US 3263875 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
2, 1966 c. A. LOFDAHL 3,263,875
DISPOSABLE DRIP-FREE DISPENSING VALVE Filed July 26, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR ATTORNEY S y e A. Lofda/al Aug. 2, 1966 c. A. LOFDAHL 3,263,875
7 DISPOSABLE DRIP-FREE DISPENSING VALVE Filed July 26. 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR Clyde A. Lofdahl ATTORNEY .S
Aug- 2, 1966 c. A. LOFDAHL 3,263,875
DISPOSABLE DRIP-FREE DISPENSING VALVE Filed July '26, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR Clyde A.Lofda/1I MM M/ ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,263,875 DISPOSABLE DRIP-FREE DISPENSING VALVE Clyde A. Lofdahl, San Pablo, Calif., assignor to Boise Cascade Corporation, Boise, Idaho, a corporation of Delaware Filed July 26, 1965, Ser. No. 474,621 12 Claims. (Cl. 222-518) This invention relates generally to a dispensing valve, and more particularly to a disposable horizontally-arranged valve operable to dispense, by gravity, a liquid in a drip-free manner. The valve is characterized by the provision of a frustoconical valve element adapted for seating engagement with frustoconical seat to retain fluid, by surface tension, in a downwardly extending discharge passage.
It is known in the patented dispensing valve art to provide a conical or frustoconical valve element which is biased toward a closed position in engagement with a corresponding seat by means of a dome-shaped resilient member that is arranged on the opposite side of the valve element from the seat. Examples of such known valves are presented in the United States patents to Miller No. 549,678 and Henricson No. 2,543,850. In the known devices, fluid is discharged via a discharge chamber arranged in the valve body between the valve seat and a spout or nozzle. Consequently, when the valve is arranged in a horizontal position with the spout directed downwardly, liquid container in the said discharge chamber is free to flow or drip from the chamber, thereby resulting in Waste of the liquid and undesirable depositing of the same upon a surface therebeneath.
In many applications, it is desirable to provide a horizontally arranged dispensing valve for dispensing fluid by gravity from a container. In the packaging and dispensing of refrigerated liquids such as milk or fruit juices, it has been proposed to market the fluids in plastic bags housed in a semi-rigid carton that may be stored on the shelf of a conventional kitchen refrigerator. The present invention was developed to provide inexpensive disposable valve means for such packages that may be 0perated by adults or children for dispensing liquids from the containers without removal of the same from the refrigerator shelf and without the dripping of liquid upon lower portions of the refrigerator chamber.
Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide valve means including a fruostoconical valve element that is biased toward a closed position relative to a corresponding frustoconical valve seat which contains a laterally-extending discharge passage, whereby the valve element is seated upon the orifice of the discharge passage. In accordance with another feature of the invention, the valve element is resilient and has a greater angle of generation than that of the frustoconical seat, whereby during closing movement of the valve element, the cooperating surfaces are progressively brought into contact. When the valve is horizontally arranged with the discharge passage extending downwardly, and when the discharge passage has a predetermined length and cross-sectional configuration, fluid is retained against drippage from the passage by surface tension.
A further object of the invention is to provide a dispensing valve of the type described above in which all the components thereof are formed of inexpensive materials, preferably synthetic plastic materials. A rigid valve body is provided having a transverse wall from which diverges outwardly the frustoconical valve seat. Actuator means extend axially through a central opening in the wall for displacing the valve element in the open direction from the seat, and biasing means are provided on the opposite side of the wall from the valve element to cooperate with the actuator means to bias the Patented August 2, 1966 valve element toward the closed position. Consequently, when the valve is arranged horizontally, the valve may be easily operated from the front to discharge fluid by gravity from the aforementioned downwardly directed discharge passage. The biasing means, which is preferably in the form of a diaphragm, and the valve element are formed from a resilient synthetic plastic material, for example, ethyl vinyl acetate.
