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Title:
VORTEX MINERAL REMOVAL SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/048990
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A system implementing the principles of vortex fluid flow to assist with the removal of contaminants from water. Predominantly this process has a significant effect on the levels of minerals in the water as the impurities are directed out of the water in the spinning process. The purified water is allowed to flow out from the vortex at a point where the impurities have been removed and the impurities themselves are allowed to settle out from the vortex where they collect and may be removed from the system at a later time. The system of the present invention includes assembling an array of such vortex heads on a series of flow cylinders to multiply the effect of the mineral removal process. Preferably, a series of five (5) such cylinders can effectively remove mineral impurities from relatively 'hard' water.

Inventors:
REESE, Dan D. (Bandera, Texas, 78003, US)
LISTER, Wayne T. (Bandera, Texas, 78003, US)
Application Number:
US2008/079257
Publication Date:
April 16, 2009
Filing Date:
October 08, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MIRAGE VORTEX MANUFACTURING, INC. (402 Carter, Hondo, Texas, 78861, US)
REESE, Dan D. (Bandera, Texas, 78003, US)
LISTER, Wayne T. (Bandera, Texas, 78003, US)
International Classes:
B01D17/038; C02F1/38; B04C5/23
Foreign References:
US20070084340A12007-04-19
US20030029790A12003-02-13
US5204048A1993-04-20
US20040026328A12004-02-12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KAMMER, Mark A. et al. (Kammer Browning PLLC, 7700 Broadway Suite 20, San Antonio Texas, 78209, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS We Claim:

1. A vortex flow, liquid purification system for selectively removing impurities from a flow of liquid, the system comprising:

(a) a flow inlet conduit for receiving a positive pressure flow of liquid into the system, the flow inlet having an effective inside diameter within a range predetermined to provide a flow rate sufficient to establish a vortex flow within the system;

(b) a plurality of vortex tubes connected in flow series with the flow inlet conduit, each of the plurality of vortex tubes comprising:

(i) a cylindrical tube body having an inlet end and an outlet end, the cylindrical tube body being oriented such that gravitational force will direct a flow of liquid within the vortex tube from the inlet end towards the outlet end, the cylindrical tube further having an interior wall with an effective internal diameter and an effective length;

(ii) a vortex head positioned on the inlet end of the cylindrical tube body, the vortex head comprising a centrally positioned inlet port, an axial manifold, and a plurality of radially arrayed angled outlet ports, the vortex head serving to alter a direction of liquid flow into the vortex tube from a first direction generally aligned with a longitudinal axis of the tube to a second direction generally tangential to the interior wall of the cylindrical tube body;

(iii) a flow tap port positioned generally towards the outlet end of the cylindrical tube body at an effective vortex distance from the angled outlet ports of the vortex head, the flow tap port having a tap angle and an effective internal diameter; and

(iv) a connector conduit extending from the flow tap port, the connector conduit having an effective internal diameter;

(c) a flow outlet conduit for directing the positive pressure flow of liquid from the system, the flow outlet having an effective internal diameter within a range predetermined to facilitate the provision of a flow rate sufficient to establish a vortex flow within the system; wherein the vortex flow established within each of the plurality of vortex tubes serves to separate selected impurities from a flow of liquid within the system, the internal diameters, port angles, and distance dimensions of the system, predetermined to provide effective removal of the selected impurities from the liquid flow.

2. The liquid purification system of Claim 1 wherein the plurality of vortex tubes each further comprises:

(v) an impurity settling basin for receiving impurities removed from the liquid flow, the settling basin generally positioned on the outlet end of the cylindrical tube body beyond the position of the flow tap port;

(vi) a drain port positioned on the settling basin for allowing the removal of collected impurities from the settling basin; and

(vii) a drain conduit connected to the drain port for directing a flow of impurities from the settling basin upon flushing the system to remove collected impurities.

