Title:
STORAGE ACCESSORY FOR PREVENTING OXIDATION OF CONTENTS STORED WITHIN A CONTAINER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage accessory that enables containers to be sealed at a desired level above the remaining contents. In an embodiment, the sealing device for a container comprises a device body having a chamber with an opening in the bottom end of the device body. The bottom end of the device body adapted to be inserted into a container, such as a wine bottle. A deployment member within the chamber, which may traverse the device body, is configured to be able to deploy arms that bias a flexible barrier outward to engage the container. In an embodiment, the arms are formed from resilient metal wires made of superelastic shape memory alloy, such as NiTi. When in a retracted position, the resilient wires may fit into the chamber of the device body. When in an expanded position, the resilient wires bias the flexible barrier causing the flexible barrier to seal a container. When the expanded arms bias the barrier against the walls of the container, sealing the container, its contents are substantially free from contact with environmental oxygen, and is only in contact with the air existing between the barrier and the contents of the container.



Inventors:
Garrison, Mark (Sarasota, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/945568
Publication Date:
05/19/2011
Filing Date:
11/12/2010
Assignee:
Diversified Solutions, Inc. (Sarasota, FL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D51/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20100051630Children's disposable drinking capMarch, 2010Ellenbecker
20070289939Plastic container with separately formed handleDecember, 2007Young et al.
20080179271NITROGEN DOSED BASEJuly, 2008Bangi
20020190020Baby bottle capDecember, 2002Noyd
20070062907Container with improved waistMarch, 2007Heisner
20080251531LARGE CAPACITY PILL BOTTLE WITH IMPROVED CHILD RESISTANCEOctober, 2008Coe et al.
20090101618PLASTIC CLOSURE COMPRISING A DRINKING OR POURING NECK AND FOIL PIERCING DEVICEApril, 2009Seelhofer
20090127221Baby Bottle to goMay, 2009Nasrallah
20060006134Cap and straw combinationJanuary, 2006Luo
20050236353Flatulency-preventing device associated with nursing bottleOctober, 2005Hsu



Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP (DC/ORL) (c/o: Greenberg Traurig LLP Chicago Office 77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 3100 Intellectual Property Department Chicago IL 60601)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sealing device for a container, comprising: a device body having a chamber therein, the device body having an opening in proximal end of the device body and an opening in a distal end of the device body, the opening in the distal end providing access to the chamber, the distal end of the device body adapted to be inserted into a container; a deployment member having a deployed position and a retracted position; a plurality of arms attached to the deployment member such that, when the deployment member is in the retracted position, the arms fit within the chamber, and when deployment member is in the deployed position, at least a substantial portion of the arms are without the chamber and within a flexible barrier, the arms being adapted to bias the flexible barrier against the container when the deployment member is in the deployed position, thereby sealing the container.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the flexible barrier is formed from a silicone material.

3. The device of claim 1, further comprising a grip mounted to the deployment member, the grip adapted for transitioning the deployment member between the deployed position and the retracted position.

4. The device of claim 1, further comprising a gasket retractor affixed in movable relation with the deployment member and affixed to the flexible gasket, whereby the gasket retractor biases the flexible gasket towards the chamber when the deployment member is transitioned to the retracted position.

5. The device of claim 1, further comprising a collar slidably mounted on the device body, the collar being adapted to resist insertion of the device body into the container beyond a location corresponding to the position of the collar on the device body.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the biasing of the flexible barrier against the inner walls of the container holds the device body stable in the container.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein the arms comprise a shape memory alloy, and wherein the arms, when in an expanded position are adapted to be in a stable memory position for alloy.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the arms are made of a superelastic alloy.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein the arms are made of nickel titanium (NiTi).

10. The device of claim 1, wherein the arms have a pinwheel form.

11. The device of claim 1, wherein the plurality of arms is sufficient to create an air-seal between the flexible barrier and the container.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein the bottom side of the flexible barrier is flat, and wherein the flexible barrier is adapted to be positioned above content stored within the container.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is adapted to seal a container having parallel sides.

14. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is adapted to seal a wine bottle.

