Title:
DECORATIVE GAS BURNER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A burner assembly having a burner plate provided with a plurality of spaced apart nozzles thereon. A plurality of pilot burners are disposed at different locations proximate the burner plate. The pilot burners can be partially shielded within canopies with the burner plate being unshielded.



Inventors:
Konkle, Stephen Anthony (Kirkland, WA, US)
Zheng, Minliang (Shanghai, CN)
Application Number:
11/741721
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/27/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24B1/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SUERETH, SARAH ELIZABETH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DWC LAW FIRM, P.S. (P.O. BOX 3041, SEATTLE, WA, 98114-3041, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A burner assembly comprising: a body containing a burner system; a plate shaped burner member positioned at an upper portion of the body, and having an exposed top surface; a plurality of nozzles disposed at spaced apart locations on the exposed top surface of the burner member; and a plurality of pilot burners, each being disposed proximate a different location on the exposed top surface of the burner member.

2. The burner assembly of claim 1, wherein at least one of the pilot burners is at least partially shielded within a canopy adjacent the burner member.

3. The burner assembly of claim 2, wherein there are a plurality of canopies positioned adjacent the burner member at diametrically opposed positions, with at least one of the pilot burners being at least partially shielded within each of the canopies.

4. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein there is a perimeter member that surrounds the burner member, and wherein the perimeter member has a plurality of raised portions formed along an edge of the perimeter member.

5. The burner assembly of claim 1 wherein the plurality of nozzles is located near an outer portion of the exposed top surface of the plate shaped burner member.

6. The burner assembly of claim 5 wherein a population density of nozzles near the outer portion of the exposed top surface is greater than a population density of nozzles near an inner portion of the exposed top surface.

7. The burner assembly of claim 5 wherein the plurality of nozzles are positioned to align substantially in a concentric circular pattern.

8. A burner assembly comprising: a body; a table section attachable to the body; a burner having a plate shaped top surface and an internal chamber located beneath the top surface, with a plurality of nozzles positioned above the internal chamber, each nozzle having a corresponding discharge opening on the top surface of the burner plate, and wherein gas from the internal chamber can be discharged through the plurality of nozzles; and a plurality of pilot burners positioned proximate the burner at different positions with respect to the top surface of the burner.

9. The burner assembly of claim 8 wherein the plurality of pilot burners are each disposed within canopies.

10. The burner assembly of claim 9 wherein each of the canopies is formed on a plate adjacent the burner.

11. The burner assembly of claim 8 wherein each of the pilot burners is disposed proximate a perimeter of the top surface of the burner and wherein each of the pilot burners is positioned in substantially evenly spaced apart fashion along the perimeter of the top surface of the burner.

12. The burner assembly of claim 8 further comprising a perimeter plate configured to surround the burner and to be positioned at a level proximate the level of the top surface of the burner, the perimeter plate and burner each having a reflective surface.

13. The burner assembly of claim 8 wherein the body contains a burner system below the burner and with a perimeter plate and the burner being disposed above the burner system.

14. The burner assembly of claim 13 wherein the table section has an open interior portion to expose the burner.

15. The burner assembly of claim 14 further comprising a cover configured to cover the burner and to be positioned within the open interior portion.

16. A method of operating a decorative burner assembly comprising: allowing a pressurized fuel to enter an interior chamber of a burner member, and to be discharged through a nozzle having an opening proximate a plate-like surface, the plate-like surface and nozzle opening being fully exposed to avoid obscuring a decorative or reflective surface feature on the plate-like surface; and igniting the fuel using a plurality of pilot burners positioned near different positions on the plate-like surface.

17. The method of claim 17 further comprising providing a canopy for each of the plurality of pilot burners.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein there are a plurality of nozzles and the density of nozzle openings on the plate-like surface is greater on an outer portion of the plate-like surface than an inner portion of the plate-like surface.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the plurality of pilot burners are positioned nearer to the outer portion of the plate-like surface than the inner portion.

20. The method of claim 17 wherein the nozzles are aligned in a circular pattern.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to burners, and more particularly, to decorative outdoor burners, or fire bowls, having shielded pilot burners.

2. Description of Related Art

Decorative outdoor burner devices have become a popular luxury in the United States and elsewhere. They are often used to provide heat, ambience and lighting to such locations as a patios, backyards, and porches, to name a few. Many of these outdoor burner devices include bowl-like body configurations, and are often referred to by retailers as “fire bowls” or “fire pits.”

