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Publication numberUS20050199697 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/947,764
Publication dateSep 15, 2005
Filing dateSep 23, 2004
Priority dateMar 9, 2004
Publication number10947764, 947764, US 2005/0199697 A1, US 2005/199697 A1, US 20050199697 A1, US 20050199697A1, US 2005199697 A1, US 2005199697A1, US-A1-20050199697, US-A1-2005199697, US2005/0199697A1, US2005/199697A1, US20050199697 A1, US20050199697A1, US2005199697 A1, US2005199697A1
InventorsDaniel Nugent
Original AssigneeNugent Daniel E.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Disposable cup with Mylar insulation
US 20050199697 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a disposable container comprising a container portion including at least one surface having a reflective layer for insulating food contained therein. Also included is a disposable container comprising a container portion including an outside surface, an inside surface, and a removable reflective layer covering at least a portion of one of said surfaces. A disposable sleeve for insulating a container is provided and includes a reflective layer for insulating food within the container. A disposable liner for insulating a container is provided and includes a reflective layer for insulating food within the container. A disposable lid for insulating a container is also provided and includes a reflective layer for insulating food within the container. Finally, the present invention includes a method of maintaining a food temperature, including the step of reflecting heat energy off of a reflective layer to maintain the temperature of the food.
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Claims(41)
1. A disposable container comprising a container portion including at least one surface having reflecting means for insulating food contained therein.
2. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflecting means is chosen from the group consisting of Mylar®, polyethylene terephthalate polyester film, PET film, multi-layered polymeric film, aluminum vapor coated on a polymeric film, acrylic sheets, aluminum foils, polished aluminum alloys, foil over a bubble-wrap substance, metallic fabric, or aluminum with a layer of polyethylene film.
3. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflecting means is operatively attached to an outside surface of said container portion.
4. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflecting means is operatively attached to an inside surface of said container portion.
5. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said surfaces and container portions are connected by an adhesive glue.
6. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said surfaces and container portions are connected by an internal molding process.
7. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said surfaces and container portions are connected by an extrusion process.
8. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said container portion is a shape chosen from the group consisting of a cup, a cylinder, a box, or a cone.
9. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflective means is operatively attached to and extends over a portion of a side wall of said container portion.
10. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflective means is operatively attached to and extends from a top of said side wall to a bottom of said side wall.
11. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflective means is operatively attached to and extends over a portion a base of said container portion.
12. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflective means is operatively attached to and extends entirely over said base.
13. The disposable container of claim 9, further including said reflective means operatively attached to and extending over a portion of said base.
14. The disposable container of claim 10, further including said reflective means operatively attached to and extending entirely over said base.
15. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein a portion of said reflective means is in the shape of said container portion.
16. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said reflective means is in the shape of said container portion.
17. The disposable container of claim 1, further including a lip at said top of said side wall for seating a lid.
18. The disposable container of claim 1, wherein said container portion is made of a material chosen from the group consisting of polyester coated paperboard, wax cardboard, Styrofoam, plastic, metal, or ceramic.
19. A disposable container comprising a container portion including at least one surface having insulating means for insulating food contained therein.
20. A disposable container comprising a container portion including an outside surface, an inside surface, and removable reflective means covering at least a portion of one of said surfaces.
21. The disposable container of claim 20, wherein said removable reflecting means is chosen from the group consisting of Mylar(, multi-layered polymeric film, PET film, aluminum vapor coated on a polymeric film, acrylic sheets, aluminum foils, polished aluminum alloys, foil over a bubble-wrap substance, metallic fabric, or aluminum with a layer of polyethylene film.
22. The disposable container of claim 20, wherein said removable reflective means is a disposable sleeve.
23. The disposable container of claim 22, wherein said disposable sleeve includes side walls and a base.
24. The disposable container of claim 23, wherein said disposable sleeve is a shape chosen from the group consisting of a cup, a cylinder, a box, or a cone.
25. The disposable container of claim 22, wherein said disposable sleeve is a ring shape.
26. The disposable container of claim 22, wherein an inner surface of said removable reflective means is operatively attached to a cardboard outer layer.
27. The disposable sleeve of claim 22, wherein said disposable sleeve covers said outside surface of said container portion entirely.
28. The disposable container of claim 20, further including a lip at a top of said container portion for seating a lid.
29. The disposable container of claim 20, wherein said removable reflective means is a disposable lid.
30. The disposable container of claim 20, wherein said container portion is made of a material chosen from the group consisting of polyester coated paperboard, wax cardboard, Styrofoam, plastic, metal, or ceramic.
31. A disposable container comprising a container portion including an outside surface, an inside surface, and removable insulative means covering at least a portion of one of said surfaces.
32. A disposable sleeve for insulating a container, said disposable sleeve including reflective means for insulating food within said container.
33. The disposable sleeve of claim 32, wherein said reflecting means is chosen from the group consisting of Mylar®, polyethylene terephthalate polyester film, PET film, multi-layered polymeric film, aluminum vapor coated on a polymeric film, acrylic sheets, aluminum foils, polished aluminum alloys, foil over a bubble-wrap substance, metallic fabric, or aluminum with a layer of polyethylene film.
34. The disposable sleeve of claim 32, wherein said disposable sleeve is a shape chosen from the group consisting of a cup, a cylinder, a box, or a cone.
35. The disposable sleeve of claim 32, wherein said disposable sleeve is a ring shape.
36. The disposable sleeve of claim 32, further defined as including side walls and a base.
37. The disposable sleeve of claim 32, wherein an inner surface of said reflective means is operatively attached to a cardboard outer layer.
38. A disposable sleeve for insulating a container, said disposable sleeve including insulative means for insulating food within said container.
39. A method of maintaining a food temperature, including the step of reflecting heat energy off of a reflective layer to maintain the temperature of the food.
40. The method of claim 39, wherein the reflective layer is chosen from the group consisting of Mylar®, polyethylene terephthalate polyester film, PET film, multi-layered polymeric film, aluminum vapor coated on a polymeric film, acrylic sheets, aluminum foils, polished aluminum alloys, foil over a bubble-wrap substance, metallic fabric, or aluminum with a layer of polyethylene film.
41. The method of claim 39, wherein the food is a beverage.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/551,996, filed Mar. 9, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a container. In particular, the present invention relates to a disposable container, preferably for insulating beverages.

