US 2942614 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 28, 1960 e. E. LARDNER INFLATION VALVE Filed Nov. 3, 1958 INVENTOR.
GEORGE EDWARD LARDNER ATTOR NEY ited States atent 2,942,614 Patented June 28, 1960 ice 2,942,614 INFLATION VALVE George Edward Lardner, Paramus, NJ., assignor' to Filed Nov. 3, 1958, Ser. No. 771,477 9 Claims; (Cl. 137-423) This invention relates to a valve, such valve being advantageously employed with inflatable articles having flexible side walls of relatively thin sheet-like or film material.
'Ijhe invention has among its objects the provision of an improved novel valve of the type indicated which is simple, rugged, and is economical to make.
A further object of the invention is to provide a valve which is easily manipulated selectively to inflate or deflate the article with which it is employed.
Yet another object of the invention is the provision of a valve which is characterized by its ease of manufacture and assembly on an inflatable article.
Still another object is the provision of a valve which is of low height or profile, and which is of relatively small diameter.
A further object to provide a valve which conforms to a substantial extent to the outer contour of an article having a curved side wall without disturbing the sealing effect of the valve. I I
Another object is the provision of a valve which is particularly characterized by the ease with which it is maintained free from foreign material between the sealing surfaces thereof.
The above and further objects and novel features of the invention will more fully appear from the following description when the same is' read in connection with the accompanying drawings; It is'to beexpressly understood, however, that the. drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. 7 p
In the drawings, wherein like" reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views- Fig.1 isa view in plan of'a'valve made'in accordance with the invention and a fragment of the side wall of an inflatable article to which it is attached; 7
Fig. 2 isa view in sid'eelevation of the valveand in section through the' side wall ofthe article in the'vicinity of the valve of Fig. l, the article being. shown in the act of being. inflated, the section being taken'along the line 2-2of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3' is a view partially in side elevation andpartially in section generally'similar to' Fig. 2. but showing the valve as his being manipulated to deflate the article;
Fig. 4 is'an enlarged view in axialsection through the valve of Figs. 1, 2, and 3, the section being taken along line 4-4 of Fig. l; V V
Fig. 5 is a view in bottom plan of the valve'of. Fig. 1, a central fragment of the'filrn forming the innerelernent of the valve being broken away, for clarity of illustration the film portions 11 and 1 1 in this figure being. assumed to'be perfectly transparent; and I Fig; 6 is a somewhat schematic View in verticalairial section through an apparatus forassemblinga'platealike member upon'a portion'of the side wall of aninflatable article'to form a valveirr-accordance with the invention. I
The valve of the present invention is primarily adapted for use with a thin, flexible walled inflatable hollow article to which it is attached, whereby the article may be inflated and deflated therethrough. The valve of the invention may, however, be employed to advantage in a wide variety of other applications, and for other purposes. The valve of the invention is particularly of advantage, and the drawings show such construction, when one member of the valve is formed of a portion of the film forming the thin flexible side wall of the inflatable article.
It has previously been proposed to make two-part inflation valves, mounted on the side wall of an inflatable article, wherein one member of the valve is formed by a portion of the side wall of the article. Such prior valves have been relatively impositive in action, however, since the sealing zone between the valve members was of marked extent, and the pressure within the inflatable article was not employed advantageously to maintain the valve in sealed condition. In such prior valves the holes in the inner valve element, formed of a portion of the side wall of the article, through which the space between the inner and outer valve elements communicated with the interior of the article, were located relatively close to the annular sealing zone between the two valve elements. As a result, foreign particles gaining entry into the space between-the valve elements tended to become pinched between the valve elements near the annular sealing zone, and thus to prevent the proper sealing engagement of the valve elements. Also, because the space between the valve elements was shallow, it was quite difficult, especially in view of the aforesaid pinching action of the elements adjacent the sealing zone, to remove foreign particles from the' space between the valve elements.
Additionally, in such prior valves the outer hole through the outer valve element was relatively large, whereas the inner holes, through the inner valve element, were relatively small; Thus larger particles, passing inwardly through the outer hole; could not escape into' the in terior of the article through the inner holes. Instead; they were trapped within the space between the valve elements and tended to prevent proper sealing between the elements, in the manner outlined above.
