Title:
Multi-chamber receptacle for maintaining temperature of contents
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A receptacle for maintaining the temperature of its contents. The body of the receptacle is constructed of a triple-walled, dual chamber enclosure. This dual chamber enclosure is comprised of an inner chamber and an adjacent outer chamber occupied, respectively, by a gel and a gaseous matter. Temperature regulating properties of the gel contained within the inner chamber are insulated by the adjacent outer chamber, permitting the temperature regulating properties of the gel to last for a longer period of time.



Inventors:
Torre, Salvatore J. (Lafayette, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/409848
Publication Date:
11/08/2007
Filing Date:
04/24/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/371
International Classes:
F25D3/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALI, MOHAMMAD M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT DOCKET ADMINISTRATOR (ROSELAND, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multi-chamber receptacle, comprising: an inner receptacle member having a first rim and defining a cavity for receiving a substance; a middle receptacle member having a second rim and shaped complementary to the inner receptacle member for nesting with the inner receptacle member; an outer receptacle member having a third rim and shaped complementary to the middle receptacle member for nesting with the middle receptacle member; wherein the inner, middle and outer receptacle members are nested to form a first chamber between the inner receptacle member and the middle receptacle member and a second chamber between the middle receptacle member and the outer receptacle member, and wherein the first, second and third rims are joined to seal the first chamber and the second chamber; a gel disposed within the sealed first chamber; and an insulator disposed within the sealed second chamber.

2. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the insulator is a gas.

3. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 2, wherein the gas is selected from the group consisting of ambient air, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

4. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the gel is a thermal gel.

5. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the gel is a cooling gel.

6. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the gel is a heating gel.

7. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the gel is an insulating gel.

8. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the gel is a high specific heat gel.

9. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the first rim, the second rim and the third rim are joined by welding them together.

10. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the first rim, the second rim and the third rim are joined by gluing them together.

11. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a material selected from the group consisting of a metal, a polymer and combinations thereof.

12. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the inner receptacle member, the middle receptacle member and the outer receptacle member are stainless steel.

13. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a bowl.

14. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a casserole dish.

15. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a platter.

16. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a pan.

17. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a pitcher.

18. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a drinking cup.

19. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises an ice bucket.

20. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 1, further comprising a lid to seal the cavity of the multi-chamber receptacle.

21. A multi-chamber receptacle, comprising: an inner receptacle member having a first rim and defining a cavity for receiving a substance; a middle receptacle member having a second rim and shaped complementary to the inner receptacle member for nesting with the inner receptacle member; an outer receptacle member having a third rim and shaped complementary to the middle receptacle member for nesting with the middle receptacle member; wherein the inner, middle and outer receptacle members are nested to form a first chamber between the inner receptacle member and the middle receptacle member and a second chamber between the middle receptacle member and the outer receptacle member, and wherein the first, second and third rims are joined to seal the first chamber and the second chamber; an oil disposed within the sealed first chamber; and an insulator disposed within the sealed second chamber.

22. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the insulator is a gas.

23. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the gas is selected from the group consisting of ambient air, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

24. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the first rim, the second rim and the third rim are joined by welding them together.

25. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the first rim, the second rim and the third rim are joined by gluing them together.

26. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a material selected from the group consisting of a metal, a polymer and combinations thereof.

27. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the inner receptacle member, the middle receptacle member and the outer receptacle member are stainless steel.

28. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a bowl.

29. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a casserole dish.

30. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a platter.

31. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a pan.

32. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a pitcher.

33. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises a drinking cup.

34. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, wherein the multi-chamber receptacle comprises an ice bucket.

35. The multi-chamber receptacle of claim 21, further comprising a lid to seal the cavity of the multi-chamber receptacle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of receptacles. More particularly, the present invention relates to a receptacle with an improved capacity to impede any change in the original temperature of solid or liquid matter retained therein.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Conventional receptacles possessing an ability to maintain the temperature of their contents are typically constructed with a double-walled enclosure. The double-walled enclosure forms a single chamber circumferentially about the body of the receptacle, wherein the single chamber is typically vacuum sealed or filled with a gas. The vacuum or gas sealed chamber serves as a means for insulating the temperature of matter retained within the receptacle by acting as a barrier, temporarily moderating the rate of transfer of heat into and out of the receptacle.

