US 3281948 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
R. W. METHOD FOR DRYING AND TREATING HAIR OR OTHER FIBERS VIA ULTRASONICS Nov. 1, 1966 Filed Sept. 13, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 My: mum
INVENTOR. RALPH w. GOBLE ,F/a 4. BY
ATTORNEYS Nov. 1, 1966 R. w. GOBLE 3,231,948
METHOD FOR DRYING AND TREATING HAIR OR OTHER FIBERS VIA ULTRASONICS Filed Sept. 13, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 HI! I! INVENTOR. RALPH W. GOBLE BY dam W ATTORNEYS United States Patent This application is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Serial No. 297,162, filed July 23, 1963, which is a continuation-in-part of my copending application Serial No. 190,924, filed April 27, 1962 now Patent 1 No. 3,211,159. I
The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for treating fibrous materials. More specifically the method of this invention is particularly useful in the utilization of ultrasonic energy for curling or decurling of human and other natural fibers.
Ultrasonics, as is well known, is a general term referring to the generation, detection and/ or utilization of vibratory mechanical energy, usually but not necessarily beyond the audible range.
Natural fibers, both human and otherwise, are composed predominately of the protein keratin and the like. These keratin fibers are generally considered to include long polypeptide chains held in a folded structure by hydrogen bonds. The long chains are connected laterally by at least five types of attractive forces, namely salt linkages, hydrogen bond linkages, peptide linkages, Vander Walls forces and disulfide bond linkages.
The equilibrium positions that the polypeptide chains may assume under any set of conditions will depend on the interaction of the various linkages and their relative strengths. It is emphasized that a permanent configuration cannot be imparted to fibrous materials without some change in the forces within the fiber which hold the same in a straight or other undesirable position. It is clear then that upon rupture of the said attractive linkages, the fibers may be bent or curled in any given configuration after which the ruptured linkages can be reconstituted in their set conformation thus making the wave or curl substantially permanent.
The attractive forces of particular importance in the chemistry of hair curling involve the hydrogen bond and disulfide bond linkages. It is generally believed that these links are broken during the curling processes permitting rearrangement of the polypeptide chains. After completion of the process, the hydrogen bond and disulfide bond linkages are re-established in the curled configuration thereby producing a permanent wave.
The problem involved, however, is that the prior art methods and apparatus utilized in treating human hair and other natural fibers have not been sufiiciently successful in rupturing the fiber linkages which hold the polypeptide chains together in a lateral configuration. Thus the curl or set produced in said fibers is at best only temporary; since without sufficient rupture of the attractive forces holding the polypeptide chains together the fibers will inevitably revert to their original configuration.
Accordingly it is an object of this invention to provide a method of treating both natural and synthetic fibers in which the linkages within the fibers are ruptured sufficiently to produce a predetermined permanent configuration of the fiber upon re-establishment of the various linkages.
It is also an object of the invention to provide a method wherein natural and synthetic fibers are subjected to ultrasonic energy to effect a rupture of the molecular linkages within the fiber, thereby producing a substantially permanent configuration in the said fibers upon re-establishment of the molecular linkages.
It is a further object to provide a method in which nat- 3,281,948 Patented Nov. 1, 1966 ural and similar synthetic fibers are immersed or wetted with a suitable chemical compound to enhance the rupture of the fiber molecular structure upon being treated with ultrasonic energy.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a method of driyng natural and similar synthetic fibers in which the use of ultrasonic energy is employed.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for carrying out the novel methods.
Other objects or advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a partly schematic and partly a plan view of one embodiment of the apparatus for carrying out the method in accordance with this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a view in section one form of the whistle which may be used in this invention for ultrasonically modulating the heated air;
FIGURE 3 is a diagrammatic view of the modulated air stream as it is believed it would appear on impinging the hair; FIGURE 4 is a schematic view, with parts broken away to conserve space, of the apparatus shown in FIGURE 1 wherein the outlet end of the conduit is provided with a plurality of whistles mounted in the conduit;
FIGURE 5 is a schematic view, with parts broken away to conserve space, of the apparatus shown in FIGURE 1, wherein the conduit is divided into several channels each provided with a whistle;
FIGURE 6 is a view in cross-section along line 6-6 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 7 is a view in elevation of an arrangement according to the invention embodying an ultrasonic modulated fluid jet stream; and,
FIGURE 8 illustrates a distribution system feeding a plurality of Whistles positioned within individual curl forms.
