US 3329967 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 11 1967 'n z ET AL DIVING SUIT Filed March 31, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS HENRY I. MARTINEZ CHARLES S. OPALEK W74 M, M 1g:
. AT TORNEXS v July I1, 1967 H. J. MARTINEZ ET AL DIVING SUIT 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 31, 1965 INVENTORS ATTORNEYS K 6 zu M l m w MS 15 YL E W A M 4/ WM B F July 11, 1%?
Filed March 31, 1965 H.J. MARTlNEZ ET AL 3,329,967
DIVING SUIT 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 E JNVENTORS HENRY 1 MARTINEZ CHARLES S. OPALEK F @G. E2 BY MM, 7, WWW? ATTORNEYS July 11, 1967 MARTlNEZ ET AL 3,329,967
DIVING SUIT Filed March 31, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 97 gg I v 2 XIIII WW 7'0 5% IN NTORS 90 77 F 36. i6 HENRYI JERTINEZ CHARLES S. OPAL EK ATTORNEYS United States Patent 11201, and 11236, both of The invention relates to diving apparatus or dress of utility especially for deep-sea diving, and relates more particularly to a novel flexible joint structure for use in such diving apparatus or dress, to give to the wearer not only complete security against pressure and leakage under extreme environmental conditions of deep-sea diving but also to ensure a high degree of mobility to the wearer by enabling the structure to change its very shape freely under all conditions and adapt itself to various configurations resulting from arm, leg, or torso movements of the wearer.
Objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in part hereinafter and in part will be obvious herefrom, or may be learned by practice with the invention, the same being realized and attached by means of the instrumentalities and combinations pointed out in the appended claims.
The invention consists in the novel parts, constructions, arrangements, combinations and improvements herein shown and described.
The accompanying drawings, referred to herein and constituting a part hereof, illustrate one embodiment of the invention, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a view in front elevation of a diving suit embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 is a part-sectional view in side elevation and on an enlarged scale, of the helmeted upper torso section of the suit shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view in top plan of the upper torso section shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a view in section and on an enlarged scale taken substantially along the line 44 of FIG. 1, showing details of the flexible joint structure of the suit of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a part-sectional view on an enlarged scale and in front elevation, of the lower torso section and of a portion of the upper torso section of the suit shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a view in bottom plan of the lower torso section shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a view in top plan taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 5 of the lower torso section shown in FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary part-sectional view in front elevation and on an enlarged scale, of an articulated assembly of flexible joint structures of the suit of FIG. 1, the view showing the individual joint structures flexed into a reverse curve;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary detail section on an enlarged scale of a flexible joint structure of the suit of FIG. 1;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary detail sectional view on an enlarged scale, taken substantially along the line 10'10 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary detail part-sectional exploded .view in front elevation, on an enlarged scale, of bolting and sealing structure for connecting the lower torso section and the left-hand articulated leg assembly of the suit of FIG. 1;
FIG. 12 is a part-sectional detail fragmentary view in front elevation, on an enlarged scale, of a modified form of flexible joint structure of the invention;
FIG. 13 is a view in top plan of a typical flexible joint structure of the articulated assemblies of FIG. 1;
FIG. 14 is a view in section taken along the line 1414 of FIG. 13;
FIG. 15 is a view in section taken along the line 15-15 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 16 is a view in side elevation, with parts in section, of a partial assembly of joint structures.
Referring now more particularly to the embodiment of the invention illustrated by way of example in the accompanying drawings, there is depicted in FIG. 1 a diving suit provided with a rigid hollow-upper torso section 1 having a helmet portion 2 integral therewith, having a bottom access opening 5, FIG. 2, and having also, as viewed in FIG. 1, a pair of right-hand and left-hand hollow shoulder portions 3 and 4, respectively, mounted for pivotal movement in a substantially vertical plane through an arc of, preferably, at least Thus, the shoulder portions may rotate upwardly into a vertical position to facilitate easy entry of the wearers arms into the upper torso section.
The upper torso section 1 is of a size and configuration to conform suitably to the head, chest and shoulders of the wearer and is provided circumferentially of its bottom access opening 5 (FIGS. 2 and 10) with an annular sealing flange 6 concentric therewith and with a radially-extending annular bolting flange 7. The bolting flange 7 overlies and is secured by a circular row of bolts 8 to a complementary bolting flange 9 at the top of the middle torso section or rib section 10 of the suit.
