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PRE-LOADED 3D SEALING

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248749D
Publication Date: 2017-Jan-05
Document File: 4 page(s) / 441K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

For subsea equipment there is often the need for a "feedthrough". That is, a pressure sealed enclosure or environment may require piercing by a structural device known as a "penetrator", for example to allow for electrical or communicative transmissions across the seal and into the environment. A penetrator is comprised of a central conductive core and an outer insulating material, often ceramic. The insulating material is generally sealed to the body of the barrier which defines the environment through concentric seals or welding of a metal ring attached to the penetrator. In some cases, an autoclave type of method is used in which a cone or other sealing boundary is provided that places a preload on the seal to further enhance its integrity. Unfortunately, a robust manner of maintaining preload on the seal through conventional techniques is challenging due to high temperature, pressure and vibrations that often occur in the environment. Therefore, the concept of utilizing 3D printing to form an integral preload structure capable of maintaining preload even in the most extreme operating conditions is proposed here.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 55% of the total text.

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PRE-LOADED 3D SEALING

SUMMARY

[0001] For subsea equipment there is often the need for a “feedthrough”. That is, a

pressure sealed enclosure or environment may require piercing by a structural device

known as a “penetrator”, for example to allow for electrical or communicative

transmissions across the seal and into the environment. A penetrator is comprised of a

central conductive core and an outer insulating material, often ceramic. The insulating

material is generally sealed to the body of the barrier which defines the environment

through concentric seals or welding of a metal ring attached to the penetrator. In some

cases, an autoclave type of method is used in which a cone or other sealing boundary is

provided that places a preload on the seal to further enhance its integrity. Unfortunately,

a robust manner of maintaining preload on the seal through conventional techniques is

challenging due to high temperature, pressure and vibrations that often occur in the

environment. Therefore, the concept of utilizing 3D printing to form an integral preload

structure capable of maintaining preload even in the most extreme operating conditions

is proposed here.

DESCRIPTION

[0002] The idea centers on creating a permanent structural boundary to a seal that

can ensure the required preload for extreme operating conditions through 3D printing.

For example, 3D printing could enable the addition of material as an integral part of the

original body. Thus, the opportunity for innovative and compact packaging of

penetrators is also furthered. In contrast to a conventional threaded or flanges structural

boundary, a 3D printed boundary would become a permanent part of the original body

and irremovable except through destructive means. This would ensure the highest levels

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of performance in the harshest environments. For example, consider the figure below in

which a penetrator traverses a body to reach an environment and provide a conductor

thereto. A preload is provided by a 3D printed addition to the primary body and is

integral therewith. Thus, a robust and reliable preload is maintained on the seal that is

not susceptible to loosening or having an inherent weakpoint. Instead the addition is

integral with the body and would require actual destruction in order to lose the preload.

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[0003] An example process of the method would be to prepare the penetrator and

body separately. Then the penetrator wou...