US 2327046 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Au Ti, 19 43.- w. HL-HUNTER v 2,327,046
INFLATION APPARATUS Filed April 10, 1941 I 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 l A- M Aug. 17, 1943. w UN ER INFLATION APPARATUS 2 Sheet-Sheet 2 Filed April 10, 1941 27 Ez77Z7F 1727/5027 HEN/EAL Patented Aug. 17, 1943 2,327,046 INFLATION APPARATUS Willson H. Hunter, Akron, Ohio, assignor to The B. F. Goodrich Company, New York, N. Y., a. corporation or New York Application. April 10, 1941, Serial No. 387,827
This invention relates to inflation apparatus, suitable for example for ice elimination on wings, airfoils, and other surfaces of aircraft, and the invention pertains especially to valve mechanism for distributing the inflating medium to the inflation units and for controlling the inflation and deflation in cyclic operation.
In the copending application of Myron L. Taylor, Serial No. 314,619, filed January 19, 1940, now Patent No. 2,251,430, granted August 5, 1941, for Inflation system and apparatus for operating the same, there is disclosed a system of inflation control wherein a motor driven valve controls the operation of inflating units in three phase cycles, each cycle consisting of a pressure phase to inflate the unit, an exhausting phase to deflate the unit and a suction phase to assure complete collapse of the unit. Between inflations each unit is held on suction for the major part of the cycle while other units are undergoing pressure and exhausting phases, such suction being maintained from a suction source such as the suction side of the pressure pump, and owing to the extensive suction required a considerable burden has been placed upon the pump to supply the suction in addition tothe air under pressure.
Control of the prior distributor valve was effected by means of a master valve, manually operable, which required either a piping circuit between the master valve and the distributing valve or location of the latter near the operator.
The chief objects of the present invention are to provide an improved distributor valve mechanism, to provide for controlling the inflation, deflation and suction phases of each unit in a tirhed relation giving improved operation of the inflation unit for effecting ice removal with a reduction in the capacity requirement of the pump to maintain adequate suction for effecting complete collapse of the unit; to provide a compact arrangement for developing suction on the inflation unit during a small part of the cycle by utilizing the pressure supply from the pump for efiecting the suction; and to provide for effecting suction during only a small part of the cycle immediately following the exhausting phase, it having been found that satisfactory operation of the inflatable unit can be eflectively maintained by merely a temporary application of the suction.
Another object is to provide for maintaining a flow of warm air through the valve mechanism at all times, even its ofl position, so that starting and operating difficulties resulting from cold will, be avoided.
Further objects are to provide remote electrical control for starting and stopping the mechanism, and to provide for assuring stoppage of the mechanism only in the desired position. It is desirable that the mechanism be stopped only in a position from which a predetermined cycle of Operations may start, and provision is made to efiect this.
Still further objects are to provide a valve mechanism in which there is a minimum of wire drawing and resistance to flow of the air therethrough, to provide for balancing the rotor against end thrust as a result of the flow, to provide for compactness of structure, simplicity of construction, and facility of disassembly and assembly.
These and further objects will be apparent from the following description, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is a plan view of an airplane, shown in broken lines, with inflation units mounted upon the wings thereof, and upon the horizontal'and vertical stabilizers together with a system of piping for controlling the inflation and deflation of the units.
Fig. 2 is a diagrammatic view of a piping arrangement between supply pumps and a distributor mechanism.
Fig. 3 is a view like Fig. 2 but showing a modifled arrangement.
Fig. 4 is a longitudinal section of distributor mechanism constructed according to and embodying the invention.
Fig. 5 is a section taken along the line 5-5 of Fig. i.
Fig. 6 is a section taken alone. the line 6-6 of Fig. 4.
The improved distributor mechanism of the in"- vention, indicated generally at NJ in Fig. 1, is utilized to distribute air under pressure from a source such as pumps H l I to inflatable units mounted upon parts of the aircraft vulnerabie to ice accumulation, and to control the inflationand deflation of these units in cycle operation, each cycle including a pressure phase for inflation, an exhaust phase for deflation and a suction phase for assuring complete collapse of the inflatable units. Two inflatable units l2, l3 are shown on each wing, an inflatable unit 14 on each horizontal stabilizer, and an inflatable unit I5 upon each vertical stabilizer in the embodiment of Fig. 1. The inflatable units may be varied in number and disposition in accordance with the type and size of the aircraft, and the units are preferably constructed of reinforced rubberlike material to provide distensible surfaces as described more fully, for example, in Geer Pat" ent N0. 1398,5509.