3. A method for using vortex flow in a liquid purification system for selectively removing impurities from a flow of liquid, the method comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a flow inlet conduit for receiving a positive pressure flow of liquid into the system, the flow inlet having an effective inside diameter within a range predetermined to provide a flow rate sufficient to establish a vortex flow within the system;

(b) providing a plurality of vortex tubes connected in flow series with the flow inlet conduit, each of the plurality of vortex tubes comprising:

(i) a cylindrical tube body having an inlet end and an outlet end, the cylindrical tube body being oriented such that gravitational force will direct a flow of liquid within the vortex tube from the inlet end towards the outlet end, the cylindrical tube further having an interior wall with an effective internal diameter and an effective length;

(ii) a vortex head positioned on the inlet end of the cylindrical tube body, the vortex head comprising a centrally positioned inlet port, an axial manifold, and a plurality of radially arrayed angled outlet ports, the vortex head serving to alter a direction of liquid flow into the vortex tube from a first direction generally aligned with a longitudinal axis of the tube to a second direction generally tangential to the interior wall of the cylindrical tube body;

(iii) a flow tap port positioned generally towards the outlet end of the cylindrical tube body at an effective vortex distance from the angled outlet ports of the vortex head, the flow tap port having a tap angle and an effective internal diameter; and

(iv) a connector conduit extending from the flow tap port, the connector conduit having an effective internal diameter;

(c) providing a flow outlet conduit for directing the positive pressure flow of liquid from the system, the flow outlet having an effective internal diameter within a range predetermined to facilitate the provision of a flow rate sufficient to establish a vortex flow within the system; wherein the vortex flow established within each of the plurality of vortex tubes serves to separate selected impurities from a flow of liquid within the system, the internal diameters, port angles, and distance dimensions of the system, predetermined to provide effective removal of the selected impurities from the liquid flow.

Description:

IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT & TRADEMARK OFFICE

PCT RECEIVING OFFICE (RO/US) TITLE: Vortex Mineral Removal System

INVENTORS: REESE, Dan D., LISTER, Wayne T.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

[0001] The present invention relates generally to methods and systems for purifying water.

The present invention relates more specifically to systems for directing a flow of water into a

vortex for the purpose of removing impurities, especially mineral impurities.

2. Description of the Related Art

[0002] By spinning the water in a cylinder, and using the atomic weight of the minerals and

by finding the frequency of the vortex (matching these characteristics) it is possible to

remove the targeted contaminants without the use of filters or chemicals. When the

molecules are broken apart, contaminants are released for easy removal in our patented

design. The spinning action causes the water molecules to break apart, thereby "structuring"

the water.

[0003] In reality, the toroidal form and the vortex form are one in the same. When one

usually conceives of a vortex, one tends to think only of the motion whirling inward upon

itself. This in fact, is not at all the whole of it. Depending upon the circumstances, all or

most of the medium, such as water, breaks off from the intense inward motion and then is

sucked upward again in an opposite motion only to be pulled again inwardly upon itself, thus

creating the toroidal form. It is also interesting to note that, in the case of water, at the point

of greatest possible speed near the eye of the vortex, the water can make a transition into the

next octave so to speak, thus becoming water at an increased energy level, even to the point

of becoming steam. Some efforts have been made in the past, for example, that describe the

use of a series of vertical columns designed to establish a sequence of vortices to separate components within a fluid stream passing through the columns. An example of such a system may be found in U.S. Patent No. 7,238,289 issued to Suddath on July 3, 2007, entitled Fluid Treatment Apparatus. This Suddath disclosure utilizes a sequence of four vertical columns within which vortices are established in the fluid flow carried from one column to the next. Fluid flow is introduced into each of the vertical columns near the top from a port in the side of the column, which by way of its tangential orientation, initiates the vortex flow. Fluid flow is removed from each column near its base and then re-introduced into the next column again near the top. The Suddath patent specifically relates to the use of a frequency generator device positioned in the base of at least one of the columns that establishes an electromagnetic wave within the fluid as it flows through the columns. The disclosure is somewhat vague as to the exact nature of the frequency generator device, as the application refers to "memorized electromagnetic frequency signatures of harmful materials" within the flow of water.

[0004] A variety of different structures for introducing fluid flow into a vertically oriented column to establish a vortex are described in other patents and patent applications in the relevant field. In addition, there are patents and patent applications that discuss varying the point and angle of insertion for the fluid flow into the vortex column. A number of patents also describe the point at which the fluid flow is extracted from the vortex column as being relevant to how much material will be withdrawn from the flow. Typically, however, such issues of withdrawing purified flow from the vortex column relate to single column systems that utilize physical interior separating cones as the means for establishing an output level within the column at which impurity compounds are separated. There is no discussion regarding specifically "tuning" a column to a particular fluid contaminant so as to optimize the removal of that contaminant from the flow.

