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Publication numberUS3092104 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 4, 1963
Filing dateApr 21, 1958
Priority dateApr 21, 1958
Publication numberUS 3092104 A, US 3092104A, US-A-3092104, US3092104 A, US3092104A
InventorsCassidy William B
Original AssigneeLing Temco Vought Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety apparatus for oxygen system
US 3092104 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 4, 1963 w. B. CASSIDY 3,092,104

SAFETY APPARATUS FOR OXYGEN SYSTEM Filed April 21, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.

AGENT June 4, 1963 w. B. CASSIDY 3,092,104

SAFETY APPARATUS FOR OXYGEN sys'rzu Filed April 21, 1958 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 WILLIAM 5. CA 35 IDY INVENTOR.

BY M. @M

AGENT United States Patent 3,092,104 SAFETY APPARATUS FOR OXYGEN SYSTEM William B. Cassidy, Arlington, Tex., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Dallas, Tern, a corporation of Delaware Filed Ap 21, 1958, Ser. No. 729,829 16 Claims. (Cl. 128142) This invention relates to oxygen systems, and more particularly to a safety apparatus for a closed oxygen system.

In a closed oxygen system (i.e., a system in which the user wears a mask, helmet or the like connected to a source of compressed oxygen and into which, by virtue of the construction of the system, no air may be drawn by the inhalation of the user), the pilot or other user of the system is entirely dependent for breath on the oxygen Supplied to him by the system. In these systems, the oxygen is released on demand into the mask or helmet through and by action of a demand-type regulator and often at a small but positive pressure which is greatly reduced from the pressure at which the oxygen is supplied to the regulator through its inlet line. As long as the inlet pressure is normal, i.e., above a critical value, the user will upon inhalation receive enough oxygen to sustain consciousness. At a subnormal (less than critical) inlet pressure, he will not receive enough oxygen, and because of the mask or helmet will not be able to breathe ambient air, by which term is meant not necessarily air outside or at pressures equal to those outside a cockpit or other enclosure, but rather air in directly ambient relation to the regulator and the mask or helmet of the user, whether or not he be enclosed in a cockpit, etc. The user, hence, is entirely dependent on an adequate inlet pressure at the regulator. If this pressure fails, and if he cannot take any measure successful in restoring an adequate inlet pressure, he may remove his mask, if he is wearing one and capable of doing so, and breathe ambient air. This he cannot do if he is unconscious; and even if he is conscious, the timely removal of the mask or particularly a helmet, if such be worn, is frequently not possible.

A condition of less than critical pressure at the regulator inlet can be caused by one or more of a number of factors including, for example, a rupture, clogging, crack, break, or malfunction in the oxygen system upstream of the regulator. The supplementary source of oxygen which the user ordinarily takes with him if, in an emergency, he must leave the aircraft during flight is ordinarily small and may soon be depleted, thus adding or constituting another cause of low inlet pressure. In the case of a break (for example, if the supply line to the regulator becomes disconnected), no oxygen at all is supplied, and the amount of air which can be inspired through the regulator and/or supply line is likely to be too small to be of significant benefit to the user.

To save the user from smothering, masks, helmets, and conduits have been provided with check valves and other arrangements which allow the breathing of ambient air when the supply becomes disconnected or if for any other reason the oxygen supplied to the user becomes insufiicient. These arrangements have all had a serious failing in that the user has no Way of knowing if he is breathing air or oxygen. Thus, when above critical altitude (by which is meant: when at an ambient air pressure too low to supply sufiicient oxygen for avoiding anoxia), the user can be stricken by anoxia without ever having known that the oxygen flow to him has been discontinued. To provide warning of loss of oxygen, visual and auditory indicators have been supplied to signal the impending or actual oxygen loss, but these have sometimes been dis regarded or unnoticed and of course areof no avail when the user has in some way been rendered unconscious.

7 3,092,104 Patented June 4, 1963 It is, accordingly, a major object of this invention to provide a safety apparatus for automatically supplying a user of an oxygen system with oxygen from a supplementary source upon failure of the system to deliver adequate oxygen from a normal or primary source.

Another object is to provide a safety apparatus which, if the normal oxygen supply fails while the air ambient to the user of the oxygen system is at or above a critical pressure altitude, connects the user with a supplementary oxygen supply by initiating an ejection sequence and, where desired in such an apparatus, to provide means for warning the oxygen user that the ejection is imminent and means allowing him to stop the ejection sequence if he so desires.

Yet another object is to provide a device which, upon failure of the oxygen system to furnish adequate oxygen to the user, supplies him with a warning which, if he is conscious, cannot be ignored, and thereafter allows him to breathe ambient air if he has not taken action effective in restoring the oxygen system to normal working order.

Further objects and advantages will be apparent from the specification and claims and from the accompanying drawing which illustrates an embodiment of the invention.

