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Publication numberUS20020092877 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/759,894
Publication dateJul 18, 2002
Filing dateJan 16, 2001
Priority dateJan 16, 2001
Publication number09759894, 759894, US 2002/0092877 A1, US 2002/092877 A1, US 20020092877 A1, US 20020092877A1, US 2002092877 A1, US 2002092877A1, US-A1-20020092877, US-A1-2002092877, US2002/0092877A1, US2002/092877A1, US20020092877 A1, US20020092877A1, US2002092877 A1, US2002092877A1
InventorsRonald Bowman
Original AssigneeBowman Ronald L.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Remotely located liquid dispensing valve
US 20020092877 A1
Abstract
A flexible member is fabricated with side walls forming a chamber which is coupled to a liquid source on one side and has a slit through an end wall on the other side. The end wall is generally curved toward the chamber on its interior surface. The exterior surface of the end wall has ridges adjacent to the slit that extends through the end wall. Deformation of the side walls of the flexible member as by biting causes the end wall with the slit to deform and open the slit which otherwise is retained closed by the walls of the flexible member. This action establishes fluid dispensing from the source through the slit. The thickness of the end wall varies over its distance creating weaken areas in the end wall. These weakened areas create areas in which the end wall deforms opening the slit. In addition to the foregoing, the interior surface forming the chamber has a minimal surface area. The surface is smooth, allowing easier cleaning of the chamber.
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Claims(18)
1. A liquid dispensing valve for positioning in the mouth of an individual for selectively delivering liquid from a liquid container comprising:
a unitary body portion sized to comfortably fit in the mouth of a user and being constructed of a flexible resilient material with an inlet side of said unitary body for establishing fluidic communication with a fluid supply tube, an internal cavity formed by side wall members, a top wall member opposite of said inlet side enclosing said side wall members;
said top wall member having an inner surface facing said cavity and outer surface and a normally closed slit extending through said top wall member with said through slit opening upon pressure being applied to an opposing pair of said side wall members thereby establishing a fluid flow line through said cavity;
said outer surface of said top wall member includes a plurality of discontinuity.
2. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 1 wherein said inner surface of said top wall member being curved inward toward said cavity.
3. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 1 wherein said side wall members having an interior surface and exterior surface;
said exterior surface being planar.
4. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 3 wherein said interior surface of said side wall member being continuous and absent of interruptions.
5. A liquid dispensing valve for positioning in the mouth of an individual for selectively delivering liquid from a liquid container comprising:
a unitary body portion sized to comfortably fit in the mouth of a user and being constructed of a flexible resilient material with an inlet side of said unitary body for establishing fluidic communication with a fluid supply tube, an internal cavity formed by side wall members, a top wall member opposite of said inlet side enclosing said wall members;
said top wall member having an inner surface facing said cavity and outer surface and a normally closed slit extending through said top wall member with said through slit opening upon pressure being applied to an opposing pair of said side wall members thereby establishing a fluid flow line through said cavity;
said outer surface of said top wall member having ridges adjacent to said through slit, in which said ridges extend against each other to close said slit and prevent outside air from entering said cavity.
6. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 5 wherein said inner surface of said top wall member being curved inward toward said cavity.
7. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 5 wherein said side wall members having an interior surface and exterior surface; said exterior surface being planar.
8. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 7 wherein said interior surface of said side wall member being continuous and absent of interruptions.
9. A liquid dispensing valve for positioning in the mouth of an individual for selectively delivering liquid from a liquid container comprising:
a unitary body portion sized to comfortably fit in the mouth of a user and being constructed of a flexible resilient material with an inlet side of said unitary body for establishing fluidic communication with a fluid supply tube, an internal cavity formed by side wall members, a top wall member opposite of said inlet side enclosing said wall members;
said top wall member having an inner surface facing said cavity and outer surface and a normally closed slit extending through said top wall member with said through slit opening upon pressure being applied to an opposing pair of said side wall members thereby establishing a fluid flow line through said cavity;
said side wall members having an interior and exterior surface; said side wall members having a plurality of discontinuity on said external surface;
said plurality of discontinuity creates weakened areas in said side wall members, and are oriented in the direction of fluid flow through said liquid dispensing valve.
10. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 9 wherein said inner surface of said top wall member being curved inward toward said cavity.
11. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 9 wherein said exterior surface of said side wall members being planar.
12. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 9 wherein said exterior surface of said top wall member having ridges, in which said ridges extend against each other sealing the said slit preventing air from entering said cavity.
13. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 9 wherein said interior surface of said side wall member being continuous and absent of interruptions.
14. A liquid dispensing valve for positioning in the mouth of an individual for selectively delivering liquid from a liquid container comprising:
a unitary body portion sized to comfortably fit in the mouth of a user and being constructed of a flexible resilient material with an inlet side of said unitary body for establishing fluidic communication with a fluid supply tube, an internal cavity formed by side wall members, a top wall member opposite of said inlet side enclosing said wall members;
said top wall member having an inner surface facing said cavity and outer surface and a normally closed slit extending through said top wall member with said through slit opening upon pressure being applied to an opposing pair of said side wall members thereby establishing a fluid flow line through said cavity;
said side wall members having an interior and exterior surface; said side wall members having ridges on said exterior surface;
said ridges create strengthen areas in said side wall members, and are generally oriented in the direction of fluid flow through said liquid dispensing valve.
15. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 14 wherein said inner surface of said top wall member being curved inward toward said cavity.
16. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 14 wherein said exterior surface of said side wall members being planar.
17. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 14 wherein said exterior surface of said top wall member having ridges, in which said ridges extend against each other sealing the said slit preventing air from entering said cavity.
18. A liquid dispensing valve in accordance with claim 14 wherein said interior surface of said side wall members being continuous and absent of interruptions.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to the field of liquid replenishing hydration systems. In particular the present invention relates to a liquid dispensing valve of a hydration system that improves performance in sustaining a column of liquid and improved liquid delivery flow and is easily cleaned and sanitized.
  • [0003]
    2. Discussion of Relevant Art
  • [0004]
    Hydration systems are used to supply liquid and re-hydrate a person that is generally losing body moisture as a result of heavy physical exertion, heat or a combination of the two. Hydration systems are generally constructed to hold water or a water based drink in either a rigid or flexible container. A rigid container generally denotes a plastic bottle or canteen while a flexible container generally denotes a bota bag or bladder type system. A rigid container is generally transported in lumbar packs worn around the waist or backpacks and the flexible container is generally transported in a small backpack situated high on the back between the shoulder blades. In both systems the container may be connected to a flexible tube and at the opposite end of the tube, a liquid dispensing valve is secured. Since the liquid dispensing valve is remotely connected to a liquid reservoir the user can hydrate their body without stopping an activity. The liquid dispensing valve is generally opened with a biting action and fluid is removed by a sucking action on the liquid dispensing valve while it is open. Once the biting pressure is discontinued the opening closes stopping fluid flow. If a liquid reservoir is transported or located at an elevation lower than the liquid dispensing valve a negative static head is created in the liquid dispensing valve. This negative pressure attempts to equalize the liquid draining it from the liquid dispensing valve back into the reservoir. If a liquid reservoir is transported or located at an elevation higher than the liquid dispensing valve a positive static head is created in the liquid dispensing valve. This positive pressure also attempts to equalize the liquid wanting to drain the liquid reservoir into the liquid dispensing valve. If the liquid dispensing valve is unable to hold a sufficient negative static head, liquid will drain from the liquid dispensing valve and tube back to the liquid reservoir. If the liquid dispensing valve is unable to hold a sufficient positive static head, liquid will drain through the liquid dispensing valve eventually emptying the liquid reservoir.
  • [0005]
    U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,085,349, 5,730,336, 5,816,457, 6,070,767 and 6,032,831 describe a liquid dispensing valve that is connected to a liquid reservoir. U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,349 describes a liquid dispensing valve with a positive static flow to the fluid dispensing unit with the capability of maintaining an eight feet positive column of liquid with a 0.350 inch material thickness at the through slit area. U.S. Pat. No. 5,730,336 describes a liquid dispensing valve that is designed to resist distortion by positive pressure from within the container and intentionally deforms and opens under negative pressure within the container. U.S. Pat. No. 5,816,457 describes a liquid dispensing valve that is designed to maintain a seal under positive pressure within the container but the design is inherent to fail with a negative pressure in the container.
