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Publication numberUS3455538 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 15, 1969
Filing dateApr 30, 1965
Priority dateApr 30, 1965
Publication numberUS 3455538 A, US 3455538A, US-A-3455538, US3455538 A, US3455538A
InventorsVranian Henry
Original AssigneeChesapeake Corp Of Virginia
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Actuating means
US 3455538 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 15, 1969 H. VRANIAN 3,455,538

ACTUATING MEANS Filed April 30, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTIOIR Henry Vranian ATTORNEYS H- VRANIAN ACTUATING MEANS Jul 15, 1969 2 Sheets-Sheet Filed April 30, 1965 FIG 4 FIG 7 INVENTOR Henry Vranian ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,455,538 I ACTUATING MEANS v Henry Vraniau, West Point, Va.,' 'assignorto The Chesa peake Corporation of Virginia, West Point, Va., a corporation of Virginia A Filed Apr. 30, 1965, Ser. No. 452,145 Int. Cl. B66f 7/12; Ec 3/04 US. Cl. 254-89 8 Claims ABSTRACT on THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates generally to an actuating means, and is particularly concerned with the provision of an expansible material useable to effect movement of a first element relative to a second element in operation of a variety of devices.

The instant inventive concept finds utility in various environments and is described herein as employed in a number of exemplary situations, but it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited to the illustrative uses discussed.

To facilitate an understanding of some of the more basic aspects of the invention, there are many devices wherein the operation includes relative movement between two elements. For example, in all lifting means such as automobile jacks, building jacks and th like, a base element generally rests on a supporting surface and thus is ordinarily fixed against downward movement, and a lifting element, which includes portions to be engaged under the article to be raised, is rendered movable relative to the base element. Various mechanical means have been used in the prior art to effect this relative movement. Ordinarily, these mehcanical arrangements require either a substantial quantity of input pressure on the part of the user and/ or a relatively large amount of time for operation. Most automobile jacks are diflicult to actuate by a person of slight build such as a woman. Moreover, the mechanics of these devices are generally somewhat complex rendering their operation confusing to one not ordinarily dealing with such means. Similarly, in sys-- tems such as those for lifting buildings to be moved there are generally a plurality of jacks or lifting devices spaced beneath the building which are each individually and consecutively actuated in small increments such as by turning a screw one turn or the like, in order that the building is evenly lifted from its foundation about its entire periphery. Such a procedure is obviously quite time consuming. Thus, it will be seen that there would be great advantage in having a lifting device which is simple to operate and wherein a plurality of such devices could besimultaneously actuated in a relatively short time.

In addition to the somewhat time consuming and mechanically complex nature of lifting means used heretofore, similar disadvantages are present in many clamping devices currently on the market. Generally, it is necessary with C-clamps and the like to screw or otherwise actuate a movable jaw toward a fixed jaw in order to effect 3,455,538 Patented July 15, 1969 a clamping action. The provision of a means which may be quickly and easily operated to provide a secure engaging relationship is quite commercially desirable.

Actuating means which are automatically initiated by the presence of a liquid such as rain water or sea water are also important for use in certain environments. For example, there are many storm protecting means such as storm doors, shutters and the like which are ordinarily maintained in an opened position to provide access to air, light, etc., but which should be immediately closed when it beins to rain. However, it is sometimes inconvenient to consistantly monitor such devices and for various reasons they are frequently left unattended for long periods of time. These devices may be normally urged toward their closed position either by gravity or by spring-pressed hinge means or in any other such manner, and are ordinarily secured in their opened position by a latching means. Automatic releasing of the latching device at the beginning of a storm would provide immediate protection. Similarly, there are many emergency means such as lights, audible warning signals and the like which include electrical circuits normally opened or broken by a switch when not in use. Automatic closing of the circuit to energize the lamp or signal when subjected to the presence of a liquid such as, for example, when an airplane ditches at sea, and an emergency light is thrown into the water or when a leak is present in a house basement, an industrial plant or a ship, would provide for a reliable means for detecting the presence of the leak or determining the location of the accident.

Consideration of the above situations will readily bring to mind many other environments where actuating means such as disclosed in detail hereinafter would be useful. Thus, as pointed out hereinabove, while there are a number of different embodiments of the instant inventive concept described herein, these are generally to be considered as illustrative of the many uses for the actuating means of this invention rather than as limiting on the concept hereof. Therefore, this discussion is not intended to be comprehensive in every respect, but is merely to indicate the background of the present invention.