As a result of-the' sealing difliculties encountered with such prior valves, it was thepractice'to coat the confronting surfaces of the valve with a material such as petroleum jelly to improve the seal therebetween. When the'inflatable article was'used at the seashore, however, the thus coated confronting surfaces of the valve were prone to collect grains of sand, thus aggravating the above outlined difficulties of cleaning the valve, and thus preventing the valve'from efle'ctively sealing the article,
Such prior valves, furthermore, were difiicult to assemble so that the opening in the outer valve member was positioned at the desiredlocation relative to the openings through that portion of the side wall of the article which formed the inner-valve element. Among further difli'culties' with such prior valves were the facts that to deflate'the article" a means such as a matchstick had to be employed tothrustthe inner valve member into open position, thereby exposing the inner valve member tothe danger of be'injg punctured, and that the outer valve member was relatively stifl, did not conform to the contour of the article, was prone to being cracked, split, or permanently deforined'when accidentally bent or stepped upon, and was apt to injurethe user when, if playing with the'arti cle, he were hit in the face with the valve. 7
The valve of the present invention, particularly in'the illustrated preferredembodiment thereof, presents nu-' merous advantages and overcomes the above outlined dif- 7 ficulties encountered with prior valves of the same general type. The valve of the invention may be opened to deflate the article by simple manipulation, as with the fingers. Sealingof the valve is positive, and eflective use is made of the pressure the, article to eifect such-sealf No lubricating or sealing substances is re: quired on the sealing surfaces of the valve element. The valve is flexible; the parts of satisfactory illustrative valves of the invention may have generallythe same durometer value as the film forming the side wall of the article. The valve readilyconforms to the contour of an article having marked curv'aturewithoutdisturbing, the effective seal between the valve elements. The valvemay be easily and quickly assembled and sealed in an accurate man er."
The valvejof the invention' has the'holeinlthe inner valve element which provides communication between the space betweenthe valve elements and the interior of the 1 article located'so thatitis' appreciably spaced from the sealing'zone between the valve elements. The valve ele-" ments are thus relatively'free from each other at the sealing zone thereb'etween. This, and the fact that the space between'the valve elements at the sealing zone diameter of the hole through 4 I to seal the valve. Preferably, as shown, the upper surfaces of struts 19 and of stem-like member 21 are depressed somewhat below the upper surface of rim 24 to form a central recess 25. As a result, the rim protects' the struts and stem-like member from damage by chance blows by objects with which the valve may come into contact.
7 Inner valve member 11 is provided" with a' central opening 26 therethrough, as shown Figs. 2,3, and 6. 6pening26 preferably has a diameter generally the same as the length of the largest minor axis of openings 20, for reasons given above. When openings jare circular,
. they preferably have the 'same diameter as opening 26.
Stem-like member 21 preferably hasa downwardly open central blind passage or recess 31 therein'having a diameter substantially the same as that of hole 26. As a result, sealing between the inner end of stem-like member 21. and the :upper inner surface of valve member 11' the space between'the valve elements. In'any event,
should foreign particles become temporarily interposed between the se aling zones of the valve elements, they can readily be removed by either further inflation of the article, to blow them into the interior of the article or g by partially deflating the article, to blow them 'out' of the valve. To insure the removal of foreign particles from between the valveelernents in such cleaning actions, the hole or holes through the outer valve element preferably .have generally the same maximum dimension of their minor as that of the hole through the inner valve element. V V Turning now to the drawings, the preferred embodiment of valve made in accordance with the invention is shown assembled upon and sealed to the side wall 11 of a thin flexible inflatable article, a portion 11' 'of which forms a first, inner element of the valve. The second, outer element of the valve is a disc-like annular member generally designated 12. As shown, member 12 overlies and is edge-sealed to the wall 11 of the article. In a preferred construction wall ll ism'ade of a thin, flexible plastic material such as film polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, rubber, etc., and plate-like member "12,
which is appreciably thicker than film 11, may be molded from a flexible plastic material which may likewise'be a is in the form of an inwardly concave, frusto-conical portion 15, the outer surface 17 of such portion rising some what more steeply thanflthe inner surface 16 thereof. The radially inner portion of the body of member 12 is in the form of an annularrim 24 having an upright cylindrical periphery 22 which forms a lip-e'n'gaging means through which the article is inflated, aswell as providing means wherebythe valve may begripped by the fingers when it is desired to deflate the article. Extending radially inwardly from rim 24 are a plurality of equally angularly spaced (four shown) struts'19'which present openings 20 therebetween. In the embodimentshown, openings 20 are arcuateg- They may, however, be of other shapes such ascircular. 1. a. H The struts 19'support a central stem-like member 21 having a'convex lower end in the form of a surface of revolution. An annular portion 27 of such lower end cooperates with'a central annular portion of member 11 takes place between a bottom annular zone 27 .on member 21 surrounding the. lower end of passage 31 and an annular zone 29 on the upper inner surface of valve member 11'. I Article .11 is inflated by presenting .ones to rim 24 (Fig. 2) and blowing into the valve. Air enters the space between. valve membersll' and 12 through openings 20 and escapes from. such space. in a path between the inner confronting surfaces of member 11' and stemlike member 21. As will be apparent in the discussion of Fig. .6 below, members 11' and 12 are assembled on and sealed to each. other so that, in the normal relaxed position of valve member 12, zones 27 and 29 of the valve are substantially in sealing. contact. When any substantial pressurehas been built up within the inflatable article, such pressure, exerted upon. the lower inner surface of valve member, 11', tends more forciblyto thrust zones 27 and 29 of the valve into sealing contact. Accordingly, the valve functions efficiently as a checkvalve, throughout the article-inflating operation, whenever the operator ceases to blow into the valve.
