Title:
Beverage sip cooling system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sip cooling system for a personal drinking vessel or container including a block of thermally conductive material with a cooling chamber through which drinking liquid flows when the user draws liquid from a flexible tube connected to the chamber outlet. A flexible supply tube connected to the chamber inlet has the remote end immersed in the liquid in the drinking container. A solid state thermo electric cooling device is attached to the block for, upon energization from a battery, cools only the liquid passing through the chamber. In one embodiment, the cooling unit and battery are contained in a cap fitting over an opening in a personal drinking container. In another embodiment, the system is connected in line in a flexible drinking tube connected to a personally carried supply of drinking liquid.



Inventors:
Lodge, Bradley T. (Brunswick, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/708186
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
02/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25B21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ZEC, FILIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAY SHARPE LLP (Cleveland, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A beverage cooling cap for a drinking vessel such as a cup, glass, mug, jar and the like comprising: (a) body structure including a member formed of material having a relatively high thermal conductivity with an inlet, an outlet and a cooling passage therein communicating with the inlet and outlet; (b) an electric cooling element disposed in heat transferring relationship with the body structure; (c) a portable source of electrical energy associated with the body structure for powering the electric cooling element, wherein upon placement of the cap on the drinking vessel, upon energization of the cooling element, liquid drawn from the drinking vessel through the cooling passage is cooled.

2. The cooling cap defined in claim 1, wherein the cooling element includes a thermoelectric element.

3. The cooling cap defined in claim 1, wherein the body structure, electrical energy source and cooling element are encased in a cover.

4. The cooling cap defined in claim 1, further comprising a tube connected to the inlet for extending into the drinking vessel.

5. The cap defined in claim 1, wherein the portable energy source comprises a battery.

6. The cap defined in claim 5, further comprising a user actuated on-off switch.

7. The cap defined in claim 1, wherein the liquid passage has a tortuous configuration.

8. The cap defined in claim 1, wherein the inlet includes a flexible tube.

9. The cap defined in claim 1, wherein the electric cooling element is bonded to the body structure.

10. A beverage cooling cap for a cup, mug, glass, jar, bottle and like drinking vessel comprising: (a) a casing adapted to fit over the opening of the drinking vessel, the casing having an inlet for communicating with liquid in the vessel and an outlet for user with drawing liquid from the vessel; (b) a beverage cooling unit disposed in the casing, the cooling unit including (i) a member formed of material having a relatively high thermal conductivity and defining a cooling chamber communicating with the said inlet and outlet, (ii) a thermoelectric element disposed in heat transferring relationship with the member of high thermal conductivity; and, (c) a source of electrical power for the thermoelectric element disposed in the casing.

11. The cap defined in claim 10, wherein the source of electrical power includes a battery.

12. The cap defined in claim 10, wherein the member of high thermal conductivity is formed of aluminum material.

13. The cap defined in claim 10, wherein the thermo electric element is adhesively bonded to the member of high thermal conductivity.

14. The cap defined in claim 10, wherein the cooling chamber includes a tortuous passage.

15. The cap defined in claim 10, wherein the casing includes engagement surfaces thereon configured for engaging corresponding surfaces on a jar.

16. The cap defined in claim 10, wherein the casing includes surface operable for sealing over the opening of the drinking vessel.

17. A beverage cooling cap for a drinking cup, mug, glass, jar and like drinking vessels comprising: (a) base structure adapted for placement over the opening of the drinking vessel including a member with relatively high thermal conductivity defining a cooling chamber with an inlet and outlet; (b) a solid state cooling element disposed in heat transferring relationship with the member of high thermal conductivity; and, (c) a source of electrical power operably connected for energizing the cooling element and disposed with the base structure, wherein the inlet receives liquid from the vessel, the cooling element effects cooling of liquid in the cooling chamber and the outlet is operable for discharging cooled liquid for user consumption.

18. The cap defined in claim 17, wherein the source of electrical power includes a battery.

19. The cap defined in claim 17, wherein the outlet includes a flexible tube.

20. The cap defined in claim 17, wherein the base structure includes retaining surfaces operable to engage corresponding surfaces on the vessel for retaining the cap over the vessel opening.

21. A portable beverage chiller for use with a personal drinking, vessel/container comprising: (a) body structure including a member having a relative high thermal conductivity defining a flow chamber with an inlet and an outlet; (b) a solid state cooling element disposed in heat transferring relationship with the member of high thermal conductivity; (c) a source of electrical power operatively connected to the cooling element; and, (d) a flexible tube associated with the inlet and operative for user insertion of an end thereof in liquid beverage in the vessel/container, wherein, upon the user drawing liquid beverage through the outlet, the liquid flows from the vessel/container through the chamber and is cooled.