[0005] In addition, there appears to be little if any specific discussion in the existing art regarding an exact number of columns, or inlet ports for each column, as are described and claimed in the present invention. Significant optimal effects are seen in the present invention with the arrangement of five vortex columns and the arrangement of five inlet port jets (as shown in the drawing figures of the present application) over and above other systems in the field.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention therefore provides a system implementing the principles of the vortex to assist with the purification of water. Predominantly this process has a significant effect on the levels of minerals in the water as the impurities are directed out of the water in the spinning process. The purified water is allowed to flow out from the vortex at a point where the impurities have been removed and the impurities themselves are allowed to settle out from the vortex where they collect and may be removed from the system at a later time. The system of the present invention includes assembling an array of such vortex heads on a series of flow cylinders to multiply the effect of the mineral removal process. Preferably, a series of five (5) such cylinders can effectively remove mineral impurities from relatively "hard" water. The invention in the present case may be generally described as a system for removing minerals and other impurities from a stream of water or other fluid. This system is designed to establish a series of vortices in a fluid conduit by directing the flowing fluid through a sequence of cylindrical columns or pipes specifically structured and sized to the water purification requirements.

[0007] The basic concept of using vortices to separate components within a fluid flow stream is not new. Many efforts have been made in the past to structure and design systems that are

utilized to separate particles and other compounds from the flow of a liquid such as water. The features of the present invention that are unique include the following: [0008] 1. The size and number of vertical columns within which the vortices are established. [0009] 2. The structure of the vortex head (the manner in which flow is introduced). [0010] 3. The distance from the vortex head to the output flow tap in the vertical column. [0011] 4. Optimally varying each of the above geometries for a particular contaminant. [0012] In addition, a variety of system structures that implement the features above are also unique. These include test systems designed to determine optimal geometries as well as simple fluid mixing systems that benefit from the same principles developed with the separation vortex structures. All of these various embodiments of the present invention are discussed in more detail below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] Fig. 1 is a schematic side view of an array of vortex separation columns suitable for operation of the system of the present invention.

[0014] Fig. 2 is a detailed partial cross-sectional, lateral view (taken along line A - A ') of one of the vortex head assemblies of the system of the present invention.

[0015] Fig. 3 is a detailed partial cross-sectional, longitudinal view of one of the vortex column assemblies of the system of the present invention.

[0016] Fig. 4 is schematic side view of an array of vortex separation columns suitable for operation of the system of the present invention in a testing/optimization mode.

[0017] Fig. 5 schematic side view of an array of vortex columns suitable for operation of the system of the present invention in a fluid mixing mode.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] A typical system of the present invention will handle up to 200 gallons per minute or 6857 bbls/day or 288,000 gallons per day. There will preferably be two 5-tube units, as shown in the figures, that will makeup one complete operational system. A typical unit will be structured as follows: Assembly Height - 55 inches; Tube Diameters - 6 inches; Inlet Diameters - 2 inches.

[0019] All of the various embodiments of the system of the present invention include a vortex-based water treatment assembly and the related plumbing. The system is in one embodiment may be used for reducing chlorides in waste water produced in the oil production process. The purpose of such on-site treatment is to lower the cost of disposal. This innovative technology does not use heat in the process, requires very little maintenance, and is easily transported to the well site.

[0020] The basic component of the system is the vortex head shown from the inside structure in Fig. 2. The right angle "jets" serve to direct the flow of water out from a center inlet into the toroidal flow shown. This toroidal vortex flow continues in a specifically beneficial manner inside the tube as the water flow moves down the tube under the influence of gravity. The purified flow is "tapped" at an intermediate point in the flow where it is carried on to the next vortex tube for continued purification.

[0021] Reference is made first to Fig. 1 for a detailed description of the typical vortex tube bank system of the present invention. The embodiment shown in Fig. 1 represents a system structured for the removal and separation of water borne minerals or metal impurities typically found in well water or the like. The number arrangement and geometry of the columns shown in Fig. 1 is significant for the efficient separation of such minerals and metals from a flow of water. Some variations regarding positioning and placement of the various components described is anticipated. The representation shown in Fig. 1 is laterally

expanded so as to provide a clear representation of the interconnections between the components in the system. In practice, the columns shown in Fig. 1 would be positioned closer together such that the primary vortex columns are actually adjacent to each other with no space between them. These columns are shown separated in Fig. 1 to clearly distinguish the components.

