US 2051180 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 18, 1936.
C. J. RUZICKA AUTOMATICALLY OPERATED VALVE MECHANISM Filed Dec. 19, 1933 ]*a 1/61 for C/arence J Ruz/cka Patented Aug. 18, 1936' UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE Clarence J. Ruzicka, Whittier, Calif" assignor to Standard Oil Company of California,
Francisco, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Application December 19, 1933, Serial No. 703,102
10 Claims. (Cl. 137- 68) This invention relates to a valve mechanism, and more particularly to a valve mechanism of the automatic type having improved control means for the regulation of the level of liquids contained in storage tanks or other receptacles.
It is known that valve mechanisms of the general class in which the present device is associated have heretofore been proposed; however, all such mechanisms hitherto known, especially ll) of the electrically operated type, are undesirable and dangerous when used in connection with combustible liquids or fluids. All of these proposed mechanisms that are in any way analogous to the present device employ one or more 15 of the fluids, whose level it is desired to regulate, as an electrical conductor, and when any one of such fluids is of a volatile nature, the danger of fire or an explosion may be present due to sparking when the operating current is 20 broken at the connection with the fluid conductor. Further, all these proposed mechanisms require a high operating current in the presence of the liquid being regulated and aside from the fire hazard and rapid electrolytic consumption 25 of the electrodes employed with the fluid conductors, the operation of the mechanisms soon becomes undependable.
Also, all of the devices heretofore proposed are undesirable due to the lack of means for 30 changing the level at which the liquid under control is to'be maintained, which is often desirable. In these devices it is necessary to drain the tank containing the liquid, remove certain parts and substitute others or to change the as location of the device entirely.
It is one object of this invention to overcome the above difliculties.
Another object is to provide a novel valve mechanism having improved automatic control 40 means.
Another object is to provide a novel valve mechanism having improved electrical control means that shall be operable by fluids of small variations in electrical conductivity.
45 Another object is to provide a novel electrical valve mechanism for regulating the level of fluids possessing different electrical characteristics that will be operable by current variations.
Another object is to provide a valve mecha- 50 nism of the automatic type for controlling the level of fluids of different electrical characteristics that shall be operable by a minimum amount of control current in the presence of the liquid being controlled and thereby render the device 55,. for use with fluids of a volatile nature.
Another object is to provide a valve mechanism of the electrical type for use in controlling the level of combustible fluids that shall be operable by current variations and thereby preclude the necessity of completely breaking the 5 current in the presence or the fluid being controlled.
Another object is to provide a valve mecha-' nism having the above characteristics adapted to be controlled by a fluid whose level is to be 10 controlled that shall be responsive to small current variations and adaptable for use with fluids having small variations in electrical characteristics.
Another object is to provide a device having the above characteristics that may be operable by fluid conductors and that shall be independent of wide variations in electrical resistance of the fluid conductors.
A further object is to provide in combination with a tank or container adapted to contain one or more fluids whose levels are to be controlled,
a device having the above characteristics that shall beeasily and quickly adjusted for maintaining the liquid levels or the limits of the liquid levels at or between predetermined point 0 points.
The accomplishment of the above and other objects by the novel combination of circuits and elements will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description when taken in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein reference characters are used to indicate the different parts. It is to be expressly understood that the drawing is not a definition Y of the invention, but merely one form to illustrate how the princlplesoi the invention may be effectuated.
The drawing is a single view showing a schematic diagram embodying the invention. 40
- In the form shown, H is a metallic tank or container which may be of any selected size and for the purpose of this disclosure, it will be sutflcient to assume that the tank II is employed to contain two fluids of different specific gravities, which may be oil and water. The tank H is provided with a drain pipe or bleeder line l2, the latter being connected with the tank at a point l0 adjacent the tank bottom l3. The bleeder line l2 has connected therein, in addition to a manually operated valve I4 and strainer IS, an electrically operated valve l6, the latter being operated by an electric coil or motor ll of any approved type. Electric current is supplied to the doll "by way of a branch operating circuit I8 from an alternating current supply circuit IS. The circuit I8 is controlled by a coil operated switch 2 I, the latter being connected in a branch ply circuit H! by way of a selected transformer 23. The small transformer 28 reduces the alternating current to the proper value for application to the rectifier 26. A suitable resistor 29 is connected across the circuit 24 to provide sufficient load to secure proper operation of the rectifier 26.
