US 3413993 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 3, 1968 R w, Z|EMER 3,413,993
FLUID DEVICE Filed June 7, 1965 Q ZJ. 8%
United States Patent 0 3,413,993 FLUID DEVICE Richard W. Ziemer, Altadena, Calif., assignor to Electro- Optical Systems, Inc., Pasadena, Calif., a corporation of California Filed June 7, 1965, Ser. No. 461,955 9 Claims. (Cl. 13781.5)
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A fluid amplifier having a matrix of output channels arranged in rows and columns, and magnetic means for directing the flow of an electrically neutral, electricallyconducting fluid to a selected output channel.
The present invention relates in general to the relatively new technology of fluidics, the term fluidics as used herein referring to that field of technology that deals with the use of fluids, either gaseous or liquid, in motion to perform functions such as signal or power amplification, logic or computation, control, and the like. More particularly, the present invention relates to a fluid-amplifier apparatus that produces a digital output.
Fluid devices are known wherein a relatively lowenergy fluid input is made to impinge upon and thereby deflect a relatively high-energy fluid stream to .a selectable outlet. Since the output flow is thus of greater energy than that of the input, these devices have been referred to in the art as fluid amplifiers. These amplifiers are small, rugged, may be constructed of almost any material, such as plastic, metal, or ceramic, and basically comprise a plurality of fluid ducts formed within substantially solid bodies of material. Moreover, these devices possess the advantages of being inexpensive and, except for the fluid itself, of requiring no movable solid elements.
Fluid amplifiers are basically of two types, namely, either the type known as the stream interaction or momentum interchange type or the type known as the boundary layer fluid amplifier. In the former, a power nozzle is supplied with pressurized fluid and issues a power jet or stream against the side of which a jet of control fluid is directed for the purpose of deflecting the power stream. Momentum is conserved in such a system so that the power stream flows at an angle with respect to its original direction, the tangent of this angle being a function of the momentum of the control jet and the momentum of the power stream. This first kind of amplifier is therefore an analogue type of device in which the power stream can be apportioned in any desired ratio between the amplifiers to outlet channels. The second type of fluid amplifier is inherently of a bistable or flipflop nature since, in this kind of amplifier, the power stream, under the influence ofthe control jets, locks onto one wall of the amplifier chamber through which it is flowing or the other and, as a result, exits entirely through one or the other, respectively, of the amplifiers pair of outlet channels. The control jets act as the switching mechanism and by playing these jets onto one side or the other of the power stream, the stream is selectively diverted or switched to the desired outlet channel.
Control jets or the equivalent thereof are essential to all these prior art amplifiers and, therefore, it is equally essential that they have control channels through which the control jets (or their equivalent) can be directed. More specifically, the control jet strikes the power stream and thereby applies a positive pressure or force to it for the purpose of deflecting it, but a suction in any one of the control channels, created by a partial vacuum therein, would be equally as effective and, consequently, would "ice be the equivalent of the control jet. Furthermore, these earlier fluid devices usually have only a pair of outlet channels, and the purpose of deflecting the power stream is only to direct the power stream to one or the other of them. In other words, existing fluid amplifier devices are not adapted to and, therefore, cannot provide a measure of the deflecting forces acting upon the power stream.
It is another object of the present invention to proprovide a fluid amplifier device than can digitally measure the forces acting upon it.
It is another object of the present. invention to provide a fluid amplifier device whose power stream is deflected other than by control jets or by suction.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a fluid amplifier device that is operable under the influence of magnetic, gravitational, and acceleration forces.