The rib section 10 as here preferably embodied, comprises a series of interlocking solid high-strength annular members or joint rings 11 assembled concentrically, but separated alternately, by a series of liquid filled annular highly flexible sealing rings 12 (FIG. 4), to provide a highly flexible articulated joint structure capable of maintaining a leak-proof condition under extreme fluid pressure.
The top-most of the series of joint rings 11 of the rib section 10 comprises the bolting flange 9 above-described. This top-most ring is recessed at its top and inwardly of the circular row of bolts 8 in the bolting flange 7 to provide an annular sealing recess 13 into which the sealing flange 6 extends. An annular sealing gasket 14 such, for example, as a copper gasket, is seated in the recess 13 and is compressed between the base of the recess and the free end of the sealing flange 6 so as to form a liquid-tight rigid joint between the upper torso section 1 and the rib section 10.
The top-most ring, and each succeeding ring of the rib section series, is provided with an annular sealing tongue 15 concentric with the ring. Each tongue 15 extends axially of its ring into an axially-extending annular sealing groove 16 formed in the opposing top wall of the next succeeding ring in concentric relation to the ring.
The highly flexible, liquid-filled, annular sealing tube 12 is disposed in the groove 16 so as to abut both the base of the sealing groove and the free end of the associated sealing tongue. Each sealing tube 12 is of uniform diameter in cross-section so as normally to space the free end of each sealing tongue 15 an equal distance from the bottom of its associated groove 16, throughout the entire circumferential extent of the groove.
Thin, but circumferentially continuous films 17 of a suitable bonding and sealing agent such, for example, as a suitable elastic-type epoxy-resin adhesive, are disposed at diametrically opposite top and bottom areas of each sealing tube 12, and bond the tube sealingly at one of said areas to the free end of the sealing tongue 15 and, at the other, to the base of the sealing groove 16. Thus, even an extreme fluid pressure exerted inwardly tained by the provision of suitable compound curved surfaces on the opposing side-walls of the sealing tongue 15 and its sealing groove 16. As here preferably embodied, the inner and outer Walls of the tongue 15 and of the groove 16 are uniformly arcuately curved not only in a plane normal to the common longitudinal axis YY of the assembled rings 11 but also in a plane containing that axis. To this end, and as is best seen from FIG. 9, the inner and outer curved surfaces 18 and 19 respectively, of the tongue 15 and the inner and outer curved surfaces 20 and 21, respectively, of the groove 16 4 recess 30 in which is seated an annular sealing flange 31 of the bottom sealing ring 11. A suitable annular sealing gasket 32 (FIG. 5) is provided between the flange 31 and the base of the recess 30.
The hip section halves 27 and 28 are releasably seal- 'ingly bolted together by means of a circular row of bolts 33 coupling a pair of complementary annular bolting flanges 34 and 35 extending, respectively, circumferentially ofthe hip section at the bottom of itsupper half and at the top of its lower half. To ensure against leakage, the abutting halves 27 and 28 are provided circumhave a common center of curvature located on the longitudinal central axis YY of the rings 11 at a point 0. The point 0 marks the intersection of the axis Y--Y with a line at right angles thereto bisecting the overlap X between the tongue 15 and the groove 16.
It will be apparent from FIG. 9 that by reason of the radii R R R and R of the compound curved surfaces 18, 19, and 21, respectively, having a common center of curvature O, with the provision of proper radial tolerances between opposing surfaces, the top ring 11 under an axial force applied at any point on its circumference will rotate inwards of the bottom ring 11, while at a point 180 away, the top ring will rotate outwards. This result is depicted in FIG. 4 and 12 from which it will also be observed that, as one ring of a pair rotates or tilts relative to the other, the liquidfilled'flexible sea-ling tube 12 is compressed at one side of the ring as the tongue and groove telescope each other, and is expanded over the rest of the tube as liquid is displaced along the tube by the compression. Thus, the tube remains in sealing engagement with the rings at all times.
