US 3080586 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 12, 1963' 'H. E. STEINKE 3,oso,586-
ESCAPE APPARATUS Filed April 26, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet -1 INVENTOR T131. AME/5 z". Jfi/fi/(E BY V max AQAW ATTO R N EY H. E. STEIN KE 3,080,586
March 12, 1963 ESCAPE APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 26, 1961 Tu l.
ATTORNEY March 12, 1963 H. E. STEIN KE ESCAPE APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed April 26, 1961 INVENTOR 5/420: .5. .57'5/A/KE BY w ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,080,586 ESCAPE APPARATUS Harris E. Steinke, 36 Maple Drive, Groton, New London, Conn. Filed Apr. 26, 1961, Ser. No. 105,833 19 Claims. (Cl. 9-613) (Granted under Title 35, US. Code (1952), see. 266) The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.
This invention relates to escape apparatus, and particularly to apparatus useful for persons desiring to escape from a submerged housing such as from a submergedsubmarine.
Heretofore, a submariner in making an escape from a disabled and deeply submerged submarine, entered the escape lock of the submarine, took a deep lung full of air, left the escape lock and was carried to the surface of the sea by a life-jacket, during which ascent he continually exhaled at a varying rate of exhalation the air he acquired in the deep breath before he left the escape lock. There are disadvantages in this plan of escape. For example, the presence of smoke or chlorine gas in the escape lock or compartment can induce coughing or choking, which in turn can create a muscular spasm that prevents the escapee from exhaling, even if he is attempting to do so. In such event, the danger of air embolism or drowning is greatly increased. Also the rate of exhalation from the present training depth of fifty feet is uniform, but unfortunately this is not true from greater depths. For the deeper depths, the rate of exhalation must be changed throughout a deep ascent to conform to the laws of air expansion due to the decreasing pressure of the water on the air as the person rises. Since the majority of training has been conducted from about fifty feet or less, it is diflicult to teach personnel the proper method of exhalation for escapes beyond this depth. For example, the ascent through the last 33 feet to the surface produces more expansion than from a depth of 300 feet to 33 feet, and the rate of expansion increases rapidly as the surface is approached. An important fact is that a steady exhalation or blow is one of the primary safety factors, and if too much air is exhaled initially, the escapee can panic, stop the blow, blow intermittently, or a combination all three of these, in any of which events the escapee is in serious danger, particularly from depths below 30 to 50 feet.
An object of this invention is to provide a device which when used by an escapee, enables him to keep his head out of water during his ascent, so that he may during such ascent breathe and maintain the high rate of ascent that is desirable, with the use of which the danger of air embolism in the escapee is largely or entirely avoided, even at very high speeds of ascent, with which an escapee can breathe normally during his ascent without difficulty or significant increase in lung pressure, which may be used successfully and safely even with relatively inexperienced personnel in making an escape from a submerged, disabled submarine, with which the manner of use can be easily explained to submariners since it is only necessary to emphasize the need for a steady breathing cycle which is natural to everyone, which enables the escapee to breathe easily and normally when he reaches the surface of the water, which can be quickly donned and escape begun with a minimum of delay, and which is relatively simple in construction and use, compact, practical, safe, dependable and inexpensive.
Another object is to provide an improved, simple, practical and safe method of escape from a submerged hous- Other objects and advantages will be apparent from the following disclosure of one example of the invention, and the novel features will be particularly pointed out in connection with the appended claims.
In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective of an escape apparatus constructed in accordance with this invention and illustrated as worn by an escapee;
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevation of a part of the same;
FIG. 3 is a sectional elevation of a typical snorkel that is used as a part of the apparatus;
FIG. 4 is a graph illustrating the expansion of a given volume of air during an ascent from a depth of about 300 feet to the surface of a body of water; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional elevation on a reduced scale of an escape lock of a submerged housing.
