US 3616436 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,701,790 2/1955 Goument 204/230 2,846,384 8/1958 De Nora 204/266 3,045,665 7/1962 Moyat 204/129 3,267,683 8/1966 Nesbitt.. 204/129 3,330,755 7/1967 Mahany. 204/266 3,336,215 8/1967 Hagen 204/266 Primary Examiner-T. Tung Attorney-Franklin R. Jenkins ABSTRACT: A unitary device for providing oxygen, from water, for breathing as a small stream or a breathing mixture when desired. The oxygen is provided in measured amounts by the opening and closing of valves in the inlet and exit lines of a storage chamber fed by an oxygen-producing electrolytic cell. Electrolysis by the cell is controlled according to the pressure of gas within the cell.
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l NV ENTOR I G=EQRG HAAS Attorney OXYGEN STREAM DISPENSER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention A unitary device for supplying inhalation oxygen and an electrolyu'c cell.
2. Description of the Prior Art Oxygen-supplying devices are known by which a person may inhale the oxygen as a small jetstream or "spray" when he senses the ambient air as overladen with pollution. These devices are frequently coin-in-the-slot controlled and supply a measured amount of oxygen. The devices up to the present time have been supplied by cylinders of oxygen under pressure and require constant attention. Moreover, they are quite expensive if the discharge pressure is to be held constant as by a good pressure-reducing valve. Otherwise the discharge pressure varies excessively with the pressure of the gas within the cylinder.
Since the present invention utilizes essentially only water as its raw material its maintenance is quite simple, and one volume of water produces about 600 volumes of oxygen.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The unitary device is made up of a generally closed electrolytic cell which may discharge oxygen into a storage tank whose inlet and outlet valves are operated so as to enable the building up of predetermined pressure in the storage chamber to permit a measured amount of oxygen to be emitted. The cell is divided into anode and cathode compartments with latter about twice the volume of the former, and the gas space above the electrolyte in the anode compartment serves as an intermediate gas storage chamber. Electrolysis is controlled by a switch responsive to the level of electrolyte in the cathode compartment or simple lowering of the electrolyte in the anode compartment below the level of the anode due to oxygen accumulation above the electrolyte. The partitioning of the cell into the two compartments is by an essentially gastight wall member essentially reaching to near the bottom of the electrolyte container.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 shows schematically, the invention in a form in which the electrolyte is maintained at about the same level throughout the cell,
FIG. 2 shows a form of the invention in which the oxygen pressure normally exceeds the hydrogen pressure; and
FIG. 3 shows a modified form of the cathode compartment.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The invention as shown in FIG. 1 is made up of a generally known type of electrolytic cell. The shape of the cell is not critical andmay even be of round cross section. The electrolyte container may be of plastic if inert toward oxygen and the electrolyte which may be acid or alkaline.
The apparatus of FIG. 1 includes a closed electrolytic cell C in which oxygen is produced at the anode 1 while hydrogen is produced at the cathode 2 and the oxygen collects in the upper portion 3 of the anode compartment or tube which serves as an intermediate container for oxygen. In similar manner hydrogen collects in the upper portion 4 of the cathode compartment or tube. The volumes of the containers 3 and 4 must be maintained at a 1:2 ratio. It is advantageous to use the electrolyte fluid storage vessel as intermediate gasholders and the same pressure relationship must be obtained in the storage vessel as in the electrode tubes. This condition is obtained by having a pressure-equalizing duct.As shown the liquid storage vessel is divided into two chambers 7 and 8 by a partition wall 9 with a resulting chamber volume ratio 1 :2.
Thus there are formed above the liquid in the container correspondingly large spaces and 6 having the same ratio as the intermediate chambers 3 and 4 with which they communicate by their passages 10 for the pressure equalization. The intermediate containers are thus made up of chambers 3 and 5 or 4 and 6 respectively.
Each of the intermediate containers or holders 5 and 6 is provided with vent valves at 20 and 21, respectively, which can be opened and closed simultaneously. Upon opening of the valves 20 and 21 the electrolytic fluid can be added through valve 22 into chamber 8 and it passes thence through lower openings 12 and 11 into the electrode tubes. During this operation the vented gases from valves 20 and 21 must not come into contact with each other.
