Title:
Gel infused toilet seat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gel-infused seat for a toilet bowl is provided comprising an exposed base section for directly contacting a top rim of the bowl while supporting a user's weight, the base section having a top surface opposite to the bottom surfaces of the seat and at least two edges including an inner circumferential edge and an outer circumferential edge; a foam core layer covering the top surface of the base section and extending to parts of the bottom surfaces of the seat at its inner and outer circumferential edges; a gelatinous overlay for defining a top contour of the seat that yields easily to a pressure applied to give a comfortable softness to the user; and an outer layer for covering the gelatinous overlay and foam core layer leaving the base section exposed with substantially constant space from the base section.



Inventors:
Chen, Liang Chou (East Hanover, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/986475
Publication Date:
05/21/2009
Filing Date:
11/21/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K13/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080034494Invalid bathing seat assembly and systemFebruary, 2008Monteiro
20070101490Cover for use with bathing tubMay, 2007Dickie et al.
20080155744Toilet, toilet seat, and cleaning method thereofJuly, 2008Wang
20100037379Interchangeable toilet tank with urinalFebruary, 2010Hanson et al.
20080235863Jet bath apparatusOctober, 2008Kitaura et al.
20060090254Vacuum formed auto cover boxMay, 2006Epple et al.
20050229297Cartridge-removing tool for use in waterless urinalsOctober, 2005Higgins
20040040075Device for cleaning a toilet seatMarch, 2004Blatz et al.
20090320200Kinetic TrapwayDecember, 2009Mukerji
20070050900Toilet training stoolMarch, 2007Mcdowell
20090025130FLUSH VALVE MECHANISMJanuary, 2009Le et al.



Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Office of Christine Yang (17220 Newhope Street #102, Fountain Valley, CA, 92708, US)
Claims:
1. A gel-infused seat for mounting on a toilet bowl comprising: a sturdy base section extending along a top rim of the bowl for supporting a user's weight while defining bottom surfaces of the seat, the base section having a top surface opposite to the bottom surfaces of the seat and at least two edges including an inner circumferential edge and an outer circumferential edge; a foam core layer covering the top surface of the base section and extending to parts of the bottom surfaces of the seat at its inner and outer circumferential edges; a gelatinous overlay for defining a top contour of the seat that yields easily to a pressure applied to give a comfortable softness to the user; and an outer layer for covering the gelatinous overlay and foam core layer leaving the base section exposed with substantially constant space from the base section.

2. The gel-infused seat of claim 1, wherein the core layer is made of polyurethane into a molding foam.

3. The gel-infused seat of claim 1, wherein the base section is made of polypropylene.

4. The gel-infused seat of claim 1, wherein the gelatinous overlay is made of polyurethane elastomers.

5. The gel-infused seat of claim 1, wherein, the outer layer is made of a flexible elastomeric sheet with an appropriate friction against the user's flesh.

6. A gel-infused seat for mounting on a toilet bowl comprising: a base extending along a top rim of the bowl for supporting a user's weight, wherein the base has a bottom surface, wherein the base section has a top surface opposite to the bottom surface of the seat and at least two edges including an inner circumferential edge and an outer circumferential edge; a foam layer covering the top surface of the base section and extending to parts of the bottom surfaces of the seat at a foam inner circumferential edge and foam core outer circumferential edge, wherein the foam layer is an intermediate density polymer; a gel layer defining a top contour of the seat that yields easily to a pressure applied to give a comfortable softness to the user, wherein the gel layer is bonded to the top surface of the foam layer; and an outer layer for covering the gelatinous overlay and foam core layer leaving the base section exposed with substantially constant space from the base section.

7. The gel-infused seat of claim 6, wherein the foam layer is made of foam polyurethane.

8. The gel-infused seat of claim 6, wherein the base section is made of polypropylene.

9. The gel-infused seat of claim 6, wherein the gel layer is made of polyurethane elastomers.

10. The gel-infused seat of claim 6, wherein, the outer layer is made of a flexible elastomeric sheet with an appropriate friction against the user's flesh.

11. A gel-infused seat for mounting on a toilet bowl comprising: a base extending along a top rim of the bowl for supporting a user's weight, wherein the base has a bottom surface, wherein the base section has a top surface opposite to the bottom surface of the seat and at least two edges including an inner circumferential edge and an outer circumferential edge; a foam layer covering the top surface of the base section and extending to parts of the bottom surfaces of the seat at a foam inner circumferential edge and foam core outer circumferential edge, wherein the foam layer is an intermediate density polymer; a gel layer defining a top contour of the seat that yields easily to a pressure applied to give a comfortable softness to the user, wherein the gel layer is bonded to the top surface of the foam layer; and an outer layer for covering the gelatinous overlay, wherein the outer layer receives an embossed texture pattern.

