US 2494640 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jn. 17, 1950 F, S, ABBQTT 2,494,64@
LIQUID DIFFUSER Filed NOV. 2, 1945 Patented Jan. 17, Y1950 LIQUID DIFFUSER kFurman S. Abbott, Montclair, N. J., assignor to Airkem, Inc., New York, N. Y., a corporation of New York Application November 2, 1946, Serial No. 707,402
The present invention relates to liquid diffusers and, more particularly, to such devices adapted to disperse vapors from'liquids into passing currents of air created by any suitable means. such as a fan.
A general object of the present invention is the provision of such liquid diffuser which is readily and economically constructed and assembled and which eiiciently delivers into air currents vapors of the liquid from wick means in a controlled manner so that as the amount of liquid in the device is depleted by such evaporation fresh, relatively unclogged portions of the Wick means are exposed to the air currentsto lassure efficient evaporation or delivery of the vapors at a predetermined rate.
A more specific object` of the invention is to provide such 'a device characterized by a container in which one or more strips of wicking are suspended with the surface of the body ofv wicking whereby, as the float means descends' with liquid depletion, fresh portions of the wickingv will be exposed above the oat.
` Another object of the present invention is t provide such a device for eicient delivery of vapors from a liquid containing minute particles, some of which may tend to clog a longexposed portion of wicking, with oat means therein substantially limiting vapor delivery to strip wicking depending past the oat means via a notch or hole therein into a body of the liquid therebeneath, the parts being so dimensioned and related as to assure the exposure therein to passing air currents of a substantially uniform amount of fresh wicking surface immediately above the float means with descent of the latter during progressive evaporation of the liquid saturating portions of the wicking exposed thereabove, to offset progressive downward clogm ging of the wicking.
A further object of the present invention is to provide in such a device baiile means which, in directing the passage of air currents between an inlet and outlet, create eddy currents that are temporarily diverted from the main currents 55 Claims. (Cl. 261-104) wick means and carry them back into the main currents of air travelling between the inlet and outlet.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a structural embodiment of the device which is readily constructed and permits eiiicient use and operation thereof in a variety of air conditioning or various draft air circulating systems.
Other objects of the invention will in part -be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements and arrangement of parts, which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in
which: Fig. 1 is an elevational perspective of a typical air conditioning unit suitable for use in a room for recirculation of air thereinand equipped at its inlet with an embodiment of the present invention;
Fig. l2 is an enlarged perspective view of a container construction of the embodiment of the device of the present invention shown in Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a side sectional elevation of an embodiment of the device shown in Fig. 1 which includes the container of Fig. 2, and with parts of the air conditioning unit on which the device is mounted shown partly in section and with parts broken away;
Fig. 4 is a front elevational section of the structure shown in Fig. 3;
Fig. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of sleeve structure for lining the wick holes in the float oi the embodiment of the present invention shown in Figs. 3 and 4; and
Fig. 6 Yis avertical sectional view of the sleeve structure shown in Fig. 5.
Referring to the drawing similar numerals identify like parts throughout.
rlhe embodiment or" the present invention shown by way of example in the drawing may be employed to advantage in connection with a self-contained air conditioning unit adapted for treating and tempering air in a room. Such a unit, as is well known, may include a fan for forced air circulation, means for adjusting the humidity and, if desired, cooling the room air as it is circulated through the unit. Such a unit Iii is shown by way of example in Fig. 1 which may include an end wall having, as shown in Figs. 3 and 4, an inlet passage 2 therein through which room air is to be drawn into the unit and after circulation .anda ytreat-y ment therein discharged through suitable out. lets, such as |3. The inlet passage 2, if desired, may be dampered in any suitable manner for control of the rate of volume of passingVA air.
The device of the present invention Ymayi'b'e mounted upon the air conditioning unit' I IJ at its inlet i2 to an advantage and, for this purpose, may comprise a containerY 14 Ysubstantiallyy rectangular in cross section including a bottom,
l5, substantially vertically disposed opposed side walls .|6, i6, front wall il and back iwail `VI8..
The back wall .|8 of lthe container |.4-is preferably provided with a vertical-,extension |9..haV-. ing a notch .2B therein to serve-.asfanoutlet passage. The backwallextension lhasvapairof keyholes 2l, 2| to cooperate Withheadedscrews 22, 22 xed on the air conditioning unit side wall il for supportof the'device-of thepresent invention, with the notch locatedin com-z municative relation tothe inlet 2 of the ,unit.|0.
