Title:
Spark arresting incinerator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A spark arresting incinerator apparatus for burning combustible solid materials without the release of hot embers or ash capable of igniting materials outside the incinerator includes a firebox to contain the combustion, a grate disposed across the bottom of the firebox to support materials to be burned, an ash box disposed below the firebox and grate and connected to the firebox, the ash box having at least one screened and shielded combustion air inlet, a generally pyramidal cupola disposed above and connected to the firebox, and a chimney disposed above and connected to the cupola for the exit of combustion gases from the incinerator. The chimney includes a plurality of baffle plates each extending partially across the interior of the chimney, with the baffle plates disposed in staggered offset relation to each other, and also preferably includes a spark arrestor connected to the top of the chimney.



Inventors:
Bean, Patricia J. (Milam, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/807519
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
05/29/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/224, 126/225, 126/242, 126/245, 126/222
International Classes:
F23G5/00; F23J1/00; F23J13/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LAUX, DAVID J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONALD B. SEFRNA (TYLER, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A spark arresting incinerator apparatus for burning solid combustible materials, comprising, a firebox formed as a hollow enclosure with a surrounding sidewall, an upper edge, a lower edge, an open top and an open bottom, said firebox having a height and a width, with said height being approximately equal to said width; a grate for supporting the combustible materials to be burned, said grate connected across said open bottom of said firebox at said lower edge thereof, said grate having openings therein for the passage of combustion air therethrough and for the passage of ash therethrough; an ash box formed as a hollow enclosure with a surrounding side wall, an upper edge, a lower edge, an open top, and a closed bottom at said lower edge, said ash box disposed below said firebox adjacent to said grate with said grate extending across said open top of said ash box at said upper edge thereof; a cupola formed as a truncated hollow pyramid with a surrounding sidewall, an upper edge, a lower edge, an open top and an open bottom, said cupola connected at said lower edge bottom to said upper edge of said firebox so as to form an open passageway from said firebox to said cupola; and a chimney formed as a hollow enclosure with an open interior and a surrounding sidewall, an open upper end and an open lower end, said chimney connected at said lower end to said upper edge of said cupola so as to form an open passageway from said cupola to said chimney, said chimney including a plurality of baffle plates each connected to said sidewall of said chimney and extending partially across said open interior of said chimney, said baffle plates disposed in separated relation in said open interior of said chimney between said upper end and said lower end in staggered, offset relation to each other.

2. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said ash box further includes a screened combustion air inlet penetrating said sidewall at said upper edge of said ash box.

3. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 2, wherein said ash box further includes a shield plate connected to said sidewall of said ash box between said combustion air inlet and said upper edge of said ash box, said shield plate extending downwardly and outwardly at an angle over said combustion air inlet so as to prevent wind from blowing directly through said combustion air inlet without closing said combustion air inlet.

4. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said cupola further includes a loading opening in said sidewall, for loading materials to be burned, and a door pivotally connected to said sidewall for closing said loading opening.

5. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said firebox includes a door formed in said sidewall of said firebox.

6. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said ash box includes a door formed in said sidewall of said ash box.

7. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said chimney is square in cross-sectional configuration, and wherein each of said baffle plates is rectangular.

8. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said chimney has a longitudinal axis, and wherein said baffle plates are disposed perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.

9. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, wherein said chimney has a longitudinal axis, and wherein said baffle plates are disposed at a downward angle relative to said longitudinal axis, such that said baffle plates are inclined toward said lower end of said chimney.

10. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 1, further comprising a support base having a support frame disposed at said lower edge of said ash box, and a plurality of legs extending downwardly from said support frame.