In the drawing:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic representation of an oxygen system to which an illustrative embodiment of the safety apparatus has been applied, the oxygen regulator being shown in central, vertical cross-section;

FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary sectional view of an oxygen regulator similar to that represented in FIGURE 1 and showing a modification in which the bellows chamber is omitted from the apparatus;

FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary, sectional view of an oxygen regulator similar to that in FIGURE 1 and showing a modification of the device wherein the bellows is housed in the demand chamber of the regulator; and

FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 and showing a different placement of the bellows.

With reference now to FIGURE 1, the breathing oxygen system comprises a normal source of oxygen such as a container (not shown) storing liquid or gaseous oxygen. Compressed oxygen is delivered through a line 10, disconnect 11, check valve 12, and line 13 from the container to a demand-type oxygen regulator 14. One-half of the disconnect 11 may be mounted on, for example, a pilots ejection seat 17, and the other half attached, as at 15, by a lanyard 16 or equivalent, to a fixed item of an aircraft in which the seat is mounted.

The demand-type regulator 14 may be of any type having an inlet passage 18 connected to the oxygen supply line 13, a vessel 19 having a wall enclosing a volume identified as a demand chamber 20 with a port 21 which will be understood to open directly or through a suitable conduit into the users mask or helmet, and a demand valve 22 which governs the flow of oxygen from the inlet passage 18 into the demand chamber 20 in accordance with movements of a spring-loaded diaphragm 23 inter-posed between the demand chamber 20 and a lower chamber 24 housing an aneroid or closed bellows 25. Although usein] with any regulator such as described above and not limited in its usefulness to application to any particular regulator, the invention is shown in the drawing, in order to provide one specific example, in association with a miniature oxygen breathing regulator 14 of the demand type with automatic safety pressure and pressure breathing such as shown and fully described in the US. Department of the Navy publication AER-AE-512/217, dated September 25, 1957, to which publication reference is made for all details not herein provided concerning the construction and operation of the regulator.

A supplementary supply of oxygen is stored, for example, in a bottle 26 mounted in a convenient location such as on the person of the user or on the seat 17. The flow control means comprises a valve 27, which where required should be of the pressure-reducing variety and which is mounted on and which communicates with the interior of the supplementary bottle 26. The valve 27 contains a mechanism, such being well known in the art, which is connected to and positionable by a lanyard or equivalent 28 attached to an airframe fixed item as at 29. When the lanyard is pulled manually by the user, automatically by ejection of the seat 17 from the aircraft, or in any other manner, the flow-control means valve 27 is positioned for connecting the supplementary source 26 through a line 30 into the line 13 between the regulator 14 and check valve 12. The electrically actuatable motor means may be any means connected to the lanyard 28 or valve 27, actuatable by an electrical signal, and energized electrically, by an explosive force, or in any desired way whereby it is effective in displacing the lanyard 28 or valve 27 relative to each other and causing the valve 27 to connect the supplementary bottle 26 to the regulator 14. Such motor means is readily provided by the seat catapult 32 firmly attached to the seat 17 as by fittings 31 and operative, in response to an electrical signal delivered thereto through a lead 33, for ejecting the seat 17 from the aircraft, thereby pulling the valve 27 away from the lanyard 28 and connecting the sup plementary bottle 26 to the regulator 14. Since ejection seats, their mountings, the catapults for their ejection, etc. have been well described in readily available publications, they will not be further touched upon herein except as may be necessary in the complete disclosure of the present invention.

The wall of the vessel 19 enclosing the demand chamber 20 lies between the latter and ambient air (air surrounding the vessel 19). The safety device comprises a portion 34 of the wall of the vessel 19, which portion 34 has an orifice 36 leading from the ambient air into the demand chamber 20. The wall portion 34 cooperates with an adjoining Wall portion 42 of the chamber 19 to define a recess closed off from the remainder of the demand chamber 20 by a wall or partition located within the demand chamber 20 and identified as having an opening 38 providing communication between the remainder of the chamber 20 and the chamber portion 37 divided off therefrom by the partition.

Otherwise stated, and from another point of view, the above construction may be described as one in which the partition with the opening 38 is a part of the wall of the vessel 19 cooperating to enclose, rather than to subdivide, the demand chamber 20. Where this point of view is adopted, as it has been for the remainder of the description of FIGURE 1, the wall portion 34 is regarded as additional to the wall of the vessel 19 and the volume 37 which it cooperates in enclosing is then a bellows chamber separate and distinct from the demand chamber 20. In both modes of viewing and describing the construction, the demand chamber port 21 leading to the users mask or helmet has communication through the partition opening 38 and wall orifice 36 with the ambient air.

The closure means 41 is any body suitably proportioned and mounted for movement between a first position 39A wherein it obstructs and preferably entirely closes the wall orifice 36 and a second position in register, for example, with 393 in which it is well spaced from and permits ambient airflow through the orifice 36. The closure means might be, for example, a hinged flap or other movable element, and conveniently may be a surface of a part borne by or integral with the pressure-sensitive motor means 40 for positioning the closure means, which means will now be described.