Many of the decorative outdoor burners use wood as fuel, but gas fueled outdoor burners are also available. Gas burners can generally experience flameout problems in the face of wind or other environmental elements, and the nozzles of such decorative outdoor burners are therefore often screened from wind. For example, in many presently available gas fueled fire pits, the burner is screened from wind by providing high sidewalls around the burner nozzles, enclosing the burner in a chamber where the fire burns, or covering the burner nozzles with decorative rockery, such as a lava rocks. As such, limitations exist in the flexibility of design.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Some embodiments of the present invention include a burner assembly comprising a burner plate. The burner plate can have a top surface and there can be an internal chamber located beneath the burner plate. The burner plate can have a plurality of nozzles located thereon, with the nozzles being positioned above the internal chamber, and with each nozzle having discharge openings on the top surface of the burner plate. Gas from the internal chamber can be discharged through the plurality of nozzles.

A plurality of pilot burners positioned proximate the burner plate, can each be shielded for decorative effect, or to shield the pilot burners from environmental elements such as wind. Each of the pilot burners can be shielded within a separate canopy. The canopies can be formed from a surface of a perimeter plate. The perimeter plate can be configured to surround the burner plate, and can have a central opening in which the burner plate is disposed.

The surface of the perimeter plate and burner plate can be fully exposed, rather than shielded or screened, as the plurality of pilot burners are provided to help re-ignite a flame above the burner, even if wind causes a flameout. Thus, in some embodiments, the perimeter plate and burner plate can also have reflective surfaces to help maximize light provided by the burner assembly. Furthermore, in some embodiments of the present invention, the surfaces of the perimeter plate and burner plate are decorative, and provided with decorative patterns, since they can be visible and exposed without being shielded for protection from flame-out.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1a is a top left perspective view of an embodiment of an outdoor burner assembly for the present invention, with the cover removed.

FIG. 1b is a top left perspective view of the burner assembly of FIG. 1a, with the cover in place, also showing the cover separately.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the burner assembly of FIG. 1a, with the cover removed.

FIG. 3 is a cross section view of the burner assembly of FIG. 1a as viewed from line FIG. 3-FIG. 3 of FIG. 1a, without the cover or stand being illustrated.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the burner assembly of FIG. 1b, without the stand being illustrated, and with the body and burner system of the burner assembly being assembled together.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, certain specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments of the invention. However, upon reviewing this disclosure, one skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced without many of these details. In other instances, well-known structures related to burner assemblies and pilot systems have not been described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the descriptions of the embodiments of the invention.

Various embodiments of the present invention are described in the context of decorative outdoor burners that can provide heat, ambience and lighting. However, as those skilled in the art will appreciate after reviewing this disclosure, various types of burner assemblies are contemplated herein. The context described and illustrated herein is not intended to be limiting and is provided to illustrate example embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 1a shows an embodiment of the burner assembly 2 of the present invention, having a body 14 supportable within a stand 18. The body 14 can have the shape of a bowl, with an interior chamber for containing a burner system. Also, a surrounding table section 12 can be attached to a top rim portion of the body 14, in a manner that the surrounding table section 12 surrounds a rim of the body 14 and extends outward therefrom, as shown in FIG. 1a. The surrounding table section 12 can have an interior open portion to expose a burner plate 20 located at an interior portion of the burner assembly 2.

Referring now to FIGS. 1a &2, the burner assembly 2 can further include a perimeter plate 4 with pilot canopies 8. The burner plate 20 includes a plurality of nozzles 24, shown in FIG. 2, for feeding fuel to a flame above the burner plate 20 when firing the burner assembly 2. As best seen in FIG. 1a, the pilot canopies 8 can each be decorative (or having decorative markings thereon), and can each have openings 10 in communication with air proximate the burner plate 20. Pilot burners 30 can be provided within the canopies 8, as will be discussed further.

Still referring to FIG. 1a, the pilot canopies 8 can be integrally formed on the perimeter plate 4, with the pilot canopies 8 comprising raised portions of the perimeter plate 4. In some embodiments of the present invention, an inner edge 9 of the perimeter plate 4 can be adjacent the burner plate 20. The inner edge 9 can have a substantially rectangular profile, as can the burner plate 20. Each side of the inner edge 9 can have a raised portion to form a corresponding pilot canopy 8, with the raised portion forming the opening 10 of each pilot canopy 8. By forming the raised portions on the inner edges 9 of the perimeter plate 4 in this fashion to establish the pilot canopies 8, a pilot burner 30 disposed in the body 14 of the burner assembly 2 can extend up into the canopy 8, at a height and position proximate the burner plate 20.

