Title:
Leak resistant container and method of using same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container includes a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein, a lid, and a first sealing member compressed between the lid and the inner surface of the jar. The container further includes a second sealing member disposed between the lid and the rim and a cap threadedly engaged with the rim for compressing the second sealing member. A method of using a container includes compressing a first sealing member between an inner surface of a jar and a lid and compressing a second sealing member between a rim of the jar and a cap. A method of using a container includes removing a cap threadedly engaged with a rim of a jar and removing a lid sealed to a rim and an inner surface of the jar.



Inventors:
Klepac, Gary W. (Liberty Hill, TX, US)
Pearson, Jonathan H. (Liberty Hill, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/980397
Publication Date:
05/04/2006
Filing Date:
11/03/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/350
International Classes:
B65D45/30; B65D53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SMALLEY, JAMES N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAEGRE DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container, comprising: a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein; a lid; a first sealing member adapted to be compressed between the lid and the inner surface of the jar; a second sealing member adapted to be disposed between the lid and the rim; and a cap threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the second sealing member.

2. A container, according to claim 1, wherein the lid comprises a flange and the second sealing member is adapted to be disposed between the flange and the rim.

3. A container, according to claim 1, wherein the lid comprises a seal retainer on which the first sealing member is adapted to be retained.

4. A container, according to claim 1, wherein the cap is adapted to retain the lid in a spatial position with respect to the jar.

5. A container, according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the jar, the lid, and the cap comprises a rigid polymer.

6. A container, according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first sealing member and the second sealing member comprises an elastomeric polymer.

7. A container, according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the first sealing member and the second sealing member comprises an O-ring.

8. A container, according to claim 1, wherein the second sealing member comprises a gasket.

9. A container, according to claim 1, wherein: the cap defines a groove; and the lid comprises a lip, received in the groove, for retaining the lid on the cap.

10. A container, according to claim 1, wherein the lid defines a pressure-relief port.

11. A container, according to claim 1, wherein the lid comprises a handle.

12. A container, according to claim 11, wherein the handle comprises a button.

13. A container, according to claim 11, wherein the handle comprises a bail comprising ends received in a pair of end blocks extending from lid.

14. A container, according to claim 11, wherein the lid defines a pressure-relief port.

15. A method of using a container, comprising: compressing a first sealing member between an inner surface of a jar and a lid; and compressing a second sealing member between a rim of the jar and a cap.

16. A method, according to claim 15, further comprising retaining the lid in a spatial relationship with the jar.

17. A method, according to claim 15, wherein compressing the second sealing member comprises tightening a cap onto the rim of the jar.

18. A method, according to claim 15, further comprising retaining the lid on the cap.

19. A method of using a container, comprising: removing a cap threadedly engaged with a rim of a jar; and removing a lid sealed to a rim and an inner surface of the jar.

20. A method, according to claim 19, wherein removing the lid comprises puncturing a pressure-relief port of the lid.

21. A method, according to claim 19, wherein removing the lid comprises using a handle of the lid to remove the lid.

22. A container, comprising: a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein; a capping member; a first sealing member adapted to be compressed between the capping member and the inner surface of the jar; and a second sealing member adapted to be disposed between the capping member and the rim, wherein the capping member is threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the second sealing member.

23. A container, according to claim 22, wherein the capping member comprises a cap portion threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the sealing member.

24. A container, according to claim 22, wherein the capping member comprises a lid portion, such that the first sealing member is adapted to be compressed between the lid portion and the inner surface of the jar and the second sealing member is adapted to be disposed between the lid portion and the rim.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention pertains to leak resistant containers and, in particular, to a leak resistant container for implantable biological materials.

2. Description of the Related Art

Implantable devices, such as prosthetic heart valves, are representative of numerous implantable biological materials that must be stored or shipped in a sterile package or in sealed, anti-bacterial packaging. Often such packages contain a liquid, which may have antibacterial properties to inhibit transmission of disease with the biological material. To effectively package such materials in a liquid storage medium, it is important to have a container that can be manipulated within a sterile environment such as a glove box. The assembled container should provide a seal that will inhibit the loss of the liquid storage medium, if present, for a substantial period of time, e.g., for as long as five years. Despite the need for a reliable seal, however, it should not be difficult for operating room staff to open the container in the sterile and constrained circumstances of open-heart surgery, where it is anticipated that the present invention will be used.

Conventional storage containers (e.g., the container 10 of FIG. 1), such as jars, bottles, and the like, generally employ a single seal 15 (e.g., a gasket or a ring) that is compressed between a cap 20 and a jar 25. If the cap 20 is not tightened sufficiently, a sterile seal may not be maintained, especially during shipment. When properly tightened, the cap 20 may be difficult to remove by hand, often requiring a separate removal tool to facilitate opening.

The present invention is directed to overcoming, or at least reducing, the effects of one or more of the problems set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the invention. This summary is not an exhaustive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key or critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is discussed later.

