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Publication numberUS3075227 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 29, 1963
Filing dateApr 14, 1960
Priority dateApr 14, 1960
Publication numberUS 3075227 A, US 3075227A, US-A-3075227, US3075227 A, US3075227A
InventorsRomald E Bowles
Original AssigneeRomald E Bowles
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vacuum cleaner
US 3075227 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

R. E. BowLl-:s

VACUUM CLEANER Jan. 29, 1963 Filed A pril 14. 1960 A'l' TO E NEYS aired States Patent O 3,075,227 VACUUM CLEANER Romald E. Bowles, 12712 Meadowood Drive, Silver Spring, Md. Filed Apr. 14, 1960, Ser. No. 22,330 Claims. (Cl. 15-346) The present linvention relates generally to fluid operated devices, and more particularly to devices for generating and controlling fluid vortices and for applying the vortices sogenerated and controlled generally to the art of cleaning by inducing fluid flow over the article to be cleaned, and more particularly to the air flow clean` dirt particles have been deeply embedded, mechanical action has been introduced, as by beater action provided by rotary mechanical brushes, to loosen the dirt particles and thereby to render them more readily susceptible to the flow of air.` Such lmechanical-action tends to cause damage to fabrics, rugs and the like, and therefore has been dispensed with in many types of vacuum cleaners, but with a corresponding reduction in cleaning effectiveness. The problem of providing more effective vacuum cleaner action is ultimately one of applying to the dirt an air flow of sufliciently great volume and flow velocity, consistent with avoiding damage to the object being cleaned, and the latter problem has been met, in the prior art, by increasing the size of blower motors and the efficiency of blower fans.

According to the present invention, vacuum cleaner action is effected by increasing the speed of movement of air utilized to move dirt particles over the speeds pres-A ently available from a given fau and motor des-ign, by utilizing a novel principle of vacuum cleaner action. This novel principle is the vortex principle.

In general terms, according to the present invention,

a vortical air flow is generated at a surface to be cleaned,

in a manner analogous to generation of a cyclone in nature, by applying relatively slight circumferential or tangential air flow to a column of air flowing radially at a relatively great mass flow rate. An amplifying effect is produced, in that the tangential locity of fluid flow adjacent the center of the column of air is far greater than the velocity of tangential fluid flow at a large'radius. To a first approximation fluid velocity is inversely proportional to radius at which it is measured, so that introduction of a tangential component of air flow at' a large radius, but at relatively low velocity can generate extremely high velocity vortical flow of air at small radii. The latter flow of air superimposed upon the new radial velocity component is utilized as the primary dirt motive element of a vacuum cleaner, according -to the present invention, and is found to provide more effective cleaning action for a given expenditure of power and size of cleaner, than has been the case in hitherto known devices for the same purpose, because the rapid rate of flow of air, applied to the pile of a rug or the interstices of a fabric, provides a far greater differential air pressure across dirt particles in ythe path of the flow than is otherwise available.

Considered in a broad sense, the device described is a velocity amplifier, since by utilization of the vortex principle a -high speed rotary flow of air is derived from a high power fluid flow source, under the control of a relatively lCC small and'low speed air flow applied tangentially at a considerable radius. It can be shown that the rotary speed of the fluid vortex, at any selected small radius, can not only be produced, but can be controlled in respect to magnitude by properly valving the tangential input flow or by properly selecting the radius at which it is applied.

Control of fluid flow velocities by simple control devices, e.g., valves, in systems generally ofthe types above described, leads to increased utility in effecting controlled vacuum cleaner action, since obviously the fluid flow rates appropriate to different situations are different. In cleaning a rug having a heavy pile,.for example, maximum vortex velocities may be desired, but such high velocities may be destructive of delicate drapes, curtains, or the like.