In essence, this invention provides a direct and effective actuating means for use in any device where the operation includes the movement of one element relative to another, this actuating mcans taking the form of an eX- pansible body which upon being exposed to, and absorbing, a liquid, increases its relative dimensions and is operatively associated with the movable element to cause the relative displacement of the same necessary to the operation of the device. More particularly, and in a basic sense, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide in combination with a device of the type described, a reliable and inexpensive expansible actuating means having physical properties and/or structural features which permits the same to cause an effective relative movement necessary to the operation of the device without being subject to many of the disadvantages experienced with actuating elements utilized heretofore.

Consistent with the preceding more general objects, other important objects hereof regarding the actuating means include:

(a) The provision of an inexpensive and expansible material, which can be formed as a stable expansible body (c) The provision of such a material which is capable of not only effecting the relative movement between elements in a device, but which is also capable of maintaining a pressure upon the displaced element for clamping or other such functions;

(d) The provision of such a material which, having absorbed an electrically conductive liquid to cause its expansion, is effective to conductively connect a pair of spaced contacts in a circuit for closing the same; and

(e) The provision of such a material which can be easily made available inexpensively and with existing equipment.

Certain additional structural aspects of the material utilized in the instant inventive concept include:

(a) The provision of an actuating means which is automatically initiated when subjected to the presence of a liquid such as water whereby it can function when unattended to provide for substantially instantaneous and general emergency operation of the device with which it is associated;

(b) The provision of an arrangement where a plurality of devices incorporating the instant inventive concept can be simultaneously and substantially instantaneously actuated for effecting uniform movement over a large area;

(c) The provision of an actuating means which singularly, or in combination, can provide great pressure against a relatively movable elements of a device, which pressure can be sustained so long as the expansible body utilized therein is exposed to a liquid which it will absorb.

In addition to the preceding objects hereof, there are further particularly significant aspects of the invention, namely:

(a) The provision of a material for use in an actuating means which consists predominantly of compressed dry wool pulp alone, or mixed with reinforcing or stabilizing fibers, such as, cotton, acrylic fibers, nylon, and the like; and

(b) The provision of fibrous bodies such as specified above, which further include fixative or stabilizing compositions adapted to react with water, upon expansion of the body with which they are associated, to effectively stabilize such body in its expanded condition.

Certain attempts have been made heretofore to use materials which expand slightly in the presence of water in humidity indicators and the like, but such prior art attempts have been limited to naturally occurring materials such as small blocks of wood so arranged that their grains are properly aligned that the relatively small amount of expansion can be detected by a multiplying indicator arm or the like. These materials are obviously of little or no use as an actuating means where significant relative movement between elements in a device is necessary. Moreover, it will be clear that no force multiplication or pressure application can be effected with the use of such prior art teachings.

In contrast to the above and similar previous suggestions, this invention makes use of a compressed hydrophilic fibrous body which is capable of substantial expansion, generally at least to 150 percent of its original volume and frequently to 500 percent or more of its original volume. A material which has been found fully satisfactory and, in fact, advantageous for such uses is produced by the Chesapeake Corporation of West Point, Va., and sold under the trademark Xpandyne.

Consistent with the objectives of this invention, hydrophilic fibrous material, preferably dry wood pulp, as compressed monoaxially in a suitable compression apparatus is utilized as an actuating means to cause relative movement between two elements necessary to the operation of the device. The fibrous material preferably takes the form of a body, sheet, slab or the like, hereinafter generically referred to as a body, which, as monoaxially compressed, is monoaxially expansible. The body is positioned in the device with its axis of expansion arranged substantially parallel --to the desired movement. Thus, on exposure to, and absorption of, a liquid such as water, which may be provided from a separate source at such time as actuation of the device is desired, or which may take the form of environmental liquid such as rain water or sea water, the body is expanded against a fixed surface and engages the element to be moved. Of course, displacement of the movable element will be effective until it is stopped by an obstacle or until the full volume of expansion of the actuating body is reached. The dimensional relationship of the parts of the device and the material of the expansible body can be readily designed by one with ordinary skill in the art to insure that the full expansion of the body is not effected until the desired movement of the element with which it is associated is completed. Similarly, it is well within the skill of the art to insure that the various components of the device are so related that an undue pressure for the particular use is avoided.

