United States Patent 3561644

This disclosure relates to pressurized product dispensers in which a product is dispensed under pressure supplied by a fluid pressure source, but which source is kept separate from the product itself. In the preferred embodiment, a flexible product container is placed in a rigid retainer and in contact with an expansible pressure source, the pressure from the source exerting a mechanical and compressive force on the product container. A valved orifice controls expulsion of the product from its container.

Works, Everett L. (Lafayette, CA)
Gloria May, Works Administratrix
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D83/14; (IPC1-7): B65D35/28
Field of Search:
222/5,386,514,518,529,559,444,49,50,556,523--525 220
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3417901Reusable pressurized dispensing device1968-12-24Sands
3294289Dispensing unit1966-12-27Bayne et al.
3128923Container for receiving and delivering pasty substances1964-04-14Gabler
3049270Displacement pump1962-08-14Maeder
2879785Apparatus for shipping greases1959-03-31Vesterdal et al.
2815152Dispensing package and method1957-12-03Mills
2775374Fluid milk dispenser1956-12-25Tamminga
2432025Collapsible gasoline tank1947-12-02Lorenz
2004664Muzzle loading grease gun1935-06-11Krannak
1664936Spring-actuated lubricator1928-04-03Lyman

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Coleman, Samuel F.
Assistant Examiner:
Stack Jr., Norman L.
Parent Case Data:

This application is a continuation-in-part of applicant's copending patent application, Ser. No. 574,435, now abandoned filed Aug. 23, 1966, entitled "Product Dispenser and Valve Therefor."
What is claimed is

1. A product dispenser comprising; a rigid enclosure bounding an internal cavity; a removable closure on said enclosure to give access to said cavity; a flexible, product-containing liner in said cavity; a passage from said liner to the outside of said enclosure; valve means in said passage controlling flow of product through said passage said valve means comprising a housing having a passage therethrough, an opening in an end thereof, a control stem slidably disposed in said passage having an interior product passage and ports extending therethrough, the housing and the control stem each having a conical face, and a flexible seal disposed between the two said faces and facing said ports, the flexible seal being attached to the housing adjacent to the said opening, and to the control stem on the opposite side of said opening from the said ports; and a self-contained, flexible, expansible and compressible pressure source in said cavity, outside the liner, and not obstructing the passage, said pressure source comprising a hollow structure whose volume can change and a charge wholly contained within said structure of a material which is condensable at temperatures provided in household freezers; and gaseous at ordinary household temperatures.

2. A valve for dispensing fluid substances comprising: a housing having a passage therethrough, an opening in an end thereof, a control stem slidably disposed in said passage having an interior product passage and ports extending therethrough, the housing and the control stem each having a conical face, and a flexible seal disposed between the two said faces and facing said ports, said flexible seal being peripherally attached to the housing adjacent to the said opening, and being peripherally attached to the control stem on the opposite side of said opening from said ports.

This invention relates to pressurized product dispensers, and in particular to a dispenser in which the fluid pressure source used for generating the expulsive pressure is separated from the product which is to be dispensed.

Pressurized dispensers from which products are expelled through a valve or a nozzle are well known. There are disadvantages inherent in those which are presently on the market, the principal one of these disadvantages being that the propellant used for pressurizing the container is customarily mixed with the product itself, so that the product comes out adulterated by the propellant. This is a desirable situation in products in which a fluffiness or whipped effect is desired, such as in whipped cream. However, it is potentially disadvantageous in other products such as cheeses, where it is preferable to have the product free of gas, and of a heavier consistency. Previous to this invention there has been no dispenser known to the inventor hereof whereby the dispensing function may be obtained while still keeping the product separate from the propellant itself, utilizing a reusable pressure source.

An advantage which can be secured by this invention is to utilize a pressure source which can be reused, thereby lowering the average cost of pressurized articles. Still another object of this invention is to provide improved nozzle structures for use in dispensing pressurized materials.