In accordance with a more specific object of the invention, the resilient diaphragm cooperates with the valve body to define a fluid-tight auxiliary chamber on the opposite side of the transverse wall from the frustoconical valve seat. Passage means are provided in the transverse wall to afford continuous communication between the chambers on opposite sides of the wall. Consequently, when the valve is arranged horizontally and is closed following gravity discharge as described above, fluid is forced into the auxiliary chamber during closing movement of the resilient valve element and is detained therein until the next dispensing operation of the valve. In accordance with the present invention, the valve element cooperates with the frustoconical valve seat at axially-spaced annular contact surfaces on both sides of the downwardly directed discharge passage, whereby the discharge passage is isolated from the auxiliary chamber and from the chamber in communication with the fluid container, respectively, whereby dripping of fluid from the valve when in a closed position is avoided. In accordance with a modification of the invention, the frustoconical valve seat is provided with a pair of axially spaced annular ribs arranged on opposite sides of the discharge passage for cooperation with the valve element to provide an improved leak-proof seal for fluids having a low viscosity (for example, fluid juices, Water, milk and the like).
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a study of the following specification when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 is an axial sectional view of the disposable drip-free dispensing valve, the valve element being shown in its normally-closed position;
FIGURES 2 and 3 are sectional and detailed bottom views taken along lines 22 and 3-3 of FIGURE 1, respectively;
FIGURE 4 is an axial sectional view of the resilient valve element of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5, is a perspective view illustrating the manner of use of the subject dispensing valve in connection with a horizontally-arranged fluid container; and
FIGURE 6 is an axial sectional view of another embodiment of the valve body wherein the frustoconical valve seat is provided with a pair of axially-spaced annular sealing ribs arranged on opposite sides of the discharge passage.
Referring first more particularly to FIGURE 1, the disposable drip-free dispensing valve includes a generallycylindrical valve body 2 formed of a rigid inexpensive material, for example a synthetic plastic material such as impact styrene. The body 2, which is normally arranged horizontally as shown in FIGURE 1, includes a first end portion having a vertical transverse wall 4 containing a centrally arranged non-circular opening 6, an intermediate portion 8 having a frustoconical inner surface 10 diverging outwardly from the transverse wall 4 and containing a downwardly-extending discharge passage 11, and a generally tubular second end portion 12 having a cylindrical inner surface 14. Wall 4, frustoconical surface 10 and cylindrical surface 14 define in the valve body 2 a valve chamber 15. The tubular end portion 12 of the rigid valve body is adapted for connection with a fluid container 18, which in the illustrated embodiment, comprises a bag of an impervious material, for example, polyethylene, arranged within a semi rigid paperboard carton 19. The container 18 includes a discharge sleeve 20 that extends horizontally through an opening in the carton wall and is concentrically mounted in fluid-tight relationship upon the tubular end portion 12 of the rigid valve body 2. Integral annular lip 21 retains the sleeve .20 on the tubular portion 12.
The first, or left hand, end portion of the valve body 2 includes an axially-extending generally annular flange 24 that is arranged coaxially with respect to the opening 6 in the transverse wall 4. On its inner circumference, the flange 24 is provided with an annular groove or recess 26 into which is mounted by a fluid-tight interference fit, the peripheral edge portion 28 of a generally concave or dome-shaped imperforate resilient diaphragm 30, the concave surface of which faces the transverse wall 4. Carried by the central portion of diaphragm 30 is an axial tubular extension 32 that freely extends through the noncircular opening 6. Press-fit or otherwise secured at one end within the tubular extension 32 is a solid valve stem 40, the other end of which extends axially through the opening 6 and is secured to the valve body 42. Valve body 42 and diaphragm 30 are formed of a resilient highmemory material (for example, ethyl vinyl acetate).
As shown in FIGURES l and 4, valve element 42 has a frustoconical outer surface 44 adapted for seating engagement with the frustoconical valve seat to close the downwardly extending discharge passage 11. The valve element 42 is continuously biased by resilient diaphragm 30 to the seated or closed position (illustrated in FIGURE 1) to interrupt communication between valve chamber and discharge passage 11.
