Title:
Airtight container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An airtight container is provided with a venting apparatus. The venting apparatus includes a flexible housing unit and a check valve disposed in the housing unit. The flexible housing unit includes a chamber defined therein, an upper aperture in communication with the chamber, a lower aperture in communication with the chamber and an external annular groove defined in the periphery for receiving an edge of an aperture defined in an airtight container. The check valve prevents air from entering the airtight container through the upper and lower apertures sequentially but allows air to leave the airtight container through the lower and upper apertures sequentially.



Inventors:
Wu, Tony (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
12/587357
Publication Date:
04/08/2010
Filing Date:
10/07/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D51/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDWARDS, BRETT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHARLES E. BAXLEY, ESQUIRE (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
1. An airtight container-used venting apparatus comprising: a flexible housing unit comprising a chamber defined therein, an upper aperture in communication with the chamber, a lower aperture in communication with the chamber and an external annular groove defined in the periphery for receiving an edge of an aperture defined in an airtight container; and a check valve disposed in the housing unit for preventing air from entering the airtight container through the upper and lower apertures sequentially while allowing air to leave the airtight container through the lower and upper apertures sequentially.

2. The venting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the housing unit comprises: a plug comprising a cavity defined in an upper side, wherein the lower aperture is defined in a lower side of the plug so that the lower aperture is in communication with the cavity; and a cover comprising a cavity defined in a lower side, wherein the upper aperture is defined in an upper side of the cover so that the upper aperture is in communication with the cavity thereof, and the cavity of the cover and the cavity of the plug together form the chamber when the cover is attached to the plug.

3. The venting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the housing unit is made of a material selected from a group consisting of silicone and rubber.

4. The venting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the housing unit comprises an internal annular groove defined in the wall of the chamber, and the check valve comprises an annular flange disposed in the internal annular groove of the housing unit.

5. The venting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the housing unit is substantially in the form of a hemisphere.

6. The venting apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the check valve comprises: a seat disposed in the housing unit, the seat comprising a cavity defined therein and at least one aperture in communication with the cavity and tabs formed on the wall of the cavity; and a membrane movably disposed in the cavity for preventing air from entering the airtight container when the membrane rests on the floor of the cavity and closes the aperture but allowing air to leave the airtight container after pushing the membrane from the floor of the cavity and opening the aperture.

7. The venting apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the seat comprises an annular flange formed on the periphery, and the housing unit comprises an annular groove for receiving the annular flange.

8. The venting apparatus according to claim 6, wherein the seat comprises tabs formed on the wall of the cavity for restraining the movement of the membrane.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to an airtight container and, more particularly, an airtight container equipped with a venting apparatus.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Airtight containers are popular for reasons. Firstly, they protect objects from outside air. Secondly, they are inexpensive.

However, airtight containers cannot be used to contain sorts of food such as roasted coffee beans and curry. Roasted coffee beans release carbon dioxide. Should roasted coffee beans be contained in airtight containers, they would release carbon dioxide that expands the airtight containers. The problem is worse with roasted coffee powder. Should roasted coffee powder be contained in airtight containers, it would release a large amount of carbon dioxide that would burst the airtight containers.

Therefore, roasted coffee beans are or curry is often disposed in airtight bags equipped with check valves. The check valves allow air to leave the airtight bags but prevent air from entering the airtight bags. The check valves allow air, namely carbon dioxide released from the roasted coffee beans or curry, to leave the airtight bags but prevent air from entering the airtight bags. Thus, the degradation of the roasted coffee beans that would otherwise be caused by the air from the outside and the explosion of the airtight bag are prevented.

The check valves are attached to the airtight bags in high frequency processes. The high frequency processes cannot be used to attach check valves to airtight containers.

The present invention is therefore intended to obviate or at least alleviate the problems encountered in prior art.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

It is the primary objective of the present invention to provide an airtight container with a venting apparatus.

According to the present invention, the venting apparatus includes a flexible housing unit and a check valve disposed in the housing unit. The flexible housing unit includes a chamber defined therein, an upper aperture in communication with the chamber, a lower aperture in communication with the chamber and an external annular groove defined in the periphery for receiving an edge of an aperture defined in the airtight container. The check valve prevents air from entering the airtight container through the upper and lower apertures sequentially but allows air to leave the airtight container through the lower and upper apertures sequentially.

