of the spacers 208 A, 208B, whereas smaller diameter elongate members 502 may cause relatively less deflection of the spacers 208A, 208B. With elongate members 502 of different dimensions the deflection of the spacers 208A, 208B against the elongate member 502 along the length of the spacers centrally supports the elongate member 502 while providing frictional resistance against slippage of the elongate member 502 relative to the separation duct segments 102, 104.

[0017] According to one aspect of the disclosure, there is provided a separation duct segment configured to be combined with at least one additional separation duct segment for encompassing an elongate member. The separation duct segment includes an elongate body having an outer surface an inner surface, the outer surface and the inner surface being bridged at ends thereof by associated mating faces. A plurality of spacers extend inwardly away from the inner surface and extend longitudinally from a location adjacent a first end of the elongate body in a direction toward a second end of the elongate body. A longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane associated with the other ones of the spacers, the longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers being a plane extending along a length of the spacer and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

[0018] According to another aspect of the disclosure there is provided a separation duct segment configured to be combined with at least one additional separation duct segment for encompassing an elongate member. The separation duct segment includes an elongate body having a semi-annular cross-section with a convex semi-circular outer surface and a concave semi-circular inner surface, the outer surface and the inner surface being bridged at ends thereof by associated mating faces. A plurality of spacers extend inwardly away from the inner surface and extend longitudinally from a location adjacent a first end of the elongate in a direction toward a second end of the elongate body. The spacers are resiliently deformable and a first one of the spacers closest to one of the associated mating faces has a height greater than second one of the spacers furthest from the one of the associated mating faces. A longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane associated with the other ones of the spacers, the longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers being a plane bisecting the spacer and extending along a length of the spacer and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

[0019] According to another aspect of the disclosure there is provided a separation duct for encompassing an elongate member. The separation duct includes an outer surface, an inner surface and a central cavity. A plurality of spacers extend inwardly away from the inner surface at intervals along a length of the duct, and extend longitudinally in a direction of a longitudinal axis of the duct. A longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers is substantially parallel with a longitudinal plane associated with the other ones of the spacers, the longitudinal plane associated with each of the spacers being a plane extending along a length of the spacer and through a top and bottom of the spacer.

[0020] Unless otherwise stated, use of the word "substantially" may be construed to include a precise relationship, condition, arrangement, orientation, and/or other characteristic, and deviations thereof as understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, to the extent that such deviations do not materially affect the disclosed methods and systems. The terms

"connected" or "coupled" as used herein is a relative term and does not require a direct physical connection unless otherwise stated herein.

[0021] Although the terms "first," "second," "third" etc. may be used to describe various elements, components and/or sections, these elements, components and/or sections are not to be limited by these terms as they are used only to distinguish one element, component or section from another element, component or section. Thus, a first element, component or section could be termed a second element, component or section without departing from the scope and teachings of the present disclosure.

[0022] Spatially relative terms, such as "beneath," below," upper," "lower," "above" and the like may be used herein for ease of description to describe one element or feature's relationship to another element(s) or feature(s) as illustrated in the drawings. These spatially relative terms are intended to encompass different orientations of the device in use or operation in addition to the orientation shown in the drawings. For example, if the device in the drawings is turned over, elements described as "below" or "beneath" other elements or features would then be oriented "above" the other elements or features. Thus, for example, the exemplary term "below" can encompass both an orientation of above and below. The device may be otherwise oriented (rotated 90 degrees or at other orientations) and the spatially relative descriptors used herein interpreted accordingly.