The upper edges of -back wall .extension lslf'of container lll. are bentoutwardly-to provide cover supporting lips 23, 23, behind whichisremovably engageda bracket 24 iiXed-tothe-underfside of top .25 of aicup-shapedcover-ZB. .The cover 26 has a front Wall 2l, side -Walls-28, 28 and a bottom wall 29. The back.of.cover,.26 Tis open and is to beclosed by inner-partsofthe device and/or the air conditioningiunit sidei-wall when the device is mounted vin .thev position shown in Figs. l, 3 and 4.' The cover v.26 func-L tionally serves asa cap or coverfforlthe top-.portion of the container fle andornamentallydecofrates the remaining portion of thefdevice. Of course, the container |4 litself v.may be modified. in such manner as to provide the structural functions of the-.cover 2,6 ormayinclude structural elements providing the .same desired func.- tional features, indicated hereinafter.
As previously indicated-the Vnotch .20 :in Vthecontainer back Wall extension l, in cooperation With the top v of'the.coVer2.2.6,I-=provides 'an-.outlet-passage Vfor this embodimentfof thepresent invention. Inlet passages for entranceof :air` into the device vat the top portionnof .the-container ifi are provided `by means of grilled openings 3G, 35 inthe topportions ofthe .side .walls 28, 23 of the cover 26. Thus in operation of the` air conditioning unit lil with airsuction applied at the inlet opening I2 in the side `Wall l there of, currents oi air will be drawn through the grilled openings 3|), 3c from'opposite sides .toward the center and through the fnotch 2li-1in the container back vwall |81 The container |4 has an extension f3l-on-each side wall I6 thereof, each iofl-whichfthoughit may be made-separatexfromiandfastened toror supported on its side Wallppreferablyis ymade. integral therewith A-as shown. Eachfextension 3| is bent inwardly 'to provide an-upwardlyex tending oblique baille f plate terminating, y in -a I lip portion 32. Each oblique bafflelplate y3| extends; from a point below'the bottom portionpof-the. grilled opem'ng 32 adjacent thereto upwardlyfso thatiits lipiportion 32 :is higherthanfa straight 'lfrwickmgmaterialand interferingqwith freeupand:
:turbulence in the space beneath the baiile plates 3|,-'3| there to pick up vapors, will be drawn out to again .join the main currents of air passing '.betweenthe inlets `3|), 39 and the outlet 20, as
indicated .by .the -arrows in Fig. 4.
The lipl portion 32 of each oblique baffle plate 3| is preferably-slotted to provide suspending `means :orr iingers 33E-33, some of which may serve to support loops of wicking strips Sil- 34. The'lwicking strips may be madeof any suitable material, such 'as-loosely matted felt or:=woven lamp wicking. Therwickingstrips 3-34 .preferablyfare--sosupportedas to be laterally spaced apart to assure eicient exposure of substantially all offthe -surfacesthereof tothe-.eddy currents of air. Each wicking strip.34 -is preferably .of such length asto extenddownto, or in the vvicinity of, the.bottom |.5.of the container Msc that substantially all of.a body of liquid in the container may be drawn up by capillary action into the upperportions of the wicking.
A iioat means is'located in the container I4 and, preferably, `in lplan-is shaped similar -to the lateral-cross section-of the main portionof the container, but is fof at least slightly lesser overall lateral dimensions souasrto provide .for free descent,or up and down movement, inthe container 4withrthe surface yof the liquid. The i'loatmeans v3'.5'may be `formedasia unitary body of any suitable material which will .assure vits buoyancy initheliquidfsuch as-a. mass of vitreousv substance in which airfbubbles or spaces are trapped or sealed. Suclrmaterial is preferred as contrasted with wood-'orthe-li'ke-.to avoid development of sogginess or saturation which, due to -a resultant wetting 'of the top surface of the float might tend to detract from the balanced operai;` ing conditions of-the device. Of course such float means` maybe inthe :form of a'zrame structure to which may be vfastened va body of buoyant material in'any suitable shape.
