Title:
Siphon generator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A siphon is provided that includes a conduit assembly. A suction device is connected to the conduit assembly for evacuating air from the conduit assembly, allowing a fluid to be drawn into the conduit assembly. A closure mechanism is moveable from an open position, which allows the fluid to flow therepast, to a closed position, which prevents the fluid from flowing therepast.



Inventors:
Bell, Samuel Rothermel (Long Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/027618
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
12/30/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F04F10/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRICE, CRAIG JAMES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A siphon comprising: a conduit assembly; a suction device connected to the conduit assembly for evacuating air from the conduit assembly, allowing a fluid to be drawn into the conduit assembly; and a closure mechanism moveable from an open position, which allows the fluid to flow therepast, to a closed position, which prevents the fluid from flowing therepast.

2. The siphon of claim 1, wherein the conduit assembly comprises a first conduit connected to a second conduit at a juncture that forms a high point of an inverted U or V shape.

3. The siphon of claim 2, wherein the conduit assembly comprises a third conduit extending from the juncture of the first and second conduits.

4. The siphon of claim 3, wherein a T-shaped connector is disposed at the juncture of the first and second conduits to allow the fluid to flow from the first conduit to the second conduit and to allow air to be evacuated from the first and second conduits via the third conduit.

5. The siphon of claim 3, wherein the suction device is connected to the third conduit.

6. The siphon of claim 5, wherein the third conduit comprises a one-way valve which allows the fluid to flow toward the juncture of the first and second conduits, while preventing the fluid from flowing toward the suction device.

7. The siphon of claim 6, wherein the one way valve allows an airflow to flow toward the suction device, while preventing the airflow from flowing toward the juncture of the first and second conduits.

8. The siphon of claim 1, wherein the suction device comprises an open end that is removably occluded by a closure device.

9. The siphon of claim 1, wherein the conduit assembly is comprised of a hollow, open ended, braided polyvinyl chloride tubing.

10. The siphon of claim 1, wherein the suction device comprises a hand pump.

11. The siphon of claim 1, wherein the suction device comprises a motorized pump.

12. The siphon of claim 2, wherein the first and second conduits are integrally formed.

13. A siphon comprising: a conduit assembly comprised of a flexible hollow tubing, wherein the conduit assembly comprises a first conduit connected to a second conduit at a juncture that forms a high point of an inverted U or V shape; a suction device connected adjacent to the juncture of the first and second conduits for evacuating air from the conduit assembly, allowing a fluid to be drawn into the conduit assembly; a one-way valve disposed between the juncture of the first and second conduits and the suction device, wherein the one-way valve allows the fluid to flow toward the juncture of the first and second conduits, while preventing the fluid from flowing toward the suction device; and a closure mechanism moveable from an open position, which allows the fluid to flow therepast, to a closed position, which prevents the fluid from flowing therepast.

14. The siphon of claim 13, wherein the conduit assembly comprises a third conduit extending from the juncture of the first and second conduits.

15. The siphon of claim 14, wherein the one-way valve is connected to the third conduit between the juncture of the first and second conduits and the suction device.

16. The siphon of claim 14, wherein a T-shaped connector is disposed at the juncture of the first and second conduits to allow the fluid to flow from the first conduit to the second conduit and to allow air to be evacuated from the first and second conduits via the third conduit.

17. The siphon of claim 13, wherein the conduit assembly is comprised of a hollow, open ended, braided polyvinyl chloride tubing.

18. The siphon of claim 13, wherein the suction device comprises a hand pump.

19. The siphon of claim 13, wherein the suction device comprises a motorized pump.

20. The siphon of claim 13, wherein the one way valve allows an airflow to flow toward the suction device, while preventing the airflow from flowing toward the juncture of the first and second conduits.

21. The siphon of claim 13, wherein the first and second conduits are integrally formed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a siphon for removing a fluid from an originating vessel, and particularly to a siphon containing a suction device for drawing a fluid into the siphon and a closure mechanism for allowing or preventing the fluid from flowing therepast.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is sometimes desirable to siphon or draw a fluid from an originating vessel, which originally contains the fluid. In some instances it is desirable to transfer the fluid from the originating vessel to a separate receiving vessel. In other instances it is merely desired to partially or completely empty the fluid from the originating vessel, in which case it is not necessary to transfer the fluid to a separate receiving vessel and the fluid may instead be “emptied” onto a ground surface.

