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Publication numberUS3613640 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 19, 1971
Filing dateAug 8, 1969
Priority dateAug 8, 1969
Publication numberUS 3613640 A, US 3613640A, US-A-3613640, US3613640 A, US3613640A
InventorsCohen Paul
Original AssigneeSubcom Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Communicating passage for submersible vessels
US 3613640 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent inventor Paul Cohen Glen Cove, N.Y.

Appl. No. 848,419

Filed Aug. 8, 1969 Patented Oct. 19, 197 1 Assignee Subcom, Inc.

Glen Cove, N.Y.


[1.8. CI 114/16 R, 1 14/23 8 Int. Cl 863g 8/00 Field of Search 89/31 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 871,453 11/1907 Spear 114/238 1,733,436 10/1929 Taylor 114/166 2,639,144 5/1953 Long 49/246 3,332,169 7/1967 Lohr et a1. 49/250 Primary ExaminerTrygve M. Blix A ttomey-l erome Bauer ABSTRACT: A communicating passage for submersible vessels including a tube, a door frame facing inwardly of the tube, a door hinge means for moving said door into engagement with the frame and out of said tube, and a housing integral with said tube for receiving said door.

PAIENTEDum 19 Ml SHEET 2 INVENTOR PAUL COHE ATTORNEY FAIENIEUOCT'IS Ian SHEET 2 [IF 2 mvmon PAUL COHEN ATTORNEY COMMUNICATING PASSAGE FOR SUBMERSIBLE VESSELS The present invention relates to a communicating passage apparatus for underwater vessels, and in particular, to a novel closure mechanism for such passage in deep submersibles.

Underwater vessels, submersible habitats and diving structures are dependent on the maintenance of a balance between the pressure within the hull of the vessel and that exterior thereof which at increased depths may reach levels many times greater than that within the hull. Such vessels nevertheless require certain communicating passage between them and the exterior for such things as men and signalling equipment, as well as means for exchanging such essentials as food and waste. Accordingly, such vessels are commonly provided with breech door closure installations permitting such exchanges to be made between the interior of the vessel and its exterior while the vessel is submerged.

Conventionally, breech door installations comprise an elongated tube or cylindrical chamber piercing the hull of the vessel and having a sealed exterior door as well as a sealed interior door. In practice, for example in the expulsion of articles, the tube is first emptied of water, the inner door opened, the outgoing material set therein, the inner door closed, the tube flooded and subsequently the outer door opened so that the article can be moved either under self or remote propulsion out of the vessel. For ingesting or intake of articles, the sequence is obviously reversed. It will thus be observed that the integrity of the hull of the vessel is dependent upon and theoretically always maintained by either the inner or outer door closure. Universally closure doors are mounted to swing on hinges between a locked and unlocked position away from the mouth and interior of the tube, similarly as the common ships hatch. This type of hinging presents no problem with regard to the exterior door since there is almost measureless space outside the vessel for it to swing. It does, however, pose considerable problems with regard to the interior door where the swinging interferes with the nonnal operating room and living quarters of the crew.

The common swinging door does require extra room within the vessel, if even only when opened. The provision of space for it to move in an undersea vessel means the addition of weight to the vessel consequently requiring increased power, and decreased buoyancy and efficiency. Of much greater significance, however, is the fact that the conventional inner breech or closure door is shut against the force of external sea water, the pressure of which constantly acts to push it open. Consequently, even when hinges and locks are strong enough to take the load, and often through some defect they are not, the stress upon them over extended periods of time deforms the door causing it to sometimes separate from the sealing surface around it.

It is the principle object of the present invention to provide an improved closure mechanism.

It is an object of this invention to provide a breech door closure which opens inwardly of the communication tube.

It is another object of this invention to provide a door which is mounted to close with and in the direction of the pressure of the sea water on it.

It is another object of this invention to provide a breech door closure having a novel hinging mechanism which permits it to move inwardly of the communicating tube without swinging in the conventional manner.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a breech door which is easily operable both remotely and manually.

