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The main object of this patent of invention is A RIGID COMB HAVING MICROTEXTURIZED-TIP TEETH FOR HAIR CLEANING, especially designed to effectively catch, hold and remove lice and nits gripped on to the hair.
Basically, this patent of invention relates to a novel rigid comb of the kind used to conduct the aforementioned hair cleaning process through the sweeping action of very rigid teeth.
This cleaning task is aimed to fight Pediculosis, a skin injury produced by the bite of lice, very ravenous parasites found only on humans, which die soon outside their feeding environment.
When Pediculosis is detected, the best solution consists in finding and carefully removing lice and nits so as to root out the infestation and avoid its spread.
In the old days, the method used was either to nearly shave the head or wash the hair with abundant soapy hot water mixed with alcohol, vinegar and the like.
Today's rigid combs are the tools used for brushing such insects away, with very satisfactory results.
All these rigid combs have become popular since the launching of the German “Nishka” comb, featuring a great mechanical strength, consisting of a handle from which a number of fine tipped metal teeth were projected in parallel arrangement, with a minimal separation between them.
Although the results observed after using these well-known combs have been satisfactory, it has been noted that they work effectively in combing lice away but not nits.
As it is known, nits are the lice's eggs that live on the hair, close to the scalp, feeding on the blood stream ever since their birth. They are smaller than lice and stick to the hair thanks to a glue used by the female louse when laying the nit.
It has been checked that it is relatively easy to remove lice with these rigid combs, but not nits; therefore, the origin of the infection usually persists.
This is the reason why several structural modification proposals have been conceived for said rigid combs, which improve results.
In this regard, U.S. Pat. No. 4,612,945 can be mentioned, which refers to a lice and nits removing comb. A cross section view of the comb shows long triangular teeth the thickness of which decreases towards the distal ends, so that the distance between two adjacent teeth is shorter near the handle and widens towards the free ends. Moreover, the teeth are arranged so that their longitudinal axes are parallel and in alternate planes one after the other.
With this structural design, the inventor intended to get a scissors effect to remove lice and nits. However, the results can be said not to have been entirely satisfactory, as the spacing between the distal ends is rather big, thus affecting the gadget's ability to catch and hold lice, particularly nits.
It must also be noted that such triangular section gives rise to cutting edges that tend to damage the hair, thus causing an unwanted effect.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,671,303 tries to solve this problem by resorting to a number of rigid teeth keeping a distance of about 100 μm to 120 μm between them.
These teeth have a useful or active length of 9 mm or less, and stand out because their free or distal end sections are hook shaped, thus ensuring that lice and nits will be caught by the comb.
It has been verified that this solution is not really effective, as the teeth are short and in many cases their hook-shaped free ends do not manage to make contact with the scalp.
Likewise, the spacing between the teeth is too big, which makes it impossible to remove nits, as they do not reach the area where nits are usually glued, neither can teeth catch them when nits lie on the hair.
Considering the above-mentioned inconveniences, an attempt is being made today at reducing the distance between adjacent teeth, so that the separation is smaller than the size of lice and even nits, keeping the sweeping effect without harming the user's hair.
A further attempt is being made to give a special treatment to the outside surface of each tooth, with the purpose of granting a certain surface roughness that may help catch and hold these insects during the combing process.
In this respect, we can mention U.S. Pat. No. 5,873,374, which describes a cleaning comb consisting of a handle and a number of rigid cylindrical needles (teeth) having a sharp and rounded tip.
This patent proposes a number of needles that combine four basic constructive terms, namely:
a) a 50 μm to 100 μm spacing between adjacent needles.
b) a 40 mm to 80 mm total length for each needle
c) a 20 mm to 60 mm length outside the handle for each needle
d) a rough needle surface
Regarding item d), it can be noted that a rough surface is a basic feature that does not constitute any novelty at all, as all surfaces have a certain degree of roughness which can be determined and measured. As all surfaces are rough, all the combs referred to are rough.
Preferably, it is said that such roughness mentioned in d) derives from the existence of an under 4 mm span helix-shaped (helicoidal) canalization.
By definition, it cannot get a roughness, since the surface has its own roughness, and according to the surface roughness definition, surface waviness or shape faults are not taken into account, which would be the case here.
There is also the possibility to define such canalization as a series of circumferential grooves separated by 0.5 mm to 0.3 mm.
This U.S. patent also highlights that the grooves' depth is less than 0.2 mm
The problem that arises with this type of structural solution lies in the need to properly determine the distance ratio between the teeth so as not to affect the sweeping action, because if the spacing is very small, it will be highly difficult for the teeth to run between the strands of hair up to the base, where nits are glued.
