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Design and testing of a deep sea formation water and temeperature sampling probe for the Ocean Drilling Program
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The Ocean Drilling Program is an international research consortium dedicated to exploring the structure and history of earth beneath the oceans. The program receives funds from the National Science Foundation and 18 member countries. Texas A&M University serves as the science operator, drill ship operator, and Gulf Coast Core Repository. The objective of the program is to learn about the geological makeup of the ocean floor and develop a better understanding of how it was formed. Fluid and temperature samples are one means of determining the chemistry of the formation. In order to obtain quality samples a tool must probe into the formation approximately 18 inches and capture a small volume of fluid and record temperatures. The Ocean Drilling Program has developed two such probes, the IPOD in situ Pore Water Sampling Probe (PWS) and the Water Sample and Temperature Probe (WSTP). These probes return samples at near in situ conditions; however, fluid samples typically encounter a pressure drop as they enter the tool. Samples collected using these probes are suspected of giving questionable results due to possible gas/fluid separation as the sample experiences a pressure drop upon entering the probe. Fluid returned at formation pressure is hoped to give scientist a more accurate picture of the formation conditions and allow comparison between samples returned at formation pressure and those returned under partial pressure. The objective of this project was to design, test, and manufacture a probe that would consistently-return fluid and temperature samples at in situ conditions, The project was broken down into two stages, namely the design stage and the testing and manufacturing stage. The design stage was governed by a regimented design methodology. Steps included in the methodology were 1) Need Analysis, 2) Conceptual Design, 3) Conceptual Design Evaluation, and 4) Embodiment Design. The manufacturing and testing stage of the project consisted of full sample system testing and supervision of the manufacturing process. the result of the design process was a sampling system that combined a back pressure piston and metering valve. Full testing of this sampling system showed the sampling system allowed sampling of formation fluid with minimal pressure drop between the formation and the probe. Favorable results of the sampling system allowed for the development of a new probe tip configuration, as well as, a new modularized electronics section. Machine drawings were generated for all components of the tool. Components were then fabricated by a local machine shop. All components under went quality inspection and were then assembled. Full scale testing at the Ocean Drilling Programs Annex is the next step. If successful, the probe is to undergo sea trials in October of 1995.
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Fisseler, Patrick James (1995). Design and testing of a deep sea formation water and temeperature sampling probe for the Ocean Drilling Program. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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