In obtaining the present invention, a door member is provided on the interior of the mouth of the tube, which is furnished with conventional sealing means, the door being movable upwardly and within the tube to a position generally parallel with the longitudinal plane of the tube, the room permitting such movement being provided by a spherical housing integrally formed with the tube.

The aforementioned objects and advantages, as well as others, together with a full description of the present invention, will be found within the foregoing description, reference being made also to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a communicating tube for an undersea vessel showing conventional outer lid and the closure apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view along line 22 of FIG. 1 showing the breech door closed;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the breech door in a partially open stage;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the breech door fully open;

FIG. 5 is a view along line 5-5 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the device shown in FIG. 1, and;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of the detail of the opening mechanism. I

Turning to FIG. 1, an illustrative example of the present invention is shown with respect to a horizontally disposed cylindrical tubular passage T such as would be used on a submarine to expel wastes, communicating equipment or even men. Conventionally, deep-diving submersibles comprise an inner pressure hull H designed to withstand high exterior pressure and an outer spaced skin S which is open to the sea level pressure on both its faces. Many of the operating mechanisms, ballast tanks, etc. which do not require isolation from high pressure are stored between the hull H and skin S. The breech installation is, therefore, suitably located between these spaced walls and comprises a tube T having its inner end integrally formed within the hull H and its exterior end integrally formed within the skin S. A conventional lid L hinged at its upper end is mounted to swing upwardly and outwardly from the skin S and is provided with remote controlled actuating means such as an electric motor or hydraulic ram (not shown) to effect such movement. In conventional construction, the inner end of the tube T would also be provided with a similar lid opening into the cabin area of the vessel so that the two could be alternatively operated to effect the transfer of articles as discussed in the introduction hereto. However, according to the present invention, there is provided a novel closure mechanism or breech door B mounted within the tube T and which is actuated by a mechanism A to move, not within the cabin but outwardly into a dome housing D between the hull H and the skin S.

Turning to the other figures, the inner end of the tube T is provided with an outwardly facing fame or jamb 12 having a tapered seating edge 14 and a resilient gasket 16. Since the tube is cylindrical, the jamb l2, edge 14 and gasket 16 are all circular. However, it will be obvious that other cross-sectional passages and associated members can be utilized. The closure mechanism door B is somewhat disk shaped as is conventional in seagoing vessels and its periphery is furnished with an angularly tapered edge 18 conforming to the seating edge 14. Both the jamb l2 and the breech door B are somewhat larger in diameter than the tube T itself and accordingly while the jamb 12 is formed integrally within the tube T, the end of the tube forms a shoulder 10 spaced from the seating edge 14. The shoulder 10 is somewhat tapered oppositely to the taper on the seating edge 14 for a purpose to be described hereafter.

It has been noted that the door B is movable upwardly into a dome D which is preferably spherical in shape having a substantial radius, the extent of which shall be discussed later, and is integrally attached to the exterior wall of the tube T. To accommodate the movement of the breech door B into the dome D, a segment of the upper section of the tube T is foreshortened at an angle to the door jamb 12 to end at a longitudinal point 20. Thus, there is provided a cutout transverse arcuate aperture 22 between the tube T and the dome D. While the tube T is thus opened to the dome D, it will be observed that the pressure integrity of the tube T is not violated since the dome D is integrally formed with it. A spherical dome is to be preferred since its structure is best suited to resist high-pressure differentials; however, other forms such as ellipses may be used if desired.

The door B is lifted into the dome D by the mechanism A which comprises a first lever arm 24 and an second lever arm 26, the latter of which is connected to a half circular sector gear 28. The sector gear 28 is mounted to a rotating shaft 30 and meshes with a circular gear 32 mounted on the end of the output shaft of a rotary motor 34 mounted on the outer surface of tube T within the dome. The first lever arm 24 is pivotally connected at 36 to a split yoke fitting 38 secured to the uppermost part of breech door B and at point 40 to the second lever arm 26. As a consequence of the operation of motor 34, the sector gear 28 can be turned clockwise, as indicated by the arrow in FIG. 2, swinging the levers from left to right, removing the door from the jamb l2, and in cooperation with the arcuate tube ending 20 and carrying it upwardly into a substantially horizontal position in the dome D, as seen sequentially in FIGS. 2-4.

