Title:
REGULATING DEVICE FOR SUPPLYING BREATHABLE GAS TO A DRIVER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A regulating device for supplying breathable gas to a diver, comprising a housing (1) which incorporates a regulating valve mechanism (3) between an inlet port (21) for the supply gas and an outlet port (2) where the gas emerges to be breathed, the housing (1) additionally comprising an exhalation port provided with an exhalation valve (4) to allow the exhalation gases to be expelled to the outside, the device comprising a deflector (5) which guides the exhaled gas between a first end connected to the exhalation valve (4) and a second end (15) situated in a defined region outside the housing (1), the gas being conveyed to the inlet port (21) via a hose (6) which can be connected to a pressurized gas source, wherein the exhalation port provided with a valve (4) is situated substantially in the vicinity of a lower end of the housing (1), and wherein the deflector (5) has a generally tubular shape, the second end (15) of the deflector (5) being open and forming an outlet for the exhaled gas that is situated concentrically around part of the hose (6).



Inventors:
Carepa, Stephane (Carros, FR)
Peyron, Nicolas (Carros, FR)
Application Number:
11/836855
Publication Date:
02/21/2008
Filing Date:
08/10/2007
Assignee:
LA SPIROTECHNIQUE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63C11/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WOODWARD, VALERIE LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YOUNG & THOMPSON (209 Madison Street Suite 500, Alexandria, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
1. A regulating device for supplying breathable gas to a diver, comprising housing (1) which incorporates a regulating valve mechanism (3) between an inlet port (21) for the supply gas and an outlet port (2) where the gas emerges to be breathed, the housing (1) additionally comprising an exhalation port provided with an exhalation valve (4) to allow the exhalation gases to be expelled to the outside, the device comprising a deflector (5) which guides the exhaled gas between a first end connected to the exhalation valve (4) and a second end (15) situated in a defined region outside the housing (1), the gas being conveyed to the inlet port (21) via a hose (6) which can be connected to a pressurized gas source, wherein the exhalation port provided with a valve (4) is situated substantially in the vicinity of a lower end of the housing (1), and wherein the deflector (5) has a generally tubular shape, the second end (15) of the deflector (5) being open and forming an outlet for the exhaled gas that is situated concentrically around part of the hose (6).

2. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hose (6) is connected to the housing (1) at the inlet port (21) via connection means (7) made of heat-conducting, for example, metal, material, and wherein said connecting means (7) are situated inside that portion of the deflector concentric to the hose (6).

3. The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gas outlet port (2) is situated substantially in the vicinity of an upper end of the housing (1).

4. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the inlet port (21) is situated substantially at a first median lateral end of the housing (1).

5. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the housing (1) has a rear face directed toward the user in the use position and a front face arranged on the opposite side to the rear face, and wherein the second end of the deflector (5) is slightly bent upwardly and rearwardly.

6. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the device has at least one of the follow members: a member for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port, and a member for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve, and wherein at least one operating element (9) which can be actuated manually projects at a second lateral end of the housing (1), said operating element (9) being designed to operate one or both control members, and wherein the second end (15) of the deflector (5) projects from a first lateral end of the housing (1) situated in an opposite manner to the operating element (9).

7. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the second end (15) of the deflector 5 has a single opening situated along the longitudinal axis of the tubular deflector (5), the opening having a diameter which is substantially equal to the inside diameter of the tubular portion.

8. The device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the gas outlet port (2) is situated substantially in the vicinity of an upper end of the housing (1).

9. The device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the inlet port (21) is situated substantially at a first median lateral end of the housing (1).

10. The device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the housing (1) has a rear face directed toward the user in the use position and a front face arranged on the opposite side to the rear face, and wherein the second end of the deflector (5) is slightly bent upwardly and rearwardly.

11. The device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the device has at least one of the follow members: a member for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port, and a member for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve, and wherein at least one operating element (9) which can be actuated manually projects at a second lateral end of the housing (1), said operating element (9) being designed to operate one or both control members, and wherein the second end (15) of the deflector (5) projects from a first lateral end of the housing (1) situated in an opposite manner to the operating element (9).

12. The device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the second end (15) of the deflector 5 has a single opening situated along the longitudinal axis of the tubular deflector (5), the opening having a diameter which is substantially equal to the inside diameter of the tubular portion.

13. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the inlet port (21) is situated substantially at a first median lateral end of the housing (1).

14. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the housing (1) has a rear face directed toward the user in the use position and a front face arranged on the opposite side to the rear face, and wherein the second end of the deflector (5) is slightly bent upwardly and rearwardly.

15. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the device has at least one of the follow members: a member for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port, and a member for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve, and wherein at least one operating element (9) which can be actuated manually projects at a second lateral end of the housing (1), said operating element (9) being designed to operate one or both control members, and wherein the second end (15) of the deflector (5) projects from a first lateral end of the housing (1) situated in an opposite manner to the operating element (9).

16. The device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the second end (15) of the deflector 5 has a single opening situated along the longitudinal axis of the tubular deflector (5), the opening having a diameter which is substantially equal to the inside diameter of the tubular portion.

17. The device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the housing (1) has a rear face directed toward the user in the use position and a front face arranged on the opposite side to the rear face, and wherein the second end of the deflector (5) is slightly bent upwardly and rearwardly.

18. The device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the device has at least one of the follow members: a member for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port, and a member for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve, and wherein at least one operating element (9) which can be actuated manually projects at a second lateral end of the housing (1), said operating element (9) being designed to operate one or both control members, and wherein the second end (15) of the deflector (5) projects from a first lateral end of the housing (1) situated in an opposite manner to the operating element (9).

19. The device as claimed in claim 4, wherein the second end (15) of the deflector 5 has a single opening situated along the longitudinal axis of the tubular deflector (5), the opening having a diameter which is substantially equal to the inside diameter of the tubular portion.

20. The device as claimed in claim 5, wherein the device has at least one of the follow members: a member for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port, and a member for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve, and wherein at least one operating element (9) which can be actuated manually projects at a second lateral end of the housing (1), said operating element (9) being designed to operate one or both control members, and wherein the second end (15) of the deflector (5) projects from a first lateral end of the housing (1) situated in an opposite manner to the operating element (9).

Description:
The present invention relates to a regulating device for supplying breathable gas to a diver.

The invention particularly relates to the field of demand valves for systems for supplying breathable gas to divers.

The invention more specifically relates to a regulating device for supplying breathable gas to a diver, comprising a housing which incorporates a regulating valve mechanism between an inlet port for the supply gas and an outlet port where the gas emerges to be breathed, the housing additionally comprising an exhalation port provided with an exhalation valve to allow the exhalation gases to be expelled to the outside, the device comprising a deflector which guides the exhaled gas between a first end connected to the exhalation valve and a second end situated in a defined region outside the housing, the gas being conveyed to the inlet port via a hose which can be connected to a pressurized gas source.

Regulators for pressurized breathable gases intended for underwater diving comprise a device, commonly referred to as “demand valve”, which delivers a quantity of breathable gas to the diver when he requests to inhale.

The demand valve is the part of the regulator that the diver keeps in his mouth and which delivers air to the diver according to his requests to inhale.

Demand valves are conventionally provided with an exhalation valve which allows the diver to exhale. The exhalation valve is generally an elastomer component fastened to the body of the demand valve housing. The exhalation valve is a fragile and flexible component which is generally protected by a deflector having one or more openings for expelling the exhaled gas. This deflector also makes it possible to transfer the exhaled bubbles away from the diver's field of view.

An object of the present invention is to provide a regulating device for supplying breathable gas, particularly for a diveres mouthpiece, having an improved operation over the prior art and particularly having an improved structure of the exhalation gas deflector.

To this end, the regulating device for the supply of breathable gas according to the invention, otherwise conforming to the generic definition given by the preamble above, is essentially characterized in that the exhalation port provided with a valve is situated substantially in the vicinity of a lower end of the housing, and in that the deflector has a generally tubular shape, the second end of the deflector being open and forming an outlet for the exhaled gas that is situated concentrically around part of the hose.

Moreover, embodiments of the invention may comprise one or more of the following features:

the hose is connected to the housing at the inlet port via connection means made of heat-conducting, for example metal, material, and said connecting means are situated inside that portion of the deflector concentric to the hose,

the gas outlet port is situated substantially in the vicinity of an upper end of the housing,

the inlet port is situated substantially at a first median lateral end of the housing,

the housing has a rear face directed toward the user in the use position and a front face arranged on the opposite side to the rear face, and the second end of the deflector is slightly bent upwardly and rearwardly,

the device has at least one of the following members: a member for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port, and a member for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve, and at least one operating element which can be actuated manually projects at a second lateral end of the housing, said operating element being designed to operate one or both control members, and the second end of the deflector projects from a first lateral end of the housing situated in an opposite manner to the operating element,

the second end of the deflector has a single opening situated along the longitudinal axis of the tubular deflector, the opening having a diameter which is substantially equal to the inside diameter of the tubular portion.

