US 3221782 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 7, 1965 c. ZELLWEGER ETAL FILLER VALVE CONSTRUCTION Filed Dec. 19, 1962 INVENTOR. flaw/m0 ZELLWEGER BY VV/LL/AM RETZLE/e 7/ A. ..iyurluhrll y.
United States Patent Office 3,221,782 Patented Dec. 7, 1965 3,221,782 FILLER VALVE CONSTRUCTION Conrad Zellweger, Geneva, Switzerland, and William Retzler, Great Bookham, Surrey, England, assignors to Ronson Corporation, Woodbridge, NJ.., a corporation of New Jersey Filed Dec. 19, 1962, Ser. No. 250,198 Claims priority, application Great Britain, Dec. 19, 1961, 45,554/ 61 3 Claims. (Cl. 141-286) This invention relates to filler valves, and more particularly it concerns a valve apparatus suitable for use in filling containers such as lighter fuel tanks.
In recharging lighters of the type which burn highly volatile fuels such as butane or propane, it is important to insure that the maximum liquid level in the lighter fuel container does not exceed a given point. This is necessary in order that a cushion of vaporized fuel will remain above the liquid fuel to absorb the great changes in liquid volume which occur with even moderate ambient temperature variations. One technique for indicating when this maximum desired liquid level has been reached involves the provision of a vent tube which extends into the fuel container to a point corresponding to the maximum desired liquid level. The vent tube is normally used to facilitate filling of the lighter by permitting the vapor in the fuel container to be displaced into the atmosphere by the incoming liquid fuel. However, when the liquid level within the container reaches the extended end of such a vent tube, any further displacement of vapor out of the container carries a certain amount of liquid fuel with it, causing a bubbling effect to take place at the outer surface of the container, and thereby indicating that the desired liquid level within the container has been reached.
The above described technique has proven somewhat unsatisfactory in that very often a premature surface bubbling occurs prior to the liquid within the container reaching its desired level. This effect is especially pronounced where the inlet passage of the valve arrangement does not extend to a point below the desired liquid level. The premature bubbling is continuous and while it does not seriously affect the filling operation as such, it does mask any indication of liquid level during the filling operation.
According to the present invention, there is provided a filler valve arrangement wherein no bubbling effect takes place until the desired liquid level has been reached, even though the fuel inlet passage may not extend to the maximum desired liquid level in the container. The present invention is based upon the discovery that premature bubbling takes place as a result of liquid particles condensing or collecting along the sides of the vent tube and being drawn down by gravity toward its open end where they are then caught up in the stream of rapidly exhausting vapors and carried to the outside of the container.
This situation has been overcome by reorientating the lateral surfaces near the open end of the vent tube relative to the tube opening in a manner such that condensate flowing along the lateral tube surfaces is directed away from the open tube end and the rapidly moving vapor stream entering therein.
In the first embodiment of the invention this reorientation is accomplished by providing a U-shaped bend near the end of the vent tube such that its open end faces the top of the container. Liquid particles forming or collecting along the sides of the tube are thus caused to flow away from rather than toward the open tube end. In an alternate embodiment, the vent tube is provided with a conically flanged or skirted lateral surface near its downwardly facing open end. The liquid particles flowing down the tube are directed by the skirted lateral surfaces away from the open end and are not therefore caught up in the stream of vapor being exhausted through the tube.
There has thus been outlined rather broadly the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject of the claims appended thereto. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized in a variety of ways for carrying out the several purposes of the invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent ways as do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.
A specific embodiment of the invention has been chosen for purposes of illustration and description, and is shown in the accompanying drawings, forming a part of the specification, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a section view illustrating a valve assembly forming a first embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a section view illustrating a modified version of a portion of the valve assembly of FIG. 1.
The valve assembly of FIG. 1 includes a tubular bushing 10 adapted to be screwed into the side of a fuel container and to become sealed thereto by means of a sealing element 11.
A valve body 12 is threadedly engaged within the bushing 1% and is sealed to the bushing by means of a second sealing element 13. The valve body 12 is provided with a longitudinal bore 14 which extends through the valve body and within which a hollow needle 15 passes with a slight clearance. The hollow needle 15 is attached at its lower end to a movable valve member 16 which in turn is biased upwardly, as viewed in the drawing, so that an upper face 17 of the valve member engages a resilient washer 18 and forces it against the lower face of the valve body 12. A coil spring 19 extends between the valve member 16 and an extension 20 of the valve body 12 to provide the upward bias.
A collar 21 is attached to the hollow needle just above a recess 22 in the top of the valve body 12. The collar 21 is engageable with the neck of a filling vessel and moves downwardly into the valve body recess bringing the hollow needle 15 and movable valve member 16 down with it.