In accordance with an important feature of the present invention, the angle of generation of the frustoconical outer surface 44 of the valve element 42 is slightly greater (on the order of one-quarter of one degree) than the angle of generation of the frustoconical valve-seat surface 10. Consequently, assuming that the angle of gener-ation of frustoconical surface 10, in degrees, is a, then the angle of generation of frustoconical surface 44 is ct-HA as shown in FIGURES 1 and 4.
Referring again to FIGURE 1, the transverse wall 4 carries a tubular horizontal projection or stop 56 that extends axially in the direction of diaphragm 30 and limits the extent of righthand opening movement of valve element 42 from its seat 10.
As shown in FIGURES l and 2, a pair of through passages 60 are provided in transverse wall 4 to afford communication between the auxiliary chamber 62 (defined by diaphragm 30, flange 24 and transverse wall 4) and the portion 15a of valve chamber 15 adjacent wall 4. Communication is further afforded between these two chambers via the clearance space between the outer periphery of tubular extension 32 and the walls of noncircular opening 6 as shown in FIGURE 2.
Referring now to FIGURES 1 and 3, the intermediate portion 8 of the valve body 2 is provided with a downwardly directed spout 64 containing the discharge passage 11. Consequently, when the valve element is opened from its seat, fluid is discharged from container 18 via sleeve 20., valve chamber 15, and discharge passage 11. The length of l of the discharge spout is so selected that at the instant the valve element 44 is returned to its illustrated closed position, all the fluid contained with in the spout is retained indefinitely by surface tension within the said discharge passage. In this manner, the dripping of fluid from the spout is completely eliminated. The length l and the cross-sectional dimensions of the passage 11 are determined as a function of the dimensions and material (specifically, the resiliency) of the valve element 42, the viscosity of the fluid, and the angle a.
Operation Assume that the valve body has been connected with the discharge sleeve 20 of the fluid container 18, and that the carton 19 in which the container is arranged is tilted to the horizontal storage position shown in FIG- URE 5, the valve 2 being horizontally arranged adjacent the lower portion of the carton with the discharge spout 64 directed downwardly. Owing to the force of gravity, fluid flows from the container via the sleeve 20 and fills the valve chamber 15. Since valve 42 is closed on its seat, no fluid is discharged from the spout 64.
Upon insertion of the central portion of diaphragm 30 to axially displace the valve element 42 from its seat, fluid is dispensed bygravity from the chamber 15 via the discharge passage 11 contained in spout 64, and is admitted to auxiliary chamber 62 via openings 60 and the clearance space in opening 6 surrounding tubular extension 32.
When the desired amount of fluid is discharged by gravity via spout 64, the force applied to the central portion of diaphragm 30 is removed, whereupon the diaphragm progressively returns to its original configuration and thereby displaces valve 42 to the left toward the closed position illustrated in FIGURE 1. Owing to the A1" differential between the angles of generation of the surfaces 44 and 10, during this progressive movement of valve element 42 to the left, the right-hand peripheral extremity of the frustoconical valve surface 44 initially engages surface 10 to commence closure of discharge passage 11. Upon continued movement of the central portion of diaphragm 30 and valve stem 40 to the left, valve element 42 is progressively deform-ed to effect progressive engagement of surface 44 with surface 10 in a direction toward the transverse Wall 4 (i.e., from right to left), the fluid in chamber portion 15a being forced into auxiliary chamber 62. At the time of complete closing of the orifice of discharge passage 11 by valve element 42, fluid is retained by surface tension in passage '11, with the result that dripping of fluid from the spout upon release of the central portion of diaphragm 30 is avoided.
Normally the interference fit between diaphragm edge portion 28 and annular groove 26 is on the order of .010 inch so that a completely fluid-tight seal is obtained. If desired, that co-operating surfaces may be secured together in permanently sealed engagement by the aid of an adhesive.
