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Publication numberUS3133667 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 19, 1964
Filing dateMar 10, 1959
Priority dateMar 10, 1959
Publication numberUS 3133667 A, US 3133667A, US-A-3133667, US3133667 A, US3133667A
InventorsGarrett John Clifford
Original AssigneeGarrett Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety system
US 3133667 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 1 964 J. c. GARRETT SAFETY SYSTEM 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 10, 1959 1N VENTOR. JOHN 'C. GARRETT 62,4- Juan.

A TTOR/VE Y May 19 1964 J. c. GARRETT SAFETY SYSTEM 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Maxim 10, 1959' g/IIIIIIIIZI:

lllllllli'rlllllll 32 33 mm wlllllllllllliblllll INVENTOR. JOHN C. GARRETT A TTOR/VE Y United States Patent 3,133,667 SAFETY SYSTEM John Clifiord Garrett, Beverly Hills, Calif., assignor to The Garrett Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif., 21 corporation of California Filed Mar. 10, 1959, Ser. No. 798,428 2 Claims. ill. 220-88) This invention relates generally to safety means and is more particularly directed to a system for preventing accidental explosions due toleakage from a fuel system or its components.

' A basic safety system embodying the present invention includes means forming a sealed envelope for enclosing a fuel system and other associated apparatus and collecting leakage therefrom, the envelope being provided with means for disposing of the fuel leakage in a safe manner. Modifications of the invention may include means for introducing an inert medium into the envelope to combine with the leakage, means forming an outlet which establishes communication between the interior and exterior of the envelope, and means operative to regulate the flow of the inert medium containing fuel leakage through such outlet. Means may also be provided to consume or burn the fuel in the escaping medium, as it passes from the outlet, to reduce the possibility of an explosion and to salvage the energy in the fuel thus discharged. Since it is important to constantly maintain a completely inert atmosphere in the envelope, a reservoir containing inert matter and means to conduct and regulate flow therefrom into said envelope may be provided, when appropriate, to replace any loss ofthe inert matter from the envelope.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a safety system comprising means forming a sealed envelope for enclosing a fuel system and collecting fuel leakage therefrom, means being provided in connection with the envelope to dispose of the leakage before a dangerously explosive amount can accumulate.

Another object of this invention is to provide a safety system having a casing for enclosing a fuel system, the

casing being provided with means for supplying the interior thereof with an inert medium, the casing also being provided with an outlet including an ignition device to permit the controlled discharge and burning of any fuel which may have leaked from the fuel system and been combined with the inert medium.

Another object of this invention is to provide a safety device having a fuel system disposed in a casing containing an inert medium, the casing being formed with an outlet having a flow control mechanism therein whereby the outflow of inert fluid and fuel from the interior of the casing will be regulated according to a predetermined schedule based on the amount of leakage from the fuel system.

A further object of this invention is to provide a safety device of the type having a feul system and associated apparatus enclosed in a casing containing an inert medium, reservoir means containing inert matter being provided to operatively communicate with the interior of the casing for replacing inert matter according to a predetermined schedule based on the amount of leakage from said casing.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a safety device of the type having a fuel system and an engine disposed in a casing. In this device the engine component thereof includes intake and exhaust means which communicate with the exterior of said casing, the fuel system thereof communicating with the engine via passages contained in the casing; thus leakage from the fuel system will be confined to the casing and may then be disposed of by burning in a predetermined safe region.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent to persons skilled in the art by reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic View partly in section showing a safety device embodying the present invention applied to a fuel system and associated engine;

FIG. 2 is a detailed sectional View taken through a portion of the device shown in FIG. 1 on the plane in dicated by the line 22 of such figure; and

FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 are diagrammatic views illustrating slight variations of the invention.

Referring more particularly to FIG. I of the drawings, it will be seen that the safety system forming the subject matter of the invention has been illustrated in one of its many applications. In this figure the safety system is applied to a power generating unit including a gas turbine engine and its associated fuel system. The engine may serve as a gas generator or produce pneumatic or shaft power as required. It is to be understood at this point that the safety system comprising the invention may be applied to any type of engine-and fuel system or any components thereof which receive combustible fuel and are apt to leak and create the hazard of an explosion.

The safety system shown in FIG. 1 includes a casing or envelope 1 which is formed to receive and support a gas turbine, or any other type of engine, 2 and its associated fuel system designated generally by the numeral 3.

Fuel system 3 includes a reservoir 4, a pump 5, and piping 6 through which the fuel is drawn from the reservoir and supplied to the engine in the usual manner. Other necessary or desired fuel system components may be provided to control the operation of the engine.

The safety system is provided to reduce or eliminate the dangers of explosions resulting from leakage of fuel from the reservoir or other fuel system components. Intake and exhaust passages 7 and 8, respectively, are provided to admit air from the ambient atmosphere to the engine and conduct gases of combustion therefrom.