The invention will be better understood, and objects other than those specifically set forth above will become apparent, after reading the following detailed description. Such description makes reference to preferred and illustrative features of the invention presented in the annexed drawings, wherein:

FIGURE lschematically shows, in elevation, a building lifting system utilizing the instant inventive concept;

FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary schematic plan view taken substantially on line 22 of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged cross-sectional view through one lifting means of the system shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, the relationship of the parts after expansion being indicated in dotted lines;

FIGURE 4 is a schematic elevational view of the use of a lifting means incorporating the instant inventive concept as an automobile jack;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical crosssectional view through a portion of the jack shown in FIGURE 4;

FIGURE 6 is a schematic elevational view of a C- clamp utilizing the actuating means of this invention, the expanded or clamping position of the movable jaw thereof being shown in dotted lines;

FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical crosssectional view through the movable jaw of the clamping means in FIGURE 6;

FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary schematic view showing the actuating means of the instant invention utilized to release a latch which normally maintains a storm protecting means in an opened position, the closed position of the storm protecting means being shown in dotted lines, and parts being broken away for illustrative clarity and convenience;

FIGURE 9 is a schematic side elevational view of an emergency light or the like having a switch which is automatically actuated When the light is thrown into a body of water, parts being broken away for illustrative clarity;

FIGURE 10 is a schematic circuit diagram showing one form of switch closing means for use in the light of FIGURE 9 or other emergency warning device; and

FIGURE 11 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse cross-sectional view through an alternate embodiment of switch closing means according to the instant invention.

Like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIGURES 1-3 thereof, a building lifting system in accordance with this invention is designated generally by the reference numeral 20 and comprises basically a plurality of individual lifting devices 22 engaged under spaced portions of a building schematically shown at 24 which normally sits on a foundation 26. Ordinarily, portions of the foundation 26 are cut away to insert the individual lifting devices so that they underlie the building 24.

Each lifting device 22 includes a base element 28 which may be considered as relatively fixed by having its enlarged bottom element 30 resting in position on the cut away portion 26' of the foundation 26. A lifting element 32 in the embodiment particularly shown in FIGURE 3 is telescopingly engaged over the base element 28 and has a substantially closed upper end 34 oppositedly positioned with respect to the substantially closed lower end 36 of the base element 28. Interposed between the ends 34, 36 and within the base element 28 is an expansible body 38 in accordance with this invention. As pointed out hereinabove this body 38 is formed of a hydrophilic fibrous material, preferably predominantly dry wood pulp, which has been monoaxially compressed by pressure against what appears as its upper and lower ends in FIGURE 3. This fibrous material has substantial affinity for water or other liquid and upon exposure to, and absorption of, such liquid will expand in the direction of the double headed arr-ow 40 of FIGURE 3 to assume the dotted position 38' thereby lifting the element 32 to the position shown at 32' and the portion 42 of the building 24 supported thereby to the position 42'.

While, in accordance with the preferred embodiment hereof, the expansible body 38 is formed of dry wood pulp or wood fiber, such as used in manufacturing paper, it can also comprise, preferably in minor proportion as reinforcing material, other fibrous materials such as vegetable fibers, e.g., cotton, or synthetic fibers, e.g., rayon, acrylic fibers, nylon and the like. Where wood pulp or fiber is used, the same can be either chemically processed pulp, semi-chemically processed pulp or mechanically processed pulp, all as suitable for further processing into paper. The patricular treating process used can be varied depending upon the exact ultimate characteristics desired with the fiber length and blending of different types of fibers being controlled to afford the strength necessary for a given application.

In any event, the hydrophilic fibrous material as ultimately used is dry, and moreover, has been compressed in a suitable compression means such as a hydraulic press, so that the material takes the form of a stable body. Where chemically, semi-chemically or mechanically processed wood pulp or fiber suitable for use in further processing into paper is employed to form the expansible body, the overall structure of the same in accordance herewith appears uniform even though the body may have a somewhat rough exterior surface. Yet, there is a tendency of the body to be somewhat layered if one attempts to separate the material in any given body. Thus, the fibers in the body, due to the compression, are generally diectionally oriented so that the major portions thereof lie in planes substantially perpendicular to the direction of compression. Of course, there are certain agglomerations or accumulations of comparatively short fiber material in any given quantity of compressed pulp and thus all of the fibers do not necessarily have the orientation in question. At the same time, the fibers of any substantial length within the body are oriented generally in the manner indicated to form successive folds or layers.

