Title:
Pellets with infused accelerants and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pellet manufactured from a porous combustible material which is infused with a combustible liquid accelerant. The pellet is preferably made from wood shavings, crushed cocoa shells or coffee grounds that are compressed together. The compressed materials are then soaked in a liquid accelerant, such as a petroleum product, or sprayed with a petroleum product. This results in a pellet that has only an outermost layer that includes the accelerant or the entire pellet is saturated with the accelerant. The pellets are then poured over the wood or briquettes that are to be burned and they tend to filter into the spaces between the wood logs or briquettes. The accelerant is volatile and consequently when a flame is applied to one or more pellets they ignite quickly and the flames spread rapidly from one pellet to another and thereby to the wood logs or briquettes that they surround.



Inventors:
Chandaria, Ashok V. (Nairobi, KE)
Application Number:
11/485939
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
07/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
C10L1/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HINES, LATOSHA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SAND & SEBOLT (AEGIS TOWER, SUITE 1100, 4940 MUNSON STREET, NW, CANTON, OH, 44718-3615, US)
Claims:
1. A combustion aid for igniting a plurality of combustible members; said combustion aid comprising: a plurality of pellets formed from a combustible material; an accelerant applied to said pellets so that the accelerant is retained within at least a portion of said combustible material.

2. The combustion aid as defined in claim 1, wherein the pellet is comprised of compacted combustible material formed into a substantially cylindrical shape.

3. The combustion aid as defined in claim 2, wherein the pellet has a length of between ¼ inch to ¾ inch and a diameter of ⅛ inch to ½ inch.

4. The combustion aid as defined in claim 3, wherein the pellet has a length of ⅜ inch and a diameter of ¼ inch.

5. The combustion aid as defined in claim 1, wherein the pellet is manufactured from a porous combustible material.

6. The combustion aid as defined in claim 5, wherein the pellet is manufactured from one of wood shavings, sawdust, crushed cocoa shells, coffee grounds and combinations of the same.

7. The combustion aid as defined in claim 6, wherein coffee grounds comprise between 2% and 60% of the total amount of porous combustible material within the pellet.

8. The combustion aid as defined in claim 7, wherein coffee grounds comprise between 2% and 10% of the total amount of porous combustible material within the pellet.

9. The combustion aid as defined in claim 1, wherein the accelerant is distributed throughout one of an outermost layer of the pellet and the entire pellet.

10. The combustion aid as defined in claim 1, wherein the accelerant is one of a liquid petroleum-based product and kerosene and a combination of the same.

11. The combustion aid as defined in claim 1, further comprising a layer of non-porous combustible material applied around an exterior surface of the pellet.

12. The combustion aid as defined in claim 11, wherein the layer of non-porous combustible material is a wax layer.

13. A combustion aid comprising a plurality of combustible pellets made from porous combustible materials saturated with a flammable liquid; and wherein said combustible pellets are adapted to be distributed throughout a plurality of spaced apart combustible members to be ignited.

14. The combustion aid as defined in claim 13; wherein the pellets are formed from porous combustible materials that are compacted together with a binder.

15. The combustion aid as defined in claim 14, wherein the porous combustible materials are one of wood shavings, sawdust, crushed cocoa shells, coffee grounds and combinations of the same.

16. The combustion aid as defined in claim 14, wherein the flammable liquid is a one of an inorganic material, an organic material and a combination of inorganic and organic materials, and the pellets are soaked in or sprayed with the flammable liquid.

17. The combustion aid as defined in claim 16, wherein the flammable liquid is one of a petroleum-based product and kerosene and combinations of the same.

18. The combustion aid as defined in claim 14, wherein the pellets each have a length of between ¼ inch and ¾ inch and a diameter of between ⅛ inch and ½ inch.

19. A method of lighting a plurality of combustible members using a combustion aid; said method consisting of the steps of; providing a combustion aid comprising a plurality of combustible pellets saturated with a flammable liquid; stacking the combustible members to be ignited; pouring the pellets over the stack of combustible members; whereby the pellets drop into spaces formed between the combustible members in the stack; igniting one or more of the pellets.

