US 3174641 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 1965 D. M. KITTERMAN 3,174,641
VENTED CLOSURE ASSEMBLY Filed March 11, 1963 INVENTOR. Dana/a M. K/WPman United States Patent Ofiice I su tan Patented Mar, 23, 1965 3,174,641 VENTED (ILGSURE ASSEMBLY Donald M. Kitterrnan, Kansas City, Kane, assignor to Pacific industries, Inca, San Francisco, Caliil, a corporation of California Filed Mar. 11, 1963, Ser. No. 264,0b6 6 Qiaims. (Cl. 2115-56) This invention relates to a closure assembly for containers, and more particularly, to a closure assembly which is vented whereby to allow atmospheric air to enter the container under certain conditions, but to prevent the passage of the contents of the container therefrom.
It is the most important object of this invention to provide a vented closure assembly which includes a cupshaped cap and an insert member for said cap, the insert member being received in overlying relationship to the inner surface of the top of the cap and the closure assembly being receivable upon the threaded neck of a container, there being means for placing the interior of the container in communication with the atmosphere through the vented closure assembly.
To provide such communication it is a further important object of this invention to provide a vented closure assembly wherein the cap has a depending boss, and the insert member has a sleeve which surrounds said boss in spaced relationship thereto, the sleeve and the boss cooperating to define a passage through said insert member, there being a plurality of radially extending channels formed on the face of the insert mem-- ber opposite to that which carries the sleeve, the channels communicating at the inner ends thereof with the passage formed by the sleeve and at the outer end thereof with a helical canal defined by the threads on the inner surface of the skirt of the cap whereby air may enter the container by passing along said canal, through said channels, through said passage and into the container.
A yet further important aim of the invention is to provide, in a vented closure assembly, construction which will allow air to enter the container but which will prevent the passage, from the container, of the contents thereof if the container should be inverted. To this end, there is provided, on one face of the insert member, a sealing bead which engages the rim of the neck upon which the closure assembly is threaded whereby to provide a continuous seal between the insert member ofthe closure assembly and the neck extending completely around the top of the container at a position spaced inwardly from the inlet mouth of the channels. To further seal the closure assembly against the egress of fluids or the like therethrough, the sleeve is provided with a frusto-conical membrane adjacent one end thereof, the membrane being of such a tlexible construction that, under pressure of liquids or the like which might be brought thereagainst, the same will move into sealing engagement with the outer Wall of the boss, which outer wall is surrounded by the said membrane.
It is well known that certain liquids and the like, winch are preferably sold in containers having a threaded closure thereupon, must be packaged under such temperature conditions that, subsequent to the filling of a container therewith, there will be a cooling of the contents of the container, which cooling will result in the creation of a vacuum or suction which will result in the collapsing of a container if the walls of the container are not suiiiciently strong to resist the forces created by such suction or vacuum. This problem has, for some time, prevented the packaging of such liquids or the like in containers of a plastic material inasmuch as the change in temperature conditions of the contents of the container which creates the vacuum or suction in attempting to equalize the atmospheric pressure, will collapse the plastic bottle. Thus, it is necessary to provide, for such plastic containers, a vented closure assembly which will allow air to enter the container through the closure assembly as the need therefor is created by the cooling or change in temperature conditions of the material within the container. The present closure assembly creates this result, allowing air to enter the interior of the container from the atmosphere whereby the pressures interiorly of the container may be equalized with those of the atmosphere and thereby prevent collapsing of the container.
Another important aim of the present invention is to provide a vented closure assembly which, although allowing air to enter the container as hereinabove described, will prevent the passage of the contents of the container therefrom should the container become inverted. This is accomplished through the provision of suitable sealing means whereby the venting of the closure assembly operates in one direction only and prevents the flow of liquid or the like therethrough should the container, to which the closure assembly is secured, be inverted.
Other objects of the present invention will become apparent from the following specification and accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a plane view of the insert member illustrating one face thereof;
I FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view showing a portion of the opposite face of the insert member;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view illustrating the vented closure assembly in position upon the neck of a container; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 44 of FIG. 1.
The vented closure assembly, broadly designated by the numeral lib, includes, as its primary components, a cup-shaped cap 12 and an insert member 14 which is received within the cap 12. s
The cap 12 has a top 16, the top 16 having on outer surface 1% and an inner surface 2%), the cap 12 also including a depending, continuous, preferably annular skirt 22, which skirt has an inner surface 24 and an outer surface 26, the inner surface being provided with a continuous, helical thread 28 which is engageable with the threads 38 provided upon the exterior surface 32 of the neck 34 of the container (not shown) to which the closure assembly 10 is to be secured, the neck 34 also presenting a rim 35.
A boss 38 is formed substantially centrally of the inner face 26 of the cap 12 and depends therefrom, extending inwardly with respect to the container, the boss 38 being substantially cylindrical in configuration in the embodiment of the invention chosen for illustration, and having a central cavity as which is provided for the purpose of facilitating the molding of the cap 12 and its depending boss 38. A plurality of lugs 42 are also provided on the inner face 20 of the cap 12, the lugs 42 being positioned at the base of boss 38 and servingas positioning members for the insert 14. As illustrated, the cavity 40 of boss 38 is closed at its inner end 44 whereby to render the cap 12 imperforate.
It is preferred that the cap '12 be formed from a relatively hard plastic material, and it will be appreciated that said cap 12 may assume any desirable size or configuration within the scope of this invention.
The insert member 14 is preferably formed from a plastic material which is softer than that from which cap 12 is formed and, in the form chosen for illustration, assumes the configuration of a disc-like member which can be complementally received within the cap 12 in overlying relationship to the inner surface 20 thereof. Likewise, it-will be appreciated that insert member 14. may be of any size or suitable configuration whereby to conform the same to the inner surface of the cap in connection with which the insert member 14 may be used.
