A method of melting is described in which a small bullet-shaped electrically heated device called a subterrene (consuming very little power) is used to melt anything from sand to granite, leaving behind a smooth glass-lined, self-supporting hole. It melts low density rock at a temperature of 2,500 F. A gas or liquid-cooled stem behind the molybdenum penetrator cools the liquid melt to a glass, which forms a lining for the hole. In hard, dense rock such as granite or gneiss, the penetrator and cooling unit are fitted to a hollow stem through which a gas flow removes the melt. The molten rock, when cooled by the gas, turns to an easily handled combination of glass particles and rock wool. Although much research must yet be done, the applications of the tool are many. An annular penetrator may be used to produce a glass encased core sample and a geoprospector could be developed that will produce 8-in-dia cores. By combining the geoprospector's annular penetrator with fracturing penetrators for hard rock and a conventional mechanical cutterhead for soft ground, a nuclear powered tunneling machine is envisioned. Use of the subterrene for geothermal steam wells is also foreseen. It could also be used for sinking water wells because the glass walls eliminate the need for casing.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    McGraw-Hill, Incorporated

    330 West 42nd Street
    New York, NY  United States  10036
  • Publication Date: 1973-10-25

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 22-3
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00262225
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 22 1974 12:00AM