When it is. desired to deflate the article, the rim 24 of the valve may be grasped between the fingers as shown in Fig. 3 whereby to pinch opposed portions of :valve member 12 inwardly toward each other. This causes valve member 11' to bulge inwardly against the pressure within the article, and the outer valve member 12 to bulge outwardly, to break the seal between zones 27 and 29 atone or more locations. Such open position of the 'valve is somewhat schematically indicated in Fig. 3.
In Fig. 6 there is shown a preferred apparatus by means of which valve member 12 is located upon wall 11 of the article and is sealed thereto. The assembly fixture there shown, generally. designated 30, hasacentral guide pin 32 having a diameter slightly'smaller than that of hole 26 in wall 11. Pin.32 extends centrallyupwardly within an annularlower sealing die 34, the upper end of the pin extending somewhatabove the upper surface of die 34.. An. upper annular die 35, positioned coaxially of die 34, is mounted for vertical reciprocation to and away from die 34 by means not shown. When valve element 12 and film11 are made of polyvinyl chloride, dies 34 and 35 may be in the form of oPPOSed electrodes connected to'a source of high frequency heating current, whereby the flange 14-of element 12. and an annular zone of wall 11 may be electronically heat sealed to each other. When valve element, 12 and film 11- aremade of poly ethylene, rubber, and thelike, dies 34 and'3 5'are heated, asby electricresistanceelements or the like (not shown). 1 .In assembling-the valve, the upper die 35 is retracted, and wall 11 .of the still open inflatable article is mounted on the fixture so that the upper end .of pin 32 extends through hole 26 in .the wall. Thereupon a valve member 12 is placed on the fixture so thatthe upper end of pin 32 is receivedin passage 31 in element 12.. As a result the valve element .12 is accuratelylocated upon wall 11. Thereupon the upper die 35 is advanced into engageparts together.
Simply by way of illustration, and not by way of limitation, the following dimensions and characteristics of an inflation valve made in accordance with the invention are given.
The wall 11 of the inflatable article was made of polyvinyl chloride and was .010 inch thick. The valve element 12, which was molded of polyvinyl chloride, had an over-all diameter of 1% inches,,rim 24 having a diameter of 1 inch. The element 12 had a height, from the bottom of flange 14 to the top of rim. 24, of 7 inch. The stem-like member 21 had a lower convex surface in the form of part of a sphere having a radius of inch. The hole 26 in member 11 of the valve had a diameter of inch, as did passage 31 in stem-like member 21. The lower end of member 21, in its relaxed condition, lay /s2 inch beneath the lower surface of flange 14. Surface 17 lay at an angle of 30 with respect to the plane of the lower surface of flange 14; surface 16 lay at an angle of 15 with respect to such plane.
It will be seen, from the manner of assembly of valve element 12 on side wall 11 of the inflatable article, that the zone 29 of valve element 11 tends constantly to be maintained in contact with zone 27 on member 21. This is caused by the pressure exerted on member 11 by member 21 as the latter distends element 11 out of its normal plane, the plane of the lower surface of flange 14. Such sealing pressure is augmented, whenever the article is partially or wholly inflated, by the pressure within the article. Such pressure, acting over the entirearea of valve element 11', thrusts it still more forcibly against member 21.
Sealing zones 27 and 29 are of comparatively small radius, and are centrally and symmetrically positioned. The pressure within the article, acting over the entire area of valve element 11', is concentrated on the sealing zones, so that the sealing action of the valve is efiicient and forceful.
The central stem-like member 21 is of relatively heavy section, and thus resists deformation, either by the pressure within the inflatable article or by ones fingers when the valve is opened, as in Fig. 3. The radially outer portion of valve element 12, including flange 14, frustoconical portion 15, and struts 19, are sufliciently firm to resist any marked deformation solely as the result of stresses imposed thereon by valve element 11' when subjected to pressure within the inflatable article. Such outer portion of valve element 12, however, may readily be manually resiliently deformed to open the valve (Fig. 3), and is also resiliently deformed to allow it substantially to conform to the contour of an inflatable article having a curved side wall. In the latter case, the flange 14, portion 15, rim 24, and struts 19 are resiliently deformed as necessary, the stem-like member 21 remaining substantially undeformed and sealingly in contact with zone 29 of valve element 11'.