A dispenser according to this invention includes an enclosure for holding the product, and a valve with access to the inside of the container to control the discharge of the product from the container. Attached to, or within this enclosure (at least a portion of which is rigid) there is a self-contained pressure source adapted to change its volume in response to temperature changes and disposed contiguous to a movable portion of the enclosure. Preferably this source should include a pressure-generating charge material which is condensable at temperatures which are reached in household freezers. The charge can then be significantly reduced in volume by chilling it, so it can initially occupy only a minor portion of the region inside the container, and later expand to occupy a major portion of it, thereby forcing the product out through the valve under pressure when the valve is opened.

According to a preferred but optional feature of this invention, the container includes an access opening and a closure, through which opening the pressure source may be inserted into the container and removed therefrom so the pressure source can be reused.

According to a preferred but optional feature of the invention, the enclosure may include a movable wall to restrict the product to one portion of the container and the pressure source may also include a movable wall to isolate it to another region, the movable walls moving with each other to transmit pressure reciprocally while still keeping the product completely isolated from contact with the pressure source, whereby to make a more conveniently reusable container.

The above and other features of this invention will be fully understood from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an axial cross section of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross section taken at line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary axial cross section showing a portion of FIG. 1 in a different operating condition;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elevation partly in cutaway cross section, showing still another embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 5 and 6 are schematic showings of other embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 7 is an axial cross section of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross section taken at line 8-8 of FIG. 7; and

FIG. 9 is a top view taken at line 9-9 of FIG. 7.

One embodiment of a dispenser 10 according to the invention is shown in FIG. 1. It includes an enclosure 11 having a rigid peripheral outer wall 12. It carries within it a liner 13 which has a movable wall 14. As can be seen from FIG. 1, the liner is a flexible bag which forms a part of the container, the unsupported portion of the bag comprising a movable wall which at least partially bounds a product contained therein. The movable wall is adapted to be reentrant into the cavity formed within the cylindrical outer wall. The liner is additionally supported by an upper rigid wall 15. The lower end of outer wall 12 is apertured to form an access opening. Product 16 is placed inside the enclosure (within the liner when one is used, the liner being placed in the enclosure and forming, in effect, a portion thereof). The product is thereby carried by the enclosure. The liner is continuous and includes a neck 17 having an outer thread 18. The neck is passed through hole 19 in wall 15. A valve 20 is attached to thread 18.

The dispenser has a nominal axis 21 along which the movable wall progresses as the product is dispensed. Attachment means 22, in this case a thread, is formed on the outside of wall 12, and is overhung by shoulder 23.

A closure 25 includes a circuit outer wall 26 with internal attachment means 27 which means is adapted to engage attachment means 22 so as to hold the closure to the outer wall in telescopic relationship, and complete the enclosure. It will be understood that this attachment means is exemplary only, and that other types, such as toggles, bayonet joints, grooves and keys, and the like may be used instead. A thread has the advantage that as the closure is tightened down, mechanical force is developed which compresses the contained elements.

The closure has a rigid bottom wall 28 which supports a pressure source 29. In the preferred embodiment this is a capsule formed by bellows 30, which bellows is expansible, compressible and flexible. Bellows 30 may rest in abutment on the rigid bottom, or it may be attached thereto, or even be made integral therewith. It is adapted to expand or contract axially depending on the resistive forces. It includes a movable wall 31 which abuts movable wall 14 and is adapted to force the latter upwardly when pressure is reduced inside the product by opening valve 20. Wall 31 at least partially bounds a quantity of charge material adapted to exert a fluid force, which material will be further described below.

In order to limit the expansion of the bellows when the container and closure are separated, axially extending cords 32 are cast integrally in the bellows. They may be arch-shaped or otherwise so as to limit the excursion of the bellows. Alternatively or additionally, internal cords 33 may tie the end walls of the bellows together, thus limiting the excursion.