  • [0006]
    In U.S. Pat. No. 5,791,510 FIG. 1. shows a partial diagram of a cyclist with a liquid container at or below the liquid dispensing valve. In actual use this liquid dispensing valve must incorporated an inline check valve to hold the liquid at the level of the liquid dispensing valve due to the liquid dispensing valve cannot accomplish this task separately. The check valve and liquid dispensing valve are sold through a company named Check Water located in California.
  • [0007]
    U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,730,336 and 5,791,510 are made of a relatively thin uniform elastic or pliable material. In conjunction with the resiliency of the material both patents teach of an additional member to act as a spring to help force the through slit in a closed position. U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,349 is made of a elastic or pliable material with varying wall thickness. In conjunction with the resiliency of the material it also relies on a pressure angle that increases the seal but also increases material thickness at the through slit area and decreases flow through the valve. The material thickness at the through slit may be as thick as the pressure angle will allow creating a liquid dispensing valve that is to rigid to comfortably open with the mouth by a biting action. The aforementioned U.S. patents show art to liquid dispensing valves that will maintain a positive static head but no prior art shows a liquid dispensing valve capable of maintaining a negative static head in a personal hydration system.
  • [0008]
    U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,085,349, 6,070,767 and 6,032,831 show the outer and inner surface of the through slit wall flexing outward when a biting action is applied. As previously mentioned this biting action is used to open the valve in order to draw liquid from a reservoir. In U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,032,831 and 6,070,767 a drawing designated as FIG. 8. Shows the dispensing face of a liquid dispensing valve being forced outward into the user's mouth as the through slit opens. This outward flexing of the through slit wall increases the overall length of the bite valve portion inserted into the user's mouth often touching the tongue during use. This incident will interfere and hamper the flow of water through the liquid dispensing valve. Also, in FIG. 8. through slit wall, designated as number 50, shows a tremendous amount of external exposure to the sealing surface (50) when the dispensing face is forced into an open position. This external exposure allows dirt, sand and foreign particles to adhere to the sealing surface (50) hindering the seal of the liquid dispensing valve in a relaxed state. It is preferred that the liquid dispensing face of a liquid dispensing valve flex inward away from the tongue during operation, insuring unrestricted water flow. It is also preferred that a liquid dispensing face flex inward protecting the through slit wall from external contamination insuring a reliable seal.
  • [0009]
    Liquid dispensing valves are also difficult to clean and sanitize especially the interior cavity formed by the side walls and liquid dispensing wall. Many liquid dispensing valves are difficult to remove from the flexible tube, and after removal, difficult to thoroughly clean. The surfaces of the interior cavity will accumulate bacteria, germs and dirt in general, which is common in this application. The more intricate the inner surfaces facing the cavity, the more difficult is it to thoroughly clean the interior cavity and the liquid dispensing valve. The accumulation of bacteria, germs and dirt in a liquid dispensing valve presents a heath hazard. Current methods of cleaning a liquid reservoir, flexible tubes and liquid dispensing valve are laborious and ineffective if not performed correctly and continuously.
  • [0010]
    U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,085,349, 5,730,336, 6,070,767, 5,816,457 and 6,032,831 show liquid dispensing valves that contain interior cavities with multiple angles, curves, small surfaces, undercuts and areas that are difficult to access. These areas and surfaces are extremely difficult to clean and sanitize especially when the inlet opening of these valves are small, making it difficult to insert proper cleaning utensils. Two methods currently exist for proper cleaning liquid dispensing valves. The first method is a mechanical removal of interior contaminants with a brush. This requires special brushes such as CamelBaks multiple brush cleaning kit. Often these cleaning utensils are not purchased or available for a particular liquid dispensing valve. The second method is a chemical cleaning agent. These agents are effective in sanitizing the liquid dispensing valve but great care must be taken to thoroughly rinse the chemical completely from the liquid dispensing valve. A mechanical removal of build up contaminants is often necessary in conjunction with a chemical cleansing agent. Many times the end user is simply unaware of the steps necessary to properly clean their liquid dispensing valve. All liquid dispensing valves need to be cleaned but a valve that has a minimum of complex surfaces, angles and inaccessible areas in the interior cavity is much easier to clean and less likely to accumulate contaminants. It is preferred that a liquid dispensing valve is easily removed and easily cleaned on all surfaces with minimal effort.