12. The gel-infused seat of claim 11, wherein the foam layer is made of foam polyurethane.

13. The gel-infused seat of claim 11, wherein the base section is made of polypropylene.

14. The gel-infused seat of claim 11, wherein the gel layer is made of polyurethane elastomers.

15. The gel-infused seat of claim 11, wherein the foam layer is made of foam polyurethane, wherein the gel layer is made of polyurethane elastomers, wherein the base section is made of polypropylene.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a toilet seat. More particularly, the present invention relates to a cushioned toilet seat with an additional infusion of gelatinous elastomers to a seat frame that does not require a complex or series of injection moldings.

B. Description of the Prior Art

There has been a problem recognized in relation to the inconvenient hard feeling when sitting on the conventional toilet seats made simply of a molded plastic, a carved wood or even a composite of different thermoplastic materials.

A soft layer to envelope a harder seat ring core in making more comforting seating surface for toilet users has been the subject of many patents including U.S. Pat. No. 7,111,331 to Cecchin that describes a skin polymer filled with a core material thru concentric co-injection; U.S. Pat. No. 6,640,349 to Toldo et al. describing encapsulation of a toilet seat ring with a plastic overlay covering thru consecutive injections of polymeric overlay and then a core material; U.S. Pat. No. 6,154,892 to Hogue; and many others.

Of these known technologies, U.S. Pat. No. 6,154,892 suggests a toilet seat comprising a rigid injection molded seat insert of a reinforced thermoplastic material and an injection over-mold layer of a soft thermoplastic material. The entire exterior surface of seat insert of the '892 patent is generally buried in the even thickness of the over-mold layer except some exposures of the insert as bumpers or stand-offs. However, it requires two separate molding processes involving a molding of the rigid insert and an over-molding of top layer for non-slip seating surface.

It will be clearly advantageous to provide a new toilet seat with an enhanced cushion that requires one less injection process on the contrary to conventional seat constructions.

Therefore, apart from conventional thoughts of constructing a cushioned toilet seat, an object of the present invention is to provide an original toilet seat that is significantly easy on manufacturing while adding an infusion of gel for a heightened seating comfort.

Another object of the invention is to provide a toilet seat component that can be made perfectly compatible with a wide variety of toilet fixture designs requiring no extra investment in existing manufacturing systems.

Yet another object of the present invention of the present invention is to provide the comfort of jellified seating face of a toilet seat combined with improved outer skin layers for sanitation and pleasant sensation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The gel-infused seat for a toilet bowl according to the present invention comprises a downwardly exposed base section for directly contacting a top rim of the bowl while supporting a user's weight and multiple overlays joined securely to the base section in a unique structure to facilitate the manufacturing of the seat, which provides a substantially improved seating comfort. The base section has a top surface opposite to the bottom surfaces of the seat and at least two edges including an inner circumferential edge and an outer circumferential edge. To give a firm bond between overlays as well as a softer volume, a foam core layer covers the top surface of the base section and extends to parts of the bottom surfaces of the seat at its inner and outer circumferential edges. For allowing a functional contour as well as sensible softness, a gelatinous overlay is provided defining a top contour of the seat that yields easily to a pressure applied to give a comfortable softness to the user. An outer layer covers the gelatinous overlay and foam core layer leaving the base section exposed with substantially constant space from the base section.

As a way to ensure a permanent unity between the multiple layers of seat that involves no encapsulation but open overlays, several structural features are embedded in the skin as well as base section: First, two opposite overhangs are made of the core layer at its inner end near opening and outer end near outer edge; second, two opposite notches are formed on base section along the inner and outer peripheral edges of bottom respectively and then buried under solidified overhangs, respectively and finally, a number of intermittent eyes are formed through notch of base section. Such a partial wrapping over base section permits manufacturing of layered seat in most simplified way because pouring and curing of molten materials can be done just with a lower mold utilizing base section itself as an upper mold eliminating the need for two consecutive injection processes or a sophisticated combination of the two.

Embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gel-infused seat according to the present invention installed on a conventional toilet bowl.

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of the toilet seat of FIG. 1 raised in a mode of operation. FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2 showing the component layers of the seat of the invention.

Similar reference numbers denote corresponding features throughout the attached drawings.

  • 1 Toilet Bowl
  • 2 Tank
  • 4 Front Seat In Portion
  • 6 Wooden Lid
  • 8 Seat
  • 10 Hinge Sections
  • 12 Base Section
  • 16 Support Strips
  • 18 End Surfaces
  • 20 Outer Edge
  • 21 Bottom
  • 22 Top Surface
  • 24 Flexible Elastomeric Skin
  • 26 Inner Side
  • 28 Outside
  • 30 Gel Layer
  • 32 Smooth Mound Profile
  • 34 Core Layer
  • 36 First Overhang
  • 38 Second Overhang
  • 40 First Opposite Notch
  • 42 Second Opposite Notch
  • 46 Intermittent Eyes

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to FIG. 1, a typical toilet bowl 1 has a pluming portion of a tank 2 in the back and a front seating portion 4 that comprises a hinged assembly of a plastic or wooden lid 6 and a seat 8 made in accordance with the present invention. Two hinge sections 10 may be of any known types that mount the lid 6 and seat 8 to pivot independently of each other on a rear portion of bowl 1.

