US 3575322 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1 Umted States Patent 1 1 3,575,322
 Inventors Gilbert S. Jordon  Field of Search ..222/402.l2, Monroe; 402.2, 449, 453, (lnquired) Norman Usen, West Haverstraw, N.Y.  Appl 309,232  References Cited  Filed Mar. 21, 1969 4 UNITED STATES PATENTS 1 Patented e 1 2,722,345 11/1965 VanBuren 222/449x 1 Asslgnee Unwn Cflblde Corporation 3,052,382 9/1962 Gawthrop... 222/4o2.2x New e 3,269,615 8/1966 Ferry 222/4022 Primary Examiner-Donald F. Norton Attorneys- Paul A. Rose, John F. l-lohmann and Alfred s4 METERING AEROSOL ACTUATOR WITH DOWNSTROKE DISCHARGE 9 Chums 5 Drawmg ABSTRACT: An aerosol actuator assembly providing metered  US. Cl. ZZZ/402.20 'aerosolflow with discharge of aerosol formulation occurring [5 l Int. Cl. 865d 83/14 upon a downstroke of the actuator.
40 I -3 IW 23 I I 23 \/30 1 I 1 l 22 i 22 Na .90 48 48 The present invention relates to aerosol dispensing structures and particularly to an actuator assembly which may be mounted upon a dispensing container and provide a metered dispensing flow with discharge occuring on the downstroke.
Aerosol dispensing systems usually include a container having stored therein under suitable pressure an aerosol formulation generally comprising an active ingredient, which may be a liquid or a powder, and a propellant. The container has mounted thereon a valve structure having a valve stem which extends exteriorly of the container and which is actuated to effect discharge of the aerosol formulation from within the container. An actuator assembly mounted atop the container comprises means to actuate the valve stem and means to guide the aerosol formulation from the valve stem with an appropriate spray pattern to the ultimate target or point of intended use. The actuator assembly usually comprises a button which is depressed by the user and which includes an exit orifice through which aerosol formulation is directed and dispensed. Pressure applied to the actuator button is transmitted to the valve stem thereby actuating the valve internal structure to enable escape of aerosol formulation from within the container.
Some dispensing systems provide an arrangement whereby during continued actuation aerosol formulation will be dispensed in a continuous stream. Other systems operate in a manner whereby the aerosol formulation is dispensed in a predetermined metered amount with each separate actuation of the dispensing structure permitting discharge of only'one dose of said predetermined metered amount.
Dispensing systems involving a metering mechanism usually require a more complicated and costly dispensing arrangement. The metering mechanism is normally contained within the valve structure mounted internally of the pressurized container. Such metering valves involve a metering chamber of a specific volume which fills with aerosol formulation when the dispensing structure is in the nondispensing position. Depression of the actuator button causes discharge of only that amount of aerosol formulation which is contained within the metering chamber.
Another approach to dispensing aerosol formulation in metered predetermined amounts involves the placement of the metering mechanism externally of the pressurized container within the actuator assembly. However, until the advent of the present invention, such metering actuator assemblies have necessitated that the dispensing action occur on the upstroke, or during release, of the actuator button. In the operation of such metering actuators, depression of the actuator bottom causes flow of aerosol formulation from the valve stem to fill a sealed metering chamber within the actuator assembly. Upon release of the actuator, flow from the valve stem is terminated and the metering chamber is exposed to the atmosphere thereby permitting discharge of aerosol formulation therefrom. it will be apparent that the operation of such metering actuators is distinctly different from the normal operation of an aerosol dispensing system in that in systems in common use downward pressure results in immediate release of aerosol formulation thereby providing a downstroke discharge. On the other hand, placement of the metering mechanism within the actuator assembly, in accordance with presently known concepts, necessitates the unfamiliar operative condition wherein discharge must take place on the release or upstroke.
