Title:
LIGHTER FOR HEATING UP A SMOKELESS CIGARETTE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lighter for heating-up a smokeless cigarette comprises a housing having a fuel reservoir connected with a burner nozzle via a valve. An igniting device is disposed near the burner nozzle. The valve is openable by an actuator provided on the housing, whereby a flame is ignited by the igniting device. A receptacle is disposed adjacent to the burner nozzle and the igniting device, is accessible through a hole in the housing and is formed in the interior of the housing. The end of a cigarette body facing away from a mouthpiece is inserted into the receptacle so that the corresponding end of a heating pipe, which faces towards the burner nozzle, is heated by the flame in order to vaporize a stimulant in the cigarette. The cigarette can be removed from the receptacle after the stimulant begins to vaporize.



Inventors:
Philipp, Thomas (Kusterdingen, DE)
Wengert, Christian (Bad Wurzach-Rohrbach, DE)
Application Number:
12/281475
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
03/01/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
431/253
International Classes:
F23Q2/32
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NAMAY, DANIEL ELLIOT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, P.C. (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-5. (canceled)

6. A lighter for heating-up a smokeless cigarette, wherein the cigarette comprises a cigarette body including a heating pipe made of a heat-conducting material surrounded by an outer sheath made of a thermally-insulting material, wherein a mouthpiece is attachable to an end of the cigarette body such that a stimulant disposed between the mouthpiece and the end of the heating pipe facing towards the mouthpiece is in contact with the mouthpiece, the stimulant being heatable up to a temperature sufficient to vaporize the stimulant by heating the end of the heating pipe facing away from the mouthpiece, wherein the lighter comprises: a fuel reservoir disposed in a housing, a burner nozzle in communication with the fuel reservoir via a valve, the valve being openable by an actuator provided on the housing, an igniting device disposed adjacent to the burner nozzle for igniting a flame, a receptacle defined in the interior of the housing, the receptacle being adjacent to the burner nozzle and the igniting device and being accessible through a hole defined in the housing, wherein the receptacle is configured such that the end of the cigarette body facing away from the mouthpiece is insertable into the receptacle so that the corresponding end of the heating pipe, which faces towards the burner nozzle, is heatable by the flame for vaporizing the stimulant and the cigarette body is removable from the receptacle after the stimulant begins to vaporize, and a thermal sensor configured to sense the temperature of the end portion of the inserted cigarette that faces towards the burner nozzle and configured to close the valve when a threshold temperature is exceeded.

7. A lighter according to claim 6, wherein openings for admitting fresh air are defined in the housing adjacent the burner nozzle.

8. A lighter according to claim 7, wherein a section of the housing is transparent such that a flame emanating from the burner nozzle is visible outside of the housing.

9. A lighter according to claim 8, further comprising a sleeve disposed in the housing for receiving an end portion of the cigarette body, wherein the thermal sensor comprises a bimetal strip configured to sense the temperature of the sleeve and configured to close the valve by deformation of the bimetal strip.

10. A lighter according to claim 6, wherein a section of the housing is transparent such that a flame emanating from the burner nozzle is visible outside of the housing.

11. A lighter according to claim 6, wherein the thermal sensor comprises a bimetal strip coupled to the valve and arranged to sense the temperature in or near the receptacle, wherein the bimetal strip deforms above the temperature threshold and closes the valve when it deforms.

12. A lighter according to claim 11, further comprising a sleeve for receiving the cigarette body disposed in the receptacle, the bimetal strip being configured to sense the temperature of the sleeve.

13. A lighter for heating-up a smokeless cigarette, comprising: a fuel reservoir disposed in a housing, a fuel nozzle in communication with the fuel reservoir via a valve, the valve being openable by an actuator provided on the housing, an igniting device disposed adjacent to the burner nozzle and configured to ignite a flame when the valve is opened, a receptacle defined in the interior of the housing, the receptacle being adjacent to the fuel nozzle and the igniting device and being accessible through a hole defined in the housing, wherein the receptacle is configured to receive an end portion of the smokeless cigarette, and a thermal sensor configured to sense the temperature of the end portion of an inserted smokeless cigarette and configured to close the valve, thereby extinguishing the flame, when thermal sensor senses that a threshold temperature has been exceeded.

14. A lighter according to claim 13, wherein openings for admitting fresh air are defined in the housing adjacent the fuel nozzle.

