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Publication numberUS20040084466 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/283,605
Publication dateMay 6, 2004
Filing dateOct 30, 2002
Priority dateOct 30, 2002
Publication number10283605, 283605, US 2004/0084466 A1, US 2004/084466 A1, US 20040084466 A1, US 20040084466A1, US 2004084466 A1, US 2004084466A1, US-A1-20040084466, US-A1-2004084466, US2004/0084466A1, US2004/084466A1, US20040084466 A1, US20040084466A1, US2004084466 A1, US2004084466A1
InventorsLarry Underwood
Original AssigneeUnderwood Larry Cullen
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hole closing plug
US 20040084466 A1
Abstract
A closure for an opening through a partition includes a barrier surrounded by a perimetral wall having an outside surface dimensioned to fit in the opening and a continuous outwardly extending flange. A plurality of tension members are hinged to the perimetral wall by a thin frangible web and include second ends having openings arranged in overlapping relation to each other. A tether passes through the overlapped openings of the second ends and includes a handle-forming loop.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. A molded plug for forming a closure for an opening through a partition, the plug comprising:
a barrier surrounded by a perimetral wall having an outside surface dimensioned to fit in the opening and bounded by a leading edge and a trailing edge,
a flange protruding outward from the perimetral wall, and
a plurality of tension members having first ends coupled to the leading edge and second ends including a coupling for coupling to a teather.
2. The molded plug of claim 1 wherein the barrier and the flange lie in a common plane.
3. The molded plug of either claim 1 or 2 wherein the flange is connected to the trailing edge of the perimetral wall.
4. The molded plug of claim 3 wherein the perimetral wall is continuous.
5. The molded plug of claim 4 wherein the flange is circumferentially continuous.
6. The molded plug of claim 1 wherein the first ends of the tension members includes a thin web hinging the tension members to the perimetral wall.
7. The molded plug of claim 6 wherein the thin web of the first ends of the tension members is frangible under a tension load supportable by said flange.
8. The molded plug of claim 1 wherein the coupling on the tension members second ends comprises an opening.
9. A closure for an opening through a partition, the closure comprising:
a barrier surrounded by a perimetral wall having an outside surface dimensioned to fit in the opening and bounded by a leading edge and a trailing edge,
a flange protruding outward from the perimetral wall,
a plurality of tension members having first ends coupled to the leading edge and second ends arranged in overlapping relation to each other, and
a tether coupled to the overlapped second ends.
10. The closure of claim 9 wherein the barrier and the flange lie in a common plane.
11. The closure of either claim 9 or 10 wherein the flange is connected to the trailing edge of the perimetral wall.
12. The closure of claim 11 wherein the perimetral wall is continuous.
13. The closure of claim 11 wherein the flange is circumferentially continuous.
14. The closure of claim 9 wherein the first ends of the tension members includes a thin web hinging the tension members to the perimetral wall.
15. The closure of claim 14 wherein the thin web of the first ends of the tension members is frangible under a tension load supportable by said flange.
16. The closure of claim 9 wherein the coupling on the tension members second ends comprises an opening.
17. The closure of claim 16 wherein the tether comprises a cord passing through the opening of the tension members second ends.
18. The closure of claim 17 wherein the tether further comprises an enlarged first end sized to be retained by the opening of the tension members second ends.
19. The closure of claim 18 wherein the tether further comprises a second end including a handle-forming loop.
20. A closure for an opening through a partition, the closure comprising:
a barrier surrounded by a continuous perimetral wall having an outside surface dimensioned to fit in the opening and bounded by a leading edge and a trailing edge,
a continuous flange protruding outward from the trailing edge,
a plurality of tension members having first ends including a thin frangible web hinging the tension members to the leading edge and second ends including openings arranged in overlapping relation to each other, and
a tether passing through the overlapped openings of the second ends, the tether having an enlarged first end sized to be retained by the openings and a second end including a handle-forming loop.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a hole closing plug, sometimes called an obturator, for closing an aperture in a barrier such as a metal door, water craft body panel, automobile body panel, double walled appliance wall and exterior wall of a fixed or mobile residence, and the like. The present invention has particular utility for closing an opening through a partition leading to an enclosed volume that is to be filled with insulating foam.

