Title:
Flotation apparatus for motor vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an inflatable device that is particularly useful for floating a motor vehicle on water. The present invention also relates to an inflatable device that can be affixed to the motor vehicle, when flooding is expected, thus enabling the vehicle to float on flood waters. The present invention further relates to an inflatable flotation device that is reliable, easily affixed to the vehicle. The method used to affix the present invention to a motor vehicle is important since flood conditions are often foreseen and flood warnings are often given ahead of time. Therefore, the present invention is a quickly deployable flotation device that is useful when flooding is expected or anticipated.



Inventors:
Blacklock, Teresa Lynn (Landenberg, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/215256
Publication Date:
12/31/2009
Filing Date:
06/26/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B35/58
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Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Teresa Lynn Blacklock (Landenberg, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A flotation device comprising a single continuous air chamber, a valve system for inflating the single continuous air chamber such that when the flotation device is inflated it takes a defined shape.

2. The flotation device of claim 1 (1) wherein the single continuous air chamber is a cylindrical air chamber formed using a casing of an air-tight, hermetically sealed, water impervious material.

3. The flotation device of claim (2) wherein the water impervious material is selected from the group consisting of rubber and plastic.

4. The flotation device of claim (3) wherein the single continuous air chamber is further physically characterize such that after being inflated, the single continuous air chamber takes a defined shape in the form of the letter U thus creating the single U-tube flotation device.

5. The flotation device of claim (4) wherein the single continuous air chamber is inflated with gaseous materials selected from the group consisting of air and gas and carbon dioxide.

6. The flotation device of claim (5) wherein the valve system used for inflating the single continuous air chamber is a mechanically control air pumping system.

7. A flotation device comprising two continuous air chambers, a means of connecting the two continuous air chambers, a valve system for inflating the two continuous air chambers wherein after being inflated the two single air chambers take a defined shape.

8. The flotation device of claim (7) wherein the two continuous air chambers are physically characterized as cylindrical air chambers formed using a casing of an air-tight, hermetically sealed, water impervious material.

9. The flotation device of claim (8) wherein the two continuous air chambers are further physically characterized such that after inflation they take a defined shape in the form of the letter U thus creating the double U-tube.

10. The flotation device of claim (9) wherein the mean of connecting the two continuous air chambers is a third continuous air chamber.

11. The flotation device of claim (10) wherein the third air chamber attached to each of the two continuous air chambers at the bottom of each U-tube.

12. The flotation device of claim (9) wherein the mean of connecting the two continuous air chambers is selected from the group consisting of plastic sheet or rubber sheet.

13. The flotation device of claim (12) wherein the plastic sheet or rubber sheet is attached to each of the two continuous air chambers at the bottom of each U-tube.

14. The inflatable flotation device of claim (13) wherein the valve system used for inflating the flotation device is a mechanically control air pumping system.

15. The flotation device according to claim (1) wherein said flotation device is used to float a motor vehicle in flood waters.

16. The flotation device according to claim (7) wherein said flotation device is used to float a motor vehicle in flood waters.

17. A method for floating a motor vehicle in flood water by using a flotation device comprising two continuous air chambers, a means of connecting the two continuous air chambers, a valve system for inflating the two continuous air chambers wherein after being inflated the two single air chambers take a defined shape.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to an apparatus and a method for use of the same for protecting automobiles from being destroyed by flood water.

More specifically, the present invention relates to an inflatable apparatus that is particularly useful for floating a motor vehicle on water, when it is necessary to protect an automotive vehicle from damage caused by water.

Even more specifically, the present invention relates to an inflatable device that may be affixed to a motor vehicle thereby enabling the vehicle to float in water.

BACKGROUND

The present invention generally relates to an apparatus and a method for use of the same for protecting automotive vehicles from damage caused by flood waters. Flood waters, and the accompanying mud and debris carried along therewith, often do extensive damage not only to the exteriors of motor vehicles, but also damage to the interior, trunks, engines, transmissions, steering, bearings and other operating parts. Since automobiles have continued to become a more expensive asset to own and maintain, it is in the owner's interest to have a reliable means of protecting the automobile when threaten by floods. What has been found to be novel, and unanticipated by the prior art is an apparatus and method of use that fulfils this need.