Receptacles constructed with a double-walled, single chamber enclosure are readily available. Such receptacles, for example, are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 1,706,436 (hereinafter “Bright”), U.S. Pat. No. 5,579,946 (hereinafter “Rowan”) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,499,311 (hereinafter “Mahajan”). The receptacles in Bright, Rowan and Mahajan may be suitable for temporarily regulating the transfer of heat into and out of a receptacle, but the aforementioned prior art references are not as efficient as the present invention in their ability to insulate and maintain the temperature of their contents.

Accordingly, there exists a need for a receptacle with improved properties that provides insulation from the surrounding ambient temperature, and an efficient means for impeding the change in temperature of matter retained therein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a receptacle with an improved means of maintaining the temperature of its contents, while employing a light weight and cost effective design. This and other objects of the present invention are accomplished in accordance with the principles of the present invention. The novelty of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description and appended claims.

The present invention is an improved receptacle having a triple-walled, dual chamber enclosure. The multi-chamber enclosure of the receptacle is comprised of a sealed inner chamber and a sealed outer chamber that are positioned radially adjacent to each other. The multi-chamber enclosure is provided throughout the entire body of the receptacle. The inner chamber may accommodate a gel or oil capable of sustaining a hot or cold temperature. The outer chamber is filled with a gaseous matter (the types of which are identified in the detailed description) to serve as insulation for the thermal properties of the gel or oil housed in the inner chamber. In another embodiment, the inner chamber may also be made suitable to accommodate a gel or a gaseous matter having insulating properties. This novel construction of the receptacle significantly retards the rapid change in temperature that occurs by means of radiation, convection and conduction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C illustrate, respectively, a side view, an angled top view and a partial cross-sectional view of a bowl-shaped receptacle in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 2A and 2B illustrate a vertical cross-sectional view of the triple-walled, dual chamber enclosure of a bowl-shaped receptacle in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate a horizontal cross-sectional view below a protruding lip portion of the triple-walled, dual chamber enclosure of the bowl-shaped receptacle in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

It is to be understood that the above-identified drawing figures are for purposes of illustrating the concepts of the invention and may not be to scale, and are not intended to be limiting in terms of the range of possible shapes and proportions of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is directed towards an improved receptacle capable of maintaining the temperature of solid or liquid matter retained therein for a prolonged period of time. For purposes of clarity, and not by way of limitation, illustrative views of the present invention are described with references made to the above-identified figures. Various modifications obvious to one skilled in the art are deemed to be within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

FIGS. 1A, 1B and 1C illustrate various views of a receptacle 10 in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention. Receptacle 10 of FIG. 1A resembles an otherwise conventional bowl having a protruding lip portion 12, a containment portion 14 and a base portion 16. Receptacle 10 is preferably constructed of a stainless steel material, however, other suitable metallic or non-metallic materials or any combination of a metallic, plastic and polymer material may be used.

The angled top view of receptacle 10, illustrated in FIG. 1B, shows an opening provided at the top of receptacle 10 to permit access to a cavity 18 provided in containment portion 14. Protruding lip portion 12 of receptacle 10 is defined by an interior perimeter 20 and an exterior perimeter 22. Interior perimeter 20 or exterior perimeter 22 of protruding lip portion 12 may be adapted to allow for a lid (not shown) to be used in conjunction with receptacle 10. The lid would preferably be constructed of the same material, as well as the same structure (i.e., the dual chamber enclosure), as that of receptacle 10. The lid could be used to seal the opening to cavity 18.

It should be made clear that this particular design of receptacle 10 is provided solely for the purposes of illustrating the functionality of the present invention and may be designed to include or exclude other suitable bodily features. For example, protruding lip portion 12 is not an essential design feature that is critical to the functionality of the present invention. Protruding lip 12 may be advantageous in that it allows for wall members 24 (described in detail below) to be joined together in their nested formation absent the need of an additional support structure for provide suitable spacing between the members. However, receptacle 10 could easily be designed without protruding lip portion 12. For example, the nested formation of receptacle 10 could be sustained by spacing structures placed at proper locations between wall members 24. Thereafter, wall members 24 could be joined together by a horizontal welding member seated against their adjacent rims. This and other various modifications to the multi-chamber structure of the present invention are foreseeable to those skilled in the art.