15. The device of claim 1, wherein the device is adapted to seal a container that is chemistry glassware.

16. A method for sealing a container, comprising the steps of: inserting one end of a device body into an opening of a container, wherein the device body has arms therein and a flexible barrier, the arms being adapted to outwardly bias the flexible barrier when deployed out of the device body; deploying the arms, through an opening in the one end of the device body, into the container the arms having a memory position causing them to expand outwardly towards the walls of the container; biasing the flexible barrier, via the arms, against walls of the container, thereby sealing the container.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of deploying the arms further comprises the step of: moving a deployment member movably affixed to the arms toward the one end of the device body.

18. A method for unsealing a container sealed with a flexible barrier biased against the container walls by means of a plurality of arms, comprising the steps of: retracting the arms into a device body thereby releasing a biasing force of the arms against the flexible barrier, and thus releasing a biasing force of the flexible barrier against walls of the container; and, removing the device body from an opening of the container, wherein the device body has the arms substantially entirely therein.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the step of retracting the arms further comprises the step of: exerting a first mechanical force on the arms, in a direction coaxial with, and away from, the container, via a deployment member running through the opening of the container.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising the steps of: after the device body is removed from the opening of the container, exerting a second mechanical force on the arms in a direction opposite the first mechanical force, thereby deploying the arms out of the device body, and into a stable memory position for the arms; and storing the device body for reuse with its arms in a stable memory position.

21. The method of claim 18, wherein the step of retracting the arms retracts the arms and flexible barrier at once into a device body.

Description:

This application includes material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The disclosed device relates in general to the field of storage accessories, and in particular to an accessory for sealing containers such a bottles that contain liquids, gels, powders or other materials which may oxidize. One example of use is to prevent oxidation of remaining wine in a wine bottle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Excessive air exposure initializes the oxidation of countless compounds. Autoxidation generally refers to the chemical reaction between atmospheric oxygen and organic compounds via free radicals. The resulting destruction of the original compounds' traits makes autoxidation an undesirable reaction in many situations, such as the spontaneous oxidation of wine in open air. To prevent such explosions to air, various mechanisms have been implements to retard oxidation by tightly sealing containers. In the case of wine, corks have been used for centuries to seal glass bottles. To further minimize the adverse effects of oxygen upon bottling of wine, a vacuum filler may be used to reduce the headspace oxygen and sulfur dioxide SO2 may be added to react with any oxygen remaining in the neck of the filled bottle. Once opened, however, a bottle of wine needs to be consumed promptly before the wine spoils or losses its flavor, smell and color. Depending on the particular chemical composition of the wine, it may become undrinkable within a short period, especially if the wine is old and fragile.

What is needed is an efficient manner of sealing containers with minimum levels of oxygen to safely store compounds, which may easily oxidize at room temperatures. Because molecular oxygen is the starting point for other more dramatic oxidation mechanisms, it is beneficial to preemptively protect compounds from prolonged exposure to the large amounts of oxygen in open air. Resealing a container traps a fixed amount of oxygen that reacts with stored substances. Wine, for example, begins to oxidize as soon as the bottle is opened. A mechanism is needed to separate atmospheric oxygen and the valued compounds stored in a container and to reduce the quantity of atmospheric oxygen that may come into contact with the components so stored in order to achieve maximum protection against the oxidation phenomena. While transferring leftover wine by pouring it into a smaller bottle reduces the amount of oxygen with which the wine is left in contact, transferring fluids has several shortcomings, including: inconvenience of requiring an additional container with a capacity that matches the volume of the decanted liquid, potential for spillage, and exposure of greater surface areas of the fluid to oxygen during the pouring process. Moreover, the exact size bottle to store the desired amount of wine would be nearly impossible to routinely obtain, which may result in wasted product or undesirable airspace. In addition, there is an increased chance of oxidizing and contaminating the transferred liquid. Methods of attempting to vacuum air out of, or pump inert gas into, a bottle are also known. Each of these methods have drawbacks as well, including being ineffective when significant amounts of oxygen remain.

