VeryBoring Tunneling System
Very Boring is a proposed new tunneling technology and the suggested name of any resulting tunneling company. Just consider the inestimable advantage of the recruiting poster: “Are you a VeryBoring person?” Or the incomparable pride bestowed by the company T-shirt: “I’m a VeryBoring person”
Rock Disassembly is a tunneling system based on an array of armored robotic arms using tools that break rock by pushing outward from behind the advancing face.
Instead of frontally grinding the rock to shards as done by today’s tunnel boring machines, we propose an array of robotic arms that drill into the rock face and push the rock out from behind. Sensors would continually observe the changing rock structure and AI would continuously control the tool array to optimize the rock removal process. Large chunks of rock would be broken out from the center and smaller pieces around the periphery. AI would guide each arms movement, coordinate the entire tool array, and supervise the overall tunneling system.
So far, most of the improvements in tunneling have been incremental, but “Rock Disassembly” has the potential to increase progress rates manyfold, even eventually achieving the Elon Musk touted “order of magnitude” increased in advance rate. This would result in a similar “order of magnitude” reduction in cost. And with that, many previously prohibitive or merely imagined tunnel projects would become possible. To interest others in the tunneling future that Very Boring’s technology might provide, we devote a note here to just a few interesting possibilities. (We invite any other enthusiasts to please chime in.)
Roadless Cities: Where cities are situated on rock all the roads and transport could be easily built underground, exclusively for electric vehicles. On the surface, buildings would be connected by walking and bike paths. Heavy and bulky items like pianos or rooftop air conditioners would be delivered at night by slow moving equipment on wide rubber tracks.
Other Tunneling Applications:
Water supply, high speed rail, highways, mining, drainage.
Pumped Storage - useful to store intermittent solar and wind energy.
Augmenting existing pumped storage sites.
Potential future sites - Salton Sea, Qattara Depression, Dead Sea, Big Sur coast
A few specific ideas for California: (see writeups in References)
Dumbarton Railroad Bridge / East Bay Tunnels
Silicon Valley Transportation Tunnels
Sepulveda Dam / I-405 / Malibu Tunnel
Corona to Irvine Tunnel
ROCK DISASSEMBLY FRAMEWORK SYSTEM - PATENT WRITEUP
BACKGROUND The embodiments herein relate generally to systems and methods for disassembling rock structures for the purpose of constructing tunnels or other structures. More specifically, embodiments of the invention are directed to a rock disassembly framework system for storing a plurality of tools that disassemble a rock structure.
Igneous and metamorphic rock, due to distortions from tectonic activity, are usually cracked. Often, there are three orthogonal sets of joints. Such rock can be viewed as a very tightly packed assemblage of separate pieces. Sedimentary rock, due to its origin, is generally layered.
Breaking rock in tension is more energy efficient than grinding it into shards. But a single tension inducing device ranging over a tunnel face is slow and expensive. The two main methods of tunneling today are drill and blast and tunnel boring machines (TBMs). Drill and blast is cyclic. A lot of time is lost to changing machines at the face. TBMs stay at the face, but their full frontal grinding of the face is not energy efficient. Also, TBMs are very heavy and slow to mobilize.
Many energy efficient rock breaking technologies have been invented over the years. Among them are the CERAC Breaker, a mechanical drill/split device that was studied extensively by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Micro blasting, which involves detonating squibs in water filled drilled holes has been demonstrated to be energy effective. Spiral Drill and Blast was studied at MIT through four phases and found promising.
Many other rock breaking mechanisms have been brought forward. The most efficient are designed to reach below the rock surface and push outward toward the free face. Controlled Foam Injection (CFI) is very promising. That method drills a hole and pressurizes existing joints inside the rock face, pushing the rock out in large pieces. However,none of these technologies have reached widespread commercial usage.
This can be understood by examining the following scenario. Imagine a tractor parked in front of a tunnel face employing any one of the aforementioned tools. As the hydraulic arm holding the tool ranges over the tunnel face, the rock breaking action may be wonderfully energy efficient. But overall advancement of the tunnel is still agonizingly slow. For fast progress, there is a need for many tools working in concert.
As such, there is a need in the industry for a rock disassembly framework system that addresses the limitations of the prior art. This would permit a plurality of tools to be secured therein so that they can work in concert to disassemble a rock structure with enhanced efficiency.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES: (to be included in References at a later date)
The detailed description of some embodiments of the invention will be made below with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein the figures disclose one or more embodiments of the present invention.
FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, illustrating a 10-segment configuration.
FIG. 2 depicts a schematic view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, illustrating the 10-segment configuration.
FIG. 3 depicts a front elevation view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, illustrating a segment.
FIG. 4 depicts a cross-sectional view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 depicts a cross-sectional view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 depicts a front view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, illustrating a wedge.
FIG. 7 depicts a front view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, illustrating a 13-segment configuration.