The pressure-sensitive means for moving the closure means 41 may be any device linked to the latter and sensitive and responsive to pressures in the inlet passage 18 for moving the closure means 41 to its first position 39A when pressures in the inlet passage 18 equal or exceed the predetermined, critical inlet pressure at which the user is unable to obtain adequate oxygen through the regulator 14 and for moving the closure means 41 toward its second position 393 when inlet pressures fall below the critical pressure (i.e., to subnormal values). The energy utilized by the pressure-sensitive means in moving the closure means may be pneumatic, electrical, springstored, etc. In the specific example shown in FIGURE 1, the pressure-sensitive means is a fluid motor such as a bellows 40 housed in the chamber 37. The bellows 40 has a free end which faces the orifice 36, and the outer surface of its free end may form the closure means 41. Alternatively, as shown in the drawing, the closure means 41 may be a plate or similar body shaped for good closing of the orifice 36 and linked to the bellows 40 by rigidly mounting it on the free end of the latter. The opposite end of the bellows is mounted in fixed relation to the wall portion 34 and orifice 36, as for example, on the wall 42 separating the bellows chamber 37 from the inlet passage The means providing restricted communication between the interior of the bellows 40 and the normal oxygen source 10 may be a small, calibrated metering opening 43 made through the fixed end of the bellows 40 and wall 42 into the inlet passage 18. This opening 43, whose size will be discussed below, allows gaseous flow to pass between the interior of the bellows 40 and the inlet passage 18. Pressures admitted into the bellows 40 from the inlet passage 18 tend to expand the bellows and hence to force the closure means 41 toward the orifice 36. The bellows 40 of the example is biased by its own construction, i.e., by its resiliently expandable wall, and may additionally or alternatively be biased by springs, etc., toward the second position 39B of the closure means 41. This bias must be weak enough to allow the bellows 40 to expand sulficiently to hold the closure means 41 in its first position 39A when pressures in the inlet passage 18 are normal or above and strong enough to move the closure means 41 away from the orifice 36 toward its second position 39B when the inlet passage pressures are less than normal (below the previously defined, predetermined critical value). The resiliently expansible wall of the bellows 40 of the example thus is a resilient means biasing the closure means 41 to its second (open) position. The size of the calibrated opening 43 if of great importance since upon it depends whether or not one of the more important objectives of the invention, yielding one of its most valuable benefits, is attained, i.e. providing the oxygen user with a positive warning, which he cannot ignore, that he will soon be supplied by operation of the invention with air rather than oxygen. The size of the opening 43 should be such as to provide restricted communication between the inlet passage 18 and the interior of the be]- lows 40, and in all places in which it is used herein, the term restricted communication (as applied to the relationship between the bellows 40 and inlet passage 18) refers to a communication which is restricted to a degree that, upon a sudden and extensive drop in pressure in the inlet passage 18 (such as an abrupt pressure change caused by a crack or break in one of the oxygen lines 10 and 13 or their fittings, etc.), a few seconds will elapse between the time of the pressure drop in the inlet passage and the time of the bleeding of the bellows pressure through the opening 43 to a value at which the bias of the bellows 40 can effect movement of the closure means 41 to its second position 3913. The calibrated opening 43 thus is a metering opening and must be small enough to provide the above-specified degree of restriction. The above-mentioned term restricted communication is always further limited herein to a communication wherein the degree of restriction is less than that at which the elapsed time between the pressure drop in the inlet passage 18 and the opening of the wall orifice 36 would be so great as to force unconscious or excessive discomfort on the oxygen user. Hence, when it is stated herein that the calibrated orifice 43 restricts flow, it is meant that it is of such size as to provide the restricted communication between the bellows 40 and inlet passage 18 which has been precisely defined above. The bias of the bellows 40 and the size of the opening 43 must be carefully balanced against each other to provide the desired time interval between the loss of inlet pressure and the opening of the wall aperture 36, and it is recommended, to provide a general example, that this interval be no shorter than nor longer than 30 to 40 seconds, although of course a longer period would not often seriously affect the oxygen user.

Where desired, and for reasons which will become apparent, a check valve comprising a plate or other suitable element 44 is mounted where it will, when closed, cut off any gaseous flow into or out of the demand chamber 20 through the wall orifice 36. A convenient location for the check valve 44 is adjacent the opening 38 between the bellows and demand chambers 37, 20. The check valve 44 should be lightly biased as by a spring 45 to a position in which it closes the opening 38, and it should be located on the side of the opening 38 facing the demand chamber 20 so that positive pressures in the latter will augment the bias exerted by the spring 45 and so that any negative pressures occasioned by inhalations of the oxygen user will tend to open the check valve 44. From the above, it will be understood that the check valve 44 is movably interposed between the interior of the demand chamber 20 and ambient air adjoining the outer side 35 of the wall portion 34 provided with the orifice 36.

The first electrical switch 46 is linked with the pressuresensitive means 40 by any suitable mechanical linkage such as symbolized in the drawing by 47. The linkage 47 may be, for example, a pin, set of levers, etc. mechanically connecting the movable contact of the switch 46 with the closure means 41. Operated by motion of the pressure-sensitive means 40, the switch 46 is held open whenever the closure means 41 is in its first position 39A and is closed when the closure means is moved to or toward its second position 3913.