The iloat means 35 is preferably provided with a'V suitable Way or-'Ways forfreepassage of wick means or a plurality of'strips of wicking. Such Ways may take-the form of 'vertically-extending holes'3$36 which, if desired,- maybe lined with suitable sleeves 3l- 3l having r smooth innerl surfaces. Afis-shown in Figs.` 5 and S, the sleeves 31-,31 maybe made in pairs vforA economyy in production from :molded lplastic material or sheet metal, each'unit including a pair of the sleeves 3l, S'Iand'end' flanges 38, SBadapted to rest upon thetcp ofthe fioat 35'to supportthesleeves in ,a pair'of adjacent 'holes 36,36. The passages provided by the-sleeves 31,-31are each preferably of a :.lateral :cross sectional shape :similar to thatfof each'wicking strip 34- and ;of slightly-larger di'u mensionrsoA as'to assure free slippageof the wicklng strips through the holes inthe float 35'. The lining3of the: holes 36--363 in the float-Swith the plastic or metallic'sleeves l'31--3'l-also avoids'any tendency for: sharp: projections of .the substancefromwhichthefoat ismade catching intoxthe down movement of the float. Obviously the Ways for the wicking may, if desired, be formed as notches in the edges of the float means with the strips of wicking hung adjacent the inner faces of the side walls of the container, or vertical channels may be formed in the container side walls to receive the wicking strips with the edges of the iioat means riding closely adjacent the inner faces of the strips in the channels.
The cover 25 preferably has a rear edge 39 of bottom 29 reversely turned to cooperate with a spring latch 40 xed to the bottom I5 of the container ll so that, with the cover bracket 25 positioned behind the lips 23, 23 of the back wall extension i9 of container te, the cover 25 may be snapped into secure position, shown in Figs. 3 and 4, with the free end of the spring latch lll engaged in front of the reversely turned edge 39. The cover 26 may be readily removed for replenishing the liquid in the container, or for removal and replacement or cleaning of the wicking strips, by projecting a suitable instrument, such vas a pencil or the like indicated in dotted'lines at 4| in Fig. 3, through a hole 42 in the cover bottom 29 to press the free end of spring latch 40 upwardly, so as to free it from in front of the reversely turned edge 39. The cover 2E may then be swung outwardly at the bottom and then lifted free upwardly toexpose the container i4 and other elements of the device.
YIn order to assure eicient blanketing of the liquid surface, thereby substantially limiting diffusion of vapors to the vaporizing space below the baiiie plates 3|, 3| and above the float 35, the latter may be equipped with suitable flexible wiping elements or flanges i3- Q3 of rubber, or the like, substantially to ride against the inner surfaces of the side walls and the front and back walls of the container .|4. Such flanges, as shown in Figs. 3 and 4, may be mounted in flexed positions on the top of the float 35 with their free edges contacting the inner surfaces of the containers walls. By proper selection of material for such flanges and suitable proportioning of the dimensions thereof, one may assure that substantially no vapor diffusion will occur in the Vaporizing space other than by means of wicking exposedtherein above the oat. Such wiping elements dii-53, in addition to serving to close off spaces between edges of the oat and inner surfaces of the walls of the container ld, may also be employed to wipe liquid from the latter as the float descends, thereby confining the liquid to an area below the top of the fioat 35.
In operation of the embodiment of the device of the present invention shown in Figs. l to 6, inclusive, eicient employment in diffusion of vapors and into circulating air may be accomplished in the following manner. With the cover 26 removed, and with clean wicking strips 34-34 mounted in the device threaded through holes 36-36 in float 35 in the indicated manner, a quantity of liquid which it is desired to diffuse into the air may bepoured into the container to run down through the holes in the oat to beneath the latter there to collect as body d of liquid. Of course the buoyancy of the iioat 35 causes it to rise to an elevated position, such as that indicated in Figs. 3 and 4, with a relatively small vaporizing space provided between the top surface of the float and the baffles 3|, 3|. The upper portions of the wicking strips 34-34 are exposed in this space with the float 35 eiciently blanketing the surface of the liquid thereby assuring that substantially the only liquid exposed to adjacent air currents in 6 that space will be that saturating the wicking as a result of capillary action.