Suitable pipe lines 55a, i527, itic, 95d, i166, 56f, 35g, Milt, lti, i 6:1, connect the distributor v th each inflatable unit. Inasmuch. as each inflation shoe on the wing may comprise more than'one inflation unit, or group of inflatable tubes, two such units Or groups being shown on each wine. for example, as in Fig. 1, two pipe lines extend from the distributor to each shoe. One pipe line extends to the two horizontal stabilizers and one pipe line extends to the two vertical stabilizers, the inflation units for these stabilizers bein of relatively small capacity. Thus, in the embodiment of Fig. 1, ten outlets are required on the distributor for connection to all the inflatable units. A pipe line ll connects the air pumps H, which may be mounted in the motor nacelles and driven by such motors, to the dis-= tributor, check valves l8, l8 preferably being mounted in such supply lines for safety, as in case of breakdown of one pump. The supply line may lead directly from the pumps to the distributor mechanism ill asshown in the embodiment of Fig. 2, or, if desired, oil separators i9, i9 may be interposed between the pumps and the distributor mechanism as indicated in the modification of Fig. 3, the pipe line, indicated at H being otherwise the same as in Figs. 1 and 2.
As hereinabove stated, the arrangement shown n Fig. 1 requires ten outlets at the distributor mechanism for connection to the ten inflatable units. These ten outlets may be provided by the use of five T-connections 20, 2!], each having two fittings 2|, 2| for connections to the pipe lines in a manner to provide symmetrical operation of the inflation units on the two sides of the aircraft. In Fig. 4 the connections to pipe lines IBc, l6h, are chosen for illustration, the operation at the other of the five ports for the T-connections being similar; It will be understood that the number, size and arran ement of the outlets may be varied as desired. The
T-shaped fittings 20, may be formed integrally as a group of five and constitute a part of the housing of the distributor mechanism, which housing may be considered in three sections, 22 for the distributor rotor and ports, 23 for a central coupling section and 24 for a gearing section, to the latter of which sections may be secured an electrical motor 25. All these sections and the motor together with their respective parts and mechanisms may be detached one from another for inspection and repair.
- Referring'first to the rotor section, the casing 22 has a central rotor chamber 26 and an adjacent exhaust chamber 21. The rotor chamber 26 has five ports 28, 28, communicating with the five T-shaped fittings 20, 20 and a Venturi port 29, the purpose of which will be explained hereinafter.
A rotor 30 is mounted for rotation in the chamber 26 upon a horizontal axis as viewed in Figs. 4 and 5, the rotor having extensions 3| and 32 for the mounting purpose and the bearings preferably being self-lubricating and preferably being anti-friction bearings such as needle bearings 33 mounted in casing section 22, and 34 mounted in casing section 23. The rotor is cored to provide a. pressure fluid passage 35 leading from the left as shown in Fig. 4, axially of the rotor and discharging at the periphery of the rotor at right angles to the inlet passage. The inlet passage communicates with a pressure inlet fitting in. connection with the pipe line H from the pumps.
The rotor has a second cored passage 31 having an inlet at the periphery of the rotor adjacent the opening or the passage 35 in circumferential alignment therewith and leading to an axial position of the rotor, discharging in a. direction to the right as seen in Fig. 4, into the exhaust chamber Ell, the rotor being apertured at 38, 38 to permit discharge. The exhaust; chamber 21 'com munlcates with the atmosphere through a port 39, or may be manifolded to the main pump exhaust line or may be connected to an additional source of suction for more rapid exhausting. The construction is such that the cored passages may have dimensions as full as the ports and pipes, thereby reducing or avoiding the effects of resistance by wiredrawing of the flowing air.
