US 2639972 A
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May 26, 1953 w w, s 2,639,972
ION CONTROLLER Filed June 19, 1950 INVENTOR. MAW/am 1/1 ATTORA/[VS Patented May 26, 1953 ION CONTROLLER William Wesley Hicks, San Francisco, Calif., as-
signor to Ionics, Inc., San Francisco, Calif., a corporation of California Application June 19, 1950, Serial No. 169,052
1 This invention relates to a device for selectively discharging positive or negative ions into the atmosphere within an enclosed area such as a dwelling or a room at atmospheric pressure and in atmospheric air. Particularly this invention relates to low voltage no pressure ion generators such as electric space heaters which may be provided with means for selectively filtering out positive or negative ions and which circulates these ions not filtered through the desired area.
In my copending application Serial No. 70,277, filed January 11, 1949, I disclosed the use of a low voltage no pressure ion generator such as an electric space heater which may be provided with means for selectively filtering out positive or negative ions and which circulates those ions not filtered out throughout the entire area. In said copending application I also disclose the utilization of a filament for the production of ions and a grid about said filament for the collection of ions. This application is a continuation-inpart of application Serial No. 70,277, filed January 11, 1949.
The presence of ions in a given space may result not only from natural ionization processes but also from the introduction of ions by the action of electric fields or by thermionic emission or in any one of several ways. Of the foregoing I am particularly interested in thermionic emission and natural ionization processes.
I have found that positive or negative ions will be discharged from a suitable emitter such as an electric space heater and that they may be eliminated or collected on a metal grid which has an electric charge sufficient to attract the ion of the opposite sign. In addition, positive or negative ions may be attracted by a sleeve electrode of the character illustrated in my copending applica tion Serial No. 169,053, filed-June 19, 1950.
The physiological value of ionized air is established. Specifically, negatively ionized air has been found to have a beneficial effect on persons suffering from high blood pressure, rheumatism, gout, neuritis, bronchitis, asthma and respiratory diseases.
It is an object of this invention to produce an ion controller which will produce a substantial number of positive and negative ions and which will trap or accumulate substantially all of the positive ions which are produced by the device.
Other objects and advantages of this invention will appear from the following specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which the figure illustrates a device and circuit incorporating my invention.
As illustrated in the drawing I have provided a suitable low voltage low pressure ion generator in the form of an electric heater such as is disclosed and described in United States Letters Patent No. 1,704,479. An electric heater of this type is particularly advantageous inasmuch as the same, in addition to providing a heating medium, will also cause circulation of the air within the closed chamber or room. As shown in the drawing the particular form of air heater disclosed is provided with a housing [0 whose sole purpose, insofar as the specification is concerned, is to form a support for the remainder of the device. Arranged within the housing In and supported from the walls of the same there is a hollow ceramic core II which is preferably tubular in shape to provide a natural central flue I2, the outer surface of which is adapted to accommodate a resistance or heating element [3. The heating element i3 is connected to a suitable source of electric current as shown. A thermostat l4 may be placed in the circuit and is adapted to be actuated by the air entering the heater to open and close the circuit supplying electric current to the heater. A suitable switch I6 for the operation of the heater is also provided.
The heater thus described offers heated surfaces H and [3 for the thermionic emission of ions. In addition, by virtue of its construction. it also circulates the air within the room, which air, it will be recalled, also contains ions.
In order to regulate the circulation of ions through the room, as either positive or negative ions predominantly, I have provided suitable means for selectively filtering out either positive or negative ions produced by the thermionic emitting surfaces II and I3 and residing in the air circulated through the heater. As shown, this means consists of a suitable grid [8 in the form of a simple nickel screen surrounding the heating elements to which there is supplied a positive or negative charge, depending, of course, upon the sign or charge of the ion which is to be collected or filtered out of the air stream. The charge to the grid [8 is supplied through a half-wave rectifier 19 connected with the usual source of power supplied to the heating element I3, it being important that the same must :be susceptible of selection, that is, that either a negative or positive charge must be available to an operator for application to the grid 18.
I have found that there are two forces which cause movement of ions. The first of these forces is the force of an electrostatic field which, in this instance, is defined by the thermionic emitting surfaces H and I3 and the grid IS. The electrostatic field thus created will cause the movement of positive ions, in the event the grid H3 is negatively charged, toward the grid H! at which point they will be collected. The effect of the negative charge on the grid [8 will be to repel the negative ions and force the same back to the surfaces H and I3 from which they were emitted. In the event the grid 18 is positively charged, negative ions produced by the thermionic surfaces will be urged thereto and positive ions will be repelled thereby.
The second force which will cause movement of ions is the motion of air through the electrostatic field heretofore described. In this event the minimum air velocity required is that required to overcome the eifect of the electrostatic field which, it will be recalled, will be to repel some ions back to the ion source and to attract and collect ions of an opposite sign to the other electrode.
In my copending application Serial No. 79.277, filed January 11, 1949, I disclose that if the grid I8 is negatively charged it will attract positive ions and yet permit negative ions to pass therethrough in the air stream. I also show that if the grid l8 is positively charged it will attract the negative ions and remove them from the air stream permitting the positive ions to circulate in the room. In this manner the sign of the ions circulating within the room may be controlled with resultant therapeutic effects as described in my copending application.
However, I have found that a more effective control in production of negative lens may be produced by the utilization of a pulsing charge to the grid l8, As indicated in the drawing, I provide a half-wave rectifier [9 which alternately supplies a negative charge or no charge whatsoever to the grid [8. As a result, there will be equal intervals of charge and no charge to the grid l8. It will be obvious that when the grid I8 is uncharged that it has no effect and that in this event ions produced by the thermionic emitters will be caused to move only by the energy by which they are originally ejected, or by the flow of air over the surfaces H and I3. Normally these ions would form a small cluster about the thermionic emitter and would not be circulated throughout the room. However, the effect of the moving air is to overcome the natural tendency of these ions to remain in a cluster to force the ions into the surrounding atmosphere.