When air currents are drawn through the de-v vice from the grilled inlets 3l), 3o to the outlet 2'0, incoming currents of air will be partially ballled by the oblique baille plates 3|, 3| so that at the lip portions 32, 32 some of the air will spill over down between the lip portions of the baffle plates into the vaporizing space therebeneath. As a result, eddy currents are created in the spilled-over portions of the entrance air and as that air turbulently passes about and between the upper portions of the wicking strips in that space, vapors from the liquid saturating the wicking will be picked up by the eddy currents and then carried away with them into the main currents of air as the eddy currents return to the latter and pass out therewith through the outlet 2i?. This provision for eddy currents is an important featurel of the present embodiment of the invention since it avoids direct contact between high velocity air and the liquid-saturated wicking. In this fashion the rate of vapor diffusion or evaporation is efficiently and desirably reduced to a desired value. However, it will be understood that the present invention is not limited to the employment of such baflie means since obviously it may be practiced with a structure wherein all of the air drawn through the device is caused to pass directly over the top of the float 35 past the upper portions of wicking suspended thereabove, since in such apparatus if a certain rate of controlled vapor diffusion is desired this may be accomplished by careful adjustment of the velocity and/or volume of air forced or drawn through the device.
The device of the present invention may be efficiently employed to diffuse into air a deodorant or suitable air freshener, e. g., the product of Paschal U. S. Patent No. 2,326,672 of August 10, 1943, so that the air circulated through the air conditioning unit may not only be conditioned as to temperature and humidity but also as to perceptive odor. Such liquid or air freshener may contain very fine particles of solid material such as chlorophyl, and some ofthose particles may have a tendency to collect in the pores of the wicking rather than to admix with and be carried off by the passing air currents. As a result, the wicking exposed above the float 35 may gradually have it porosity and capillarity reduced to an increasing degree. Consequently, the rate of dilfusion of vapors may be reduced at a similar rate if no provision is made for accommodating this characteristic action. The present invention adequately takes care of this feature since, as the body i4 of liquid is depleted, the float 35 gradually descends, thereby permitting exposure above it of additional fresh portions of unclogged wicking while effectively blanketing the surface of the body of liquid. Thus as quantities of clogging material are gradually built up in the uppermost portions of the wicking, fresh unclogged areas thereof are gradually exposed in progressive fashion above the descending blanketing oat. Proper-proportioning of the parts with respect to a given set of 'conditions can readily assure that the rate of clogging and thev rate of exposure of fresh areas of wicking are so related as to maintain a uniform rate of vapor diffusion with effective blanketing of the liquid surface by the float.
y It will be obvious that variations in this rate of diffusion may be attained by provision for variable exposure of wicking surfaces, such as by.v
foreshortening some of thefstrips thereof so that certain strips can be freed from contact with the liquid at certain levels as the amount of liquid is progressively depleted. Further, some-of the strips may be suspended with their vtop ends located at different levels bymeans of suitable suspending members, such as metallic rods or strips of non-porous material, e. ggexible metallic foil, bands of rubber, etc. Further it will-be understood that the device of the present invention may be employed to advantage vwith the use of an embodiment equipped withv only a single wicking strip or with a number thereof fewer than those indicated by way of example in the accompanying drawing. And of course the invention is not limited to the employment of a rectangular container'and a `similarly shaped float substantially tting therein, since the virtues of the invention may be obtained with containers having various other lateral cross sectional shapes and with floats Asimilarly shaped, or diiferently shaped when provided with means substantially to seal olf the surface: of the liquid from the air space thereabove except, perhaps, in the immediate vicinities ofthe wicking surfaces. Further, wiping of the wicking may be provided by closely associating the surfaces of the holes through the float with the wicking surfaces, or by providing on the oat additional members, which may be similar to wiping elements 3L-L33, to wipe the wicking surfacesas the floatdescends.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among others, are eiiiciently attained and, since certain changes may beY made in the above construction and different embodiments of the invention could be made without departing from the scope thereof, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as'illustrative and notin a limiting sense.
It is also to `be understood that the following claims are intended to'cover all of the generic and specinc features ofthe invention herein described, and allfstatementsfof the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.
Having described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. A liquid diffuser comprising, in combination, a container for a body of evaporable liquid, float means in said container for free descent with the surface of such body-of liquid as the.
tainer bottom with a top portion exposed abovev said float means to be accessible to passing currents of gaseous fiuid for transfer to the vlatter of vapors from the liquid as it saturates the Vwicking whereby as said float means descends with depletion of liquid additional fresh portions of the wicking strip are exposed above said float means.