  • [0011]
    Based on the above and other problems with the relevant art, it is the object of the present invention to create a liquid dispensing valve that will flex inward and maintain liquid in the valve being subjected to either a high positive static or a high negative static head.
  • [0012]
    Another objective of the present invention is to create a liquid dispensing valve that has a relatively thin wall at the area of the through slit for improved fluid flow and is an assembly without the need of an additional spring-like member.
  • [0013]
    Another objective of the present invention is to create a liquid dispensing valve that has a minimum interior cavity surface shape to minimize accumulation of contaminants making cleaning easier and in less intervals. This can be accomplished by a liquid dispensing valve constructed of elastic or pliable material using the mechanics of properly located external hinge points for calculated movement and stress of material.
  • SUMMARY OF INVENTION
  • [0014]
    The above discussed and other problems with the relevant art are overcome by the liquid dispensing valve of the present invention. The present invention comprises a liquid dispensing valve that is constructed of elastic or a pliable polymer that remains flexible over a wide temperature range. The present inventions is generally attached to a flexible tube which, in turn, is attached to a reservoir that generally holds water or a water based drink. As the liquid dispensing valve is deformed by a biting action and outside negative pressure is created by a sucking action on the liquid dispensing valve, liquid is drawn from a reservoir through a tube and through a deformed slit of the liquid dispensing valve. After the user has received a sufficient quantity of liquid he discontinues exerting a sucking pressure and biting action to the liquid dispensing valve. The liquid dispensing valve returns to a neutral state forcing the through slit to close stopping fluid movement. It is preferred that liquid remain in the tube and the liquid dispensing valve to avoid a delay in obtaining liquid and additional effort required to draw liquid through the tube again. A delay in liquid delivery is frustrating to a user as he attempt to re-hydrate during a strenuous activity. It is also preferred that the liquid dispensing valve does not leak which would empty the container denying the user necessary hydration.
  • [0015]
    If the liquid reservoir is located at a significantly lower elevation than the liquid dispensing valve the fluid will have a propensity to drain back into the container. For this to happen the through slit of the liquid dispensing valve must momentarily loose its seal allowing air to enter the slit and occupy the area vacated by the draining fluid. If the through slit seal remains intact the fluid will maintain its position in the tube and liquid dispensing valve and the pressure in the liquid dispensing valve will be less than in the reservoir. The present invention utilizes hinge lines to the through slit on the outer surface of the outlet side of the liquid dispensing valve to effectively increase the seal during this situation. The hinge lines are parallel to the through slit and a hinge line exists equal distance on each side of the through slit. This enables the pliable material to flex and swing about the through slit to the hinge line, similar to two cabinet doors that open from the center and minimize the gap between when closed. To aid in the controlled manner in which the through slit is forced open the outer surface of the outlet end may be scalloped on both sides transverse of the through slit between the hinge lines. This scalloped detail is an area where material has been removed from the outer surface forming a weakened line through the outer surface. As the liquid dispensing valve is compressed by biting, the outer surface flexes inward. The scalloped areas provide an external void in the liquid dispensing face for material to compress and fold onto itself and lessen the biting force required to open the through slit.
  • [0016]
    If the reservoir is located at a significantly higher elevation than the liquid dispensing valve the liquid will increase pressure in the liquid dispensing valve. This is due to the fluid equalizing to the lowest level. At this time the pressure in the liquid dispensing valve is greater than the liquid reservoir. To contain this increase in pressure the present invention has a curved surface on the inner wall of the dispensing face of the liquid dispensing valve. The curve is directed toward the inner chamber of the liquid dispensing valve. The seal of the through slit of the inner curved surface increases as a curved surface inherently resists distortion and the minimal distortion encountered forces the curved surface to increase the seal, much like a keystone is the focal point of pressure in an arched structure. The liquid dispensing valve may be rectangle-like when viewed from a transverse cross section. The opposing side walls constructed parallel to the hinge lines have a substantial wall thickness. This wall thickness forms a foundation for the liquid dispensing valve and will flex less than remaining wall structures of this device.