Other specific features and advantages will become apparent on reading the description below given with reference to the figures, in which:

FIG. 1 represents a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a regulating device for supplying breathing gas to a diver according to the invention,

FIG. 2 represents a simplified, schematic view of the device of FIG. 1, illustrating its structure and its operation,

FIG. 3 represents a schematic side view of the device as seen in the direction C of FIG. 2.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 3, the breathable gas supply device comprises a housing 1 provided with an inlet port 21 for the pressurized supply gas. The supply gas is conveyed, for example, from a pressurized cylinder via a hose 6 whose end is provided with a connection system 7, for example a metal one, which is, for example, screwed into the housing 1, more particularly to the mechanism for regulating the gas from the cylinder.

As represented, the inlet port 21 can be situated at a first lateral and median end of the housing 1.

The housing 1 also has a gas outlet port 2 intended to be connected to the divers respiratory system via a mouthpiece 8. The gas outlet port 2 is preferably situated in the upper part of the housing 1 and in the vicinity of the rear face of said housing (face directed toward the user in the use configuration).

Between the inlet port 21 and the outlet port 2 the device comprises a regulating valve system 3 which is known per se and which, for reasons of simplification, is depicted by a horizontal cylindrical body. A nonlimiting example of the known regulating valve system is described in document EP 0 512 887. Of course, any other equivalent regulating mechanism may be contemplated.

The regulating valve system 3 may comprise a member (not shown) for controlling the flow of gas admitted to the outlet port and/or a member (not shown either) for controlling the force required to open the regulating valve. The (flow and/or opening force) control member or members can be operated by one or more operating elements 9 which can be actuated manually. For example, such an operating element 9, comprising a rotary knob, may project laterally on one side of the housing 1.

The housing 1 additionally comprises an exhalation port provided with an exhalation valve 4 to allow exhalation gases to be expelled to the outside.

The exhalation port provided with the exhalation valve 4 is preferably situated substantially in the vicinity of a lower end of the housing 1, on the rear side (toward the user).

The device also comprises a deflector 5 which guides the exhaled gas between a first end connected to the exhalation valve 4 and a second end 15 situated in a defined region outside the housing 1. The deflector 5 may be integral with the housing 1 or attached thereto.

The deflector 5 extends with a generally tubular shape from the exhalation valve 4 to the end of the breathable gas delivery hose 6. Thus, immediately after the exhalation valve 4, the deflector 5 may have an upstream portion 115 situated at the rear of the housing 1 (user side). According to an advantageous feature, the deflector 5 then extends concentrically around the hose 6, the element 7 for connecting the hose to the housing 1 being situated inside said tubular deflector 5.

For example, the tubular deflector 5 has a diameter of between 3 and 5 cm, particularly at its open end. Preferably, too, the second end 15 of the deflector 5 is situated at a distance from the axis of the housing 1 of between 6 and 10 cm.

Likewise, the terminal end of the deflector 5 may be slightly bent upwardly (with respect to the user) and rearwardly (toward the user).

The path of the exhaled gas has been depicted by an arrow G in FIG. 2. The exhaled gas enters the upper part of the housing 1 through the outlet port 2 and then makes its way around the regulating valve mechanism 3 before leaving the housing 1 again through the lower exhalation valve 4. After passing through the exhalation valve 4, the gas is guided into the deflector 5 and exits it through the single end port 15. Preferably, the gas path is substantially rectilinear in the (slightly bent) deflector 5. The deflector 5 guides the gas over a greater distance than the known systems.

The Applicant has found that the device according to the invention, while having a simple and compact structure, allows better release of the bubbles from the divers field of view than in the systems of the prior art.

Moreover, the device according to the invention provides better circulation of exhaled gases between the outlet port 2 and the external environment (less turbulence and fewer pressure drops).

Finally, the exhaled gas stream is guided so as to exchange heat with the regulating mechanism and the metal mounting part 7 of the hose 6. The exhaled gas which comes from the divers lungs is relatively hot and consequently heats the body of the demand valve mechanism 3 and also the connector 7 of the hose 6. The fact is that the demand valve has a tendency to cool during the inhalation phase due to the gas expanding. This gas path according to the invention promotes better removal of the heat losses arising as the gas expands during the inhalation phase.