2. A liquid diffuser comprising, in combination, a container for a body of liquid, float means in said container for free descent with the 'surface of such body of liquid as the quantity thereof becomes depleted by evaporation, flexible wiping elements mounted on said float means bridging across to the inner walls. of said container to assure substantial blanketing of the liquid sur face by said oat means, said iloat means having a way extending from the'top side to the bot tom side thereof, means to direct currents of air across a top portion of said-container, means to suspend a strip of wicking in said vcontainer in relatively fixed position, and a strip of wicking supported on said suspending means and passing through the way in the float means while permitting free descent of the latter, said-wicking strip extending down toward the container bottom, the portion of said wicking strip above said float means being accessible to the air currents for transfer to the latter of vapors from the liquid as it saturates the wicking whereby as said float means descends with depletion of liquid additional fresh portions of the wicking strip are exposed above said float means.
3. A `liquid diffusercomprising, in combination, a container for a body of liquid having a substantially uniform lateral cross-section from the vicinity of the top thereof tothe vicinity of the bottom thereof, float means in said container of a shape in plan substantially the same as the lateral cross-sectional shape of the mid-portion of said container but of slightly less lateral dimensions for free descent with the surface of such body of liquid as the quantity thereof becomes depleted by evaporation and for substantially blanketing the liquid surface, said iioat means having a way extending from the top side to the bottom side thereof, means to direct currents of air across a top portion of said container, means to suspend a strip of Ywicking in said container in relatively fixed position, and a strip of wicking supported on said suspending means and passing through the Way in the float means while permitting free descent of the latter, said wicking strip extending down toward the container bottom, the portion of said wicking strip above said float means being accessible to the air currents for transfer to the latter of vapors from thev liquid as it saturates the wicking whereby as said float means descends with depletion of liquid additional fresh portions of" the wicking strip are exposed above said float means.
4. A liquid diffuser comprising, in combination,` a container for a body of liquid having a substantially uniform lateral cross-section from the Vicinity of the top thereof to the vicinity of the bottom thereof, float means in said container of a shape in plan substantially the same as the lateral cross-sectional shape of the mid-portion of said container but of slightly less lateral dimensions for free descent with the surface of such body of liquid as the quantity thereof be comes depleted by evaporation and for substan tially blanketing the liquid surface, said float means having a plurality of holes vertically extending therethrough, meansto direct currents of air across a top portion of said container, means to suspend a plurality of spaced-apart strips of wicking in said container in relatively fixed position, and a plurality of spaced-apart strips of wicking supportedon said suspending means and passing through the holes -in the float means while permitting free descent of the latter, said wicking strips extending down toward the container bottom, the portion of said wicking'strips above said float means being accessible to the air currents for transfer to the ylatter of vapors from the liquid as it saturates the wicking whereby as said float means descends with depletion vof liquid additional fresh portions `of the wicking strips are exposed above said iloat means.
5. A liquid diffuser comprising, in combination, a container for a body of liquid having substantially vertically disposed side walls and of a certain lateral cross-sectional shape, a cover for the top portion of said container having laterallyspaced inlet and outlet openings therein at the same general elevation, an oblique bale plate extending upwardly from a side wall of said container below the inlet opening terminating in an elevated lip portion higher than straight lines extending between the bottom portions of the inlet and outlet openings, float means in the main portion of said container below said baille plate of a shape in plan complementary to and of slightly less overall dimension than the lateral cross-section of said container for free descent with the surface of such liquid as the latter evaporates, and a strip of wicking supported on said lip portion depending down into the main por- 10 tion of said container through a hole in said oat means with the hole being of substantially the same cross-sectional shape-as said strip but of slightly greater lateral dimensions to permit free descent of said float means.
FURMAN S. ABBOTT.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the iile oi this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 847,840 Smith Mar. 19, 1907 872,330 Cunningham 1 Dec. 3, 1907 888,393 Dunning May 9, 1906 1,035,492 Subert Aug. 13, 1912 1,225,684 Shaver May 8, 1917 1,606,472 Kieffer et al. Nov. 9, 1926 2,083,607 Joseph June 15, 1937 2,417,743 Eberhart Mar. 18, 1947