In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, a standard or any suitable submarine life-jacket or preserver is the foundation on which the improved apparatus is built. Such a preserver is identified, for example, in Military Specification MILE16433D (ships) dated June 21, 1959. This life-jacket or preserver 1 includes an inflatable textile fabric casing 2 having therein an inflatable insert 2a formed from a nylon fabric coated with a synthetic rubber such as neoprene. This casing 2-, near one end thereof, has an aperture 3 from face to face thereof of a size to enable the casing to be passed over ones head, usually before its inflation. This casing 2, after the users head is passed through opening 3, extends down the front of the wearers chest, as shown in FIG. 1, and a harness 4 that is attached to the lower end of the casing is passed around the trunk of the wearer, and its ends secured together so as to anchor the lower end of the casing to the wearers body, also as shown in FIG. 1. This harness, as illustrated, includes an open ended fabric pocket 5 formed by folding a sheet of fabric on itself and'then securing to the casing 2 the superposed edges that are opposite from the line of fold of the fabric. A long flexible strap 6 (FIG. 1) is passed endwise through the pocket formed by the folded fabric, then around the back of the wearer and its ends adjustably and detachably secured together, after the strap has been drawn snug, by a fastener 7 of any suitable type. This anchors the preserver firmly to the wearers body.
A hood 8 is secured on the upper face of the casing of the preserver at the opening 3 (FIG. 2) with the lower marginal edge or flange 9 of the hood extending along and in contact with the casing 2 entirely around the head opening 3. i
This marginal edge portion of the hood is secured tightly to the casing wall in any suitable manner such as by stitching or cement 10, or both, so as to form an approximately tight seal between the hood and the easing. The hood is large enough to enclose the head of the wearer with considerable space to spare, so that there will be a substantial volume of air around the wearers head. In front of the wearers face the hood is provided with a water impervious but transparent window 11 through which the wearer is able to look out and observe what is happening around him.
The upper wall of the casing 2 is provided on each side, over the shoulder, with a pressure relief valve 12 within the boundary of the marginal edges of the hood, as shown in FIG.'1. Each of these pressure relief valves communicates with the interior of the inflatable tube or insert in the casing, and at its upper end it opens into the interior of the hood, one at each side of the wearers head. These relief valves are arranged to open at a rather low pressure, such as two pounds per square inch. Thus, if the pressure in the inflatable tube or insert in the casing of the preserver exceeds this pressure for which the valves 12 are set, such as two pounds per square inch, the valves will open and pass'any air under such excess pressure into the hood. Also provided on the upper face of the casing but outside of the hood is a flexible tube 13 having one end secured to the casing and opening through the casing into the interior of the inflatable insert within the casing.
This tube 13 at its outer end has a free check valve 14 which opens freely to pass air into the inflatable insert or tube in the casing, and normally prevents outward flow therethrough. However, a ferrule on the outer end of this tube is pushable endwise alongthe tube so as to mechanically open the check valve of the tube and release the pressure in the interior of the inflatable insert of the casing. Such a tube 13 with such a check valve 14 is commonly used on life preservers, and therefore since it is not, per se, the subject, the invention, but only its use in the present combination, it is shown only generally and not in interior -.detail. The length of the tube is such that its free end can be reached by the hands of the wearer, andalso can be placed in the mouth of the wearer. This tube is a medium by which compressed air can be passed into the inflatable insert in the casing to inflate it when the wearer is about to make an escape from the submarine. I I
The hood 8, immediately below the window 11, is provided with a snorkel tube 15 which, at its anchored end, opens into the interior of the hood and there terminates in a mouthpiece 16 (see FIG. 3). At its outer end it is closed, but it has a plurality of apertures 17 in its peripheral wall nearrits outer end. A sleeve 18 is mounted on the exterior of the snorkel tube 15 so as to slide in adirection lengthwise thereon. A stop 19 limits the outward movement ofthe sleeve '13 on the tube 15. An O-ring 20, is diposed between the'interior periphery of the sleeve 18 andthe exterior periphery of the tube 15 between the apertures 17 and the closed outer end of the tube. This O-ring is. received in annular grooves in the inner peripheryof the sleeve 18 and the outer periphery of the tube 15, so as to provide a fluidtight seal. The end of the sleeve 18 nearest the hood 8 has an inturned annular flange "21 which fits. and rides closely on the outer periphery of tube 15. When the sleeve 18 is in the position shown in FIG. 3, at its outer limit of movement, it covers the apertures 17 so that no air can enter the tube 1-5, from outside of the hood 8 and no air within the hood can escape outwardly through the snorkel tube 15. t t p When the wearer wishes to use the snorked tube he merely reaches with his hand to engage the sleeve 18 and move it into a position against the hood 8, during which it uncovers the apertures 17 so that air may enter tube 15 from the outside of the hood and pass into the hood. When the sleeve 18 is moved outwardly on the tube 15 it engages over the O-ring, and the O-ring by engaging in the annular groove on the interior periphery of the sleeve will act as a stop for holding the sleeve yieldingly against accidental displacement in an opening direction. This snorkel tube is opened to enable the wearer to breathe normally while he'is'preparing'to make an ascent in the escape lock or chamber, but when the'wea'r'er is ready to take off in his ascent, he pushes the sleeve into the closed position and leaves it closed until he reaches the surface of the sea, when he canagain open it to enable him to breathe normally until he is picked up by rescue craft.