(2) Description of Related Art

Disposable paper cups with heat insulating capability are a desirable and widely used commodity. These types of cups are designed for hot liquid contents such as hot coffee/tea/chocolate and tend to maintain the liquid contents' temperature by preventing undesirable heat transfer from the hot liquid contents inside the cup to the cup holder's hand holding the cup. These cups may also be used for cold liquid contents in which case the insulated walls of the cup help maintain the cold liquid contents' temperature by preventing undesirable heat transfer from the cup holder's hand to the cold liquid contents. Many people stop for coffee or another hot beverage on their way to work or class, and would enjoy their drink more if it was still hot when they arrived at their destination. Especially in colder climates, where the cold air may cool the temperature of the beverage once walking outside of a store, an insulated cup is desirable.

Thermally insulated cups come in various known configurations. For example, Amberg, et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 3,737,093) discloses a plastic cup placed within a paper cup to create air space therebetween for thermal insulation purposes. Iioka (U.S. Pat. No. 4,435,344) discloses a paper cup coated with a thermoplastic synthetic resin film which is subsequently heated to form a foamed insulating layer. Neale, et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 5,952,068) discloses a cup insulation layer formed from syntactic foam, a type of foam which incorporates insulating particles held in place by a binder. The insulating particles may contain an air space. Van Handel (U.S. Pat. No. 6,536,657) discloses a disposable cup with air pockets formed by shrink film which thermally insulate the cup.

None of the known insulated cups, however, is an effective thermal insulator. Furthermore, none of the known insulated cups can be manufactured at low cost on a wide scale due to complexity of fabrication, high cost of materials, and the like. Therefore, there is a need for a disposable container that can effectively maintain a beverage's temperature longer.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a disposable container comprising a container portion including at least one surface having a reflective layer for insulating food contained therein.

The present invention further provides a disposable container comprising a container portion including an outside surface, an inside surface, and a removable reflective layer covering at least a portion of one of said surfaces.

The present invention further includes a disposable sleeve for insulating a container. The disposable sleeve includes a reflective layer for insulating food within the container.

The present invention further includes a disposable liner for insulating a container. The disposable liner includes a reflective layer for insulating food within the container.

The present invention further includes a disposable lid for insulating a container. The disposable lid includes a reflective layer for insulating food within the container.

