US 3386581 A
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June 4, 1968 o. v. GOUGH 3,386,581
LIQUID SEPARATORS Filed Aug. 27, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet l I nvenlor DIcK VALENTIIIE Goucn v A tlorney;
June 4, 1968 0. v. GOUGH 3,386,581
LIQUID SEPARATORS Filed Aug. 27, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent LIQUID SEPARATORS Dick Valentine Gough, 40 Solent Road, Hill Head, Fareham, Hampshire, England Filed Aug. 27, 1965, Ser. No. 483,077 Claims priority, application Great Britain, Sept. 3, 1964,
6 Claims. (Cl. 210--86) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The invention involves a liquid separation device that is particularly, but not exclusively, applicable to vehicle fuel systems for the removal of water from the fuel. The device has a lower inlet chamber and an upper outlet chamber separated by a partition having a valve that can be closed by a float body in the lower chamber as water accumulates there. When the valve is closed, continued running of the engine creates a vacuum depression in the upper chamber operating a warning device and, after draining the accumulated water in the lower chamber, the valve is opened by an externally operated reset device.
This invention relates to devices for the separation of heavier and lighter fractions from a mixture of liquids.
Such separation is often required in practice where the heavier fraction is present as an impurity. The removal, for example, of water from fuel oil may be very desirable if damage is to be avoided in a fuel-injection system or other metering arrangement. Similarly, it may be of importance to remove traces of water from dry cleaning fluid to prevent deterioration of the plant through which such fluid is being circulated.
According to the invention, there is provided a liquid separator for separating heavier and lighter fractions of a mixture of liquids, comprising a container having upper and lower chambers separated by a valved partition, said lower chamber forming a liquid entry and settling region and having a drain outlet for the heavier fraction, the upper chamber having an outlet for the separated lighter fraction drawn through the valve, a float body of the valve disposed in the lower chamber having a density between those of the lighter and heavier fractions.
Advantageously, external bleed means are provided whereby the upper and lower chambers may be brought into communication again after closure of the valve since continued use of the apparatus to which the lighter fraction is drawn may result in a partial vacuum being created in the upper chamber, this tending to keep the valve closed.
Preferably, external indication means are provided to give a warning signal when the valve closes. Such means may, for example, comprise a diaphragm actuator controlling an electrical alarm circuit and operable by a pressure drop in the upper chamber after closure of the valve.
The invention will be more particularly described with reference to the accompanying drawings of which FIG. 1 shows one form of separator according to the invention in sectional elevation and FIG. 2 shows the separator in the fuel supply to a diesel engine.
Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the separator comprises a container having upper and lower sections 2, 4 which form respective chambers 6, 8. The sections 2, 4 are secured to a central separating valve plate having a frusto-conical seating 12 for an O-ring 14 of a float valve body 16 which is laterally supported by boss 18 in the plate by a stem 20 projecting through the boss.
The lower chamber 8 has an inlet connection 22 and has a relatively large internal volume so that it can act as a settling region for the heavier fraction of a mixture 3,386,581 Patented June 4, 1968 and if desired, a drain point 24 is provided at the bottom of the chamber with a manual valve 25 for removal of the collected heavier fraction from time to time. The lighter fraction, after passing through the valve plate 10, leaves the upper chamber 6 through outlet 26.
The float valve body 16 is denser than the lighter fraction but can be floated by the heavier fraction. As the heavier fraction collects in the lower chamber, the body therefore rises and the valve is closed before the heavier fraction can escape into the upper chamber. At this stage, there is an interruption in the further supply of the lighter fraction from the outlet of the device; continued use of the lighter fraction at its point of final delivery will now cause a pressure drop in the upper chamber drawing the valve more tightly against its seating and this pressure drop is employed to operate a warning signal.
The means for generating this signal comprise a diaphragm 28 forming a top closure of the upper chamber and normally held in an upper position by a spring 30. On the outer face of the diaphragh an. operating rod 32 is urged downwards by a slightly Weaker balancing spring 31 and carries an electrical contact 34 that can co-operate with a fixed contact 36. As the pressure in the upper chamber drops, therefore, the diaphragm 28 and operating rod 32 are drawn downwards to close the contacts 34, 36. The circuit, indicated purely diagrammatically, to which the contacts are connected may be arranged to operate a visual and/or audible warning device 37.
It is, of course, possible to dispense with the electrical means if, say the movement of the operating rod 32 or the float valve body 16 were to be readily visible, i.e., by using a transparent protective cap 38; or a transparent lower section 4. However, this does not allow the remote transmission of the signal. It is also possible to employ the movement of the valve body 16 to actuate the warning signal directly but the operating force available could not be as great as that realisable by use of the partial vacuum created in the outlet line.
