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Publication numberUS3293851 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 27, 1966
Filing dateJun 20, 1966
Priority dateJun 20, 1966
Publication numberUS 3293851 A, US 3293851A, US-A-3293851, US3293851 A, US3293851A
InventorsBond Frank D, Hulbert John K
Original AssigneeBell Aerospace Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Underwater propulsion devices
US 3293851 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 27, 1966 J. K. HULBERT ETA!- 3,293,851

UNDERWATER PROPULSION DEVICES Original Filed March 29, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIGI FIGZ FUEL TANK I f lo l2 THROTTLE VALVE ,18 BOILER CATALYTIC 22 BED I TURBINE SEA WATER 56 52 38 I coNmLsE rL a 44 BALLAST PUMP/[: I

SEA WATER INVENTORS FRANK D. BOND BY JOHN K. HULBERT A TTORNEYS Dec. 27, 1966 J K, HULBERT ET AL 3,293,851

UNDERWATER PROPULSION DEVICES Original Filed March 29, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 H 4 I I llll I I 1 20 INVENTORS FRANK 0. BOND JOHN K. HULBERT fia pmy @50 V A TTORNEYS' Dec. 27, 1966 J. K. HULBERT ETAL 3,293,851

UNDERWATER PROPULSION DEVICES Original Filed March 29, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Fl G4 Zoe m R E W W 0 E WW N WBH W D T 1 K T NN A mm /6F u WW/ 5 2 w )4 7 2 J 7 2 United States Patent 1963. This application June 20, 1966, Ser. No. 563,009 6 Claims. (Cl. 60-64) This invention relates to power plant devices and particularly to devices such as are suitable for attachment to personnel engaged in water surface or underwater diving exploration or other tasks for military or scientific or commercial purposes. This application is a continuation of our copending application Serial No. 269,016, filed March 29, 1963.

Heretofore, for the aforementioned purposes, devices such as miniature submarines or heavy sled-like arrangements of considerable weight and bulk, or handheld, battery-powered propulsion devices of relatively short endurance have been employed; and such devices have been operationally dependent upon the use of bulky and heavy tanks of pressurized gas. Operations employing such prior type devices have been severely handicapped and limited because of lack of capabilities for fully effective operations and/ or underwater survival of associated personnel during extended periods of submersion. Also, the propulsion systems of such prior devices produce considerable noise, as well as clearly defined wakes, thus making unwanted detection rather easy. These are of course extremely serious disadvantages when for example the device is to be employed by military personnel. Apparatus which forms an exception to the above disadvantages and problems is disclosed in Patent No. 3,161,968, issued December 22, 1964. The present invention is related in some respects to the aforementioned patent but constitutes departures in certain principles of operation therefrom, as will be more particularly set forth hereinafter.

Of primary concern in connection with the present invention is the provision of a completely self-contained power plant and propulsion device, adapted to be worn for example by divers for underwater operations and capable of propelling him over a considerable range While being inherently capable of supplying him with means of survival over an extended period of time.

More specifically, it is an object of this invention to provide a power plant employing a closed cycle system embodying a turbine and boiler for driving the turbine and wherein the generated steam is subsequently condensed and recycled back to the boiler and wherein the exothermic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is utilized as a heat source for the boiler.

A further object of this invention resides in the provision of an assemblage according to the preceding object wherein the turbine is utilized to drive a bladed assembly or member for forcing ambient sea water and the like through a surrounding housing or body, the body itself being of hollow wall construction and constituting the condensing chamber for the closed cycle system.

According to the present invention, a self-contained propulsion device is provided which is operable with equal facility both underwater and on the surface and which minimizes operational noise and visible wake to such an extent that detection of the device, when operating, is extremely difiicult.

Further, the assemblage incorporates the capability for delivering to the wearer when submerged, the necessary breathing gas at a pressure commensurate with the depth at which the device is being used, without the use of bulky high pressure air tanks or the like; wherein the device inherently provides the capability for furnishing a supply of heat for warming the diver such as when 3,293,851 Patented Dec. 27, 1966 operating under ice fields or the like; wherein the device inherently provides the capability for furnishing the diver with a supply of potable drinking water; and wherein the device inherently provides for a supply of electrical energy for operating illuminating or communicating devices, as may be desired or necessary, while the diver is submerged, or when surfaced, or while on dry land.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear from the description hereinbelow and the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a device constructed in accordance with the present invention as applied to a diver or the like;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the system according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical section taken through the fuel tank of the device and illustrating certain details of construction thereof;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged vertical section taken through the boiler, turbine and drive unit of the assemblage, representing that portion of the device not illustrated in FIG. 3 and showing certain details of construction thereof; and

FIG. 5 is a horizontal section taken through the boiler or heat exchanger assembly as indicated by section line 55 in FIG. 4.

With reference more particularly at this time to FIG. 2, the system as is diagrammatically illustrated therein will be seen to include a fuel tank 10 within which is provided a flexiblebladder 12 adapted to contain a supply of hydrogen peroxide. The bladder 12 is provided with an outlet 14 and a suitable conduit 16 extending therefrom leads to a catalyst bed or chamber 18 through the throttle valve 20, the latter being provided prefera- -bly under control of the user for adjustably metering the flow of the hydrogen peroxide fuel to the catalyst bed 18. In the specific embodiment shown, the catalyst bed 18 is located within the heat exchanger unit 22 for maximum efiiciency and, as will be appreciated, the hot steam and oxygen products of the decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide in the catalyst bed 18 are fed through the heat exchanger as indicated at reference character 24 for ultimate discharge through the conduit 26 and the exhaust check valve 28 to instrumentalities hereinafter more particularly set forth and defined. In heat exchange relationto the hot products of decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide is the power system medium as indicated at 30, such medium being preferably substantially pure water to minimize corrosion, scale formation and the like within the operating parts of the power system. Steam is generated in the heat exchanger 22 and is discharged through a suitable conduit 32 to drive a turbine assembly indicated generally by the reference character 34,.the exhaust from the turbine as indicated at reference character 36 being condensed in the heat exchange relation as indicated by reference character 38 for ultimate discharge in the form of water in the conduit or line 40 leading to the feed pump 42, which is driven by the turbine assembly 34. The system is closed by returning the condensed water through a suitable conduit or line 44 back to the heat exchange portion 30 of the boiler or heat exchanger 22.

Heat is withdrawn in the condenser assembly 46 by ambient sea water or the like as indicated diagrammatically in FIG. 2, the condenser having an intake 48 and a discharge 50 and being in heat exchange relation as at 52 with the turbine exhaust 38.

The turbine assembly 34 is connected preferably through a suitable speed reducer 54 to a bladed impeller member 56 which provides the propulsive force for the assemblage and, in addition to driving this impeller 56 and the aforesaid feed pump 42, a ballast pump 58 is provided which feeds ambient sea water or the like through an inlet line 60 and through the discharge line 62 thereof to the fuel tank so as to not only pressurize the flexible bladder 12 and provide efficient feed for the hydrogen peroxide, but also to offset, as ballast, the hydrogen peroxide fuel as it is consumed.

The above description of the invention as applied to the diagrammatic illustration in FIG. 2 constitutes the basic portion of the assemblage, it being understood that addition and further entities may be associated therewith for various purposes as may be desired. For example, it is to be understood that the products emerging at conduit 76 from the exhaust check valve 28 may be extended to instrumentalities for separating the oxygen and water, the former being utilized for breathing purposes and the latter being utilized for drinking purposes, all as set forth and defined more particularly in Patent No. 3,161,968, issued December 22., 1964.

Additionally, a suitable alternator or other desired electrical energy source may be driven by the turbine assembly 34 for supplying electrical energy as may be desired and useful. Still further, as will be more particularly set forth hereinafter, provision is preferably made for operating the feed pump 42, the ballast pump 58 and other and different instrumentalities as may be desired independently of any operation of the impeller mechanism 56 so that, when desired, the propulsion unit may be utilized merely for operation of these instrumentalities without imparting motion to the user.

With reference to FIG. 1, the propulsion unit will be seen to be rigidly aflixed to a suitable harness or corset assembly 80 having means thereon for attachment to the users body, the attachment to the back portion of the corset assembly 80 being through the medium, for example, of the stay or brace members 82 as is illustrated. The fuel tank will be seen to be disposed uppermost and immediately therebelow is the heat exchanger or boiler assembly 22 and at the lower extremity of the assembly is a duct or body portion 84 which contains the gear reducing mechanism 54, the impeller 56 and other instrumentalities such as the feed pump 42, the ballast pump 58 and the like. The housing or body 84 is of tubular configuration and has an inlet mouth 86 and, at the lower extremity thereof, a discharge mouth so that the impeller 56 may force ambient water or fluid therethrough to effect the propulsion.

FIG. 1 also illustrates the application of an electrical supply system in association with the basic unit illustrated in FIG. 2, FIG. 1 illustrating the diver as holding a lamp or light 88 having a suitable waterproof and/ or armored cable 89 extending to an alternator or like assemblage driven by the turbine unit 34 within the housing 84. FIG. 1 illustrates the use of a clutch control mechanism indicated generally by the reference character 94 and which may take the form of a squeeze handle -or the like operating a bowden cable connection 96 extending to the clutch mechanism hereinafter more particularly described. A similar squeeze handle mechanism may be provided at the opposite side of the assembly to operate the bowden cable 100 to control the throttle valve (see particularly FIG. 3).

The assemblage may also include, as is shown in FIG. 1, a helium or other pressurized gas supply device or tank 102 connected, through a suitable regulator or mixer 104 to the breathing tubes 106 extending to a conventional face mask breathing type apparatus and the mixer 104 has an inlet conduit 108 extending from a supply of oxygen obtained from the recovery thereof from the decomposed hydrogen peroxide fuel as aforesaid. The apparatus for separating the decomposed products, the water and oxygen, may be located internally of the fuel tank assembly 10 or, if desired, may be located externally thereof. The hydrogen peroxide fuel is fed from the bladder 12 to the boiler or heat exchanger 22 through the conduit 110 as shown which extends to the throttle 4 valve 20 under the control of the bowden cable as set forth hereinabove.

The products of decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide fuel are in part conveyed through the conduit 112 to the suitable mechanism for effecting the separation of the potable water and oxygen thereof as set forth hereinabove whereas a portion of these products of decomposition may also be discharged, through conduit 114, to a wake dissipating device hereinafter more particularly described and which is located within the confines of the housing or duct assembly 84. The ballast water is conducted from the ballast pump to the fuel tank 10 through the conduit 116 and potable drinking water may be supplied through a conduit 118, a manually controlled valve 120 and a discharge conduit 122 to extend to a region at or near the face mask 124 so that the diver may receive a supply of potable drinking water when desired, upon manipulation of the manually controlled valve 120.

Referring now more particularly to FIG. 3, the fuel tank proper may be seen to consist of a lower half 128 sealingly engaged with a mounting flange 130, the latter of which is mounted upon the upper end of a housing unit 132 which contains the boiler assembly hereinafter more particularly described. The bladder 12 is anchored at its open lower end to the member through the medium of a suitable C-sectioned ring 134 which also provides a channel communicating between the inlet nipple 136 from the ballast supply conduit 116 to the interior of the tank 10, as is indicated by arrows 138 and 140. At the same time, the ring 134 serves to seal the open lower end of the bladder 12. The cen-- tral portion of the member 130 is in the form of a snout or boss 142 which extends upwardly within the bladder 12 as shown and which is provided with a thimble or nose portion 144 upon which is mounted an outlet manifold tube 146. This tube is provided with a series of longitudinally and circumferentially spaced openings as is shown for permitting the entry of hydrogen peroxide thereinto from the bladder 12 as the bladder 12 is subjected to pressurization from the space between the bladder 12 and the inner surface of the tank 10. The tank 10 also includes an upper half portion 148 having an internally depending collar 150 mounting the seating member 152 which bears against the periphery of a disc-shaped washer element 154 and serves to sandwich the open upper end of the bladder 12 between this member 154 and the shoulder member substantially as is shown. The shoulder member 160 is threaded to receive the nuts 162 and 164, the latter of which helps to retain the sealed condition of the upper end of the bladder and the former of which serves to hold the seating member 152 in place, substantially as is shown. The member 160 is provided with a nose 166 which projects into the upper end of the manifold tube 146 and is provided with a bore 168 therethrough so as to communicate with the fuel outlet conduit 110 which extends, as set forth hereinabove, to the throttle valve 20. In addition to the instrumentalities shown, the tank 10 may also contain a suitable separator for the products of decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide fuel to supply potable drinking water and breathing oxygen to the user.

As can be best seen in FIG. 1, the boiler or heat exchanger assem-bly 22 is housed within the previously mentioned casing 132 which forms the outer wall thereof. The heat exchanger proper includes the upper and lower plates 170 and 172 between which there is fitted a spiral double wall scroll member which has an entrance mouth 174 joined with the inner tube member 176 and which has an outer discharge mouth joined with the housing wall 132 in the region thereof containing theoutlet openings 177 leading, through a manifold trough 178, to

character 182. The tube 176 projects through the plate 180 and is provided with a securing flange thereat and it is capped by a disc portion 184 which mounts the depending catalyst bed structure 186. The upper end of the catalyst bed tube 186 connects through the pipe or conduit 188 to the inlet conduit 190 extending from the throttle valve 20 (see particularly FIG. 3); whereas the lower end of the catalyst tube 186 is open so as to discharge the products of decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide fuel in the manner indicated by the arrows 191 into the interior of the tube 176 and for ultimate discharge through the mouth 174 previously described. Thus, the hot products of decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide fuel flow through the spiral scroll, the same being indicated generally by the reference character 192 in FIG. 5.

The closed system water enters the boiler through the inlet manifold 200 and through the openings 202 in the side wall 132 and passes into the scroll in the manner illustrated by the arrows 204 during which passage the water is converted to steam for ultimate disposition through the openings 206 in the bottom plate 172, in the direction and as illustrated by arrows 208 in FIG. 4. The steam then passes over the guide or dome member 210 for discharge through the nozzles 212 for impingement against the blades of a turbine rotor member 214, the same being shown for the sake of simplicity as a single stage turbine but which may be of multiple stage type if so desired. 7

The turbine shaft 216 is journalled in a housing member 218 as indicated by reference character 220 and may be provided with a pinion 222 drivingly connected to the ring gear 224 through the medium of the gears 226 journalled on the housing 218, substantially as is shown. The ring gear assembly 224 in turn is provided with a shaft extension 230 containing a further pinion 232 driving a second set of intermediate gears 234 once again journalled on the housing 218 and driving a second ring gear assembly 236 which, in turn, is provided with a shaft extension 238 to which the impeller assembly 240 is suitably clutched as by means of a clutch mechanism indicated generally by the reference character 242 so that the impeller 240 may be selectively drivingly engaged with the shaft extension 238. A reduced diameter shaft extension 244, rigid with the shaft extension 238 drives the aforementioned feed pump 42 and the ballast pump 58 as well as a suitable alternator 246 if so desired. Thus, by decoupling the clutch 242, the instrumentalities 42, 58 and 246 and others if desired, can be driven without imparting motion to the impeller assembly 240.

The housing or casing 84 is provided with inner and outer walls 248 and 250 respectively braced as by suitable apertured baffle plates 252 to define a condensate chamber therebetween. The upper ends of these walls are closed by the U-shaped ring 254 and the lower ends thereof are closed by direct contact as indicated by refe'r ence character 256. The housing 84 is attached to the remainder of the assemblage through the medium of a plurality of arms 260 extending between the turbine unit and such housing 84, each of which arms is hollow and which communicates, through discharge openings 262 with the exhaust side of the turbine wheel 214 to conduct the steam in the direction and manner indicated by arrows 264 into the condensate chamber formed between the inner and outer walls 248 and 250. Since the housing 84 is in direct contact with the ambient fluid, it most efficiently cools and condenses the closed cycle exhaust for subsequent pickup by the conduit 266 leading to the feed pump 42 whose discharge line 268 extends outwardly of the housing as shown and upwardly to the previously mentioned manifold 200.

The instrumentalities 42, 58 and 246 are housed within a generally frusto-conical member 270 which is rigidly afiixed to the inner side wall 248 of the casing 84 by means of a pair of arms or the like as indicated by reference characters 272 and 274 which arms are preferably of hollow construction and configuration so as to carry the several conduits shown and described in conjunction With FIG. 4 with a minimum of turbulence. The membei' 270 has inlet ports 280 to' permit the ambient sea water or the like to flow thereinto as indicated by arrows 282 to be picked up by the inlet 284 of the ballast pump 58. The discharge line 286 of this pump extends through the arm 272, outwardly of the housing 84 and upwardly for connection to the fuel tank 10, as was previously described. The clutch 242 is operated by means of a suitable throwout lever 290 pivoted as at 292'and under control of the aforementioned squeeze handle 94 for selectively engaging the impeller 240 in driven engagement with the shaft extension 238.

In order to dissipate any bubbles formed by excess products or decomposition which may not be utilized for potable drinking water or breathing oxygen, the conduit 114 previously described extends into the housing 84 and terminates in a perforate discharge nozzle 296. In this fashion, any bubbles will be quickly dissipated inasmuch as sea water normally is oxygen starved, the turbulence and agitation caused by the impeller 240 materially enhancing the breaking up and dissipation of any oxygen bubbles which may be otherwise formed.

In a specific embodiment of the invention, the turbine assembly operates at a rotational speed of approximately 240,000 rpm. and a dual planetary gear reduction system is utilized in conjunction therewith to reduce the rotational speed of the output shaft respectively to 24,000 rpm. and then ultimately to 2400 rpm. for driving the impeller, the condensate pump, the ballast pump and the like. It will be appreciated that otther and different gear reduction units could be utilized and that the specific assemblage shown and described need not strictly be adhered to.

The unit disclosed may be advantageously used as a source of electrical energy in many and diverse situations. For example, a land based radio transmitter may be successfully powered by the alternator 246 while the impeller 240 draws cooling air through the body. Because of the inherently silent operation of the unit, clandestine radio transmitter operation may be performed.

It is to be understood that certain changes and modifications as illustrated and described may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the following claims.

1. A self-contained power unit comprising,

a tubular body having spaced inner and outer wall portions defining a condensing chamber, said body having an intake mouth and a discharge passage,

a 11301161 mounted adjacent the intake mouth of said a turbine mounted adjacent said boiler and having an intake connected thereto and having exhaust connection to said condensing chamber,

a bladed member rotatably mounted within said body for pumping ambient fluid therethrough,

gear reduction means connecting said bladed member to said turbine,

pump means driven by said turbine and having an intake connected to said condensing chamber and a discharge connected to said boiler,

fuel supply means,

catalyst means connected to said fuel supply means to supply heat for said boiler.

2. A device of the character described comprising, in

combination,

a tubular body having an impeller rotatably mounted therewithin and having hollow wall portions defining a condensing chamber,

a turbine assembly mounted axially within one end of said body and drivingly connected to said impeller,

steam generating means mounted on and axially of 7 said turbine assembly beyond said one end of the body,

and conduit means extending from said turbine assembly to said condensing chamber and from said condensing chamber to said steam generating means,

said steam generating means comprising a cylindrical casing having a centrally disposed well, a catalyst bed disposed Within said well, a scroll-like conduit opening into said well and leading therefrom exteriorly of said easing into connection with said conduit means and forming a spiral chamber within said casing externally of the scroll-like conduit, said casing having a steam outlet leading from said spiral chamber to said turbine assembly.

3. A device of the character described comprising, in

combination,

a fuel tank for containing an exothermically decomposable fuel which liberates free oxygen upon decomposition,

steam generating means including a catalyst bed having an inlet connected to said fuel tank and an outlet for the products of fuel decomposition, and a steam chamber having an inlet and an outlet,

a steam condenser,

a turbine connected to the outlet of said steam chamber and having an exhaust outlet connected to said condenser,

a pump having an inlet connected to said condenser and an outlet connected to the inlet of said steam chamber,

a propeller device,

means connecting said pump and said propeller device to said turbine to be driven thereby,

conduit means connected to the outlet of said catalyst bed for supplying free oxygen to a user,

and said means including mechanism for selectively interrupting drive to said propeller device so that free oxygen may be supplied to a user independently of the operation of said propeller device.

4. A self-contained power unit comprising,

a tubular body having hollow Wall portions defining a condensing chamber,

a turbine assembly disposed concentrically of and adjacent one end of said body,

hollow arm means connected to and securing said turbine assembly to said body and forming an exhaust conduit for conveying systemic fluid from said turbine assembly to said condensing chamber,

steam generating means mounted on said turbine assembly beyond said body and discharging to said turbine assembly,

1 an impeller driven by said turbine assembly for pumping ambient fluid through said body,

a pump driven by said turbine assembly and having an inlet connected to the other end of said body and an outlet connected to and supplying said steam generating means with condensate from said condensing chamber,

and an electrical energy generator driven by said turbine assembly.

5. The device according to claim 4 wherein said steam generating means comprises a cylindrical casing having a centrally disposed well, a catalyst bed disposed within said well, a scroll-like conduit opening into said well and leading therefrom exteriorly of said casing and forming a spiral chamber Within said casing exteriorly of said scroll-like conduit, said casing having a steam outlet leading from said spiral chamber to said turbine assembly.

6. The device according to claim 1 further comprising an electrical generator driven by said turbine assembly.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,109,401 11/1963 Karig -108 X 3,134,353 5/1964 Pedersen et al. 114-20 CARLTON R. CROYLE, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3109401 *Aug 14, 1959Nov 5, 1963Karig Horace EClosed cycle torpedo power plant
US3134353 *Mar 20, 1962May 26, 1964Thiokol Chemical CorpUnderwater propulsion system
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3417566 *Aug 1, 1966Dec 24, 1968Gen Precision Systems IncUnderwater power source
US3430602 *Feb 16, 1967Mar 4, 1969United Aircraft CorpUnderwater propulsion systems employing n2o
US3831546 *Mar 24, 1972Aug 27, 1974Us NavyPortable swimmer propulsion unit
US3861149 *Feb 8, 1972Jan 21, 1975Kelly Donald AModular closed cycle turbine system
US3972183 *Apr 17, 1975Aug 3, 1976Chubb Talbot AGas dissociation thermal power system
US4738111 *Dec 4, 1985Apr 19, 1988Edwards Thomas CPower unit for converting heat to power
US6295984 *Aug 13, 1999Oct 2, 2001Payal PatelDiver's backpack
US7278422 *May 15, 2003Oct 9, 2007Alan-Izhar BodnerOpen-circuit self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
US7731480 *Apr 7, 2007Jun 8, 2010Benjamin J CooperEfficient power turbine and electrical generation system
US8850816 *May 11, 2010Oct 7, 2014Dell Products L.P.Power regeneration for an information handling system
US20040003811 *May 15, 2003Jan 8, 2004Alan-Izhar BodnerOpen-circuit self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
US20070297895 *Apr 7, 2007Dec 27, 2007Cooper Benjamin JEfficient Power Turbine and Electrical Generation System
US20090103838 *Oct 17, 2007Apr 23, 2009Caterpillar Inc.Collapsible fluid storage tank
US20110277475 *May 11, 2010Nov 17, 2011Dell Products L.P.Power regeneration for an information handling system
Classifications
U.S. Classification60/669, 405/187, 122/4.00R, 60/221, 60/648, 60/39.48
International ClassificationA63B35/12, A63B35/00, F01K25/00
Cooperative ClassificationF01K25/00, A63B35/12
European ClassificationF01K25/00, A63B35/12