The present invention also includes a method of maintaining a food temperature, including the step of reflecting heat energy off of a reflective layer to maintain the temperature of the food.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 a is a cross-sectional view of a first embodiment of a disposable container with a reflective layer operatively attached to an inside of a container portion including the reflective layer on a base, and FIG. 1 b shows a cross-sectional view of a first embodiment with a reflective layer only on the side wall;

FIG. 2 is a blown-up cross-sectional view of a container portion with a lip;

FIG. 3 a is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of a disposable container with a reflective layer in between two container portions including the reflective layer on a base, and FIG. 3 b shows a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment with a reflective layer only on the side wall;

FIG. 4 is a blown-up cross-sectional view of a container portion with a lip of the second embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of a disposable container being layered with a container portion, a reflective layer, a second container portion, and a second reflective layer;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of a disposable container being layered with a container portion, a reflective layer, a second container portion, a second reflective layer, and a third container portion;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a third embodiment of a disposable container with an outer reflective sleeve in the form of a cup;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a third embodiment of a disposable container with a removable outer reflective sleeve in the form of a ring;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a reflective sleeve or liner in the shape of a cup;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a reflective sleeve in a ring shape;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a reflective sleeve in a ring shape with an outer layer of cardboard;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of a fourth embodiment of a disposable container with a removable reflective inner liner;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of a fifth embodiment of a disposable container with a disposable lid including a reflective layer; and

FIG. 14 is a top view of the disposable lid showing an opening in a lid top to allow for drinking.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

“Container” as used herein, means a receptacle to hold material, in a form such as a cup, mug, thermos, or portable food container.

“Layer” as used herein, means a single thickness of a material covering a surface and is used interchangeably with “surface,” such as a reflective surface, with “portion,” such as a container portion, and also with “liner,” such as a disposable liner.

“Reflective” as used herein, means capable of or producing a reflection of matter such as with reflecting light or sound waves, and can be used interchangeably with “insulating.” A reflective surface/layer is also an insulating surface/layer.

Like structure among the several defined embodiments are indicated by primed numbers.

The present invention provides a new and improved apparatus for maintaining a beverage's temperature. As shown generally in FIG. 1a, a disposable container 10 comprises a container portion 11 including at least one surface 13 having a reflective layer 16 for insulating food 20 contained therein.

The disposable container 10 can be any suitable size for the storage of food or beverages 20. For example, when the container 10 is used for a beverage 20, it can be made in sizes generally used in restaurants and coffee shops of 12 ounces, 16 ounces, and 20 ounces. The disposable container can also be the size of a commonly used take-out container to store food.

The container portion 11, 11′, 11″ provides strength to the reflective layer 16 so that the disposable container 10 maintains its integrity. The container portion 11, 11′, 11″ allows a user to grip the disposable container 10. The container portion 11, 11′, 11″ is preferably a polyester coated paperboard. Alternatively, the container portion 11, 11′, 11″ can be a wax cardboard. The container portion 11, 11′, 11″ can also be any other suitable material, such as Styrofoam, plastic, metal, or ceramic. The container wall 12 and the base 14 can be made out of the same or different materials. Preferably, the container portion 11, 11′, 11″ is strong enough to permit the user to apply a firm grip without crushing the disposable container 10. The container portion 11, 11′, 11″ can include a lip 34 on a container portion top 36, as shown in FIG. 2. The lip 34 allows a lid to be seated on the disposable container 10 so as not to spill any of the beverage 20. A lid including a reflective layer 16 can also be provided to be seated on the disposable container 10 to further maintain the beverage temperature.

The surface 13 can include a side wall 12 operatively connected to a base 14, preferably integral therewith, which comprise the container portion 11. Such a configuration can provide a disposable container 10 with a cup shape, a rectangular shape, or a cylindrical shape, among other shapes. Alternatively, the surface 13 can be the side wall alone, providing for a disposable container 10 in a rounded shape.

The side wall 12 can include a reflective or insulative layer 16 of insulation material operatively connected to the container portion 11 for maintaining the temperature of food 20, such as a beverage 20. The reflective layer 16 can be operatively attached to a container portion outer surface 32 or to a container portion inner surface 28. The reflective layer 16 can extend from a top container wall 22 to a bottom container wall 24. Alternatively, the reflective layer 16 can extend over a portion of the side wall 12. The base 14 can be left uncovered as in FIG. 1 b. The reflective layer 16 can optionally extend over a portion of the base 14 or over the entire base 14 in order to provide more heat reflection as shown in FIG. 1 a. In other words, the reflective layer 16 can be in the same shape as the container portion 11, or in a different shape. A reflective layer inner surface 26 is operatively connected to a container portion inner surface 28. A reflective layer outer surface 30 contacts the food 20.

