United States Patent 3759060

A disposable container providing an internal cylinder containing a pressurized refrigerant and a valve means operable by an exterior pull-tab to open the valve means to permit the pressurized refrigerant to expand into a heat exchanger whereby heat is absorbed from the contents of the container, thereby cooling said contents. The device is preferably adapted to a container of the widely used type commonly called a "Tap Top Can" and connection means between the pull-tab and the valve opens said valve simultaneously with the opening of the container resulting in a rapid cooling of the container contents.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Cax, Marian (Miami, FL)
, Dunigan Walter C. (Miami, FL)
, Parker Alfred Browning (Miami, FL)
, Golson Whelan Malcolm (Miami, FL)
, Mckeown Robert R. (Miami, FL)
, Preston Elizabeth (Miami, FL)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/60, 62/371
International Classes:
F25D3/10; (IPC1-7): F25D3/10
Field of Search:
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US Patent References:

Primary Examiner:
Wye, William J.
What is claimed is

1. A disposable refrigerated container comprising:

2. a cylindrical sidewall,

3. a bottom end closure crimped to the bottom periphery of said sidewall,

4. a top end closure crimped to the top periphery of said sidewall and including,

5. an upper end normally disposed below and adjacent to said valve means, and

6. a lower end;

7. A disposable refrigerated container as defined in claim 1 wherein said heat exchanger is formed from a pair of abutting, metallic plates, preformed to provide a serpantine tubular conduit therebetween, said serpantine tubular conduit being defined by fixing said plates together along the side peripheries thereof as by welding.

8. A disposable refrigerated container as defined in claim 2 wherein the upper end of said serpantine tubular conduit is open.

9. A disposable refrigerated container as defined in claim 1 including a transverse pin fixed to said lower end, and wherein said connector means comprises a rod connected at its upper end to said rivet and at its lower end to an elongated curved plate having a yoke at its lower end fixed to said transverse pin in spanning relation to the lower end of said valve lift rod.

10. A disposable refrigerated container as defined in claim 1 wherein the upper end of said valve lift rod passes through a gasket into said tube and through an orifice in a web spanning said tube, said orifice being sized to meter the flow of refrigerant from said cylinder into said heat exchanger when said valve means is open.

11. A disposable refrigerated container as defined in claim 1 including a refill valve opening into said cylinder whereby said refrigerating device is refillable for reuse.


Various attempts have been made to provide a refrigerated container utilizing a cylinder containing a pressurized refrigerant which acts to cool the contents of the container when the container and the cylinder are opened whereby a well known heat exchange principal is applied to cool the contents of the container.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,525,236 to N. Solhkhah, U.S. Pat. No. 3,326,013 to D. M. Jacobs, U.S. Pat. No. 3,494,143 to E. R. Barnett et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,373,581 to J. R. Strader, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,309,890 to E. R. Barnett et al., all disclose some form of container involving this pressurized refrigerant and heat exchange principal. However, each of these disclosures necessitates the production of special containers which make them totally impractical. The industries involved in canning beverages is truly enormous and the cost of the machinery involved in the changeover to different types of containers with respect to manufacturing said containers, as well as the equipment involved in filling and sealing same, would be staggering indeed.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,597,937 to Eugene H. Parks provides a device of this nature which is adapted for installation in a conventional container of the "Tap Top" variety. This Patent, however, discloses a cylinder containing a pressurized refrigerant within the container and a coiled expansion chamber which at all times are open into each other through an orifice. As clearly disclosed in FIG. 2, the refrigerant substantially fills both the cylinder and the coiled expansion chamber. The tab is manually actuated in a conventional manner to provide an opening in the top of the container after which some type of instrument must be employed to puncture a sealing cap structure at the upper end of the expansion chamber to activate the refrigerant therein and in the cylinder to cool the contents of the container.


The present invention provides a disposable refrigerated container which utilizes a conventional "Tap Top" type of container and therefore is adaptable to presently used equipment in the filling and sealing operations and would, therefore, not require the tremendous expense of designing and producing special machines and equipment for these operations.

The refrigerant cylinder provided in the container is sealed from a serpantine expansion chamber by a valve means which is upset by a connection fixed to the container opening tab when said tab is actuated to tear an opening in the container top in the conventional manner. When the tab is removed, the valve is opened and the liquified refrigerant gas in the cylinder vaporizes and expands into the serpantine expansion chamber and operates on the heat exchange principal to cool the contents of the container before escaping from the top end of the heat exchanger and through the opening formed in the container top to the atmosphere. The maximum cooling effect is therefore achieved because all of the vaporized refrigerant courses through the length of the serpantine heat exchanger before escaping to the atmosphere. Optionally the device may be returned for refilling and reuse or recycling.