Many advantages may be realized from placement of the metering mechanism within the actuator assembly rather than within the internal valve structure. Generally speaking, such an arrangement will involve a less complex and less costly dispensing construction. With the metering mechanism provided within the internal valve structure, achievement of the leakproofness which is so critical with regard to the internal valve becomes more difficult due to the fact that a more complex structure must be provided. With the necessity for including a metering mechanism removed, the internal nonmetering valve construction may be of a simple, relatively problem-free design diminishing the possibility of valve malfunction. Simplification of the internal valve structure makes possible the provision of a more reliable aerosol dispensing system. Potentially, this will result in far less waste of aerosol formulation inasmuch as malfunction of an internal valve structure requires discarding of the entire can together with unused aerosol formulation. However, when the metering mechanism is provided within the actuator assembly, not only is the internal valve construction made less susceptible to breakdown, but also it would be possible to replace a defective metering actuator without requiring sacrifice of the remaining contents of the container. Additional advantages reside in the fact that containers and valves may be manufactured in a standard arrangement with subsequent mounting of a metering actuator determining whether the dispensing system is to be a continuous system or a metered system. Furthermore, a metering actuator assembly could be reused by remounting upon new aerosol containers after the contents of an initially used container had been exhausted.
Although metering actuator assemblies comprise significant advantages, one important drawback which has impeded their more widespread use has been the factor of discharge on the upstroke which would require a reorientation and reeducation of the consuming public. Another important factor related to commercial acceptance of such a device is its ability to be adapted for use with presently available aerosol container structures.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an aerosol actuator assembly comprising a metering mechanism which involves downstroke discharge of aerosol formulation.
It is a further object of the invention to provide such an assembly which will be readily adaptable for use with presently available aerosol container structures.
Briefly, the actuator assembly of the present invention may be described as comprising a pair of interfitting members which are movable relative to each other between a first and a second position, and which define a first and a second chamber. When in said first relative position, the second chamber is sealed from the outer atmosphere and flow communication is established between said chambers to permit aerosol formulation to flow from the first chamber to the second chamber. Upon movement of the members to the second relative position, the second chamber is exposed to the outer atmosphere to effect dispensing of aerosol formulation therein and flow communication between the chambers is blocked. While in said second relative position, the first chamber fills from the valve stem of an ordinary aerosol container and transfers this formulation to the second chamber upon return to the first relative position for ultimate dispensing upon a subsequent movement of the members to the second relative position. Movement to said second relative position may be accomplished by the application of a downward force by a user with spring means being provided to automatically return said members to said first relative position upon release of said downward force.
A better understanding of the invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a view in cross section showing the metering actuator of the present invention in the nondispensing position;
H6. 2 is a view in cross section of the metering actuator of FIG. l in the dispensing position;
FIG. 3 is a view in cross section taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. d is a view in cross section of a second embodiment of the metering actuator of the present invention in the nondispensing position; and
FIG. 5 is a view in cross section of the metering actuator of FIG. 4 in dispensing position.
Referring to the drawings wherein like reference characters represent similar elements the metering actuator of the present invention is shown as comprising a base member and a frame member 12 both mounted upon a valve stem 14 of an aerosol dispensing system which would comprise the normal elements including pressurized container (not shown) and an internal valve assembly (not shown) well known to those skilled in the art. The valve stem 14 is actuated in the usual manner to dispense aerosol formulation from within the associated pressurized container (not shown) by being downwardly driven against the action of an internal valve spring (not shown) which would bias the valve stem 14 in the upward or nondispensing position. Accordingly, it is to be clear that in order to dispense aerosol formulation, the valve stem 14 must be moved downwardly and held in a dispensing position whereupon aerosol formulation will continuously flow therefrom. In order to terminate the flow of aerosol formulation, it is merely necessary to release the valve stem 14 permitting it to automatically move upwardly into the nondispensing position where it is placed and held by the force of the valve assembly internal spring (not shown). The manner by which this occurs is well known in prior art structures and forms no part of the present invention.