The second and third switches 48, 49 are connected in series with each other and with the first switch 46 and are connectable through the latter to an electrical power source (not shown) by an electrical lead 50.

The pressure-sensitive means for operating the second switch 48 may be a closed bellows or aneroid 51 which holds the switch 48 open when ambient air pressure exceeds a predetermined, critical value (a pressure below which the oxygen concentration in the ambient air is not sufficient to sustain efficient conscious action on the part of the oxygen user), and which expands and thereby closes the switch 48 when the air pressure is below this predetermined value. Linkage of the second pressure-sensitive means 51 with the second switch 48 may be elfected, for example, by a pin 52 mounted on a movable end of the bellows 51 and bearing against the member carrying the movable contact of the second switch 48.

The means for closing the third switch 49 at a time following, by a predetermined interval, concurrent closure of the first and second switches 46, 48 is linked to the third switch by any chosen and appropriate mechanical linkage 53. As used herein, concurrent closure refers not to a simultaneous closing, but rather to a simultaneous state of being closed. The means for closing the third switch is responsive to a signal received from the electrical power source 50 when the first and second switches 46, 48 experience concurrent closure, and upon reception of such a signal begins a time-measuring operation at the end of which it moves the third switch 49 to its closed position. This device may be chosen from any of a number of devices which will provide the above-described operation, and may comprise, for example, an electrically triggered clockwork mechanism, an electrical timer with means for moving the switch 49, etc. In the drawing, 54 represents an electrical motor connected to the second switch 48 and linked with the third switch through a gear train or other timing mechanism and a mechanical linkage 53.

The means for electrical connection of the third switch 49 with the electrically actuatable motor means comprises the electrical lead 33 extending between the seat catapult 32 and the third switch. Where, as ordinarily will be the case, the aircraft is provided with other manually and/or automatically controlled ejection provisions governing the delivery of an electrical signal to the seat catapult 32 for actuation of the latter, they may readily be connected to or into the lead 33, and their components (governed by the electrical signal from the third switch 49 for sending a signal to the catapult 32 or through which the signal from the third switch passes on its way to the catapult) are comprised by the means for electrical connection of the third switch 49 with the electrically actuatable motor means 32 and are symbolized in the drawing the item 56. Since manually or automatically controlled provisions are well known in ejection systems and vary from aircraft to aircraft they accordingly will not be further described herein.

The warning device, where provided, should preferably be electrically actuatable and connected to the second switch 48 in parallel with the third switch 49. The warning device may comprise, for example, a light 57 and/or a horn 58 which are energized by the electrical power source through the first and second switches 46, 48 upon their concurrent closure.

An override switch 59 may be provided in series with and between the second switch 48 and electrical power source 50; or, if desired, it of course may be provided in any other location in the circuit in which it will, when opened by the user of the oxygen system, prevent delivery of an electrical signal from the electrical power source 50 to the electrically actuatable motor means 32 for positioning the fiow control means valve 27 if this is desired following concurrent closure of the first and second switches.

It will be evident that the above-described items constitute a safety apparatus utilized in combination with an oxygen system including a regulator, normal and supplementary sources of oxygen, flow control means positionable for connecting the supplementary source to the regulator, and electrically actuatable means for positioning the flow control means. Upon omission of the electrical components of the apparatus, the remaining features of the invention provide a safety construction in the oxygen regulator, or a safety device combined with the oxygen regulator, whose operation, together with that of the entire safety apparatus, is described in later paragraphs.

FIGURE 2 shows a modification of the safety apparatus in which the wall 34 (FIGURE 1) with the orifice 36 and check valve 44 are omitted. The connection of the bellows 40 to the inlet passage 18 through the calibrated opening 43 and the linkage 47 connecting the bellows free end to the first switch 46 remain the same as shown in FIGURE 1. It will be understood that the electrical power source remains connected to the first switch through the lead 50 and that the remaining electrical items described in connection with FIGURE 1 are interconnected as before with the first switch 46 through the lead 60. In this modification, no openings leading from ambient air into the demand chamber 20 are provided. The free end of the bellows 40 is movable between extended and retracted positions 39A, 39B for opening and closing the switch 46.

FIGURE 3 shows a modification of the safety construction or device wherein the portion of the demand chamber 20 adjacent the wall portion 34A provided with the orifice 36A associated with the closure means 41A is not partitioned from the remainder of the demand chamber 20. The bellows 40A of FIGURE 3 is rigidly mounted at one of its ends in the demand chamber 20 by, for example, a bracket 61, and its free end bears the closure means 41A, which faces the wall orifice 36A and is movable by the bellows 40 between a first position 62A wherein it closes and a second position (for example, a position in register with the point 623) in which it is spaced from the orifice 36A. A passageway 63 containing a calibrated opening 43A connects the fixed end of the bellows 40A with the interior of the oxygen inlet passage 18. It will be noted that, whereas in FIGURE 1 the wall portion 34 is validly describable as a part or portion of the wall of the vessel 19 enclosing the demand chamber 20 but from another point of view was with equal validity describable as additional to the wall of the vessel 19, in the case of FIGURE 3 (also, FIGURE 4) the description must be from the point of view regarding the wall portion 34A as a portion of the wall of the vessel 19, for no partition separates the chamber portion immediately adjacent the wall portion 34A from the remainder of the demand chamber 20 as would be required to support a concept of a separate bellows chamber apart from the demand chamber 20.