It will be observed that the radius of the dome D is dependent upon the size of breech door B and the length of the levers 24 and 26. As a result the proper size for the dome must be left to the designer. However, the various dimensions, etc. can be easily chosen to permit the swing and movement of levers 24 and 26 and door B as required.

Since the door B is swung only from its upper end, it must be guided through its entire movement into horizontal position within the dome D. To accomplish this, a hydraulic motor 42 is pivotally linked between the door B and the second lever arm 26. As seen in detail in FIG. 7, the motor 42 comprises a cylinder 44 into which is mounted a pair of opposed pistons 46 and 48 having extending outwardly from each of them a cylinder rod 50 and 52 respectively. The rod 50 is pivotally connected to the door B at a point 54 below the pivot point 36 of the first lever arm 24. The rod 50 is pivotally connected to the second lever arm 26 are a point 56 between the sector gear 28 and the pivot 40. The hydraulic motor 42 is conventional in operation and for illustration it can be provided with a source of hydraulic fluid 58, a remote controlled valve 60 from which a first line 62 communicates into the cylinder 40 between its outer walls and the pistons 46 and 48, respectively, and a second line 64 entering within the cylinder between each of the pistons 46 and 48. Thus, by selectively actuating valve 60, the pistons may be made to move together or apart as desired to either shorten or elongate the distance between the door and the second lever arm 26. By elongating the distance the door may be sealed against the jamb l2 and by shortening this distance the door B may be withdrawn from the jamb 12, as seen in FIGS. 2-4. Additionally,'a roller bar 66 is transversely secured at the top of the tube T across dome D and approximately at the terminus 20 thereof. Thus, the door B is initially withdrawn from the jamb 12 action of the hydraulic motor 42 and is moved into engagement with the roller 66 on which it will ride during the remaining movement into dome D.

The gear motor 34 may be an electrical motor, since sea insulated and sealed electrical motors are now readily available, or it may be a hydraulic motor of any known type. In any event, like the hydraulic motor 42, it is conveniently mounted within the dome and their remote control cables and other equipment conventionally fed into the cabin of the vessel through the hull H in well-known manner. Such construction presents no problem, since in present undersea constructions various mechanisms such as tanks, signal-equipped engines, etc. are mounted between the hull and the skin with the attendant cable connections fed into the cabin.

The operation of the door according to the present invention is quite simple. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the door B is shown in closed position with its tapered edge 18 sealed tightly against the edge 14 of the frame 12 and resting within the groove formed by the shoulder 10. The hydraulic motor 42 is first actuated, as explained, to shorten the distance between the yoke 38 and second lever arm 26. As this is done, the upper edge of the door B is withdrawn from the frame 12 and its outer flat face made to abut and rest on the roller bar 66 as seen in FIG. 3. (It is assumed, of course, that when this is done all water is removed from passage T and its pressure is made to conform to that inside the cabin). Thereafter, the motor 34 is activated and the sector gear 28 caused to rotate in the direction of the arrow in FIG. 2. The lever arms 24 and 26 are consequently swung from left to right carrying the upper edge of the door B through aperture 22 into the dome D. The door B rides on the roller bar 66 and is dragged into a substantially horizontal position almost parallel to the longitudinal axis of the passage within the dome D as seen in FIG. 4.

At this stage, various advantages are obvious. For example, it is obvious that the door B will swing freely within the confines of the tube T and dome structure D and that very little power is required to effect this movement. Further, the door swings, not within the working cabin of the vessel, but within the dome. The cabin space is, therefore, freed for more useful purposes. The door B swings completely into the dome and away from the entrance to the tube T and consequently can not interfere with either the men or articles being loaded therein.