The hood 8 is also provided just above themarginal flange 9 with an encircling slide fastener 22 having a runner 23 (see FIG. 2) which connects the upper part of the hood to its lower part sothat if the wearer, when he reaches the surface, wishes to remove the hood, ml he has to do is to operate the runner on the slide fastener in a direction to completely disengage the hood from the preserver. A flap on the inside of the hood is secured along one edge to the hood, with the flap overlapping with the side fastener. The air pressure inside of the hood holds the flap against the fastener to prevent penetration of water through the fastener.
Secured firmly against the lower face of the casing 2, around the head opening'3,is a highly elastic sheet 24 secured along its periphery to the casing such as by cement 25, and this sheet 24- i provided with an aperture 26 from face to face thereof which is slightly smaller than the average cross-sectional size of an adults neck, so that when the preserver is placed over the head of a wearer, the sheet 24 can stretch freely and allow the opening 26 to enlarge enough to pass the head of the wearer and then to fit around the neck of the wearer rather closely. This highly elastic sheet 24 may be of any ofthe highly elastic rubbers or rubber substitutes. The graph of FIG. 4 illustrates the rate of expansion of the air during an ascent, and it will be observed that the expansion rate increases very rapidly as the ascent nears completion.
In the use of this device, when a person desires to escape from a submerged submarine, he places the casing over his head, usually while it is deflated, until it is in the position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 with the hood 8 secured as shown to the upper face of the casing. The insert tube within the casing is then inflated by connecting the free end of the tube 13 to a source of compressed air which is available in submarines, or in an emergency, by blowing into the tube 13. The wearer opens the snorkel tube 15 by pulling the sleeve 18 toward the hood so as to uncover the apertures 17. The wearer can then breathe normally even when the escape lock is closed and nearly filled with water. 7 I p The wearer, just before he emerges from the escape lock, closes the snorkel by moving the sleeve 18 to its closed position shown in FIG. 3, then submerges himself fully into the water in the escape lock and then opens the lock and starts his ascent. After his escape, as he starts upwardly, the progressively decreasing water pressure on the casing 2 or preserver, will cause the air with the inflated casing to expand, and this expanding air will escape through the pressure relief valves 12 into the hood so as to supply continuously a stream of the air necessary for the wearer to breathe during his ascent. Immediately after the casing 2 is inflated, which places its air pressure above that in the hood, the pressure relief valves 12 will open and small streams of air will pass into the hood. The, water pressure on the exterior of the hood will be the same as that on the exterior of casing 2, but there will be a pressure differential between the higher pressure of air in the casing 2 and the lower air pressure in the hood, so that a continuous flow of air through the hood will occur. This pressure differential is small, usually about one to two pounds per square inch but adequate to cause a continuous air flow through the hood to enable the escapee to breath normally as he ascends. The air which escapes into the hood interior displaces air already in the hood down through the opening 26 at the lower face of the casing 2, and this air trapped in the hood 8 prevents water from moving into and flooding the hood around the head of the wearer. The rate of expansion of the air in the preserver increases very rapidly as the person approaches the surface of the sea, as shown by the graph in FIG. 4, but at all times the pressure in the hood is not excessive so as to interfere with the normal breathing of the wearer.