[0022] Vortex tube bank 10 shown in Fig. 1 is constructed of five nearly identical vortex tube (VT) assemblies. First vortex tube (VT) assembly 12 is positioned to receive a flow of water 38 into the system by way of inlet tube 22 and then transfers the flow of water to the second VT assembly 14. In a similar manner the water flow continues through to third VT assembly 16, fourth VT assembly 18, and finally to fifth VT assembly 20. From the fifth VT assembly 20 the water flow 40 exits the system as shown.

[0023] Each individual vortex tube (VT) assembly is constructed of a number of primary components. Each assembly includes a top coupling 24 which directs the flow of water into a vortex head assembly 26. In a manner described in more detail below, water flows through the vortex head assembly 26 into the vortex column 28. The water flow eventually exits vortex column 28 at column side tap coupling 32. Closing the base of vortex column 28 is vortex base assembly 30 which by way of base coupling 34 is connected and parallel to base manifold 36. Base manifold 36 provides a mechanism for removal of particulates that fall to the bottom of each of the vortex columns and collect over time. Depending on the specific application, base manifold 36 may retain an outlet coupling that allows the system to be flushed through the base assemblies for cleaning.

[0024] As indicated above, the number of vortex tube assemblies and their arrangement is significant for the efficient separation of minerals and metals from the flow of water. The dimensions of the vortex assemblies are also critical for establishing the most efficient vortex flow within the vortex columns. The specifics for the internal structure for each of the vortex

tube assemblies are described in more detail below. Fig. 1 however represents what has been determined to be an optimal arrangement and number of vortex tube assemblies for the most common applications of the present invention.

[0025] Reference is made first to Fig. 2 for a detailed description of the internal components of each of the vortex head assemblies 26 shown numbering five in the vortex tube bank shown in Fig. 1. The representative vortex head assembly 26 shown in Fig. 2 is the same for each of the five indicated vortex tube (VT) assemblies shown in Fig. 1. The view shown in Fig. 2 may generally be referenced by the cross section line A-A' shown on the fifth VT assembly 20 in Fig. 1. In this view, vortex head assembly 26 is generally comprised of head cap 42 which is shown in its cylindrical cross section in this view. Head cap 42 is positioned over and tightly against body column 44 also shown in its cylindrical cross section in this view. In the preferred embodiment, these PVC components may preferably be constructed of Schedule 40 PVC for the column body 44 and Schedule 80 PVC for the head cap 42. Once the vortex head assembly 26 has been assembled in the manner shown, the cap and body column may be secured and sealed with PVC cement as is known in the art. [0026] Internal to head cap 42 and vortex column body 44 are the various components of the system that initiate the circumferential water flow that results in the vortex flow structure within each of the vortex tub assemblies. In a manner shown more clearly in Fig. 3, the top coupling 24 of each of the vortex tube assemblies extends through head cap 42 along its central axis. Within head cap 42 and in vortex column body 44 the PVC pipe comprising the central radial manifold 46 is positioned on the same central axis as the vortex column body 44 and the head cap 42.

[0027] Extending radially outward from the cylindrical wall of the central radial manifold 46 are five right angle water jets 48, 50, 52, 54, and 56. Each of these right angle PVC couplings taps into the cylindrical wall of central radial manifold 46 and receives a flow of

water there from. Initially being directed radially outward, the right angle structure of each of the couplings (48 - 56) redirects the flow of water at right angles outward from the coupling into the interior of vortex column body 44. This manner of redirecting the flow of water from a single downward flow into the column first at right angles into the tapped ports on the radial manifold and then again at right angles as flow proceeds through the right angle jet connectors. In this manner, and in the manner described with respect to Fig. 3 below, the initial circumferential motion of the water flow that results in the establishment of a vortex flow configuration is initiated. Here again, the number and geometry of the various components described is significant and may be customized for the various minerals, metals, and other impurities that are to be separated from the flow of water. The configuration shown in Fig. 2 may generally be used in conjunction with the removal of heavy mineral deposits such as iron oxides and other typical water contaminants found in well water. In this arrangement, five such right angle jets are positioned in equally equiangular spacing around the circumference of the cylindrical central radial manifold 46. The angle alpha shown therefore between each of the right angle jets is approximately 72° adding up to 360° for five such equally spaced angles.

