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Publication numberUS2468550 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 26, 1949
Filing dateOct 27, 1944
Priority dateOct 27, 1944
Publication numberUS 2468550 A, US 2468550A, US-A-2468550, US2468550 A, US2468550A
InventorsHal F Fruth
Original AssigneeMotorola Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of and apparatus for cleaning by ultrasonic waves
US 2468550 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

April 26, 1949. FRUTH 2,468,550

METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR CLEANING BY ULTRASONIC WAVES. Flled Oct 27 1944 2 Sheets-Sheet l [War H. F. F RUTH METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR CLEANING BY ULTRASONIC WAVES April 26, 1949.

Filed Oct. 27, 1944 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Patented Apr. 26, 1949 METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR CLEAN- ING BY ULTRASONIC WAVES Hal F. Fruth, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Motorola, Inc., a corporation of Illinois Application October 27, 1944, Serial No. 560,685

4 Claims. 1

This invention relates to a method of and apparatus for cleaning textile fabric articles by ultra-sonic waves and, while it is of general application, it is particularly suitable for embodiment in domestic washing machines.

Heretofore there have been proposed numerous domestic washing machines, all of which operated on the principle of agitating or tumbling the articles to be cleaned in a washing emulsion or other cleaning fluid. However, it has been found that, if the agitation is made sufliciently intense to approximate hand washing or scrubbing on a washboard, the articles being cleaned are severely strained, abraded and otherwise damaged. These eflects are of course due to th harsh action of the irregular surface of the agitator or impeller of the machine operating at relatively high speed against the articles, which offer increased resistance to agitation due to the fact that they are saturated with the cleaning fluid. According to the present invention, this harsh action of a mechanical agitator or impeller is replaced by a rapid and intense agitation and circulation of the washing emulsion through the articles by developing therein ultra-sonic waves.

It is an object of the invention, therefore, to provide a new method of, and apparatus for, cleaning textile fabric articles by means of which a thorough cleaning is effected without resortin to intense agitation by mechanical agitators or impellers.

It is another object of the invention to provide an improved method of; and apparatus for, cleaning textile fabric articles in which the agitation and circulation of the cleaning emulsion orother cleaning fluid through the articles to be cleaned are effected by the development therein of ultrasonic waves.

In accordance with the invention, a machine for cleaning textile fabric articles comprises an article container adapted to contain a cleaning fluid, an activator having a substantial surface area submerged in the cleaning fluid, and means for producing vibration of the activator at an ultra-sonic frequency to activate the cleaning fluid.

Further in accordance with the invention, in a machine for cleaning textile fabric articles, there is provided an activator comprising a cup-like member of non-magnetic material having a high eddy current impedance, an elongated magnetostrictive element disposed in the member, and an ultra-sonic-frequency exciting winding surrounding the member. 1

Further in accordance with the invention, the

2 method of cleaning textile fabric articles comprises disposing the articles in a cleaning fluid bath and developing ultra-sonlc-frequency waves in said bath.

For a better understanding of the invention, together with other and further objects thereof, reference is had to the following description, taken in connection with, the accompanying drawings, while its scope will be pointed out in the appended claims.

Referring now to the drawings, Fig. l is a longitudinal sectional view of a cleaning and drying machine embodying the invention; Fig. 2 is a top view of the interior of the mechanism with the casing shown in section; Fig. 3 is a crosssectional detail of an activator embodied in the apparatus of Fig. 1; Figs. 4 and 5 are schematic representations of a modified form of machine embodying the invention; while Fig. 6 is a cross sectional detail of a modified form of activator for use in the cleaning and drying machine of the invention.

Referring now to Figs. 1, 2 and 3 of the drawings, there is represented a machine for cleaning textile fabric articles comprising an apertured article container l0 adapted to contain a cleaning fluid, such as a washing emulsion, normally to a level Illa intermediate the depth of the container. The container III is provided with a plurality of apertures lb and disposed around the periphery of the bottom thereof. A plurality of activators II are individually disposed in the apertures llib and project vertically upward therefrom.

Each of the activators II as shown more clearly in Fig. 3, comprises an elongated cup-like member Ila of nonmagnetic material and having a high eddy-current impedance, for example, of thermosetting plastic insulation material such as Bakelite. Each of the members Ila has an annular flange lib adapted to be sealed to the periphery of the aperture lllb in which the activator is disposed. The activator II also includes an elongated magneto-strictive element disposed in the recess thereof and adapted to project upwardly into the container ID. This magneto-strictive element may be of a hollow cylindrical shaft He and a disk-like head Ild secured thereto as by welding, brazing, or the like, and providing a substantial surface area submerged in the cleaning fluid within the container Ill. The shaft I lc and head "d are constructed of magneto-strictive material such as a high nickel or chrome alloy steel.

