Rapid Air Movement Drill

Description

The Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill was developed for use in creating shot holes for seismic geophysical exploration. It is a system in which high-velocity air drives rotating cutters and blows the ice chips from the hole. The cutting drill motor hangs on a hose that carries the air from the surface and is reeled out as the hole deepens. It has been used three times in West Antarctica, where it routinely achieved depths of 90 meters. The Askaryan Radio Array (ARA) project borrowed the drill for the 2010-2011 Antarctic field season to test methods of producing holes for radio antennae at South Pole, but could not get deeper than 63 meters at that location.

In 2017, IDP and community scientists finalized science requirements which drove substantial modifications and upgrades to the drill system to reduce its logistical requirements. IDP completed a conceptual design for the modified system known as the RAM 2, with scalable components for either shallow (~40 meter) deployments or for full 100 meter deployments. The modifications will serve to dramatically reduce the system weight from approximately 24,000 lbs. to about 8,000 lbs. and will allow for easier assembly and operations in remote areas.

Status (RAM 2)

IDP completed final assembly and in-house testing of the modified system in early 2018. A field test was then conducted near Raven Camp in Greenland in July 2018. Repairs and additional modifications were made prior to the drill’s deployment to Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica in September 2018. On Thwaites Glacier, the system will use the large compressors from the original RAM Drill to help ensure project success. The large compressors will be used to quantify the amount of air required to successfully drill to 100 meters. The smaller RAM 2 compressors will then be optimized to provide the necessary air flow.

Equipment Details

Name Rapid Air Movement Drill
Type
Type
Non-coring
Number in Inventory
Number in Inventory
1
Max. Practical Depth
Max. Practical Depth
95 m (the depth being limited by the length of the hose)
Hole Diameter
Hole Diameter
100 mm
IDP Driller Required?
IDP Driller Required?
Yes, 2 drillers
Drill Fluid Required?
Drill Fluid Required?
No
Shipping Weight
Shipping Weight

22,664 lbs

Shipping Volume (Cube)
Shipping Cube

2971 cube

Comments
Comments

Weight of drill system in operation about 20,000 lbs

Documents

Citation Year
Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Paul Winberry, IDPO (2017) Science Requirements: RAM Drill. 2017
Chris J Gibson, Jay A Johnson, Grant Boeckmann (2017) Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill Upgrade Concept Overview. 1-18. 2017
IDDO (2017) Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill Upgrade Conceptual Design Review. 1-26. 2017
Rusheng Wang, Liu An, Pinlu Cao, Baoyi Chen, Mikhail Sysoev, Dayou Fan, Pavel Talalay (2017) Rapid ice drilling with continual air transport of cuttings and cores: General concept. Polar Science, 14, 21-29. doi: 10.1016/j.polar.2017.09.004. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polar.2017.09.004 2017
Amber N Whelsky, Mary R Albert (2016) Firn permeability impacts on pressure loss associated with rapid air movement drilling. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 123, 149-154. doi: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2015.11.018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2015.11.018 2016

Photos

Project History

2010-2011 Antarctic - Instrument Development of the Askaryan Radio Array, A Large-scale Radio Cherenkov Neutrino Detector at the South Pole
2009-2010 Antarctic - Amundsen Basin Seismic Project

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