Title:
Hand manipulation and comfort for rubber gloves by incorporating bellows
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible and stretchable glove made of elastomeric material, the glove having palm, back, and sleeve elements with thumb and finger portions. A plurality of corrugations at high flex points substantially parallel to the direction of the axis of flexure reduce the stress on the hand induced by tension in the elastomeric material when stretched by the bending motions of the hand, thumb and fingers. This allows the hand to assume its natural curvature and partially compensate for flexing during use. The glove is preferably resistant and impermeable to chemical and biological products. The glove provides protection for the hands and may form part of a chemical and biological protective ensemble worn by armed forces personnel when working in hazardous chemical and biological environments.



Inventors:
Clark, John R. (Redcliff, CA)
Tremblay-lutter, Julie F. (Medicine Hat, CA)
Boffin, Michel E. (Ste-Adele, CA)
Weihrer, Sylvia J. (Kanata, CA)
Application Number:
09/850198
Publication Date:
11/14/2002
Filing Date:
05/08/2001
Assignee:
CLARK JOHN R.
TREMBLAY-LUTTER JULIE F.
BOFFIN MICHEL E.
WEIHRER SYLVIA J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D19/00; (IPC1-7): A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STITES & HARBISON PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:



1. A glove made of elastomeric materials comprising a palm and a back element with extending thumb and finger portions for receiving a hand, said glove having a plurality of corrugations at locations where normal hand flexures occur, said corrugations extending generally parallel to the direction of the axis of flexure and are operational in use to reduce the stress on the hand induced by tension in the elastomeric material when it is stretched by the bending motions of the hand.

2. The glove as defined in claim 1 wherein the corrugations are on the back element of the glove and on the finger portions, said corrugations tapering off at sides of the glove and the finger portions.

3. The glove as defined in claim 1 wherein the corrugations extend continuously around the palm and back element and around the finger portions.

4. The glove as defined in claim 1, wherein the glove is precurved so as to match the natural curvature of the hand.

5. The glove as defined in claim 2, wherein the glove is precurved so as to match the natural curvature of the hand.

6. The glove as defined in claim 3, wherein the glove is precurved so as to match the natural curvature of the hand.

7. The glove as defined in claim 1 wherein said glove has a flat shape with corrugations extending continuously around the metacarpal portion of the hand and around the finger portions.

8. The glove as defined in claim 1, wherein said glove has two or more thumb crotch corrugations with said crotch corrugations configured to extend substantially parallel to the direction of the thumb's axis of flexure, the said crotch corrugations allowing ease of movement of the thumb at the crotch.

9. The glove as defined in claim 1, wherein said glove is made of materials resistant and impermeable to hazardous chemical products.

10. The glove as defined in claim 1, wherein said glove is made of material which is resistant to deformation and deterioration due to aging in storage, exposure to ultraviolet light and changes in temperature ranging from −30 to +60° C.

11. The glove as defined in claim 2, wherein said glove has two or more thumb crotch corrugations with said crotch corrugations configured to extend substantially parallel to the direction of the thumb's axis of flexure, the said crotch corrugations allowing ease of movement of the thumb at the crotch.

12. The glove as defined in claim 2, wherein said glove is made of materials resistant and impermeable to hazardous chemical products.

13. The glove as defined in claim 2, wherein said glove is made of material which is resistant to deformation and deterioration due to aging in storage, exposure to ultraviolet light and changes in temperature ranging from −30 to +60° C.

14. The glove as defined in claim 3, wherein said glove has two or more thumb crotch corrugations with said corrugations configured to extend substantially parallel to the direction of the thumb's axis of flexure, the said crotch corrugations allowing ease of movement of the thumb at the crotch.

15. The glove as defined in claim 3, wherein said glove is made of materials resistant and impermeable to hazardous chemical products.

16. The glove as defined in claim 3, wherein said glove is made of material which is resistant to deformation and deterioration due to aging in storage, exposure to ultraviolet light and changes in temperature ranging from −30 to +60° C.

17. The glove as defined in claim 4, wherein said glove has two or more thumb crotch corrugations with said corrugations configured to extend substantially parallel to the direction of the thumb's axis of flexure, the said crotch corrugations allowing ease of movement of the thumb at the crotch.