The hollow needle 15 extends up through the bore 14 in valve body 12 to a point near the top of the bushing 10. The upper end of the needle is pointed to perforate the seal on a filling vessel for penetration therein. A pair of upper openings 23 are provided near the pointed end of the needle for communication with the interior of the filling vessel, and a pair of lower openings 24 are provided at its lower end for communication with an annular recess 25 in the upper face 17 of the movable valve member 16. When the upper face 17 of the movable valve member 16 is separated from the lower surface of the resilient washer 18, the annular recess 25, and thus the hollow needle 15 and the filling vessel are brought into communication with the interior of the valve body extension 20, which in turn is constantly in communication with the fuel container through an opening 26 in its lower portion.
The valve body 12 also is provided at its lower face with an annular recess 27 which surrounds the longitudinal bore 14. This recess becomes sealed by the upper surface of the resilient washer 18 when the movable valve member 16 is in its uppermost position, as shown. When the Valve member moves downwardly, however, and allows the resilient washer 18 to move away from the valve body 12 its annular recess 27 is brought into communication with the longitudinal bore 14 in the valve body. This establishes communication between the atmosphere and the inner regions of the fuel container through the longitudinal bore 14, the annular recess 27, a port 28 in the valve body leading from the annular recess to an outer chamber 29 and a vent tube 30 extending from a thimble shaped sleeve 31 which encloses the outer chamber.
The vent tube 30 has one end connected to the thimble shaped sleeve 31 in communication with the outer chamber- 29 and has an open end 32 located at the desired maximum liquid level within the container. The open end 32 of the vent tube is bent upwardly and faces the upper portions of the valve assembly and, as shown in FIG. 1, is displaced from the opening 26. The vent tube is of U-shaped configuration having a portion 33 intermediate its ends which is below the maximum desired liquid level in the container.
During use of the valve assembly, the reservoir to be filled is positioned or held so that the valve assembly is upright as shown in the drawing. The neck of a filling vessel is introduced into the upper end of the bushing 16 so that the closure of the vessel is pierced by the upper pointed end of the needle 15. The neck of the vessel is then forced downwardly upon the collar 21 causing it to move down into the recess 22 in the top of the valve body. This causes downward movement of the hollow needle 15 and the movable valve member 16 against the upwardly directed forces of the spring 19. The resilient washer 18 is then freed from both the upper face 17 of the movable valve member 16 and the lower face of the valve body 12, allowing full communication for inlet from the filling vessel and to the atmosphere as described. This permits liquid fuel flowing down through the hollow needle 15 from the filling vessel to pass through the annular recess 25, into the extension 20 and out through its lower opening 26 into the fuel container. Vapor and other gases displaced by the incoming liquid fuel pass up through the vent tube and the outer chamber 29, into the annular recess 27 in the valve body and out through its longitudinal bore 14 around the hollow needle 15 to the outer atmosphere.
From the above it will be noted that during the filling operation the interior of the fuel container is in communication with the atmosphere so as to allow liquid fuel from a filling vessel to displace an equal volume of vapor from within the lighter, thus greatly increasing the rate of refueling. It will also be noted that all of the displaced vapor exhausts through the vent tube. When the liquid level within the fuel container reaches the open end 32 of the vent tube 30, this open end becomes blocked by the liquid. Further exhaustion of vapor then results in liquid particles being carried up through the vent tube to the outer atmosphere by the rapidly moving vapors. This produces a bubbling effect around the neck of the filling vessel, which indicates the attainment of a desired liquid level. At this point the filling vessel is withdrawn to allow the coil spring 19 to force the valve member 16 upwardly against the resilient washer 18 which seals both the liquid fuel intake and vapor vent passages within the valve assembly.
It will readily be appreciated that the valve structure described is easily adjusted to provide visual indication for different liquid filling levels simply by rebending the vent tube 30 so that its open end 32 is at different levels within the container when the valve assembly is in place. Thus it is possible according to the present invention to utilize one standard filling valve configuration for several different sizes and shapes of containers and with different types of gaseous fuel; the only modifications necessary to particular situations being in the length of the vent tube which incidentally, may be made separate and displaced from the intake valve. The vent tube 30 is thus preferably made of a pliable yet rigid material such as soft metal or a bendable plastic.