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for floating a motor vehicle on water. Another object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus that can be affixed to the motor vehicle when flooding is expected. A further object of the present invention is to an apparatus that is both reliable and easily affixed to the vehicle.

The present invention relates to an apparatus characterized as an inflatable device for floating a motor vehicle on water. The present invention also relates to an inflatable device that can be affixed to the motor vehicle, when flooding is expected, thus enabling the vehicle to float on flood waters. The present invention further relates to an inflatable device that is both reliable, and easily affixed to the vehicle.

The affixing aspect of the present invention is important since flood conditions are often foreseen and flood warnings are often given ahead of time. Therefore, the present invention is a quickly deployable inflatable device that finds particular application and use when flooding is anticipated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention is an inflatable device having a single continuous air chamber, a valve system for inflating the air chamber such that when the flotation device of the present invention is inflated it takes a defined shape and when affixed to a motor vehicle it floats in water.

In another aspect, the present invention is an inflatable device having two single continuous air chambers, a means for connecting the two single continuous air chambers, a valve system for inflating the two single air chambers such that when the two single continuous air chambers are inflated they take a defined shape.

When either aspect of the above described invention is affixed to a motor vehicle, it floats in flood waters.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. A plain view of a single continuous air chamber that takes a defined shape when inflated with air or gas or carbon dioxide.

FIG. 2.(a) A plain view of two single continuous air chambers, a means of connecting the two single continuous air chambers, wherein the means for connecting the two single continuous air chambers is a plastic or rubber sheet.

FIG. 2(b). A plain view of two single continuous air chambers, a means of connecting the two single continuous air chambers, wherein the means for connecting the two single continuous air chambers is third air chamber.

FIG. 3. A perspective view of a single continuous air chamber that takes a defined shape when inflated with gas or air and when positioned on and under a motor vehicle it floats the motor vehicle in flood waters.

FIG. 4. Side-view of two single continuous air chambers that take a defined shape when inflated and when positioned under a motor vehicle it floats the motor vehicle in flood waters.

FIG. 5(a). Side-view of one single continuous air chambers that take a defined shape when inflated and when positioned under a motor vehicle and affixed to the motor vehicle using, strips, ropes, or strings, the motor vehicle in flood waters. FIG. 5(a) further illustrates the use of four (4) single continuous air chambers

FIG. 5(b). Side-view of two single continuous air chambers that take a defined shape when inflated, and when the two single continuous air chambers are strapped, roped, or buckled at the top to each adjacent air chamber on the same side of the vehicle at both the front, over the vehicle front tire, and the rear, over the vehicle rear tire, and, when positioned under a motor vehicle the motor vehicle floats in flood waters.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention is an inflatable device having a single continuous air chamber, a valve system for inflating the air chamber such that when the flotation device of the present invention is inflated it takes a defined shape and when affixed to a motor vehicle it floats in water.

In another aspect, the present invention is an inflatable device having two single continuous air chambers, a means of connecting the two single continuous air chambers, a valve system for inflating the two single air chambers such that when the two single continuous air chambers are inflated they take a defined shape.

When either aspect of the above described invention is affixed to a motor vehicle, it floats in flood waters.

The flotation device of the present invention is formed using a casing that is made of an air-tight, hermetically sealed, water impervious material, such as rubber, plastic, or the like, such that when the casing is inflated it forms at least one single continuous cylindrical gas-tight air chamber, that is physically characterized such that after it is inflated with air, compressed gas or carbon dioxide, the single continuous air chamber takes a defined shape in the form of a ā€œUā€, the twenty-first letter of the English alphabet, a vowel, and thereby, thus creating the U-tube flotation device of the present invention. The Random House Dictionary, the Unabridged Edition, Copyright 1971).