Moreover, it has been found most expedient to form such a body as part of an overall sheet of material resulting from a compression operation. So called slabs are generally directionally oriented so that the major porvide desirable bodies alone, or as cut into segments, for use according to this invention.

The compressed bodies, in and of themselves are substantially dry initially, but can be further dried, if necessary. I

Such bodies, as compressed and dried, and whether formed individually, or cut from a sheet of compressed hydrophilic fibrous material, have certain expansion properties. Specifically, a body such as 38 is monoaxially expansible along the axis 40, i.e., the axis of compression,

when subjected to water or other liquid. With such materials, the expansion of the body in other directions when liquid is absorbed is inconsequential in comparison to the expansion along the compression axis. Although the body 38 has been shown as formed substantially into a block, the invention contemplates, if desired, the formation of such a body with a contour which substantially conforms to the contour of the area in which the body is to be inserted. Of course, regardless of the shape of the body, it is necessary to orient the same within the device such that the axis of expansion substantially corresponds to the direction of relative movement of an element of the device.

Generally, material such as Xpandye will provide a pressure on expansion of approximately 18-40 pounds per square inch depending on its density and fibrous makeup. Full expansion will take place in the presence of saturating quantities of liquid within a few minutes and when it is said herein that substantially instantaneous actuation may be effected, it will be understood that this terminology is to be interpreted in a relative sense. The pressure may be maintained for extended periods of time so long as liquid for absorption is available to the body. After drying out, this material will shrink slightly allowing easy removal for replacement by a new cartridge.

The above description of the material utilized in the embodiments of FIGURES 1-3 will be understood to be applicable to the various other illustrative embodiments shown in the remainder of the figures of the drawings, all to be described in more detail hereinafter.

The building lifting system 20, in order to overcome many of the disadvantages of prior art systems, preferably utilizes a single source 44 of water or other suitable liquid fed into a common chamber 46 from which individual conduits 48 communicate with the lifting devices 22. If desired, conventional pressure valve means (not shown) may be operatively interposed in each conduit 48 to preclude passage of the water to any of the lifting devices 22 until water is available to all of the lifting devices in order that each of the expansible bodies 38 may be simultaneously exposed to the water.

Although various means may be included to permit access of the water to the expansible body 38, it is desirable that the entire periphery of the body be simultaneously exposed to the water in order that it will uniformly expand along the axis 40. Thus, as shown in FIGURE 3, an annular plenum 50 may be provided which communicates at one point with the conduit 48- and permits access of the water therefrom to the expansible body 38 through a plurality of spaced apertures '52.

It will be readily appreciated that although the base element 28 is illustrated as surrounded by the lifting elemerit 32 in the drawings, this telescoping relationship may be reversed. Similarly, although the water is shown as fed to the expansible body 38 adjacent to the bottom of the same, this location may be varied in any convenient manner. Further, although a single expansible body is shown, a plurality of such bodies may be used in series to even further multiply the force available for lifting the building.

The operation of thebuilding lifting system 20 is believed to be apparent from the above description. As soon as the actuating means in the form of the expansible bodies 38 and the individual lifting devices 22 have substantially simultaneously and uniformly raised the building 24 from its foundation 26, any conventional means may be utilized to transfer the building to a new location. The individual lifting device 22 may be reutilized by merely replacing the expansible bodies 38.

With reference now to FIGURES 4 and 5 a similar lifting device designated generally by the reference numeral 60 is shown as utilized as a jack to raise one end of an automobile 62. In this embodiment, the lifting element 64 which telescopes over a base element 66 has a hook or other engaging means 68 adapted to support a portion amass,

7 such as the bumper 70 of the automobile 62. The expansible body 72 may be exposed to water or other suitable liquids through a plurality of apertures 74 in the upper end of the lifting element 64. Alternatively, a continuous source of such liquid may be provided to the expansible body 72 in a manner similar to the lifting device 22 of the embodiment of FIGURES 1-3.

Any conventional means may be included in the lifting device 60 to permit the automobile 62 to be lowered to the ground after work on the same has been completed. As illustrative of one obvious form such means may take, the hook 68 is shown in FIGURE as pivotally carried by a pin 76 secured to the lifting element 64. A latching portion 78 of the hook 68 is normally'engaged by a stop 80 which may be in the form of a bar or the like slidably supported through aligned apertures (not shown) .in the lifting element 64 and removable therefrom to permit the hook 68 to pivot downwardly whereby the automobile will be lowered. Of course, this construction is merely a simplified form of release and other arrangements obvious to those skilled in this art may be utilized to lower the automobile in increments until it engages the ground.

