US 3158874 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 1, 1964 F. M. BENNETT 3,158,874
SPACE WASTE COLLECTING VALVE AND PUMP Filed March 15, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 .Fg w
Dec. 1, 1964 BENNETT 3,158,874
SPACE WASTE COLLECTING VALVE AND PUMP Filed March 15, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 v /III N United, States Patent 3,l53,874 SPACE WASTE CGLLECTINQ VALVE AND FUR/1? Floyd M. Bennett, Brooklyn, N.Y., assignor to Lundy Electronics and Systems, inc, Glen Head, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Mar. 15, 1963, Ser. No. 2%,422 '7 Ellaims. (Cl. 4-142) This invention relates generally to the field of sanitary waste disposal systems, and more particularly to an improved waste collecting valve suitable for use in space.
The problems of collection and handling of human excretia are complicated by space environment, principally in the substantial decrease or total absence of gravity, and the physiological and psychological effects of a suitable collection means on the astronaut. All prior art collection means has depended upon the action of gravity to assist in the collection of Waste, and While systems are known in the prior art which do not require the presence of water or other fluid to assist in carryin away the waste material, all of the known systems do require the force of gravity to exist in order to guide the waste material into the collection means.
It is therefore among the principal obiects of the present invention to provide an improved waste Valve capable of efiectively functioning without resort to gravitational forces.
Another object of the invention lies in the provision of an improved waste valve which may function without the addition of fluids during a waste collection cycle.
A further object of the invention lies in the provision of a space waste valve requiring a minimum of adjustment on the part of the user accustomed to the operation of conventional waste collection systems.
A feature of the invention lies in the ability of the system to accommodate both liquid and solid wastes without adjustment.
These objects and features, as well as other incidental ends and advantages, will more fully appear in the progress of the following disclosure, and be pointed out in the appended claims.
In the drawings, to which reference will be made in the specification, similar reference characters have been employed to designate corresponding parts tinough the several views.
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view, partially in elevation, of an embodiment of the invention.
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary sectional view as seen from the plane 22 in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary view in perspective of the embodiment, showing a seated user.
FIGURES 4, 5, 6 and 7 are schematic views showing successive stages of operation during a complete waste collecting cycle of operation of the embodiment.
Before entering into a detailed consideration of the dis closed embodiment, a short discussion of the problems to be overcome in the provision of a space waste valve is in order.
As mentioned herein, both physiological and psychological effects of the collection means and equipment on the astronaut are of prime importance. The most psychologically acceptable form of collection would be a means to which the user requires no adjustment. It should ideally be the method to which he has become accustomed. In accordance with the present invention, and with a view toward this end, I provide a tubular structure mounted 3,158,874 Patented Dec. 1, 1964 under a seat of generally conventional appearance. The tube is of a non-wetting plastic of moderate thickness such that it requires a mechanical support along its length and circumference to retain its tubular shape. To visualize its operation, it may be considered as an elastic tube which can be constricted by an iris valve or similar structure acting upon its exterior. Consider a series of such valves acting along the length of the tube which are constricted in sequence. Thus, by closing the top one of said valves, a cavity is formed which can be made to progress along the length of the tube by closing the other valves in sequence. Consider a larger number of very thin valves acting against a perfectly elastic tube, and it may be appreciated that any particle in the cavity can be forced along the tube as the cavity progresses. In practice, a perfectly elastic tube is impossible, a very large number of operating valves is not feasible, so that an additional mechanism is introduced to propagate the cavity, that of twisting the tube slightly as it is being constricted.
With the foregoing discussion in mind, reference may be made to the accompanying drawings. In accordance with the disclosed embodiment, the device, generally indicated by reference character 10, comprises broadly: a frame element ll, a column element 12, a tube element 13, first valving means 14, and second valving means 15.
The frame element 11 is preferably formed as a tempered aluminum casting, although other lightweight highstrength materials may be employed. It includes a generally planar seat member 17 having an upper surface 18, a lower surface 19, and bounded by a peripheral edge 2%. A centrally disposed circular opening 21 directly overlies the column element 12 which supports the frame element 11, and is of diameter generally corresponding to that of the element 12.
Extending laterally from ither side of the seat mem ber 17 are a pair of arms 22 and 23, in turn supporting vertically-extending members 24 and 25. The upper portions of the members 2 and 25 are bent inwardly in co-planar relation to form forearm-engaging members 26 and 27, respectively. Forward extensions 28 and 29 support manual grip members 34), 31, which are generally coaxially aligned. From a consideration or" FIGURE 3, it will be observed that when in use, the user may counteract the efiect of loss of gravity by placing the forearms beneath the members 26 and 27 and firmly gripping the members 36 and 31. If desired, adjustment means (not shown) may be provided for altering the level of the members 25 and 27 as required by the stature of an individual user. Either or both of the members 30-31 is provided with push-button switch means 32, so that the device may be actuated without the necessity of moving the hand 33 or forearm 34 of the user from the position shown in FIGURE 3.
The column element 12 is preferably formed of lightweight metal tubing, and includes a cylindrical tube 37 having upper and lower ends 33 and 3?, respectively. The lower end 39 is provided with flange means 40 whereby the column element 12 may be secured to the upper surface of a suitable deck 41 of the space vehicle in which the device is incorporated (see FIGURE 1).
The tube element 13 is formed from a suitable highstrength flexible synthetic resinous material, such as neoprene, polyethylene, or the like. As best seen in FIGURE 1, it is of an effective diameter substantially smaller than the inner diameter of the tube 37, and includes an upper end 45 secured to the uppermost member of the valving means 14, and a lower end (not shown) which communi- I 3 cates with a collection means. The outer surface 47 thereof, if required, may be coated with additional protective layers (not shown) at points of greatest contact with the valving means 14 and 15.