FIG. 1 is a vertical cross sectional view through a container including a pressurized refrigerant cylinder and heat exhanger in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a typical "Tap Top" container of the type utilized in the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 3--3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged, detailed vertical sectional view through the bottom portion of the pressurized refrigerant cylinder illustrating the tubing connecting said cylinder to the expansion chamber, the valve means and valve actuating means which is connected to the container opening tab; and

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of one form of connecting means extending between the lower end of the valve actuating stem and the connector means to the tab as indicated by the line 5--5 of FIG. 4.


With reference to the drawings in which like reference numerals designate like or corresponding parts throughout the various views and with particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the container 10 is comprised generally of a cylindrical side wall 12 having top and bottom end closures 14 and 16 crimped thereto in a conventional manner as indicated at 18 and 20.

The container 10 is generally of the conventional "Tap Top" type in widespread use as disposable beverage containers and the top closure 14 is provided with a ring type finger grip tab 22 fixed by a rivet 24 to a tear-out portion 25 in the top closure 14. The tear-out portion 25 is defined by a solid score line 26. When the ring 22 is gripped and pulled outwardly the tear-out portion 25 is removed providing an opening in the top closure 14.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a cylinder 28 is provided in the container which is supported atop a tube 30 connected at its lower end 32 to a heat exchanger generally indicated at 34. The cylinder 28 contains a pressurized, liquified refrigerant 36.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, the heat exchanger 34 generally spans the lower inside diameter of the container 10 as indicated at 38 and provides a reduced width upper portion 40 to provide clearance for the cylinder 28. The heat exchanger 34 is preferably formed from a pair of abutting metallic, heat conductive sheets or plates 42 and 44, preformed to provide a serpantine tubular conduit 46 connecting between the lower end 32 of the tube 30 and the atmosphere at 48 when the tear-out 25 is removed. The tubular conduit 46 is defined by welding or soldering the sheets or plates together along the side peripheries of the serpantine formed tube 46.

The tube 30 includes a first generally vertical portion 50 opening into the cylinder 28, an elbow 52 to a horizontal portion 54 and a second elbow 56 to a second vertical portion 58 to the lower end 32 connecting to the heat exchanger conduit 46 comprising an expansion chamber.

A valve lift rod 60 extends upwardly through a gasket 62 in the elbow 52 through an orifice 64 in a web 66 spanning the inside of the tube portion 50 and includes an upper end portion 68 normally positioned below a valve member 70 seated by the internal pressure of the pressurized cylinder 28 in closing relation to the end 72 of the tube 30. The contact surface of the valve member 70 is preferably formed of a suitable resilient material 74 to provide a good seal for the cylinder 28.

The lower end portion 76 of the valve lift rod 60 extends outwardly of the tube 30 and provides a transverse pin 78 fixed as at 80 to its lower distal end. A connector means 82 connects between the transverse pin 78, as at 84 at its lower end 85, and the inside end of the rivet 24 as at 86 at its upper end 88. The lower end portion of the connector means 82 may be comprised of a curved plate 90 (FIG.5) clamped as at 92 to a rod 94, comprising the upper portion of the connector means 82. The lower end 96 of the plate 90 is yoke formed as at 98 to engage the transverse pin 78.

In operation, the ring 22 is lifted to remove the tear-out 24 to provide a top opening in the container in a conventional manner. When the tear-out 24 is removed, the connector means 82 attached to the rivet 24 is pulled upwardly which moves the valve lift rod 60 upwardly to unseat the valve member 70, permitting the pressurized refrigerant 36 in the cylinder to expand into the serpantine tubular expansion chamber 46 through the orifice 64 which meters the flow. The refrigerant vaporizes in the serpantine tubular expansion chamber 46 and cools the contents of the container 10 by means of the heat exchange principal. The gas passes out to the atmosphere at 48 through the open upper end of the tubular expansion chamber 46 and the top opening formed by the removal of the tear out 25.

A standard type of normally closed refill valve 100 may be incorporated in the refrigerant cylinder 28 as indicated in FIG. 1. In this way, the refrigerant device is reusable and a refundable deposit could be charged for the refrigerant device, thus reducing the overall cost of the container and its contents.

The heat conductive plates 42 and 44 are preferably provided with oppositely flared vertical edge portions 102 and 104 to form a friction fit within the cylindrical side wall of the container 10 to support the refrigerating assembly therein.

While a preferred form of the present invention has been illustrated and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the true spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.