The reflective/insulation layer 16, 16′, 16″ acts to maintain the temperature of food 20 by using heat reflection. Heat energy from the food 20 hits the reflective layer 16,16′,16″, and is reflected back into the beverage 20. The reflective layer 16,16′, 16″ also acts to maintain the temperature of the container portion outer surface 32 so that a user can safely grip the disposable container 10 without burning his or her hands. The reflective layer 16,16′, 16″ acts effectively as an insulator.

The reflective layer 16, 16′, 16″ is preferably an insulating material, such as 100 gauge Mylar® (DuPont) that is FDA approved for contact with food 20. Mylar® can insulate and reflect almost -all heat, allowing only a small percentage of heat through a piece of Mylar®. Mylar® also has a relatively low thermal coefficient of linear expansion (1.7×10−5 in/in/° C.) and therefore a hot beverage will not cause Mylar® to warp inside a container. The reflective layer 16, 16′, 16″ can be any other suitable material that effectively insulates and/or reflects heat. For example, the reflective layer can be a multi-layered polymeric film, aluminum vapor coated on a polymeric film, acrylic sheets, aluminum foils, polished aluminum alloys, foil over a bubble-wrap type substance, metallic fabric, or aluminum with a layer of polyethylene film. The reflective layer 16, 16′, 16″ can also be any non-metallic material with reflective properties, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polyester film, a PET film, or Mylar® RB52. In embodiments where the reflective layer 16 contacts the beverage 20, the reflective layer 16, 16′, 16″ is preferably FDA approved for contact with food. The reflective layer 16, 16′, 16″ is preferably thin, on the scale of a few millimeters. The reflective layer 16, 16′, 16″ can be produced by any means known in the art. The reflective layer 16, 16′ of the first two embodiments can be operatively attached to the container portion 11, 11′, 11″ by any means known in the art, preferably by a heat-sealing mechanism attaching the reflective layer 16, 16′ to a container portion 11, 11′, 11″ made of poly-coated paperboard.

The disposable container 10 can include multiple layers of container portions 11 and reflective layers 16. For example, in a second embodiment, shown in FIGS. 3 a and 3 b, the reflective layer inner surface 26 is operatively connected to a container portion inner surface 28. A reflective layer outer surface 30 is operatively connected to a second container portion inner surface 38 of a second container portion 11′. The base 14 can also include the reflective layer 16 in between a second container base 44 and operatively attached to both the base 14 and the second container base 44, as in FIG. 3 a. A second container portion outer surface 42 contacts the food 20. A user grips the container portion outer surface 32. The container portion 11 can also include a lip 34 for seating a lid on the container portion top 36, as shown in FIG. 4. The reflective layer outer surface 30 is operatively connected to the second container portion inner surface 38 by any means known in the art and can be connected in the same means as the container portion outer surface.

The second container portion 11′ is preferably resistant to water/liquid such as a polyester coated paperboard or a wax cardboard. The second container portion 11′ can be a different material or the same material as the container portion 11.

Further layers of container portions 11 alternating with reflective layers 16 can be used in the disposable container 10. For example, a second reflective layer 16′ can be operatively attached to the second container portion outer surface 42, as shown in FIG. 5. A third container portion 11″ can also be operatively attached to an outside surface 49 of the second reflective layer 16′ as shown in FIG. 6. Different parts of the disposable container 10 can contain a different amount of layers, such as the container wall 12 having more layers than the base 14. Each layer can be made of the same material or of different materials.

In the first and second embodiments, the disposable container 10 can be manufactured by means known in the art. For example, an adhesive glue can be used to connect each piece. The adhesive should be able to withstand a variety of temperatures, and withstand reheating in a microwave. The disposable container 10 can also be manufactured through an internal molding process. Furthermore, the disposable container 10 can be manufactured through an extrusion process. Any other suitable method of production can be used.

Also provided in the invention is the disposable container 10 including the container portion inner surface 28 and the container portion outside surface 32, and a removable reflective layer 16″. The removable reflective layer 16″ can be in the form of a disposable sleeve 45, a disposable liner 52, or a disposable lid 60.