The base member 10, which may be formed of molded plastic material, includes a valve-stem-engaging recess defined by a cylindrical wall 16 which is dimensioned to closely approximate the diameter of the valve stem 14 thereby permitting tight frictional engagement therebetween. The
valve stem 14 is equipped with an annular protuberance l8 which is engaged by an annular recess 20 fonned in the wall 16 of base member 10 to permit secure locking engagement between the base member 10 and the valve stem 14.
The base member 10 is generally configured in an inverted cup-shaped arrangement with a pair of upstanding cylindrical walls defining, in cooperation with the frame member 12, a pair of chambers which operate to effect the metering function of the actuator of the present invention. More specifically, the base member 10 comprises an inner upstanding cylindrical wall 22 and an outer upstanding cylindrical wall 24, with inner wall 22 cooperating with the frame member 12 to form an inner metering chamber 26 while outer wall 24 cooperates with the frame member 12 to form an outer metering chamber 28. The inner metering chamber 26 is generally cylindrical in shape and is surrounded by the outer metering chamber 28 which comprises an annular configuration.
The frame member 12 may be formed from metal or other suitable material and is generally configured in a cylindrical shape comprising a vertical cylindrical outer wall 30, an upper horizontal wall 32 and a lower horizontal wall 34. An inner vertical cylindrical wall 36 depends from upper wall 32 and surrounds in sliding engagement therewith the inner wall 22 of base member 10. The lower wall 34 has a circular opening therein defined by edge 38 permitting the valve stem to extend therethrough into mounting engagement with base member 10. The inner wall 36 includes an orifice therethrough defined by edge 40 for the purpose of permitting aerosol formulation flow between inner chamber 26 and outer chamber 28 in a manner to be described more fully hereinafter. Outer wall 30 of frame member 12 includes an aerosol formulation dispensing orifice defined by edge 42 which cooperates, in a manner to be more fully described, with a corresponding orifice in outer wall 24 of base member 10, said orifice being defined by edge 44.
A gasket 46, which may be formed from rubber or other similar suitable material, is fixedly mounted against upper wall 32 within the spaced defined by inner wall 36 which tightly surrounds the gasket 46. A spring member 48 is held in compression between the base member and the frame member 12, with the upper end of the spring 48 abutting the upper wall 32 while the lower end of spring 48 abuts an annularly shaped horizontal wall 50 defined between inner wall 22 and outer wall 24 of base member 10.
In order to operate the metering actuator of the present invention, a downward force is applied to the upper wall 32 thereby moving the frame member 12 downwardly with respect to the base member 10, this action being depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 with the condition of FIG. 1 being the normal or unactuated condition and the condition of FIG. 2 showing the juxtaposition of the members after a downward force has been applied to the frame member 12. The internal spring (not shown) of the internal valve assembly of the dispenser exerts a greater force than the spring 48 and, therefore, when a downward force is applied to the frame member 12 the frame member 12 and the base member 10 will be placed in the relative positioning shown in FIG. 2 before any downward motion of the valve stem 14 is accomplished. That is, the spring 48 will be fully compressed, as shown in FIG. 2, before any compression of the internal spring of the valve assembly occurs. It will be noted that in the condition depicted in FIG. 2, the inner wall 22 of base member 10 will abut the washer 46 thereby efiectively sealing the inner chamber 26 and preventing any aerosol formulation flow through the orifice 40. Furthermore, it will be noted that with the juxtaposition of parts depicted in FIG. 2, the orifice 42 and the orifice 44 will be in alignment thereby enabling the evacuation of the outer chamber 28.