The activators I l are also provided with means for producing vibration of the magneto-strictive element Hc, lid at an ultra-sonic frequency to activate the cleaning fluid, for example, an ultrasonic winding lie surrounding the cup-like insulation member I la and provided with end terminals Hf connected to be excited from a suitable source It of ultra-sonic-frequency waves, for example, a conventional vacuum-tube oscillator.

The cleanin machine of the invention also includes means for slowly agitating or circulating the articles in the container to be cleaned, for example, a perforated basket l3 rotatably disposed in the container ID as by being mounted in a sleeve bearing I4 centrally disposed in the bottom of the container Ill. The basket I3 may be driven by a suitable motor l5 through a pulley l5a attached to the motor IS, a pulley l3a attached to the shaft of the basket l3 and a belt l6.

The container l and the accessory devices described may be disposed on a supporting standard I1 and surrounded by an enclosed housing or casing l8 provided with a hinged cover I 8a to permit the clothes or articles to be cleaned to 'be deposited in the container l0 and withdrawn therefrom. If desired, the container 10 may be provided with an opening I00 covered by a sliding door "id to prevent splashing of the cleaning fluid during cleaning.

The operation of the cleaning machine described above involves a novel method of cleaning textile fabric articles. After disposing the articles to be cleaned in the cleaning fluid bath in the container l0, the ultra-sonic frequency source is energized to develop ultra-sonic-frequency waves which are impressed upon the windings Ha of the several activators ll. When thus excited, longitudinal magneto-strictive vibrations are developed in the shaft lie and its attached disk H d which, in turn, develop ultrasonic-frequency waves in the cleaning fluid bath lOa. These ultra-sonic-frequency waves, when developed by activators such as those described,-

are in the form of a plurality of conical divergent beams directed vertically upward from each of the activators ll disposed at spaced points around the periphery of the bath. These beams produce standing compression Waves within the cleaning fluid, the differential pressures between the nodes and anti-nodes thereof producing a violent low-amplitude circulation of the cleaning fluid through the articles being cleaned. At the same time a moderate rotational agitation or circulation of the articles in the bath is produced by the basket 13, thus insuring that all portions of the articles to be cleaned are subjected to the action of the ultra-sonic-frequency beams. After cleaning as described, the articles may be withdrawn from the container l0 and dried in any suitable well-known fashion.

In Fig. 4 there is represented schematically a modified arrangement of the activators in which the elongated activators 2| and their associated operating windings or devices Zla are disposed around the periphery of the container in with their axes in a direction having a substantial tangential component and pointing downward at an angle to the horizontal, the activators pointing in the same rotational direction to induce a circulatory motion of the cleaning fluid around the container l0, as indicated by the arrows. The general principle of operation is similar to that described above in connection with the apparatus of Fig. 1.

The arrangement of Fig. is similar to that of Fig. 4 with the exception that the activators II are disposed with their operating devices 2 la above the normal fluid level in the container l0. so that no sealing devices are required to prevent leakage of the cleaning fluid into the operating mechanism or windings of the activators.

, In Fig. 6 is represented a modified form of activator which may be used in place of the magneto-strictive activator of Fig. 1. In this case the activator 3| comprises a pot magnet 31a, similar to that used in a conventional dynamic loud speaker, and provided with an exciting winding 3"; disposed in a spool 3| 0 of insulation material surrounding the circular core 3ld of the magnet. The pot am and core 3ld provide an annular uniform air gap in which the magnetical field is also uniform. Disposed within the air gap is a vibratory element" comprising a cylindrical shaft 3|! having a disk-like head lily of substantial surface area and adapted to develop ultra-sonic-frequency waves within the cleaning fluid. Surrounding the shaft 3 I j is a winding 3le adapted to be excited from an ultra-sonic-frequency source, such as the source H of the Fig. 1.

The operation of the structure of Fig. 6 is entirely analogous to that of a conventional diegrammatic loud speaker. excitation of the winding 31b from a unidirectional source and excitation of the winding 31.2 from an ultra-sonicfrequency source producing ultra-sonic-frequency vibration of the element 3!] am. If desired, the unidirectional-current windin 3lb may be omitted and the pot 3la and core 3ld constructed of a permanent magnet material of high retentivity. The activator of Fig. 6 may be mounted in the container 1 0 in a manner similar to that of any of Figs. 1, 4 and 5.