The radial tolerances to be observed may, for example, be in the order of two-thous-andths of an inch, more or less, depending onthe diameter of the rings required, their height, thickness and other dimensional parameters, and on the particular material of which the rings are fabricated. By way of example, rings having an outside diameter of 6" and an inside diameter of 4" may advantageously have their radii R R R and R fixed substantially in accordance with the values given in the following table:
I Table 1 R,=2.750 R1=2.251 12,:2149 R3=2.250
tinuous length of a relatively thin-walled plastic tubing of organic elastomeric material such, for example, as polyethylene. They are filled with a suitable organic liquid 22 having a low freezing point such, for example,
as ethylene glycol so that the liquid content of the tubes will maintain a substantially constant viscosity.
The bottom-most of the rings 11 of the rib section 10' is provided with an annular bolting flange 23 releasably secured by an annular row of bolts 24 to a complementary bolting flange 25 of a rigid lower torso or hip section 26.
The hip section 26, as here preferably embodied, is a two-piece rigid unit comprised of an upper molded half 27 and a lower molded half 28 each fabricated, preferably, of the same resin material as the rings 11.
1 The upper half 27 is provided with an access opening 29 (FIG. 7) surrounding which is an annular sealing ings 37 and 38.
ferentially at their mating surfaces with a gasket tongue and groove sealing structure generally indicated by the numeral 36.
The lower half 28 of the hip section is provided with a pair of leg openings 37 and 38 of suitable dimensions, having, respectively, circumferentially extending sealing flanges 39 and 40. The bottom wall 41 of the lower half is generally flat except for an internal boss 42 located between the openings 37 and 38.
Circular rows of bolt 'holes43 and 44 surround, respectively, the openings 37 and 38 and serve to receive bolts 45 by which the respective flexible leg assemblies 46 and 47 are', respectively, releasably sealingly secured to the lower half of the hip section 26 at the leg open- The leg assemblies 46 and 47 are constituted, respectively, by a series of joint rings 48; and 49 which, except as to size, are identical in all respects to the joint rings 11 of the rib section 10. Each leg assembly is releasably, sealingly secured to the hip section 26 by means of its top-most ring and in the same fashion as the top-most ring 11 of the rib section 10 is secured to the upper torso section 1. Thus, as is depicted in FIG. 11, the top-most ring 48 of the leg assembly 46 is provided with a sealing recess 50 in which the sealing gasket 51 is adapted to be seated and compressed by the annular sealing flange 39 when the leg assembly is secured by the bolts 45. A sealing tongue 52 of compoundicurvature and corresponding to the sealing tongues '15 of the joint rings 11 is normally received in a sealing groove (not shown) of the next lower ring of the assembly. The dispositionand arrangement of tongue, groove and liquid-filled flexible tube by which the desired articulation and sealing is obtained,-corresponds to that provided in connection with the rings 11;
The bottom-most rings of the series of joint rings 48 and 49 comprise, respectively, annular bolting flanges 53 and 54 which are releasably, sealingly, secured, respectively, to bolting flanges 55 and 56 integral with suitable rigid footgear 57 and 58, respectively. The construction, arrangement and operation of these bolting flanges correspond in all essential respects to that of the bolting flanges 23 and 25 described above.
Referring newt-more particularly to the showing in FIGS. 1 and 10 of shoulder portions 3 and 4 and of the articulated arm assemblies 60 and 61, respectively, the following description of shoulder portion 4 and arm as-' sembly 61 applies equally to shoulder portion 3 and arm assembly 60 since these portions and assemblies are identical and the description of one applies equally to' the other. V
The hollow shoulder portion 4 as here preferably embodied is of a configuration to provide an annular flange portion 62 at its inner end. The outer end of the'torso section 1 is formed with'an annular flange portion 63 surrounding the shoulder flange portion 62 and providing a seat for a ball-bearing unit 64. The torso flange portion 63 is internally circumferentially recessed to provide'a' larger-diameter retaining groove 65, concentric therewith and engaged by the respective outer ends of a'pair of radially-extending retaining arms '66. The latter are diametrically aligned and provided, each at its inner end .with a securing portion 67 extending at right angles to the retaining arm and releasably secured to the shoulder flange portion 62 by means of a screw 68. By reason of this arrangement the shoulder portion'4'is rotatable on the axis of the ball-bearing unit 64 relative to the upper torso section 1.