11. A spark arresting incinerator apparatus for safely burning solid combustible materials and preventing the release of hot embers or ash from the apparatus, comprising, a firebox formed as a hollow enclosure with a surrounding sidewall, an upper edge, a lower edge, an open top and an open bottom, and a latchable door for providing access to said firebox for the exterior thereof; a grate for supporting the combustible materials to be burned, said grate connected across said open bottom of said firebox at said lower edge thereof, said grate having openings therein for the passage of combustion air therethrough and for the passage of ash therethrough; an ash box formed as a hollow enclosure with a surrounding side wall, an upper edge, a lower edge, an open top, and a closed bottom at said lower edge, said ash box disposed below said firebox adjacent to said grate with said grate extending across said open top of said ash box at said upper edge thereof, said ash box having a latchable door for access to said ash box for the purpose of removing cooled ash therefrom, and said ash box having a screened combustion air inlet penetrating said sidewall adjacent to said upper edge for the entry of combustion air below said grate; a cupola formed as a truncated hollow pyramid with a surrounding sidewall, an upper edge, a lower edge, an open top and an open bottom, said cupola connected at said lower edge bottom to said upper edge of said firebox so as to form an open passageway from said firebox to said cupola, said cupola having a loading door in said sidewall for the introduction of combustible materials to said firebox through said open bottom of said cupola; and a chimney formed as a hollow enclosure with an open interior and a surrounding sidewall, an open upper end and an open lower end, said chimney connected at said lower end to said upper edge of said cupola so as to form an open passageway from said cupola to said chimney, said chimney including a plurality of baffle plates each connected to said sidewall of said chimney and extending partially across said open interior of said chimney, said baffle plates disposed in separated relation in said open interior of said chimney between said upper end and said lower end in staggered, offset relation to each other, and said chimney further including a spark arrestor connected to said upper end of said chimney.

12. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 11, further comprising a support base having a support frame disposed at said lower edge of said ash box, and a plurality of legs extending downwardly from said support frame.

13. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 12, further comprising a set of steps connected to said support base and extending downwardly and outwardly therefrom.

14. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 13, wherein said steps are pivotally connected to said support base such that said steps are movable between a first position against said support frame and a second position extending downwardly and outwardly from said support frame.

15. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 11, wherein said ash box further includes a shield plate connected to said sidewall of said ash box between said combustion air inlet and said upper edge of said ash box, said shield plate extending downwardly and outwardly at an angle over said combustion air inlet so as to prevent wind from blowing directly through said combustion air inlet without closing said combustion air inlet.

16. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 11, wherein said firebox is of generally cubical configuration, and wherein the cross-sectional configurations of said ash box, said cupola, and said chimney are generally rectangular.

17. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 11, wherein said chimney has a longitudinal axis, and wherein said baffle plates are disposed perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.

18. The spark arresting incinerator of claim 11, wherein said chimney has a longitudinal axis, and wherein said baffle plates are disposed at a downward angle relative to said longitudinal axis, such that said baffle plates are inclined toward said lower end of said chimney.

19. A spark arresting chimney for conveying combustion gases from a combustion apparatus while preventing the passage of burning embers through the chimney, comprising, a hollow body with an open interior and a surrounding sidewall, an open upper end and an open lower end; and a plurality of baffle plates each connected to said sidewall and extending partially across said open interior, said baffle plates disposed in separated relation from each other in said open interior of said chimney between said upper end and said lower end in staggered, offset relation to each other.

20. The spark arresting chimney of claim 19, wherein said body has a longitudinal axis, and wherein said baffle plates are disposed perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.

21. The spark arresting chimney of claim 19, wherein said body has a longitudinal axis, and wherein said baffle plates are disposed at a downward angle relative to said longitudinal axis, such that said baffle plates are inclined toward said lower end of said body.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/809,091, filed May 30, 2006, by the same applicant.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to incinerators, and in its preferred embodiments more specifically relates to an incinerator structure that protects against the release of sparks or embers from the incinerator.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Residents of rural areas often do not have access to garbage and trash disposal services or to landfills for disposal of their household garbage and trash. It is very common, therefore, for such residents to burn their household trash. During periods of drought or other periods when the surrounding vegetation is dry, fugitive sparks and embers from the burning of trash can pose a heightened risk of igniting surrounding vegetation. It is common for governmental authorities to impose restrictions on burning during such periods as a safety measure. Although burning restrictions are effective in limiting fires, they do create hardships for rural residents because of the accumulation of trash. Accumulated trash is not only visually unsightly but can also create health hazards and attract pests that can, themselves, create health hazards.

Conventional incinerators cannot be safely used to burn trash and the like during periods of high fire risk, because conventional incinerators are not sufficiently effective in preventing the release of embers and other solid combustion products that are the primary cause of accidental fires. The entrainment of embers and the like in the combustion gases that flow from a conventional incinerator through a chimney at relatively high velocity pose the primary risk, and conventional spark arrestors disposed at the chimney outlet are not sufficiently effective to eliminate that risk.