[0002] Hole closing plugs are used to tightly close apertures generally produced in barriers, partitions, dividers and walls that can be part of an overall enclosure and can be formed of a variety of materials including sheet steel. The hole closing plugs are typically formed of an injection molded thermoplastics material that are at least somewhat flexible and resilient. The hole closing plugs of the prior art typically have a central portion surrounded by a peripheral rim adapted to come into tight abutment against the periphery of the aperture sought to be closed. The hole closing plugs are typically retained in place by flanges or lugs that engage the periphery of the aperture. Examples are to be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,739,936; 4,053,084; 4,037,754; and 6,296,136.

[0003] Some hole closing plugs, shown for example in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,173,843; 3,904,071; and 4,915,252, include handles by which the plugs can be manipulated during insertion. Other hole closing plugs, shown for example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,640,434, are intended to be trimmed after insertion into the hole. While each of these structures have their own features and functions, there is still a need for a hole closing plug that can be quickly inserted from a first side of a barrier into an opening in the barrier, the hole closing plug being retained by interaction between the plug and the second side of a barrier.

[0004] There is further a need for such a hole closing plug that can be manipulated with a handle that is removable subsequent to insertion of the closure into the opening. There is particularly a need for such a hole closing plug from which the handle can be removed quickly. There is also a particular need for such a hole closing plug that can be used, for example, to close a hole in a hollow wall of a static structure, such as a house or mobile home or refrigerator, in which one desires to place insulation, particularly foaming insulation which is installed in a liquid form and then permitted to expand to fill the space within the hollow wall, preferably prior to any expansion of the foam so that the insulation is retained within the space rather than spilling out.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The various structural and functional criteria previously identified are satisfied by a hole closing plug of the present invention which generally includes a barrier surrounded by a perimetral wall having an outside surface dimensioned to fit in the opening or hole in the partition in which the plug is intended to be used. The perimetral wall is bounded by a leading edge and a trailing edge. A flange protrudes outward from the perimetral wall for interaction with a portion of an inside surface of the partition surrounding the hole. A plurality of tension members have first ends coupled to the leading edge of the perimetral wall of the plug by thin web portions that are frangible under loads that are insufficient to damage the junction between the perimetral wall and the flange. The tension members also have second ends including a coupling for coupling to a tether.

[0006] The hole closing plug of the present invention is preferably made of a flexible polymeric resin such as polyethylene or ABS that is sufficiently soft that the barrier and surrounding perimetral wall and flange can be temporarily deformed sufficiently to permit the hole closing plug to be inserted through the hole to be closed. A tether coupled to the tension members seconds is then employed to manipulate and pull the plug back into a hole closing position. Once the plug is situated in the desired position, a quick sharp snap of the tether causes the thin web portions coupling the first ends of the tension members to the perimetral wall to break leaving the hole closing plug in position to seal the hole in the partition.

[0007] In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the barrier and the flange lie in a common plane. The common plane is generally adjacent to the trailing edge of the perimetral wall. The perimetral wall is preferably continuous to avoid any stress risers at the junction of the perimetral wall and the flange, however the perimetral wall can include one or more slots that will facilitate the temporary deformation of the hole closing plug during insertion of the plug though the hole sought to be closed. The flange is also preferably circumferentially continuous, again, to avoid any stress risers at the junction of the perimetral wall and the flange, however the peimetral wall might include notches that would facilitate the molding of the tension members and the thin web portions at the first ends of the tension members. In a preferred embodiment, the coupling on each of the tension members second ends comprises an opening designed to be placed in overlapping position so that a tether can be threaded through the overlapping openings, and in this way apply similar forces on all the tension members. The manipulation of the hole closing plug is facilitated by including at least three tension members. With an increasing number of tension members, the structural requirements of any given tension member is reduced.