Means are provided for sealing the joint between the opposing surfaces of the flange portions 62 and 63. To this end, the shoulder portion 4 is suitably recessed axially outwardly from the free end of the torso flange portion 63 to provide an annular recess 69 surrounding the shoulder flange portion 62. An annular sealing ring 70 contained in the recess surrounds the flange portion 62. Preferably, the ring 70 is fabricated of a suitably flexible organic polymeric material such, for example, as polyethylene and is filled with a suitable low-freezing point organic liquid such, for example, as ethylene glycol. The ring 70 is suitably dimensionally conformed to the size of the recess to provide a slight clearance therein, and the groove is packed with'a suitable low-cold test lubricant 72 which, by providing high surface tension, serves to prevent pressure from the outside forcing liquid through the joint. It will be noted that the lubricant 72 also fills the retaining groove 65, the connecting passageways leading thereto from the recess 69, and the space between the opposing radial faces of the shoulder portion 4 and the torso section 1. A suitable metal closure ring 73 spans the joint between these radial faces in close-fitting engagement with both the shoulder portion 4 and the upper torso section 1. A continuous layer of the lubricant 72 interposed between the ring 73 and the engaged surface further serves to guard against leakage.
The shoulder portion 4 terminates at its outer end in a bolting ring 75 which, as depicted in FIG. 1, is releasably secured to a complementary bolting ring 76 of the top-most joint structure 97 of the flexible arm assembly 61. An annular sealing flange 78 on the shoulder portion is adapted for sealing engagement with a complementary sealing recess (not shown) in the top-most joint ring of the series of arm assembly joint rings 77. It will be understood that the construction and arrangement of the assembly of joint rings 77 corresponds in all respects to the assembly of joint rings 48 and 49 forming the leg assemblies 46 and 47, respectively, and, except as to size, to the assembly of joint rings 11 forming the rib section 10.
The arm assembly 61 terminates in a suitable closure mandible 79 having a bolting ring 80 secured removably by a circular row of bolts 81 to a complementary bolting ring 82 of the bottom-most joint ring 77 of the arm assembly 61.
FIG. 12 depicts a modified form of the flexible joint structure wherein the entire assembly of joint rings 11 is tightly encased in a thin flexible water-tight sheathing of neoprene 87. The sheathing serves further to minimize the possibility of leakage at the joints.
It will be apparent that, because of the compound curvature of the tongues 15 and recesses 16 of the joint rings, their assembly into a rib, arm, or leg section, with the joint rings separated alternately by the liquid-filled sealing rings, requires a special technique. Accordingly, for purposes of assembly of, for example, the arm 61 of FIG. 1, the joint rings 77 and the top and bottom bolting rings 76 and 82, respectively, are divided along a common diametral plane each into equal arcuate segments 90 and 91 (FIG. 13). The end surfaces 92 and 93 of the segments 90 are adapted to be placed into abutting relation to the corresponding end surfaces 94 and 95 of the segments 91 during assembly, and the abutting surfaces adhesively bonded together along the arm parting line 85, FIG. 1.
Each segment 90 is divided, in turn, from top to bottom into an inner arcuate section 96 and an outer arcuate section 97 having opposing cylindrical surfaces 98 and 99, re spectively, of the same radius of curvature. These surfaces areadapted to be adhesively bonded together during assembly.
Each segment 91 is likewise divided into the same inner and outer arcuate sections 96 and 97, respectively. Preferably, the parting line 100 between inner and outer sections is the median line of the tongue 15 of the respective rings.
To assemble the rings into the arm assembly 61, the inner arcuate sections 96 of the segments 90 are stacked one upon the other alternating with the liquid-filled sealing rings 70, beginning atthe bottom with the inner section of bolting ring (not shown) and ending at the top with the inner section of the bolting ring 76. As the sections 96 and sealing rings 70 are being assembled, the layers 17 of sealing adhesive may be applied to the upper and lower surfaces of the sealing rings 70. It will be 'observed that because of the opposing compound curved surfaces 18 and 20 of the tongues 15 and grooves 16, each succeeding arcuate section is necessarily moved radially inwardly into position against the preceding lower section. When the top-most of the inner sections 96 of the segments has been placed in position, the top-most of the outer sections 97 is then moved radially into position against it, the opposing cylindrical surface portions having previously been coated with, preferably, an epoxy resin adhesive. Thus, the inner and outer sections of the top-most segment 90 are securely united to each other. The remaining outer sections 97 are similarly successive placed into position against and adhesively bonded to the inner sections, working from top to bottom. It will be understood that these remaining sections will necessarily also have to be moved radially inwardly into their abutting position against the inner sections 96.