In one aspect of the present invention, a container is provided. The container includes a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein, a lid, and a first sealing member adapted to be compressed between the lid and the inner surface of the jar. The container further includes a second sealing member adapted to be disposed between the lid and the rim and a cap threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the second sealing member.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method of using a container is provided. The method includes compressing a first sealing member between an inner surface of a jar and a lid and compressing a second sealing member between a rim of the jar and a cap.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a method of using a container is provided. The method includes removing a cap threadedly engaged with a rim of a jar and removing a lid sealed to a rim and an inner surface of the jar.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a container includes a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein and a capping member. The container further includes a first sealing member adapted to be compressed between the capping member and the inner surface of the jar and a second sealing member adapted to be disposed between the capping member and the rim. The capping member is threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the second sealing member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded, elevational view of a prior art container.

FIG. 2 is an exploded, elevational view of an illustrative embodiment of a container according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the container of FIG. 2 shown in its sealed state;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the container of FIG. 2-FIG. 3 taken along the 4-4 line of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view, corresponding to that of FIG. 4, of alternative implementations of a cap and a lid for a container according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of an alternative implementation of a lid for a container according to the present invention;

FIG. 7A is a cross-sectional view of the lid of FIG. 6 taken along the 7-7 line of FIG. 6;

FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional view corresponding to that of FIG. 7A illustrating a puncture through the lid;

FIG. 8 is an elevational view of an alternative implementation of the lid of FIG. 2-FIG. 4 including a button-type handle;

FIG. 9 is an elevational view of an alternative implementation of the lid of FIG. 2-FIG. 4 including a bail-type handle; and

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view, corresponding to that of FIG. 4, of an alternative implementation of a unitized cap and a lid for a container according to the present invention.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. In the interest of clarity, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. It will of course be appreciated that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

The present invention relates to various embodiments of a container that can be used to ship and/or store biological material and, specifically, implantable biological material. The container employs two independent sealing members. The container provides contamination protection to its sterile contents when in storage or shipment. Even when properly sealed, the container can be opened by hand without the use of a removal tool.

FIG. 2 is an exploded, elevational view of a first illustrative embodiment of a container 100 according to the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the container 100 includes a jar 105 comprising an inner surface 110 defining a cavity 115 and comprising a rim 120. The container 100 further includes a lid 125 comprising a seal retainer 130 extending from a flange 135. A first sealing member 140, e.g., a toroidal ring or “O-ring”, is retained on the seal retainer 130 to provide a seal between the lid 125 and the inner surface 110 of the jar 105.

The container 100 also includes a second sealing member 145 disposed between an upper surface 150 of the rim 120 and a lower surface 155 of the flange 135. Note that the terms “lower surface” and “upper surface” relate to the container 100 as illustrated in FIG. 2, rather than to a particular orientation of the container 100 in use. A cap 160 comprising internal threads (not shown in FIG. 2) is adapted to be threadedly engaged with the rim 120 comprising threads 165 to compress the second sealing member 145 between the upper surface 150 and the lower surface 155 to provide a seal between the lid 125 and the jar 105. Thus, the container 100 provides a sealing action between the lid 125 and the inner surface 110 of the jar 105 via the first sealing member 140 and a sealing action between the lid 125 and the upper surface 150 of the jar 105 via the second sealing member 145, when assembled as shown in FIG. 2.

In one embodiment, the jar 105, the lid 125, and the cap 160 are molded from a rigid polymer, e.g., polypropylene, polyethylene, or the like. The sealing members 140, 145 may be comprised of an elastomeric polymer, such as Kraton G2705™, available from Advanced Elastomer Systems, Inc. of Akron, Ohio. These examples, however, are neither exclusive nor exhaustive.

Interactions between the various elements of the container 100 are shown more fully in FIG. 4, which is a cross-sectional view of the container 100 taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3. In the illustrated embodiment, the lid 125 and the first sealing member 140 are sized such that the first sealing member 140 is compressed between the lid 125 and the inner surface 110 of the jar 105. In this way, the first sealing member 140 forms an inner seal between the lid 125 and the inner surface 110 of the jar 105. The cap 160 merely retains the lid 125 in a spatial relationship with the jar 105, so that the first sealing member 140 remains compressed between the lid 125 and the inner surface 110. The ability of the first sealing member 140 to provide the sealing action is independent of the degree to which the cap 160 is tightened onto the jar 105, so long as the first sealing member 140 remains compressed between the lid 125 and the inner surface 110.

When the container 100 is sealed (by threadedly engaging and tightening the cap 160 onto the jar 105), the second sealing member 145 is compressed between the lower surface 155 of the lid 125 and the upper surface 150 of the jar 105 to form an outer seal. Conventional containers generally have only this type of seal. Because the container 100 includes both an inner seal and an outer seal, the degree to which the cap 160 is tightened onto the jar 105 to maintain an adequate seal may be less than in conventional containers, thus allowing the cap 160 to be more easily removed.