[0028] The internal structure of each of the tube assemblies as shown in Fig. 1 is more clearly shown and described in the partial cross sectional view shown for an entire assembly in Fig. 3. In this view, cross sectional elements of most of the components are shown with a partial sectional view of the toroidal jets included for clarity. Here again, the structure and dimensions of the assembly are significant for establishing an efficient separation of mineral and metal impurities in the water flow.

[0029] Water flow into vortex tube assembly 16 is as described above initiated through top coupling 24 which receives either the inlet flow of water (if the vortex tube assembly is the first in the bank) or from the preceding vortex tube assembly if not the first in the bank. In

this case, vortex tube assembly 16 is chosen from Fig. 1 as an example, the balance of the vortex tube assemblies being nearly identical in configuration.

[0030] Water flow flows into top coupling 24 into vortex head assembly 26. As described in conjunction with Fig. 2, this axial water flow down into the vortex tube assembly 26 encounters center radial manifold 46 coaxial with the tube assembly. Central radial manifold 46 redirects the flow of water radially outward through each of the five toroidal jets (54 and 56 shown in this view) and thereby into the main enclosure of the vortex tube assembly. Toroidal jets 54 and 56 (and the three others not seen in this view) initiate the circumferential water flow. In additional to the 90° angles redirecting the water flow as shown in Fig. 2, a downward angle beta is configured with each of the toroidal jets 54 and 56 as a manner of optimizing and customizing the vortex flow within the vortex tube assembly. In the preferred embodiment, for example, angle beta is equal to 34° and the orientation of the toroidal jets 54 and 56 initiate a counter-clockwise motion to the vortex flow. These parameters have been shown to optimize separation of impurities in the water as may be typically encountered with well water bearing minerals and metals in solution. [0031] As water flow exits each of the toroidal jets, the flow path generally follows the reducing spiral lines shown in Fig. 3 while establishing such vortex flow throughout the interior of vortex column 28. Vortex flow 60 is characterized by a rotational circumferential flow that progresses vertically downward through the column under the influence of gravity. The combination of the circumferential flow established by the toroidal jets and the downward flow established by the force of gravity combines to form vortex flow 60 which carries out the effective separation of impurities from the water flow. As schematically illustrated in Fig. 3, the vortex flow 60 establishes areas of equal flow velocity with the water that may be generally cone shaped in structure. These equal velocity zones 62 provide the manner of separation within the vortex flow that implies a dependence on a point of flow

removal from the column for separation characteristics. In the example shown in Fig. 3, column side tap coupling 32 is positioned at a particular level evidenced by D H below the level of the initiation of the flow at the toroidal jets 54 and 56. This dimension combined with the diameter dimension of the vortex column 28, namely dimension Dw, are primarily determinant of the substances that may be separated from the water flow. As described in more detail in conjunction with Fig. 4, variations for D H can effectively customize a particular vortex tube assembly for the removal of different impurities, minerals and metals in solution.

[0032] Closing off vortex tube assembly 16 shown in Fig. 3 at its base is vortex base assembly 30 which primarily comprises a PVC cap similar in structure to the cap utilized on vortex head assembly 26. This cap is likewise centrally tapped with a coaxially placed base coupling 34 which is used in conjunction with a common manifold with the other vortex tube assemblies as shown and described in Fig. 1.

[0033] It is important to recognize that it is the combination of the internal structure of each individual vortex tube assembly with the bank structure of five or other multiples of the assemblies that achieves optimal efficiency in the separation of the undesired minerals, metals, or impurities. While each individual vortex tube assembly accomplishes some part of this removal and separation, it is in fact the combination of five (or other numbers) that achieves the optimal separation. In other words, the vortex flow exhibited in Fig. 3 is but a part of the overall flow through the entire system that accomplishes the goals of the present invention. As described in conjunction with Fig. 4 below, there are patterns that arise as a result of placing the vortex tube assemblies in series such that the individual action of a specific vortex tube assembly might differ from the action of the previous or the next tube assembly in the series. The vortex flow structure shown in Fig. 3 is therefore general in

nature and is not intended to reflect the specific flow characteristics for any particular vortex tube assembly.