With a continuation of the downward force applied to the upper wall 32, depression and actuation of the valve stem 14 will occur because the downward force applied to wall 32 will be transmitted to the base member 10 through abutment of the upper end of wall 22 against washer 46 and abutment of the lower end of wall 36 against bottom surface 50. The base member 10 includes a conduit defined by a vertical cylindrical wall 52 through which aerosol formulation may flow from the valve stem 14 into the inner chamber 26. Since conduit 52 is smaller in diameter than recess 16, a horizontal annular surface 54 is formed therebetween which abuts the upper end of valve stem 14 ensuring that any downward force applied to base member 12 will be transmitted to valve stem 14 enabling actuation thereof. Accordingly, when the metering actuator of the present invention is driven to its lowest downward position, the compressive force of the inner valve spring (not shown) will be overcome and aerosol formulation will be dispensed through the valve stem 14 to fill the inner chamber 26 which will be sealed from the external atmosphere as shown in FIG. 2. Furthermore, at any time that the base member 10 and frame member 12 are juxtaposed as shown in FIG. 2, alignment of the orifices 42 and 44 will enable evacuation of outer chamber 28 to dispense a quantity of aerosol formulation.
Upon release of the downward pressure upon upper wall 32, the valve stem 14 will automatically be driven to its upper or nondispensing position thereby driving the entire actuator assembly upwardly due to the firm mounting which exists between the base member 10 and the valve stem 14. Simultaneously, the spring 48 will tend to expand thereby driving the base member 10 and the frame member 12 to the relative positioning shown in FIG. 1. In this position, the orifices 42 and 44 will be misaligned, as shown in FIG. 1, thereby sealing the outer chamber 28 from the external atmosphere. At the same time, the inner wall 22 and the washer 46 will become separated thereby opening the orifice 40 and permitting flow of aerosol formulation from the inner chamber 26 into the outer chamber 28.
Accordingly, it will be noted that in a condition described with regard to FIG. 1, the metering actuator of the present invention is in the charged condition preparatory to enabling dispensing of aerosol formulation. Furthermore, it will be clear that such dispensing will occur on the downstroke or upon a downward movement of the frame member 12 which will align the orifices 42 and 44, in the manner previously described, thereby to permit evacuation of the chamber 28 and dispensing of the aerosol formulation contained therein.
Thus, when a user wishes to operate the aerosol dispensing system of the present invention, assuming that it is initially in the condition described in connection with FIG. 1, a dispensing burst of aerosol formulation will occur immediately upon downward depression of the frame member 12 sufficient to align orifices 42 and 44. This dispensing action will be similar to the dispensing action which normally occurs in aerosol dispensing systems presently most widely in use. Also, it will be apparent that this action overcomes the necessity for reorienting or reeducating the consuming public to a mode of operation whereby dispensing occurs on the release or upstroke, as is the case with other known actuator metering devices. In normal operation, starting from the position depicted in FIG. 1, after downward pressure has caused the alignment of orifices 42 and 44, with the consequent evacuation of the chamber 26, the user will have placed the button in the condition shown in FIG. 2 and will continue to efiect a downward depression to actuate the valve stem 14 causing flow of aerosol formulation from within the container through the valve stem 14 and into the inner chamber 26 thereby filling the chamber 26 with the aerosol formulation. It will be apparent that this process may be repeated with each complete downstroke of the actuator assembly of the present invention producing first an evacuation of the chamber 28 and a dispensing burst of aerosol formulation with a subsequent filling of the inner chamber 26. Each release or upstroke produces a shutoff of aerosol formulation flow into the chamber 26 and a transference of aerosol formulation from the chamber 26 into the chamber 28 for subsequent dispensing on the next downstroke.
It should'be noted that the outer wall 24 of base member provides a sealing effect which involves surface-to-surface contact between the wall 311 and the wall 24 over a substantial area. it should also be noted that the upper portion of the wall 24 is formed with a chamfered or slanted surface 56. The significance of these structural features relates to the necessity for ensuring a tight sealing engagement between the base member 10 and the frame member 12. The chamfered surface 56 operates to enhance the sealing effect of pressure within the chamber 26 by shaping the wall 24 in such a manner as to permit said inner pressure to more tightly seal the chamber 26 by forcing the wall 24 against the wall 311. Furthermore, the
substantial amount of overlap producing surface-to-surface contact between wall 24 and wall 30 tends to overcome any leakage which might occur between these members.