The limitations encountered in the prior art are overcome and the above-stated objects achieved by means of the present invention which utilizes a chamber with a nozzle at one end and a multiplicity of receiving tubes or openings at the other end. A free fluid jet is formed by the nozzle which impinges on the far side in the region of the receiver tubes. Under conditions of zero gravity, the jet will be undeflected and, therefore, enter the tube directly opposite the nozzle. However, under a gravitational or acceleration force, a deflection of the fluid jet will occur, and the deflected jet will thereby impinge upon a tube below the zero-gravity tube, the deflection in any direction being proportional to the gravitational or accelerating force in that direction. The fluid entering any tube creates a pressure signal in that tube which may then be used in any desired manner as, for example, to actuate another fluid amplifier element or some read-out device. Assuming an acceleration force, the device in this way acts as a digital accelerometer. In a modification of the embodiment, an electrically-conducting electricallyneutral fluid is used for the power jet, and coils suitably mounted on the chamber for the purpose of applying a transverse magnetic field to the fluid which acts as a drag force on it. In this modification, therefore, the deflection of the jet is controlled by the strength of the magnetic field. The forces mentioned may be used in combination. Thus, for example, under the conditions of an accelerating force, the location of the jet impingement can be controlled by controlling the jet velocity, that is to say, by controlling the fluid pressure upstream of the nozzle, or by applying the aforesaid transverse magnetic field, or by some combination of these. It will thus be recognized by those skilled in the art that the present invention provides a fluid element that can (1) digitally sense an accelerating or gravitational field, (2) under the influence of an acceleration or gravity field, yield a digital pressure signal that is proportional to the square root of the nozzle inlet pressure, (3) yield a digital pressure signal that is a function of the strength of an applied magnetic field, and (4) yield a digital pressure signal that is a result of the combination of the aforesaid controlling factors, thereby making possible addition, subtraction, multiplication, and square root logic functions.
The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawing in which an embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawing is for the purpose of illustration and description only, and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
FIGURE 1 diagrammatically illustrates the basic construction of a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 2 again illustrates the FIG. 1 device, this 3 time, however, modified to permit the application of magnetic forces to the power jet;
FIGURE 3 shows the FIG. 2 arrangement once again, but further illustrates one way in which the electrically conducting fluid may be sensed or detected in the receiver tubes; and
FIGURE 4 illustrates a possible matrix arrangement for the receiver tubes.
For a consideration of the invention in detail, reference is now made to the drawing wherein like or similar parts or elements are given like or similar designations throughout the several figures. In FIG. 1 the embodiment is shown to include an input tube or channel having a nozzle 10:: at one end that is adapted to produce laminar flow in any fluid passing through the channel; a plurality of receiver tubes or output channels 11a11e positioned one below the other with one of the output channels, namely, channel 11a being at the same level as and aligned with the input channel; and a chamber 12 that encloses the nozzle end of input channel 10 at one end and at the other end encloses one end of the aforesaid output channels. With respect to these receiver tubes or output channels 11, it should be mentioned, first, that although five of them are shown in the figure, considerably more of them may be employed if necessary and, second, that the output channels are oriented at successively greater angles from the horizontal in their descending order to take into account the curvature of a fluid emanating from nozzle 10a and flowing to the other end of the chamber. Thus, in FIG. 1, output channel 11a protrudes horizontally from chamber 12, output channel 11b protrudes at a slight angle to channel 11a, output channel 110 protrudes at a slight angle to channel 11b, that is to say, at a still greater angle with channel 11a, and so On, with the last output channel protruding at the greatest angle. The angles between the output channels are a function of and mathematically related to the velocity of the fluid leaving nozzle 10a, the length of chamber 12, the spacings between the output channels, etc. Accordingly, these parameters would have to be known and the use to which the apparatus was to be put would also have to be known in order to decide on particular orientations for the output channels.
The fluid device may be made of a single, solid block of material in which the chamber and channels have been cut to allow the passage of a fluid, or its parts may, instead, be separately fabricated and then assembled together. In any event, the device may be manufactured out of any one of a great many materials such as, for example, plastic, metal, and ceramic. For a clearer understanding of the appearance, configuration, and general construction of fluid devices of the kind herein involved, reference is made to the Feb. 8, 1965 issue of Missiles and Rockets, pp. 18-48 therein, wherein a number of such devices that have been reduced to practice are pictured.