FIGURE 4 shows a form of the safety device which in all important respects is the same as that shown in FIG- URE 3 except that a different placement of the motor means is employed, this means (in the specific example) again being in form of the bellows 40A. The wall portion 34A of the vessel 19 retains the orifice 36A opening therethrough into the demand chamber 20, and the bellows 40A is rigidly mounted, at one of its ends, outside the demand chamber 20 by means of, for example, a fixed bracket 66. The surface 41A of the free end of the bellows remains the closure means and is located in register with the orifice 36A in order that, when the free end of the bellows is forced into its position 65A in which it lies against the wall portion 34A having the orifice 36A, the orifice 36A is thereby closed. The interior of the bellows 40A is connected as before to the oxygen inlet passage 18 through the calibrated opening 43A and a passageway 63A. The surface 41A of the free end of the bellows 40A is movable by action of the bellows to a position, in register with the point 65B, to which the bellows 40A is baised and in which the orifice 36B is unobstructed by the bellows.

With reference again to FIGURE 1, any of the factors previously mentioned, for example, a break in the lines or 13 between the normal oxygen source and the regulator 14, may occasion a relatively fast drop in oxygen pressure at the inlet passage 18 to a value below that previously defined as normal. If and when this occurs, oxygen in the bellows 40 immediately begins bleeding into the inlet passage 18 through the restricted opening 43, and in a few seconds the oxygen pressure in the bellows falls to a value at which the bellows bias is able to move the closure member 41 away from its first position 39A and toward its second position 39B. During the interval following the pressure drop in the inlet passage 18 and ending with the opening of the orifice 36 by the closure member 41, the user of the oxygen system is unable to draw an adequate flow of oxygen or air through the regulators demand valve, and since it is obstructed by the closure member 41, he can draw no breath through the orifice 36. Though he might conceivably disregard a light, an audible signal, etc. employed to warn him that the inlet pressure was subnormal and that he was being switched from oxygen to ambient air, the deprivation of breath which the oxygen user experiences during this interval occasions him some real discomfort of so fundamental a nature that, if conscious, he cannot disregard it. As previously explained, the restricted opening 43 and the built-in bias of the bellows 40 are large enough to prevent this interval from being so long as to injure the user of the oxygen system or to render him unconscious, but is long enough to guarantee that there will occur an unmistakable hindrance to breathing which cannot be disregarded. At the end of the above-described interval, the closure means '41 is moved by the bellows 40 toward its second position 39B, and the user of the oxygen system is easily able to draw air into the demand chamber 20 through the wall orifice 36 and the portion opening 38 past the lightly biased check valve 44. Previously informed of the workings of the apparatus, the oxygen user is fully aware of the transition he has experienced from oxygen to ambient air.

While the closure means 41 is in its first position 39A, the first switch 46 is held open by its linkage 47 with the pressure-sensitive means 40. Upon movement of the closure means 41 away from the orifice 36, however, the linkage 47 pulls the first switch 46 closed. Always kept, except as explained below, in its normal (closed) position, the override switch 59 connects the first switch 46 to the second switch 48. If the pressure of the ambient air is at or above the predetermined safe value, i.e., if the critical altitude is not exceeded, the second pressure-sensitive means bellows 51 is contracted by the ambient air pressure sufficiently to allow the second switch 48 to remain open, and hence the balance of the circuit beyond the second switch 48 is not energized. If the ambient air pressure is below the predetermined value, however, the bellows 51 expands and closes the second switch 48, thereby energizing the warning device light 57 and/or horn 58 and the motor 54 of the means for closing the third switch 49. At the end of a measured, predetermined interval of time commencing with concurrent closure of the first and second switches 46, 48, the motor 54, through the linkage 53, effects closing of the third switch, thus connecting the electrical power source 50 to the electrically actuatable motor means 32. If the latter is, as is herein contemplated, an electrical motor which operates to move only the flow control means valve 27, it may, for example, pull the lanyard 28 and thus position the fiow control means for connecting the supplementary bottle 26 with the regulator 14. Where the electrically actuatable motor means is, as shown in FIGURE 1, the seat catapult 32, the latter fires and ejects the seat 17 from the aircraft, thus pulling the valve 27 away from the lanyard 28 and positioning the valve 27 for connecting the supplementary bottle 26 to the regulator 14 through the lines 30, 13. Reverse flow toward the disconnect .11, whose lower portion is retained in the aircraft by its lanyard 16, is prevented by the check valve 12 between the line 30 and the upper portion of the disconnect 11.