When the wearer reaches the surface of ,thewater, he opens the snorkel, so he can breathe normally, because with the termination of the ascent there will be no further expansion of the air from the preserver into the hood and the wearer must obtain additional air from outside to breathe until he is picked up. He can, if he wishes, remove the hood by disconnecting the slide fastener 22. The snorkel is not used during the ascent, but only in the escape lock while preparing to start his ascent and also at the conclusion of his ascent. During'the ascent with the snorkel closed, the relief valves from the preserver open directly into the hood, so as to provide the wearer with a continuous stream of fresh air during the escape.
An advantage of this device is that the escapee does not have to take a deep breath and then exhale at a variable rate while ascending, because with his head in the hood which is filled with air, he can breathe normally with expanded air while ascending to the surface. By having the hood with its continuous supply of fresh air to breathe during the ascent, it is possible to maintain a high rate of speed during the ascent, because the escapee is breathing air at normal pressure during ascent. There has been no difliculty from air embolism at even a rapid rate of rise in tests made in ascents from depths of 85 to 100 feet and breathing the entire time. Escapees making these tests have never during such ascents experienced any di'fliculty in breathing or detected any significant increase in lung pressure.
In FIG. 5, the basic construction of one example of an escape lock is schematically illustrated. A housing 27, which is submerged and which may be a submarine hull, has an escape chamber or compartment 28 adjoining an outside wall of the housing. A door 29 in the outside wall of the housing is hinged at 30 so as to swing inwardly, and has a suitable means (not shown) accessible from the inside of the housing for closing it and holding it closed, but operable by an escapee in the chamber 28 or by a person in the housing upon signal from the escapee in chamber 28, to open inwardly and enable the escapee to emerge into the sea from chamber 29. A conduit 31 extends into the chamber 28 and has a manually operable valve 32 therein within the chamber 28. A flexible hose 33 is secured to the end of the valve controlled conduit 31 Within the chamber 28 and it terminates in the usual valve by which one inflates an automobile or bicycle tire. It is used in a similar manner by the escapee to inflate his casing 2, as he is about to leave the chamber 28, by pressing the free end of hose 33 (FIG. 5) against the end 14 of tube 13 (FIG. 1) and opening valve 32.
Entrance to chamber 28 is obtained through a door 34, hinged at 35 to swing into the chamber 28. Suitable means, not shown, is provided as usual in escape locks of submarines, to force water out of chamber 28 after an escapee has left that chamber in order that another escapee can enter the chamber 28 from the housing 27.
In use, the escapee enters chamber 28 while door 29 is closed, and closes door 34. Water from the sea is admitted to chamber 28 in the manner usual in escaping from a submarine, but it is illustrated schematically by an inlet pipe 36 leading into chamber 23 from outside the housing, and controlled by a valve 37 within the escape lock chamber. When the water is admitted, the air of the escape chamber can be released or displaced such as by a vent pipe 38 controlled by a valve 39 within the escape lock chamber. When the admitted water in chamber 23 reaches about the neck of the escapee wearing the preserver and hood, the escapee inflates his casing 2, closes his snorkel, completes equalization of water pressure in the chamber 28 with that of the sea outside or exceeds it, and quickly opens door 29 and escapes from chamber 28. As the escapee rises in the sea, due to the buoyancy of his inflated casing, the water pressure on the casing 2 progressively decreases, and this allows the air in inflated casing 2 to expand through the pressure relief valve to pass a stream of breathing air or gas through the hood which prevents flooding of the hood with water and enables the escapee to breathe naturally during his ascent.
It will be understood that various changes in the details, materials and arrangements of parts, which have been herein described and illustrated in order to explain the nature of the invention, may be used by those skilled in the art within the principle and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.