[0034] As indicated above, the system of the present invention is designed to be customizable or structured specifically to address the separation and removal of specific impurities (minerals, metals, and other impurities) from a flow of water depending upon the environment within which the system is intended to operate. Well water, for example, may require specific separation and removal of iron oxides or other iron components from the water to prevent the staining of household fixtures and the like. Other well water systems may benefit from the separation and removal of other impurities that differ in their response to the vortex flow than the response exhibited by iron based impurities. Other compositions, such as sulphur within a water flow may require only a single vortex tube assembly that may, for example, be placed in series with a bank of vortex tube assemblies that address iron content within a water flow. There are combinations of such systems primarily based upon variations in the size and structure of the individual vortex tube assemblies are anticipated by the present invention. It has been determined, however, that with a basic geometry associated with a bank of five vortex tube assemblies, it is possible to customize the vortex tube assembly bank to address a specific compound or impurity in the water without dramatically modifying the geometry of the individual components. Fig. 4 represents a test set-up that allows for this optimization process to take place. Although referred to as a test set-up, the system shown in Fig. 4 could in fact be an operational assembly that can be easily modified to accommodate the removal of a variety of different minerals depending upon the specific needs in the environment at that time. In general, however, the assembly shown in Fig. 4 may be used to best identify the side tap ports for the removal of a flow of water to address specific minerals or impurities which configuration may then be more permanently structured within the overall assembly bank.

u

[0035] Fig. 4 represents a vortex tube bank similar to that shown in Fig.l but reversed in its flow configuration for clarity. In this case, water flow is initiated within the system through inlet coupling 82 which flows through a first vortex tube (VT) assembly 72 which is followed thereafter by a water flow into a second VT assembly 74, third VT assembly 76, fourth VT assembly 78, and finally fifth VT assembly 80, thereafter flowing out of the system through outlet coupling 84 as shown.

[0036] In addition to the basic structure, which is similar to that as shown in Fig. 1, the structure shown in Fig. 4 incorporates an array of side tap ports into each of the vortex tube assemblies that allows variation in the point at which a flow of water is directed outward from the vortex tube assembly. Referencing back to the internal structure and the vortex flow configuration shown in Fig. 3, it will become apparent as to the appropriate placement of, in this case, three different levels of side tap ports for purposes of testing the efficiency of the overall system. Upper side tap ports 86 represent couplings positioned through the walls of the individual vortex tube assemblies as shown. Parallel to these are middle side tap ports 88, and lower side tap ports 90. Each of these couplings acts as an exit port to the respective vortex tube assemblies.

[0037] Each of the vortex tube assemblies 72 - 80 may be tapped at one of the three possible side tap ports positioned on the assembly. In this case, first VT assembly 72 is shown tapped with first optimized tap tube 92, which connects the lower side tap port 90 with test manifold 102. In the preferred embodiment, the optimized tap tube 92 (and the balance of the similar tap tubes described below) is a flexible length of tubing that connects the coupling positioned at lower side tap port 90 with a similar coupling positioned through the wall of text manifold 102. Similar tap tube sections are positioned at second optimized tap tube 94, third optimized tap tube 96, fourth optimized tap tube 98, and fifth optimized tap tube 100. Each of these tap

tubes is connected in parallel to test manifold 102 which itself is connected to a test outlet through test manifold coupling 104.

[0038] As shown in Fig. 4 variations in the take off ports for each of the vortex tube assemblies can be configured for a given test set-up addressing a given mineral to be removed. In the configuration shown in Fig. 4 a typical result that shows optimized efficiency is actually a sinusoidal arrangement to the optimized tap tubes. In this case, three of the optimized tap tubes (92, 96, and 100) are connected to the lower side tap ports 90 while two of the optimized tap tubes 94 and 98 are optimally positioned in connection with the middle side tap ports 88. This sinusoidal configuration again points to the importance of recognizing the flow through the overall system as being more than simply the cumulative effect of the individually vortex flow within each vortex tube assembly. In other words, water flow exiting from a first vortex tube assembly wherein the lower side tap port 90 might provide the optimal efficiency alters and effects the manner in which the vortex flow is established in the next vortex tube assembly thereby making the middle side tap port 88 the optimal flow port for removal of a specific mineral or impurity.