In FIGURES 6 and 7 the actuating means of this invention is illustrated as utilized in a clamping means 82 shown as taking the form of a C-clamp having a relatively fixed jaw means 84 and a movable jaw 86 in opposed relation whereby articles to be clamped such as the two boards 88, 90 may be secured together. In this device the movable jaw means 86 is carried by a sleeve 92 telescopingly engaged over a portion 94 of the C-clamp with a fixed element 96 secured within the portion 94 in such a manner that an expansible body 98 may bear thereagainst. The movable jaw means 86 may, if desired, be pivotally carried by the sleeve 92 in a well known manner in order that it will universally tilt slightly to accommodate an angular surface on the material being clamped. Additionally, any conventional means such as a pair of opposed pins (not shown) carried by the sleeve 92 and slideably received in elongated grooves (not shown) in the portion 94 of the C-clamp may be utilized to preclude accidental disassembly of the device. Of course, provision must be made for replacement of the expansible cartridge or body.

Water or other suitable liquid may be fed to the expansible body 98 through a conduit 100 from a desired source of the same.

If the clamping action is to be maintained for an elongated period of time or permanently, the fibrous material may be stabilized in its expanded condition by including a fixative which reacts with the liquid causing the expansion so as to set the fibrous material after it has been expanded. The fixative should be in dry form and may be incorporated with the fibers in the initial body. Further, this material should only be reactable to the liquid, for example, water, when the same is present in saturating quantity. In other words, the fixative should be such that it will remain in its inactive state for substantial periods of time, and not set merely when subjected to a highly humidity environment.

Compositions which precipitate calcium silicate in the presence of water are suitable for use as fixatives, and similarly, plaster of Paris has desirable properties for this use. Alternatively, epoxy resin compositions can be used, e.g., solid bisphenol A-epichlorhydrin with a solid powdered acid such as oxalic acid. Further, melamine compositions are useful, e.g., melamine formaldehyde with a powdered acid such as oxalic acid or ammonium chloride.

The fixatives utilized should be such that they do not adhere or cling to the sidewalls of the elements in which the expansible body is utilized. Further, they should not provide a substantial impediment to the removal of the body from the clamping device after the clamping operation has been completed. In other words, if it is desired to maintain clamping pressure for an extended period such as aday or two, a fixative could be utilized to preclude the necessity of providing a continual source of liquid. However, the expanded body must be capable of removal for replacement at the end of the desired period.

In FIGURE 8 an additional manner of using the instant inventive concept is illustrated. In this embodiment a storm protecting means is illustratively shown at hingedly secured at 112 to a frame 114. If this view is considered as an end elevational view the storm protecting means 110 may be a shutter or the like normally urged towards the closed position shown in dotted lines at 110' by theforce of gravity. Alternatively, if this figure is takenas a plan view, the storm protecting means 110 may be a storm door of the like which is normally urged toward the. closed'position 110' by a conventional spring means including a spring-pressed hinge means. In any event, with such storm protecting means it is frequently desired to maintain the same in its opened relationship shown in full lines in the absence of a storm to permit air, light and the like to pass through the opening which the means 110 is adapted to close. For this purpose a latch is ordinarily provided to secure the means 110 against the forces tending to close the same. Such a latch incorporating the instant inventive concept is designated generally by the reference numeral 116 and includes a first element in the form of a pivotally carried hook 118 having an end portion 120 engaged in an opening 122 defined by a second element 124 fixedly secured to any available supporting means 126 such as a ceiling, wall or floor. Disposed within the second element 124, which includes a plurality of apertures 128 to permit access of rain water to the interior of the same, is an expansible body 130 of the type described with reference to the previous embodiments. This body 130 is juxtaposed to the end 120 of the first element 118 whereby when it begins to rain thus exposing the body 130 to the absorption of rain water and expanding the same, the hook end 120 of the element 118 is pushed free of its engagement with the opening 122 in the element 124 as shown in dotted lines at 118' thereby releasing the latching engagement and permitting the storm protecting means 110 to automatically close under the influence of gravity, a spring-pressed hinge means or the like.