1. A device by the use of which a wearer may safely escape from a submerged submarine, which comprises an inflatable life preserver with an opening from face to face thereof of a size when the preserver is deflated to pass over the head of a wearer and surround his neck, and having a portion extending from the neck opening along the torso of a wearer, means carried by such preserver for anchoring the lower part of the preserver to the wearer, and a closed hood attached tightly to such preserver around the portion of the preserver with said neck opening and having a closed, clear viewing window in its front, the hood having a chamber with a shape and capacity to loosely surround the head of a wearer, said preserver having a passage from its interior into the chamber of said hood and controlled by a low pressure relief valve for passing air from said preserver int-o the hood as the air in said preserver expands, said preserver also having a valve controlled inlet by which air under pressure may be admitted to the interior of said preserver to inflate it and hold it inflated.
2. The device according to claim 1, and an impervious, highly elastic sheet secured to said preserver and extending around said neck opening and having therein an aperture from face to face thereof, slightly smaller in area than the neck of an average adult, whereby said sheet may stretch around said aperture to pass over the head of a wearer and then contract to approximately fit the neck of such wearer and prevent flooding of the hood interior with sea water during an ascent through the sea.
3. A device to aid a wearer in safely escaping from a submarine submerged in the sea, which comprises an inflatable preserver having an opening of a size, when the preserver is deflated, to pass over the head of a wearer and then when the preserver is inflated to approximately fit the neck of the wearer, with the preserver abutting the trunk of such wearer, means for detachably confining the preserver to the trunk of such wearer, a closed hood attached to one face of such preserver around said opening with a water-tight connection between the hood and preserver, said hood having therein a chamber of a shape and capacity to loosely surround the head of such wearer and a window through which such wearer may see outside of the hood, said preserver having a valve controlled inlet by which air under pressure may be introduced into the preserver to inflate it and hold it inflated, and also having a passage from the inflated interior of said interior of said preserver into said hood chamber, controlled by a low pressure relief valve, for passing air from the inflated preserver into said hood chamber when the pressure of the inflating air in said preserver exceeds a predetermined pressure, whereby as a wearer with the preserver inflated leaves the submarine and is carried upwardly toward the surface of the sea in which the submarine is submerged, the expansion of the inflating air confined in the preserver as the wearer ascends, will cause a discharge of the expanding air into and through the hood to enable the wearer to breathe air.
4. The device according to claim 3, and means attached to said preserver and accessible for operation by the wearer to deflate said preserver when he reaches the surface of said sea.
5. The device according to claim 3, and a highly elastic sheet secured to said preserver around said neck opening and having therein an aperture from face to face thereof,
. slightly smaller in area than the neck of an average adult,
whereby said sheet may stretch to enlarge said aperture in passing over the head of a wearer and then contract to approximately fit the neck of the wearer and prevent flooding of the hood interior with sea water during an ascent through the sea by the wearer.
6. The device according to claim 3, and means attached to'said preserver and accessible for operation by the wearer to deflate said preserver when he reaches the surface of said sea, and a highly elastic sheet secured to said preserver around said neck opening and having therein an aperture from face to face thereof, slightly smaller in area than the neck of an average adult, whereby said sheet may Stretch to enlarge said aperture in passiug over the head of a wearer and then contract to approximately fit the neck of the wearer and preventing flooding of the hood interior with sea water during an ascent through the seaby the wearer.
7. The device according to claim 3, wherein the connection of said hood tosaid preserver is manually operable to detach the hood from the preserver at the will of the wearer when he completes his ascent.
8. A device to aid awearer in safelyascending from a submarine submerged in a sea, which comprises an inflatable preserver of flexible sheet material of a shape and size to be worn on the trunk and surround the necleof a wearer, means for detachably confining the preserver to the trunk of a wearer, valve controlled means carried by said preserver by which'said preserver may be inflated with air and held inflated, aclosed-hood attached by a substantially water-tight seam tosaid preserver around the portion of the latter which encircles the wearers neck, upstanding from the preserver, of a size and shape to loosely enclose the head of'the wearer and having a transparent window in the portion thereof in front of the face of the wearer, and pressure relief means on the upper wall of said preserver in the area thereof covered by said hood for passing into the interior of said hood any inflating air from said preserver in excess of a predetermined 'low pressure differential, whereby during an ascent of the wearer in the sea, the progressive expansion of the air in said preserver will be released through said pressure relief means into said hood to enable normal breathing by the wearer during his ascent in the sea.