The frequency of ultra-sonic-frequency source l2, or its equivalent. utilized to excite the activators of any of the several forms of the invention illustrated must, of course, be .well above the audible range in order to prevent severe discomfort to the operator. This indicatesa lower limit of frequency of the order of 20 kilocycles per second. On the other hand it appears that the wave length of the ultra-sonic-frequency waves developed in the cleaning fluid should not be substantially shorter than the order of the thickness of the textile article being cleaned. Since the velocity of propagation of such waves is the same as that of sound waves which, in water or in an aqueous cleaning solution, is of the order of 5,000 feet per second, an upper limit of acceptable frequency is indicated as approximately 300 kilocycles per second.

The development of ultra-sonic-frequency waves within the cleaning fluid results in a number of features which cooperate to insure a thorough cleansing action of the articles to be cleaned without substantial deterioration of the fabric. The energy of the ultra-sonic waves is absorbed in the cleaning fluid as heat. thereby aiding in maintaining a proper temperature of the washing mixture. It has also been found that such supersonic-frequency waves in a liquid produce cavitation, that is the formation of bubbles of air or vapor and their intense agitation, and this process accelerates the emulsiflcation of grease and dirt particles by the soap or other detergent in the cleaning fluid. Such ultra sonic-frequency waves also, to a slight degree, break down the molecular structure of the water producing appreciable quantities of hydrogen peroxide which aids in bleaching the clothes. Further, in case the wash water is hard. containing substantial amounts of carbonates, the carbonates tend to be precipitated by the ultra-sonic-frequency waves. thus softening the water. Such supersonic frequency-waves, particularly of the shorter wave lengths, tend to destroy bacteria or other simple organisms, thus having a certain sterilizin action.

While there have been described what are at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications -may be made therein without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.

What is claimed as new is:

1. A machine for cleaning textile fabric articles comprising, a cylindrical article container adapted to contain a cleaning fluid, a plurality of elongated activators arranged around the periphery of said container with their axes in a direction having a component tangent to the periphery of said container, each of said activators having a substantial surface area submerged in the cleaning fluid, and means for producing vibration of said activators at an ultrasonic frequency to activate the cleaning fluid.

2. A machine for cleaning textile fabric articles comprising, a cylindrical article container adapted to contain a cleaning fluid, a plurality of elongated activators arranged around the periphery of said container with their axes in a direction having a component tangent to the periphery of said container and at an angle to the horizontal, said activators all pointing in the same rotational direction, each of said agitators having a substantial surface area submerged in the cleaning fluid, and means for producing vibration of said activators at an ultra-sonic frequency to activate the cleaning fluid.

3. The method of cleaning textile fabric articles which comprises, disposing the articles in a cleaning fluid bath, and developing a plurality of beams of ultra-sonic-frequency waves at spaced points in said bath and in directions having components in the same rotational direction.

4. In a machine for cleaning textile fabric articles including a main container adapted to contain a cleaning fluid, an activator comprising a cup-like member of non-magnetic material having a high eddy current impedance and adapted to be disposed in said container, sealing means for preventing cleaning fluid from entering said cup-like member, an elongated magnetostrictive element disposed in said member and having a substantial surface area adapted to project into cleaning fluid which might be disposed in said container, and an ultra-sonic-frequency exciting winding surrounding said member.

HAL F. FRUTH.

REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 369,299 Rubenstein Aug. 30, 1887 733,481 Holman July 14, 1903 1,318,740 Fessenden Oct. 14, 1919 1,580,476 Fassio Apr. 13, 1926 1,586,877 Buckley June 1, 1926 1,966,446 Hayes July 17, 1934 2,076,280 Schroeder Apr. 6, 1937 2,163,649 Weaver June 27, 1939 2,168,068 Loweke Aug. 1, 1939 2,203,479 Witwer June 4, 1940 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 691,392 France July 8, 1930 504,625 Germany Aug. 6, 1930 506,538 Germany Sept. 5, 1930 548,960 Great Britain Oct. 30, 1942 1,592 Australia July 28, 1931

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Classifications
U.S. Classification8/159, 367/171, 116/137.00A, 367/168, 422/20, 451/910, 134/1, 68/28, 134/17, 68/3.00R, 310/26
International ClassificationD06F19/00, D06M10/02
Cooperative ClassificationY10S451/91, D06F19/00, D06M10/02
European ClassificationD06M10/02, D06F19/00