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Professor Michael Pravica's lecture on pressure and the BP oil leak (part 2)

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Published on May 29, 2010

This is the second part of an impromptu lecture that Professor Michael Pravica made to aid in better-understanding the physics of pressure and how it relates to the BP oil disaster.

Comments • 5

floydfn
Thanks for the great lecture. Your proposed solution seems like the most logical one but, I suspect as you do, that BP is trying to save their well. The public really needs to be aware and hold them accountable. 
Djurdjevich
Mike, Thank you very much for the excellent lecture! It appears that their USD $75 million liability is less than the worth of the well and the oil therein. If that's the case, taxpayers will probably be on the hook for the rest. We need to hold BP accountable. Best, Tomislav 
YourBrainOnReligion
Have you improved your math on this regarding the accuracy of the amount of pressure they should be seeing at the "seal" (in regards to figuring the density of ocean floor instead of concrete) ? Also, going by your math, and I'm no math expert at all, but it seems to me: 2000psi = 136 atmospheres (137.8 bars) 1440 bars at the oil divided by 137.8 = 10.44 sets of 2000 psi So 10.44 times 2000psi = 21,000 psi So, 21,000 psi is what the wellhead should be seeing? Is my math correct, sir? Thanks
YourBrainOnReligion
Thank you for doing this presentation. This is precisely the solution I spoke to my father about when this all started hitting the fan. I am very glad to see my physics and logic were solid, and that I am not the only one thinking along these lines. The concrete slabs would eventually seal to the sea floor as long as enough slabs are used, right? Yes, you do have to take out the BOP, but if you get shot they open your wound to get the bullet out - same concept here, essentially.
mpravica
@Bosankoe As I understand it, the BOP is about 450 tons. Thus, we can lower similarly-sized concreted slabs to crush and/or knock over the BOP. With enough slabs, we will seal the leak. We might also consider slowly placing the slabs on top of the BOP. The first slab has a concrete "stopper" in the middle that fits inside the pipe. Then we stack rectangular slabs on top to seal the leak. 
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