A partial cross-sectional view of receptacle 10 is illustrated in FIG. 1C. Receptacle 10 is essentially comprised of an inner receptacle member 24a, a middle receptacle member 24b and an outer receptacle member 24c, collectively referred to as wall members 24. Wall members 24 are nested together with space between the members to form an inner chamber 26 and an outer chamber 28. Inner chamber 26 is enclosed by inner receptacle member 24a and middle receptacle member 24b. Outer chamber 28 is enclosed by outer receptacle member 24c and middle receptacle member 24b.

The illustrated bowl-shaped design of wall members 24 is provided merely as an example. Wall members 24 could easily be constructed with different curvatures and angles to provide a receptacle of various shapes and sizes. For example, wall members 24 may be shaped in a manner that provides a receptacle that is circular, elliptical or rectangular in nature so as to construct a receptacle that is useful as a casserole dish, a platter, a pan, a pitcher, a drinking cup, an ice bucket or any other container or vessel. This permits the receptacle to be accommodating for various applications.

Cross-sectional views of the triple-walled, dual chamber enclosure of receptacle 10 are illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Referring to FIGS. 2A and 3A, a vertical cross-sectional and a horizontal cross-sectional of receptacle 10 are taken, respectively, along a line I and a line II. As can be seen in FIGS. 2B and 3B, inner chamber 26 and outer chamber 28 may extend throughout the entire body of receptacle 10, including protruding lip portion 12, containment portion 14 and base portion 16 (FIG. 1A).

Inner chamber 26 is filled with a gel 36 and outer chamber 28 is filled with a gaseous matter 38. Outer chamber 28 serves to insulate inner chamber 26 and cavity 18 from the outside ambient temperature of a room and to prevent the outer surface of receptacle 10 from sweating. More specifically, outer chamber 28 helps to retain the temperature of gel 36 occupying inner chamber 26. By insulating the heating or cooling gel element housed in inner chamber 26, rather than providing a direct insulation barrier between the retained solid or liquid matter and the ambient air, the solid or liquid matter retained in cavity 18 of receptacle 10 can be exposed to heat or cold for a more constant and prolonged period. This in turn impedes the change in temperature of contents retained in the receptacle due to exposure to ambient conditions.

Gel 36 may be any gel that demonstrates an ability to retain hot or cold temperatures. Heating and cooling thermal gels are readily available and well known in the medical and food handling arts, typically have a high specific heat, and can be made to have differing viscosities, and different heat absorptive and heat retaining or releasing properties, depending on the application in which they will be used. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,141,801 at columns 10-11, which are hereby incorporated by reference.

When heating or chilling receptacle 10, gel 36 retains the desired hot or cold temperature. Gel 36 may then transfer heat to or absorb heat from the contents of receptacle 10. Gaseous matter 38 may simply be ambient air at or near ambient pressure. Similarly, nitrogen or carbon dioxide gas may be used in outer chamber 28 to provide insulation to inner chamber 26.

In another embodiment, inner chamber 26 may also be filled with an oil possessing similar thermal properties of gel 36. In yet another embodiment, inner chamber 26 may be filled with an insulator itself, impeding any change in temperature of matter retained in receptacle 10. Thereafter, if a hot or cold substance is placed in cavity 18 of receptacle 10, the insulator may restrict the movement of heat through inner chamber 26. Outer chamber 28 could then serve as an additional insulator, contributing to the insulating properties of inner chamber 26. Any suitable gel or gas possessing similar thermal insulating properties could be used to line the inside of inner chamber 26.

Once inner chamber 26 and outer chamber 28 are occupied with gel 36 and gaseous matter 38, respectively, they are sealed, preferably by welding the outer circumferential edge of protruding lip portion 12 (FIG. 1A), wherein inner receptacle member 24a, middle receptacle member 24b and outer receptacle member 24c extending into protruding lip portion 12 all have a similar outer diameter 22 (FIG. 1B). A weld seam is indicated by arrow 30 depicted in FIG. 2B. Alternatively, inner and outer chambers 26 and 28 may be sealed by gluing or by utilizing any other suitable sealing method known in the art. If receptacle 10 is constructed without protruding lip portion 12 (as previously described), the rims of inner receptacle member 24a, middle receptacle member 24b and outer receptacle member 24c may be joined together, using any of the aforementioned sealing methods, to seal inner chambers 26 and 28 of receptacle 10.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the described embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration and not by way of limitation, and the present invention is limited only by the claims that follow.