The construction shown in FIGURE 8 is to be considered illustrative of various arrangements whereby an expansible body may be utilized as an actuating means to automatically release a latch for closure of a storm protecting device on the advent of rain.

Similarly, other devices may be automatically actuated even when unattended according to this invention. In FIGURES 9 and 10 an emergency light is shown which may be utilized in the event of a crash landing of an airplane or the like on water. Basically, the light which is designated generally by the reference numeral includes a casing means 142 having a transparent dome 144 and including therein a lamp 146 operatively connected by a conductive circuit 148 in any conventional manner to a source of electrical current such as the battery 150. The main portion of the casing means 142 may be substantially impermeable to water and may include a quantity of a buoyant material such as cork or the like schematically shown at 152. An auxiliary housing 154 is carried by the casing means 142 with a substantially water proof relationship therebetween, only a pair of conductors 156, 158, extending in sealed relationship from the casing means 142 to the auxiliary housing 154 wherein they are secured to a pair of spaced contacts 160, 162, respectively. The auxiliary housing 154 has a plurality of apertures 164 to permit the passage of water when the emergency light 140 is thrown into a body of water such as the sea.

The spaced contacts 160, 162 form part of a switch means interposed in the circuit 148 between the battery and the lamp 146. One form of switch closing means is shown in FIGURE 10 as an arm 166 having one end 168 pivotally carried by the contact 162 and an opposite end 170 normally maintained in spaced relationship with respect to the contact 160 by a spring means 172. An expansible body 174 according to this invention is secured to the arm 166 and on expansion of the body 174 the end 170 of the arm 166 is swung into conductive engagement with the contact 160 thereby closing the circuit 148 and automatically lighting the lamp 146. Since the auxiliary housing 154 is permeable to water this expansion of the body 174 will take place automatically as soon as the emergency light 140 is thrown into the water.

An alternate switch closing means is shown in FIG- URE 11 wherein the electrical conductivity of the liquid such as sea water is actually used to complete the circuit. In this embodiment the body 180 absorbs the sea water and expands, the body itself becoming conductive because of the sea water which it carries and portions of the body 180 simultaneously engaging both of the contacts 160, 162, after expansion to define the switch closing means. In this manner, a positive and direct circuit closing is effected and maintained. Such a relationship would not be possible if the water in the absence of the exparisible body were relied on four completion of the circuit since waves, wind and the like would continuously cause a breaking of the circuit or might produce an air bubble causing failure of the switch closing circuit.

It will be seen that either of the above switch closing means could be readily utilized in other emergency devices, particularly audible warning means maintained in a position wherein they will detect and indicate the presence of a liquid leak. Such devices might be positioned at various locations in a liquid handling system, for either industrial or home use. Further, similar means will find widespread utility in various floating devices such as ships, submarines and the like to act as an early warning of a leak whereby repair may be effected before any substantial damage has been caused.

It cannot be over-emphasized, that although the numerous embodiments shown in the drawings and described herein are each, in and of themselves, useful constructions for commercial manufacture, they are to be considered basically as various species utilizing the primary concept of this application, that is, an actuating means defined by an expansible body operable on exposure to, and absorption of, a liquid to move a first element relative to a second element in any of a variety of devices requiring such relative movement during their use.

Aside from the factors noted above, there are two additional points applicable to the various described embodiments which should be noted. First, the hydrophilic fibrous bodies can be formed with one or more conventional wetting agents or combinations thereof incorporated therein so as to facilitate the transfer of liquid, and in particular, water throughout'the bodies and/or from body to body. Secondly, such bodies can be formed in dies of special configuration, and/or cut into various desired shapes so that they are readily adapted for use in particular environments, surroundings, housings or the like. In this latter regard, such bodies can be provided with openings and/or passageways extending partially or fully therethrough to thus enable even more rapid distribution of liquid or water within and/or throughout the body or bodies in question.

Thus, it will now be seen that there is herein provided means which satisfy all of the objects of the instant invention, and others, including many advantages of great practical utility and commercial importance. Accordingly, what is claimed is:

1. In a device of the type wherein the operation includes movement of a first element relative to a second element, the improvement which comprises an actuating means including a monoaxially compressed, expansible body formed predominantly of dry wood pulp, said body 0 sible body interposed between being expanded on exposure to and absorption of, a liquid andbeing operatively associated with said first element to move the same relative to said second element on expansion of said body, and means for permitting access of the liquid to said body, said body further including a minor proportion of reinforcing fibers.