Even the grooves′ depth causes a clear increase in the distance between adjacent teeth, which acts against nit retention as they tend to glide along the grooves without being trapped or held.
It has also been verified that this type of surface treatment on teeth causes the hair to gain electrostatic charge and get entangled when it reaches the handle area.
The rigid comb referred to herein suggests a new structural and functional solution that outperforms the above-mentioned patents.
Firstly, the result is a comb fitted with teeth designed to glide gently through the hair, avoiding unwanted electrostatic charges and tangles that affect the sweeping action and prevent the distal ends from acting on the hair base that harbors nits.
Furthermore, a minimal separation between adjacent teeth has been achieved, which ensures lice and nits catching without affecting the necessary comb movement.
For this purpose, such minimal spacing is combined with a microtexturized surface on the outside surface of each needle's distal section.
As this microtexturized surface only appears on the distal section, the possibility of electrostatic hair charge is null.
Likewise, said microtexturing grants an abrasive power that keeps the insects trapped during the sweeping process.
In addition, such microtexturized surface does not cause any variation in the distance between adjacent teeth, thus avoiding the risk that the trapped insect might get loose.
Considering that it is a condition of this work to define a comb fitted with teeth having distal sections that include a clearly determined microtexturized surface, a definition of “roughness” is given below:
“Roughness as applied to a surface is the set of surface irregularities as conventionally defined within the limits of the area where no shape faults or waviness are observed”.
This definition has been taken from the Instituto de Racionalización de los Materiales [Material Rationalization Institute—IRAM] Standards, based on the following works:
AMERICAN STANDARDS ASSOCIATION. ASA B 46.1.1955—Surface Roughness, waviness and Lay.
B.S.Y.—BRITISH STANDARS INSTITUTION. B.S. 1134-1961—Surface Texture—(Method CLA).
D.N.A.—DEUTSCHE, NORMEN AUSSCHUSS DIN: 762-1960 Erfassung gestaltabweeichungen 2 bi 5. Ordnung an Oberflächen and Hand von Oberflächenashnitten.
U.N.I.—ENTE NAZIONALE ITALIANO DI UNIFICAZIONE. UNI 3963-1960 Rugosità delle superficie-Definizioni, misura e norma generali.
ISO—INTERNACIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION Studies conducted by the Committee ISO/TG 57.
Z.C.E.T.A.—STANDARDAZATION Z.C.E.T.A. 00139-1952 Surface irregularities: Roughness—Wavering-Lay.
Surface Finish Bulletin Control of Surface Quality by James A. Broadston
Consequently, considering said IRAM 5065 standard, all surfaces can be said to have a certain roughness, which can be determined by using a rugosimeter.
Such standard sets forth the definitions that allow to assess roughness and its features.
In order to put into practice the advantageous functional conditions mentioned before, each tooth making up the rigid comb referred to in this invention has an outside surface defined as per two clearly distinguished sections, namely:
A proximal section, with a roughness degree ranging from
A distal section, with a roughness degree ranging from:
It can be noted that the former section has a (lower) degree of roughness to ensure that the hair can run gently as the comb works its way through the hair, preventing electrostatic charge and tangles. This section has been particularly designed to allow easy sweeping and combing.
The distal section's distinctive feature is its microtextured surface, achieved by high-speed glass microfibers blasting. Given its roughness degree, this microtexturing gives the comb the ability to hold the trapped insects, allowing the nits to come off the scalp.
This invention also contemplates the possibility of attaining such microtexturing by sand blasting, that is to say, by using fine sand grains, thus achieving a result similar to the one mentioned before.
This surface microtexturing is done on the distal section where each tooth tip acts on the hair base next to the scalp, where nits are usually harbored due to its proximity to the food source, which is the blood sucked by lice at birth.
The invention also contemplates the possibility of applying such microtexturing on part of the cylindrical surface of said distal section.
Therefore, the main object of this patent of invention is A RIGID COMB HAVING MICROTEXTURIZED-TIP TEETH FOR HAIR CLEANING, of the type made up of a handle and a number of sweeping teeth projecting therefrom, thus forming a rigid set of great mechanical strength, where said teeth are aligned one after the other, with a minimal separation between them, and emerging from the handle to a length considerably greater than the anchorage length.
The novelty lies in the fact that the teeth have a proximal section, extending from their anchorage inside the handle to a point of their total length outside the handle, where a distal section begins and extends up to the free tip, and this section's surface roughness is different from that of the proximal section.