FIG. 8 depicts a front view of certain embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system, illustrating a horseshoe-shaped configuration.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS
In certain embodiments, the rock disassembly framework system allows efficient rock breaking machines to operate together and continuously. As a result, the use of the framework system will increase the advance rate of the tunnel and the cost per foot will decrease proportionately.
In certain embodiments, the rock disassembly framework would allow many tools to attack the tunnel face simultaneously. The use of tool holding arms in the framework would allow for the change of tools rapidly. In one embodiment, an array of very sturdy armored robotic manipulators is applied to the tunnel face via the framework. Each manipulator arm is computer controlled. The many arms are coordinated by a supervisory computer program. A person, or AI, observes and modifies the guiding parameters to both optimize the tunnel advance and minimize maintenance.
The many arms, working together, make rock removal rapid and energy efficient. Chunks of rock rain down, but the armored arms can take it. If a tool does get broken it is rapidly exchanged. The entire framework and its backup system is designed for quick tool exchange. Tunnel progress will then be the product of the number of tools, their effectiveness, and the continuity of operation. In certain embodiments, the rock disassembly framework system catalyzes the potential in the many previous rock removal tools that have been long awaiting successful application.
In certain embodiments, a modular rock disassembly framework system can be configured into many sizes and shapes. Within each module many different rock disassembly tools could be interchanged to effectively "disassemble" any rock formation. The method of attack of the various rock disassembly tools could be varied as the framework is advanced through varying geological conditions. The operating system would flexibly vary the operating strategy of the whole equipment ensemble for minimum energy usage and maximum rate of advance.
In various embodiments, three lines of modules, Small, Medium, and Large could cover a very broad range of tunnel sizes, everything from perhaps 10 feet to 50+ feet. For example, see FIGS. 1-2. Here is a 25' diameter framework built from 10 same size, bolted-together modules. These could be the Standard Medium module. They would be 7.72 feet wide and thus would fit handily on a regular highway truck - no permits required.
The section at the bottom would contain a large chain conveyor. Broken rock would be swept onto the conveyor by the raker. In the central area of the tunnel face the rock would be "disassembled" by 9 "breakers" that run in the inner slots. Around them there would be 14 "trimmers" installed in the outer prismatic chambers. They would be breaking the periphery of the opening to the required size. Four of the chambers could hold probe drilling and grouting equipment as indicated.
For each tunnel project, the rock disassembly framework system would be configured from standard framework modules. A framework of any size would consist of a maximum number of modules and a similar number of wedge-shaped steel spacers. Because the framework is modular it can be configured over a wide range of sizes and shapes. By varying the number of modules and the spacers, most any desired tunnel size and shape could be excavated.
Varying the number of modules and the dimensions of the steel spacers could form any diameter in-between. Very often today the desired tunnel shape is horseshoe, but to accommodate TBM technology, the tunnel must be made round. However, a VeryBoring arrangement of modules would allow the rock disassembly framework system to build horseshoe-shaped tunnels. For example, see FIG. 8.
In certain embodiments, the modules for Large tunnels might be based on a 40·foot diameter, 16 module base framework. The framework would be built up from modules with three layers of tools: 14 inner "mega-breakers", 14 more breakers in the large prismatic chambers, and 24 trimmers, with, optionally, 4 probe/grout cells. As in the medium line, the width of the module is just 7.8 feet as before, readily truckable. Many of the tools would fit both the large and medium modules. Twelve large sections could make a framework 34.75 feet in diameter. More than 16 segments would make frameworks larger than 40 feet in diameter.
The small series of modules could also cover a range of tunnel sizes. The basic small module might be standardized on a 14-foot tunnel built up from eight 5.36 foot wide modules. Six of the same medium modules in a configuration can make a framework 11.8 feet in diameter. Fewer or more modules with appropriate steel wedge spacers could then build up frameworks through a range of sizes, up to around 31 feet. Many types of machine guides could be installed in the modules as shown in FIG. 4.
The basic function of the rock disassembly framework system is to hold the tools that "disassemble" the rock. The framework is modular and so can be assembled rapidly for any tunneling project and disassembled without loss at the end. Upon demobilization, everything would be reusable. The standard framework modules and all the rock disassembly tools that work within them could be trucked directly to the next job.
Worldwide, tunnels are required in many sizes and shapes, and must proceed through widely varying geologies. With the modular rock disassembly framework system, project mobilization by assembling modules and spacers would be rapid. Tools will be selected from an ever-growing library. The ruling criteria for the chosen tools for any instance of the rock disassembly framework system will be energy efficiency, speed, and hardiness. The many tools interchanged within the system will be the subject of many future inventions.