An advance in retarding oxidation of a liquid that only partly fills a container is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,684,033 issued to Marcus. The patent describes a pump connected to an inflation tube inserted through a cap mounted on the opening of a bottle. An exhaust tube is inserted through the inflation tube and has an inlet portion positioned in the container and an outlet portion positioned outside the container. When the cap is mounted adjacent to the opening, the air bladder and the inlet portion of the exhaust tube are positioned within the container, the pump and the outlet portion of the exhaust tube are outside the container, and the pump is activated. The air bladder expands within the container and expels air through the exhaust tube, removing oxygen from the proximity of the liquid. This approach requires a pump to manually inflate an air bladder. The pumping action is an inefficient manner sealing the container and the nature of the approach is likely to place the air bladder into contact with the liquid it is intended to protect. This may lead to the leaching of rubber material into the liquid. The leaching of rubber into a liquid such as wine is not desirable, and is likely to cause it to be unattractive to later consume. In addition, bladders and/or pumps are known to leak over time.

Another bladder construction is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,809,884 issued to Stackhouse, wherein the bladder is expanded incident to dispensing of the liquid for occupying a volume corresponding to that of the dispensed liquid in order to prevent air contamination of any liquid remaining in the container. There are, however, drawbacks to this approach as well. As an example, using the approach described in this reference, the bottle maybe inverted to effect unlatching of the described latch means and valves. The focus of the check valve is to prevent the backflow of liquid and air into the bottle. In addition to controlling the valves, the influence of gravity controls the flow of the liquid from the bottle, which in turn limits the expansion of the bladder. The unfolding of the bag depends on the air pressure resulting from the reduced liquid content. As discussed above, the nature of the approach places the air bladder into contact with the liquid it is intended to protect. This may lead to the leaching of rubber material into the liquid, and leaching of rubber into a liquid such as wine is not desirable. Also, there appears to be no way of selectively displacing air volume above the liquid in order to minimize the oxygen in contact with the liquid. Further, because the liquid comes in full contact with the valves and stopper, the valves and stopper require appropriate cleaning prior to re-use to prevent contamination.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,051,901 issued to Hickert describes a squeeze bulb that pumps air into a bladder which expands to raise the wine level upward to supplant all air within the bottle. Accordingly, the bladder is submerged in the liquid and the liquid must be elevated to contact a stopper. This design has drawbacks including, that as it raises the liquid to the top, some spillage results. In addition, as discussed above, the Hickert approach places the bladder into contact with the liquid it is intended to protect, which may degrade the liquid due to, for example, leaching.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,395,949 issued to Ehret discloses a balloon that fills the bottles as contents are poured out. The balloon floats on the liquid and keeps the flow path to the discharge tube free. The balloon is initially filled partially with pressurized gas using an air pump, and continues to expand as negative pressure in the bottle causes atmospheric air to enter the balloon from an air vent assembly. This design raises some of the issues as the previously discussed approaches, including those resulting from inflation via a air pump, expansion dependent on the displacement of the decanted liquid, and contact between the bladder and liquid, the latter which may lead to leaching.

U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2009/0095776, published to Turner et al., describes a flexible bladder which is inflated by pumping liquid and/or gas through a pressurization tube into it such that the bladder substantially fills the interior volume of the container. This air bladder-based approach involves the inefficiency and cost of pumping a bladder. Also, as the pressurization tube and the bladder are inserted into the bottle, the approach presents the risk of having the bladder material punctured. In addition, the stretched bladder may break as it inflates to fill the bottle because of the substantial surface friction and adhesion between the container's inner side-walls and the bladder which inhibits the expansion of the bladder. The application also describes a void former comprising ribbed tubes to allow wine to pass around the bladder from the bottom of the bottle to the top opening. This void former, however, permits the remaining oxygen in the neck of the bottle to have contact with the remaining wine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of embodiments as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the various views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating principles of the invention.

FIG. 1 shows an illustration of a deployed device within a wine bottle, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of an embodiment of a mechanism that can be used to urge the sealing portion of the sealing device outward such that it may engage the walls of a container.