The valve of the invention displays advantages by reason of its ease of maintenance. The openings 20 are located markedly out of alignment with hole 26 in valve element 11. As a result, foreign materials, such as dirt and sand, do not tend to remain between sealing surfaces 27 and 29. The passage 31 in member 21, besides aiding in the assembly of the valve, is of value in reducing the area of the member on which foreign material, which might interfere with the functioning of the valve, might lodge.
Although only one embodiment of the invention has been illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described in the foregoing specification, it is to be expressly understood that various changes, such as in the relative dimensions of the parts, materials of which the valve is made, and the like, as well as the suggested manner of use of the valve of the invention and of the media with which the valve is used, may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. Thus, for example, in some uses the valve element 11' may be a member separate from the side wall of the inflatable article, the valve after assembly being then mounted upon an inflatable article, as by forming a hole in the wall of the article with a diameter generally that of the inner edge of flange 14 of element 12, and edge sealing the assembled valve to the side wall of the article at such hole. Further, valve elements 11' and 12 may be edge sealed in various manners other than that described, as, for example, by the use of a suitable adhesive.
What is claimed is:
1. An inflation valve comprising a plate member and a film member, the plate member and at least a portion of the film member being superimposed and sealingly connected at their edges, the two members presenting a space between them, the plate member being elastically deformable and the film member being relatively flexible, the plate-like. member markedly exceeding the film member in rigidity the film member having a hole therethrough permitting egress of fluid from the space between the members, the plate member having an opening therethrough permitting the introduction of fluid therethrough into the space between the members, and a stem-like member attached to the plate member, said stem-like member extending into the space between the plate-like and film members and being aligned with and confronting the hole in the film member, the stem-like member having a free end substantially exceeding in cross section the size of the hole in the film member whereby sealingly to contact the film member throughout a zone surrounding the hole, the contacting zone of said stem-like member extending through and beyond the plane of said sealingly connected edges of the plate-like and film members whereby the film member lies extended across the plate-like member with the film member in contact with and inwardly distended by the inner end of the stem-like member when the valve is closed.
2. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plate-like member markedly exceeds the film member in thickness.
3. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 1, wherein the free end of the stem-like member has a central recess therein which is aligned with and of generally the same diameter as the hole in the film member.
4. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plate-like member markedly exceeds the film member in thickness, and the hole in the film member is located generally centrally thereof.
5. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 4, wherein the plate-like member has a flat annular outer flange, End the said portion of the film member is sealed to said ange.
6. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 4, wherein the face of the plate-like member which confronts the film member is concave, whereby said space between the film and plate members is annular and extends around the stem-like member.
7. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 6, wherein the hole in the film member is round, and the free end of the stem-like member is generally part-spherical.
8. An inflation valve as claimed in claim 6, comprising a plurality of angularly spaced generally radially extending struts connecting the stem-like member to the body of the plate-like member, the struts presenting openings between them communicating with the space between the plate-like member and the film member.
9. An inflation valve comprising a plate-like member and a film member, the plate-like member being circular in plan, having a flat annular outer flange, and an inwardly concave generally frusto-conical body extending radially inwardly of the flange, the plate-like member and the film member being superimposed and sealingly connected at their edges, the two members presenting a space between them, the'plate-likev member being relatively thick and elastically deformable and the film; member being relatively thin and relatively 'flexible, the film;member' having a hole Centrally .therethrough' permitting egress of: fluid from the space between the members, and a' central,
inwardly extending stem-like member. attached at. its root to the:plate-like member, a-plurality of .struts connecting theroot of the;stem-like member to the plate-like ,mem-f,
ber,;the struts presenting openings therebetwe'en communicating withthe'sjpace between the members, said stern= like member extending into the space between theiplate-V- like and filmi'members and beingaligned with and iconfronting the hole in the film member,the stem-like member having a part-spherical free end substantially exceeding in crosssection the size of therhole in the film meme; ber whereby seah'ngly to contact the film member through-' lie's extended across the plate-like member with the'film member in contact with and inwardly distended bytthe inner'end 0f the stem-like member when-the 'yalve. is closed, andan upstanding rim onthefouter portion ofthe' plate-like member to provide for the grasping and radially inwarddistortion of therplate-like member by the fingers so as to open'the valve.
7 References Cited in the file of-thi s patentf f .LTUNITEDVYSIVATES PATENTS 5.;