The problems with accumulated trash can prompt some rural residents to dispose of trash improperly and illegally, such as by dumping trash and/or garbage along roadsides and/or on unoccupied land. Residents may also ignore an imposed burning ban and burn trash anyway, exacerbating the fire risk.

There is a need for an efficient, effective, and affordable incinerator apparatus that can be utilized to incinerate household generated trash and garbage without allowing the escape of embers and ash capable of igniting combustible materials outside the incinerator.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an incinerator apparatus designed for use at rural households and small business operations for the safe burning of trash and other combustible materials. It is an object of the invention to contain and control the combustion of such materials within the incinerator. It is also an object of the invention to prevent the emission of sparks or embers that could ignite vegetation or other combustible materials outside the incinerator. It is still further an object of the invention to provide an incinerator that is appropriately sized for use by a single household, and that may be effectively and safely operated by a single person. It is still another object of the invention to provide an incinerator that is relatively inexpensive and affordable to those who have a need for such an apparatus.

The structure and features of the incinerator apparatus of the invention will be described below, with reference to the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of the preferred embodiment of the incinerator apparatus of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a sectioned side elevation view of the chimney of a first embodiment of the incinerator apparatus, with the baffles in a first orientation.

FIG. 3 is a sectioned side elevation view of the chimney of an embodiment of the incinerator apparatus, with the baffle plates in a second orientation.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a square chimney embodiment, with baffle plates.

FIG. 5 is a side elevation view of the preferred embodiment of the incinerator apparatus of the invention, with steps extending to the front of the apparatus.

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of an embodiment of the incinerator apparatus of the invention, without access steps.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The incinerator apparatus of the invention, generally designated by reference number 10, comprises as principal components or sections a firebox 11, an ash box 12 disposed below the firebox, a loading cupola 13 disposed above the firebox, a chimney 14 above the cupola, and a support base 15.

In the preferred embodiment firebox 11 is configured as a hollow, generally cubical box with an open top and an open bottom, having a front wall 16, a rear wall 17, side walls 18 and 19, an upper edge 20 and a lower edge 21. It is preferred that the height of firebox 11, between upper edge 20 and lower edge 21, but approximately equal to or even greater than the width of the side and rear walls. A grate 22 is disposed across the bottom of the firebox at lower edge 21, between the firebox and the ash box for supporting material loaded into the firebox for combustion and to allow ash to fall from the firebox into the ash box. In the preferred embodiment the upper portion of front wall 16 extends solidly across the upper portion of the firebox between side walls 18 and 19, and the lower portion of the front wall 16 of the firebox is formed by doors 23 and 24, each pivotally connected to one of side walls 18 and 19, respectively. Doors 23 and 24 are releasably secured in a closed position by firebox latch 25. Access to the interior of firebox 11 through doors 23 and 24 is provided for cleaning, and for pre-combustion loading of material to be incinerated into the firebox. When the incinerator apparatus is in operation doors 23 and 24 should remain closed, both for the safety of the operator and to prevent the escape of hot combustion products.

Ash box 12 includes side walls 26 and 27, a rear wall 28, and a closed bottom 29. Ash box 12 also has an upper edge 30 surrounding an open top. The majority of the front of the ash box is closed by doors 31 and 32, each of which is pivotally connected to one of side walls 26 and 27. Doors 31 and 32 are provided for the removal of ash from the ash box, and are releasably secured in a closed position by ash box latch 33. The portion of the front of the ash box between the upper edge of doors 31 and 32 is open to provide a front combustion air inlet 34, covered by screen 35 to provide an inlet for combustion air. Side walls 26 and 27 and rear wall 28 also preferably include combustion air inlets 34 adjacent to their upper edges, also covered by screens 35. The depth of ash box 12 is sufficient to accommodate at least the quantity of ash that is reasonably anticipated to accumulate during incineration of a batch of material, without interfering with the flow of combustion air through the air inlets in the ash box. During operation of the incinerator a draft through the structure is created by the outflow of hot combustion product gases, sufficient to pull air into the structure through the combustion air inlets while preventing the outflow of combustion products from those air inlets. The combustion air inlets are disposed at the upper edge of the ash box so that any embers or other hot solids that fall through grate 22 fall past the air inlets, and screens 35 are provided to assure that no embers or other hot solid particles are allowed to escape through the air inlets.