The required tangential flow of air may be produced by diverting air from an output vent of the system to an input nozzle or nozzles. The diversion may be ofa selected portion of the entire output flow regardless of its rotary velocity. In such case the total flow of air to the input nozzle is relatively constant, but control of rotary velocity at or adjacent to the center of the vortex can be controlled by valving or otherwise manipulating the fed back or control flow of air which is applied tangentially. The required tangential flow of air may also be produced by means of vanes in a wall of the vortex chamber.

v The description of the present invention has proceeded on the basis that the fluid vortex employs air as the fluid. However, water operated cleaners have found utility, for example in cleaning swimming pools. The principles of the invention are applicable to any fluid, air and water being examples only. In cleaning the walls and bottom of a swimming pool, or the bottom of a ship or boat, the high velocity vortex provided by the present invention serves not only -to remove loose material but also provides a scrubbing action which can loosen and remove vegetation, fungus, small animals, such as barnacles, and the like.

vortex chamber adjacent to the surface -to be cleaned.

Such a screw performs the function of assisting in fluid removal when the sense of rotation of the vortex corresponds with the sense of advance of the screw. The screw thus reduces the impedance of the fluid circuit, and permits attainment of greater flow velocities than are otherwise' feasible.

It is not totally unknown to provide vacuum cleaners employing vortex action. However, known devices of which I am aware'fail of effectiveness because they are designed according to erroneous principles. To obtain effective cleaner action high speed flow must be induced at the surface to be cleaned. The entire vortical flow must therefore be constrained to occur at this surface. The vortex cham-ber itself should therefore be cylindrical, with its base formed by the surface to be cleaned Vand its top spaced very closely from the surface to be cleaned. The path of air in the vortex is then a flat spiral and constrained throughoutto flow and act on the surface to be cleaned. Whe-re vortex chambers are employed which have considerable height the vortical flow of fluid follows a spiral path of constantly tightening turns approaching the fluid outlet, -but the higher speed portion of the vortex, i.e., the

center, is then not necessarily in contact with the surface to -be cleaned. It is thought that in such devices reliance is placed on the low pressure-area which is produced at the center of a vortex, as in a cyclone, rather than on the direct application of high speed flow of fluid against the foreign particles which itl is desired to rem-ove. In cases where chamber height is increased as radius decreases the versely proportional to radius.

`erenee numeral radial velocity component is not used to maximum advantage. In the case of irrotattional radial flow in a chamber of constant height the radial velocity component is in- If height increases as radius decreases, the radial velocity component is less than the corresponding constant height case. If 'height de creases as radius decreases then the radial velocity componen-t will be larger than the corresponding-.constant height case. Th invention makes use of pressure distribution of both the radial and tangential liow velocity components. f' y. lt is, accordingly, a broad object vofthe present invention to provide a novel vortex device for cleaning a surface by virtue of the direct application of high speed liuid flow at the surface, where the high speed flu-id ow is enhanced by vertical action and occurs in increasing strength as flow approaches the center of the vortex.

The above and still further objects, fea-tures and advantages of the present invention will become: apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description of one specific embodiment thereof, especially when taken in conjunction wtih the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a view in perspective of a vacuum cleaner according tothe present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a view in section taken on the line 2-2 of FIGURE l;

FIGURE 3 is n view in section taken on the line'3-3 of FIGURE 2;

FIGURE 4 is a view in vertical section of a modified vortex chamber, employing circumferential vanes extending to produce vor-tical flow; and

'FIGURE 5 is a broken away view, show the vanes of FIGURE 4.'

Referring now to the accompanying drawings, the refdenotes the vortex chamber of a vacuum cleaner, selected as exemplary of the presen-t in vention. The chamber 10 is generally cylindrical having a cylindrical wall 11, and a top wall 12, the bottom of the cylinder being preferably wholly open, although par-tial Closure, Le., closure at large radii will not radically reduce the effectiveness of the device. The radius of the cylinder may preferably be great, since rotary velocity of huid at the center of the vortex is directly proportional to the radius of the cylinder. Slots or other openings 13 may be provided in the arcuate wall 11, to permit adequate ingress of fluid, although for air cleaning of rugs, for example, these are unnecessary.

