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Publication numberUS3282361 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 1, 1966
Filing dateJun 20, 1962
Priority dateJun 20, 1962
Publication numberUS 3282361 A, US 3282361A, US-A-3282361, US3282361 A, US3282361A
InventorsMackie Harry A
Original AssigneeGen Motors Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Collapsible cell for transporting liquids
US 3282361 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 1, 1966 H. A. MACKIE COLLAPSIBLE CELL FOR TRANSPORTING LIQUIDS Filed June 20, 1962 INVENTOR. Haw/y fl Wire/if? ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,282,361 COLLAPSIBLE CELL FOR TRANSPORTING LIQUIDS Harry A. Mackie, Birmingham, Mich, assignor to Gen.- eral Motors Corporation, Detroit, Mich., a corporation of Delaware Filed June 20, 1962, Ser. No. 203,830 2 Claims. (Cl. 180-7) This invention relates to fluid transporting devices and more particularly to collapsible fluid containers adapted to be towed on waterways.

In the recent past, it has been proposed to transport bulk fluids on waterways by means of large flexible containers or cells which are towed through the water rather than being loaded on barges, ships, etc. In general, these containers take the form of elongated cylindrical rubber bodies having spherical end portions, with suitable provisions for attaching the drawbar, loading the interior, etc. In practice, the cell may be substantially entirely filled with a liquid having a specific gravity less than water, or alternatively, a somewhat reduced volume of liquids of greater specific gravity, floatation being accomplished by leaving an air space within the cell. In commercial use, the cell is towed to a port nearest its destination and, while still in the water, the contents thereof are pumped into a tank truck or rail vehicle for transportation to the destination. The empty cell is then collapsed, rolled up, and returned to the source for repetition of the cycle.

An object of the present invention is to provide an improved collapsible fiuid transport cell.

A further object is to provide a collapsible marine transport cell which is adapted for transition from Water to land mobility.

A still further object is to provide a device of the stated character in which limited land mobility is effected by providing an integral support portion therebeneath which, when energized by low pressure air, establishes an air bearing capable of substantially eliminating frictional engagement with the ground.

Yet another object is to provide a device of the stated character which is capable of substantial conformance with variations in ground contour while maintaining an effective air bearing support for the loaded cell.

Still another object is to provide land based mobile means for accomplishing movement of the cell from water to land and transporting the cell overland.

These and other objects, advantages and features of the invention will become more fully apparent as reference is had to the accompanying specification and drawing wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a schematic view illustrating a marine fluid cell and land based handling equipment therefor in accordance with the invention;

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged side elevational view, partly broken away, of a cell of the type shown in FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a sectional view looking in the direction of arrows 3-3 of FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of the cell illustrating the general configuration and structural details thereof.

Referring now to the drawing and particularly FIG- URE 1, there is illustrated a collapsible fluid cell 2 of the type adapted to be towed through water 4 by a marine craft, not shown. In the view shown, cell 2 has reached a port area nearest the intended destination, and a mobile loading unit 6 is in position to tow the cell from the water up a ramp 8 to the trailer bed 10 of unit 6 by means of a winch operated cable assembly 12.

In order to effect the indicated transitional movement in accordance with the present invention, cell 2 is constructed as a unit having an upper flexible wall 14 forming a closed generally cylindrical fluid containing compartment 16 and a lower flexible wall portion 18 which cooperates with the lower portion of upper wall 14 to form an annular supporting compartment 20 adapted to receive air under pressure. Walls 14 and 18 are bonded together or otherwise initially formed as an integral flexibleelastomeric. body. The lower flexible wall portion 18 is preferably shaped to a free configuration or convolution having a continuous lateral extremity 22 which projects substantially outboard of the lateral limits of wall 14 when compartment 16 is in a loaded condition. Annular compartment or cavity 20 formed by lower wall 18 is adapted for inflation through an air inlet neck 24. Inlet neck 24 receives the end of a conventional high pressure hose 26 having an aspirator 28 inserted therein which operates to increase the volume and reduce the pressure of air as it enters cavity 20. Hose 26 parallels the path of loading cable 12 so that it is wound on a winch drum 30 at the same rate as a loading cable. A conventional high pressure air storage tank 32 on unit 6 serves as the source of air pressure. Upon introduction of low pressure air through neck 24, cavity 20 inflates and urges wall portion 18 into the cross sectional configuration shown in FIGURE 3 which results in establishment of a plenum cavity 34 between the underside of cell 2 and the ground surface 36. Cavity 34 is subjected to superatmospheric pressure by means of a plurality of vents or apertures 38 formed at intervals along the annular inner portion of wall 18. Low pressure air thus introduced in plenum cavity 34 is partially entrapped by an annular throttling gap 40 established between the ground 36 and the lowermost bulged extremity 42 of wall 18. That is, the rate at which low pressure air in cavity 34 is permitted to escape therefrom to atmosphere is limited by the depth of throttling gap which has been found to be only a few thousandths of an inch. Consequently, relatively moderate air input is required to match the rate of peripheral loss at the throttling gap and a substantially stagnant low pressure air cushion is maintained Within plenum 34 which exerts a lifting force equal to the air pressure multiplied by the effective area circumscribed by the imaginary annular path defined by throttling gap 40. It will, of course, be understood that the input pressure required to be provided by high pressure hose 26 will depend upon the weight of the liquid contained within the storage compartment 16. However, since-an increase in the horizontal dimensions of wall 18 will have the effect of increasing the effective lifting area of the plenum cavity 34, it will be apparent that the specific input pressure may also vary according to the ratio of plenum cavity area to a constant weight of liquid.