In FIG. 2, seat 8 of the present invention is raised to show a firm base section 12 exposed at the bottom of seat 8. Base section 12 is shaped generally in an oval ring although it may be made into a C-shape or so called open front less cover type. An elliptical central opening 14 of seat 8 is arranged to overlie the bowl 1. Three or more support strips 16 may be formed integral to base section 12, which may be made of polypropylene (PP) by an injection molding and then it is joined by multiple top layers to give unique characteristics to the seat 1 of the present invention.

Referring also to FIG. 3 wherein seat 1 is positioned upside down and shown in cross section toward the front end thereof, end surfaces 18 of strips 16 extend in a common plane allowing seat 8 to contact a flat top surface (not shown) of bowl 1 locally. Except the local protrusions of strips 16, seat 8 is generally deflected so that the inner edge at opening 14 lies lowest near the common plane of strips 16 while an outer edge 20 of oval seat 8 defines the highest area elevated from the bottom end surface 18 to form a converging bottom 21. So, outer edge 20 of seat 8 provides a good clearance between bowl 1 to insert a hand for raising the seat 8 in use or cleaning. A top surface 22 of seat 8 may be made of a pattern cut of a flexible elastomeric skin 24 with a good bacterial repellence as well as an appropriate grip against the user's flesh. Skin 24 may be comprised of a fabric backing and a predetermined thickness of a polymer topcoat. Then, in the main process of forming the seat 8, skin 24 may be placed in an open mold bottom (not shown) first and aligned with the mold interior, which is the final shape of seat top 22.

In order to ensure a permanent bond between multiple layers of seat 8, skin 24 is adapted to wrap the base section 12 to its inner side 26 and outer side 28 with small spaces between them. In case the entire layers of seat 8 are opted to be manufactured by an injection molding, these spaces may communicate with gates of the mold for supplying layer materials to fill the void formed between skin 24 and base 12. In the simplest embodiment, the layers except the base section 12 may be made free of an injection molding process. Instead, the skin 24 held in the open mold will receive a measured amount of a top GEL 30, which may be one of gel-like viscoelastic materials like polyurethane elastomers, or any suitable material that has a rate of deformation being proportional to the applied pressure.

A designed smooth mound 32 raised at the front center of seat 8 is the result of top GEL 30 flowing in a concave area of the mold. The mound 32 may work as a decency guard. In addition, due to the fluidity of GEL 30 material before curing, different topographic surfaces of toilet seat 8 may be formed according to the present invention for an enhanced seating comfort of toilet users while taking advantage of the superior softness of GEL 30. Upon leveling of top GEL 30 material, a polyurethane (PU) core layer 34 is introduced in a molten state to fill the gap between top GEL layer 30 and the base section 12 now temporarily held over top GEL layer 30. Alternatively, this final sequence of molding may be reversed so that a controlled amount of the core layer 34 is evenly poured first along the groove formed jointly by top GEL 30 and the remaining interior surface of skin 24 and then base section 12 is lowered onto the fluid core layer 34 and maintained at its predetermined position with respect to skin 24 until the layers 30 and 34 are set.

As a way to ensure a permanent unity between the multiple layers of seat 8 that involves no encapsulation but open overlays according to the present invention, several structural features are embedded in the skin 24 as well as base section 12: First, two opposite overhangs 36, 38 are made of the core layer 34 at its inner end near opening 14 and outer end near outer edge 20; second, two opposite notches 40, 42 are formed on base section 12 along the inner and outer peripheral edges of bottom 21 respectively and then buried under solidified overhangs 36 and 38, respectively and finally, a number of intermittent eyes 46 are formed through notch 40 of base section 12.

Therefore, the improved gel-infused toilet seat 8 can be provided according to the present invention through a single extrusion production process of PP base 12 with the three additional layers of PU form core layer 34, top GEL 30 and elastomeric skin 24 chemically as well as structurally bound all together.

Such a partial wrapping over base section 12 permits manufacturing of layered seat 8 in most simplified way because pouring and curing of molten materials can be done just with a lower mold utilizing base section 12 itself as an upper mold eliminating the need for two consecutive injection processes or a sophisticated combination of the two.

While the presently preferred form of the gel-infused toilet seat has been shown and described, and several modifications thereof discussed, persons skilled in this art will readily appreciate that various additional changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention, as defined and differentiated by the following claims.

Although the base section 12 is described as an injection-molded component, different blocks of solid material such as wood may be shaped with the similar features to make the inventive seat 8.

Optionally, the outer surface elastomeric skin 24 can be imprinted with a variety of graphics and designs. The outer surface elastomeric skin 24 can also be embossed with a textured pattern.