According to the present invention, the method of treating hair or other natural fibers with ultrasonic energy comprises wetting the hair with a liquid material of the type specified later in the specification and arranging the hair or other natural fibers and forcibly restraining same in a predetermined configuration. The fibers are then contacted with a fluid stream which is modulated at an ultrasonic frequency by the application of ultrasonic energy thereto, in a manner to be later explained, whereby the fibers so treated will selectively remain indefinitely in the predetermined configuration on removal of the restraining force. The invention has been found to have particular utility and efiiciency in the curling and decurling of human hair. It has additionally been found that modulating a heated air stream in the ultrasonic range in connection with hair drying produces a much more rapid and efficient drying of the hair.
Referring now to FIGURE 1, the apparatus includes an air blower and heating device indicated as 10. This may be merely a portable hair drying apparatus or it may be any of the large air heating devices used commercially, adapted to produce a heated or nonheated fluid stream. The fan 12 with its blades 14 are rotatably mounted within the housing 18 on the hub 16 and are rotated thereon by a suitable electric motor and the like, not shown, The housing 18 opens into an elongated conduit 20 in which is mounted a heating element 22 for heating the air being forced through the conduit 20 by the aforesaid fan 12. The type of heating element is not critical, however, it may be an asbestos board 24 around which are wound high resistance heating Wires 26 through which an electric current is passed from a suitable current source. A suitable whistle means 28, to be described in detail hereinafter, is mounted in the conduit 20 downstream of the heating element and is preferably actuated by a relatively high pressure external source of air. The purpose of the whistle means 28 is to produce ultrasonic modulation in the heated air stream passing through the conduit 20 prior to its leaving the air heating device at the exit 30. It will be noted that the whistle, which may also be a series of whistles, is mounted downstream of the heating element in order to provide the proper efficiency in the ultrasonic modulation of the heated air stream which ultimately will contact the hair fibers. If the whistle means were to be mounted upstream of the heating element, the desired modulated etfect of the air would be substantially diminished by the presence of element 22 in the modulated air stream in passing through the conduit 20.
The modulated air after leaving the conduit is then directed against the prearranged hair fibers 32 which have been wetted with a liquid material to be described below, said hair fibers being wound or constrained on a suitable form 33. The hair fibers are rapidly dried and thereafter substantially maintain their predetermined configuration for an indefinite period of time.
The liquid materials serving as a coupling medium and employed to wet the fibers prior to being subjected to ultrasonic energy are preferably characterized by having a weak bonding structure which renders them capable of being easily ruptured with the release of free ions and radicals. Such materials greatly enhance the ultrasonic breakage of the said molecular linkages and they also aid in the reorientation thereof. Water is a material which falls under this classification and as such may be employed in wetting the fibers. However, the bonding structure of water is not easily ruptured, and
consequently its efficiency as an ultrasonic aid is not as great as some other materials. For this reason while water is satisfactory for use in wetting the said natural fibers, it is not the most preferred. Those materials prefer-red for use in this invention are methyl iodide either in the pure form or diluted with water in concentrations of from to by volume; and. triethanolamine also both in the pure form or diluted with Water in similar manner. However, methyl iodide is toxic and must be utilized in the treatment of natural fibers disassociated from humans, such as wigs, etc. There is no significant toxicity related to triethanolamine and it can be successfully employed in the treatment of human hair without fear of any ill effects therefrom.
A related innovation which may incorporate into this invention is the use of a means to provide free ions in the air stream by ionizing the air, i.e., a gaseous ionizer. Such a device may be in the form of a spark gap and 1 the like located in the conduit 20 to ionize the air passing therethrough. The spark gap 21 is connected to a suitable high voltage supply. The purpose of such a device is to increase the population of the ionized particles in the modulated air stream. The ionized gas particles function similar to that of and in conjunction with the materials employed in Wetting the fibers, namely to further enhance the ultrasonic rupture of the molecular linkages within the fibers and to aid in the reorientation thereof.