The segments 91 are assembled in the same manner and the corresponding pairs of ends 92, 94 and 93, of the segments 90 and 91 adhesively bonded together to form the complete articulated arm assembly 61. The same procedure is followed with respect to the arm assembly 60, the leg assemblies 46 and 47, and the rib assembly 10.
In donning the suit, the upper half 27 of the hip section 26 is first bolted to the rib section 10 and this unit then pulled on over the legs.
The foot-gear 57, 58, leg assemblies 46, 47, and lower half 28 of the hip section are connected together, drawn over the wearers legs and hips and bolted to the upper half hip section 27.
The upper torso section 1 with arm assemblies 60, 61 bolted thereto is lowered over the wearers head, the arm assemblies being rotated up to a vertical position at the time to facilitate insertion of the arms. This section is then bolted to the rib-section 10.
What is claimed is:
1. Diving dress comprising, in combination, a rigid upper torso section having flexible arm assemblies connected thereto; a rigid lower torso section having flexible leg assemblies connected thereto; and a flexible mid-rift torso section connecting said upper and lower rigid torso sections, said flexible leg and arm assemblies and said flexible mid-riff section each comprising at least a pair of substantially coaxially aligned rigid joint rings and, separated thereby, a flexible liquid-filled sealing ring, one ring of said pair having an annular sealing groove formed therein in which said sealing ring is seated, said groove having side walls and a base, and the other ring of said pair having an annular sealing tongue, said tongue having side walls and a free end and extending into said groove for an overlap distance such that the free end of said tongue is in substantially abutting engagement with said sealing ring and the side walls of said tongue are in opposing relation to the side walls of said groove, the opposing side walls of said tongue and said groove having compound curved surfaces, said surfaces having a common center of curvature, and continuous thin layers of a bonding agent interposed, respectively, between the inner end of said tongue and said sealing ring and between said sealing ring and the base of said groove, said layers sealingly bonding said ring to the free end of said tongue and to the base of said groove throughout the entire circumferential extent of said sealing ring.
2. Diving dress in accordance with claim 1 in which 7 the compound curved surfaces ofopposing sidewalls have substantially the same radius of curvature.
3. Diving dress in accordance with claim 1 in which the center of curvature of said compound curved surfaces lies on a line bisecting said overlap distance.
4. Diving dress in accordance with claim 1 in which said rigid joint rings are molded high compressive strength epoxy resin and in which said flexible sealing ring is a thin-walled, organic elastomeric tubing material.
5. Diving dress in accordance with claim 4 in which said elastomeric material is polyethylene and in which said resinis an epoxy resin. 6. Diving 'dress in accordance with claim 1 in which each of said flexible leg and arm assemblies and said flexible mid-rifi assembly includes a thin layer of flexible, liquid-tight rubber forming a sheath over each of said assemblies.
7. Diving dress in accordance with claim 1 in which said upper torso section comprises shoulder portions rotatably mounted thereto and connected to said arm assemblies.
8. A fiexible'joint structure comprising a pair of substantially coaxially aligned rigid joint rings and, separated thereby, a highly flexible, liquid-filled sealing ring, one ring of said pair having an annular sealing groove formed thereinv in which said sealing ring is seated, said groove having side Walls and a base, and theotherring of said pair having an annular sealing tongue, said tongue having side walls and a free end and extending into said groove for. a distance such that the free end of said tongue is substantially in engagement with said sealing ring and the side walls of said tongue are in opposing relation tofsaid groove side walls, the opposing sidewalls of said tongue and said groove having compound curved surfaces, said surfaces having a common center of curvature, and said sealing ring being adhesively bonded to r the free end of said tongue and to the base of said groove.-
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner. G. H. KRIZMANICH, Assistant Examiner.