FIG. 1 Illustrates a plain view of a single continuous air chamber (1) that takes a defined shape of a U-tube when inflated with air, compressed gas, or carbon dioxide. The U-tube flotation device of the present invention which is formed using a single continuous air chamber (1) formed and constructed from a casing made of an inflatable gas-tight hermetically sealed material such as rubber, plastic, or the like, and wherein the casing of the single continuous air chamber (1) is further physically characterized as a cylindrical single continuous air chamber (1), and is additionally physically characterized such that, when the single continuous air chamber (1) is inflated with air or gas, it takes a defined shape of the U-tube flotation device of the present invention, and when affixed to a motor vehicle it floats in water.

FIG. 2(a) Illustrates a plain view of at least two single continuous air chambers (2), that take a defined shape of a U-tube when inflated, a means of connecting (3) the two single continuous air chamber (2), wherein the means for connecting (3) the two single continuous air chambers (2) is a plastic or rubber sheet, wherein the sheet is formed and constructed using the same material as the casing, and wherein the means for connecting the two single continuous air chambers is further characterized as an air-tight, hermetically sealed, water impervious material, such as rubber, plastic, or the like.

FIG. 2(b) Illustrates plain view of at least two single continuous air chambers (2), a means of connecting (4) the two single continuous air chambers (2), wherein the means for connecting (4) the two single continuous air chambers (2) is a third continuous air chamber (4) which is formed and constructed using a casing that is made of an air-tight, hermetically sealed, water impervious material, such as rubber, plastic, or the like, such that when the casing of the third continuous air chamber is inflated, with air, gas, or carbon dioxide, it is characterized to form at least a cylindrical shape gas-tight air chamber that is attached or affixed to the two single continuous air chambers (2) at the bottom of the U-tube, as illustrated in FIG. 2(b).

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of a single continuous air chamber (1) that takes a defined shape of a U-tube flotation when inflated with gas or air and when positioned on a motor vehicle it floats the motor vehicle in flood waters. The positioning of the U-tube is important to the proper application and use of the present invention. Proper positioning not only provides buoyancy for the motor vehicle (5), but further protects the under carriage and floor boarding of the vehicle from damage, when positioned behind the motor vehicle's front bumper (6). FIG. 5(a) illustrates the side view of how to use and apply four single continuous air chambers (1) to a motor vehicle (5). Also, when the U-tube is inflated, the height the U-tube when positioned under the motor vehicle is lower then the top of the vehicle to be protected, but higher than the float level of the motor vehicle, as shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 5(a).

For better results, the single continuous air chamber (1), of FIG. 3, should ideally be used in multiples of two, meaning that the side-view of FIG. 5(a) and the method used to affix the single continuous air chamber (1), as illustrated in FIGS. 5(a) and 5(b) is equivalent to the way one would use the single continuous air chamber without the connection means (3), (4) of FIGS. 2(a), 3; and, 2(b), 4, to float a motor vehicle in flood waters.

FIG. 4. Illustrates a side-view of two single continuous air chambers (2) that take a defined shape of a U-tube when inflated, and when positioned under a motor vehicle (5) it floats the motor vehicle (5) in flood waters. The U-tube of the present invention operates best as a flotation device, when used as illustrated in FIG. 4 and as shown as provided by both FIG. 2(a) and FIG. (2b). The height of the U-tube when positioned under the motor vehicle (5) is lower then the top of the vehicle to be protected, but higher than the float level of the motor vehicle (5).

As can be seen in FIG. 4 side-view of a motor vehicle (5) using two single continuous air chamber (2) or double U-tubes of FIGS. 2(a) and (2b), one double U-tube is positioned in the front of the motor vehicle (5) as illustrated, and another separate double U-tube is positioned in the rear of the motor vehicle (5), the U-tubes (2) are positioned, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the motor vehicle (5) as shown in FIG. 3. Starting from the front of the vehicle, as shown in FIG. 3 and further illustrated by the side-view of FIG. 5(b) the double U-tube is positioned behind the motor vehicle's front bumper (6) and further positioned in front of the front tires (7) of the motor vehicle (5), and runs laterally across and under the front of the vehicle (5), from the left axle on the passenger side of the vehicle, to the right axle on the driver's side of the motor vehicle (5) and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the motor vehicle (5) as illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 side-view.