In considering the operation of the above-described device, the term fluid should be defined to cover any material having a flow power, such as a gas, a vapor, a liquid, or, more generally, a system of molecules that are non-rigidly fast with one another or, again, of molecule portions such as flows of atom nuclei, or nucleus portions. Accordingly, with this in mind, a fluid 13 under pressure, and moving through input channel 10 in the direction of arrow 14, passes through nozzle 10a to enter chamber 12 as a free-flowing jet. The fluid impinges on the far side of the chamber in the region of the output channels, and under conditions where there is no force acting upon thefluid, such as, for example, under conditions of zero gravity, the jet will be undeflected and enter the outlet channel directly opposite the nozzle, namely, the outlet channel designated 11a. However, when a force does act upon the fluid, such as a force due to gravity or to the acceleration of the device in a vertically upwards direction, the jet will follow its customary parabolic projectory and, therefore, enter some other one of the outlet channels, such as channel 11d illustrated in the figure, and produce a pressure signal therein that may then be used in some desired manner, such as in a fluid amplifier element or in a transducer mechanism coupled to said channel. As previously mentioned, the spacings and orientations of the outlet channels are based upon the parameters of the system so that the abovesaid pressure signals operates to provide a digital measurement or indication of the force acting upon the jet. Needless to say, if the force on the jet varies with time, then the fluid will successively enter different outlet channels in accordance with these variations, with the result that the different pressure signals will present a continuous digitalized picture of these force variations. Merely by way of example, if fluid 13 is some sort of ink and should a reel of paper be moving past the output ends of channels 11a11e, then a sequence of dots will be obtained on the paper that follows a curve corresponding to the force variations. Hence, a fluid device of the kind herein involved is capable of digitally sensing an accelerating or gravitational field and of yielding a digital pressure signal that is proportional to the magnitude of the force applied by the field to the fluid jet.
The FIG. 1 device may be modified to operate in two dimensions, that is to say, in both the X and Y directions, and this can be done by increasing the number of outlet channels and arranging them to form a matrix of the kind illustrated in FIG. 4. As shown therein, the outlet channels are arranged in horizontal rows and vertical columns, so that the particular channel in this matrix through which the fluid jet exists divides a quantitative indication of the X and Y components of the force then acting upon the jet.
As will be recognized by those skilled in the art, the location of the jet impingement at the outlet channel end of the chamber can be controlled by controlling the jet velocity. This can be done by controlling the fluid pressure upstream of the nozzle or by applying a transverse magnetic field that acts as a drag force on the fluid, or by some combination of both. A modification of the FIG. 1 device in which means are included for producing such a transverse magnetic field is illustrated in FIG. 2. More specifically, the means comprises an electrically-conducting fluid 10 and a pair of coils 15 and 16 mounted on opposite sides of chamber 12 in registration with each other. With electrical current appropriately flowing through these coils, their fields combine to provide the desired transverse magnetic field that is represented by the flux lines designated 20 in the figure. By transverse is meant that the field is substantially orthogonal to the direction of fluid flow at the place whereat they intersect. By way of analogy, the electrically-conducting fluid is like a wire passing through the magnetic field, and it can therefore be seen that a force will be applied to the fluid stream that acts in a direction opposit to the direction of fluid flow and, hence, a drag force thereon. Thus, with the aid of the magnetic field, a fluid device of the present invention can yield a digital pressure signal that is the result of several controlling factors so as to produce addition, subtraction, multiplication, and square root logic functions.
The use of an electrically-conducting fluid for the power jet also facilitates the detection of the jet in the outlet channels. Reference is now made to FIG. 3 wherein an electromagnetic device, generally designated 17, is shown mounted around or in close proximity to outlet channel 11a. More specifically, device 17 includes a first coil 18 which is preferably mounted to encircle outlet channel 11a and a second coil 19 positioned adjacent coil 18 and likewise encircles the outlet channel, the input leads of coil 18, designated 18a, being connected to some source of direct current (not shown) and the output leads of coil 19, designated 19a, being connected to some sort of utilization device (not shown). In use, direct current, that is to say, current of substantially constant magnitude, is made to flow through coil 18, with the result that the magnetic lines of flux thereby produced or established extend through outlet channel 11a and couple or link with the turns of coil 19. Consequently, when the fluid jet enters channel 11a, a change or distortion takes place in the magnetic field, and this, in turn, gives rise to the generation of a signal by coil 19 in the form of a voltage, a positive voltage being generated by coil 19 when fluid 13 enters channel 11a and a negative voltage being generated by the coil when fluid flow in the channel ceases. It is thus seen that by mounting such a mechanism 17 on each one of outlet channels 11, a simple but highly effective electrical pressure sensing system is provided.
