US 20060049634 A1
The present invention provides a pipe and snap connector assembly including mating male and female pipes joined by a clam-shell type connector. The female pipe receives a portion of the male pipe, and each pipe provides a radial flange configured such that there is a gap between the radial flanges when the male pipe is received in the female pipe. A sealing washer or seal is disposed between the flanges, in the gap. The clam-shell type connector is of open-ended barrel construction, and includes a radial clamp cavity that is sized to contact the radial flanges on the male and female pipes and axially compress them against the seal to provide a fluid-tight connection of the pipes. A latch and catch mechanism on the connector can be opened and closed without the use of special tools.
1. A pipe and snap connector assembly comprising:
a first pipe having a receiving end defined by an expanded diameter terminating at an open end about which radially extends a first flange including inner and outer surfaces;
a second pipe having a second flange radially extending from an insertion end of said second pipe, said second flange having inner and outer surfaces, said insertion end being sized to mate with said receiving end of said first pipe by fitting interiorly of the expanded diameter defining said receiving end, said insertion end being longer than said receiving end such that a gap exists between said first and second flanges when said insertion end of said second pipe is fully inserted into said receiving end of said first pipe;
a seal disposed in said gap and contacting said inner surfaces of said first and second flanges, said seal having an uncompressed thickness greater than said gap; and
a snap connector comprising:
a radial clamp cavity of fixed dimensions defined by a radial wall joining side walls that engage said outer surfaces of said first and second flanges and axially urge said flanges together in compressive engagement with said seal; and
a nesting cavity axially disposed outwardly of each side wall of said clamp cavity and receiving the expanded diameter of said receiving end of said first pipe at a selective axial position on either side of said radial clamp cavity.
2. The pipe and snap connector assembly of
a male half providing a latch;
a female half providing a catch; and
a hinge pivotally connecting said male and female halves, said male and female halves being selectively joined by the mating of said latch and catch to complete said radial clamp cavity and said nesting cavity.
3. The pipe and snap connector assembly of
4. The pipe and snap connector assembly of
The present invention relates to a clam-shell type coupling member employed to join two pipes to allow for the flow of fluid therethrough without compromising the flow of the fluid at the area of joinder. More particular, this invention is a snap connector for connecting, with a fluid-tight seal, two mating pipes of particular configuration.
Snap connectors are generally known in the art, and it is generally appreciated that such connectors should be relatively easy to employ. It is preferred that snap connectors be capable of use without the need for employing tools to effect a joinder of the pipes, as the use of tools is undesirably time consuming. The connector should, however, provide a tight seal between the pipes, to inhibit any loss of fluid that is to flow through the joined pipes.
The prior art has been somewhat successful in providing snap connectors that substantially achieve one or more of these goals; however, the designs of the prior art are herein departed from in order to provide a snap connector and pipe assembly that is simple in configuration and allows for a fluid-tight connection of pipes, without requiring the use of special tools.
In general, the present invention provides a pipe and snap connector assembly including mating first and second pipes joined by a clam-shell type connector. The first pipe has a receiving end defined by an expanded diameter terminating at an open end about which radially extends a first flange including inner and outer surfaces. The second pipe has a second flange that radially extends from an insertion end of the second pipe. The insertion end is sized to mate with the receiving end of the first pipe by fitting interiorly of the expanded diameter that defines the receiving end, and the insertion end is longer than the receiving portion such that a gap exists between the first and second flanges when the insertion end of the second pipe is fully inserted into the receiving end of the first pipe. The second flange of the second pipe also includes inner and outer surfaces. A sealing washer or seal is disposed in the gap and contacts the inner surfaces of the first and second flanges. The seal has an uncompressed thickness that is greater than the width of the gap. The connector holds the first and second pipes in mating engagement, and includes a radial clamp cavity defined by a radial wall joining sidewalls that engage the outer surfaces of the first and second flanges and axially urge the flanges together in compressive engagement with the seal. In effect, the flanges define a radial breach for engagement with the seal. The connector further includes a nesting cavity that is axially disposed outwardly of each sidewall of the clamp cavity, and this nesting cavity receives the expanded diameter of the receiving end of the first pipe at a selective axial position relative to the radial clamp cavity.
For a complete understanding of the objects, techniques and structure of the invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings wherein:
The snap connector of the present invention is particularly applicable to the joining of pipes of the type found in cooling systems, particularly in the automotive industry, although the present invention is not limited to or by such an application. With reference to
Female pipe 10 has a receiving end 14 that is defined by an expanded diameter terminating at open end 16 about which radially extends a first flange 18 including inner surface 20 and outer surface 22. Male pipe 12 includes an insertion end 24 that is sized to mate with receiving end 14 of female pipe 10 by fitting interiorly of the expanded diameter defining receiving end 14. Second flange 26 radially extends from male pipe 12 and is offset from open end 29 to define insertion end 24. Second flange 26 has inner surface 27 and outer surface 28. Notably, insertion end 24, as measured from inner surface 27 to open end 29 of male pipe 12, is longer than the length of receiving end 14 of female pipe 10, as defined by the expanded diameter thereof. Thus, as can be clearly seen in
It is intended that gap 30 receives a sealing washer or seal 32, as shown in the assembled diagram of
Referring now to
Halves 52, 54 of snap connector 50 also provide, disposed outwardly of each sidewall 61, 62 of the radial clamp cavity 58, half of a nesting cavity 64, which is open at its opposed ends 65, 66. Nesting cavity 64 is sized to receive pipes 10, 12, and, more particularly, the expanded diameter of receiving end 14 of female pipe 10, as seen in
With particular reference to
Slot 78 extends through catch 70, such that, when lock surface 80 of latch 72 is caught around lip 76, beveled surface 74 may be accessed by a screwdriver or other similar means and deflected or manipulated such that latch 72 can be removed from around lip 76. To release latch 72 in this manner, beveled surface 74 is simply contacted with a lever arm, such as a screwdriver, that is thin enough to be inserted into slot 78 in the direction indicated in
In light of the foregoing, it should thus be evident that the present invention provides a snap connector for the coupling of pipes that substantially improves the art. While, in accordance with the patent statutes, only the best mode and preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail hereinabove, the present invention is not to be limited thereto or thereby. Rather, the scope of the invention shall include all modifications and variations that fall within the scope of the attached claims.