20. The method defined in claim 19, further comprising the step of: pouring a layer of pellets into a container within which the combustible members are to be stacked prior to the step of stacking the combustible members.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

This invention generally relates to materials for igniting fires. More particularly, the invention relates to a material that is applied to combustible materials such as wood and charcoal prior to lighting of the fire. Specifically, the invention relates to a plurality of small pellets infused with an accelerant which are poured onto the combustible material and then ignited.

2. Background Information

One of the problems people encounter when igniting an outdoor wood fire or charcoal for a barbeque is that the combustible material may not easily catch fire. In the case of a wood fire, small fibrous pieces of a log may catch fire but as soon as they are consumed, the fire tends to go out. In the case of barbeque charcoal, the briquettes are typically dense and smooth and it is difficult for the flame from a match or lighter to reach the interior of the briquette quickly enough to cause it to burn. It is therefore fairly common to apply some sort of combustion aid to the combustible material prior to lighting the fire. The combustion aid burns long enough and hot enough that the log or briquettes will themselves begin to burn. Typical combustion aids have included kindling, liquid lighter fuel and small logs made from wax and wood shavings.

The small wax and wood logs can be used to start a wood fire fairly easily because of the fibrous nature of the wood. The flames from the wax logs cause the fibers in the surrounding pieces of wood to ignite and the flames move easily from one fibrous log to the other. Wax logs are not as desirable for use with charcoal briquettes because only a few of the briquettes actually contact the wax log. Consequently, the fire spreads very slowly from one small group of briquettes to the next. It has therefore become more common to use liquid lighter fuel as a combustion aid with charcoal briquettes. The fuel is poured onto the pile of briquettes and will trickle into the interior of the pile. A greater number of briquettes will therefore be contacted by the combustion aid and, consequently, the flames will spread more rapidly through the pile. The liquid lighter fuel presents some problems in that the fuel tends to soak into only the uppermost layers of briquettes and does not penetrate to any great extent into the lower layers. Consequently, when the barbeque is lit, mainly the upper layers of briquettes burn and the lower layers do not. Furthermore, because the upper layers are soaked with fuel, they tend to burn very rapidly and therefore do not create many coals for cooking purposes. Additionally, because the charcoal under the fuel soaked layers does not ignite as easily, the user may be tempted to add more liquid fuel to the partially burning pile of briquettes. This may cause a flash back, flare up or minor explosions when the added fuel catches fire, thus increasing the risk that a person standing next to the barbeque will be burned. Liquid fuel may also be accidentally splashed onto surfaces surrounding the barbeque, thereby creating an additional fire-hazard. A further problem that has been encountered with liquid fuel starters is that the liquid tends to look like water and there have been instances of children mistakenly drinking the fuel starter and becoming seriously ill.

There is therefore a need in the art for an improved combustion aid that is easily distributed throughout the material to be burned, which ignites easily and more uniformly and that can be used with greater safety.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a pellet manufactured from a porous combustible material which is infused with a combustible liquid accelerant. The pellet is preferably made from wood shavings, crushed cocoa shells or coffee grounds that are compressed together. The compressed materials are then soaked in a liquid accelerant, such as a petroleum-based product, or sprayed with a petroleum-based product. This results in a pellet that has only an outermost layer that includes the accelerant or the entire pellet is saturated with the accelerant. The pellets are then poured over the wood or briquettes that are to be burned and they tend to filter into the spaces between the wood logs or briquettes. The accelerant is volatile and consequently when a flame is applied to one or more pellets they ignite quickly and the flames spread rapidly from one pellet to another and thereby to the wood logs or briquettes that they surround.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The preferred embodiments of the invention, illustrative of the best mode in which applicant has contemplated applying the principles, are set forth in the following description and are shown in the drawings and are particularly and distinctly pointed out and set forth in the appended claims.

FIG. 1 is a front view of a barbeque holding a plurality of charcoal briquettes and having the pellets of the present invention distributed therebetween;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the pellet of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of a pellet in accordance with the present invention and in which the accelerant is retained within the outermost layer of the pellet; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-section of a pellet in accordance with the present invention and in which the accelerant is retained within the core of the pellet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-4 there is shown a barbeque 10 holding a plurality of charcoal briquettes 12 and having a plurality of pellets 14, in accordance with the present invention, distributed therebetween.