  • [0017]
    These opposing walls form a strong support for the attachment of the inner curved surface of the outlet dispensing wall member and strong support for the parallel hinge line to the through slit on the outer surface of the outlet dispensing wall side. These walls, being straight or nearly straight, exert a force opposite of the biting action required to open the through slit and return the slit to a closed position when the biting action is removed. Parallel to the length of these walls may be voids located about midway in the exterior surface. The void act as hinge line along the length of the wall enabling the wall flex with less effort. The adjacent opposing side walls are of substantially less thickness than the previously mentioned walls. These opposing walls are the thinnest of the wall structure including the wall structure that forms the outlet side of the liquid dispensing unit. The thinner construction of these walls causes them to flex before all other walls encountering same pressure. Under a positive static head of pressure these walls will flex outward effectively creating a greater seal to the through slit. Under a negative static head of pressure these walls will flex inward effectively creating a greater seal to the through slit.
  • [0018]
    Surfaces forming the interior cavity of the present invention are large smooth curved surfaces with minimal projections, comers or angles. This creates an uninterrupted interior cavity that is easy to clean and has less of a propensity to accumulate contaminants. The present invention locates flex points, comers, projections and smaller interrupted surfaces on the outer surface of the liquid dispensing valve. The outer surface of a liquid dispensing valve is much easier to clean and maintain so the addition of such flex points, comers and projections does not hinder performance or ability of the present invention to be cleaned.
  • [0019]
    The liquid dispensing valve attaches to a flexible tube on the inlet side of the valve. Two methods are used; one provides a unitary liquid dispensing valve with an annular opening at the inlet side of the liquid dispensing valve being smaller in dimension than the outer diameter of the joining annular tube. The pliability of material of the liquid dispensing valve allows the inlet side of the device to be stretched and placed over the outer surface of the tube. Friction between the outer surface of the tube and inlet side of the present invention maintains the position of the liquid dispensing valve to the tube.
  • [0020]
    The other method of attachment to the flexible tube consists of an intermediate structure which attaches to the second end of the flexible tube at one portion and at a second portion attaches to the liquid dispensing valve of the present invention. This structure allows continuity of liquid from a liquid reservoir to the liquid dispensing valve. The liquid dispensing valve must be stretched and deformed at the inlet side to be place over the second portion of the intermediate structure engaging mating seals. The liquid dispensing valve must have a larger inlet side to engage the intermediate structure than the previously mentioned friction fit method. The larger inlet opening allows the interior cavity of the liquid dispensing valve to be readily exposed when the valve is removed. The larger inlet opening makes cleaning of the interior surfaces much easier.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • [0021]
    The accompany drawing, which constitute a part of the specifications, illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention and together with the general description and the detailed description serve to explain the principles of the invention.
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 1 shows a general overview of a flexible reservoir as it pertains to a hydration system. The liquid dispensing valve of this illustration is positioned at an elevation lower than liquid in the reservoir with +X denoting a positive static head in the liquid dispensing valve.
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 2 shows a general overview of a rigid reservoir as it pertains to a hydration system. The liquid dispensing valve of this illustration is positioned at an elevation higher than liquid in the reservoir with −XX denoting a negative static head in the liquid dispensing valve.
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 3 shows a view of the liquid dispensing valve of the present invention.
  • [0025]
    [0025]FIG. 4 shows a view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 3.
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 5 shows a view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 3 with an intermediate mounting structure between the present invention and the secondary end of the flexible tube.
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 6 shows a cross section view of FIG. 3 as shown by a through line and arrows denoted as 6-6. This view also shows the movement and sealing of the through slit in the end wall as the liquid dispensing valve is placed under internal positive static pressure.
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIG. 7 shows a view of FIG. 6 with movement and sealing of the through slit in the end wall as the liquid dispensing valve placed under internal negative static pressure.
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 8 shows an alternate embodiment of the present invention as viewed in FIG. 6. The outer surface of the liquid dispensing wall is serrated.
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 9 shows a view of FIG. 3 as shown by a view line and arrows denoted as 9-9.
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 10 shows an alternate embodiment of FIG. 9 with voids located on the outer angled flat wall surface and projections on opposing wall members.
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 11 shows an alternate embodiment to FIG. 9 with voids as described in FIG. 10 and wall members being curved.
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 12 shows the preferred embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 3 under a compressed biting force, as denoted by arrows, showing the liquid dispensing valve compressing opening the through slot.