15. A lighter according to claim 14, wherein a section of the housing is transparent such that a flame emanating from the fuel nozzle is visible outside of the housing.

16. A lighter according to claim 15, further comprising a sleeve disposed in the receptacle for receiving the end portion of the smokeless cigarette, wherein the thermal sensor comprises a bimetal strip configured to sense the temperature of the sleeve and configured to close the valve by deformation of the bimetal strip.

17. A lighter according to claim 13, wherein a section of the housing is transparent such that a flame emanating from the fuel nozzle is visible outside of the housing.

18. A lighter according to claim 13, wherein the thermal sensor comprises a bimetal strip coupled to the valve and arranged to sense the temperature in or near the receptacle, wherein the bimetal strip deforms above the temperature threshold and closes the valve when it deforms.

19. A lighter according to claim 18, further comprising a sleeve for receiving the smokeless cigarette disposed in the receptacle, the bimetal strip being configured to sense the temperature of the sleeve.

20. A lighter according to claim 19, wherein opposite ends of the bimetal strip are in thermal communication with the sleeve and a middle portion of the bimetal strip is mechanically coupled to the valve such that deformation of the bimetal strip causes the valve to close.

21. A method for heating-up an end portion of a smokeless cigarette, comprising: inserting the end portion of the smokeless cigarette into a receptacle defined in a lighter, igniting a flame inside the lighter so as to heat-up the end portion of a heating pipe disposed in the smokeless cigarette, sensing the temperature of the end portion of the smokeless cigarette while the flame is heating-up the end portion of the smokeless cigarette, and extinguishing the flame when the sensed temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold temperature.

22. A method according to claim 21, wherein the lighter comprises a bimetal strip in thermal communication with the end portion of the smokeless cigarette, the bimetal strip deforming above the predetermined threshold temperature.

23. A method according to claim 22, wherein the bimetal strip is mechanically coupled to a valve that extinguishes the flame when the bimetal strip deforms.

24. A method according to claim 21, wherein the lighter comprises a thermal sensor coupled to a valve and the method further comprises closing the valve to extinguish the flame when the thermal sensor senses that the predetermined threshold temperature has been exceeded.

25. A method according to claim 21, wherein the predetermined threshold temperature is a temperature at which a stimulant associated with the smokeless cigarette vaporizes.

Description:

The invention concerns a lighter for heating-up a smokeless cigarette.

In the not pre-published German patent application 10 2005 034 169.1, a smokeless cigarette is described as is illustrated in FIG. 6 in cross-section and in a separated manner.

An overall cylindrical mouthpiece 10 is comprised of known filter material, such as is utilized for filter mouthpieces of conventional cigarettes. One terminal end of the mouthpiece 10 is formed as inhalation opening 18. The terminal end of the mouthpiece 10 facing away from the inhalation opening 18 is formed with a hollow cylindrical recess 20. The surface 22 of the mouthpiece 10 is formed in an enclosed porous manner with the exception of the surface of the recess and the terminal end on the left side of FIG. 6.

The cigarette body 12 includes a cylindrical sheath 24 made of thermally-insulating material, e.g., a ceramic material, which comprises a heating pipe 26 made of a highly heat-conductive material, e.g., copper. The end of the heating pipe 26 on the left side of FIG. 1 protrudes from the sheath 24, wherein the outer contour of the protruding section 28 corresponds approximately to the contour of the recess 20. The terminal end of the protruding section and the cylindrical wall of the protruding section are formed with passage openings 30. The terminal end of the protruding section can also be completely open. The right-side end of the sheath 24 is formed with a recess 32; the right end of the heating pipe 26 is exposed on the bottom of the recess 32.

The right-side end of the sheath 24 forms an air inlet opening together with the opening of the heating pipe 26; the air inlet opening is connected via an air passage channel, which is formed by the interior of the heating pipe 26, with an air discharge opening formed by the left-side end of the heating pipe 26 and/or the end of the sheath 24.

The mouthpiece 10 is coated on the inner side of the recess 20 with a volatile stimulant, e.g., nicotine mixed with fragrance and/or flavoring. In the delivery state, the mouthpiece 10 is, e.g., enclosed by a plastic film, so that the stimulant 33 can not evaporate. After removing the plastic film, the mouthpiece is pushed onto the protruding section 28 of the cigarette body 12, so that an assembly is formed that has the appearance of a conventional cigarette (mouthpiece with cigarette body).