A further structural factor to be noted pertains to the distance of relative separation between the frame 12 and the base member 111, which distance will be equivalent to the degree of separation between the orifices 42 and 44. It will be clear that orifices 42 and 44, when in the nondispensing position, must be separated a distance sufficient to prevent the occurrence of any unwanted leakage therethrough.
A factor which must be considered in assembling the metering actuator of the present invention pertains to the angular alignment of the orifices 42 and 44. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, orifices 42 and 44 each are configured as small, circular openings defined by cylindrical walls extending through the walls 311 and 24. As a result, it becomes necessary when assembling the actuator of the present invention to ensure that the base member 10 of the frame member 12 are circumferentially or angularly aligned so that the orifices 42 and 44 will form a continuous opening through both walls 24 and 36 when the frame member 12 is depressed relative to base member 10 to the position shown in FIG. 2. It will be clear that many approaches will be apparent to those skilled in the art to enable achievement of such an alignment; For example, a slot-and-key arrangement between the walls 22 and 36. such as is depicted in FIG. 3, would be one of many possibilit ies. In FIG. 3 there is shown a key 58 formed in the'wall 36 engaging a slot 611 formed in the wall 22. This slot-and-key arrangement extends longitudinally alongthe walls 22 and 36 for a distance equivalent to the maximum distance traveled by the frame member 12 and the base member 10 when moving between the relative position depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, thereby assuring continued alignment of the orifices 42 and 44. Of course, many other suitable arrangements easily available to those skilled in the art may be utilized to effect appropriate alignment of orifices 42 and 44 and it is to be understood that all these expedients are considered within the scope of the present invention. For example, it would be possible to provide a different configuration than that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 for the orifice 44. Such a configuration might involve circumferentially extending orifice 44 around wall 24 to ensure that orifice 42 will always encounter an opening to the outer chamber 26 when it is moved downwardly. Such a configuration would not necessitate the inclusion of means for ensuring a particular angular alignment between base member 111 and frame member 12 since, regardless of the circumferential or angular relative alignment of these members, the appropriate relative axial alignment therebetween would always produce a flow path from chamber 28 to the outer atmosphere.
An example of construction utilizing such a basic principle is depicted in an embodiment shown in FIGS. 4 and ti wherein any relative angular position between the structural members thereof will produce aerosol formulation dispensing when the proper axial alignment occurs.
The embodiment depicted in FIGS. 4 and 5 utilizes the same basic principles as the preferred embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. The metering aerosol actuator depicted in FIGS. 4 and 6 comprises a base member and a frame 112 with an aerosol dispensing valve stem 114 extending through the lower portion of the frame member 112 into engagement with the base member 110. This configuration is structurally similar to the configuration shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and it will be seen that the frame member 112 includes an outer cylindrical wall 130, an aerosol dispenser orifice defined by a cylindrical edge 142 extending through wall 130, and an orifice defined by a cylindrical edge extending through inner wall 136. A washer 146 is firmly mounted against an upper wall 132 of the frame member 112 and is closely surrounded by the upper end of wall 136. Spring means in the form of a spring member 148 is maintained in compression between the upper wall 132 of frame member 112 and a lower surface 150 of base member 110. The base member 110 includes an inner cylindrical wall 122 and an outer cylindrical wall 124 with the valve stem 114 being tightly engaged within a recess in the lower portion of base member 110 defined by a cylindrical wall 116. A smaller diameter conduit defined by a cylindrical wall 152 is in flow alignment with the valve stem 114 with a valve stem engaging surface 154 being formed between the surfaces 116 and 152. An inner cylindrical chamber 126 is provided and is surrounded by an outer annular chamber 128.