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 13 shows a cross section view of FIG. 12 as shown by a though line and arrows denoted as 13-13.
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 14 shows a cross section view of FIG. 12 as shown by a through line and arrows denoted as 14-14.
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 15 shows an alternate embodiment to FIG. 12 with a void extending along external wall surface forming a flex line.
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 16 shows a cross section view of FIG. 15 as shown by a through line and arrows denoted as 16-16.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0038]
    Turning now to the drawings, wherein like components are designated by like reference numerals. FIG. 1 depicts a flexible or bladder liquid reservoir assembled as a hydration apparatus. Number 2 references the flexible hydration system and 4 references the liquid dispensing valve, of the present invention, attached to flexible tubing 6 on one end and flexible tubing 6 is connected to flexible reservoir 8 on the other end. Liquid dispensing valve 4 is shown in a relative accurate position to flexible reservoir 8 when being worn on the back of a user. Liquid level 10 is shown about midway in flexible reservoir 8 and distance +X shows a relative elevation difference between liquid level 10 and liquid dispensing valve 4. Distance +X may be greater or smaller due to the positioning of liquid dispensing valve 4 in relation to flexible reservoir 8 and liquid level 10. The distance +X denotes a positive static head of pressure in liquid dispensing valve 4 and if liquid dispensing valve 4 is unable to maintain a positive static head of pressure, liquid will drain out of liquid dispensing valve 4 draining liquid reservoir 8.
  • [0039]
    Referring now to FIG. 2 shows an assembled rigid liquid reservoir hydration system denoted as 12. One end of flexible tube 6 is connected to liquid dispensing valve 4 and the other end is attached to a rigid reservoir 14. Liquid level 16 is shown about midway in rigid reservoir 14. The relative position of liquid dispensing valve 4 and rigid container 14 is an accurate representation of a position in actual use with elevation distance −XX generally denotes a distance maintained by liquid dispensing valve 4 and liquid level 16 while being transported and operated by the user. If liquid dispensing valve 4 is unable to maintain this negative static pressure denoted as −XX the through slit seal will fail and liquid will drain into reservoir 14.
  • [0040]
    In FIG. 3 of the drawings, numeral 4 broadly indicates the present invention. The liquid dispensing valve 4 is connected to the proximal end of partially shown flexible tube 6 by an annular friction fit between the external surface of flexible tube 6 and internal surface of area 36. Area 36 is annular in shape and open on one end to the ambient surroundings 40 creating an inlet side of liquid dispensing valve 4. Flexible tube 6 is connected to a liquid reservoir (not shown) at a distal end. Annular area 36 is joined to a rectangle-like chamber, in cross section, comprising opposing surfaces 18, 20 and at an approximate right angle surface 22 and 24. At the other end of this chamber is an outlet wall that comprises an inner and outer wall surface. The outer wall surfaces is comprised of hinge point 28 and 30, scalloped area 32 and 34, and surface 42 and 44, which will be discussed in later drawing descriptions. Approximately centered in the outlet wall through slit 26 connects the internal void of liquid dispensing valve 4 to the outside area 40 when a significant opposing force is applied to surface 18 and 20 distorting liquid dispensing valve 4 causing through slit 26 to open. Through slit 26 is normally forced into a closed position by tension exerted by the outlet wall and opposing surfaces 22 and 24. Surfaces 22 and 24 exert a column tension to the outlet wall as shown by arrows denoted as Y-Y thus aiding through slit 26 to maintain a closed position.
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 4 is an alternate embodiment of the present invention. It functions identical to FIG. 3 with the exception that scalloped area 32 and 34 are not present and void 70 on wall surface 22 and void 72 on wall surface 24 are present. Void 70, 72 creates a weakened area in wall member 22 and 24 respectfully. This weakened area creates a hinge line for wall member 22 and 24 to flex about. In the absence of scalloped area 32,34 and the addition of void 70,72 force required on surface 18 and 20 to distort liquid dispensing valve 4, opening through slit 26 is somewhat equivalent to the force required for the same action in the embodiment of FIG. 3.
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 5 is an alternate embodiment to FIG. 3 where liquid dispensing valve 4 is connected to intermediate component 64 and intermediate component 64 is connected to outlet end of flexible tube 6. Liquid dispensing valve 4 is connected to intermediate component 64 by annular sealing structures 66. Sealing structures 66 mate with internal sealing structures (not shown) in liquid dispensing valve 4.