FIG. 3 illustrates a typical natural (i.e., relaxed) position of an embodiment of the mechanism for urging the sealing portion of the sealing device outwards, the mechanism being overlaid with the approximate outer dimension of a bottle container that may be sealed by the device 1.

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the barrier, in accordance with certain embodiments of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

The present disclosure is directed to providing an improved approach for inhibiting oxidation for the contents of a container by deploying a sealing device that creates a physical separation between the contents and the remaining air in the container. The sealing device is mechanically, rather than pneumatically, deployed. The sealing device may be manually located to reduce or even minimize the amount of oxygen exposed to the contents of a container without shifting, spilling or pressurizing the contents. Thus, rather than attempting to displace space within a container, in an embodiment, the contents are separated from the remaining air in the container by creating a seal within the container in the area above the contents. The sealing portion of the sealing device is made from generally flexible material. In an embodiment, the generally flexible material is not stretched to any substantial degree though use. Thus, the flexible material retains its initial form, and maintains its integrity to retard the possibility of leaching. In an embodiment, the sealing portion of the sealing device and the inner walls of the container require only a relatively minimal area of contact; that minimal amount being the amount sufficient to create the required air seal. In an embodiment, the interaction between the sealing device and the contents may be minimized. Minimizing the interaction between the sealing device and the contents reduces the chance that the contents are contaminated by the presence of any foreign substances present on the sealing device. Because the content itself does not need to be shifted to displace air from the container, the sealing process itself does not cause the content to be brought into excessive contact with air. Spillage may be avoided because the container and its content may remain still during the sealing process. The stillness of the process of using the sealing device may be important when the content include reactive compounds which may be easily catalyzed or oxidized by stirring or shaking.

The container to be sealed may be any size or shape. The container to be sealed needs no specific alteration for use with the sealing device, however, in an embodiment, specially designed containers may be used. In an embodiment, the container to be sealed may be, or have a portion that is, generally cylindrical, such as a wine bottle. The content of the container may a single substance or may include a mixture of compounds, powders, and may comprise solids, liquids or even heavy gases. As examples, the container may be formed from glass or other substances typically used to house foods or chemicals (e.g., bottles, beakers, flasks, funnels, cylinders, or tubes). In an embodiment, the content may comprise any compound (e.g., food, drinks or chemicals) that may oxidize. In an embodiment, wine may be stored and sealed in its original bottle in order to retard or even arrest the oxidation process and with adequate sealing force the embodiment would seal carbonation in liquids. In another embodiment, the contents of the container may include any substance that it is desirable to have separated from the ambient atmosphere, such as substances that give off noxious or unpleasant emissions.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the disclosed sealing device 1 includes a grip 2 at its proximal end, a body 3, and a sealing portion 4 at its distal end. The sealing portion 4 is configured to be a collapsible component (shown in its expanded state in FIG. 1). When the sealing portion 4 is collapsed from its expanded state to its collapsed state, the sealing portion narrows sufficiently to permit the device 1 to be withdraw from the container 8.

In an embodiment, the sealing portion 4 is deployed into a container 8 by placing the distal end of the device 1 through the opening of the container 8—which may be the neck of a bottle—by locating the sealing portion 4 of the device 1 at a desired location within the container 8 and thereafter engaging the sealing portion 4 with the interior container 8 walls. In an embodiment, the skin of the sealing portion 4 comprises flexible material that may be shaped by a deploying mechanism. The volume and shape of the sealing portion 4 varies depending upon whether it is in a deployed state or a collapsed state. In an embodiment, the skin may be formed from a high-grade rubber, silicone rubber, or any other material suited in order to prevent contamination of the contents of a container 8 over time and use. It will be apparent to a person of skill in the art that the formulation of the skin may depend, at least in part, upon the contents that are to be contained within the container 8.

Once engaged with the container 8 walls, the sealing portion creates an air-seal between the atmospheric air, and thus atmospheric oxygen, and the then-sealed portion of the container. In an embodiment, the sealed-off portion of the container 8 includes its remaining contents. In an embodiment, the sealing portion 4 is deployed just above the surface of wine remaining in a bottle, thus leaving an insignificant amount of air with which the wine can react.