FIG. 3 shows a burner system 32 partially enclosed within the body 14 of the burner assembly 2. The burner system 32 can include a pilot system having an igniter 28, thermocouple 26, and pilot burner 30, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art after reviewing the present disclosure. The pilot burner 30 can be at least partially disposed within the pilot canopy 8, as discussed previously, and as further illustrated in FIG. 3.

In some embodiments of the present invention, each of the plurality of pilot canopies 8 shown in FIG. 1a (a total of four (4) in the illustrated example embodiment) can house a separate corresponding igniter, thermocouple and pilot burner.

Also, as can be seen in FIG. 3, the burner system 32 can include a containment tank 34, which can hold a pressurized fuel source to power the burner system 32. Suitable fuels may include, for example, without limitation, propane. The containment tank 34 can be in gaseous communication with a gas inlet 36 of the burner plate 20, which is in turn, in gaseous communication with an internal chamber 21 below the burner plate 20. During operation, gas from containment tank 34 can be fed to the internal chamber 21, and discharged through the burner plate nozzles 24 (shown in FIG. 2). As the burner plate nozzles 24 are proximate the pilot canopies 8 in which the pilot burners 30 are located, gas emitted from the burner plate 20 can be ignited by the pilot burners 30 (only one pilot burner 30 is illustrated in FIG. 3), thereby resulting in a flame above the burner plate 20. The pilot burners 30 can remain lit throughout operation of the burner plate 20. In this manner, flameout of the burner plate 20 is prevented, minimized, or reduced. Also, if the flame from the burner plate 20 is extinguished due to environmental elements, for example, the pilot burners 30 can re-ignite gas above the burner plate 20.

The pilot burners 30 are at least partially shielded from environmental influences within the canopies 8. Furthermore, the pilot canopies 8 can provide decorative effect to the burner assembly 2, such as by, for example, decoratively concealing the pilot burner 30.

It is also noted that the provision of multiple pilot burners 30, one situated within each pilot canopy 8 at different sides or locations of the burner plate 20, such as in a diametrically opposed fashion as illustrated in FIG. 1a, can further assist in fast re-ignition of the burner plate 20 flame when flameout occurs. Without being bound by theory, it is believed that this is partially due to convection above the burner plate 20 which can cause gas to migrate to different portions of the burner plate 20. The use of a pilot burner 30 at each side of the perimeter plate 4 helps gas above the burner plate 20 quickly ignite, or re-ignite.

Referring to FIG. 1a, the burner assembly 2 can also include inner facing vertical sidewalls 6 positioned about the perimeter plate 4. The vertical sidewalls 6 can comprise a reflective surface in some embodiments of the present invention, as can the perimeter plate 4 and burner plate 20, as discussed previously. As such, reflection of a burner plate flame can be maximized with the available reflective surface. That is, the perimeter plate, burner plate, and vertical sidewalls proximate one another and all providing reflective surfaces, can greatly enhance light emitted by the burner assembly 2.

As best seen in FIG. 1b, some embodiments of the present invention include a removable cover 22. The cover 22 can be configured such that the edges of the cover 22 can rest or set within a groove 11 (shown in FIG. 1a) provided on the top edge of the vertical sidewalls 6, to support the cover 22 at a height to align a top surface of the cover 22 in planar fashion with a top surface of the surrounding table section 12.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the burner assembly 2 of the present invention (without the stand 18 being illustrated). In some embodiments of the present invention, the surrounding table section 12 is removably connected to the body 14 of the burner assembly 2. Furthermore, the surrounding table section 12 can be comprised of a plurality of sub-sections 12′. Each of the sub-sections 12′ can be removably coupled together to form the surrounding table section 12. The sub-sections 12′ can each be a corner portion of the surrounding table section 12. In addition, notches 13 can be provided on the subsections to aid a user in lifting the cover 22 when it is resting on the surrounding table section 12.

Although specific embodiments and examples of the invention have been described supra for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as will be recognized by those skilled in the relevant art after reviewing the present disclosure. The various embodiments described can be combined to provide further embodiments. The described apparatus and methods can omit some elements or acts, can add other elements or acts, or can combine the elements or execute the acts in a different manner or order than that illustrated, to achieve various advantages of the invention. These and other changes can be made to the invention in light of the above detailed description.

In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification. Accordingly, the invention is not limited by the disclosure, but instead its scope is determined entirely by the following claims.