Although a particular arrangement of the invention has been illustrated above by way of example, it is not intended that the invention be limited thereto. Accordingly, the invention should be considered to include any and all modifications, alterations, or equivalent arrangements fall' ing within the scope of the annexed claims.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:
1. A fluid device comprising an input channel for receiving a power stream of an electrical neutral, electrically-conducting fluid, a matrix of output channels arranged in rows and columns with one of the channels in said matrix being at the same level as said input channel and aligned therewith, a chamber connected to said input channel at one end and corrected at the other end to said matrix of output channels, said output channels being oriented at successively greater angles from said output channel that is aligned with said input channel, means to flow an electrically neutral, electrically-conducting fluid under pressure through said input channel and through said chamber in laminar flow, and means for applying a pair of magnetic fields to said chamber for defleeting fluid flow to a selected output channel, whose lines of flux are transverse to the flow of fluid, the lines of flux of one of said magnetic fields forming an angle with the lines of flux of the other of said magnetic fields.
2. The fluid device of claim 1 wherein the lines of flux of said magnetic fields are at right angles to each other.
3. The fluid device of claim 1 wherein the lines of flux of one of said magnetic fields is substantially parallel to the rows of said out-put channels and the lines of flux of the other of said magnetic fields is substantially parallel to the columns of said output channels.
4. The fluid device of claim 1 wherein there are five output channels per row and five output channels per column.
5. The fluid device of claim 1 further including output magnetic means adjacent each of said output channels for sensing the presence of fluid therein and generating an electrical signal in response thereto.
6. The fluid device of claim 1 wherein said input channel is aligned with an output channel in the uppermost row.
7. A fluid amplifier device comprising an input channel for receiving a power stream of an electrically neutral, electrically-conducting fluid, a chamber connected to said input channel, a matrix of output channels arranged in rows and columns connected to said chamber with one of the channels in said matrix being at the same level as said input channel and aligned therewith, said output chan nels being oriented at successively greater angles from said output channel that is aligned with said input channel, means to flow an electrically neutral, electrically-conducting fluid under pressure through said input channel and through said chamber in laminar flow, and means for applying a pair of magnetic fields to said chamber whose lines of flux are transverse to the flow of fluid, the lines of flux of one of said magnetic fields being at right angles to the lines of flux of the other of said magnetic fields, and output magnetic means mounted on each of said output channels for sensing the presence of fluid therein and g nerating an electrical signal in response thereto.
8. The fluid device of claim 7 wherein the lines of flux of one of said magnetic fields is substantially parallel to the rows of said output channels and the lines of flux of the other of said magnetic fields is substantially parallel to the columns of said output channels.
9. A fluid amplifier device comprising an input channel for receiving an electrically neutral, electrically conducting fluid, a chamber connected to said input channel, a matrix of output channels arranged in rows and columns with one of the channels in said matrix being at the same level as said input channel and aligned therewith, said output channels being oriented at successively greater angles from said output channel that is aligned with said input channel, means to flow an electrically neutral, electrically conducting fluid under pressure through said input channel and through said chamber in laminar flow, and means for applying a pair of magnetic fields to said chamber whose lines of flux are transverse to the fluid flow, the lines of flux of one of said magnetic fields forming an angle with the lines of flux of the other of said magnetic fields.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,763,125 9/1956 Kadosch et al 137-815 X 3,071,154 1/1963 Cargill et al. 137-8l.5 3,175,569 3/1965 Sowers 137-815 3,182,674 5/1965 Horton 137-815 3,182,675 5/1965 Zilberfarb et al 137-815 3,186,422 6/1965 Boothe 137-815 3,234,955 2/1966 Auger 137-815 3,246,863 4/1966 Posingies 137-815 X 3,258,685 6/1966 Horton 137-815 X 3,266,514 8/1966 Brooks 137-815 SAMUEL SCOTT, Primary Examiner.