In an embodiment, the body 3 has a collar 11 that may be used to steady or hold the deployment device 1 in place within an opening of a container 8. In an embodiment, the collar 11 may be used as a pre-positioning mechanism that permits the sealing portion to travel a predetermined distance into the container 8. The body 8 can be marked with indicia that reflect the specific depth or quantity that may result from a particular position of the collar 11. In an embodiment, a bottle container 8 and device 1 could have complementary markings that would permit the collar 11 to be pre-set by a reading from the bottle container 8 itself. In an embodiment, the collar 11 may be used to relieve, at least in part, the downward force resulting from the weight of the device 1 on the engagement between the sealing portion 4 and the inner walls of the container 8. In an embodiment, the collar 11 is adjustable and may traverse at least a portion of the body 3. The device 1 may be placed at a high position within the container 8 and subsequently adjusted downward to a determined location where the barrier 5 is sufficiently close to the content 9.

A grip 2 is provided on the proximal end of the body 3. The grip 2 may be used for grasping the device 1 or assisting in inserting or withdrawing the device 1 from a container 8. In an embodiment (as discussed in more detail below), the grip 2 may be used to manipulate (e.g., collapse or restore) the sealing portion 4. In an embodiment, pulling the grip 2 would collapse the sealing portion 4, and pushing the grip 2 would restore the sealing portion to its non-collapsed position.

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a mechanism that can be used to urge the sealing portion 4 outward such that it may engage the inner walls of a container 8. Four pinwheel shaped resilient arms 6 are shown extending from a hollow within the body 3 of the device 1. Although four arms 6 are shown, more or fewer arms 6 may be used. For the purpose of explanation, the arms 6 are shown without the outer skin that, in combination with the arms 6, forms the sealing portion 4 of the device 1. The arms 6, may be retracted toward, and potentially completely within the hollow of the body 3 through a distal opening to collapse the sealing portion 4. In an embodiment, when collapsed, the sealing portion 4 may be withdrawn partially or completely within the body 3. The sealing portion 4 may be collapsed to accommodate, for example, insertion into, and withdrawal from, a container 8 having a narrower opening than body such as a wine bottle. FIG. 3 illustrates a typical natural (i.e., relaxed) position of an embodiment of the arms 6 and shows (for illustrative purposes) the relaxed position overlaid with the approximate outer dimension of a bottle container 8a that could be sealed by the device 1.

In the expanded position, the arms 6 project out of the main body 3. In an embodiment, in their retracted position, the arms 6 may be pulled back into the body 3. In an embodiment, the arms are mechanically linked to the grip 2 so that pulling the grip 2 away from the body 3 collapses the sealing portion 4, while pushing the grip 2 towards the body 3 restores the sealing portion to its deployed, substantially relaxed state. When in the deployed position, the pinwheel shape of the arms 6 urges the sealing portion 4 to take the shape of its surroundings, constrained only by the skin of the sealing portion 4 and the walls of a container 8. In various embodiments, the arms 6 may differ in number, shape and other characteristics. As will be apparent to a person of skill in the art, the number, shape and other characteristics of the arms 6 and the skin of the sealing portion 4 can depend upon the shape and contours of the container 8 in which the device 1 is to be deployed. For example, the arms 6 may be in the form of a clover shape (not shown). The use of four arms and a specially shaped skin may facility operation in a square-shaped container (not shown).

In an embodiment, the arms 6 may be formed from a memory alloy, such as nickel titanium (Nitinol or NiTi), which has good shape memory and superelasticity. Shape memory alloys “remember” their original shape, and return to that shape after being deformed. Superelastic alloys, which belong to the larger family of shape memory alloys, respond to an applied stress in an elastic or reversible manner. A superelastic material may return to its original shape after the removal of even relatively high applied strains. No change in temperature is needed for superelastic shape memory alloy to recover its initial shape. In an embodiment, other alloys may be used. Other alloys may include copper-zinc-aluminum-nickel and copper-aluminum-nickel alloys. Further, zinc, copper, gold, and iron may be used to create other alloys which can be employed for use as arms 6.