When the gas pressure falls below a predetermined minimum pressure in the intermediate containers the electrical line switch 13 for supplying current to the electrodes closes and electrolysis begins. Upon the formation of gases at the anode 1 and the cathode 2, the pressure then rises in the intermediate chambers 3, 5, and 4, 6-the former pair being connected to an oxygen storage tank 16 via a filling valve 14 and the latter to a hydrogen tank 17 twice as large via a filling valve 15. Thus the pressure in the storage tanks may vary directly with the pressures in the intermediate containers. The tanks 16 and 17 are provided with discharge valves 18 and 19 respectively. For the taking off of oxygen from the storage tank 16 and supplying it to an inhalation mixture (through means not shown) the valve 14 is closed first and then the discharge valve 18 is opened, so that the oxygen under pressure, is thus led off for supplying the inhalation mixture. In some uses it is preferable that the oxygen be inhaled directly from a jet as issued from the valve 18 without special mixing.
With the closure of oxygen valve 14 the hydrogen valve 15 also becomes closed so that neither of the evolved gases reaches its storage tank. Similarly discharge valves 18 and 19 open at the same time. The hydrogen issuing from valve 19 and tank 17 is led away so as not to be mixed with the oxygen for inhalation. Preferably the hydrogen is burned. As soon as the oxygen has ceased flowing from its storage tank 16, discharge valves 18 and 19 are closed and subsequently valves 14 and 15 are reopened. When a predetermined maximum gas pressure is attained in the system, the switch 13 is opened and electrolysis is stopped. Of course the pressure-operated switch 13 can be in the DC electrode circuit instead of the line circuit as shown. As a further safety precaution each intermediate chamber may be provided with a relief valve.
It is possible that the oxygen from valve 18 be partially converted to ozone. This can be done either by radiation from a quartz ultraviolet lamp or a capacitor ozonizer operating on high voltage.
The apparatus as shown in FIG. 2 is made up of a suitable round container 25 which is divided into two chambers 3 and 4 by a wall 28, the anode 1 being in the chamber 3 and the cathode 2 in chamber 4. The anode chamber 3 is closed off from the atmosphere by a valve 26 which is opened only during the taking off of oxygen.
The level 29 of the electrolyte stands at the same height in the two chambers before closing the electrolyzing circuit. As soon as the circuit is closed oxygen is evolved at the anode l, and is confined in the chamber 3when valve 26 is closed, while on the other hand, the hydrogen produced at the cathode can evolve against only the free atmosphere if valve 27 is open. The fluid level in the anode chamber 3 therefore becomes depressed and the level in the cathode chamber rises. The difi'erence in height of levels 30 and 31 is therefore an indication of the pressure in the anode chamber 3. The oxygen can therefore be held stored in the chamber 3 under pressure.
Cutting off the current is preferably done by a cathode compartment limit switch 13' which opens as soon as the liquid level in the cathode chamber reaches its upper position 31. In this manner the lower end 23 of the anode may still remain immersed in the electrolyte.
It is also possible that as the fluid level 29 falls to level 30 the anode not be in the electrolyte. Also if the anode end 23 of the anode is about at level 24 then it is above lower level 30 of the fluid and electrolysis is stopped. Hence the switch 13' may be eliminated and the electrolysis be automatically controlled as the fluid level rises and falls, with respect to the anode, under the influence of the oxygen pressure.
However if the limit switch 31 is used, the switch closes the electric circuit as soon as fluid level 31 falls. The rise in level 30 or the fall of level 31 follows from the outward flow of oxygen when the valve 26 is opened.
It is also possible within the scope of the invention to make the valve 27 in the hydrogen exit tube 32 a pressure-opening valve. This valve then first opens when a predetermined pressure is built up in the chamber 4 and always allows so much hydrogen to flow that this amount of pressure is maintained. The maximum pressure in the chamber 3 corresponds then to the opening pressure of thevalve 27 plus the pressure due to the water column between the levels 30 and 31.
The embodiment of the invention having a discharge valve such as 27 is preferable because during the lowering of the liquid level 31 the hydrogen present in chamber 4 expands. Without any valve 27 for the tube 32, air would enter the chamber 4 when the level 31 falls.