Other objectives, advantages and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description referring to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The present invention will be described via the detailed illustration of the preferred embodiment referring to the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an airtight container equipped with a venting apparatus according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the airtight container and venting apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the airtight container and venting apparatus shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial exploded view of the airtight container shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional view of the airtight container shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, an airtight container includes a can 90, a cover 91 and a venting mechanism 100 according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention. The cover 91 can be attached to and detached from the can 90. The venting mechanism 100 is attached to the cover 91. Air cannot enter a space defined with the can 90 and the cover 91. Air can leave the space only via the venting mechanism 100.

Referring to FIGS. 2 through 5, there is an aperture 92 defined in the cover 91. The venting mechanism 100 includes a housing unit 10 and a check valve 20. The housing unit 10 includes a plug 11 and a cover 12. Both of the plug 11 and cover 12 are made of a flexible material such as silicone and rubber.

The plug 11 is in the form of a hemisphere including a plain face 111 and a dome-shaped face 112. A cavity 113 is defined in the plain face 111 of the plug 11. An annular groove 116 is defined in the wall of the cavity 113. An aperture 115 is defined in the dome-shaped face 112 so that the aperture 115 is in communication with the cavity 113.

The cover 12 is formed with a first plain face 121 and a second plain face 122 opposite to the first plain face 121. An aperture 123 is defined in the first plain face 121. A cavity 124 is defined in the second plain face 122. The aperture 123 is in communication with the cavity 124. An annular groove 125 is defined in the periphery of the cover 12, between the first plain face 121 and the second plain face 122.

The check valve 20 consists of a seat 21 and a membrane 22. The seat 21 is formed with a first plain face 211 and an opposite second plain face 212. A cavity 213 is defined in the seat 21. Tabs 214 are formed on the wall of the cavity 213. Apertures 215 are defined in the second plain face 212 so that the apertures 215 are in communication with the cavity 213. An annular flange 216 is formed around the seat 21.

In assembly, the membrane 22 is disposed in the cavity 213. The diameter of the membrane 22 is marginally smaller than the diameter of the cavity 213 so that the membrane 22 is movable in the cavity 213, between the floor of the cavity 213 and the tabs 214.

The seat 21 is disposed in the cavity 113. The flange 216 is disposed in the annular groove 116. The second plain face 122 of the cover 12 is attached to the plain face 111 of the plug 11 via an adhesive material. The cavity 124 is in communication with the cavity 113 so that the cavities 124 and 113 together form a chamber. The plug 11 is moved through the aperture 92 so that a waist of the cover 12 is disposed in the aperture 92 while the edge of the aperture 92 is disposed in the annular groove 125 of the cover 12.

In operation, air cannot enter a space defined with the can 90 and the cover 91 through the check valve 20 because the membrane 22 rests on the floor of the cavity 213 and seals the apertures 215. Lower than a predetermined value of pressure, air cannot leave the space because the weight of the membrane 22 causes the membrane to rest on the floor of the cavity 213 and seal the apertures 215. Exceeding the predetermined value of pressure, air can leave the space after pushing the membrane 22 from the floor of the cavity 213 and opening the apertures 215.

Roasted coffee beans or curry can be disposed in the airtight container. The check valve 20 prevents air from entering the airtight container but allows carbon dioxide released by the roasted coffee beans or curry to leave the airtight bags. Therefore, the degradation of the roasted coffee beans or curry that would otherwise be caused by the air from the outside and the explosion of the airtight container are avoided. Moreover, only a small portion of the aroma of the roasted coffee beans or curry would be lost since air can only leave the airtight container via the valve 20 when it exceeds the predetermined value of pressure.

The present invention has been described via the detailed illustration of the preferred embodiment. Those skilled in the art can derive variations from the preferred embodiment without departing from the scope of the present invention. Therefore, the preferred embodiment shall not limit the scope of the present invention defined in the claims.