Casing 1 is provided to enclose the engine and fuel system and catch any fuel leaking from the system. To reduce the danger of the leakage thus collected from combining with air and producing an explosive mixture, it is proposed to charge the envelope 1 with an inert medium, such as helium. This objective is attained by providing a container 10 of the inert fluid and connecting the outlet of the container with the interior of the envelope by a line 11. A suitable pressure responsive valve 12 is disposed in the line 11. After the engine and fuel system are assembled in the envelope 1 and the outlet of the container is opened, valve 12 will admit suflicient inert medium to charge the interior of the envelope to a predetermined pressure above atmospheric pressure to preclude the entrance of air at such pressure. Leakage from the reservoir 4, the pump 5, or any other part of the system will combine with the inert fluid to preclude, as much as possible, the formation of an explosive mixture.

As a further protection against explosions, the envelope 1 is provided with an outlet passage in the form of a tube 13 which extends from a small dome-shaped vapor trap 14 disposed at the top of the envelope. This trap is so located because of the tendency of lighter gases to rise; the trap is in open communication with the interior of the casing. Tube 13 leads to an outlet fitting 15 provided at one side of and communicating with the turbine exhaust passage 3. It will be obvious that as the pressure increases within the envelope, gaseous fluids contained therein will tend to flow through the tube to the outlet fitting and escape to the atmosphere via the exhaust passage 8. To prevent waste of the inert medium, the outlet fitting may be provided with a pressure responsive relief valve 16 of any suitable type which will be adjusted to prevent flow through tube 13 and outlet fitting 15 until a predetermined pressure, above that for which valve 12 has been set, is reached in the envelope 1. This increase in pressure may be caused by the escape of fuel under a pressure exceeding that of the inert medium in the envelope. When valve 16 opens and a mixture of fuel leakage and inert medium flows into the outlet fitting 15, the mixture will be discharged into the exhaust gas stream where it will be safely burned.

Still further protection may be secured by providing the outlet fitting 15 with a burner 17 adjacent the downre-am side of the valve 16. Burner or pilotignitor 17 may also be of any suitable type, the one shown in FIG. 1 projecting into the fitting 15 and communicating with a line 18 which, in turn, is connected with the fuel system 3. It should be obvious that if it is desired or found necessary to maintain operation of the pilot burner 1'7 when the engine 2 or its fuel system is not in operation, a separate source of fuel or an electric ignition device could be provided without departing from the concept of this invention. To sustain the ignition of fuel supplied to the burner 17, air may be conducted to the burner from the engine plenum through a line 2%. Thus, when a mixture containing fuel issues from the tube 13 through valve 16, the fuel will be ignited by the flame from the burner 17, and safely burned in the exhaust passage.

To summarize the operation of the safety system shown in FIG. 1 it may be stated that following the assembly of the engine and fuel system in the envelope 1, the interior of the latter is purge-d of air, or other combustion supporting medium, and then charged with inert gas from the container 1% When the pressure for-which valve 12 has been set is reached, the flow of inert gas into the casing 1 will cease. The reservoir 4 is then filled with the desired fuel and the engine may be operated. If the fuel system has been properly constructed and remains in good condition, the safety system will be inoperative. If, however, fuel should leak from the fuel system, the leakage will combine with the inert gas and the formation of a combustible mixture will be prevented. Continued leakage will cause the pressure in the envelope 1 to rise until valve 16 opens and permits the combined fuel and inert gas to escape to the exhaust passage 8. The fuel will be burned in the exhaust gases. if the safety system is provided with the pilot burner 17, the fuel in the escaping mixture will be burned regardless of whether any exhaust gases are flowing from the engine.

While a unitary safety system for protecting an entire engine and fuel system has been shown in FIG. 1, it will be apparent that separate systems could be provided for the various components of a fuel system, such as the fuel storage tank, the pump, the engine, the controls, and other parts. For example, FIGS. 3, 4 and illustrate features of the invention applied to heat exchangers which may be employed in a fuel system. In FIG. 3, the heat exchanger 21 is enclosed in a casing 22 to collect fuel leakage therefrom. The casing communicates with an inlet 23 for a suitable medium and an outlet passage 24. The latter is provided with an exhaust fan 25 so that the suitable medium may be drawn through the inlet 23, swept over the exterior of the heat exchanger 21, and exhausted through the outlet passage 24 to a suitable region where burning of the fuel may safely be performed.

In PEG. 4, the heat exchanger 25' is also enclosed in a casing 26 which is provided with an outlet passage 27 only. This passage is also provided with an exhaust fan 28 by which a partial vacuum may be maintained in the casing 26. If fuel should leak from the heat exchanger,

4 it will be drawn from the casing 26 as fast as it flows in and may be consumed by the flame of a burner 39 placed in a suitable safe region downstream of the fan 28.

FIG. 5 illustrates a heat exchanger 31 enclosed in a casing 32 which is provided with one or more ignitors 33. The latter elements are constantly energized and serve to cause the burning of leakage as fast as it occurs, thus preventing the accumulation of a large combustible mixture which might cause a serious explosion.

The invention has been illustrated in some of its simplest forms, but it should be understood that the configuration and arrangement of parts may be Widely varied without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as herein shown and described.