` A small passage 14 is provided axially of the top wall 12, from which extends an elongated cylindrical channel 15. The latter terminates in an enlarged chamber 16, containing au electric motor 17 and fan 18, suitably supported. The chamber 16 is provided with an outlet opening 19, which may be co-axial with the channel 15. The

taken in plan to outlet opening 19 communicates with a short hose 20,V

which leads to an opening in a porous receptacle or bag 21 fabricated of material having a mesh which is sufficiently small -to entrap dust, while permitting escape of air.

Pusher rods 22 are pivotally secured at one end to chamber 16, land at their other end terminate in a suitable handle 23.

Fluid feed-back paths are provided, in the form of conduits 24 extending from an opening 25 adjacent to main outlet opening 19 and terminating within vortex chamber 10, in nozzles 26 and 26. The latter are located immediately adjacent to Ithe cylindrical wall 11,` and project fluid circumfercntially; in this case in a clockwise direction about passage 14. A valve 27 is provided in the conduit 24, and serves to permit adjustment of lluid tlow to the nozzles 26 and 26', and thereby the circumferential velocity of the vortex generated in the chamber 10.

FIGURES 4 and 5 of the accompanying theoretically infinitely rapid rotation at the center of the vortex. In any real viscous fluid vortex there 4is a core of small diameter which rotates as a unit rather than with increasing speed as one approach the center of rotation.

The removal of rapidly rotating air from the chamber 10 via channel 15 is facilitated by inclusion of an Archimodes screw 28 within the chamber 10 and channel 15, the screw having a sense of advance which coincides with the direction of rotation of rapidly rotating fluid in the vortex is deccted toward passage 14 and continues its rota-tion las i-t passes along the screw into channel 15. The screw, in facilitating egress of rotating fluid, permits a lower impedance to flow of fluid than does the channel 15 alone, whereby the vortical velocity is effectively used to increase ilow through channel 15 and the dirt removing eficiency of the system is increased.

Suitable dimensions for a vacuum cleaner, according (to the present invention, and designed primarily for cleaning rugs, may involve an outer diameter of chamber 10 equal to 12", an inner diameter of channel 15 of 1", a height of cylindrical wall 11 of about 1A". 'Ihe dimensions suggested are intended to be exemplary only, and not limi-ting.

In the embodiment of my invention illustrated in drawings, the conduits 24, and `the nozzles 26, 26' are dispensed with and tangential flow of tiuid induced by vanes 30, suitably oriented adjacent openings 31 in the circumferential wall of the vortex chamber 10. Preferably the vanes 30 extend at an acute angle to the circumference, although 45 angles or greater vare operative.

It is clear that the jets 26, 26' may be used in com bination with the vanes 30, if desired, each device then supplementing the other.

While I have described and illustrated one specific embodiment of my invention, it will be cleatthat variations of the detailsof construction which are specifically illustrated and described may be resorted to without departing from .the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

What l claim is:

l. A vortex device, comprising means for establishing a uid ow subsisting in a direction perpendicular to a predetermined plane, and means for imparting vertical tiow to said fluid while maintaining said vortical flow substantially entirely in said plane, said last means including a hollow cylinder having a relatively large diameter and It is the function of the nozzles 2.6 and 26 to direct air a height not greater than one-fifth said diameter, said predetermined plane subsisting within said cylinder and perpendicular to the axis thereof.

2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein is provided means fordiverting a portion of said vertical ow vand applying the diverted flow internally of said cylinder and vortically.