Critical to effective operation of a low pressure air bearing of the type here involved is accurate maintenance of a very shallow throttling gap 40. It will be evident that any substantial increase in the throttling gap even over a localized portion of wall 18 will permit rapid exhaust of low pressure air within the plenum 34 and destroy the lifting capability thereof. In this respect, the present invention is particularly advantageous since both the compartment 16 and compartment 20 readily conform to terrain irregularity. This ability is further augmented by the presence of a liquid within compartment 16 which offers no significant resistance to deflection necessary to accommodate such irregularities. Therefore, the inherent tendency of the lowermost bulged extremity 42 of wall 18 to maintain a uniform shallow throttling gap is optimized.

In operation, when the fuel cell is connected to the loading unit 6 in the manner shown in FIGURE 1, supporting compartment 20 is energized simultaneously with operation of the winch driven cable 12 so that as the cell emerges from the water, the portion thereof engaging the ground '36 is immediately energized to provide the air "bearing support. This energization, of course, extends progressively through the entire length of the cell as the latter moves entirely onto land. When the landing and loading operation has been completed, the cell is transported on unit 6 to its ultimate destination where the contents are removed. The cell is then rolled up and prepared for return to its source for reloading and further transporting of liquids.

From the foregoing it will be seen that a novel and improved marine fluid transport cell has been provided which eliminates not only the diflicult operation of evacuating the cell while it remains in the water, but in addition completely eliminates the necessity for tank trucks to receive the contents thereof. The time and expense of two successive unloading operations is also eliminated.

While but one embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be apparent that other changes and modifications may be made therein. It is, therefore, to be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment shown, but only by the scope of claims which follow.

I claim:

1. An amphibious one-piece elastomeric transport cell comprising: an upper flexible wall forming a closed generally cylindrical fluid containing compartment and a lower flexible wall member formed integral with and depending from said upper flexible wall and which has portions spaced from and cooperating with the lower portion of said upper flexible wall to define an annular support compartment adapted to receive air under pressure, means for inflating said support compartment, said latter compartment upon inflation forming and surrounding a plenum cavity beneath said cell entirely bounded by said support compartment, and means in said lower wall member for venting said inflated compartment into said plenum cavity to form a low pressure air cushion supporting said cell in substantially friction free relation with the ground.

2. A ground mobile collapsible fluid transport cell comprising: a one-piece elastomeric body including a generally cylindrical portion defining a fluid storage compartment and an outer flexible member depending therefrom having portions spaced from and cooperating with the lower periphery of said cylindrical portion to define an annular inflatable support compartment underlying said storage compartment, means for inflating said support compartment to establish a plenum cavity between said cell and the ground, and means in said outer flexible member for venting said support compartment into the space defined by said plenum cavity to form a low pressure air cushion supporting said cell in substantially friction free relation with the ground.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,612,924 10/ 1952 Cunningham.

2,672,902 3/ 1954 Prager.

2,724,418 11/1955 Krupp 0.5 2,884,978 5/1959 Grimm 1500.5 2,978,004 4/ 1961 Smith 150-0.5 3,067,712 12/ 1962 Docrpinghaus 114-74 3,161,247 12/1964 Mackie 7 3,191,705 6/1965 Jones et al 1807 A. HARRY LEVY, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US2612924 *Dec 6, 1949Oct 7, 1952Us Rubber CoCollapsible container
US2672902 *Feb 1, 1952Mar 23, 1954Us Rubber CoFlexible shipping container
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US3161247 *May 19, 1961Dec 15, 1964Gen Motors CorpAir cushion load supporting device
US3191705 *Sep 13, 1960Jun 29, 1965Hovercraft Dev LtdVehicles for travelling over water
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Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3358748 *Aug 19, 1965Dec 19, 1967English Electric Co LtdSteam turbine cooling system
US3370886 *Mar 4, 1966Feb 27, 1968Dahle Frost JamesEnergy absorbing cushion
US3400780 *Feb 1, 1966Sep 10, 1968Gen Motors CorpAir cushion load supporting device
US3516568 *Jun 29, 1967Jun 23, 1970Nat Res DevStorage of liquids
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Classifications
U.S. Classification180/124, 114/74.00R, 114/74.00T, 383/3, 383/43
International ClassificationB65D88/00, B65D88/22
Cooperative ClassificationB65D88/22
European ClassificationB65D88/22