  • [0043]
    [0043]FIG. 6 is a cross section of FIG. 3 being viewed by arrows denoted as 6-6. Liquid dispensing valve 4 is shown under positive internal static pressure with outlet wall flexing and increased pressure denoted by the direction of the arrow. Outlet wall has inner surface 54 and 56 that is bisected by through slit 26. Inner wall surface 54, 56 form a curved surface that projects inward toward the inlet side and is joined to inner surface 52 and 50 respectfully. Four chamber walls along with the outlet surface 54 and 56 forms internal cavity 48. Cavity 48 has continuity to liquid stored in a liquid reservoir through the inlet side of the liquid dispensing valve 4, flexible tube 6 and liquid reservoir.
  • [0044]
    Positive static pressure in cavity 48 exerts equal pressure on all surfaces that define cavity 48. Liquid dispensing valve 4 is constructed of a flexible pliable material and the surfaces defining cavity 48 will flex under pressure. Positive static pressure on inner curved surface 54 and 56 will cause surface 54 and 56 to be forced tightly together at through slit 26 thus increasing the sealing of through slit 26. Inner cavity 48 has a slight annular projection 58 on the inlet side dividing cavity 48 and annular surface 46. Projection 58 acts as a tactile stop for engaging flexible tube 6 into annular area 36.
  • [0045]
    [0045]FIG. 7 is a view of FIG. 6 showing the liquid dispensing valve 4 with negative static internal pressure. The arrow indicates direction of pressure and material flexing. When cavity 48 encounters a negative static pressure all surfaces defining cavity 48 equally experience the pressure and flex with a thinner wall flexing more than a wall of greater thickness. The inner surface 54 and 56 of the outlet wall containing through slit 26 bisecting both inner and outer surfaces becomes the most flexible wall, due to being attached by only three sides, and will flex more than the remaining walls. The outer surface of the outlet wall designated as 42 and 44 are ridges and are designed to maximize sealing of through slit 26 while under negative static pressure. This sealing action of ridge 42 and 44 against each other prevents outside air 40 entering into chamber 48. As shown, inner surface 56 and 54 are slightly separated by the pressure differential on the outlet wall.
  • [0046]
    The outer surface of the outlet wall contains areas of reduced wall thickness. This void forms a weaker more flexible area in the pliable material and creates a hinge point. At equal distance adjacent to through slit 26 is hinge point 28 and 30. Hinge point 28 and 30 are formed parallel to through slit 26 and create a controlled pivot of ridge 42 and 44 to its respected hinge point as surface 42 and 44 cantilever under negative pressure. Ridge 42 and 44 pivot inward toward cavity 48 increasing the seal of through slit 26. Scalloped area 32 and 34 creates a weaker outlet wall at the midline, perpendicular to through slit 26 and hinge point 32 and 34 which will be discussed further in FIG. 12.
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 8 shows an alternate embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 7 showing the liquid dispensing valve 4 with negative static internal pressure. The arrow indicates direction of pressure and material flexing. When cavity 48 encounters a negative static pressure all surfaces defining cavity 48 equally experience the pressure and flex with a thinner wall flexing more than a wall of greater thickness. The inner surface 54 and 56 of the outlet wall containing through slit 26 bisecting both inner and outer surfaces becomes the most flexible wall, due to being attached by only three sides, and will flex more than the remaining walls. The outer surface of the outlet wall designated as 74 and 76 maximizes sealing of through slit 26 while under negative static pressure. This sealing action of outlet wall 74 and 76 against each other prevents outside air 40 entering into chamber 48. As shown, inner surface 56 and 54 are slightly separated by the pressure differential on the outlet wall.
  • [0048]
    The outer surface of the outlet wall contains areas of reduced wall thickness. These voids create weaker more flexible areas in the pliable material and form multiple hinge points. At equal distance adjacent to through slit 26 on each side are multiple hinge points 28 and 30. Hinge points 28 and 30 are formed parallel to through slit 26 and create a controlled pivot of surface 74 and 76 to its respected hinge point as surface 74 and 76 cantilever under pressure. Surface 74 and 76 pivot against each other increasing the seal of through slit 26.