The first valving means 14 is disposed entirely "within the column element 12, and provides for the inducing of a peristaltic action in that portion of the tube element 13 disposed immediately below the seat member 17. As best seen in FIGURE 1, the means 14 includes first, second, third and fourth iris-type valves 49, 50, 51 and 52, respectively, each including a relatively fixed peripheral housing 53 which contains the usual closing means (not shown). The blade portions 55 thereof operate in a well-known manner, and differ from conventional construction only in. that means is provided for rotation of V the blades as a unit after the completely closed condition has been reached. Under normal circumstances,v the blades will execute at least a 90 rotation from fully opened to fully closed condition, and the closing means is capable of imparting an additional 90 rotation in the same direction after the closed position has been reached.
The second valving means 15 is preferably disposed below the deck 41, and receives waste material along the tube element 13 for purposes of pumping the same along the tube element to the point of collection. Since the tube element 13, at the point where it is engaged by the second valving means 15, is constantly primed by the action of the valving means 14, the means 15 may be a simple peristaltic pump of the type which may apply periodic wave action to the outer surface of the tube element. Thus the means 15 may include a pump 59 supported by a housing 60 in which a loop 61 of the element 13 is disposed. A transversely arranged shaft 62 is connected to a belt or other driving means 63, the shaft 62 having an eccentrically arranged member 64 which contacts the inner surface of the loop 61 to compress the tube externally thereby to force material disposed within the tube therealong. Pumps of this general type are generally known in the medical arts, and are widely used, for example, in blood transfusion operations, so that the action of such pumps need not be considered further in this disclosure in a greaterdetail. If desired, other types of valving means (not shown) may be employed. I Operation of the device may be best understood by a consideration of FIGURES 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the drawings. Upon initiation of'operation by the user, i.e. the closing of the switch means 32, the first valve 49 to which the upper end 45, of the tube element 13 is attached commences to close. When the closed condition has been reached, so that regurgitation is notpossible, the second valve 50 commences to close, this action being accompanied by the above-described further rotation of the first valve 49 through anadditional 90, wherein a twisting motion is imparted to the tube element 13. Upon the closing of the second valve 50, the third valve 51 commences similar operation, in turn followed by the fourth valve 52, so that the net effect will be to progressively apply first a constricting and then a twisting action to the tube .element 13, wherein waste material disposed within the tube element is forced therealong in a direction away from ,the.upper end 45. As soon as thesecond valve.50 has completely closed,.th e first valve 49 starts to open, so that the appearance of the tube element 13 will change from that seen in FIGURE to the hourglass, shape shown in FIGURE 6, wherein the upper end of the tube whenever opened, purges itself of any gases present, such as ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulphide, which are the expected products of the local chemistry. The device, once purged, refills with ambient fresh air. It will be observed that the above operation is independent of orientation, and independent also of forces other than those which it generates by its action.
1. Waste valve construction comprising: a hollow tubular column'element, a flexible tube element generally coaxially arranged within said column element, and a plurality of sequentially operable contractible elements mounted upon said column element for inducing a peristaltic contraction along the length of said tube element; said contractile elements including a component for imparting a twisting motion upon said tube element when in fully contracted position,
' sequentially operable iris valves for inducing a peristaltic contraction along the length of said tube element; said iris valves includinga component for imparting a twisting motion upon said tube element when in fully contracted position.
3. Waste valve construction comprising: a column element, a seat carried by said column element at an upper end thereof, a frame element connected to said seat member, said frame element including an inwardly extending forearm-engaging member adapted to wedge a forearm of a user thereunder, and a manually engageable grip member in spaced relation with respect to'said forearm+ engaging member.
4. Waste valve construction comprisingra column element, a seat carried by said column element at an upper end thereof, a frame element connected to said seat memher, said frame element including an inwardly extending forearm-engaging member adapted to wedge a forearm of a user thereunder, and a manually engageable grip member in spaced relation with respect to said forearm- I engaging member, valving means disposed within said column element, and means forcontrolling said valving means associated with saidtgrip member, whereby a user in a non-gravitational atmosphere, by placinghis forearm under said forearm-engaging member, remains firmly in contact with said seat.
5. 'Waste valve construction comprising: a column element, a seat carried by said column element at an upper end thereof, a frame element connected to said seat member, said frame element including an inwardly extending forearm-engaging member adapted to wedge a forearm of a user thereunder, and a manually engageable grip member in spaced relation with respect to said forearmengaging member, peristaltic valving means disposed within said column element, and means forcontrolling said peristaltic valving means associated with said grip member. 7
V 6. Aspace waste disposal unit, comprising: a hollow tubular column element, a flexible tube element generally coaxially arranged within said column element, first valving means secured to said column element including a plurality of sequentially open-able iris valves for inducing a peristaltic contraction along the length of said.tube.ele-' 5 6 ment, said iris valves including a component for impart- References Cited by the Examiner ing a twisted motion upon said tube element when in a UNITED STATES PATENTS fully contracted position, and second valvmg means operatively abutting said tube element, including a peri- 1,431,918 10/22 Arthur 222-507 staltic pump, said tube element being looped around said 5 1,957,625 5/34 Bramlan pump, said pump including an eccentrically arranged 2358365 9/44 Thomas member engaging said tube element, whereby waste mate- 2,671,906 3/54 Potts 4-4142 rials are moved through said tube element by peristaltic 2,769,397 11/56 Bolger 103-143 and twisting action induced by said first valving means 2,810,351 10/57 Bower n peristaltic action induced by said second valving 10 3,083,647 4/ 63 Muller ':1()3 143 means. EDWARD V. BENHAM, Primary Examiner.