Upon admission of oxygen at or above normal pressures into the inlet passage 18, oxygen flows into the bellows 40 through the opening 43 and expands the bellows until the latter moves the closure means 41 into its first position 39A wherein it obstructs the orifice 36, thus blocking the entry of ambient air into the demand chamber 20 through the orifice. Before this time, however, the oxygen user is enabled, by virtue of the normal pressure at the oxygen inlet 18, to receive adaquate oxygen through the demand valve 22.

Where the check valve 44 is installed, and where the regulator 14 is a positive-pressure type (shown in the example), the communication of the demand chamber 20 with ambient air through the orifice 36 and opening 38 is terminated when (or because of the spring 45, shortly before) the oxygen pressure in the demand chamber 20 becomes positive relative to ambient air pressure. As a consequence, the oxygen drawn by the user through the demand valve 22 is not diluted with air, and wastage of oxygen through the orifice 36 is obviated.

If, during the sequence of events described above, the oxygen user has been notified by stoppage of breath (and, where they are installed, by the warning device light 57 andhorn 58) that the supplementary supply 26 of oxygen will shortly be connected to the regulator .14 following closure of the third switch 49, he may prevent closure of the third switch 49 by moving the override switch 59 to its override (open) position, thereby disconnecting the third switch from the electrical power source 50. After opening the override switch 59, he may connect 9 the supplementary bottle 26 to the oxygen regulator 14 by manually pulling the lanyard 28, or if so preferred, he may descend to an altitude at which the oxygen concentration of the ambient air is adequate for his needs, during the descent breathing ambient air through the orifice 36 after the latter is opened by action of the bellows 40. Alternatively, he may remain at his original altitude and adjust the oxygen system, re-join any of its elements such as the disconnect 11 which are accessible to him and which have become disconnected, or take any other corrective action etfective in restoring normal pressure of oxygen at the inlet passage 18. If the pilot should be unconscious when concurrent closure of the first and second switches 46, 48 occurs, he of course will not be able to accomplish any of these actions, and the safety apparatus automatically connects the regulator 14 with the supplementary bottle 26 as explained above; and if the electrically actuatable motor means chosen for use in the apparatus be the seat catapult 32 as shown in the drawing, he also is freed, by ejection, from the aircraft.

Where, as shown in FIGURE 2, the wall orifice 36 and opening 38 into the demand chamber 20 are omitted, the operation of the bellows 40, first switch 46, and the other electrical components is the same as described in connection with FIGURE 1. Though making no provisions for switching the oxygen user to ambient air after the above-recounted warning period typified by partial to complete stoppage of breath, the modification shown in FIGURE 2 operates to connect the regulator 14 with the supplementary bottle 26 as already made clear above. It will be apparent that the warning period may be shortened (or, if desired, eliminated) by choosing a calibrated opening 43 of such size that movements of the bellows 40 lag little if at all behind pressure changes in the inlet passage 18, and that such modification lies within the scope of the invention, as does a form of the apparatus in which one or all of the items identified as the override switch 59, warning device light 57 and born 58, third switch 49, and the motor 54 and linkage 53 for closing the third switch 49 are omitted, thus eliminating their several functions from the operation of the apparatus.

Operation of the safety device or construction employing the orifice 36, closure means 41, and pressure-sensitive means 40 such as shown in FIGURE 1 but omitting the electrical components is the same as already described in the case where operation of the electrical components is halted by moving the override switch Q to its open position. A similar case is encountered where the elec trical components are employed and ejection has occured. Upon depletion of the supplementary bottle 26, the oxygen user is switched (as described) to air. This is of particular importance in case the oxygen user is unconscious, injured, or for any reason unable to remove the mask or helmet, by which, if it were not for the invention, he would be choked to death. The operation of the safety device as shown in FIGURES 3 and 4 will be understood from the description of the elements and construction thereof and from the detailed description of the operation of the device as shownin FIGURE 1.

While only one embodiment of the invention together with several modifications thereof have been described herein and shown in the accompanying drawing, it will be evident that various further modifications are possible in the arrangement and construction of the components of the safety apparatus for an oxygen system without departing from thescope of the invention.

I claim:

1. In combination with an oxygen system comprising a normal and a supplementary source of compressed oxygen, a demand-type regulator having an inlet passage communicating with said normal source, a demand valve, and a wall enclosing a demand chamber opening into said passage through said demand valve and having outlet means for conducing oxygen to a user, said system further comprising flow control means between and positionable for connecting said inlet passage and supplementary source and electrically actuatable motor means for positioning said flow control means, a safety apparatus comprising: a portion of said well provided with an orifice leading from ambient air into said demand chamber; closure means movable between a first position obstructing and a second position spaced from said orifice; pressuresensitive means for moving said closure means to said first position when fluid pressure in said inlet passage exceeds and to said second position following decrease of said pressure below a predetermined value, said means for moving said closure means being connected with said closure means and having an interior; means providing restricted communication between the interior of said means for moving said closure means and said inlet passage; a first switch linked with and operated by motion of said means for moving said closure means, whereby said switch is opened when said closure means is moved to and closed when said closure means in moved from said first position; an electrical power source energizing said first switch; second and third switches connected in series with each other and said first switch and energizable through the latter by said electrical power source; pressure-sensitive means for opening said second switch when ambient air pressure exceeds and for efiecting closing of the same when ambient air pressure falls below a predetermined value, said last named means being linked with said second switch and exposed to ambient air pressures; means for closing said third switch at a time following concurrent closure of said first and second switches by a predetermined interval, said means for closing said third switch being linked with said third switch, electrically connected with said second switch, and responsive to reception of an electrical signal from the latter; and means for electrical connection of said third switch with said electrically actuatable motor means, whereby an actuating electrical signal is delivered to the latter when said third switch is closed and energized through said first and second switches.