In a further embodiment of the invention shown in FIGURE 4, a plurality of whistles indicated as 28a, 12, c. d and e are positioned in the conduit 20 downstream to the heating element 22 and mounted in a suitable manner. The principal requirements of the whistles are that they emit ultrasonic vibrations at different frequencies as may be required for best results. For example, whistle 28a may emit vibrations which modulate the air stream at 15 kilocycles, whistle 28b at 20 kilocycles, whistle 280 at 22 kilocycles, whistle 28b at 25 kilocycles and whistle 28e at 27 kilocycles. The only major requirement of the frequency of the ultrasonic energy created when the whistles are actuated is that it should be above the audible range. The frequencies best suited for a particular hair fiber may be readily determined by experimental treatment thereof. Different frequency combinations may be made use of by substitution of whistles of different frequencies. Therefore, it is seen that in this embodiment the fan 12 with its blades 14 rotatably mounted in the housing 18 on the hub 16 forces air into the elongated conduit 2% past the heating element 22 and is then modulated to the desired frequency by the series of whistles 28a, b, c, a and e after which it leaves the apparatus at the exit 3%). The thus modulated air is directed against the wet constrained hair fibers in order to rapidly dry the hair fibers so that they will indefinitely retain their predetermined configuration.
In another embodiment of the invention as shown in FIGURE 5, the conduit 24 is separated into several separate independent channels 31a, b, and c, posterior of the heating device 22. Each channel contains a suitable whistle 28 g and h, mounted therein. All of the whistles are actuated by a high pressure air, the source of which is not shown. The several whistle means may also emit ultrasonic vibrations at different frequencies as may be required for best results.
The whistle means utilized by this invention is shown in FIGURE 2 and is of the stem-jet variety comp-rising a tube 34 having an inlet 36 and an outlet 38 tapered to a smaller diameter. A perforated plate 4% is positioned within the tube supporting a stem 42 which protrudes axially from the outlet 38. A cup 44 is axially supported on stem 42 with the opening thereof in opposed relation to outlet 38 to form an annular slot 46. A bell collar 48 is positioned on tube 34 near the outlet endthereof with the bell opening being directed opposite the opening of cup 44. The edges of the tube at the outlet and the edge of the cup 44 are tapered to-a knife edge. When high pressure air is introduced into tube 34, the escape thereof between the tube outlet and cup 44 through annular slot 46 produces a high efiiciency whistle. This type of whistle is very efficient and produces the necessary ultrasonic frequencies with a minimum volume of air. The size of the whistle and the positioning of cup 44 relative to outlet 38 determine the frequency of a particular whistle. The air stream passing through conduit 20 is modulated at the frequency or frequencies of the whistles mounted thereon.
In carrying out the present invention, strands of fibers which are to be treated, including human hair, wetted with one of the materials set forth above are forcibly restrained in a predetermined arrangement by a suitable means, and then are subjected to the heated ultrasonic modulated air stream emitted from conduit 20 via exit 30. It is found that drying natural hair by using a modulated air stream in the ultrasonic range will considerably hasten the drying effect without any deterioration of the individual hair fibers. Moreover, the hair fibers will tend to remain indefinitely in the predetermined configuration in which they were arranged after being subjected to the aforesaid ultrasonic modulated air stream during the drying thereof. This configuration will tend to be retained even though the fibers are later washed, bleached or subjected to other types of treatment.
It is not precisely understood why the process of the invention utilizing an ultrasonically modulated air stream operates to more efiiciently dry the hair and other natural fibers. However, as is depicted in FIGURE 3 the modulated air contains low pressure zones 54a, b, c interpersed with higher pressure zones 52a, b, c and the repeated application of the low pressure zones to the wet hair fibers will tend to lift the scales located on the exterior surfaces of all individual hair fibers and thereby permit the easy and rapid vaporization of the water. It should .be noted that when any heated air is applied to a wet hair fiber the moisture is removed therefrom by evaporation. However, the scales located on the exterior sides of all natural hair fibers tend to resist the removal of occur in the modulated air as specified in this invention to the wet hair fibers that the aforesaid scales are lifted away from the exterior sides of the individual hairs and thereby will remove the obstacles which prevent the easy exit of the water therein and accordingly will cut the required drying time to an absolute minimum.
In a similar manner it is believed that the principle involved in the extraordinary and novel curling of the hair fibers when contacted with a heated air modulated to ultrasonic frequencies as contemplated by this invention relates to the rapid rupture of most of the molecular linkage which laterally connect the polypeptide chains in the fibers. This permits the said chains to form new molecular connections and thus reorient to the configuration in which the fibers have been forcibly constrained.
The manner in which the liquid materials wetting the fibers during the application of ultrasonic energy operate is not fully understood but it would appear that the materials break down to release free ions and radicals which combine with the broken fiber molecular linkages to considerably enhance the molecular reorientation of said fibers in the constrained configuration. ionizing the modulated air as discussed previously serves a similar purpose as does the application of ultrasonic energy to the aforesaid liquid material employed to wet the fibers, since free ions and radicals are also created which combine with the ruptured linkages within the fiber to reorient the same in the position to which the fiber has been forcibly constrained. Of course, when a new curl or curling design is required the hair may merely be wetted again with one of the preferred materials set forth above and constrained in the desired manner after which the properly modulated and heated air is applied thereto. This will again reorient the molecular structure of the individual hair fibers and result in a substantially permanent curling configuration of the hair.
Referring now to FIGURE 7, there is shown a conduit 56 for a fluid medium, such as water or water containing an additive, such as methyl iodide. A nozzle 58 is attached to the end of conduit 50 and adapted to direct a spray of the chemical substance onto form 60 about which is wound and restrained hair 62 to be treated. A-n ultrasonic transducer 64, such as barium titanate, with or without additions, is coupled to the 'conduit and diven by a suitable ultrasonic generator 66. The fluid substance in conduit 56 issues from nozzle 58 as a spray modulated at ultrasonic frequency and impinges on hair 62. The ultrasonic energy is then uncoupled from the hair, which is then dried, retaining the set.
Although I have described the invention with a certain degree of particularity, it is to be understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of the invention and the combination and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed. For example, the air entering whistle 28 may be heated to provided the source of heated air or in addition to that from blower and heating device 10. Further as illustarted in FIG- URE 8, a heated stream of air may be introduced into manifold 68 from conduit 70 and distributed into conduits 72. Each conduit 72 is terminated in a whistle 74 of a size to be inserted within a curl form 76. Curl form 76 may be perforated or otherwise porous to permit air issuing from whistle 74 to impinge on hair '78 wound around the curl form.
What is claimed is:
1. The method of treating natural fibers comprising the steps of arranging the fibers into a predetermined configuration, wetting the fibers with a liquid material characterized by having a weak bonding structure adapted to be easily ruptured with a release of free ions and radicals, and subjecting the same to a stream of fluid which is modulated at ultrasonic frequencies.
2. The method according to claim 1 wherein the fluid stream is ionized air.
3. The metod of treating natural fibers comprising the steps of wetting the fibers with a liquid material characterized by having a weak bonding structure adapted to be easily ruptured with a release of free ions and radicals, arranging said fibers into a predetermined configuration, and subjecting same to an air stream modulated at ultrasonic frequencies.
4. The method of claim 3 in which the natural fiber treated is human hair and the liquid material employed to wet the fiber is selected from the group consisting of methyl iodide, triethanolamine and aqueous solutions thereof.
5. The method of treating human hair comprising the steps of wetting the hair with a liquid material characterized by having a weak bonding structure and adapted to be easily ruptured with a release of free ions and radicals, arranging the hair and forcibly retaining the same .in a predetermined configuration, and then contacting said hair with a heated air stream modulated at ultrasonic frequencies said frequencies being above the audible range.
6. The method of claim 5 in which the liquid material used to wet the fiber is selected from the group consisting of methyl iodide, triethanolamine and aqueous solutions thereof.
'7. The method of claim 5 which includes the step of ionizing the air and the liquid material employed to wet the fiber is selected from the group consisting of methyl' iodide, triethanolamine and aqueous solutions thereof.
8. The method of drying natural fibers wetted with a liquid material characterized by having a weak bonding structure adapted to be easily ruptured with a release of free ions and radicals comprising the steps of modulating an air stream at ultrasonic freqeuncies and impinging the modulated air stream on the wet fibers.
9. The method of claim 8 in which the natural fibers are human hair an the ultrasonic frequencies in which said air stream is modulated are above the audible range and including the step of heating the air stream.
10. The method of claim 9 including the step of ionizing the air.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,175,299 3/1965 Boucher 34-4 FREDERICK L. MATTESON, JR., Primary Examiner. WILLIAM F. ODEA, Examiner.
A. D. HERRMANN, Assistant Examiner.