When the door B is to be closed, the reverse operation is effected. Namely, the sector gear 28 is rotated, contrawise to the arrow, moving the lever arms 24 and 26 from right to left. As a result, the door B again rolls on the roller bar 66 until its front tapered edge 18 is returned to its original position resting against the shoulder 10 (again, as seen in FIG. 2.). At this stage, the hydraulic 'motor 42 is caused to elongate and extend the angle between the lever arms 24 and 26 seating the door B firmly against the frame 12 as a consequence of which the conforming taper edges 14 and 18 of the frame and door respectively seal. It is now noted that the groove fonned by shoulder 10 on the periphery of the tube functions to insure that the door is well seated against the frame or jamb l2 and forces the door into its correct closed position. Water may then be admitted to the passage and whatever article placed therein removed by opening the outer lid as previously described.

Here, too, certain advantages become obvious. For example, it is noted that the door B closed its the direction of the sea water pressure, i.e., from outside inwardly of the vessel. Consequently, the pressure of the water acts on the door B to effect an even greater sealing than provided by the lever mechanism A itself. In fact, the greater the pressure of the sea water, the greater the seal created between door B and jamb 12. Thus, a failsafe, factor, not found in conventional structures is created, preventing any unwanted or accidental rupture or opening as the passage is flooded. Another advantage resides in the fact that the present door does not require relaying screws, bolts or nuts or any other fastening device. Consequently, the breech door may, in an emergency, be quickly closed automatically if water enters the tube and actuates appropriate sensors, not shown, to provide an even greater safety factor. The door B cannot be inadvertently opened from within the cabin, since even the strongest push outwardly against the door only acts to seat it within the groove formed by shoulder 10. On the other hand the door B can be easily closed by hand by pulling down on the lower edge of the door B when it is in the position shown in FIG. 4. The weight of the door B will be sufficient, once it passes the center of gravity to seat itself within the groove, as seen in FIG. 2.

Still another, almost gratuitous, advantage arises from the present-construction. By employing the dome D in the manner described, there remains sufficient unused space therein to provide room for auxiliary devices such as positioning equipment, electrical connectors, control cables, lights, and signal equipment in the dome.

It will now be apparent that there has been provided a novel closure mechanism and communicating passage overcoming the disadvantages of the prior art structures and obtaining a number of heretofore unknown advantages. Changes to the size and shape of the tubular passage, its disposition and length can be made which would result in similar changes in the door B. The door B may be dished or domed in shape to lighten its weight. Likewise, the dome D may vary in shape and the motors 34 and 42 may be replaced by equivalents.

Consequently, it is to be appreciated that the present disclosure is illustrative of the invention and the embodiment shown is not to be taken as limiting in any way.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for communicating between the interior and exterior of a submersible vessel comprising a tube,

a closure member at the exterior of said tube adapted to be selectively opened to permit water to enter said tube,

a closure member in the interior of said tube, comprising a jamb facing inwardly and in the interior of said tube,

transverse aperture through the wall of said tube adjacent said jamb,

a housing integral with the wall of said tube and surrounding said aperture in fluidtight arrangement therewith, and a door movable between a closed fluidtight position in engagement with said jamb whereby on filling of said tube with water the water pressure causes said door to seat more firmly against said jamb and an open position within said housing whereby said door may be removed from the communicating passage on withdrawal of water therefrom,

operative means connected with said door to move the same bodily essentially transverse with respect to said tube through said aperture between its closed and open positrons,

and means guidingly engaging said door while the same is moved bodily between its closed and open positions.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said housing is sufficiently large to permit said door to be moved into a substantially parallel position with respect to and over a portion of the tube.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2, said operative means including a hinge comprising a first member adapted to be rotated about an axis extending within said housing transversely to the axis of the tube whereby said door may be lifted bodily from engagement with said jamb and moved into said housing.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3 wherein the hinge comprises a second member adapted to enforce sealing of the door and jamb and removal of the door from the jamb.