I claim:

1. In a safety device, the combination comprising: means forming a sealed envelope for receiving at least a portion of a fuel system and collecting leakage therefrom; reservoir means for containing an inert medium under pressure; passage means establishing communication between said reservoir and the interior of said envelope; valve means in said passage means responsive to a reduced pressure in said envelope to admit inert medium to said envelope, escape of fuel from the portion of the fuel system therein tending to increase the pressure in said envelope; outlet means leading from the interior of said envelope to the exterior thereof; valve means in said outlet means responsive to a predetermined pressure to permit fuel and inert medium mixture to flow from said envelope through said outlet means; and burner means in said outlet means at the downstream side of said valve means to ignite the fuel in said mixture as the latter passes through said outlet means.

2. In a safety device, the combination comprising: means forming a sealed envelope for receiving at least a portion of a fuel system and collecting leakage therefrom; reservoir means for containing an inert medium; a localized region formed in said envelope to collect fuel leakage from said portion of the fuel system; passage means establishing communication between said reservoir and the interior of said envelope; valve means in said passage means responsive to a reduced pressure in said envelope to admit inert medium to said envelope, escape of fuel from the portion of the fuel system therein tending to increase the pressure in said envelope; outlet means leading from said localized region in said envelope to the exterior of said envelope; valve means in said outlet means responsive to a predetermined pressure to permit fuel and inert medium mixture to flow from said envelope through said outlet means; and burner means in said outlet means at the downstream side of said valve means to ignite the fuel in said mixture as the latter passes through said outlet means.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,286,528 Carson Dec. 3, 1918 2,480,230 Elster Aug. 30, 1949 2,881,057 Cole Apr. 7, 1959 2,889,955 Naulty et a1. June 9, 1959 2,944,563 De Blasio et a1. July 12, 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS 150,053 Great Britain Aug. 24, 1920 367,579 Great Britain Feb. 25, 1932 554,664 Germany July 14, 1932

Patent Citations
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US1286528 *Jun 1, 1918Dec 3, 1918John A CarsonSystem for producing volatile gases.
US2480230 *Oct 6, 1944Aug 30, 1949Nat Tube CoGas igniter for blast furnace bleeder stacks and the like
US2881057 *Apr 12, 1956Apr 7, 1959Shell DevSafety vessel
US2889955 *Aug 14, 1953Jun 9, 1959Malcolm N BrownInert gas system for fuel tank
US2944563 *Oct 22, 1957Jul 12, 1960Alfred SansoneSafety oil tank
DE554664C *Mar 30, 1930Jul 14, 1932Cornelius Wolfgang Stort DiplVerfahren zur Vermeidung des Zurueckschlagens der Flamme bei Brennern mit getrenntemMisch- und Verbrennungsraum fuer gasfoermige, verdampfte fluessige oder staubfoermige Brennstoffe
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6761629 *Oct 7, 2003Jul 13, 2004General Electric CompanyMethods and systems for detecting gas turbine engine fuel leaks
US7104278Apr 22, 2004Sep 12, 2006Gilbarco Inc.Leak container for fuel dispenser
US7111636Jan 5, 2005Sep 26, 2006Gilbarco Inc.Leak container for fuel dispenser
US7503205Jun 22, 2006Mar 17, 2009Veeder-Root CompanyRedundant vacuum source for secondary containment monitoring and leak detection system and method
US7555935Jun 22, 2006Jul 7, 2009Veeder-Root CompanyEnd-of-line zone integrity detection for a piping network in a secondary containment monitoring and leak detection system
US7575015Jun 22, 2006Aug 18, 2009Gilbarco, Inc.Secondarily contained in-dispenser sump/pan system and method for capturing and monitoring leaks
US7946309Apr 25, 2006May 24, 2011Veeder-Root CompanyVacuum-actuated shear valve device, system, and method, particularly for use in service station environments
US8291928May 23, 2011Oct 23, 2012Veeder-Root CompanyVacuum-actuated shear valve device, system, and method, particularly for use in service station environments
US20050236044 *Apr 22, 2004Oct 27, 2005Hutchinson Ray JLeak container for fuel dispenser
US20050236045 *Jan 5, 2005Oct 27, 2005Gilbarco Inc.Leak container for fuel dispenser
US20060260387 *Jun 22, 2006Nov 23, 2006Baillargeon Jeremy REnd-of-line zone integrity detection for a piping network in a secondary containment monitoring and leak detection system
US20060260680 *Apr 25, 2006Nov 23, 2006Veeder-Root CompanyVacuum-actuated shear valve device, system, and method, particularly for use in service station environments
US20060260681 *Jun 22, 2006Nov 23, 2006Gilbarco Inc.Secondarily contained in-dispenser sump/pan system and method for capturing and monitoring leaks
US20060277976 *Jun 22, 2006Dec 14, 2006Veeder-Root CompanyRedundant vacuum source for secondary containment monitoring and leak detection system and method
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/88.3, 137/312
International ClassificationF02C7/25, F01L1/00, F02C7/22, B67D7/32
Cooperative ClassificationF01L1/00, F02C7/22, F01L2710/006, B67D7/3209, F02C7/25
European ClassificationF01L1/00, F02C7/25, F02C7/22, B67D7/32B