FIGS. 1-8 illustrate the components in different embodiments of the rock disassembly framework system. In one embodiment as depicted in FIGS. 1-2, framework system 10 comprises an arrangement with 10-segments. In this embodiment, framework system 10 comprises segments 12, trimmer bays 14, breaker bays 16, probe/grout bays 18, conveyor segment 20, conveyor 22 and raker bay 24. In this embodiment, breaker bays 16 are configured to house any tools that are used to break/disassemble a rock structure. Probe/grout bays 18 are configured to secure any type of equipment such as grout pumps to seal any areas of the rock structure ahead of the framework system that leak water. Raker bay 24 is configured to secure any equipment that is capable of sweeping broken pieces from the rock structure to conveyor 22 for evacuation.
In one embodiment as depicted in FIG. 3, a segment of framework system 10 is illustrated. Breaker and trimmer guides 26 are coupled to the interior of the segment to secure the particular equipment/tool in the corresponding bay.
In certain embodiments as depicted in FIGS. 4-5, framework system 10 comprises sharp edges 32 in the front of segment 12. Sharp edges 32 in the front of segments 12 help to push framework system 10 through soft faulted areas in the rock structure prior to disassembling the hard rock portions in the structure. In one embodiment, framework system 10 comprises blocks 28 within segments 12 to secure hydraulic members, other tools and/or grip members. In one embodiment, framework system 10 comprises a plurality of mounting holes 30 for bolting adjacent segments 12 together.
In certain embodiments as depicted in FIGS. 6-7, first alternate framework system 40 comprises an arrangement with 13-segments, which comprises one or more of the same components described in previous embodiments including segments 12, trimmer bays 14, breaker bays 16, conveyor segment 20, conveyor 22 and raker bay 24. In this embodiment, a plurality of wedges 42 are bolted to adjacent segments 12 to create the desired shape of the framework system.
In one embodiment as depicted in FIG. 8, second alternate framework system 50 comprises an arrangement with 13-segments in the shape of a horseshoe configuration, which comprises one or more of the same components described in previous embodiments including segments 12, trimmer bays 14, breaker bays 16, probe/grout bays 18 and conveyor segment 20. Second alternate framework system 50 also comprises alternate-shaped segments 52, first-shaped wedge 54a, second-shaped wedge 54b, third-shaped wedge 54c, fourth-shaped wedge 54d and steel plow plate 56. Wedges 54a, 54b, 54c, 54d are bolted to the corresponding adjacent segments to create the horseshoe shape of second alternate framework system 50.
It shall be appreciated that the components of the rock disassembly framework system described in the several embodiments herein may comprise any alternative known materials in the field and be of any color, size and/or dimensions. It shall be appreciated that the components of the rock disassembly framework system described herein may be manufactured and assembled using any known techniques in the field.
Persons of ordinary skill in the art may appreciate that numerous design configurations may be possible to enjoy the functional benefits of the invented system. Thus, given the wide variety of configurations and arrangements of embodiments of the present invention, the scope of the invention is reflected by the breadth of the claims below rather than narrowed by the embodiments described above.
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A rock disassembly framework system configured to store a plurality of tools therein, the plurality of tools secured in the disassembly framework system configured to disassemble and evacuate pieces of a rock structure, the framework system comprising: a plurality of members coupled together to form an arrangement of a plurality of segments, each segment in the plurality of segments forming a compartment configured to store any tool in the plurality of tools therein; wherein the plurality of members are maneuvered to permit any tool in the plurality of tools stored within one of the plurality of segments to disassemble the rock structure
“Armored Rock Disassembly Arm” Drawing Figure Description Fig.1: is a Cross Section of the Full Armored Rock Disassembly Arm Fig.2: is the End View of the Armored Rock Disassembly Arm Mounted Within a Segment of the Rock Disassembly System Framework Fig.3: is a Cross-Section View of the Armored Rock Disassembly Arm at the Foreward Spherical Pivot Fig.4: is a Cross-Section View of the Armored Rock Disassembly Arm at the First Spherical Pivot (2nd Pivot Similar) Itemized Parts List 10: is the Armored Rock Disassembly Arm 12: is the Armored Arm 14: is the Rotator 16: are Sliding Feet 18: are Bearings 20: are Spherical Joints 22: is Steel Armor 24: is Spherical Armor 26: is the Tool Rotator 28: is the Drill 30: is the CFI 32: is the Hard Rubber Pad 34: is the Port for Tool Operation 36: are Steel Ways 38: is the Module 40: is a Sliding Foot 42: is the Tightening Cylinder with Accumulator 44: is the In/Out Cylinder 46: are Trimmers Around the Periphery 48: is the Impact Breaker 50: are the In/Out Cylinders NOTE: (For ALL Attorney Assisted Applications): The above Description Sheet may not be edited during the illustration phase – only the drawings require review, edits and approval. If you would like an additional detail called out; please note it on the drawings and we will add it to the Parts List. Any and all pertinent edits to the written description should be brought to the attention of your attorney. Thank you