The neutral side of the control circuit 24 is grounded at 9 to the tank II, when the tank II is of electrical conducting material, or the circuit 24 may be "connected to an electrodeQa. carried by the lower portion of the tank wall and extending into the tank for contacting the liquid, when the tank is constructed of non-conducting material. The other side or positive side of the circuit 24 which is connected through the sensitive'relay switch 23 is also connected through a resistor 3| to an electrode 32 suspended within the tank II and at a predetermined level within the tank A second resistor 33 is employed across the circuit 24 which serves as a discharge resistor for keeping the direct current circuit through the relay 23 continually closed but will not pass sufficient current to operate the relay 23. It-might be well to state here that the amount of ,current required to operate the relay 23 is .0008 amperes.
The positive side of the control circuit 24 divides at 34 forming a second circuit 35. The latter passes through a resistor 36 to a second electrode 31 suspended within the tank H and at a predetermined level within the tank, which level is lower or nearer the bottom of the tank than the level at which the electrode 32 is positioned.
The circuit 35 also divides at 33 forming a third circuit 39. The latter passes through a resistor 4| to a third electrode 42 suspended with the tank ii, and at a predetermined level within the tank, which level is still lower or nearer the bottom of the tank than the level at which theelectrode 31 is positioned.
The electrodes 32, 31 and 42 together with their respective conductor leads disposed within the tank II are supported'by and arranged within a conduit or pipe 30. The latter may be inserted .from the top of the tank II and supported as shown at 44. It will be understood, of course, that the electrodes and their cooperating multiple circuit leads'are electrically insulated from the conduit 30 and tank II. This enables the level at which the fluid is controlled to be easily varied by moving the conduit 30 up or down with respect to the top of the tank II and supporting means 44 without draining the tank. This is an important feature of the present invention and greatly simplifies the adjusting of the level at which the liquid is to be maintained. Heretofore, it has been necessary to drain the tank, as well as to require the installation of additiona parts and the repositioning of other parts.
The operation of the device is as follows: Assuming that the tank. H is adaptedto receive a mixture of any two fluids possessing suf-' flcient difierences in density as to cause them to be separated by gravity and which fluids diifer in electrical conductivity, such as oil and water, and
it is desired to control the level of the water under the oil. In the accompanying drawing 40 indicates the settled water and 4| indicates the oil supported above the water. In actual practice, the water and oil would most generally be separated by a layer of emulsion. However, for
the purpose of the present invention it will be sufllcient to consider the emulsion layer as a part of the water and it is included in the defining of the water level, as such emulsion usually contains water and suflicient salts to render its electrical characteristics substantially the same as water, or at least near enough to satisfy the purpose here required. i
It will be understood that the presence of the oil or second fluid is not required for proper operation oi the device, but when and if a second fluid is present, the only requirement being that it possess different characteristics in electrical conductivity.
The lowermost electrode 42 terminates at a point lower than the minimum level, indicated by the line 43, at which the water is to be maintained in the tank. By having the electrode 42 positioned below the minimum level of the water conductor 40, the latter remains-charged at all times through a complete control circuit from the terminals of the rectifier 26, which current, however, is insuillcient, to operate relay 23. This circuit includes the following electrical connections, positive side of circuit 24 from rectifier terminal 25 through relay 23 and resistor 3| to branch connection 34, circuit 35, resistor 33 to connection 38, circuit 39 through resistor 4| to electrode 42, water 40 through tank II to ground I 3 and returned by way of the neutral side of control circuit 24 to rectifier 26. When the leve1- 43 01' the water rises sufllcient to contact the electrode 31, the branch circuit 39 and resistor 4| is shunted out by electrode 31, which increases the amount of current through relay 23, but which current is still insuflicient to operate re- I lay 23. The level 43' of the water may continue to rise until it contacts electrode 32, at which time the branch circuit 35 and resistor 36 is also shunted by 32, and suilicient current may 'pass through the control circuit'24-toc1ose relay 23 for closing the branch circuit 22, the latter energizing relay 2| for closing operating circuit IS, the latter energizing coil or motor II for opening the valve l6, at which time the water is drawn out by way of the pipe l2. As soon as the level 430i the water moves below and out of contact with the electrode 32, the control circuit will again depend largely on branch circuit 35, resistor 36 and electrode 31. The resistor 36 acts to reduce the current in the control circuit 24, which current while insuflicient to operate the 60 relay 23 is sufficient to holdit closed, and thereby eifect a holding circuit for retaining the valve l6 open. The water continued to drain out through the pipe |2 until such time that the water level 43 falls below and out of contact with 5 the electrode 31, at which time the control cir-" cuit will depend entirely on branch circuit 39 and resistor 4|, the latter acting, to reduce the control current to an amount insuillcient to hold the relay 23 closed. The relay 23 will now as-'7 sume its normal open position, de-energizing circuit 22, opening relay-2|, de-energizing operatfor use in controlling the level 1y from either a direct current oralternating cur-.