22. The chiller defined in claim 21, further comprising means for attaching the body structure to the vessel/container.

23. The chiller defined in claim 21, wherein the chamber includes a tortuous path.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates to the cooling of beverages in portable personal drinking vessels or containers of the type carried on or about a person for having immediate, on-demand access to beverages such as water or popular sports drinks. Because the liquid beverage in the drinking container is carried on or about the individual, the liquid beverage soon reaches ambient temperature. Many individuals, however, prefer to drink a chilled or cooled beverage for quenching thirst, particularly, during periods of physical exertion where the individual is warm and/or perspiring. In circumstances where the individual will be in a location where there is no convenient access to water or other liquid beverages for prolonged periods of time, it is desirable to carry a supply of cooled drinking liquid on or about the person of the individual such as in a canteen or backpack.

Heretofore, the techniques employed for maintaining a personally carried supply of drinking liquid cooled overextended periods of time have employed thermos or vacuum sealed containers and pre-refrigerators gel filled chill blocks to maintain the liquid in the drinking container or reservoir chilled over an extended period of time. However, these have proven to be bulky and heavy inasmuch as there must be sufficient cooling ability present to lower the temperature of the entire mass of the drinking liquid carried by the individual.

Thus, it has been desired to provide a way or means of cooling liquid carried in a personal drinking vessel that needs to provide cooling only when the user is drinking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The system of the present disclosure enables a user to carry a personal supply of drinking liquid on or about the person and draw liquid from the vessel through a drinking tube similar to a “straw” and have the liquid cooled as it is drawn from the container. Thus, the cooling required is only that which is necessary to cool the amount of liquid being drawn from the container as it is withdrawn. The system of the present disclosure thus does not require cooling the entire mass of liquid in the personal drinking container.

The system of the present disclosure, in one exemplary embodiment, provides a cap or cover for a personal drinking container such as a mug or bottle which has a self-contained electrically energized cooling unit through which the liquid being withdrawn from the container by the user passes and is cooled as it passes through the cap. The system employs a chamber with a tortuous passage for the liquid formed in a member having a relatively high thermal conductivity; and, a solid state thermoelectric cooling device which is powered by a source of electrical energy such as a battery contained in the cap is attached to the thermally conductive member. The system is thus relatively small, light in weight, and easily crafted to fit within a cap or housing which may be placed over the opening of the drinking container. The system includes a flexible tube for immersion of one end thereof into the liquid in the drinking container and a second tube is included extending externally from the cap through which the user draws liquid for drinking.

In another exemplary embodiment, the system includes a relatively small, lightweight chilling unit having a solid state cooling device which chills liquid passing from an inlet through a cooling chamber to the outlet. The system is intended for inline connection having a flexible tube connected to the inlet for connection to the reservoir of drinking liquid on or about the person, with another flexible tube connected to the outlet for the user to draw liquid there through from the cooling chamber. The system may be conveniently strapped to any article of apparel on the person or to a backpack or strapped about a part of the individual's body. A source of electrical energy, such as a battery, may be contained with the cooling unit or may be carried on or about the person remotely from the cooling unit and connected thereto by suitable flexible electrical leads. The personal drinking liquid sip cooling system disclosed and described herein thus provides a compact, lightweight and readily available source of on demand chilling of drinking liquid carried on or about the person and does not require chilling or cooling of the entire mass of drinking liquid carried in the container or reservoir, but cools only the amount of liquid withdrawn as it is withdrawn for drinking.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of an exemplary embodiment of the invention employed in a cap for a personal drinking container such as a bottle or jar;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the cooling or chilling unit of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is another exemplary embodiment of the invention disposed in line in a drinking tube from a personally carried liquid reservoir carried such as backpack style; and,

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the cooling unit of FIG. 3 with portion of the cover broken away.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of the sip cooling system of the present disclosure is illustrated generally at 10, embodied in the form of a cap or cover 12 adapted for attachment, as for example by threaded connection or snap-on connection to a personal liquid drinking container 14 as, for example, a jar or bottle. The details of the threads or snap connection are known and have been omitted for the sake of simplicity of illustration.

The cap has a dome or cover portion 16 under which is disposed a sip cooling or chilling unit indicated generally at 18 and a source of electrical energy such as, for example, a battery 20. The cooling or chilling unit 18 includes a solid state cooling device 22 with electrical leads 24, 26 connected to an electrical switch 28 which is disposed to have an actuator 30 extending externally of the dome 16 for convenience actuation by the user. The switch is also connected to the source of electrical energy such as battery 20 by electrical leads 32, 34.

The chilling unit 18 has an outlet with a flexible drinking tube 36 connected thereto which extends outwardly of dome 16 through an opening therein; and, tube 36 is adapted for personal use by the user in withdrawing liquid from the jar 14. The chilling unit 18 has an inlet shown in dashed outline in FIG. 1 and denoted by reference numeral 38 which has one end of a second tube 40 connected thereto with the opposite end of tube 40 extending downwardly into the interior of the jar 14 into the drinking liquid contained therein. Upon the user applying suction to tube 36, liquid is drawn through tube 40 and through the cooling unit 18 and tube 36 to the user.