For heating-up and/or “lighting”, the end of the cigarette body 12 on the right in FIG. 6 is inserted into an adapter; the end of the cigarette body 12 is connected with a lighter via the adapter, so that the heating pipe 26 is heated by the flame of the lighter and the stimulant 33, which is in intensive contact with the heating pipe, is heated up to or slightly above its dissolving temperature and/or its vaporizing temperature of, e.g., 50 to 60 degrees Celsius. The heating capacity of the heating pipe 26 is sufficient such that, when inhaling air through the inhalation opening 18 after disconnecting the cigarette from the adapter, the evaporated components and other volatile components of the stimulant 33 are drawn-in over a sufficiently long time period, so that the stimulant can be enjoyed in the mouth or by inhalation up to at least substantially its complete consumption.

A cigarette is known from DD 285 926 A5 that comprises a flammable carbonaceous fuel element inside a sleeve; the fuel element is in a heat-conducting relationship with a substrate generating an aerosol. The sleeve is comprised of a metal film that is wrapped with paper. For enhancing the aerosol, a tobacco filling can also be provided that is perfused by the aerosol. An end of the fuel element that projects from the sleeve is ignitable. The end of the sleeve facing away from the fuel element, into which a filter body can be inserted, forms a mouthpiece.

DE 68 04 373 U describes a lighter for motor vehicles, in which a funnel is attached to the lighter so that, when the cigarette is inserted, the one end of the funnel is directed towards the lighter flame.

A cigar lighter, which is particularly suitable for use in motor vehicles, is known from GB 20 99 122 A; the housing of the cigar lighter is insertable into a power supply socket and it includes an electrically-heated ignition element; a terminal end of an ignitable cigar is bringable into contact with the ignition element.

An overall pipe-shaped device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 54,72,001 A, by means of which a conventional cigarette can be enjoyed such that no smoke reaches the surroundings. For this purpose, the pipe-shaped device includes a projection on one end that covers the mouth and nose of a smoker. The device includes a filter device on its other end; the filter device filters out harmful components of the smoke discharging into the surroundings.

U.S. Pat. No. 53,96,907 A also describes a device that permits a conventional cigarette accommodated inside of the device to be smoked such that only filtered smoke reaches the surroundings.

U.S. Pat. No. 47,74,970 also describes a device, by means of which a conventional cigarette can be enjoyed such that tobacco smoke is isomerized, oxidized and catalyzed prior to the inhalation and the amount of smoke discharging into the surroundings is decreased.

The object underlying the invention is to create a possibility, by which the heating-up of the smokeless cigarette can take place as safely and conveniently as possible.

This object is achieved with a lighter according to claim 1.

The inventive lighter is further developed in an advantageous way with the features of claims 5.

The invention will be explained in an exemplary manner in the following with the assistance of schematic drawings and with further details.

IN THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of an inventive lighter,

FIG. 2 depicts a longitudinal section through the lighter of FIG. 1,

FIG. 3 depicts a view of selected parts of the lighter similar to FIG. 2 in its still cold, but already-lighted, state,

FIG. 4 depicts a view similar to FIG. 3 in the state, in which the lighter automatically turns itself off,

FIG. 5 depicts the parts of the lighter of FIGS. 3 and 4 in the idle state, and

FIG. 6 shows a longitudinal section through a smokeless cigarette in a separated state.

According to FIG. 1, an actuator 72 for actuating the lighter projects out of the upper side of a housing 70 of a lighter. Further, a hole 74 is formed in the upper side that leads into a receptacle 76 formed in the interior of the housing 70. A section 78 of the wall of the housing 70 is transparent and is formed with holes 79.

FIG. 2 shows a longitudinal section through the lighter of FIG. 1.

A sleeve 82 formed with a stop 80 on its lower end is located in the receptacle 76. A burner nozzle 86 of the burner assembly 84 is connected via a conduit 88 with a valve assembly 90; the valve assembly 90 is disposed on an outlet pipe of fuel reservoir 92 that contains, e.g., a customary liquid gas and is refillable in a known manner.

The actuator 72 is loosely connected via a rocker lever 94 with the valve assembly 90.

According to FIG. 2, an igniting unit 96, e.g., a piezoelectric igniting device, is disposed underneath the actuator 72; the ignition electrodes 97 of the igniting unit 96 are located in the area adjacent the burner nozzle 86.