The presently preferred embodiment of valve is shown in FIG. 1. It will be understood that other and more conventional valves may be used instead, but the valve illustrated has substantial advantages over those which are known in the prior art. This valve includes a housing 35 which is adapted to be threaded onto neck 17. The housing has a passage therethrough which is partially lined by a liner 36, one end of which is trapped between neck 17 and housing 35. The liner is flexible and provides an axially compressible section 37 which permits axial shifting of a control stem 38 inside the passage. Control stem 38 is integral with and continuous with the liner.

A pair of slots 39 is formed through the wall of housing 35 which slots pass a pair of handle studs 40 that are connected to stem 38 and extend beyond the outer wall of housing 35. The user may push against these studs to shift the control stem in the housing.

A product passage 41 extends through the control stem and passes therethrough and through ports 42 which open onto a conical face 43. This conical face matches a second conical face 44 in housing 35. Between the two is a conical elastomeric flexible seal which is peripherally bonded in two circular line seals to the faces. It is bonded to face 44 near opening 47 and to face 43 on the opposite side of ports 42 therefrom. When the control stem moves from the position of FIG. 3 to that of FIG. 1 there will be a gradual motion of a sealing line contact toward port 47 which squeezes out of the nozzle any material which has been expelled through ports 42. This keeps the nozzle clear and eliminates the nuisance of rancid and sour materials at the nozzle.

FIG. 4 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention wherein valve 20 is mounted to a hose 50. This hose may have any desired length and is attached to a dispenser 10 whereby the product may be dispensed at any desired distance from the dispenser.

The device of FIGS. 1-3 is shown n in its closed position in FIG. 1 and with the product already partially dispensed. The bellows is partially extended from a previously greater compression. The control stem is pressed against the seal and the seal against face 44 by pressure within the container which is derived from the bellows and transmitted through the product. . This keeps the valve tightly closed. When the handle studs are pulled down as shown in FIG. 3, the conical faces are backed away from each other and the elastomeric seal opens between them. It will be noted that the elastomeric seal adheres to each of the faces, leaving a passage between ports 42 and opening 47. The product departs through this passage and then out the nozzle formed by opening 47. The bellows will move against the product in response to the lessening of pressure in the product and the movable walls will move upwardly in FIG. 1 until the valve is again closed.

Closure is accomplished simply by releasing control studs 40 so that the pressure moves the conical faces toward each other.

The device of FIG. 4 operates in the same manner as that of FIG. 1 except that it includes a hose to separate the valve from the dispenser.

When the product is used up, the valve may be unscrewed from neck 17 and the closure taken off the enclosure by freeing it at the attachment means. Then the old liner may be taken out and a new full one placed in the container. The new liner will usually have a disposable cap on its tip which is removed before the valve is put on. The valve is put on the new liner and then the closure is put in place with the bellows inside. It will be noted that no propellant has been consumed in the process. Also it will be noted that no part of the pressure source has made any contact with the product itself, so that no cleanup is necessary.

FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of the invention. An enclosure, which is rigid, is shown formed as a cylindrical structure with a product-filled cavity 56, a hole through a rigid wall 58 and a valve 59 in the hole. A piston 60 is slidable in peripheral wall 61, sealed by an O-ring and held from falling out by a shoulder 63.

A closure 64 has a cylindrical wall 65 attachable by threads or otherwise to wall 61 in telescopic relationship. It carries a piston 66 with O-ring 67 to bound a cavity 68 which is filled with propellant gas under pressure through a valve (not shown) in the wall. A stud 69 carried by piston 66 bears against piston 60. Shoulder 70 keeps piston 66 in its respective cavity.

The two pistons constitute a pair of abutting movable walls which separate the propellant and the product and render their respective regions integral and separate. This not as convenient a device to manufacture or to refill as the embodiment of FIG. 1 where only the liner needs attention, but it is useful and in accordance with the invention.

