The bumbershoot

June 5, 2010 

True to form, we Westerners are contemplating a head-on approach to stopping the oil spill in the Gulf. Bring out the nukes! But here's an idea: Using basic physics and simple mechanics, let the power of the gusher be the primary force behind stopping the leak. I probably won't be the one to make a million dollars off the idea, but hey! You saw it here first!

Here's how it would work: Drop a closed metal "umbrella" into the well and allow the upward force of the oil to open the umbrella, pinning its edges to the sides of the well and stopping - or at least significantly slowing - the leak. The greater the upward force of the gusher, the greater the outward pressure on the edges of the "umbrella," and the tighter the seal. It may only be temporary, but it might buy some time - a commodity currently more precious than, well, oil!

Rick Towner

Raleigh

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