[0039] In this manner, according to the structure shown in Fig. 4, a wide variety of variations can be achieved that serve to optimize the overall basic system constructed of five vortex tube assembles of fixed geometry. By varying the tap ports as indicated, the best configuration for a particular mineral removal can be identified. In situations where multiple minerals or impurities may be removed, alteration of the system can be achieved through modification of the side tap ports. Such modifications might include the standard connections between the vortex tube assemblies as described above in conjunction with Fig. 1, or may simply replace such connections with subsequent connections. That is, a specific side tap port may be connected to the inlet of the next vortex tube assembly as opposed to the

test manifold 102 shown in Fig 4. Variations on these combinations may be tested to optimize the removal and separation of particular compounds and impurities. [0040] Fig. 5 represents an alternate application of the present invention as a system for mixing liquids and/or mixing liquids and powders for solutions. In this view, system 110 includes three vortex columns 112, 114, and 116. Return manifold 126 conducts a return flow of fluid through riser 130 back into mixing T-coupling 120. Initial flow into the system is by way of inlet coupling 118. Connecting couplings 122 and 124 connect the respective vortex columns. Out flow occurs through outlet coupling 128.

[0041] A number of additional applications beyond those described specifically above are anticipated. There is, for example, the loss of water as a problem for many land owners. A system has been be developed that can reduce the chlorides on-site; the cleaned water could be recycled for livestock and agriculture. In drought areas, this method would be a positive improvement to the environment with new benefits to the land owner as well as oil companies (as referenced above).

[0042] The need to improve the ground water from private wells has led to research and experimentation with the use of a vortex for direct mineral removal from well sources. Initial results in this field of application have been positive. Field experience has provided the ability to adjust and modify the system to retain a natural simplicity of operation. By spinning the water in a cylinder, and using the atomic weight of the minerals and by finding the optimal frequency of the vortex a match can be made to optimize the removal of the targeted contaminants without the use of filters or chemicals. When the molecules are broken apart, contaminants are released for easy removal in the design of the present invention. The spinning action causes the water molecules to break apart, thereby "structuring" the water. [0043] The typical need with a system according to the present invention may be estimated as follows: 150 gpm = 5000+ bbls/day = 216,000 gallons per day. The typical supply provided

by the system of the present invention as shown and structured: One system: 200 gpm = 6857 bbls/day = 288,000 gallons per day. This leaves a reserve of 50 gpm = 1714 bbls/day = 72,000 gallons per day for fluctuations in well output of produced water, temporary boosts of the system to meet deadlines, and keeps operating costs down.

[0044] The equipment size (total unit), is projected to fit in a 20' enclosed trailer, with all hook-ups being external. Once a site is set up for the unit, and if there is a need for repairing or replacing the unit, it can be switched out with another unit to minimize down time. The systems may also be built on sleds after the initial testing has been done and the right system is designed for that particular field. The connections from the holding tanks should remain the standard 3". Any belling up or down should be done at the unit. There may be a need for an additional 2" line going back into the holding tank for a bypass when chloride levels are too high to discharge into a pond (as when the unit is getting up to speed). [0045] Electricity needed is typically estimated to 230 VAC, 20 AMPS, for a 10 to 15 hp pump. This can be provided from on-site electric lines, or a portable generator mounted on the trailer with the unit. This will also be useful for wells that are too remote for a discharge well. As stated above, it is preferable that the system would be positioned on an enclosed trailer. In some environments it may be necessary to use AC installed in the unit to keep the test equipment from overheating. Operational units should not require such cooling. There should not be any disposable parts. It is expected that occasional cleaning of the test equipment should be all that is required. It would be preferable if there were no oil in the water or levels that are safe. With some structural modifications the systems of the present invention would also facilitate the separation of oil from the water in the same manner as the chlorides are removed.

[0046] It is further anticipated that various assemblies of more than one system of the present invention could be linked in series or in parallel to simultaneously address multiple contaminants for the same water source.

[0047] Although the present invention has been described in the terms of the foregoing preferred embodiments, this description has been provided by way of explanation only, and is not intended to be construed as a limitation of the invention. Those skilled in the art will recognize modifications of the present invention that might accommodate specific water contaminants and water source environments. Such modifications, as to address specific contaminants and environments, where such modifications are coincidental to the type of environment, do not necessarily depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.