Preferably, the teeth's proximal section has an even circular cross section.
Preferably, the cross section of the teeth's distal section shows a decreasing circle towards the free end, which turns into a sharp rounded tip.
Another key feature is that part of the outside surface of the distal section of each tooth is microtexturized.
Another key feature is that all the outside surface of the distal section of each tooth is microtexturized.
In order to sum up the advantages briefly described here, to which users and specialists will certainly add many others, and in order to help understand the structural, constituent and functional features of the invented rigid comb, there follows an example of the preferred making of said comb, which is illustrated in the attached pictures, without following any particular scale. It is clearly stated that, being just an example, such illustrations should not be considered as granting a limited or exclusive protection scope to this patent of invention, but as merely explaining and illustrating the basic conception they are based on.
FIGS. 1 to 7 are microphotographies of six teeth belonging to the comb subject matter of this patent of invention.
FIG. 8 is a perspective view schematically representing a rigid comb complying with the construction terms set forth in this invention.
FIG. 9 is a blown-up cross section view as per drawing IX-IX indicated in FIG. 10.
FIG. 10 is a frontal top view showing a partial detail of the inner face of the teeth-bearing handle.
FIG. 11 is a blown-up detail showing a variation to this invention, where the distal section of the tooth is partially microtexturized.
It must be noted that, for all figures, the same reference numbers and letters correspond to the same or equivalent parts or elements making up the set, according to the example chosen for the present explanation of the invented object.
As it was previously explained, the rigid comb referred to in this patent of invention stands out because each tooth can be divided into two different sections having a different degree of roughness:
A proximal section having a certain degree of roughness that prevents hair tangles and electrostatic charges, and a distal section, which is fully microtexturized.
FIGS. 1 to 7 represent photomicrographies of six metal teeth complying with the conditions set forth in this invention.
They were obtained during a private trial conducted by the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial [National Institute of Industrial Technology] (INTI) at the Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Mecánica [Mechanical Research and Development Center] (CEMEC), which resulted in a report dated Aug. 8, 2003, O.T. N° 103/6444.
The samples were observed through an electronic microscope and the seven microphotographies represented in the figures were obtained.
The data appearing at the foot of each microphotography indicate, from left to right, the white cement value in the scale, the work voltage, the amplification expressed in powers of ten and an identification number.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show the section of the tooth next to the handle, while FIGS. 3 to 7 represent the distal sections of the same teeth.
Moreover, a private trial was conducted at the same institute on a microtexturized metal plate, with the purpose of determining the degree of roughness of the distal section of the teeth making up the comb subject matter of this invention.
The Report was issued on Sep. 10th, 2003 by the Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Física y Meteorología [Physical and Meteorological Research and Development Center] under number 6472.
Repeated measurements of Ra and Rz parameters were taken in different sections of each plate face, by using a 0.8 mm “cut-off”.
|a) Distal section|
|b) Section next to handle or support section|
1.—Measurements were taken by using a “Surfanalyzer 500” Federal Roughness Meter.
2.—Measurements involved are related to the measurement standards stipulated by the INTI as per the current legislation, which represent the physical measurement units in compliance with the International Unit System (SI).
3.—The indicated expanded measurement uncertainty corresponds to each individual measurement uncertainty rather than to the average measured values. It was estimated by multiplying the combined standard uncertainty by a K=2 coverage factor, which corresponds to a 95% reliability level for a normal distribution.
A look at FIGS. 8, 9, 10 and 11 shows that the comb subject matter of the invention belongs to the type of combs having a rigid handle (M) made of injected plastic material, from which a number of coinjected teeth (D) having a special structure are projected.
Preferably, the teeth (D) have circular cross section and each of them can be defined as a rigid body anchored to the support handle (M).
Each tooth has a proximal section (D1), the surface roughness of which does not affect combing. This section originates in its coinjection with the rest of the handle (M) and projects outwards in a short length. Then, the distal section (D2) begins, the cross section of which gradually decreases towards its free end, which is sharp and rounded.
There is a spacing of about 0.09 mm between two adjacent teeth, such parameter being measured from their respective geometrical axis.
Moreover, each tooth can have a total length (lt) of about 60 mm, and an active length (la) of about 40 mm, determined by the length protruding from the handle.
In addition, the higher roughness distal section (D2) can have a total length (Lr) of about 20 mm.
FIG. 11 represents the case where each tooth of the invented comb has a partly microtexturized distal section (D2).