Pellets 14 are manufactured from a porous combustible material such as wood shavings, sawdust, crushed cocoa shells, coffee grounds and the like, together with a suitable binder. The binders are known to those of ordinary skill in the art. Combinations of these porous combustible materials may also be used without departing from the spirit of the present invention. The proportion of coffee grounds used can range between 2% and 60%, and preferably between 2% and 10%, of the total amount of porous combustible material within the pellets. These combustible materials are compressed into small compact bodies. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the bodies are generally cylindrical in shape and have a length of ¼ inch to ¾ inch and a diameter of ⅛ inch to ½ inch. Preferably, the bodies have a length of ⅜ inch and a diameter of ¼ inch.

A liquid accelerant is then applied to the compact bodies. Suitable liquid accelerants may be inorganic accelerants such as combustible petroleum products like kerosene; or organic accelerants such as resins. Furthermore, the liquid accelerants may comprise a combination of inorganic and organic accelerants such as a combination of kerosene and resin. The accelerant is applied to the compact bodies by spraying them with the liquid accelerant or by immersing them in the liquid accelerant and allowing the accelerant to soak into the compacted, but porous, materials. In a first instance, shown in FIG. 3, the accelerant is retained mainly in an outermost layer 16 of pellet 14, and does not penetrate into a core region 18 thereof. This type of pellet may be produced by spraying the accelerant onto the surface of the compacted bodies or by soaking the compacted bodies for a shorter interval of time in the liquid accelerant. In a second instance, shown in FIG. 4, the accelerant is found throughout the entire core 118 of pellet 114. This may be achieved by spraying the pellet 114 or immersing the pellet 114 for a longer period of time in the liquid accelerant. This type of pellet 114 may additionally have a higher concentration of accelerant in the outermost layer 116 thereof. Alternatively, core 118 may be manufactured by immersing the compacted body in the liquid accelerant for a long time and then applying an outermost layer 116 of a different combustible material thereto. A suitable different combustible material for this purpose would be a wax layer. The wax layer would prevent any volatile compounds from evaporating easily from pellets 114. Furthermore, as an alternative method of manufacture, the accelerant may be added to the wood shavings, sawdust, cocoa shells, coffee grounds and the like prior to formation of the pellets.

The combustion aid of the present invention is used in the following manner. A smaller layer of pellets 14 (or 114) may be sprinkled onto the bottom surface 10a of the barbeque. A plurality of briquettes 12 are then poured over the sprinkled pellets 14 and additional pellets 14 are sprinkled over the plurality of briquettes 12. Because pellets 14 are much smaller than the briquettes, the pellets 14 work their way into the spaces between the briquettes. Ultimately, barbeque 10 has a plurality of briquettes 12 disposed therein with a plurality of pellets 14 being distributed fairly evenly throughout all the briquettes 12. The accelerant retained within the outermost layers 16 of pellets 14 tends to be volatile and therefore ignites easily when a flame is applied to the mixture of briquettes 12 and pellets 14. The flames spread quickly throughout the mixture because of the volatility of the accelerant. Furthermore, the combustible material that forms the core 18 of each pellet 14 is easily ignited by the burning outermost layer 16 thereof. Each briquette 12 is substantially surrounding by burning pellets 14 and they therefore ignite quickly and easily and tend to burn evenly. In the instance of the pellets 114, the concentration of accelerant is higher and therefore those pellets 114 would ignite more quickly than is the case with the pellets 14. Furthermore, in the instance where a wax layer 116 is applied to the core 118, the wax ignites quickly and drips onto the surrounding briquettes, thereby applying the flames directly to the briquettes themselves.

The pellets of the present invention provide an easier and safer way to distribute an accelerant throughout a plurality of briquettes. The pellets work their way into the spaces surrounding the briquettes and consequently there is not a concentration of the highly combustible materials at the upper surface of the barbeque. This more even distribution of the combustion aid reduces the tendency of the combustion aid to burst rapidly into flame when first ignited, thereby reducing flash back and flare ups. Furthermore, if the pellets are accidentally poured onto surfaces surrounding the barbeque, they are more easily noticed and more easily cleaned up than would be the case with liquid fuel. The pellets also cannot be accidentally mistaken for edible or drinkable substances and are consequently safer to use around children. Additionally, the release of the accelerant from the pellets is slower than would be the case if a liquid starter fuel was used. All of these factors increase the safety of lighting a barbeque with the present invention.

In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness, and understanding. No unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.

Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is an example and the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.