Some siphons include a conduit having a pump attached thereto which initiates a drawing of a fluid from an originating vessel and into the conduit. However, these siphons typically include an open end through which the fluid to be siphoned exits. Therefore, in order to stop a flow of the fluid through the open end of the siphon, either the open end of the siphon is occluded, such as by a user's finger, or the conduit is pinched or “kinked” in order to occlude another section of the conduit. This often results in an imprecise transfer of a desired amount of the fluid, or a “messy” transfer of the fluid, such as when the fluid is being transferred to a separate receiving vessel or multiple receiving vessels.

Accordingly, a need exists for a siphon including a conduit having a suction device attached thereto for evacuating air from the conduit, allowing a fluid to fill the conduit so that a siphoning can begin; and a closure mechanism for allowing or preventing the fluid from flowing therepast.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the present invention is a siphon that includes a conduit assembly. A suction device is connected to the conduit assembly for evacuating air from the conduit assembly, allowing a fluid to be drawn into the conduit assembly. A closure mechanism is moveable from an open position, which allows the fluid to flow therepast, to a closed position, which prevents the fluid from flowing therepast

In another embodiment, the present invention is a siphon that includes a conduit assembly composed of a flexible hollow tubing and including a first conduit connected to a second conduit at a juncture that forms a high point of an inverted U or V shape. A suction device is connected adjacent to the juncture of the first and second conduits for evacuating air from the conduit assembly, allowing a fluid to be drawn into the conduit assembly. A one-way valve is disposed between the juncture of the first and second conduits and the suction device. The one-way valve allows the fluid to flow toward the juncture of the first and second conduits, while preventing the fluid from flowing toward the suction device. A closure mechanism is moveable from an open position, which allows the fluid to flow therepast, to a closed position, which prevents the fluid from flowing therepast.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of one embodiment of a siphon according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a T-shaped connector of the siphon of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective side view of a closure mechanism of the siphon of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the closure mechanism of FIG. 3 shown in an open position;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the closure mechanism of FIG. 3 shown in a closed position;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective side view of a suction device of the siphon of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a second end of a suction device forming an end of the siphon of FIG. 1, as well as a first embodiment of a closure device for removably occluding the second end of the suction device;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a second end of a suction device forming an end of the siphon of FIG. 1, as well as a side branch opening through a sidewall of the second end of the suction device, and a closure device for removably occluding the second end of the suction device;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of a second end of a suction device forming an end of the siphon of FIG. 1, as well as another embodiment of a closure device for removably occluding the second end of the suction device;

FIG. 10 shows an alternative siphon having a motorized pump attached at an end thereof; and

FIG. 11 shows an alternative siphon having an integrally formed inverted U-shaped section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

As shown in FIGS. 1-11, embodiments of the present invention are directed to a siphon including a conduit having a suction device attached thereto for evacuating air or another gas from the conduit, allowing a fluid to fill the conduit so that a siphoning can begin. As the conduit fills with the fluid a closure mechanism, attached at an end of the conduit, is in a closed position preventing the fluid from flowing therepast. After the conduit is filled with the fluid, the closure mechanism is moved to an open position allowing the siphoning to begin.

FIG. 1 shows a siphon 10 according to one embodiment of the invention. In the depicted embodiment, the siphon 10 includes a conduit assembly 12. The conduit assembly 12 forms an inverted U-shape or an inverted V-shape (hereinafter referred to as a U shape for simplicity and to avoid duplicity) with a portion of the conduit assembly 12 extending from an apex or high point of the U-shape. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the conduit assembly 12 includes first, second and third conduits 14-16. In this embodiment, the first and second conduits 14 and 15 combine at a juncture 18 to form the U-shape. As shown, the juncture 18 of the first and second conduits 14 and 15 forms an apex or high point of the U-shape. As is also shown, the third conduit 16 extends from the juncture point 18 or the high point of the U-shape.

Adjacent ends 14A-16A of the first, second and third conduits 14-16 are connected to each other via a hollow T-shaped connector 20, a cross-section of which is shown in FIG. 2 for clarity, allowing fluid to flow from the first conduit 14, and into the second conduit 15 and/or the third conduit 16. A second end 14B of the first conduit 14 is open for receiving a fluid, such as a fluid 22 that is disposed in an originating vessel 24. A second end 15B of the second conduit 15 is connected to a closure mechanism or valve 26 for allowing or preventing a fluid from flowing therepast.

A second end 16B of the third conduit 16 is connected to a suction device 28, such as a pump mechanism or a low or negative pressure source. The suction device 28 creates a suction for evacuating air or another gas from the first and second conduits 14 and 15, allowing a fluid to fill the first and second conduit 14 and 15 so that a siphoning can begin. Note, to avoid duplicity only the evacuation of air is discussed below, however, it is to be understood that a gas other than air may be evacuated by the siphon 10 of the present invention. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the suction device 28 is a hand pump 28. In one embodiment, a portion of the third conduit 16 includes a first one-way valve 30 and/or a second one-way valve 80 (each schematically represented in FIG. 1 and described in detail below.