A suitable sealing member 40 is provided at the margins of the rotor periphery, an end sealing member it may be provided at the pressure intake end, and sealing members 42, 43 and 44 may be provided to isolate the rotor chamber 26 from the exhaust chamber 27 and the pressure inlet H and from th outside. Such sealing members are preferably of a resilient material such as a synthetic rubber-like material, resistant to the effects of oil. Because the seals isolate the rotor chamber from the bearing and other parts that may have lubrication, no lubricant is required in the rotor chamber and the slug ishness of rotor operation caused by oil at low temperatures is reduced or avoided.
Port 29 leads from the rotor chamber 25 to a Venturi device 45 which discharges to the at mosphere. At the throat of the venturi is provided a surrounding manifold 46 having apertures 41 communicating with the interior of the throat. The manifold communicates also with a chamber 48 leading back to the rotorchamber 26 through passages 49 and 50. In the chamber 48 is mounted a plug 5| having a check valve 52 and being apertured at 53, the arrangement being such that a flow of air from the rotor chamber 26 to the throat of the venturi can occur, but flow of air in the other direction is prevented by the check valve.
The right hand extension 32 of the rotor 30 in addition to having a bearing in the casing at 34 has a flexible and detachable driving connection 54 with a shaft 55 which is mounted in antlfriction bearings 56 in the casing 24 and has an oil seal 51. The shaft 55 has a. bearing at 58 in the casing and carries the notched wheel 59 of a Geneva-stop mechanism for rotating the rotor by quick-action and stop-motion. The notched wheel 59 is driven by a wheel 60 having an engaging pin 6|. The shaft 62 of the wheel 60 is mounted in the upper part of the casing as shown and is driven from a shaft 63 of the motor 25 through worm and pinion reduction gearing, including worm 64, pinion 65, worm 66 and pinion 67, worm 64 being provided as an extension of a coupling 68 for the motor shaft 63 and having a bearing at 69 within the end of shaft 55. Coupling 68 has a bearing 10, and for resisting passage of lubricant from the gear case into the motor, an oil seal 57' may be provided.
With the wiring circuit shown in Fig. 4 the motor may be started by depressing a. switch I! which starts the mechanism for continued operation so long as the switch II is closed. Upon opening the switch II for stopping the mechanism it is desired that the rotor 30 stop only in the position in which it will discharge from the pressure line into the Venturl port 23-.- For this purpose an electric switch 12 is suitably mounted and connected in the circuit shunting the switch 3 l in the manner shown so that rotation 01' the motor will continue until this switch 12 is opened. Switch 12 is held depressed in its closed position in all positions of the rotor except when the latter is in a position to discharge fluid into the Venturi port 29. This is eflected by means of a plunger 13 normally urged upward by a spring 14 and held downward by a slideable pin or detent 15 extending through the casing 23 and into engagement with the shaft extension 32 of the rotor. At 16 the shaft 32 is notched in a position aligned with the. discharge opening of passage 35 in the rotor so that when the latter is in its lowermost position, as shown in Figs. 4 and 5, upward movement of the plunger 13 will be permitted by entrance of the detent 15 into the notch it and switch 12 will be opened in this position. If switch it is held closed switch 12 will not be effective to break the circuit, but if switch II is open switch l2 will operate to break the circuit to the motor at the position of the rotor at which the air pressure passage 35 is in communication with the Venturi port 228.
The air under pressure enters the Venturi port only in the lowermost position of the rotor. The rush oi air through the venturi lowers the pressure in the throat manifold 46 causing a suction in the rotor chamber 25 through passages 49 and and check valve chamber 43. In this position of the parts all five ports in communication with. the inflation units are open to rotor chamber 26 so that the suction produced in the venturi is applied to all the inflation units and assures complete collapse of the same if by chance they have not already been collapsed.
Between the last port at and the Venturi port it, the pressure port 35 of the ,rotor will occupy a blank position while port 28 will exhaust through port M of the rotor. This gives time for such exhausting of the last inflatable units before suction is applied. After leaving the Venturi port 29, the pressure port 35 of the rotor will have another blank position to regain full pressure in the pipe line, after the discharge to atmosphere through the venturi, before the pressure port 35 is again applied to the successive ports for inflating the units.