With the arrangement described, no premature bubbling takes place at the neck of the filling vessel prior to attainment of the desired liquid level in the container being filled, in spite of the fact that the liquid inlet to the container through the opening 26 in the valve assembly is a substantial distance above the desired liquid level. Although a certain amount of liquid may condense or collect along the sides of the vent tube 30 as a result of splashing and turbulent effects caused by the incoming liquid fuel; because of the particular spacial relationship of the end opening and lateral tube sides of the open tube end 32, this collected liquid flows under gravitational infiuence away from rather than toward the open end 32 of the vent tube 30. Also, because of the displacement of the open end 32 from the opening 26, incoming liquid is prevented from flowing directly, short circuiting, out through the open end 32 of the vent tube during the filling of the lighter.
Thus so long as the open end of the tube extends in an upward direction and so long as its opening is relatively small, there is little chance of any liquefied fuel passing directly through the tube to give a false indication that complete filling has been obtained.
In the modified version of FIG. I2, the vent tube 30 extends in a generally vertical direction with its open end 32 lowermost and terminating at a point displaced from the opening 26 and at the desired maximum liquid level. A conically shaped skirt or flanged portion 33 flares out away from the tube near its open end. Thus, in effect the outer lateral surface of the tube is orientated relative to the end opening such that any liquid accumulated along the outer lateral surface of the tube flows down along the sides thereof under the influence of gravity and is directed away from the open tube end. This liquid merely drips off the edge of the flanged portion 33 into the container without being caught up in the exhausting vapor stream and giving a false indication. And as with the previously described embodiment, the displacement of the open end 32 from the opening 26 prevents short circuiting of the incoming liquid that would also tend to give a false indication that the lighter has been filled to the desired level.
Having thus described my invention with particular reference to the preferred form thereof, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains, after understanding my invention, that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention, as defined by the claims appended thereto.
What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A filler valve arrangement for charging sealed containers with highly volatile fluids in their liquid state, said filler valve arrangement comprising, an elongated valve body adapted to be sealed into a container Wall with its respective ends exposed to opposite surfaces of said wall, said valve body including therein two separate passageways which extend between its ends, movable valve element means within said valve body for effecting selective closure of each of said passageways, coupling means for sealably connecting one end of one of said passageways to a liquid source, and an elongated open ended tube extending from the other passageway at the opposite end of said valve body to a given point beyond the opposite end of said valve body, said given point being displaced from the ends of said one passageway whereby to prevent short circuiting of incoming liquid out through said other passageway via said elongated open ended tube, the end opening of said elongated tube at said given point and the lateral outer surfaces surrounding said end opening being relatively orientated such that one of the two faces generally toward said valve passageways while the other of the two faces generally away from said valve passageways, whereby when said valve assembly is positioned in a container in filling position, liquefied fluid particles which collect along the sides of said elongated tube and flow down under gravitational influences toward its open end are directed away from said end opening by said lateral outer surfaces surrounding said end opening.
2. A filler valve arrangement for charging sealed containers with highly volatile fluids in their liquid state, said filler valve arrangement comprising, an elongated valve body adapted to be sealed into a container wall with its respective ends exposed to opposite surfaces of said wall, said valve body including therein two separate passageways which extend between its ends and open at mutually displaced points whereby the liquid entering via one of said passageways is prevented from being short circuited out through the other passageway, moveable valve element means within said valve body for effecting selective closure of each of said passageways, coupling means for sealably connecting one end of said one passageway to a liquid source, and an elongated tube extending straight outwardly from said other passageway at the opposite end of said valve body and terminating at a given point beyond said valve body with an open end facing generally away from said valve body, said elongated tube being provided with outer lateral surfaces in the vicinity of said given point which surround said open end and which face generally toward said valve body.
3. A filler valve arrangement for charging sealed containers with highly volatile fluids in their liquid state, said filler valve arrangement comprising, an elongated valve body adapted to be sealed into a container wall with its respective ends exposed to opposite surfaces of said wall, said valve body including therein two separate passageways which extend between its ends and open at mutually displaced points whereby liquid entering via one of said passageways is prevented from being short circuited out through the other passageway, movable valve element means within said valve body for eflecting selective closure of each of said passageways, coupling means for sealably connecting one end of said one passageway to a liquid source, and an elongated tube extending straight outwardly from said other passageway at the opposite end of said valve body and terminating at a given point beyond said valve body with an open end facing generally away from said valve body, a conical skirt surrounding and attached to said elongated tube in the vicinity of said open end, said conical skirt having outer lateral surfaces which flare out away from the sides of said elongated tube to guide liquefied particles flowing down the outside surface of said tube away from its open end.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,138,104 11/1938 Kellogg 220-44 XR 3,044,503 7/ 1962 Taisho Iketani 141-330 XR FOREIGN PATENTS 572,943 5/ 1959 Belgium.
LAVERNE D. GEIGER, Primary Examiner.