In one embodiment, the conduits 14-16 are each composed of a flexible yet sturdy material, such as a hollow, open ended, braided PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tubing, as shown for example in FIGS. 3 and 6. In other embodiments, the conduits 14-16 are composed of a rigid material, such as a hard PVC, copper, or stainless steel, among other appropriate materials. However, any conduit capable of allowing a fluid to flow therethrough and made of a material compatible with the fluid it is used to siphon may be used with this invention. The conduits 14-16 may also be transparent to allow fluid flowing therethrough to be viewed externally therefrom. In one embodiment, the adjacent ends 14A-16A of the conduits 14-16 are removably connected to corresponding ends of the T-shaped connector 20, such as by a press fit coupling or by means of a clamp, among other appropriate means.

FIG. 3 shows an enlarged side view of the second end 15B of the second conduit 15, as well as the closure mechanism 26 attached thereto. As shown, a first end 26A of the closure mechanism 26 is secured to the second end 15B of the second conduit 15 by means of a clamp, such as a radiator clamp, however in other embodiments the closure mechanism 26 is attached to the second conduit 15 by other appropriate means.

The closure mechanism 26 is movable from an open position (FIG. 4), which allows fluid to flow therepast, to a closed position (FIG. 5) which prevents fluid from flowing therepast. As shown in FIGS. 3-5, in one embodiment, the closure mechanism 26 is a ball valve or a hose valve. As shown, the closure mechanism 26 includes a fluid passageway 36 that is aligned with the hollow interior (or fluid passageway) of the second conduit 15. A cylindrically or spherically shaped “ball” valve 38 is rotatably mounted within the fluid passageway 36 of the closure mechanism 26. The ball valve 38 includes a handle 40, which is accessible externally from the closure mechanism 26, allowing a user to rotate the ball valve 38 by manipulation of the handle 40.

As shown in FIG. 4, the ball valve 38 also includes a fluid passageway 40, such that a rotation of the handle 40 into alignment with a longitudinal axis of the closure mechanism 26 aligns the fluid passageway 40 of the ball valve 38 with the fluid passageway 36 of the remainder of the closure mechanism 26. In this position, the open position, fluid is allowed to flow past the closure mechanism 26.

As shown in FIG. 5, a rotation of the handle 40 into a position substantially perpendicular with a longitudinal axis of the closure mechanism 26 misaligns the fluid passageway 40 of the ball valve 38 with the fluid passageway 36 of the remainder of the closure mechanism 26, and causes a sidewall of the ball valve 38 to occlude or seal off the fluid passageway 36 of the remainder of the closure mechanism 26. In this position, the closed position, fluid is prevented from flowing past the closure mechanism 26. Of course, other forms of valves or closure mechanisms that can be manipulated between open and closed positions may be used with the invention.

FIG. 6 shows an enlarged side view of the second end 16B of the third conduit 16, as well as the suction device 28 attached thereto. In this embodiment the suction device 28 is a hand pump As shown, a first end 28A of the hand pump 28 forms a press fit coupling with a second end 16B of the third conduit 16, however in other embodiments the hand pump 28 is attached to the third conduit 16 by other appropriate means. In the depicted embodiment, the hand pump 28 includes open first and second ends 28A-28B and a depressible squeeze ball or intermediate section 28C disposed therebetween, such that when the intermediate section 28C is depressed air is expelled through the second end 28B of the hand pump 28. This creates a negative pressure in the conduit assembly 12 causing a suction to be created therein and allowing air to be evacuated therefrom.

As such, when the second end 14B of the first conduit 14 is inserted into an originating vessel 24 having a fluid 22 disposed therein, the negative pressure or suction created by the hand pump 28 tends to draw the fluid 22 away from the originating vessel 24 and into the first conduit 14 of the conduit assembly 12. Continued depressing of the intermediate section 28C of the hand pump 28 allows more fluid 22 to be drawn from the originating vessel 24 to form a fluid flow 42 (indicated by the arrows in FIG. 1) that traverses the first conduit 14 and becomes fed by gravity into the second conduit 15. The gravitational feeding of the fluid flow 42 from the first conduit 14 to the second conduit 15 is made possible due to the fact that the juncture 18 of the first and second tubes 14 and 15 is formed at a high point or apex of the U-shaped portion of the conduit assembly 12.