5. The apparatus according to claim 4, including remote controlled motive means for operating the hinge members.

6. In a tubular walled submersible vessel having a fluid passage,

a frame facing inwardly of one end of said passage,

a transverse aperture within the wall of said passage adjacent said frame,

a door movable bodily through said transverse aperture into and out of engagement with said frame,

means for moving said door bodily comprising a first lever arm one end of which is pivotally secured to the perimeter of said door, the other end of which is pivotally secured to a second lever arm,

said second lever arm being rotatable at its free end about an axis adjacent thereto nd and located exteriorly of the wall of said passage,

means for rotating said second arm whereby said lever arms conjointly act to lift said door bodily from said frame and exteriorly of the wall of said passage through said aperture.

7. The closure mechanism according to claim 6 including an adjustable length linkage extending between the first and second lever arms midway between said pivot points to maintain said lever arms angularly disposed to each other, and means for selectively varying the length of said linkage to vary the angle between said lever arms, whereby said linkage may cause the door to be removed from the frame before said door is caused to be lifted.

8. The closure mechanism according to claim 7 including roller means disposed adjacent the aperture in the wall of said passage to engage with and permit the door to slide thereover during movement thereof. j

9. he closure mechanism according to claim 8 Including a housing disposed over the aperture and the lever arms for receiving said door when lifted.

10. In a submersible vessel having a fluid passage with an interior door and a door frame in the passage the method of closing and opening respectively the passage by closing the door against the frame end by removing the door from the passage to open the same comprising emptying the passage of fluid to remove fluid pressure from against the door, moving the door as a unit and free of pivotal connection with the passage in a direction essentially transverse to the length of the passage through a transverse aperture between the frame in the passage and the remainder of the passage, said transverse door movement being into the passage to close the same against the frame and outward from the passage to open the passage, applying a separate closing force against the door to move the same into engagement with the frame when the door is moved into transverse closing engagement with the passage, said separate force being applied in a direction essentially perpendicular to the plane of the frame and refilling the passage with fluid to apply a closing force against the door in supplement of the separate closing force. 1 1. In a submersible vessel having a fluid passage as in claim 10,

applying the closing force to the door from a point transversely exterior of the passage. 12. In a submersible vessel having a fluid passage as in claim 1 l removing the applied closing force from the door before moving the door outward of the passage to open the same.

Patent No.

Inventor(s) 640 Dated October 19, 1971 PAUL COHEN It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:


Claim 1, Line 11, Claim 1, Line ll, Claim 1, Line 12, Claim 6, Line 13, Claim 10, Line 4, Claim 12, Line 2,

Signed and (SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. Attesting Officer sealed this 4th day of April 1972.

ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Commissioner of Patents

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US2639144 *Jun 15, 1948May 19, 1953Struthers Wells CorpClosure and operating means therefor
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5009182 *Aug 15, 1990Apr 23, 1991The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavySubmarine torpedo tube shutterway launch mode adapter
US5016555 *Aug 13, 1990May 21, 1991The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavySubmarine torpedo tube primary seal interlock
US7451717May 21, 2004Nov 18, 2008Conocophillips CompanySystems and processes for covering openings of marine vessel hulls
CN100513251CMay 19, 2005Jul 15, 2009科诺科菲利浦公司Systems and processes for opening covering vessel hulls
EP1623920A1 *Jul 29, 2005Feb 8, 2006Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbHSubmarine with telescopable conning tower
WO2005113327A1 *May 19, 2005Dec 1, 2005Conocophillips CompanySystems and processes for covering openings of marine vessel hulls
U.S. Classification114/335, 114/238
International ClassificationB63B19/08, B63C11/36, B63B43/32, B63G8/00, B63G8/40
Cooperative ClassificationB63B19/08, B63G8/40
European ClassificationB63B19/08, B63G8/40