2. The construction claimed in claim 1, said pressuresensitive means for moving said closure means comprising a bellows bearing said closure means and biased in a direction urging said closure means toward said second position.

3. The construction claimed in claim 1, said pressuresensitive means linked with said second switch comprising a closed bellows.

4. The construction claimed in claim 3, said apparatus further comprising an electrically actuatable warning device electrically connected to said second switch and an override switch connected in series with said second switch between the latter and said electrical power source.

5. In combination with an oxygen system comprising a normal and a supplementary source of oxygen, an oxygen regulator having an inlet passage receivingly connected to said normal source and outlet means for conducting oxygen to a user, flow control means between and positionable for connecting said inlet passage and supplementary source, and electrically actuatable motor means for positioning said flow control means, a safety apparatus comprising: a first switch energized by a source of electrical power; pressure-sensitive means for opening said first switch when pressure in said inlet passage is above and for closing said switch when said pressure is below a predetermined value, said pressure-sensitive means being linked with said first switch and biased to a position wherein said switch is closed; means providing communication between said pressure-sensitive means and said inlet passage; second and third switches connected in series with each other and said first switch and energizable through the latter by said power source; pressure-sensitive means for opening said second switch when ambient air pressures exceed and for closing the same when ambient air pressures fall below a predetermined value, the lastnamed means being linked with said second switch and exposed to ambient air pressures; means for closing said third switch at the end of a predetermined interval commencing upon concurrent closure of said first and second switches, said means for closing said third switch being linked with said third switch, electrically connected to said second switch, and responsive to reception of an electrical signal from the latter; and means for electrical connection of said third switch with said electrically actuatable motor means, whereby an electrical signal may be delivered to the latter, when said third switch is closed and energized through said first and second switches, for effecting connection of said supplementary supply of oxygen with said inlet passage.

6. The construction claimed in claim and further comprising an electrically actuatable warning device electrically connected to said second switch and an override switch connected in series with said second switch between the latter and said electrical power source.

7. In combination with an oxygen regulator having a wall enclosing a demand chamber provided with outlet means for conducting oxygen from the chamber to a user and further having an oxygen inlet passage and a demand valve connecting and governing the flow of oxygen between said inlet passage and chamber, a safety device comprising: a portion of said wall having an orifice providing communication between ambient air and said demand chamber; a bellows having a free end facing and a second end mounted in fixed relation to said orifice, said bellows including means biasing said bellows to a collapsed position, upon equalization of pressure interiorly and exterio-rly of said bellows, wherein said bellows free end is spaced from said orifice; and means providing restricted communication between the interior of said bellows and said oxygen inlet passage, said means being dis tinct from said demand valve and including a metering opening between said bellows and said inlet passage sufliciently small to retard equalization therethrough of pressure in the bellows interior and the inlet passage by a plurality of seconds upon an abrupt loss of oxygen pressure in the inlet passage.

8. In a combination safety device and demand-type oxygen regulator, the construction comprising: a vessel having a wall; a demand chamber enclosed by said wall and having an outlet for conducting oxygen to a user; an oxygen inlet passageway; a demand valve providing communication between said demand chamber and said oxygen inlet passageway; a portion of said wall having an outer side and an orifice, said wall portion being interposed between said chamber and ambient air adjoining said outer side, said chamber being connectable with the ambient air through said orifice; closure means movable between a first position obstructing and a second position less obstructing said orifice; fluid motor means for moving said closure means to said first position when fluid pressures in said inlet passage exceed and to said second position upon decrease of said pressures below a predetermined value, said fiuid motor means having an interior and including resilient means biasing said closure means to said second position; and means providing restricted communication between the interior of said fluid motor means and said oxygen inlet passageway and including a metering opening between the fluid motor means and inlet passageway sufficiently small to retard equalization therethrough of pressure in the bellows interior and the inlet passage by a plurality of seconds upon an abrupt loss of oxygen pressure in the inlet passageway, said lastnamed means being distinct from said demand valve.

9. The construction claimed in claim 8, said motor means being located interiorly of said demand chamber.

10. The construction claimed in claim 8, said motor means being located exteriorly of said demand chamber.

11. The construction claimed in claim 8, said construction including a partition in said demand chamber; and a demand chamber portion divided from the remainder of said demand chamber by said partition and occupied by said fluid motor means, said orifice in said chamber wall portion opening into said demand chamber portion and said partition having an opening providing communication between said demand chamber portion and the remainder of said demand chamber.