To seal the container 100, the second sealing member 145 is placed on the upper surface 150 of the jar 105. The lid 125, with the first sealing member 140 retained on the seal retainer 130, is placed on the second sealing member 145, such that first sealing member 140 is compressed between the inner surface 110 of the jar 105 and the lid 125. The cap 160 is then threadedly engaged with the rim 120 of the jar 105 and tightened.

In some situations, it may be more convenient for the lid 125 to be retained with the cap 160, so that fewer individual parts are handled when sealing the container. Accordingly, FIG. 5 illustrates alternative implementations of the lid 125 and the cap 160. In the illustrated embodiment, the cap 160 defines a groove 405 that receives a lip 410 of the lid 125. The groove 405 and the lip 410 are sized such that the lip 410 is retained in the groove 405. In other aspects, the implementation of FIG. 5 corresponds to that of FIG. 2-FIG. 4.

In the implementation of FIG. 5, the lid 125, with the first sealing member 140 retained thereon, is retained in the cap 160 by inserting the lip 410 of the lid 125 into the groove 405 defined by the cap 160. This is accomplished prior to sealing the container 100. The second sealing member 145 is placed on the upper surface 150 of the jar 105. The assembled cap 160 is then threadedly engaged with the rim 120 of the jar, such that the first sealing member 140 is compressed between the inner surface 110 of the jar 105 and the lid 125 and the second sealing member 145 is compressed between the lower surface 155 of the lid 125 and the upper surface 150 of the jar 105.

In some situations, the environment within the container 100 may be at pressures either above or below ambient, atmospheric pressure. Therefore, it still may be somewhat difficult to remove the cap 160 from the jar 105 by hand. FIG. 6-FIG. 7A illustrate an alternative implementation of the lid 125 in which a pressure-relief port 505 is formed from an upper surface 510 of the lid 125's flange 135. Because the thickness of the flange 135 is reduced at the port 505, the flange 135 can be easily punctured with a knife, scalpel, needle, or the like (FIG. 7B shows the flange 135 punctured) to generally equalize the pressure differential between container 100 and the ambient atmosphere. Accordingly, the container 100 may be more easily opened. The lid 125 may include the lip 410 (of FIG. 5) and define the port 505, such that the capabilities of both elements are incorporated into the lid 125.

Further, it may be desirable to include a handle on the lid 125 to aid in its removal from the jar 105. FIG. 8 illustrates an alternative implementation of the lid 125 comprising a “button-type” handle 705. In one embodiment, the lid 125 is a single piece including the handle 705. The handle 705, however, may be affixed to the lid 125 by an adhesive, a hook/loop fastener, or by another fastening means. FIG. 9 depicts another alternative implementation of the lid 125 including a “bail-type” handle 805. The handle 805 comprises a bail 810 retained in end blocks 815. In various embodiments, the handle 805 may comprise a metal or a polymer. In one embodiment, the lid 125 is a single piece including the end blocks 815. The end blocks 815, however, may be affixed to the lid 125 by an adhesive, hook/loop fasteners, or by another fastening means.

FIG. 10 illustrates one particular alternative embodiment wherein the lid 125 and the cap 160 form a single piece, rather than separate pieces as in the previously described embodiments. In this illustrative embodiment, a capping member 1005 includes cap portion 1010 and a lid portion 1015. The first sealing member 140 is disposed on the lid portion 1015. In various illustrative embodiments, the capping member 1005 may be used with the jar 105 and the second sealing member 145, as described above concerning the cap 160 and the lid 125, except that the cap portion 1010 and the lid portion 1015 comprise a single piece. For example, the first sealing member 140 is adapted to be compressed between the capping member 1005 and the inner surface 110 of the jar 105. Specifically, the first sealing member 140 is adapted to be compressed between the lid portion 1015 of the capping member 1005 and the inner surface 110 of the jar 105. Further, the second sealing member 145 is adapted to be disposed between the capping member 1005 and the rim 120 of the jar 105. More specifically, the second sealing member 145 is adapted to be disposed between the lid portion 1015 and the upper surface 150 of the rim 120. The cap portion 1010 of the capping member 1005 is threadedly engageable with the threads 165 of the jar 105's rim 120 via threads 1020.

The present invention is directed to a leak resistant container. In one illustrative embodiment, the container includes a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein. The container further includes a lid, a first sealing member adapted to be compressed between the lid and the inner surface of the jar, and a second sealing member adapted to be disposed between the lid and the rim. The container also includes a cap threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the second sealing member.

In yet another illustrative embodiment, a container includes a jar comprising a rim and an inner surface defining a cavity therein and a capping member. The container further includes a first sealing member adapted to be compressed between the capping member and the inner surface of the jar and a second sealing member adapted to be disposed between the capping member and the rim. The capping member is threadedly engageable with the rim for compressing the second sealing member.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below.