The lower portion of frame member 112 has mounted therein a gasket 162 having a central orifice defined by a cylindrical wall 164 through which the valve stem 114 extends in sliding engagement. The lower portion of wall 130 of the frame member 112 comprises an indentation 166 which engages a washer 166 overlying the upper edge of gasket 162 and wedged between the gasket 162 and the indentation 166 in a manner whereby the gasket 162 is firmly held between the washer 1611 and the lower wall 134 of the frame member 112. It will be noted that the lower wall 134 includes a circular opening defined by edge 1311 through which the valve stem 114 extends. It will be further noted that the lower gasket 162 is securely mounted to the lower portion of frame member 112 but in sliding engagement with the valve stem 114 with the juxtaposition of parts being such that relative'movement between the valve stem 114 and the frame member 112 willcause the gasket 162 to slide along the valve stem 114 as a result of the sliding engagement between the outer surface of the valve stem 114 and the wall 164 of the gasket 162.
The base member 110 has formed therethrough a flow transmitting conduit defined by a cylindrical wall 111 which permits flow of aerosol formulation between the outer chamber 128 and a lower chamber 170 formed between the lower end of base member 110 and the gasket 162.
The operation of the embodiment of the present invention depicted in FIGS. 4 and is somewhat similar to that of the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. The basic difference involves the fact that in the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5 no necessity exists for angular alignment between the frame member 112 and the base member 110. In essence, the chamber 170 represents an opening formed by extending orifice 44 circumferentially completely around base member 10.
FIG. 4 depicts the embodiment of the present invention in the unactuated condition which is the condition to which the actuator will automatically return when not in use. Assuming that as a result of a prior actuation the chamber 126 had been filled with aerosol formulation, and that this has flowed through the orifice 140 into the chamber 128, with the device in the position shown in FIG. 4, the outer chamber 128 will be blocked from the outer atmosphere due to the fact that the dispensing orifice 142 is sealed from flow communication with the interior of the actuator, i.e., chamber 128 and chamber 170, by the sidewall 124 which overlies the orifice 142. Upon depression of the frame member 112, the biasing force of spring 148 will be overcome and the entire frame assembly including gasket 162 and frame member 112 will be moved downwardly to overcome the force of spring 148. It will be noted that the base member 110 is firmly fixed upon the valve stem 114 and that just as in the case of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the internal valve assembly spring (not shown) which controls movement of the valve stem 114 exerts a spring force which is greater than the spring force of spring 148. Therefore, the force of spring 148 must be overcome before the force of the internal valve spring can be overcome during a downward stroke of the aerosol actuator.
Upon depression of the frame member 112, the base member 110 will remain fixed with respect to the valve stem 114 while the entire frame assembly including gasket 162 and frame member 112 moves downwardly with the gasket 162 sliding along the valve stem 114 to place the assembly in the condition depicted in FIG. 5. At this point, the valve stem 114 has not been actuated, but the chamber 126 has been scaled by engagement of the upper edge of inner wall 122 with the upper gasket 146. Furthermore, the orifice 142 has moved downwardly relative to the base member 110 out of engagement with the outer wall 124 thereby opening the orifice 142 to enable aerosol formulation flow therethrough. Upon disengagement of the outer wall 124 from the orifice 142, aerosol formulation within the outer chamber 128 will flow through the conduit 111 into the chamber 170 and through the orifice 142 from which it is dispensed. Accordingly, it will be seen that downward movement of frame member 112 relative to the base member 110 will effect a dispensing operation on a downstroke movement of the aerosol actuator while simultaneously sealing the inner chamber 126 from flow communication with the outer chamber 128.
Continued downward movement of the frame member 112 after engagement between inner wall 122 and upper gasket 146 will produce no additional relative axial motion between base member 110 and frame member 112. However, any additional downward force which is applied will be transmitted through the base member 110 to the valve stem 114 by means of engagement of the valve stem 114 by the surface 154 thereby overcoming the force of the inner valve spring (not shown) and driving the valve stem downwardly into the actuated position where aerosol formulation will flow from within the aerosol container (not shown) through the valve stem 114 and the connecting conduit 152 into the inner chamber 126 thereby filling the inner chamber 126 with aerosol formulation.