12. The construction claimed in claim 11, said construction further including a check valve element mounted adjacent and having a bias urging it to a position wherein it closes said opening in said partition and wherein fluid pressures within said demand chamber augment said bias, the check valve being located between the opening and the chamber interior.

13. The construction claimed in claim 8, said construction further comprising a check valve element movab-ly interposed between the interior of said chamber and ambient air adjoining said outer side of said wall portion and having a bias urging it to a position wherein it tends to prevent communication of said chamber with ambient air through said orifice and wherein fluid pressures in said chamber augment said bias.

14. In combination with a source of compressed oxygen, a demand-type oxygen regulator having an inlet passage connected to the source of compressed oxygen, a wall enclosing a demand chamber, a demand valve connecting said demand chamber with said inlet passage, and outlet means for conducting oxygen from said chamber to a user, a safety device comprising: a wall having an orifice, which wall lies outside the wall enclosing the demand chamber and cooperates with the latter to enclose a bellows chamber, the orifice providing communication between the bellows chamber and ambient air; an opening in the wall enclosing the demand chamber providing communication between the demand chamber and bellows chamber; a bellows mounted in said bellows chamber and having a free end facing said orifice and movable, by expansion of said bellows, to a position wherein it closes said orifice, said bellows being biased to a position wherein said free end is spaced from said orifice; means providing restricted communication between said inlet passage and the interior of said bellows, said means including a metering opening located between said bellows and said inlet passage sufliciently small to retard equalization therethrough of pressure in the bellows interior and the inlet passage by a plurality of seconds upon an abrupt loss of oxygen pressure in the inlet passage, said bellows being expandable by normal fluid pressures admitted thereinto from said oxygen inlet to a position wherein said free end obstructs said orifice in said wall; and -a check valve element mounted adjacent and biased to a position wherein it closes said opening in said wall enclosing the demand chamber, the relation of said check valve, bellows chamber, and demand chamber being such that fluid pressures in said demand chamber urge said check valve element toward said position wherein it closes said opening.

15. In combination with an oxygen regulator having a wall enclosing a demand chamber provided with outlet means for conducting oxygen to a user, and further having an oxygen inlet passageway and a demand valve connect ing and governing the flow of oxygen between said inlet passageway and chamber, a safety device comprising: a portion of said wall having an orifice providing communication between ambient air and said demand chamber; closure means movable between a first position obstructing and a second position less obstructing said orifice; pressure-sensitive means for moving said closure means between said first and second positions, said pressure-sensitive means having an interior and including resilient means biasing said closure means to said second position, and means providing restricted communication between the interior of said pressure-sensitive means and said oxygen inlet passageway and including a metering opening between the bellows and inlet passageway sufliciently small to retard equalization therethrough of pressure in the bellows interior and the inlet passage by a plurality of seconds upon an abrupt loss of oxygen pressure in the inlet passage, the last-named means being distinct from said demand valve.

16. In combination with an oxygen system comprising a normal and a supplementary source of oxygen; an oxygen regulator having an inlet passage Communicating with said normal source, a wall enclosing a demand chamber having an outlet for conducting oxygen to a user, and a demand valve connecting and governing the flow of oxygen between said inlet passage and chamber; fiow control means between and positionable for connecting said inlet passage and supplementary source; and electrically actuatable motor means for positioning said flow control means, a safety apparatus comprising: a portion of said wall having an orifice providing communication between ambient air and said demand chamber; closure means movable between a first position obstructing and a second position less obstructing said orifice; pressuresensitive means for moving said closure means between said first and second positions, said pressure-sensitive means having an interior; means providing restricted communication between the interior of said pressuresensitive means and said oxygen inlet passage, the lastnamed means being distinct from said demand valve; a first switch linked with and operated by motion of said means for moving said closure means, whereby said switch is opened when said closure means is moved to and closed when said closure means is moved from said first position; an electrical power source energizing said first switch; second and third switches connected in series with each other and said first switch and encrgizable through the latter by said electrical power source; pressure-sensitive means for opening said second switch when ambient air pressure exceeds and for effecting closing of the same when ambient air pressure falls below a predetermined value, said last-named means being linked with said second switch and exposed to ambient air pressures; means for closing said third switch at a time following concurrent closure of said first and second switches by a predetermined interval, said means for closing said third switch being linked with said third switch, electrically connected with said second switch, and responsive to reception of an electrical signal from the latter; and means for electrical connection of said third switch with said electrically actuatable motor means, whereby an actuating electrical signal is delivered to the latter when said third switch is closed and energized through said first and second switches.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,449,548 Burns Sept. 21, 1948 2,551,653 Wildhack May 8, i951 2,687,741 Reading Aug. 31, 1954 2,828,741 Delest Apr. 1, 1958

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Classifications
U.S. Classification128/202.22, 128/204.21, 137/81.1, 128/204.28
International ClassificationA62B9/00, A62B7/14, A62B7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA62B7/14, A62B9/00
European ClassificationA62B9/00, A62B7/14