18. The glove as defined in claim 4, wherein said glove is made of materials resistant and impermeable to hazardous chemical products.

19. The glove as defined in claim 4, wherein said glove is made of material which is resistant to deformation and deterioration due to aging in storage, exposure to ultraviolet light and changes in temperature ranging from −30 to +60° C.

20. The glove as defined in claim 1, wherein said palm and back elements are made of elastomeric materials having different formulation, the palm element being made of material formulated to be highly durable with the back element being made of a material formulated for higher flexibility than the palm element.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The invention described herein relates to flexible gloves and more particularly to gloves made of elastomeric material that is resistant and impermeable to chemical products. These types of gloves may be worn with a chemical protective ensemble and provide protection for the hands in a hazardous chemical environment and in particular can be used with a chemical protective clothing worn by armed forces personnel in contaminated land, sea or air environments.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Elastomeric and rubber gloves are widely used in variety of work situations either for protection of the hands from hazardous materials or for reducing contamination at a work area. Most such gloves are only suitable to be used for a short period of time, a fraction of an hour at a time, and for certain types of work. Prolonged use of these gloves produces symptoms such as hand fatigue, decreased dexterity, poor flexibility and discomfort.

[0003] In chemical and biological war situations armed forces personnel may be required to perform their duties wearing chemical protective clothing and gloves for extended periods of time as personal protection in contaminated land, sea or air environments. In addition, chemical resistant elastomeric gloves are required in laboratory work for the safe handling of hazardous materials, in hospitals for surgical operations, and in manufacturing operations for the assembly of intricate and precision parts. In these applications, it is often necessary to operate with gloves on for a considerable length of time.

[0004] The currently used gloves are not suitable for use in certain types of work and cause the problems cited above. U.S. Pat. No. 3,121,877 entitled “Glove Ventilating System” is typical of an inventive concept useful in reducing discomfort caused by accumulation of moisture due to hand perspiration inside the glove but does not help the flexibility of the glove.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 3,175,226 entitled “Glove Construction With Differential Expansion Means” describes a glove that is stretchable and accommodates different sizes of the hand. The '226 glove has a palm element of substantially inelastic flexible material, and back element with limited transverse elastic flexibility. The '226 glove does not relieve some of the problems mentioned above.

[0006] The Canadian chemical protective gloves presently available do not typically match the natural curvature of the hands. Tension in the elastomeric material of a glove, due to the natural curvature of the hand and from flexing during use, contributes to hand fatigue, decreased dexterity, poor flexibility and discomfort.

[0007] While solutions to the above problems have been sought the gloves currently used are not suitable for prolonged use. Gloves of the type described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,121,877 and 3,175,226 are complicated and expensive to manufacture and difficult to use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is the object of the present invention to provide gloves made of elastomeric material that are impermeable to hazardous chemical products and that are relatively comfortable to wear for an extended period of time when working in hazardous chemical environment. These types of gloves may be worn with chemical protective clothing.

[0009] The glove according to one embodiment of the invention is formed of elastomeric material and has palm and back elements with extending finger and thumb portions for receiving a hand, said glove having a plurality of corrugations at high flex points that extend substantially parallel to the direction of the axis of flexure and are operational in use to reduce the stress on the hand induced by tension in the elastomeric material when stretched by the bending motions of the hand and fingers and allow the hand to assume its natural curvature and partially compensate for flexing during use.

[0010] Gloves, according to another embodiment of the invention, have a right and a left hand and are formed with curvature to preferentially match the natural curvature of each hand, the glove including a set of corrugations on the back side and extending to the sides of the hand, at high flex points of the hand, mainly at the thumb, fingers and knuckles areas, the direction of such corrugations being substantially parallel to the direction of the axis of flexure.