Referring again to FIG. 1, once the fluid flow 42 has filled the first and second conduits 14 and 15, additional depressions (pumping) of the intermediate section 28C of the hand pump 28 is not needed to allow a siphoning to begin.

A method of using the siphon 10 according to one embodiment of the invention placing the closure mechanism 26 in a closed position, such as by rotating the ball valve 38 of the closure mechanism 26 of FIG. 1 to a closed position; and evacuating air from the first and second conduits 14 and 15 by creating a suction from the suction device 28, such as by continually depressing and releasing the intermediate section 28C of the hand pump 28 of FIG. 1. Evacuation of the air from the first and second conduits 14 and 15 allows fluid to be drawn into the conduits 14 and 15.

Once the fluid has filled the conduits 14 and 15 up to the second end 15B of the second conduit 15 at the juncture of the closure mechanism 26 and the second conduit 15, continued suction from the suction device 28 causes fluid to flow through the T-shaped connector 20 and into the third conduit 16. At the point where the fluid has filled the first and second conduits 14 and 15 up to the juncture of the closure mechanism 26 and the second conduit 15, the suction from the suction device 28 may be stopped, and a siphoning action may begin by moving the closure mechanism 26 from the closed position to an open position.

Any one of a variety of methods may be used to determine when to stop the suction from the suction device 28. For example, if the third conduit 16 is composed of a transparent material, a user may continue to allow the suction device 28 to produce the suction until the user visually determines that the fluid has begun to enter the third conduit. Alternatively, a user may continue to allow the suction device 28 to produce the suction until the fluid begins to exit through an open end of the suction device 28. In still another alternative, in embodiments where the first one-way valve 30 is incorporated, an indicator (such as a visual indicator or an electrical indicator) may be used to signal to the user that the fluid has reached the first one-way valve 30. In an embodiment where the first one-way valve 30 is used and the suction device 28 is a hand pump, when the fluid reaches the first one-way valve 30, the first one-way valve 30 closes, preventing the intermediate section 28C of the hand pump 28 from being depressed. In an embodiment where the first one-way valve 30 is used and the suction device is a motorized pump (such as that shown in FIG. 10), the pump may include a sensor for detecting a difference in suction (caused by the closing of the first one-way valve 30), and a means for automatically shutting of the suction when the suction difference is detected.

It is typically undesirable to allow the fluid to exit the third conduit 16 or the suction device 28 attached thereto. As such, openings in the suction device 28 may be occluded to prevent the fluid from flowing therepast. For example, in the embodiment of FIG. 1 the open second end 28B of the hand pump 28 may be occluded to prevent the fluid from flowing therepast as described below. Once filling of the first and second conduits 14 and 15 with fluid is accomplished, and the open second end 28B of the hand pump 28 is occluded, the ball valve 38 of the closure mechanism 26 may be moved to the open position to allow a siphoning action to begin. The closure mechanism 26 may then be moved between the open and closed positions as desired, such as to fill multiple receiving vessels with the fluid (as described below.) The siphoning will continue as long as the second end 14B of the first conduit 14 is at a higher position than the second end 15B of the second conduit 15, provided that the second end 14B of the first conduit 14 remains in contact with the fluid 22 in the originating vessel 24, and air does not enter the first and/or second conduits 14 and 15. In one embodiment, in order to prevent air from re-entering the first and second conduits 14 and 15, a second one way valve 80 (see FIG. 1) is connected to the third conduit 16 to prevent air from flowing within the third conduit 16 toward the juncture 18 of the first and second conduits 14 and 15.

It may be desired to position the second end 26B of the closure mechanism 26 adjacent to a receiving vessel 34 (see FIG. 1) to allow the fluid 22 from the originating vessel 24 to be transferred through the conduit assembly 12 and into the receiving vessel 34. Multiple receiving vessels may be cleanly filled one after the other in this manner.

In such a situation, the closure mechanism 26 allows for an easy transfer of the fluid by simply drawing fluid into the first and second conduits 14 and 15 (by use of the suction device 28 as described above) with the closure mechanism 26 in the closed position; placing the second end 26B of the closure mechanism 26 over an open end of the receiving vessel 34; moving the closure mechanism 26 to the open position allowing the siphoning to begin and the fluid to enter the receiving vessel 34; and moving the closure mechanism 26 to a closed position when a desired amount of the fluid has entered the receiving vessel 34. It may be desired to then empty the fluid remain in the first and second conduits 14 and 15 back into the originating vessel 24. This may be accomplished by simply moving the second end 15B of the second conduit 15 to a position above the second end 14B of the first conduit 14. When this occurs the fluid will automatically flow back into the originating vessel 24. In embodiments where the conduits 14-16 are composed of a rigid material the second conduit 15 may be attached to the first and/or third conduits 14 and 16 by a swivel joint, allowing the second end 15B of the second conduit 15 to be raised or lowered relative to the second end 14B of the first conduit 14.