The angles of generation ((x and ot+% are critical for obtaining leak-free operation of the dispensing valve. In the event that the differential between the angles is less than approximately the seal pressure adjacent portion 70 of valve seat surface 10 is insufficient to prevent leakage. If the differential is greater than approximately it has been found that the seal pressure adjacent contact are-a 72 is insufficient to prevent leakage. As a result of the invention, fluids such as milk or fruit juices may be dispensed, in a drip-free manner, from a polyethylene bag arranged in a carton that is supported in a horizontal condition on the shelf of a refrigerator. This dispensing is effected by the gravity discharge of fluid through the front-button-operated disposable valve of the present invention.
Referring now to the modification of FIGURE 6, the valve body 2 having a frustoconical valve seat 10' is provided with a pair of axially spaced annular ribs 92, 94 arranged on opposite sides of the orifice of discharge passage 11'. These annular ribs afford a pair of 360 sealing surfaces that cooperate with the resilient valve element 44' to define high-pressure seals which effectively isolate passage 11 from auxiliary chamber 62' and valve body chamber 15', respectively, when the valve is in the illustrated closed position. The heights of the ribs are relatively small (on the order of 0.003 inch), whereby in the closed position the valve element deforms over the ribs and maintains surface-to-surface contact with the portion of the valve seat between the ribs. Consequently, fluid is prevented from remaining between the ribs and from slowly draining out to form drops that otherwise would fall by gravity from the discharge .p-assage.
In both of the embodiments of FIGURES 1 and 6, the effectiveness of the cooperation of the single valve element with pairs of axially spaced annular portions of the frustoconical valve seat on both sides of the discharge passage depends upon the span between the two seals-- more, specifically the longer the span, the more diflicult the seal. The allowable span is a function of the shape and flexibility of the valve element. The more flexible the material of the valve element, the longer the span. In the embodiments illustrated in the drawings, for a A diflerential angle and for a valve element formed from ethyl vinyl acetate having an effective thickness of 0.020 inch and the proper biasing tension, suflicient pressure is obtained in both seal areas to effect a positive seal across a span of on the order of 0.200 inch.
As a result of the use of the additional sealing ribs in the embodiment of FIGURE 6, the sealing is more effectively accomplished for low viscosity fluids (for example, water, fruit juices, milk, etc).
While in accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the preferred form and embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made in the apparatus described without deviating from the invention set forth in the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A disposable drip-free dispensing valve adapted for connection with a container to control the gravity discharge of a fluid therefrom, comprising a rigid valve body including a normally vertical transverse wall, and a frustoconical valve seat diverging outwardly relative to said transverse wall and cooperating therewith to at least partially define a valve chamber, said transverse wall containing a centrally arranged opening and said valve seat containing a downwardly directed discharge passage the upper end of which communicates with said valve chamber;
a resilient frustoconical valve element arranged in said valve chamber for seating engagement with said valve seat to close said discharge passage, said valve .seat and said valve element having a common horizontal axis;
and means biasing said valve element toward a closed position relative to said seat, comprising a resilient diaphragm connected with said valve body on the opposite side of said transverse wall from said valve element, and connecting means extending through said wall opening for rigidly connecting said valve element with said diaphragm, said diaphragm being secured to said valve body in spaced relation to said transverse wall to define the-rebetween an auxiliary chamber, said valve body containing means affording continuous communication between said valve chamber and said auxiliary chamber.
2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein .said valve body, said valve element and said resilient member are each formed of a synthetic plastic material.
3. Apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said valve body includes an external generally-annular flange arranged concentrically about the opening in said transverse wall, and further wherein said diaphragm includes a generally circular edge portion in sealed engagement with said flange.
4. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein said diaphragm is normally concave and includes a concave surface facing said transverse wall, and further wherein said means affording communication between said chambers comprises passage means contained in said transverse wall.
6 5. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein the line of generation of the outer frustoconical surface of the valve element relative to its axis defines an angle approximately one-quarter a degree greater than the angle defined by the line of generation of the inner frustoconical surface of said valve seat relative to its axis, whereby deformation of the valve element by the valve seat is obtained to produce of fluid-tight seal when the valve element is displaced to the closed position by the biasing means.