Upon release of the actuator assembly, the inner valve spring will drive the valve stem 114 into the nonactuated position thereby terminating aerosol formulation flow therethrough. Subsequently, the spring 148 will drive the frame member 112 and the base member apart, with the relative positioning of these parts returning to the condition depicted in FIG. 4 from the condition depicted in FIG. 5. Upon such relative movement, the orifice will be placed in flow communication with the inner chamber 126 and aerosol formulation will flow through the orifice 140 into the outer chamber 128 thereby filling said outer chamber with aerosol formulation which would be dispensed through the orifice 142 upon the next downstroke of the actuator assembly, in the manner previously described. Thereafter, the process of filling the inner chamber 126, as well as future dispensing downstrokes, could be repeatedly effected in the manner previously described.
It will be noted that in the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, the dispensing orifice 142 is placed in flow communication with the lower chamber which extends in a generally annular configuration about the valve stem 114 with the radially outer limits of the chamber 170 being defined by the wall 130 of frame member 112. Accordingly, it will be clear that regardless of the annular relative position between member 110 and frame member 112, any downward or axial displacement of the dispensing orifice 142 relative to the outer wall 124 will place the dispensing orifice 142 in flow communication with the lower chamber 170. Accordingly, there exists no need for a particular angular alignment between the base member 110 and the frame member 112.
1. A metering aerosol actuator assembly adaptable for use with an aerosol system including container means, and valve means mounted within said container means through which aerosol formulation stored within said container means may be dispensed, said actuator comprising first and second interfitting members defining a first and a second chamber and movable relative to each other between a first and a second position, said members being configured and arranged to move from said first to said second relative position upon application thereto of a downwardly directed force, dispensing flow means defined by said members, means for effecting aerosol formulation flow from said valve means into said first chamber, and means blocking flow communication between said first and second chambers when said members are in said second position and permitting communication therebetween when said members are in said first position, said dispensing flow means effecting flow between said second chamber and the outer atmosphere when said members are in said second position and blocking said flow when said members are in said first position.
2. An actuator assembly according to claim 1 comprising spring means biasing said interfitting members to said first relative position.
3. An actuator assembly according to claim I wherein said dispensing flow means comprise orifice means defined in said first and second members and positioned to be misaligned when said members are in said first relative position thereby preventing flow therethrough, and to be aligned when said members are in said second relative position thereby to enable flow therethrough.
4. An actuator assembly according to claim 1 wherein said dispensing flow means comprises orifice means defined in one of said interfitting members with blocking means defined by the other of said members, said orifice means being exposed to said second chamber when said members are in said second relative position, said blocking means being positioned to block flow through said orifice means when said interfitting members are in said first relative position.
5. An actuator assembly according to claim 1 wherein said valve means include stem means actuated between a dispensing and nondispensing position, said assembly comprising means mounting said interfitting members in connection with said stem means to enable actuation of said stem means to said dispensing position only when said interfitting members are in said second relative position and to enable said stem means to return to said nondispensing position when said members are in said first relative position.
6. An actuator assembly according to claim wherein said interfitting members are arranged to transmit a force actuating said stem means to said dispensing position, said force transmission being enabled only while said members are in said second relative position.
7. An actuator assembly according to claim 6 comprising spring means biasing said interfitting members to said first relative position, said spring means being constructed to permit movement of said members to said second relative position prior to commencement of actuation of said stern means.
8. An actuator assembly according to claim 1 wherein said first and second members generally comprise a cup-shaped configuration with each having radially spaced inner and outer cylindrical walls, said members being interfitted with said inner and outer walls, respectively, overlapping, said first chamber being defined by and within said inner walls and said second chamber being defined between said inner and outer walls.
9. An actuator assembly according to claim 8 wherein said first interfitting member is fixedly mounted upon said stem means and said second interfitting member is relatively movable with respect thereto, with downward depression of said second member being operable to move said members from said first relative position to said second relative position.