Once closure of the valve has been indicated, the operator will remove the collected heavier fraction by opening the drain valve. The partial vacuum in the upper chamber wil remain however and this will continue to hold the valve against its seat. A bypass passage 40 between the two chambers is now openable by means of a screw 42 and once this is done, the initial flow into the upper chamber equalises the pressures and the valve body drops from its seating. Flow through the device may then be restarted. If desired, both the drain valve and the bleed screw can be servo-operated to permit complete control of the separator from a remote point. a
In use, it is possible to arrange that once sutficient 0f the heavier fraction has been collected in the lower chamber, any further amount of that fraction in the supply to the separator can be drawn off with it. Thus, if the inlet 22 of the illustrated example were below the level of the heavier fraction in the lower chamber and if the line to a supply tan'k therefrom were already primed with the heavier fraction, opening of the drain valve would draw the whole of that fraction out by syphon action provided that the outlet point of the drain were below the level of the supply tank. In this manner, the apparatus can be used in a vehicle, say, to drain. water from a fuel tank. Such an arrangement is shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings where a diesel engine 50 has its injector unit '52 receiving a fuel supply from a tank 54 through a sep arator 56 constructed in the manner detailed with reference to FIG. 1, a filter 58 and a pump 60, the outlet valve 25 of the separator being below the level of base 54a of the fuel tank. In certain instances, it may in fact be preferred to fit the separator in the fuel tank.
The separator as described above has particular application in the separation of water from an oil fuel, e.g.,
in a diesel-powered vehicle, where the removal of such water is an important factor in the trouble-free operation of the fuel injection system; in this particular application, it will be seen that the warning signal can be transmitted to some point such as the drivers cabin. A further feature of the device in dealing with fuel oil/ water mixtures is that as the depth of water increases in the lower chamber, so does the efliciency of separation of sediment from the fuel.
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
'1. A liquid separator for separating heavy and lighter constituents of a mixture and comprising, in combination,
upper and lower chambers within said container, an internal partition separating said chambers and a valve aperture in said partition permitting communication between the chambers,
a valve member adjacent said aperture being upwardly displaceable to close the aperture, said lower chamber forming a liquid entry and settling region and a drain outlet for the heavier liquid being located in its bottom portion while an outlet for the separated lighter fluid flowing through the valve aperture is provided in the upper chamber,
a float body being disposed in the lower chamber and having a density between those of the heavier and lighter liquids whereby accumulation of the heavier liquids in the lower chamber will cause the float to rise and to close the valve at the partition, there being further provided an electrical actuator comprising a pressure-sensitive member in the upper chamber and circuit closure means associated with said member and a warning device operable by said actuator, said member being displaceable by a pressure drop in the upper chamber after closure of the valve to actuate the circuit for the remote operation of the warning device, and
externally operable means being provided on the container for displacement after a partial vacuum has been established in the upper chamber to cause the opening of the valve against a closure force exerted by said vacuum.
2. A separator according to claim .1 wherein the float body and the valve aperture are concentrically arranged.
8. A separator according to claim .1 wherein the float body is transversely supported relative to the partition; a sealing ring of the valve being mounted on the body and a seating at the partition being arranged to cooperate with said sealing ring for closure of the valve.
4. A separator according to claim 1 wherein a liquid inlet aperture is disposed adjacent the bottom of the lower chamber and remote from the valve aperture.
5. A liquid separator according to claim 1 wherein a by-pass bleed passage extends between the chambers for 4 equalization of the pressures therein, the closure means for said passage being formed by an externally operable closure member locatable in said passage and adjustably mounted .to the container for said displacement.
6. In a liquid supply system comprising a supply tank and conduit means from said tank,
a separator for separating heavier and lighter constituents of a mixture and comprising, in combination, a container, upper and lower chambers within said container, an internal partition separating said chambers and a valve aperture in said partition permitting communication between the chambers, a valve member adjacent said aperture being upwardly displaceable to close the aperture, said lower chamber forming a liquid entry and settling region and a drain outlet for the heavier liquid being located in its bottom portion while an outlet for the separated lighter liquid flowing through the valve aperture is provided in the upper chamber, a float body being disposed in the lower chamber and having a density between those of the heavier and lighter liquids whereby accumulation of the heavier liquid in the lower chamber will cause the float to rise and to close the valve at the partition, there being further provided an electrical actuator comprising a pressure-sensitive member in the upper chamber and circuit closure means associated with said member and a warning device operable by said actuator, said member being displaceable by a pressure drop in the upper chamber after closure of the valve to actuate the circuit for the remote operation of the warning device and externally operable means being provided on the container for displacement after a partial vacuum has been established in the upper chamber to cause the opening of the valve against a closure force exerted by said vacuum, said separator being connected to the conduit means to receive liquid from the tank, an outer end of the separator drain outlet being arranged below the level of the bottom of the supply tank.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,026,196 12/1935 Stephens 21O533 2,204,998 6/1940 Ryan et al 210-436 X 2,328,027 8/1943 Muller 2l0-532 X 2,499,494 3/1950 Greer 2l0-90 3,080,972 3/1963 Smith 210 FOREIGN PATENTS 827,220 2/ 1960 Great Britain.
REUBEN FRIEDMAN, Primary Examiner. J. ADEE, Assistant Examiner.