The positioning of the double U-tubes (2) of FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b), as illustrated by the FIG. 4 side-view, is important to the proper application and use of the invention. Proper positioning not only provides buoyancy for the motor vehicle, but further protects the under-carriage and floor-boarding from damage, while the motor vehicle floats.

It is anticipated that in operating the single U-tube of FIG. 1, and double U-tubes of FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b), that it will be initially deflated so that it can be easily positioned and placed under the motor vehicle (5). The U-tube of the present invention is not intended to have the motor vehicle's (5) wheels rest on any part of the U-tube before the U-tube is inflated. As can be seen in FIG. 3 single U-tube and FIG. 4 the double U-tube (2), after being inflated with gas, air or carbon dioxide is positioned behind the motor vehicle's (5) front bumper (6) and further positioned in front of the front tires (7) of the motor vehicle (5), the U-tube runs across and under the front of the motor vehicle as illustrated in FIG. 3 from the left axle on the passenger side of the vehicle, to the right axle on the driver's side of the motor vehicle (5) as illustrated FIG. 3 and FIG. 5(a). When inflated, the height the U-tube (1) in FIGS. 3 and 5(a) when positioned under the motor vehicle (5) and affixed to the motor vehicle (5) as shown in FIG. 5(a), is lower then the top of the vehicle to be protected, but higher than the float level of the motor vehicle.

Now moving to the rear of the motor vehicle (5) as illustrated in the side-view of FIG. 4, a separate double U-tube, is positioned in front of the motor vehicle's (5) rear tire (9) and is further positioned behind the rear tire (9) but in front of the rear bumper (8). The U-tube runs across and under the rear-end of the motor vehicle as illustrated in FIG. 3, from the left axle on the passenger side of the rear seat of the motor vehicle (5), to the right axle on the passenger's side of the rear-end of the motor vehicle (5) as illustrated FIG. 3 and FIG. 5(b)

When the optional, connection means (3), (4), of FIGS. 2(a), and 2(b) are used with the U-tube, the connection means runs along the longitudinal axis under the motor vehicle (5), connecting the U-tube (2) as illustrated in FIG. 4. Also when the connection means (3), (4) are properly positioned under the motor vehicle (5) and connecting the U-tubes as depicted in FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b), it stabilizes the U-tube (2) so that the U-tube remains in place both in the front and rear positions of the motor vehicle being protected from flood damage. The positioning of the double U-tubes, as illustrated in FIG. 4, is important to the proper application and use of the invention. Proper positioning not only provides buoyancy for the motor vehicle (5), but further protects the under-carriage and floor-boarding from damage, while the motor vehicle floats. This is particularly the case when the two continuous air chambers are connected using a third air chamber (4) as illustrated in FIG. 2(b). The connecting of the two continuous air chambers by the third air chamber can be accomplished by any means known in the art.

The U-tube (1) and (2) flotation device of FIG. 1 and FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) of the present invention is designed to be in the deflated position until ready for use, at which time it is may be affixed, reliably and easily to the vehicle thereby enabling the same to float in water. The U-tube of FIG. 1 and FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) may be affixed to your motor vehicle using any means known in the art, such as tying with string, rope, cord or cable, and the like, including and not limited to strapping, bolting, screwing and the like. Straps (10) are secured to the top of the U-tube, (1) or (2) and crosses over the motor vehicle (5) to the opposite side of the vehicle and the strap (10) is secured to the same U-tube on the opposite side of the motor vehicle (5) as illustrated in FIG. 5(a) in order to secure the U-tube (1) or (2) of flotation device of FIG. 1 and FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) to the to the motor vehicle (5) intended to be protected from water damage as illustrated in FIGS. 5(a) and 5(b).