[0011] According to a further embodiment of this invention, a flat version of the glove has corrugations on both back side and palm side and one glove may be worn on the right or left hand.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings which illustrate preferred embodiments of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 1 is a view of the back of a left hand glove according to one embodiment of the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 illustrates the digit and metacarpal crease corrugations taken in cross-section along line A-A of the glove in FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 3 illustrates the digit corrugations taken in cross-section along line B-B of FIG. 1;

[0016] FIG. 4 is a side view of the glove shown in FIG. 1 which is formed with a curvature that matches the natural curvature of a hand;

[0017] FIG. 5 is a side view of a flat corrugated glove according to another embodiment of the present invention; and

[0018] FIG. 6 illustrates the thumb corrugations taken in cross-section along line C-C of the glove in FIG. 5.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0019] In accordance with the invention, the glove generally indicated by reference character 10 in FIGS. 1 and 4 comprises a palm element 11 and a back element 12 as shown in FIG. 4 and, as best illustrated in FIG. 1, a sleeve element 22, a thumb member 13 and four finger members 14, 15, 16, and 17. The thumb member 13 and four finger members 14, 15, 16, and 17 each have inner and back elements.

[0020] There are three embodiments of this invention with a first embodiment being illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. The glove in FIG. 1 has major metacarpal crease corrugations 18, four being shown, and two or more digit crease corrugations 20. These corrugations correspond to major metacarpal flexure and minor thumb and digits flexures. The digit crease corrugations 20 are shown in cross-section in FIG. 3 and the metacarpal corrugations 18 are shown in cross-section in FIG. 2. The corrugations extend generally parallel to the direction of axis of flexure. The glove in FIG. 1 also has two or more thumb crotch corrugations 24, which extend generally parallel to the direction of axis of flexure.

[0021] In this first embodiment of the glove, as illustrated in FIG. 1, except for the thumb crotch corrugations 24, the other corrugations shown in FIG. 1 extend on the back element 12 and side edges and on the back and side edges of the fingers as illustrated in FIG. 4. There are no corrugations on the palm element and inner surface of thumb or fingers. In this embodiment the glove has a built in curvature 30 as shown in a side view of the glove in FIG. 4.

[0022] In a second embodiment of this invention, not shown, the glove 10 is similar to the first embodiment. That is, the glove has two or more thumb crotch corrugations as shown by reference character 24 in FIG. 1, and a built in curvature 30 as shown in FIG. 4, but the metacarpal crease corrugations 18 and the digit crease corrugations 20 extend continuously around the palm of the glove and finger elements respectively.

[0023] In a third embodiment of this invention shown in FIG. 5, the glove 10′ is the same as the second embodiment but without the curvature 30 of FIG. 4. The various elements, members and corrugations are identified with the same numbers but with a prime added. In this flat embodiment one glove may be worn on either the right or left hand with corrugations on both “front” and “back” sides of the glove permitting easy flexure regardless of the hand on which the glove is worn.

[0024] Therefore, the three variations of the glove described herein are: (1) a curved version with corrugations on the back element and side edges; (2) a curved version with corrugations on both palm and back elements and inner and back elements of the fingers; and, (3) a flat version with corrugations on both palm and back elements and inner and back elements of the fingers.

[0025] Because of the similarity of the structures, only the first and third embodiment of the gloves are illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 5.

[0026] Although, FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 show three corrugations 20 at each finger, the number of corrugations at each location may be one or more. Further smaller corrugations 21 may be added near the corrugations 20 as illustrated in FIG. 2.

[0027] These gloves are designed to allow, at a users' option, the wearing of a liner, in order to absorb any hand perspiration. The liner may be formed as an irremovable part of the gloves. Also, the gloves may be manufactured in several different sizes.

[0028] The gloves are fabricated using multiple elastomeric compounds based on elastomers or their blends selected to provide the required end use properties. In variations of the gloves the palm and back elements may be made of elastomeric materials of different compositions. The gloves may be made of a material formulated to be tough and highly durable for the palm element and of a material formulated for flexibility while retaining acceptable strength and durability for the back element, providing a balance between strength, durability and ease of use.

[0029] The gloves of this invention lend themselves to being manufactured of selected materials resistant to particular chemical and biological products, and resistant to deformation and deterioration due to aging in storage, exposure to ultraviolet light, ozone or changes in temperature from −30 to +60° C.

[0030] Various modifications beyond those described herein may be made to the preferred embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.