I 9. A device according to claim 8, wherein said'valve controlled means isalso manually operable "to release air from said preserver todeflate thepreserver to any desired extent when the wearer completes his ascent from the submarine. I p s N s 10. A device according to claim 8, and snorkel means leading tothe interior of said hoodfrom the exterior thereof by which the wearer may receive air for'breathing ,while preparing to leave the submarine and closable when the wearer is about to start his ascent.
11. A device according to claim 10, wherein said valve controlled means is also manually operable to release airtrom said preserver to deflate the preserver to any desired extent when the wearer completes his ascent from the submarine. 2
12. A device according to claim 8, and-a highly elastic sheet attached to said preserver and extending in a direction around the portion thereof which surrounds the .neck of the wearer, and having an aperture from face to face thereof that may be enlarged by stretching of the sheet to pass over the head of thewearer and surround the neck of the wearer when the preserver and hood are applied to the wearer.
I 13. A device to aid a wearer in safely ascending from a submarine submerged in the sea, which comprises a I closed, hollow, buoyant, collapsible member that may be filled with air under pressure and inflated, -means for detachably confining said member to the trunk of a wearer with a portion surrounding the neck of the wearer, a
closed hood attached to and extending upwardly from said member around the neck and head of said wearer and having a transparent window in front of the face of the wearer, pressure relief valve controlled means carried by said member for passing air from said member into i said hood in'excess of a predetermined inflating pressure in said member, means connected to said member by which air under pressuremay be admitted to the latter and held therein, whereby the air expanding in said member under l the progressively decreasing water pressure upon said member as the wearer ascends in the sea from the submarine, will be passed through said hood to enable the wearer to breathe normally with expanded 'air.
14. A device according to claim 13, wherein said member has means by which it may be deflated by the wearer when he completes his ascent.
15. A device according to claim 13, wherein the connection between said hood and member can be broken by the wearer to release the hood when he completes his ascent and wishes to remove the hood from his head.
16 A device according to claim 13, and a highly elastic, thin sheet attached to said member and having an aperture from face to face therethrough to receive and surround the neck of the wearer when said member is confined to the wearer, to reduce the danger of any flooding of the r' hood interior with sea water during the ascent of the wearer.
17. A device to aid 21 person in safely ascending in the sea from great depths to the surface thereof, Which comprises a closed, hollow, buoyant collapsible member that may be inflated with air under pressure and retain it, means for detachably confining said member to a person intending to make such ascent, a closed hood to be worn around and enclose the head of such person and having a passage connection to the interior of said member with a pressure relief valve therein for passing air under pressure from said member into said hood when the air in said member expands during the ascent due to decreasing water pressure on said member, whereby as such person ascends in the sea, the expansion of the air in said member will be progressively'released into said hood and provide a stream of fresh air entering said hood to enable such person to breathe normally during such ascent.
18. The device according to claim 17, where said pressure relief valve opens to pass air from said member to said hood when the pressure differential between the interior'of said member and said hood is about two pounds per square inch.
19. A device to aid'a person in safely ascending in the sea from great depths to the surface thereof, which comprises a closed, hollow, collapsible bag which 'when infiated with an oxygen containing gas will hold the gas confined, means for confining said bag to a person intending to make such an ascent, means for providing a confined breathing space in front of such persons face and havinga passage from said space to the interior of said bag, apressure relief valve in said passage and opening under about two pounds per square inch pressure differential between said bag and said space to pass said gas from'said bag to said confined space and displace gas from said space, whereby as such person ascends to the surface,
the expanding air in said bag due to the progressively decreasing pressure of the. sea water on said bag during the ascent, will be discharged into the sea through said confined space and enable such person to breathe normally during such ascent.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS