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Publication numberUS3326214 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 20, 1967
Filing dateOct 10, 1963
Priority dateOct 10, 1963
Publication numberUS 3326214 A, US 3326214A, US-A-3326214, US3326214 A, US3326214A
InventorsMccoy William D
Original AssigneePerma Pier Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Breath warmer apparatus
US 3326214 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 20, 1967 w D. M COY BREATH WARMER APPARATUS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 10, 1963 INVENTOR. William D MC" Coy BY June 20, 1967 w. 0. M COY 3,326,214

BREATH WARMER APPARATUS Filed Oct. 10, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.

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United States Patent 3,326,214 BREATH WARMER APPARATUS William D. McCoy, Brookfield, Wis., assignor to Perma- Pier, Inc., Skokie, llll., a corporation of Illinois Filed Oct. 10, 1963, Ser. No. 315,176 8 Claims. (Cl. 128-212) This invention relates in general to breath warmer apparatus and more particularly relates to exceedingly lightweight breathing apparatus adapted to be associated with the human mouth for the purpose of transferring heat and moisture from the exhalant breath to subsequential inhalant breath.

The concept of utilizing the heat and moisture of the exhalant breath to humidify and heat incoming inhalant air has been known for a considerable number of years. The devices hereinbefore proposed have not met with commercial success for a variety of reasons, including, for example, extreme bulkiness, heavy weight, many moving parts, inability to manufacture at a reasonable cost, tortuous passageways which cause extra expenditure of energy on the part of the human during both inhalation and exhalation, tendency of the air passages to become clogged with ice crystals formed from the moisture of the exhalant breath, etc.

It is a general object of this invention to provide an apparatus which overcomes the aforenoted disabilities of the prior art devices. More particularly, it i an object of this invention to provide a lightweight breathing apparatus which is economical, lightweight, and is easy to manufacture, store and is easy to use by a human, there being no moving parts therein.

A still further object of this invention is to provide a lightweight breathing apparatus which weighs under twenty grams in total weight, having a casing which is made of an insulating type material which is nonmoisture absorbing.

It is a further object of this invention to provide an apparatus of the type aforedescribed wherein the apparatus has a film of metallic material disposed interiorly of the lightweight casing, said film having a surface area considerably greater than the total surface area of the interior of the casing.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a heat exchange element which is a lightweight film which is corrugated or convoluted in a manner to afford good heat transfer and to prevent frost or ice formation on the intake edges and further affords a large area surface for retention of the moisture condensed thereon during the exhalation cycle.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a structure of the aforenoted type which has relatively direct air flow passageways which offer a minimum of resistance to air fiow and of the type wherein the overall effective length of the air passageways is relatively small so as to minimize the retention of CO gas during cycles of exhalation-inhalation.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a device of the above-aforenoted type which is sufficiently strong for normal handling and may be, for example, carried in the pocket of a human being, is of a construction which is basically nonabsorptive of moisture and which may be easily rinsed clean under a water faucet or the like.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a device of the type aforedescribed which may be disposed either directly in the mouth to act as an extension of the breathing passages of the mouth, or may be associated with a mask which covers the nose and mouth singly or together.

The novel features that are characteristic of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself both as to its organization and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the lightweight breathing apparatus associated with a mask and the disposition thereof on a human head;

FIG. 2 is a plan view, partially in section, showing an embodiment of lightweight breathing apparatus;

FIG. 3 is a partial View of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a right hand end view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a view of an alternate embodiment of apparatus shown associated with the face mask;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a portion of the apparatus shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view, partially in section, of the embodiment shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 7, said apparatus being shown as it is being cleaned by a stream of water from a faucet or the like;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along lines 9-9 of FIG. 7; and

FIGS. 10A and 10B are enlarged fragmentary views showing various upsets in the foil structure to provide both spacing of adjacent layers of foils and to increase the surface area of the foils.

Returning now to FIGS. 1 through 4, the lightweight breathing apparatus 10 may be used as is and inserted in the human mouth, or it may be attached to a mask 12 by suitable fastening means such as shown in FIG. 1. The apparatus 10 essentially comprises a lightweight casing 14, having an internal chamber 16, the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 being generally in the shape of an angularly bent pipe. The casing 14 may be composed of two complementary pieces 18 and 20 and preferably are formed of plastic. For example, foamed polystyrene, particularly when the closed cell variety is used, admirably serves to provide requisite structural rigidity, is economical, is light in weight, is an insulator and is nonmoisture absorbing. The open cell varieties of expanded plastic may be used, although it is preferable to coat this type of plastic unless the interstices in the open cell varieties of plastics are so convoluted and tortuous that great pressure is required to cause the passage of air therethrough. Other types of material that are suitable for the casing 14 are sheet plastics, paper or structural cardboards with coatings and balsa wood with a suitable coating, the main requirement being that it be lightweight, economical and nonmoisture absorbing while providing requisite structural rigidity and low heat migration. It is to be noted that the total weight of the casing should be under five grams in weight and preferably not more than three grams in weight so that the total unit 10 may be kept to a weight under twenty grams and preferably in the neighborhood of fifteen grams.

The breathing apparatus 10 has inlet means 22 and 24 associated with each end of the casing 14 and an outlet means 26 associated with the mouthpiece means 28 which is fixed to an aperture in casing 14 disposed intermediate the ends 22 and 24 and in a manner which connects with the chamber 16. The inlet means and outlet means respectively serve the function of being the inlets and outlet of the breathing apparatus during the inhalation cycle and serve the reverse functions respectively of the outlets and inlet during the exhalation cycle. The mouthpiece 28 may be dispensed with when the mask 12 is utilized with the casing 14 or conversely it may be retained if it is desired. When the mouthpiece is dispensed with, then the mask is fastened directly to the casing 14 so as to surround the outlet aperture so that there is suitable communication to the interior 16 of the casing 14.

Lightweight heat exchange elements 30 are inserted intermediate the inlet means and the outlet means. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 2 through 4, the heat exchange elements 30 are in the form of a convolutely wound coil means of a material such as aluminum foil or the like wound on a plastic bobbin 32. The elements 30 are loosely wound so as to satisfy the criteria of providing a plurality of spaced apart portions which provide a plurality of relatively straight through passageways for air while exposing a large surface area to the air. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways as, for example, by pretreating lightweight, thin gauge, aluminum foil by crinkling it, prior to winding same, so that the individual layers of the convoluted coil are spaced from each other. Also, for example, a plurality of lightweight longitudinal spacers may be disposed at spaced points between individual layers of the convoluted coil. Still another way of accomplishing desired results is by puncturing the foil means in a plurality of places so that the margins surrounding the punctures are distorted or give a greater apparent thickness relative to the nominal thickness so that the various layers of a coil are spaced from each other.

The elements 30 have a length, as measured along the axis of the casing 14, which is less than one-half of the length of the casing. Thus, there is a chamber intermediate the two interior ends of the elements 30 which is relatively unobstructed and allows relatively free passage of air from the mouthpiece to the two exterior ends of the casing 14 on the exhalation portion of the cycle of breathing through the apparatus. The overall total length of the apparatus as measured along the axis is preferably under five inches and it will be noted that the pathway for air on exhalation is relatively short. Due to the relative shortness of the path of the exhalant air, very little CO gas will be trapped within the apparatus for recycling into the inhalation cycle. It will be noted that the total amount of surface area of the heat exchange element is quite large. This is important because it is necessary to have a fast extraction of heat due to the short length of the exchange element.

In testing various devices of the type shown and described, it has been found that ambient air at a temperature of minus 17 F. may be inhaled through the inlet means and upon repeated cycling will deliver air at the outlet means 26 in the range of 72 F. to 94 F. depending upon the precise construction used. When devices such as 10, a, 10b and 10c are used in an ambient temperature below zero, an important consideration in the prevention of the clogging of the heat exchanger element or elements with ice. As is well known, exhalant breaths have a temperature very close to the temperature of the human body and have a high moisture content. This occurs because the lungs of the human being have a surface area in the neighborhood of one and one-half times the total exterior surface area of the human body which quite thoroughly warms the inhaled air. Thus, the exhalant breath, as it flows through the heat exchange element 30, causes condensation of moisture on the substantially cooler surface areas. By having a large number of relatively straight through, relatively small passageways in the heat element 3%, a large area is provided for extracting heat and for condensing moisture but the individual discrete passageways simultaneously prevent the moisture from acculating in one large puddle. Thus, as the incoming air on the inhalation cycle is warmed up by the heat exchange element or elements, the incoming air in turn picks up the separated relatively small droplets of water, thus, taking moisture back into the human mouth.

The embodiment 10a shown in FIG. 1 distinguishes over the embodiment 10 in that instead of having the casing 14a annular in shape like the casing 14, it is made roughly rectilinear in cross section. The heat exchange elements 30 internally thereof are ovoid in cross section or may be formed in a roughly rectilinear form, but basically except for these changes the device 10a is substantially the same to the device 10.

The device 19b shown in FIG. 5 is substantially similar to the device shown in FIGS. 6 through 10B and still to be described in detail. The essential difference of the device 1% relative to 100 is that it does not have the tabs 74 and 76 for strap attachment and instead is fitted into a mask arrangement 12b. The operation of the device 10b will become apparent through the discussion of the device 100.

The device 10c is a lightweight breathing apparatus having a single inlet means and outlet means in distinction to the double inlet means of the device depicted in FIGS. 1 through 4. More particularly, the device 100 comprises a two part plastic molded casing having an upper portion 34 and a lower portion 36. Each of the portions 34 and 36 are rather channel-like in shape and when assembled together define an inner chamber 38 intermediate the ends thereof. Heat exchanger means 40 is adapted to be disposed interiorly of the major portion of the chamber 38 as perhaps best perceived in FIG. 6. The heat exchanger element 40 is basically shown as a sandwich form comprising a sharply accordion pleated metal foil element 42 which is separated from the next layer by thin separator elements 43, the latter being either foil or paper.

A different element 42a, in convoluted form, is show in sandwich assembly 40a in FIG. 10B. As perhaps best perceived in FIG. 6, the pleats run coextensive with the long dimension of the casing so as to provide relatively straight through air passageways offering wide surface area for the heat exchange moisture condensing and absorption to take place.

The lower end 44 of casing portion 36 (as viewed in FIGS. 6, 7 and 8) is formed with a plurality of apertures 46 generally transverse to the long dimension of the casing to form the inlet means 48 for inhalant breaths through the apparatus 100. The construction also aids in the prevention of ice obstructions adjacent the end of the heat exchange means 40. The outlet means 50 adjacent the opposite end is adapted to be inserted in the human mouth so that apparatus 100 acts as an extension of the breathing passages of the mouth of the human body. It will be noted that the overall configuration of the apparatus in 100 is that of being relatively thin and fiat except for the angularly disposed mouthpiece portion. Its size and configuration is such that it is readily adapted to be disposed in the pockets of human clothing.

The lower casing member 36 is formed with a head 52, said head being closely adjacent to the apertures 46. The bead also runs up the lower terminal interior of sides 56 and 58 and together with spaced projections 54a (see FIG. 6) serve to retain the sandwich elements 42 from shifting in the chamber 38. The spaced projections 54 serve as a baffie means and conceal the foil elements. The projections and the bead 52 are preferably molded integrally with the casing portion 36 and it will be observed that the projections 54 are preferably fairly widely spaced apart and spaced from the upper edge of the foil elements so that it will interrupt the flow of air to only a slight degree. Also, the projections 54 may be dispensed with in certain embodiments as long as there is some means for retaining the stack of elements interiorly of the chamber 38 and concealing is not a requirement.

Member 36 is necked down at 60 to facilitate insertion within the human mouth. A raised portion 62 serves to provide a convenient gripping point for the teeth on portion 60. It will be observed that the mouthpiece portion is angularly disposed relative to the main body portion so that the device 100 will not project directly outwardly from the human mouth. This is important from the stand point of human vision, ease of carrying it in the human mouth unsupported.byan auxiliary means such. as a mask;

or strap, and further has the advantage of turning the inlet means 48 fairly closely adjacent to the human body rather than outwardly therefrom for any subsidiary benefits that accrue such as slight preheating of the air or at least protecting it somewhat from super chilling due to direct exposure to winds that may be prevalent in the ambient air.

The upper member 34 is similarly and complementally formed to lower member 36. To this end the casing is formed with parallel side portions 62' and 64 which are adapted to meet with portions 56 and 58 respectively to define the interior chamber 38. A bead 66 is disposed adjacent the lower end similar to beads 52 and projections 6868a similar to projections 5454a are formed at the upper end (as viewed in FIG. 8) for retaining the upper end of the stack 40 and forming the other half of the baffie and foil concealing means. The upper half of the casing 34 also has a mouth portion 70 which is similarly necked down and is formed with a raised rib 72 for cooperation with the upper human teeth. Perforated laterally extending tabs 74 and 76 are provided on the casing portion 34 for convenient attachment to a neck band when this is desired. The lower end 74 of the upper member 34 is configured to close off the end of the stack leaving sufiicient space for an interior passageway. The end 74 meets with the end of portion 44 so as to define a right angle bend in the interior chamber.