  • [0049]
    [0049]FIG. 9 is a view of FIG. 3 as viewed by arrows denoted as 9-9. This cross section defines cavity 48 with surface 50, 52, 60 and 62. The chamber defining cavity 48 can now be seen to be rectangle-like in design. The straight walls defined by surface 22, 50 and 24, 52 provide the column strength to the outlet wall as mentioned in FIG. 3. Walls defined by surface 18, 60 and 20, 62 are thinner in cross section than walls that provide column strength. Wall thickness generally defined by surface 24 and 52 will be denoted as “A” and the wall thickness generally defined by surface 20 and 62 will be denoted as “B”. The elastic material of wall thickness “A” provides the main force to return the liquid dispensing valve 4 to its original shape after being distorted and provides additional tension on the outlet wall at all times to seal through slit 26. When liquid dispensing valve 4 encounters pressure or distortion of any nature walls with thickness “A” will be the last to flex and the first to recover. The two walls defined by surface 22, 50 and 24, 52 provide structure and a secure joining area of both surfaces of the outlet wall. Walls with thickness “B” will flex before and recover after walls with a thickness of “A” recover. The general relationship of wall thickness is, “B” is generally 40% to 75% of wall thickness “A”.
  • [0050]
    [0050]FIG. 10 shows an alternate embodiment of FIG. 9 with void 70 in wall surface 22 and void 72 in wall surface 24. Void 70 and 72 weakens its respective wall member creating a location for flexing of wall members and projection 78, 80 strengthen opposing wall surfaces 18, 20 respectfully.
  • [0051]
    [0051]FIG. 11 shows an alternate embodiment of FIG. 9 with wall surface 22,50 and 24,52 are curved outward away from cavity 48. Void 70 in wall surface 22 and void 72 in wall surface 24 weakens its respective wall member creating a fixed location for flexing of wall members. All specifications of FIG. 9 also apply in FIG. 11.
  • [0052]
    [0052]FIG. 12 shows a view of the invention while being compressed by a biting force on surface 18 and 20 as denoted by arrows. Force applied to surface 18 and 20 exerts a force to collapse the outlet wall opening through slit 26. Ridges 42 and 44 fold inward about a lateral line denoted by dash line M-M. Scalloped area 32 and 24 form a void in the outer surface allowing 42 and 44 to flex inward as noted.
  • [0053]
    [0053]FIG. 13 shows a cross section of FIG. 12 as viewed by arrows denoted as 13-13. A biting action on surface 18 and 20 compresses inner surface 60 and 62 to decrease volume in cavity 48. The biting action forces the liquid dispensing wall to flex inward toward cavity 48. Through slit 26 is forced open allowing liquid to pass through liquid dispensing valve 4. Sealing surface 68 of through slit 26 can now be viewed as it flexes inward protecting sealing surface 68 from exposure to dirt and foreign objects.
  • [0054]
    [0054]FIG. 14 shows a cross section of FIG. 12 as viewed by arrows denoted as 14-14. This view shows through slit 26 opening toward cavity 48 and sealing surface 68 pivoting inward toward cavity 48. The arrow depicts direction of liquid flow as liquid moves through liquid dispensing valve 4 into outside area 40.
  • [0055]
    [0055]FIG. 15 shows an alternate embodiment of FIG. 12. Void 70 and 72 are present in wall surface 22 and 24 respectfully. Wall surface 22 and 24 are shown flexing about the void present in each surface.
  • [0056]
    [0056]FIG. 16 shows a cross section view of FIG. 15 as viewed by arrows denoted as 16-16. Wall members 22, 50 and 24,52 are seen flexing outward from cavity 48. Void 70 and 72 are extended as wall members 22, 50 and 24, 52 force void 70 and 72 open under pressure. Wall members 22, 50 and 24, 54 flex about dashed line denoted as M-M which bisects void 70 and 72.
  • [0057]
    The present invention has been described and depicted in terms of the preferred embodiment. The invention is not limited, however, to the embodiment described and depicted. Rather the invention is defined by the claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/490, 222/175, 220/714, 251/342
International ClassificationB65D47/20, A45F3/18
Cooperative ClassificationB65D47/2031, A45F3/18
European ClassificationA45F3/18, B65D47/20E2