3. A vortex device comprising an egress orifice having an axis extending generally perpendicular to a predetermined plane, means for establishing a fluid flow of relatively great mass flow rate into and through said egress orifice, means for imparting a controlled vortical component of iiow to said liuid parallel to said predetermined plane, said last-mentioned means comprising a fluid input device for adding -to said fluid flow, at a relatively large radius with respect to the axis of said orilice, a

quantity of tluid which is small compared with the quanfluid in the vortex, so that the to said fluid input device from said relatively great mass flow.

5. A fluid vortex device comprising a cylindrical chamber having an axial orifice, said chamber having a relatively large diameter and a maximum height not more than one-tenth said diameter, means for admitting iluid to said chamber adjacent the periphery thereof and for establishing egress of said fluid through said orifice, and means for establishing variable vortical -flow through said chamber to said orifice.

6. A fluid vortex device comprising a generally cylindrical chamber having an axial orifice, means for estab` lishin g a flow of fluid to said chamber adjacent the periphery thereof with the liow through said chamber being parallel to a predetermined surface generally perpendicular to said orifice, means for inducing vortical flow through said chamber and means for maintaining said vortical flow at said surface over the region between the outer periphery of said chamber and said axial oritice, said last-mentioned means comprising the dimensions of said chamber being such that the ratio of the difference between the diameters of said chamber and said axial orifice to the height of said chamber is at least fve`to-one.

7. A fluid vortex device according to claim 6 wherein is provided at least one nozzle located in said chamber, said nozzle being arranged to provide fluid flow in said chamber having a tangential component.

8. The combination according to claim 7 wherein is provided a conduit extending between said axial orifice and said at least one nozzle, and fluid ilow control means in said conduit.

9. The combination according to claim 8 wherein a fluid scoop is located in said axial orifice.

10. The combination according to claim 9 wherein said fluid scoop is a screw.

11. The combination according to claim l0 wherein said screw extends into said chamber along the axis thereof.

12. The combination according to claim 6 wherein said means for inducing vortical flow includes a pair of nozzles located in said chamber, said nozzles being located on a common diameter and being arranged to provide similarly directed fluid dow in said chamber, said last mentioned lluid tlow including a tangential component of ow.

13. A fluid vortex device including a cylindrical chamber having an axial opening for egress of fluid, first means establishing fluid flow through said chamber into said axial opening, second means establishing vortical llow of said fluid in said cylindrical chamber, and third means located in said axial opening having an impedance to ilud flow therethrough which is relatively low for fluid rotating in the direction established by said -second means and which is relatively high to tluid rotating in a direction opposite to the direction of rotation established by said second means, said second and third meansv being independent of said first means.

14. A lluid vortex device including a cylindrical 'cham` ber having a central fluid egress orifice, means to supply a mass of fluid `to said chamber and means for supplying to said chamber a quantity of lluid small relative to said mass of fluid and having a tangential component of flow for controlling the rate of rotation of said mass of fluid,- said last means including a lluid path extending between said first means and said chamber and a variable liow rate device independent of said rst means located in said fluid path.

. 15. A vortex cleaning device comprising a generally cylindrical chamber having -an axial orifice, means for establishing a llow of fluid to said chamber adjacent the periphery thereof with the flow through said chamber being parallel to a predetermined surface generally perpendicular to said orifice, means for inducing vortical flow through said chamber and means for maintaining said vortical flow at said surface over the region between the outer periphery of said chamber and said axial orifice, said last-mentioned means comprising the dimensions of said chamber being such that the ratio of the difference between the diameters of said chamber and said axial orificeV to the height of said chamber is at least flve-to-one.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Germany Sept. 3, 1959

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Referenced by
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US3192938 *Sep 5, 1961Jul 6, 1965Sperry Rand CorpFluid multi-stable device
US3195303 *Jan 22, 1962Jul 20, 1965Bendix CorpVortex valve
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U.S. Classification15/346, 137/813, 15/421, 116/DIG.180, 15/1.7
International ClassificationA47L5/28
Cooperative ClassificationA47L5/28, Y10S116/18
European ClassificationA47L5/28