Although the cap 12 in the embodiment of FIG. 1 is configured for connection over the opening of a jar or bottle, the cap may also be configured for merely resting upon the rim of a cup or mug or glass for cooling the liquid contained therein; and, thus the user may carry the self powered cap 10 about their person and upon filling a drinking container with liquid may apply the chilling system to the drinking liquid on location.

With reference to FIG. 2, the chilling unit 18 is illustrated in exploded view and employs a heat transfer member or block 42 which has a sinuous or tortuous passage 44 formed on the face thereof, as for example, by machining or molding a groove therein. One end of the groove has an inlet 46 which communicates with a cross passage indicated in dashed outline by reference numeral 48 which communicates with a downwardly extending bore 50 shown in dashed outline in FIG. 2 which is connected to the inlet tube 38 for supplying liquid to the tortuous passage or cooling chamber 44. The cooling chamber 44 also has an outlet port 52 at the end thereof which port communicates with a cross passage 54, 52 which communicates with a riser bore 56 which is adapted for connection to the user tube 36.

Passage or chamber 44 is covered by plate 58 which may be attached to block 42 in any convenient manner, as for example, by suitable fasteners such as screws 60, it being understood that the plate 58 is sealed by any suitable expedient, as, for example, a gasket or curable sealant over passage 44 to prevent liquid escaping between the cover plate 58 and the block 42.

The block 42 and the cover plate 58 are formed of material of a relatively high thermal conductivity, as for example, aluminum or other suitable thermally conductive material. A solid state device such as a thermo electric device 62 is attached to the outer surface of plate 48 as shown in FIG. 2 and has the electric leads 24, 26 extending therefrom for attachment to the switch 28 as described hereinabove.

If desired, a second cooling passage (not shown), similar to passage 44 may be formed on the opposite side of the block 42 and formed to communicate with the inlet down bore 50 and the outlet riser bore 56. If such a second passage is formed in the block 42, a second cover plate 64 is provided similar to plate 58 and a second solid state cooling device or thermo electric cooler 66 is attached to the outer face thereof with electrical lead 68, 70 extending therefrom for attachment to switch 28. The plate 64 is attached to block 42 by suitable fasteners, such as, screws, 72. The cooling unit 18 is thus a relatively small, lightweight, compact and easily energizable liquid chiller capable of cooling liquid passing from inlet port 36 to outlet port 52 with the power available from a small source such as a battery, for example, one or more M size batteries.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, another exemplary embodiment of the sip cooling system of the present disclosure is illustrated for in line connection and shown generally at 74. The system 74 is connected with the outlet thereof connected an upper end portion of a flexible drinking tube 76 which may have a so-called “bite” valve 78 at the remote end of for convenient sipping by the user. Another lower portion of the tube 76 has one end connected to the inlet of system 74 and the opposite end connected to a portable, flexible liquid container such as backpack 80 which contains a flexible bladder within (not shown) to be filled with liquid and connected to the tube 76. The backpack arrangement of FIG. 3 permits the bladder to be filled through a movable fill port which may have a removable cap 82 or alternatively a one-way valve. In the arrangement of FIG. 3, the cooling system 74 may be attached to the shoulder strap 84 of the backpack conveniently by a strap 86 which may employ quick release interdigitating filaments thereon or any other expedient, as for example, an elastic band or a simple tie strap.

The backpack 80 may contain a side pocket 88 into which the batteries for the cooling unit 74 are carried and the batteries are connected to the cooling unit 74 by flexible electrical leads 90, 92.

Referring to FIG. 4, the cooling unit 74 of FIG. 3 is shown in enlarged detail with the cover or capsule 100 thereof broken away to expose the interior. The capsule 100 encloses the cooling or chilling unit indicated generally at 102 which may be similar to the unit 18 described with respect to FIG. 2; and unit 102 has a block 104 with a thermo electric cooling device 106 attached thereto. The block 102 has its inlet port 108 connected to the portion of the tube 76 connected to the reservoir; and the outlet port 110 of the block 104 is connected to the portion of tube 76 having the bite valve 78 thereon. The solid state cooling device or thermo electric device 106 has the electrical leads 90, 92 extending outwardly through the cover 100. Optionally, if desired, the unit 74 may contain the source of electrical energy, such as, for example, a battery 110 shown in dashed outline in FIG. 4. If the optional battery 110 is contained within the cover 100, the unit 74 thus becomes self contained and may be carried separately from a liquid container where the user does not wish to carry the supply of liquid, but wishes to be able to cool any liquid available on site for drinking from a drinking container.

The present disclosure thus describes a compact, small and lightweight drinking sip cooling system for cooling liquid as it drawn from a liquid container rather than cool all of the liquid in the container. The cooling system of the present disclosure may be either embodied in a form as a cap for an open container such as a jar or bottle, or may be configured for inline connection in a flexible drinking tube adaptable for use with any personal liquid drinking container.

The exemplary embodiment has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the exemplary embodiment be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.