Ash box 12 and firebox 11 may be formed as an integral unit, with side walls 26 and 27 of the ash box formed as extensions of side walls 18 and 19 of the firebox, and with rear wall 28 of the ash box formed as an extension of rear wall 17 of the firebox. Alternatively, the firebox and the ash box may be separately formed and connected during construction of the incinerator apparatus.

In the preferred embodiment, cupola 13 is configured as a truncated pyramid, with a front wall 36, side walls 37 and 38, and a rear wall 39. The base, at the lower edge 40 of the cupola, and the top, at the upper edge 41 of the of the cupola, are open, to form open passageways from the firebox to the cupola and from the cupola to chimney 14, respectively. It is preferred that the height of cupola 13, between the base and the top, be generally equal to or greater than the width of the base along the lower edge of each of the walls. The lower edge of cupola 13 is configured to mate with the upper edge of firebox 11, and the cross-sectional dimensions of the cupola narrow toward its top. A loading door 42 is provided in front wall 36 to close an opening 43 in the front wall for introduction of material to be burned either prior to initiation of combustion or during incineration if needed. Door 42 is preferably pivotally connected to front wall 36 at the upper edge of the door, so that door 42 can be lifted upward using handle 44 and will automatically close when released. In this embodiment a latch to secure door 42 in a closed position is not necessary, although a latch could readily be provided if desired.

Chimney 14 preferably comprises a hollow body with a continuous side wall 45, an open lower end 46 and an open upper end 47. Chimney 14 is disposed over and extends upwardly from cupola 14, and is connected at lower end 46 to the top 41 of the cupola so as to prevent the escape of combustion products through the connection between the chimney and the cupola. In the preferred embodiment the cross-sectional configuration of chimney 14 is square, partly to simplify the construction and installation of baffles, but the scope of the invention is not limited to any particular configuration, and other configurations, such as circular, could readily be used if desired.

When combustible materials are burned, hot combustion products, primarily gases but with solids entrained in the gases as smoke, ash, and embers, rise from the combustion zone, and in most combustion apparatus the combustion products are routed through a chimney with a substantially reduced cross-sectional area in comparison to the area of the combustion zone. As a result of the reduction in area of the chimney, the velocity of the combustion products flowing upwardly through the chimney increases, which conventionally serves to assure the exhaust of combustion products from the combustion zone and to reduce the pressure within the combustion zone to assure the inflow of combustion air.

The movement of combustion products through a chimney at a relatively high velocity has a tendency to entrain embers and other relatively large particles in the gas flow, which particles are frequently released from the chimney with the combustion gases. Embers drop out of the flow of combustion gases soon after they exit from the chimney, and such fugitive embers are the primary cause of accidental fires outside the combustion apparatus.

In the preferred embodiment of the incinerator apparatus of the invention, the combined height of firebox 11 and cupola 13 above grate 22 is relatively high in proportion to the horizontal dimensions of those components, and chimney 14 is relatively short in comparison to the chimney of a conventional incinerator, fireplace, or other conventional combustion apparatus. Further, the cross-sectional area of firebox 11 at top 20 is essentially the same as the cross-sectional area at grate 22, and the cross-sectional area of cupola 13 reduces gradually between the connection of cupola 13 to firebox 11 and the connection of chimney 14 to the cupola. As a result of this structure, combustion gases move upward through firebox 11 and cupola 13 a relatively low velocity and with an increased retention time, and move through chimney 14 at relatively low velocity. Because of the low velocity of the flow of combustion gases, embers and other solids are much more likely to drop out of the combustion gases within the firebox or cupola, before entering the chimney, and the entrainment of embers and other solids in the combustion gases that flow through the chimney is greatly reduced.

In addition, as combustion gases move upward through the reducing cross-sectional area of cupola 13 toward the entry into chimney 14, the flow of the combustion gases is not laminar, but becomes more turbulent, with the creation of swirls and eddies within the cupola. Generally, the flow pattern is such that the velocity of the flow at the cupola walls is lower than the velocity of the gas flow closer to the center of the cupola. Embers and other solids entrained in the combustion gases are forced toward the walls of the cupola, into the area of reduced velocity, where they are more likely to drop out of the gas flow and return to the firebox.