In the illustrative embodiment there are eight rotative positions for the rotor 30 in a cycle of operation under control of the Geneva-stop bottom position to discharge air into the venturi and thereby create suction in this position or the mechanism. The rotor stops in turn at each of v the five ports which are in connection with the inflation units, then at a blank position between the last'of such ports and the Venturi port 29, then at the Venturi port itself, then at a blank which assures an accumulation of pressure before positioning the rotor at the first port of the inflation units. The pressure supply port 35 of the rotor and the exhaust port 31 are at successive positions, the exhaust port trailing the pressure port, so that each of the inflation units is subjected in turn to a pressure application for inflation which is followed at the next position by exhausting to the atmosphere. Following the exhausting phase each inflation unit is left incommunication with the rotor chamber 26, and therefore the atmosphere through the Venturi tube 45 until the pressure passage 35 reaches the rotor, which suction is applied to the rotor chamber 28, and thus to all the inflation units at once.
The operating cycle, in the illustrative embodiment, comprises eight intervals of time, which, if a cycle'is of, say, 40 seconds duration, will each consist of a time interval of five seconds. In the 40 second cycle each inflation unit will be subjected to pressure for five seconds, then to exhaust to atmosphere for five seconds, which is followed .by the application of suction for flve seconds. Also, all the ports, with the exception of the last port, are left open to atmosphere while awaiting their turn for suction.
With this arrangement for applying suction to the inflating units for only a small part of the operating cycle, it is found that collapse of the inflating units is maintained effectively so as not to result in objectionable aerodynamic effects, and the required pump capacity for producing suction is considerably reduced as compared to a system in which suction is applied throughout a considerable part of the operating cycle.
Also, the requirements of weight and piping complexities are reduced. The arrangement of the flow passages in the rotor 30 are such that axial thrust of the pressure supply and exhaust are in opposite directions and tend to balance one another so that the necessity for end thrust bearings is avoided.
In the discharge position of the rotor at the Venturi port 28, flow of air may be maintained without operation of the inflation units, to keep warm air from. the pumps flowing through the valve mechanism. This has the advantage of keeping the mechanism Warm so that it will stick as when cold and will not hinder quick-starting.
The arrangement for electrical control permits mountingthe distributor mechanism at a location in the aircraft remote from the pilot, and reduces ,the operation of the pilot or other operator to merely the manipulation of a single switch. Also, this electrical control makes possible ready operation by automatic devices, such as an automatic ice-detector, in which case no attention by the crew is necessary for operation by the ice-removal units. The construction hereinabove described furthermore provides compactness of structure and accessibility for overhaul.
Variations may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as it is defined in the following claims.
Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from inflatable elements, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber, a rotor therein, means for rotating said rotor by quick-action, stopmotion to a plurality of successive positions, said chamber having a plurality of ports at successive circumferentially aligned positions for connection with respective inflatable elements and an additional port at another of said positions, said rotor having a passage therein opening at the periphcry of the rotor for introducing air under pressure into said ports, said rotor having a space in its periphery for placing some of said ports in communication with the rotor chamber at some of said positions, and means in communication with said rotor chamber and said additional port for applying suction to said chamber upon discharge of air under pressure through said rotor into said additional port.
2. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to causing stoppage of the rotor only in a single position of the latter in which said opening is in communication with said second port.
3. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from inflatable elements, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber having clrcumferentlally spaced ports for continuous communication with the inflatable elements and an additional port for connection to a suction mechanism, means for applying suction to said chamber from said suction mechanism. during flow or" air outwardly through said additional port, a rotor in. said chamber having connection to 9, supply line for discharging air successively into said ports and u another connection for exhausting said ports to the atmosphere, said chamber having a blank wall portion between said additional port and the first inflation port, means for rotating said rotor step by step to connect it in succession with said ports, and means for detaining said rotor temporarily at said blank wall portion to accumulate air in the supply line before discharging to the first inflation port after the suction operation.
Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from inflatable elements, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber having circumferen tially spaced ports for communication with the inflatable elements and an additional port for connection to atmosphere, a rotor in said chamher having connection to a supply line for discharging aits successively into said ports and another connection for exhausting said ports to the atmosphere, said chamber having a blank wall portion between said additional port and the first inflation port, means for rotating said rotor step by step to connect it in succession with said ports, and means for detaining said rotortemporarily at said blank wall portion to accumulate air in the supply line before discharging to the first inflation port after the discharge to atmosphere.
5. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from an inflatable element, said apparatus comprising a valve chamber having a connecting port for communicating with said element, an air supply port and a discharge port, a single movable valve member in said chamber having a passage open at all positions of movement to said supply port and adapted by movement of the valve member to be connected in succession to one of said connecting and discharge ports and disconnected from the other said port, means for moving said valve member, and means at said discharge port and in communication with said connecting port for developing suction at said connecting port upon discharge of air under pressure from said rotor through said discharge port.
6. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from an inflatable element, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber having a connecting port for connection to the inflatable element, an inlet port, and an outlet port, a single rotor in said chamber having a passage therein open at all positions of rotation to said inlet port and adapted by rotation to be connected in succession to one of said connecting and outlet ports and disconnected from the other said port. means for rotating said rotor, and means at said. outlet Port in communication with the said connecting port for developing suction at the connecting port upon discharge of air under pressure from the rotor through said outlet port.
7. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from an inflatable element, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber having a. port in the periphery of said chamber for connection to the inflatable element, a rotor mounted for rotation in said chamber, said rotor being clear of the periphery of said chamber throughout a substantial extent thereof providing a chamber space about the rotor, and said rotor having a portion extending to the periphery of the chamber which portion is apertured to commurucate with the interior of the rotor, means for conducting air under pressure to the interior of said rotor, means for rotating the rotor to bring the apertured portion thereof in alignment with said port for inflation of the element and to move the rotor away from such alignment to a position in which said chamber space is in communication with said port, and means rendered operable at the last said position of the rotor to apply suction to said chamber space and rendered inoperable to apply suction to said space at other positions of the rotor.
3. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from inflatable elements, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber, a rotor mounted for rotation in said chamber, means for rotating said rotor step by step in angular increments, said rotor being clear of the periphery of said chamber throughout a substantial extent thereof providing a chamber space about the rotor and said. rotor having a, portion extending to the periphcry of the chamber which portion is apertured to communicate with the interior of said rotor, means for conducting air under pressure to the interior of said rotor, a plurality of ports at the periphery of said chamber in a position to communicate successively with the apertured portion of said rotor at positions of said rotor, some 01' said ports being arranged for connection to inflatable elements, and means at another of said ports for applying suction by way of said chamber space to all of said ports arranged for connection to inflatable elements upon discharge of air through the other said port by alignment of said apertured portion of said rotor therewith.
9. Apparatus 10r controlling the flow of air to and from inflatable elements, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber having a circumferential series of ports for connection to inflatable elements, and an additional port clrcumferentially spaced therefrom, a rotor mounted for rotation in said chamber, said rotor being clear of the periphery of said chamber throughout a substantial extent thereof providing a chamber space about the rotor adapted to communicate with said series of ports, and said rotor having a portion extending to the periphery of the chamber which portion is apertured to communicate with the interior of the rotor, means for conducting air under pressure to the interior of said rotor, means for rotating said rotor step by step to bring the apertured portion thereof in aligmnent with individual ports of said series and with said additional port in succession, and means rendered operable at said additional port when said rotor has its aperture aligned therewith to apply suction to said chamber space and rendered inoperable to apply suctionto said space at other positions of said rotor.
10. Apparatus for controlling the flow of air to and from inflatable elements, said apparatus comprising a rotor chamber having a circumferential series of ports for connection to inflatable elements, and an additional port circumferentiallyspaced therefrom, a rotor mounted for rotation in said chamber, said rotor being clear of the periphery of said chamber throughout a substantial extent thereof providing a chamber space about the rotor adapted to communicate with said series of ports, and said rotor having a portion extending to the periphery of the chamber which portion is apertured to communicate with the interior of the rotor, means vfor conducting. air under pressure to the interior of said rotor, means for rotating said rotor step by step to bring the apertured portion thereof in alignment with individual ports of said series and with said additional port in succession, and means rendered operable at said additional port when said rotor has its aperture aligned therewith to applying suction to said space at the time said rotor is in alignment with said additional port.
' WILLSON H. HUNTER.