As shown in FIG. 8, the device may be readily cleaned after use by a simple flushing operation with a spray of water and/ or a flow of disinfectant or the like. As will be appreciated, the moisture that condenses on the stack 40 will tend to trap dust particles and bacteria and the like and an occasional flushing of the device may be desirable. The relatively straight through passageways between the pleated foils 42 allow a relatively free movement of air therethrough with very little pressure being created.

From the foregoing description it will be seen that I have described various embodiments of an economical, structurally rigid, lightweight, nonmoisture absorbing breath warmer apparatus which may be readily disposed in the human mouth or attached to a mask. The device is simple in operation and has no moving parts, has a relatively short, enclosed area to minimize retention of CO for rebreathing, is easily cleaned, and otherwise well adapted for the purposes for which it was designed.

Although the specific embodiments have been shown and described, it is with full awareness that many modifications thereof are possible. The invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except in so far as is necessitated by the prior art and by the spirit of the appended claims.

What is claimed as the invention is as follows:

1. Lightweight breathing apparatus for conditioning inhalant ambient air comprising casing means having inlet means and outlet means, said casing being substantially impervious to water vapor and air, means associated with said outlet means adapted to be associated with the human mouth, metal foil means disposed within said casing and intermediate said inlet and outlet means, said foil means comprising a plurality of closely spaced substantially imperforate portions providing a combined surface area substantially exceeding the interior surface area of the casing, the closely spaced portions of said foil means forming a series of discrete through passageways generally parallel with each other and to at least a portion of the casing containing the foil means, and chamber means intermediate said foil means and said outlet means and being at least as large as the maximum transverse dimension of the foil means, said chamber means located immediately adjacent the foil means and communicating directly with the discrete through passageways thereof to enable air to be transmitted through each of said passageways upon exhalation of human breath, said apparatus when associated with the human mouth and when disposed in an ambient temperature less than the internal temperature of the human body, being capable of taking heat and moisture out of exhalant human breath and returning the heat and moisture to the human during subsequent inhaling of the human breath.

2. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein the unit has a total weight below 20 grams and the casing is formed of foamed polystyrene.

3. The apparatus set forth in claim 1, wherein the mouthpiece means is connected to mask means, said mask means being of a configuration and size so as to cover a substantial portion of the human face including the nose area, and means independent of the mouthpiece means associated with said mask means for retaining the mask in close fitting engagement with the human face.

4. The apparatus set forth in claim 1, wherein said foil means is aluminum foil crinkled in a uniform manner to provide passageways substantially parallel to the shortest line of flow between the inlet means and outlet means of said casing.

5. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said casing is formed of first and second mating portions defining a generally rectilinear chamber and is generally rectilinear in outer configuration with the inlet means and outlet means at opposite ends thereof, said foil means being in a sandwich form of a plurality of discrete sheets of corrugated foil separated by thin spacer units disposed in said chamber, the corrugations in said individual sets being disposed generally parallel with the longitudinal axis of said rectilinear casing.

6. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said casing is generally annular in cross section and said foil means is in the form of a convolutely wound member with adjacent convolutions spaced for defining passageways substantially parallel with the axis of said annular housing.

7. The apparatus set forth in claim 6 wherein said casing has first and second end portions defining said inlet means and said outlet means is dis-posed substantially intermediate said first and second end portions, and there are first and second convolutely wound foil means disposed within said casing having a length less than half the length of the casing as measured along the long axis of said annular housing.

8. The apparatus set forth in claim 1 wherein said casing comprises first and second interconnected members, said first member being formed of molded plastic and being channel shaped in cross section, said mouthpiece means is integrally molded to one end of said channel shaped member and perforated extension means associ ated with the other end of said channel shaped member, said first member being further characterized as having perforated abutment means disposed across and within the confines of said channel shaped member for retention of one end of said foil means, said second member fitting over said first member to define an inner chamber for receipt of said foil means, said first member also having a second abutment means for retention of the other end of said foil means within the inner chamber of said casing, said first and second members when assembled together with the foil means trapped therebetween providing a lightweight breath warming device.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 603,021 4/1898 Dight 128-212 2,610,038 9/1952 Phillips a- 128-446 X 2,784,714 3/1957 Pitzipio 128-212 X 2,857,911 10/1958 Bennett 128147 3,137,295 6/1964 Stansfield l28l43 FOREIGN PATENTS 416,409 9/1934 Great Britain.

RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.


Assistant Examiners.

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U.S. Classification128/201.13, 165/4
International ClassificationA62B18/00, A61M16/06, A61M16/10
Cooperative ClassificationA62B18/00, A61M16/06, A61M16/1045
European ClassificationA61M16/10E, A62B18/00, A61M16/06