As further protection against the escape of embers from the chimney, chimney 14 preferably includes a plurality of baffle plates 48 disposed in the interior of the chimney, in the flow path of the combustion gases and any remaining solids through the chimney. Baffle plates 48 preferably comprise thin flat plates, each connected at one end to the interior of sidewall 45 of the chimney and extending across the interior of the chimney through more than half the interior of the chimney. The baffles are disposed and connected in a staggered, alternating relationship to create a sinuous path through the interior of the chimney. Combustion gases and any entrained ash or embers entering the chimney come into contact with the first baffle encountered in the flow path, forcing the gases, etc., to move laterally past the free end of the baffle to continue moving up the chimney to the next baffle, and so on through the chimney. Pieces of ash and/or embers with sufficient mass to retain enough heat to pose an ignition threat outside the chimney will not remain entrained in the smoke flow through the chimney around the baffles to its upper end 47, but will drop out of the smoke flow before exiting the chimney. Although, as noted above, chimney 14 may be formed with any desired cross-sectional configuration, a square configuration is preferred not only to facilitate the fabrication and installation of baffle plates 48, but also because a square configuration increases the turbulence of the flow of combustion gases through the chimney. Embers and other solids are less likely to remain entrained in a turbulent flow, partly because of increased retention time within the chimney, and less likely to escape from the incinerator apparatus to pose a fire risk.

The scope of the invention encompasses a number of variations in the construction and placement of baffle plates 48. As one example, the baffles may be disposed with the plane of each baffle perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the chimney, or may be inclined downward at an angle to the chimney axis. An upward incline could be used but is Pot preferred because of increased risk of passage of embers past the baffles. In the preferred embodiment baffle plates 48 are formed as solid plates, but in an alternative embodiment the baffles may be formed of a screen or mesh material in a supporting frame, to allow smoke and other gaseous combustion products to pass directly through the baffles while preventing the passage of ash or embers that would pose an ignition risk.

In the preferred embodiment of the incinerator apparatus a screened spark arrester 49 is disposed at the upper end 47 of chimney 14, to further assure that no hot ash or embers posing an ignition risk escape the chimney. Spark arrester 49 may be of any conventional design. Although not contemplated to be necessary, a spark arresting screen or grate may also be disposed at lower end 46 of chimney 14, to trap any large particles remaining in the flow of combustion gases at that point and prevent their entry into the chimney.

As further protection against the escape of ash or embers from ash box 12 carried by cross winds blowing through the combustion air inlets, wind shields 50 may be connected to the ash box above each air inlet to extend outwardly and downwardly at an angle, as shown in FIG. 4, to shield against cross winds without interfering with the entry of combustion air below the shields. Shields 50 are formed as flat rectangular plates of sufficient length to span across the associated combustion air inlet, connected at one edge to the ash box between the air inlet and the upper edge of the ash box, and extending outwardly and downwardly at a preferred angle of about forty-five degrees, with the opposite edge of the shield disposed below the lower edge of the associated combustion air inlet. Each shield occludes the associated combustion air inlet so as to prevent laterally blowing wind from bypassing the shield and blowing into the ash box through the combustion air inlet, without preventing air from being drawn through the air inlet around the shield.

Support base 15 includes legs 51 extending downwardly from a frame 52 that is disposed at the lower edge of ash box 12 to support the incinerator structure above the ground or other surface upon which it is placed an operated. A set of preferably folding, drop-down steps 53 is also provided below ash box 12, pivotally connected to frame 52, to facilitate access to cupola door 42. Steps 53 may also be provided as a permanently deployed non-folding structure that remains in place, or the steps may be omitted from smaller models of the incinerator, if not needed for access to the cupola door.

In the preferred embodiment described above the cross-sectional configuration of the principal components of the incinerator apparatus is generally rectangular. However, a rectangular configuration is not essential, and it is to be understood that the scope of the invention encompasses other configurations as alternative embodiments. As a non-limiting example, ash box 12, firebox 11, and cupola 13 may be formed with a cylindrical configuration. In such an alternative embodiment the cross-sectional configuration of chimney 14 may be cylindrical, or the rectangular configuration of the preferred embodiment may be retained to, as noted above, facilitate the connection of baffle plates 48.

The foregoing description of the apparatus of the invention is intended to be illustrative and not limiting. In addition to the embodiments and variations described above, the apparatus is susceptible to further variations, all within the scope of the invention, in accordance with the following claims.