Thus when no charge is applied to the grid l8 ions of both signs are moved away from the ion emitting surfaces in the path of the draft of air created by convection currents.
However, when a negative charge is supplied to the grid [8 all of the positive ions in the area between the emitting surfaces and the grid are immediately attracted to the grid where they are captured and eliminated. The negative ions are repelled. Those negative ions beyond the grid are repelled outwardly and away from the grid while those within the grid are repelled toward the emitter. Positive ions outside the grid l8 but within the effect of its electrostatic field are drawn back to the grid l8 and neutralized.
Therefore, when the grid is negatively charged all of the positive ions are attracted to it and negative ions are repelled.
By regulation of the flow of air over the ion emitting surfaces, I have successfully collected substantially all of the positive ions produced by ill the thermionic emitting surfaces II and I3 and have effectively passed into the surrounding atmosphere all of the negative ions produced by these surfaces.
Operation of this device may briefly be described as follows: The device is connected to a suitable source of current. When the double pole switch I5 is actuated to close the circuit to the device, current is supplied to the heating element 13. The heating element l3 will immediately produce both negative and positive ions. Electric current will also be supplied to the half-wave rectifier l 9 which, it will be recalled, is connected at its negative side to the grid l8. A pulsing negative current will, therefore, be supplied to the grid !8. The heating element l3 will create the flow of convection currents upwardly over the heating surfaces H and 13 through the grid l8. These convection currents will sweep the area. between the grid l8 and the emitting surfaces H and ii. When the grid l8 is negatively charged positive ions will be attracted thereto and trapped thereby. When the grid I8 is not charged, ions of both. signs will be swept toward and through the grid by the movement of the air. When the negative charge is again supplied to the grid 18, all of the positive ions within its range will be collected thereby. Those negative ions beyond the grid l8 will be repelled into the atmosphere of the room. Those negative ions within the grid 53 will be repelled back toward the heating surfaces ii and I3. However, before all of them are repelled back to and absorbed by the heating surfaces, a period during which no current is supplied to the grid will again occur permitting these ions to be passed through the grid as has previously been described.
The foregoing description has assumed that the thermostatic switch I 4 is closed whereby current is actually supplied to the emitter surfaces l l and 13. When the temperature of the air entering the heater exceeds the temperature at which the thermostat is set, the thermostatic switch opens, breaking the circuit to the device.
3.. In a device for controlling the light negative ion concentration in a room in atmospheric air at atmospheric pressure, means for producing ions of both signs in a predetermined zone in atmospiere, a grid, means for supplying an intermittent charge to said grid for selectively collecting at atmospheric pressure ions of the sign opposite to the sign of the grid, and means for passing a stream of air along *a definite path first through said. zone and then through said grid to carry a substantial number of said ions to said grid, whereby ions of the same sign as the grid will be readily carried therethrough when said grid is not charged and the ions of the sign opposite to the sign of the grid will be collected by said grid when is charged, said grid being positioned to extend across the said path of said stream of air.
In a device for controlling the ion concentration in a room in atmospheric air at atmospheric pressure, means for producing ions of both signs in predetermined zone in atmosphere, a grid, means for applying a charge to said grid for a. predetermined time interval and for discharging said grid for a succeeding and substantial time interval for selectively collecting at atmospheric pressure ion of the sign opposite to the sign of the grid, and means for passing a stream of air along a definite path first through said zone and then through said grid to carry a substantial number of said ions to said grid, whereby ions of the same sign as the grid will be readily carried therethrough when said grid is not charged and the ions of the sign opposite to the sign of the grid will be collected by said grid when said grid is charged, said grid being positioned to extend across the said path of said stream of air.
3. In a device for controlling the ion concentration in a room in atmospheric air at atmospheric pressure, means for producing ions of both signs in a predetermined zone in atmosphere, a grid, means for applying a charge to said grid for a predetermined time interval and for dischargin said grid for a succeeding and substantial time interval for selectively collecting at atmospheric pressure ions of the sign opposite to the sign of the grid, and means for continuously passing a stream of air along a definite path first through said zone and then through said grid to carry a substantial number of said ions to said grid, whereby ions of the sign opposite to the sign of the grid and which are in the zone sunrou'nding said grid when the same is charged will be collected thereupon and the ions of the same sign as said grid and on one side thereof will be repelled into the area surrounding the device and the ions of the same sign and on the other side of said grid in said air stream will be retarded by said grid until the same is not charged, said grid beingepositioned to extend across the path of air moving in said stream.
4. A device as defined in claim 3 wherein said means for applying said charge to said grid comprises a source of alternating current and a half- Wave rectifier.
5. A method of controlling the ion concentration in a room at atmospheric pressure and in atmospheric air comprising the steps of producing ions of both signs in a predetermined zone from the same source, inducing a continuous current of air through said zone to carry the ions so produced to a second zone, and intermittently establishing an electrostatic field having one terminus in said second zone whereby ions of the opposite sign from said terminus and adjacent thereto when said field is established will be collected at said terminus and ions of the same sign as said terminus will be repelled therefrom whereas ions of the same sign as said terminus will be swept therepast by said air current during periods when said electrostatic field is not established.
WILLIAM WESLEY HICKS.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 2,004,352 Simon June 11, 1935 2,264,495 Wilner Dec. 2, 1941 2,504,772 White M Apr, 18, 1950 OTHER REFERENCES LOncle Electrique, published in Paris,
France, Rue de Seine, October 1946, pp. 368- 373. (Copy in patented file 2,524,227).