In situations where it is desired to simply remove or “empty” fluid 22 from the originating vessel 24, the second end 26B of the closure mechanism 26 may be positioned adjacent to a ground surface which is lower then the fluid level in the originating vessel to allow the fluid 22 from the originating vessel 24 to be “emptied” onto the ground surface.

An open end of the suction device 28 may be occluded to prevent the fluid from flowing therepast by any one of a variety of methods. For example, FIGS. 7-9, each show a closure device which is attached to the second end 28B of the hand pump 28 to allow a user to occlude the second end 28B of the hand pump 28 to prevent the fluid from flowing therepast.

In the embodiment of FIG. 7, the closure device is a bolt or set screw 32A that is removably, threadably connected to a fluid passageway 50 in the second end 28B of the hand pump 28 to allow or prevent the fluid from passing therepast.

In the embodiment of FIG. 8, the second end 28B of the hand pump 28 includes a fluid passageway 52 that extends to the end of the hand pump 28 but also includes a branch that extends out a sidewall of the second end 28b of the hand pump 28. In this embodiment, the closure device is a bolt or set screw 32B that is threadably connected to the fluid passageway 52, but does not need to be removed from the hand pump 28. Instead the set screw 32B may be moved to occlude or not occlude the side branch of the fluid passageway 52 to prevent or allow, respectively, the fluid to flow therepast.

In the embodiment of FIG. 9, the closure device is a stopper 32C, such as a compressible stopper, which is mounted to the end of the hand pump 28 for removably forming a press fit coupling with a fluid passageway 54 in the second end 28B of the hand pump 28 to allow or prevent the fluid from passing therepast.

In addition or in the alternative, the third conduit 16 may include a first one-way valve 30 (see FIG. 1) disposed between the suction device 28 and the T-shaped connector 20, which allows an airflow to flow therepast in a direction toward the suction device 28, but prevents a fluid flow therepast in that same direction. As such, the one-way valve 30 allows a suction in the direction of the suction device 28, but prevents a fluid flow to the suction device 28.

In addition, the first one-way valve 30 may allow an airflow to flow therepast in a direction toward the suction device 28, but prevent an airflow to flow therepast in a direction toward the T-shaped connector 20. In one embodiment, the first one-way valve 30 is a “floater” check valve. Although in other embodiments, the first one-way valve 30 may be any valve appropriate to performing the above described function of allowing an airflow in a desired direction, while preventing a fluid flow in that same desired direction. This valve may or may not additionally prevent an airflow therepast in a direction toward the T-shaped connector 20.

Alternatively, the third conduit 16 may include a first one-way valve 30, which functions to allow an airflow toward the suction device 28, and to prevent a fluid flow in the same direction; and a second one-way valve 80, which functions to prevent an airflow to flow therepast toward the T-shaped connector 20. The second one-way valve 80 may be a check valve, a hand valve or any other device capable of performing the above described function.

In addition, although the suction device 28 is described above as being a hand pump, in other embodiments the suction device 28 may be a motorized pump, or a piston and cylinder arrangement, among other types of pumps and/or suction devices. For example, in the embodiment of FIG. 10 a motorized pump 60 is attached to a second end 16B of the third conduit 16 to perform the functions of the suction device as described above.

In the embodiment of FIG. 11, the first and second conduits are integrally formed, or formed as a single conduit 62, having a preformed U-shape. As described above, gravity acts to pull a fluid flow down a leg of the U-shape after the fluid flow has reached a high point of the U-shape. In this embodiment, a third conduit 66 may be connected to the U shaped conduit 62 through a connector 64, which in this case is not T-shaped but merely a cylindrically shaped hollow tube. As with the above embodiments, the third conduit 66 of FIG. 11 may be attached to a suction device as described and illustrated above with respect to the third conduit 16, and an end of the U-shaped conduit 62 may be connected to a closure mechanism as described and illustrated above with respect to the closure mechanism 26 attached to the second end 15B of the second conduit 15.

Although the fluid 22 in the originating vessel 24 has not been specified, the fluid 22 may be any appropriate fluid, such as water or gasoline among other appropriate fluids.

The preceding description has been presented with reference to various embodiments of the invention. Persons skilled in the art and technology to which this invention pertains will appreciate that alterations and changes in the described structures and methods of operation can be practiced without meaningfully departing from the principle, spirit and scope of this invention.