Accordingly there is' provided a novel liquid control device that is automatic and positive in operation including novel electrical control means wherein the device is operated by varying the current passing through the control circuit, which circuit includes to be controlled and the complete breaking of the control circuit in the presence of the 1iq-- uid being controlled is precluded,.thereby eliminating thehazard of fire or explosion and .rendering the present device particularly adaptable of liquids of a combustible nature.
Also, the importance of the manner in which the position of the electrode may be easily and readily adjusted to maintain .the liquid levels at or.between any desired point or.points is thought to be a valuable contribution to this? particular art. I
While the present device has been disclosed in connection with the controlling oi'the levels of water and oil, it will now be apparent to those skilled in the art that the present device may-be readily used for accurately controlling the level of any fluid for which electrical resistance is not so high asv to render it inoperative. Also. it is to be expressly understood that the present invention may be employed to control either the outlet or inlet of fluids. Other changes, modifications, substitutions, additions and omissions may be made without departing from the spirit and scope oi the claims hereto appended.
1. In combination with a tank adapted to contain a liquid and provided with an outlet. an electrically operated valve for controlling said outlet, a source 01' electrical energy, an electrical circuit of graduated resistance including said liquid in said tank forcontrolling the operation of said valve, means for maintaining and limiting a continuously flowing current in said circuit insuflicient to cause said valve to be operated and another means dependent upon the level of said liquid for increasing said continuously flowing current through said liquid sufllcient to cause said valve to be operated.
2. In combination with a tank adapted to contain a liquid and provided with an electrically controlled outlet, 01' means for controlling said outlet for controlling the level of the liquid in said tank, said means including means for main-' taining a continuously flowing current through the liquid in said tank and adapted to vary the strength of said continuously flowing current sufllciently to operate said outlet when said liquid rises to a predetermined level.
.3. In combination with a tank adapted to cortain a liquid and provided with an automatic controlled outlet, electrical means including a cirthe liquid whose level is valve to be cult and a source of electrical energy, said circuit including the liquid in said tank and adapted to maintain a limited current through said liquid, another circuit in multiple with the first said circuit and dependent upon the level of the liquid for increasing the amount 01' the first said current through said liquid.
4. In combination with a tank adapted to con tain a liquid, of means for controlling the level of said liquid in said tank, said means including electrical means for maintaining a limited current through said liquid, and another means in multiple with said last named means for increasing the strength of said current suflicient to operate the first said means when the level of said liquid rises to a predetermined height within said tank.
5. A container adapted to contain a liquid having means for controlling the level of said liquid including means for maintaining a limited electrical current through said liquid independent of the level of said liquid, and another means in multiple with said last' named means dependent upon the level of said liquid for varying the strength of said current through said liquid.
6. In combination with a tank adapted to contain a liquid electrically operated means for controlling the level of said liquid, a source of electrical energy, the first said means including means for maintaining a continuously flowing current through said liquid. and means dependent upon the liquid level i'or'varying the amount 01' current through said liquid, whereby the first said means will operate without completely breaking said current in the presence of said liquid.
7. In combination with a tank adapted to contain an electrically non-conducting fluid over-' lying an electrically conducting liquid, an outlet for saidconducting liquid, a valve for controlling said outlet,a plurality of vertically-spaced electrodes in said tank. and electrical control means for said valve, said means comprising multiple electrical circuits, each connected to one of said electrodes, whereby the lowest of said electrodes will continuously be in contact with said con-- ducting liquid to permit a limited current to flow therein, and the highest of said electrodes. when sively cumulative resistance, that to the lowest electrode being the highest resistance.
9. A combination according to claim 7. with the addition of means for simultaneously adjustably positioning said electrodes in said tank. 7
10. A combination according to claim 7. in
iwhich there are more than two branch electrical I circuits connected. respectively, to a like num-' ber of vertically spaced electrodes, an intermeate electrode circuit being adapted to maintain said limited current to a value adequate to cause said valve to remain in an open position after being once opened, but inadequate to cause said actuated from a closed to an open CLARENCE J. RUZICKA.