Where reusability of the pressure charges is not necessarily desired, then the embodiment of FIG. 6 can be used. In this embodiment, a rigid enclosure 75 has a peripheral wall 76, an open bottom, (the enclosure is shown inverted), a hole 78 with a valve 79 therein, and attachment means (threads) 81. A closure 80 in the nature of a screw lid has attachment means (threads) 82 thereon.

A flexible, self-contained, expansible pressure source 83 such as a balloon, bellows or other capsule filled with a charge under pressure, is placed in a nearly-filled enclosure with the charge at a relatively low temperature. The closure is then screwed in place. The product will be expelled by pressure exerted from the capsule as in the other embodiments. In this embodiment, however, the surface of the capsule is contacted by the product, and it would have to be cleaned before reuse. For this reason this embodiment is not as well adapted for reuse as are the other embodiments. In fact, it is best adapted for single use devices.

The presently preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 7--9. This embodiment comprises a dispenser 90 having an enclosure 91 with an end cap 92, and a closure 93 having a bottom cap 94 and a sidewall 95. The enclosure is rigid.

Two slots 96, 97 extend axially inside wall 95 for part of its length. Threads 98 provide attachment means to join the closure and the end cap. The end cap has an aperture 99, and mounts a trunnion 100. Trunnion 100 includes a pivot pin 101 which mounts a valve element 102 for pivotal movement. A coil spring 103 biases the valve to the position shown in FIG. 7, with surface 104 pressed toward surface 105. Surface 105 is formed on the trunnion. The action of the valve member is a pinching one, as in a conventional clothespin.

A flexible liner 106 is held in the enclosure. It has a neck 107 which passes through the aperture and between surfaces 104 and 105. The neck may initially be closed so as to seal the product. The closed end 106 is shown cut off in FIG. 7, the valve member serving to keep the liner closed. The liner is contrained by the enclosure, leaving one wall 108 free to move.

A pressure source 110 is placed inside the enclosure. It is a bellows with an accordion-type sidewall 111. Its end wall 112 is in contact with wall 108 of the liner. A charge of pressure-exerting material is enclosed in the bellows, and its pressure is transmitted to the product through the two abutting end walls. The bellows carries a pair of pins 113 which project through slots 96 and 97. These pins limit the excursion of the bellows by bearing against the ends of the slots. They also serve as a gauge for indicating the amount of product 114 which remains in the liner. The pins move toward the top as the product is dispensed.

The charge material in the pressure source should have the capacity of exerting substantial force against the flexible wall of the enclosure, and also of substantially changing its volume. Were the bellows filled with a material which is always a gas at ordinary temperatures available in a household, there would be little change in pressure or volume available. This temperature range extends from about the 10° F. available in home freezers to the approximately 140° F. required to be withstood by pressurized containers. The pressure and temperature are related, but as the absolute value of temperature, so the range would be small. By selecting a charge material which condenses in this temperature range, a very much larger volumetric relationship can be derived.

For the above reasons, a charge material condensable at lower household temperatures is used. An example is Freon C318 . The critical temperature of this material is 240° F. Its vapor pressure at 70° F. is 25 p.s.i.g., and at 100° F. is 55 p.s.i.g. This material condenses at temperatures found in household freezers, and has a substantial vapor pressure above this temperature. It is an example of a wide variety of suitable materials for use in the pressure source. The pressure source can thus readily be cooled, reduced to a small volume, and placed in the dispenser where, after warming, it will exert a substantial pressure.

The terms "bellows," "capsule," "balloon" and "bladder" have been used interchangeably to denote a pressure source which changes its volume as a function of externally applied forces.

From the foregoing it will be understood that there is provided a means for separating product and propellant, for providing a readily renewable source of product and for providing a useful and clean valve construction which is simple and inexpensive to manufacture.

This invention is not to be limited by the embodiments shown in the drawings and described in the description which are given by way of example and not of limitation, but only in accordance with the scope of the appended claims.