FIG. 5(b) illustrates a side-view of two single continuous air chambers (1) or (2) of FIG. 1 and FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) that take a defined shape when inflated, and when the two single continuous air chambers (1), (2) are strapped, roped or buckled at the top to each adjacent continuous air chamber (1) or (2), located on the same side of the vehicle, at both the front of the motor vehicle (5) and over the vehicle's front tire (7), and, the rear of the motor vehicle (5), located over the motor vehicle 's (5) rear tire (9), and, when the U-tube is positioned under a motor vehicle (5), the motor vehicle floats in flood waters. In FIG. 5 (b) buckles (11) are secured to the top of the U-tube (1) and (2) of FIG. 1 or FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) respectively, buckles (11) are located and used on the same side of the vehicle, at both the front of the motor vehicle (5), located over the vehicle's front tire (7), and second buckle (11) is located and used to attached the U-tubes on the same side of the motor vehicle at the rear of the motor vehicle (5), located over the motor vehicle's (5) rear tire (9).

The U-tube, (1) and (2) of FIG. 1 or FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) may be affixed to the motor vehicle (5) using any means known in the art, such as tying with string, rope, buckle, strap or cable, and the like, including and not limited to strapping, bolting, screwing and the like.

While not intended to be limited to such a limited interpretation of the present invention, it is believed that the best results of the flotation device of the present invention is realized and achieved when double U-tubes are used as flotation devices as illustrated.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) the U-tube of the present invention may have a connecting means (3) (4) for attaching the double U-tubes of the present invention and for stabilizing the two continuous air chambers (2) under the motor vehicle (5) when used as a flotation device. The connecting means (3),(4) is made of an air-tight, hermetically sealed, water impervious material, such as rubber, plastic, or the like, such that when the connecting means is inflated with air it forms a third continuous air chamber that is both gas-tight air-tight. As illustrated in FIG. 2(b) the connecting means (4) is attached to the double U-tubes at the bottom of the U-tube as illustrated in FIGS. 2(a) and 2(b) and when the third air chamber of the connecting means (4) is inflated with air or gas acts it stabilizes the double U-tubes under the motor vehicle and because it is inflatable, the connecting means (4) air tight chamber act as a buoyancy for the motor vehicle (5).

Optionally, the connecting means (3), (4) of the present invention may be a sheet of rubber, a sheet of polypropylene or the like. However, when the connection means is sheet of rubber, sheet of polypropylene it is further characterized as having no means for being inflated or accepting air or gas or carbon dioxide, but acts to stabilize the U-tube under the motor vehicle (5) as it connects the U-tubes and is further positioned to run under the motor vehicle (5) along the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and functionally maintains proper positioning of the double U-tubes under the motor vehicle when used in flood waters.

An air valve (12) of FIG. 1 or FIG. 2(a) or (2b) is provided on the casing of the present invention through which air, carbon dioxide or other gas may be passed through the air valve (12) under pressure into the casing of the present invention such that after inflating the same what is produced is at least two continuous air tight gas chambers, wherein the two single continuous air chambers take on a defined shape of U-tube, the twenty-second letter of the English alphabet. When the connection means (4) is a third continuous air chamber it acts to not only position the U-tubes in place under the car but acts as additional buoyancy for the motor vehicle. The valve (12) may be activated by many diverse and different means, such as electrical switch, mechanical action, or pressure switch.

Air may also be provided for the inflatable flotation device of the present invention by a compressed air container or an air pump for inflating the U-tube of the present invention. Mechanically, a hand-pump or foot pump may also be used to inflate the U-tube of the present invention.

The motor vehicle (5) that is being protected from flood water may be further secured by the use of an anchor, a heavy object attached to the motor vehicle by a rope or cable so that when the flood waters caused the motor vehicle to float it is held in place by the weight of the anchor such that it stays in place. Sometimes, other objects that are less likely to be wash-up during flooding may also be used to anchor the motor vehicle, such as, for example, tying the motor vehicle by rope or by cable to a house or tree for anchoring stability during flooding in addition to the flotation device of the present invention.

While having illustrated and described different aspects and embodiments of the U-tube flotation device of the present invention, its application, its use and its operation, it must be understood that the inventor does not limit the invention to the precise constructions herein disclosed, and that, various changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the invention as hereinafter defined in the appended claims.