6. A disposable drip-free dispensing valve adapted for connection with the lower portion of a container to control the gravity discharge of a fluid therefrom, comprising a rigid horizontally-arranged valve body including successively in the horizontal direction a first end portion having a vertical transverse wall, an intermediate portion having a frustoconical inner surface diverging outwardly from said wall and defining a valve seat, and a second end portion having a generally cylindrical inner surface contiguous at one end with the outer extremity of said frustoconical surface, said frustoconical and cylindrical surfaces having a common horizontal axis, the other end of said second end portion being open and adapted for connection with the fluid container, said transverse wall containing a centrally-arranged opening and said frustoconical valve seat containing a downwardly-extending discharge passage, said wall and said frustoconical and cylindrical surfaces defining a valve chamber;
a resilient frustoconical valve element arranged horizontally in said valve chamber for seating engagement with said frustoconical valve seat to close said discharge passage, said valve element being formed of a synthetic plastic material and having an angle of generation that is slightly greater than that of said valve seat;
and means biasing said resilient valve element toward a closed position in engagement with said valve seat to close said discharge passage, comprising a normally-concave vertically-arranged resilient diaphragm arranged on the opposite side of said transverse wall from said valve element, the concave surface of said diaphragm being spaced from said transverse wall and cooperating with said valve body to define an auxiliary chamber, and means extending through said wall opening for connecting said diaphragm with said valve element, said transverse wall containing means affording continuous communication between said auxiliary chamber and said valve chamber.
7. Apparatus as defined in claim 6 wherein the downwardly extending discharge passage has such a length relative to the size of the passage orifice, relative to the dimensions and angular relationship between the valve element and the frustoconical inner surface of said intermediate body portion, and relative to the viscosity of the fluid, that upon closing of the discharge passage by the engagement of valve element with its seat, all remaining fluid in said discharge passage is retained therein by surface tension.
8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said body intermediate portion includes a downwardly extending spout containing at least a portion of said discharge passage.
9. Apparatus as defined in claim 6, and further wherein said connecting means comprises a solid rod-shaped valve stem extending axially from said valve element, said diaphragm including a tubular portion mounted concentrically upon said valve stem and connected thereto by a press-fit snap-fit connection.
10. Apparatus as defined in claim 6, and further including a tubular stop member extending axially from said transverse wall concentrically about said connecting means in the direction of said diaphragm, the free extremity of said stop member being normally spaced from said diaphragm a distance equal to the desired length of travel of said valve member in the open direction from said valve seat.
11. A disposable drip-free dispensing valve adapted for connection with a fluid container to control the gravity discharge of fluid therefrom, comprising a rigid valve body including a normally vertical transverse Wall, and a frustoconical valve seat diverging outwardly relative to said transverse wall and cooperating therewith to at least partially define a valve chamber, said transverse wall containing a centrally arranged opening and said valve seat containing a downwardly directed discharge passage the upper end of which communicates with said valve chamber;
a resilient frustoconical valve element arranged in said valve chamber for seating engagement with said valve seat to close said discharge passage, said valve seat and valve element having a common horizontal axis;
means biasing said valve element axially in one direction toward said transverse wall to seat the valve element upon said frustoconical surface and thereby close the discharge passage, the outer surface of said valve element having an angle of generation that is slightly greater than that of said frustoconical valve seat surface to effect seating engagement between axially-spaced vertically-arranged annular sealing portions on said seat on oppositesides of said dis-. charge passage, respectively, with corresponding annular portions on said valve element when the valve element is in the closed position;
andrhorizontally arranged valve, operating means extending through the opening in said transverse Wall for displacing the valve element axially in the opposite direction to open the discharge passage and thereby permit dispensing a fluid from said valve chamber via said discharge passage.
12. Apparatus as defined in claim 11, and further including at least two axially-spaced integral annular ribs arranged coaxially on the annular sealing portions of said frustoconical valve seat surface, respectively, on 0pposite sides of the orifice of said' downwardly directed discharge passage.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,006,369 7/1935 Sargent 222-518 X 2,326,641 8/1943 Heeter et al 222-618 X 3,151,787 10/1964 Miller 222-518 ROBERT'B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
STANLEY H. TOLLBERG, Examiner.