In an embodiment, the arms 6 may be made from non-metal substances such as plastics. As discussed above, the characteristics of shape memory and superelasticity are useful in creating arms 6 that are deployable and collapsible in the manner appropriate for the sealing portion 4. To be appropriate, the mechanism for deploying the sealing portion should be able to create a static airtight seal against the inner wall of a container that, at least temporarily, withstands the vertical weight of the device 1.

Because most memory alloys, including NiTi, are expensive, where arms 6 are made of resilient metal wires, it may be desirable that the wires traverse only a portion of the length of the body 3. Thus, instead of traversing the entire body 3 and engaging he grip, in an embodiment, resilient metal wires are attached to a deployment member (not shown), and the deployment member is affixed to the grip 2 by a rod or other connector (not shown) that traverses the length of the body, internally, from the deployment member to the grip 2. In an embodiment the rod or other connector is sufficiently rigid that, as used in combination with the deployment member, it can be used to deploy and collapse the sealing portion 4.

In order to better retain its original shape over time and prevent “amnesia”, arms 6 made from resilient metal wires may be stored in the deployed (i.e., non-collapsed) position.

In an embodiment, the sealing portion 4 has an outer perimeter which acts as a gasket when the sealing portion 4 is deployed within a container 8. In an embodiment, the outer perimeter takes the shape of the horizontal cross-section of the container 8 as the arms 6 or other mechanism bias the sealing portion 4 towards the inner walls of the container 8. In an embodiment, when the outer perimeter is biased against the inner walls of the container 8, a seal is achieved separating the atmospheric oxygen above the seal and the space below the seal.

In an embodiment, the sealing portion 5 may not form a complete seal between the atmospheric oxygen above and the space below. Small gaps between outer perimeter and the inner walls of the container 8 may be acceptable. In an embodiment, a predetermined percentage of containment may be acceptable, such as 99%>. In an embodiment, a small amount of air between the sealing portion 4 and any contents in the container is acceptable. In an embodiment, such a small amount of air between the sealing portion 4 and contents in the container 8 is desired. In an embodiment, the sealing portion 4 should be deployed in such a manner that it does not touch content in the container 8 upon deployment or release.

In an embodiment, the inner walls of the container 8 at the determined location for releasing and expanding the barrier 5 are substantially parallel in order to permit the sealing portion 4 to remains in a stable sealing position. In an embodiment, the sealing portion 4 is deployed within inner walls of a container 8 that are not parallel, but which allow sealing portion 4 to retain its position; such locations may be stationary points along concave inner walls 7, as in the case of certain separatory funnels. As will be apparent to a person of skill in the art, in an embodiment, a device 1 may include multiple rows of arms 6 and a skin that is elongated over its area of contact with container 8 walls to better accommodate containers 8 with non-parallel sides.

In an embodiment, when no external forces are applied to the grip 2, the sealing portion 4 remains stable in its deployed state or in its collapsed state. In an embodiment, device 1 should be stored in its relaxed and stable deployed position because the biasing means of the sealing portion 4 is then as close to its memory position as the device 1 permits.

In an embodiment, the arms 6 may be attached to the skin of the sealing portion 4. In such embodiment, when the sealing portion 4 is in its deployed state, the arms 6 are substantially without the main body 3 and, in an embodiment, the device 1 is thereafter retracted by withdrawing the grip 2 from the main body 3. Other means of retracting the sealing portion 4 may also be used, and it will be apparent to those of skill in the art that various methods of retraction are possible.

FIG. 4 shows a cross sectional view of a part the skin in one embodiment of a sealing portion 4. The illustrative skin comprises a reinforced rim 14 and a bottom side 15. In this illustrative embodiment, the reinforced rim 14 may permit the sealing portion 4 to create a better seal with the inner wall of a container 8, while the flat bottom side 15 may permit the device 1 to be stored vertically on a flat surface when not in use. In an embodiment, to mitigate contamination, the device 1 is stored suspended in the air. In an embodiment, the device may be suspended by the grip 2, or by a ring (not shown), or may be easily attached to, and removed from, a clip or other wall-mounted device.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.