The function of the above-described lighter is known and thus will not be described in detail. When the actuator 72 is downwardly moved, the valve assembly 90 is opened, so that burnable gas flows out of the burner nozzle 86 and is ignited there by the ignition electrodes 97 of the igniting unit 96.

The sleeve 82 is dimensioned such that the cigarette body 12 (FIG. 6) is insertable into the sleeve 82 up to the stop 80. Both ends of a bimetal strip 98 are attached to the outer side of the sleeve 82 in a highly heat-conductive manner in the lower section of the cigarette body 12; the bimetal strip 98 is connected to the valve assembly 90 via a bridging wire 100.

FIG. 3 shows the device when the actuator 72 is pressed, the valve of the valve assembly 90 is thereby opened and the flame 102 thus burns, but the sleeve 82 is still cold. In the illustration according to FIG. 4, the sleeve 82 is heated so much that the bimetal strip according to FIG. 4 is outwardly curved towards the left and closes the valve of the valve assembly 90 via the bridging wire 100.

The transparent section 78 of the housing 70 having the holes 79 formed therein is located, as is apparent from FIG. 2, in the area adjacent the burner nozzle 86. It is understood that the holes 79, which can also be formed in a slot-shaped manner, are formed, and if desired are connected with channels in the burner assembly 84, such that the flame is supplied with sufficient fresh air. The function of the described device is as follows:

The cigarette body 12 of a “to-be-ignited” and/or to-be-heated-up cigarette is inserted into the receptacle 76 up to the stop 80. The lighter is then actuated by means of the actuator 72, so that the heating pipe 26 is heated by the flame 102. The heat conductivity of the poorly heat-conductive sheath 24 and the temperature sensitivity of the bimetal strip 98 are tuned to each other such that the bimetal strip 98 closes the valve of the valve assembly 90 when the heating pipe 26, in particular its section 28 protruding from the sheath 24, has reached a predetermined temperature that suffices to vaporize the stimulant 33 (FIG. 6). The outer side of the sheath 24 is thus barely heated so that it is comfortable to touch. The cigarette body 12 is then taken out of the lighter. A fresh mouthpiece 10 is pushed onto it and an enjoyment of the stimulant 33 is made possible, whereby air is inhaled through the mouthpiece 10 similar to conventional cigarettes. In this way, the enjoyment of the stimulant is intensive for the “smoker” without the environment being disturbed by any kind of smoke.

A safe and convenient possibility for heating-up cigarettes of the described type is created by the invention. It is understood that the cigarette can be heated up again if it is cooled down prior to the complete consumption of the stimulant.

By appropriate dimensioning of the receptacle 76 with the sleeve 82 as well as, if necessary, use of an additional, temperature-insulating sleeve, the lighter can be utilized in a known way, whereby the flame, if desired after adjustment using a knurled screw (not shown) protruding from the housing, is set so that it burns outside of the housing. Furthermore, it is possible that the valve assembly 90 closes when the actuator 72 is no longer being actuated and, when the actuator 72 is pressed, it again closes when it is released for closing by the bimetal strip 98. This release can take place, e.g., such that the bimetal strip pushes the bridging wire out from under a head of a valve shaft and such that the valve is closed by a spring biased towards the closing position.

The cigarette body 12 is advantageously heated by the lighter with a pushed-on mouthpiece 10, because the heated air, inclusive of nicotine and flavoring, can then be immediately inhaled through the heating pipe with a slight puff similar to a conventional cigarette.

In a modified embodiment, outlet holes similar to the outlet holes 30 according to FIG. 6 are also formed in the edge area of the sheath 24 on the left-side according to FIG. 6 and lead radially through the heating pipe 26. As a result, the cigarette can be heated-up when the mouthpiece is pushed on without having to inhale air through the mouthpiece.

REFERENCE NUMBER LIST

10 Mouthpiece

12 Cigarette body

14 Adapter

16 Filter material

18 Inhalation opening

20 Recess

22 Surface

24 Sheath

26 Heating pipe

28 Section

30 Passage opening

32 Recess

33 Stimulant

70 Housing

72 Actuator

74 Hole

76 Receptacle

78 Transparent section

79 Holes

80 Stop

82 Sleeve

84 Burner assembly

88 Conduit

90 Valve assembly

92 Fuel reservoir

94 Rocker lever

96 Igniting unit

97 Ignition electrodes

98 Bimetal strip

100 Bridging wire

102 Flame