This novel core break-off and retention mechanism consists of a scoring dawg controlled by a set of two tubes (a drill tube and an inner tube). The drill tube and the inner tube have longitudinal concentric holes. The solution can be implemented in an eccentric tube configuration as well where the tubes have eccentric longitudinal holes. The inner tube presents at the bottom two control surfaces for controlling the orientation of the scoring dawg. The drill tube presents a sunk-in profile on the inside of the wall for housing the scoring dawg. The inner tube rotation relative to the drill tube actively controls the orientation of the scoring dawg and hence its penetration and retrieval from the core. The scoring dawg presents a shaft, two axially spaced arms, and a tooth. The two arms slide on the control surfaces of the inner tube. The tooth, when rotated, can penetrate or be extracted from the core.
During drilling, the two tubes move together maintaining the scoring dawg completely outside the core. After the desired drilling depth has been reached the inner tube is rotated relative to the drill tube such that the tooth of the scoring dawg moves toward the central axis. By rotating the drill tube, the scoring dawg can score the core and so reduce its cross sectional area. The scoring dawg can also act as a stress concentrator for breaking the core in torsion or tension. After breaking the core, the scoring dawg can act as a core retention mechanism.
For scoring, it requires the core to be attached to the rock. If the core is broken, the dawg can be used as a retention mechanism. The scoring dawg requires a hard-tip insert like tungsten carbide for scoring hard rocks. The relative rotation of the two tubes can be controlled manually or by an additional actuator. In the implemented design solution the bit rotation for scoring was in the same direction as the drilling. The device was tested for limestone cores and basalt cores. The torque required for breaking the 10-mm diameter limestone cores was 5 to 5.8 lb-in. (0.56 to 0.66 N-m).
This work was done by Mircea Badescu, Stewart Sherrit, Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Xiaoqi Bao, and Paul G. Backes of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NPO-47355
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