2. In a device of the type wherein the operation includes movement of a first element relative to a second element, the improvement which comprises an actuating means including a monoaxially compressed expansible body, said body'bei-ng' expanded on exposure to, and absorption of, a liquid and being operatively associated with said first element to move the same relative to said second element on expansion of said body, and means for permitting access of the liquid to said body, said body further including a fixative which sets upon reaction with the liquid to stabilize said body in its expanded condition.

3. In a device of the type wherein the operation includes movement of a first element relative to a second element, said device being a lifting means, the improvement which comprises an actuating means including a substantially dry, monoaxially compressed, substantially monoaxially expansible, fibrous means capable of providing a pressure of at least approximately eighteen pounds per square inch within a few minutes upon exposure to, and absorption of, a liquid, said body being operatively associated. with said first element to move the same relative to said second element on expansion of said body, and means for permitting access of the liquid to said body, portions of said first element defining a support for engaging under the article' to be lifted, said second ele ment being substantially fixed during operation, and said expansible body being positioned beneath said first element and in contact with said second element whereby on expansion of said body, said first element is lifted.

4. The structure of claim 3 wherein said device is an automobile jack.

5. The structure of claim 3 wherein said device is a building jack, a plurality of said devices being used simultaneously to lift a building.

6. The structure of claim 5 including means defining a common source of water operatively connected to each of said devices to simultaneously expose all of said expansible bodies to water whereby all of said bodies expand at the same time.

7. A lifting means comprising at least one lifting device including a relatively fixed base element having a substantially closed lower end, a lifting element having a substantially closed upper end, said base element and said lifting element being telescopingly related, portions of said lifting elements defining an article engaging means for engaging under an article to be lifted, and a substantially dry, monoaxially compressed, hydrophilic fibrous expansaid lower end of said base element and said upper end of said lifting element, said body being expanded on exposure to, and absorption of, a liquid whereby said lifting element and the article engaged by said portions thereof are raised relative to said base element, and means for permitting access of the liquid to said body.

8. A building lifting system comprising, in combination, a plurality of lifting devices engaged under spaced portions of the building to be lifted, each of said lifting devices including a relatively fixed base element having a substantially closed lower end, a lifting element having a substantially closed upper end, said base element and said lifting element being telescopingly related, and a substantially dry, monoaxially compressed, hydrophilic fibrous expansible body interposed between said lower end of said base element and said upper end of said lifting element, said body being expanded on exposure to, and absorption of, a liquid whereby said lifting element and the portion of the building engaged thereby are raised relative to said base element, means defining a common source of liquid,

I 1 1 2 and conduit means interconnecting said source with each 2,636,193 4/1953 Savary 9-9 of said lifting devices to simultaneously expose all of said 2,688,056 8/ 1954 Kettering et a1 7 3--337 X expansible bodies to the liquid.

OTHELL M. SIMPSON, Primary Examiner References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS US. Cl. X.R.

664,331 12/1900 Martin 200-61.04X ;2 2 1 2 2,633,131 3/1953 Grosvenor 73-337X

Patent Citations
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US664331 *Oct 17, 1898Dec 18, 1900Thomas J DrummondProtective appliance for mills, factories, &c.
US2633131 *Mar 3, 1949Mar 31, 1953Mary White RoseMedicament inhaler
US2636193 *Jul 8, 1952Apr 28, 1953Clarence H SavarySignal device for indicating the location of submerged objects
US2688056 *Oct 24, 1951Aug 31, 1954Gen Motors CorpHumidistat
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4771581 *Sep 11, 1986Sep 20, 1988Nill Raymond WFluid support system for building structures
US5094569 *Nov 30, 1990Mar 10, 1992David FlemingGround surface contour modifying apparatus and method
US7770331 *Dec 30, 2005Aug 10, 2010Halloran John JPotential energy storage system
US9234346 *Nov 12, 2012Jan 12, 2016Onoda ConstructionCassette-vibration isolation device
US20140318041 *Nov 12, 2012Oct 30, 2014Miho SakamotoCassette-vibration isolation device
U.S. Classification254/89.00R, 200/61.4, 405/230, 405/229, 24/455, 292/201, 292/254, 52/167.1, 52/167.4
International ClassificationB66F19/00, B66F11/00, E04G23/06, E04G23/00
Cooperative ClassificationE04G23/06, B66F19/00
European ClassificationE04G23/06, B66F19/00