US 3342036 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 19, 1967 A. GRUGET 3,342,03fi
BALLAST DEVICES FOR SKIN DIVERS Filed Feb. 28, 1964 IN VENTOR. 423N095 @T/QUGE 7" 3,342,036 BALLAST DEVICES FOR SKIN DIVERS Andr tGruget, 8 Sentier de la Pointe, Meudon, Seine-et-Oise, France Filed Feb. 28, 1964, Ser. No. 348,096 Claims priority, application France, Mar. 19, 1963, 928,428 Claims. (CI. 61-70) This invention relates to ballast devices used by skin divers and astronauts. It is known that a skin diver must compensate for the natural positive buoyancy of the human body which, eventually, is increased by the buoyancy of his clothing and accessories. Therefore, he must carry ballast in order to be in equilibrium under water, or in certain cases to acquire a negative buoyancy. When the weight of ballast carried down equalizes the water pressure, ballast must be placed as close to the weight belt of the diver as possible in order to allow easy maneuvers in all directions. If the diver wishes to stand vertically, he attaches the ballast to his feet. In certain cases, ballast is fixed to his chest. In any event, it is advisable to use very heavy and non-bulky products as ballast devices in order to decrease the discomfort in moving about.
Ballast devices heretofore utilized consist of rigid and dense pieces of material such as lead. These pieces of material are aflfixed to the body by means of flexible and strong straps. For aesthetic purposes, lead weights are sometimes plastic-coated.
Non-uniform weight distribution along the belt and consequent non-uniform belt flexibility results in an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous device. In practice, pieces of lead attached to a tight strap held against the body may cause wounds or pinch the skin, or even get caught into the divers accessories, especially when he must remove his weights in order to go rapidly up to the surface.
The primary object of this invention is to provide an improved ballast device that will remedy these drawbacks. For this purpose, use is made of a ballast element attached by appropriate means such as a 'belt to the body of a diver or an astronaut. This element essentially consists of a mixture of heavy material, such as lead or its alloys, and flexible material, such as plastic or rubber. The ratio of each material is controlled so that the density of the product compound is adequately high yet conformable to the body contours.
According to the characteristics of this invention, the material compound can be used in the form of dense beads, and for example heavy beads evenly distributed inside a flexible envelope of plastic for instance.
This invention possesses many other advantages, and has other objects which may be made more clearly apparent from a consideration of several embodiments of the invention. For this purpose, there are shown a few forms in the drawings accompanying and forming part of the present specification. These forms will now be described in detail, illustrating the general principles of the invention; but it is to be understood that this detailed description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, since the scope of the invention is best defined by the appended claims.
Referring to the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a pictorial view of a belt incorporating the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional View of the belt band shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 2, but illustrating a modified form of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view illustrating a further modified form of the present invention;
nited States Patent O FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic view illustrating a method by the aid of which the belt band shown in FIG. 4 may be made;
FIG. 6' is a cross-sectional view of a mold structure illustrating a method for making a modified belt band incorporating the present invention;
FIG. 7 isa view similar to FIG. 6 illustrating a modified method for constructing the belt band;
FIG. 8 is a pictorial view similar to FIG. 1, illustrating another modified form of the present invention; and
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 4, illustrating still another modified form of the present invention.
In FIG. 1 a 'belt 10- is illustrated that includes a flexible body-encircling belt band 11. A buckle 12 is clamped at one end of the band 11. Through the buckle 12 the other end of the band is adapted to be looped and releasably grasped. A reinforcing element 13 is provided for the other end of the belt.
The band 11 may have a width of approximately two inches so as to be comfortably applied about the waist of the diver. The thickness of the belt is small and may be of the order of a quarter of an inch. The band 11, although flexible and thus comfortable to the body contour, is made of high density material. This material may have a specific gravity ranging from, say, five to ten.
In FIG. 2 the structure of the band 11 is illustrated. The band 11 comprises a tubular casing 14 made of homogeneous flexible plastic material in which there is contained powdered or granular lead, uranium or other heavy material. The ends of the tube are appropriately sealed, as for example by the application of heat.
In FIG. 3 a modified construction is illustrated in which lead or similar beads are provided for filling a tubular casing 15 similar to the casing 14.