In order to avoid the entrance of air, the cathode chamber may be as partially shown in FIG. 3, that is, for the cathode side of the embodiment in FIG. 2, and the anode side remaining as in FIG. 2. Upon opening the oxygen valve 26, the elec-. trolyte level adjusts itself to a height shown at 29 in both chambers. A hollow electrode member 33 is provided with an inner metal covering 34 as the active surface and is situated in the cathode chamber 4. This hollow electrode discharges above the liquid level 29 into a hydrogen takeoff duct 32. In this arrangement the entry of hydrogen into the general space above the liquid level is avoided. The passageway between the hollow electrode and the hydrogen duct is shown at 35. When oxygen collects in the anode chamber 3, due to closure of the oxygen valve 26, the liquid level in that chamber is depressed and the level rises in the cathode chamber 4. When the level for switch 13' is reached electrolysis is interrupted. When oxygen is withdrawn from the anode chamber the liquid level 29 can adjust itself to the height 31 again. The upper pan of the cathode chamber can be open since it is separated from the anode chamber by the partitioning wall 28.
Gauging of valves is shown schematically generally in the drawing, especially in FIG. 1, as is the means for operating electrical switches. The details of controllers to carry out the respective operations are well known to those skilled in the art. For instance, the switch 13' may have a float operative at level 31.
It is contemplated that the valve 18 may be controlled by a coin-in-the-slot device so that the device may be installed in public as well as other places owing to its unitary and simple structure.
1. A device for supplying oxygen to a coin-in-the-slot oxygen dispenser for inhalation, said device comprising a wet electrolytic cell for producing oxygen and hydrogen and having a partitioning wall forming a substantially gastight anode compartment and a cathode compartment and a common electrolytic fluid therefor, an oxygen tank having a discharge valve and connected to the anode compartment, an inlet valve interposed between the anode compartment and the oxygen tank, and means for imposing superatmospheric pressure on the oxygen in the anode compartment when said inlet valve is closed during electrolysis and for holding the pressure after electrolysis stops, spaces above the electrolyte serving as intermediate gasholders for oxygen and hydrogen respectively, said cell having an electrolyte storage compartment therein divided by said wall into anode and cathode regions, one region having twice the volume of the other, the said spaces including spaces above the electrolyte in the said anode and cathode regions of the storage compartment as well as spaces above the anode and the cathode compartment, and a pressure-equalizing passageway near the top of the cell so that all gas in the cell is under substantially equal pressure, and lower passage means near the bottom of the cell and below the electrodes for the flow of electrolyte from both regions to and from the anode and cathode to make the level of the electrolyte in the cell compartments dependent on the oxygen and hydrogen pressures thereabove.
2. A device as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a source of electric current to the anode and cathode, and a pressure switch responsive to the gas pressure in the cell for controlling the current.
3. A device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a hydrogen tank having a discharge valve and connected to said cathode compartment, a hydrogen inlet valve interposed between the cathode compartment and the hydrogen tank and ganging means for said valves for opening the inlet valves when the discharge valves are closed and closing the inlet valves when the discharge valves are opened.
4. A device as-claimed in claim 1, wherein said cathode compartment is substantially gastight and is provided with a hydrogen duct for discharge against atmospheric pressure and a pressure-regulating valve is provided in the hydrogen duct for bleeding off hydrogen so that oxygen may accumulate in the anode compartment and cause the level of the electrolyte in the cathode compartment to rise above the level of the anode compartment until a predetermined differential in gas pressure exists in the two compartments.
5. A device as claimed in claim 4, further comprising a limit switch for controlling current to the cell, said switch being adapted to open when said predetermined differential is reached.
6. A device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a hollow open-bottomed cathode member provided with an inner axially vertical metal lining as the active surface and a vertical hydrogen duct connected to the lining as an extension thereof for collecting and conducting away all hydrogen evolved in the cell, whereby the height of the electrolyte insaid cathode compartment is a measure of the pressure on the oxygen in the anode compartment, said cathode compartment and the duct being substantially open to atmosphere pressure.
7. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said cathode compartment is provided with a switch for interrupting electrolysis when the electrolyte rises to a predetermined level in the cathode compartment.
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