[0008] One feature of a hole closing plug of the present invention is the flexibility of the molded thermoplastic resin that is sufficiently soft that the barrier and surrounding perimetral wall and flange can be easily temporarily deformed yet is sufficiently resilient to return to its initial shape so as to seal against surrounding structure. This feature has the advantage of providing an easy manner with which the hole closing plug can be inserted through the hole to be closed from a first side of a barrier, yet seal against a second side of the same barrier.

[0009] Another feature of the present invention is the thin web section joining the tension members to the perimetral wall that facilitate the manipulation of the perimetral wall with respect to a barrier opening by a tether joined to the tension members. Once the hole closing plug is appropriately situated, the thin web section has the advantage of providing for a quick release of the tension members from the perimetral wall by simply exerting a sharp pull or jerk on the tether that causes the thin webs to sheer or tear while leaving the plug in place in the barrier.

[0010] Other features and advantages of the present invention will be come apparent from the following discussion of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, exemplifying the best mode of practicing the present invention, which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011]FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a hole closing plug of the present invention with the tension members in a coplanar, splayed position.

[0012]FIG. 2 is a side elevation detail view of the hole closing plug shown in FIG. 1, with the tension member in a splayed position.

[0013]FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the hole closing plug shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 with the tension members displaced to a parallel position.

[0014]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the hole closing plug of the prior figures with the second ends of the tension members joined together by a tether passing through a hole in a barrier.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0015] A hole closing plug 10 of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1-4 to include a barrier 12 surrounded by a perimetral wall 14. The perimetral wall 14 has an outside surface 16 dimensioned to fit in an opening or hole H in a partition P in which the plug 10 is intended to be used. The perimetral wall 14 is bounded by a leading edge 18 and a trailing edge 20. A flange 22 protrudes outward from the perimetral wall 14 for interaction with a portion E of an inside surface S of the partition P surrounding the hole H. A plurality of tension members 24 have first ends 26 coupled to the leading edge 18 of the perimetral wall 14 by thin web portions 28 that are frangible under loads that are insufficient to damage the junction between the perimetral wall 14 and the flange 22. The tension members 24 also have second ends 30 including a coupling 32 for coupling to a tether 34.

[0016] The barrier 12 and the flange 22 are shown to lie in a common plane 36 adjacent the trailing edge 20 of the perimetral wall 14. The perimetral wall 14 is shown to be continuous except at the location of slots 38 that facilitate the temporary deformation of the hole closing plug 10 during insertion of the plug though the hole H sought to be closed. The flange 22 is shown to be circumferentially continuous, however the flange 22 can include notches that would facilitate the molding of the tension members 24. The coupling 32 on each of the tension members 24 is shown to include an opening 40 designed to be placed in overlapping position as shown in FIG. 4 so that the tether 34 can be threaded through the overlapping openings 40.

[0017] The tether 34 can be simply formed from a mylar strip 42 having an enlarged first end 44 sized to be retained by the openings 40 of the tension members 24. A second end 46 includes a handle 48 that can simply be formed by a closed loop 50 held in position by a metal compression fitting 52. The hole closing plug 10 is made of a flexible polymeric resin that is sufficiently soft that the barrier 12 and surrounding perimetral wall 14 and flange 22 can be temporarily deformed sufficiently to permit the plug 10 to be inserted through the hole H to be closed. The tether 34 coupled to the tension members 24 is then employed to manipulate and pull the plug 10 back into a hole closing position. Once the plug 10 is situated in the desired position, a quick sharp snap of the tether 34 causes the thin web portions 28 coupling the first ends 26 of the tension members 24 to the perimetral wall 14 to break leaving the hole closing plug 10 in position to seal the hole H in the partition P.

[0018] Of course, numerous modifications can be made to the exemplified embodiment described above without departing from the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7377980Feb 1, 2006May 27, 2008Northrop Grumman CorporationSelf-adjusting masking plug for complex parts
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/801, 220/DIG.19
International ClassificationB62D25/24
Cooperative ClassificationB62D25/24
European ClassificationB62D25/24
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 30, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: L.L. CULMAT, L.P., GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:UNDERWOOD, LARRY CULLEN;REEL/FRAME:013441/0292
Effective date: 20021029