The body-encircling ban-d 11 may be made in other manners. In FIG. 4 there is illustrated a band 16 that comprises an inner layer 17 bounded by outer plastic layers 18 and 19. All of the layers are flexible. The inner layer 17 is comprised of powdered lead or other material held together by a suitable binder. The layer 17 may be made as an extrusion, as indicated in FIG. 5. Thus the layer 17 is extruded from a head H of a suitable extrusion machine. Applied to opposite side surfaces of the layer 17 are the outer plastic layers 18 and 19. A suitable adhesive (not shown) may be applied between the layers 17, 18 and 19 in order to provide a unitary structure. Optionally the layers may be solvent welded together.
In FIG. 6 a mold box 20 is provided having an open top and a rectangular bottom, with dimensions corresponding to the length and Width of the belt band to be formed. In the mold 20 there is provided a layer of plastic 21 yet in a fluid or semi-fluid state. Beads 22 of uniform or various sizes are poured into the box. When the plastic sets, a flexible, high density belt or belt section is formed. Outer plastic layers may be applied to the band.
FIG. 7 illustrates a modified process for constructing the flexible belt band. In this instance, fluid or semi-fluid plastic material 23 is poured over beads 24 previously placed in the mold box 25. Outer plastic layers may be applied to the band.
In FIG. 8 there is illustrated a modified belt structure comprising an extruded body-encircling band 26 having a U-shaped or channel-like cross-section. The band 26 may substantially but not entirely encircle the body of the wearer, with the central web portion 27 against the body. An ordinary flexible fabric band or belt 28 is fitted in the channel-like body-encircling band 26 and holds the band in place.
In order to control the density and the external surface of the belt, the belt may be made as any number of suitable layers. Thus, in FIG. 9 there is illustrated a band 29.
The exterior sections 30 and 31 are made of smooth homogeneous plastic material so as to provide a suitable exterior surface. Layers 32 and 33 consist of small lead or other beads bound together by a suitable plastic or other binder material. Finally, the center layer 34 comprises larger beads together with a suitable plastic belt.
Sheet material made in a similar manner may be fashioned to form ballast shoes to be worn by the diver or astronaut.
The inventor claims:
1. A divers Weight, or the like, comprising a flexible strip having contained therein high density randomly oriented material in particulate form, said strip together with said material providing a substantial negative buoyancy relative to water, and providing a substantial ballast Weight; and means detachably and adjustably securing the ends of said strip to secure said strip about the body of the user.
2. A divers weight, or the like, comprising an elongate tubular casing of substantially uniform cross-section made of flexible plastic material, and high density randomly oriented material in particulate form contained in the casing, said casing and said material together providing a substantial negative buoyancy relative to water, and providing a substantial ballast weight; and means detachably and adjustably securing said casing about the body of the user.
3. A divers weight, or the like, comprising an elongate tubular casing of substantially uniform cross-section made of flexible plastic material, powdered lead contained in the casing, said casing and said powdered lead together providing a substantial negative buoyancy relative to water, and providing a substantial ballast weight; and means detachably and adjustably securing said casing about the body of the user.
4. A divers Weight, or the like, comprising an elongate tubular casing of substantially uniform cross-section made of flexible plastic material, randomly oriented lead beads contained in the casing, said casing and said lead beads together providing a substantial negative buoyancy rela tive to water, and providing a substantial ballast weight; and means detachably and adjustably securing said casing about the body of the user.
5. A divers Weight, or the like, comprising a flexible strip having contained therein high density material in particulate form, said strip having a channel-like crosssectional configuration, and a belt fitting the channel of said strip for securing said strip with the belt about the body of the wearer, said strip and said material together providing a substantial negative buoyancy relative to water, and providing a substantial ballast weight.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,084,520 6/ 1937 Clifford 61-70 2,632,205 3 /l 3 FitzHarris 264l73 X 3,090,205 5/ 1963 Hurwitz et al 6170 3,185,751 5/1965 Sutton 264-301 3,256,442 6/1966 Sedlak 161-158 X DAVID J. WILLIAMOWSKY, Primary Examiner.
JACOB SHAPIRO, Assistant Examiner.