Insert member 14 has a pair of opposed faces 46 and 48, the face 46 thereof being proximal to the inner surface 20 of the cap 12. A sleeve 50 is formed substantially centrally of the face 48 of member 14 and depends therefrom in surrounding relationship to the boss 38, as is clearly illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawing. The sleeve 50 includes a base portion 52 which carries at its outer end, a frusto-conical membrane 54, the base portion 52 of the sleeve 50 being normally spaced from the wall of boss 38 whereby to present a passage 56, which passage is a continuation of an opening 58 formed through the member 14. Passage 56 extends throughout the entire length of the sleeve 50, although said passage 56 is selectively closable by the membrane 54, the membrane 54 being of a thinner material than the base por- 7 tion 52 of the sleeve 50 whereby the same may flex under a minimum amount of pressure and thereby bring the apex portion 60 of the membrane 54 into sealing engagement with the outer face 62 of the boss 38 for purposes which will be hereinafter explained.
Face 46 of member 14 has a plurality of radially extending channels 64 formed therein, which channels have the normally innermost end thereof in communication with the opening 58 through member 14 and the outermost ends thereof defined by inlet mouths 66 wherein the channels are flared outwardly at the peripheral edge 68 of the member.
Face 48 of member 14 has a depending sealing bead 70 formed thereon, which bead is spaced inwardly from the peripheral edge 68 of member 14 and is positioned in such a manner as to sealingly engage the rim 36 of neck 34 of the container, it being appreciated that the head 70 is positioned inwardly of the inlet months 66 of channels 64 and on the face 48 of member 14 opposite to the face 46 of said member 14 upon which the channels are formed.
The continuous thread 28 of cap 12 defines a canal 72 whereby the interior of cap .12 is placed in communication with the atmosphere by allowing air to pass along canal 72 and to a point adjacent the inner surface 20 of the cap 12 and, more particularly, the juncture of top 16 of cap 12 and skirt 22 thereof. Once air has reached this point, it will be appreciated that the same will be allowed to enter the mouths 66 and thus pass along channels 64 and throughthe opening 58 in insert member 14 and subsequently alongpassage 56 and into the interior of the container, such passage being allowed inasmuch as there is a vacuum exerted interiorly of the container, which vacuum tends to flex the membrane 54 outwardly with respect to boss 38 and thereby allow passage of air past the apex 60 of the membrane 54.
Thus, it will be seen thatwhen the closure assembly 10 is positioned upon a container, and when the temperature conditions of the contents of the container change to an extent to create a vacuum therewithin, and
the necessity for equalizing the pressure within the bottle with that of the atmosphere without the bottle, the inwardly exerted pressure will cause air to flow along the route above described until sufiicient air has entered the container to equalize the pressure therein, all to the end that the container is vented and the walls thereof are not collapsed under the action of the contents thereof.
It is, of course, further desirable that the contents of the container not be allowed to pass therefrom and, to this end, the bead 70 forms a continuous seal with the rim 36 of the neck 34, thereby preventing passage of liquid-s outwardly beyond said seal whereby the same could pass between the threads 30 of the neck 34 and threads 28 of the cap 12 and, more particularly, along canal72'. Passage of the contents of the container outwardly through passage 56 is prevented by the flexibility of membrane 54 and the fact that when the container is inverted the pressure of the contents thereof will force the membrane 54, and more particularly, the apex portion 60 thereof, against the outer wall 62 of boss 38 whereby to present a tight seal between said membrane and the boss, thereby preventing flow of liquids from the container through passage 56.
Thus, it is seen that there is provided a closure assembly for containers which allows the free passage of air into the container as such is needed to equalize pressure conditions therewithin, but which prevents the passage of the contents of the container therefrom.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to. be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A vented closure assembly comprising a cap having a top and a depending skirt, means for attaching the cap able with said boss under pressure whereby to selectively close said passage; and a plurality of channels formed in said insert member and extending from the peripheral edge thereof to said passage whereby to place the interior of the container in communication with the atmosphere.
2. A vented closure assembly as set forth in claim 1, said sleeve being formed on one face of the insert member, said channels being formed on the other face thereof.
3. A vented closure assembly as set forth in claim 2, there being a sealing bead formed on said one face of the insert member for engagement with the rim of the neck of the container.
4. A ventedclosure assembly as set forth in claim 3, said head being spaced inwardly from the peripheral edge of the insert member.
.5. A vented closure assembly as set forth in claim 4, said membrane being, frusto-conical.
6. A vented closure assembly adapted to be threaded upon the neck of a container, said assembly comprising a cup-shaped cap having a top and a depending skirt, said top having an inner surface and an outer surface, said skirt having an inner surface and an outer surface; a cylindrical boss formed on the inner surface of said top and depending therefrom; threads formed on the inner surface of said skirt for engaging the threads of the neck, said threads of the skirt defining a canal placing the interior of the cap in communication with the atmosphere; an insert member received within said cap in overlying relationship to the inner wall of said top; a sleeve formed centrally of said insert member on one face thereof and surrounding said boss in spaced relationship thereto whereby to define a passage through said insert member; a plurality of channels formed on the other face of said insert member and extending radially of said passage to the peripheral edge of said insert, each of said channels having an inlet mouth formed at the outer end thereof whereby to place said channels in communication with said canal; a flexible membrane at the outer end of said sleeve and engageable with said boss under pressure whereby to selectively close said passage; and a sealing head on said one face of said insert member positioned between said mouths and said passage for engagement with the neck of the container.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Martin Dec. 26, 1933 Jesniz Dec. 9, 1952 Garvey June 27, 1961 Williams Nov. 28, 1961 Beall July 10, 1962 Miller Aug. 13, 1963