In a third embodiment, the disposable sleeve 45 for covering the container portion outer surface 32 is shown in FIGS. 7-11. The disposable sleeve 45 includes the reflective layer 16″ for insulating the food 20. The container portion 11 includes the container wall 12 operatively attached to the base 14 and can include other optional features such as the lip 34, as in the first embodiment. The disposable sleeve 45 can be the removable reflective layer 16″ by itself, or alternatively, a support layer 48 can be operatively attached to the removable reflective layer 16″. The reflective layer outer surface 30′ can be operatively attached to the inner surface 50 of the support layer 48. For example, as shown in FIG. 11, the support layer 48 can be a cardboard backing to allow for easier gripping of the disposable container 10. The disposable sleeve 45 can be slid over the outer surface 32 of the container portion 11, and can also be removed from the container portion 11 when desired.

The disposable sleeve 45 can be shaped in several different forms, such as, a cup form 45′ as shown in FIGS. 7 and 9, or a ring form 45″ as shown in FIGS. 8, 10, and 11. The disposable sleeve cup form 45′ can cover a portion or the entire length of the container wall 12. The disposable sleeve cup form 45′ can also cover a portion of or the entire base 14; In other words, the disposable sleeve cup form 45′ can include the container wall 12 and base 14 shape of the container portion 11, and therefore the disposable sleeve cup form can take on any shape of the container portion 11 as described above.

The disposable sleeve ring form 45″ partially covers the container wall 12. Preferably, the disposable sleeve ring form 45″ covers an upper portion of the container wall 12. When the disposable sleeve 45 includes a support layer 48, a ring form 45″ can be made by operatively attaching two ends of the disposable sleeve 45, such as with adhesive that is heat resistant. Alternatively, a slit can be cut in each of the two ends so that they can fit together to form a ring form 45″ when the user wants to insulate his drink. These methods of manufacturing a ring form 45″ for the disposable sleeve 45 are known in the art.

In a fourth embodiment, the disposable container 10 includes a container portion 11 having a disposable liner 52 lining the container portion inner surface 28, as shown in FIG. 12. The disposable liner 52 includes a removable reflective layer 16″ for insulating the food 20. The liner 52 includes a liner wall 56 operatively attached to a liner base 58. Therefore, the liner 52 can be effectively the same shape as the container portion 11 as described above. The container portion 11 includes the container wall 12 operatively attached to the base 14 and can include other optional features such as the lip 34, as in the first and third embodiments.

The disposable liner 52 can be the removable reflective layer 16″ by itself, or it can include a backing 54 for support when inside the container portion 11. Before inserting food or pouring a beverage 20, the disposable liner 52 is inserted into the container portion 11 to provide insulation to maintain the temperature of the beverage or food 20. When inserted, the liner bottom 58 is integral with the base 14, and the liner wall 56 is integral with the container wall 12. The disposable liner 52 can cover the entire container wall 12 and container portion inner surface 28.

In a fifth embodiment, the disposable container 10 includes a container portion 11 having a disposable lid 60 covering the container portion opening 35, as shown in FIG. 13. The disposable lid 60 includes a removable reflective layer 16″ for insulating the food 20. The disposable lid 60 includes a lid wall 62 operatively attached to a lid top 64. The container portion 11 includes the container wall 12 operatively attached to the base 14 and other optional features as in the first and third embodiments. The container portion 11 preferably includes the lip 34 for seating the disposable lid 60.

The disposable lid 60 can be the removable reflective layer 16″ by itself, or it can include a backing 54 for support. The disposable lid 60 can be any suitable design known in the art. For example, the lid top 64 can further include an opening 66 where a user can access a beverage 20 in order to drink, as shown in FIG. 14. The disposable lid 60 can be any shape to cover the disposable container 10.

After inserting food or pouring a beverage 20, the disposable lid 60 is attached to the container portion 11 and covers the container portion opening 35 providing insulation to maintain the temperature of the beverage or food 20. The disposable lid 60 can be used alone or in combination with the disposable sleeve 45 or disposable liner 52 for added heat insulation. Furthermore, the disposable lid 60 can also be used with the disposable containers of the first and second embodiments for added heat insulation.

Throughout this application, various publications, including United States patents, are referenced by author and year and patents by number. Full citations for the publications are listed below. The disclosures of these publications and patents in their entireties are hereby incorporated by reference into this application in order to more fully describe the state of the art to which this invention pertains.

The invention has been described in an illustrative manner, and it is to be understood that the terminology which has been used is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7946126May 13, 2008May 24, 2011Blankman Cheryl BAdjustable volume toddler cup
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/400, 229/5.81, 229/103.11
International ClassificationB65D5/56, B65D5/62
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2543/00046, B65D81/38, B65D81/3874, B65D81/3886
European ClassificationB65D81/38, B65D81/38K4, B65D81/38H4