US 3650129 A
An automatic article washing apparatus including a container for washing liquid and the articles such as articles of clothing being washed, liquid jet means in the container comprising a stacked assembly of a plurality of bistable fluidic switch amplifier elements each having a washing liquid supply port, an interaction chamber receiving liquid from the port, first and second diverging jet nozzle passages leading from each of the assembly of elements, first and second differential fluid pressure control channels leading to the interaction chamber and means for simultaneously supplying liquid under pressure to all the supply ports and means for providing differential fluid pressure to the first control channels and to the second control channels with the result that jets of liquid are projected selectively from the first jet nozzle passages and the jet nozzle passages merely by altering the differential fluid pressure conditions in the control channels.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Scroop et al.
1 Mar. 21, 1972  ARTICLE WASHING APPARATUS  Inventors: Francis R. Scroop, Albuquerque, N. Mex.;
John F. Gebhard, Stevensville, Mich.
 Assignee: Whirlpool Corporation  Filed: Nov. 9, 1970  Appl. No.: 87,967
 U.S. Cl ..68/23.5, 68/18 F, 68/184,
- 137/815  Int. Cl. ..D06fl7/04, D06f 23/04  Field of Search ..137/81.5; 68/23.5, 355,184
 Relerences Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 2,592,597 4/1952 Pengelly ..68/235 2,767,569 10/1956 Conlee ..68/184 X 2,882,706 4/1959 Brucken ...68/23.5 3,358,477 12/1967 l-leskestad.. .....68/184 3,358,478 12/1967 Heskestad ..68/184 3,413,827 12/1968 Kochanek 68/184 X 3,444,710 5/1969 Gaugler et a1. ..68/184 IO L/ S UMP rbTEloN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 634,940 3/195 Great Britain..., "es 23.5
Primary Examiner-William 1. Price Attomey-James S. Nettleton, Thomas E. Turcotte, Burton H. Baker, Gene A. l-leth, Franklin C. l-larter, Anthony Niewyk, Robert L. Judd and Hofgren, Wegner, Allen, Stellman & Mc- Cord ABSTRACT f means for simultaneously supplying liquid under pressure to all the supply ports and means for providing differential fluid pressure to the first control channels and to the second control 1 channels with the result that jets of liquid are projected selec- Y tively from the first jet nozzle passages and the jet nozzle passages merely by altering the differential fluid pressure conditions in the control channels.
' 12 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEUMARZI I972 3,650,129
INVENTORS. FRANCIS R. SCROOP JOHN F. GEBHARD BY 1 1M1) (/09: CONTROL m (1/ J ATTORNEYS.
ARTICLE WASHING APPARATUS One of the features of this invention is to provide an automatic article washing apparatus in which substantially the only moving parts are means for supplying washing liquid to a stacked assembly of bistable fluidic switch amplifier elements and means for changing the differential fluid pressure in a plurality of control channels in each element so that jets of liquid will be projected from different parts of the elements depending upon the application of the differential fluid pressure.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description of certain embodiments thereof as shown in the accompanying drawings. Of the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an automatic laundry apparatus embodying the invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of one embodiment of a bistable fluidic switch amplifier element used in the invention. 1
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the stacked assembly of elements but showing only two of a group of 12 elements used in this embodiment and only one dividing partition which is used between each adjacent pair of elements.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of a portion of an element embodying the invention.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary diagrammatic view of a portion of the structure of FIG. 1 but showing the control valve in the opposite position from its position in FIG. 1.
The automatic article washing apparatus embodying the invention as shown in FIG. 1 is a clothes washing and spin dry automatic washer having in its top a perforated spin basket 11 and in its bottom a liquid sump 12. This basket 11 is mounted for rotation on a base 13 within the liquid containing chamber 14 that is normally closed by a removable cover 15.
Located substantially centrally of the basket 11 and thus of the liquid containing chamber 14 is a liquid jet means in the form of a stacked assembly 16 of bistable fluidic switch amplifier elements 17 of disk shape of which in the FIG. 3 embodiment 12 are used but only two are shown as all 12 are alike. Each pair of adjacent elements 17 is separated by a partition 18 which is in the form of a thinner disk than the elements 17. Each of the elements 17 and disks 18 are circular with substantially the same diameter.
The assembled elements and disks are topped by an air transfer cap 19 and the assembly is provided on its bottom with a plenum base 20 through which washing liquid is supplied to the assembly 16. This base is utilized for efficient and even liquid supply and distribution to the assembly of elemerits.
The entire assembly of elements 17, partitions [8, cap 19 and base 20 is held together by a plurality of draw bolts here shown as two. These bolts 21 extend through aligned holes 22 in the cap 19, holes 23 in the elements 17 and holes 24 in the separating partitions 18 and into the base 20.
The stacked assembly 16 is supplied with washing liquid under pressure by way of tube 25 extending upwardly into the plenum chamber 26 in the base 20. From this chamber 26 the liquid flows through a pair of spaced openings 27 in the end 28 in the plenum base 20 and from these openings through a pair of spaced openings 29 and 30 in each element 17 and similar openings 31 and 32 in each of the partitions 18. Thus in the stacked assembly all openings 30 and 32 in the elements and disks, respectively, are aligned to make one continuous liquid passage. Similarly, all openings 29 and 31 are aligned in order to provide in each instance one continuous liquid supply conduit.
In each of the successive elements 17 there is provided on one surface of alternate elements an interaction chamber 33 receiving liquid under pressure from the liquid openings 29 while on the other side of each element there is a similar but oppositely located interaction chamber 34 receiving liquid under pressure from the liquid openings 30.
As shown in the element embodiment of FIG. 2 there are provided first 35 and second 36 diverging jet nozzle passages leading from each interaction chamber 33 on one side 37 of each amplifier element 38. The first passage 35 has a tangential exit 39 that when activated ejects a jet of washing liquid as indicated by the dotted arrow 40 on the left side of FIG. 2. When the other passage 36 is activated by a jet of liquid 41 is expelled through its tangential opening or exit 42 with the two exits 39 and 42 being located on opposite edge portions of the elements 38 with reference to a diameter passing longitudinally through the interaction chamber 33.
As can be seen from FIG. 2, the chamber 33 has diverging sides leading into the passages 35 and 36. The portion of the chamber 33 between these passages is defined by an arcuate apex or cusp 43.
In order to control the direction of flow selectively through either the first noule passage 35 or the second passage 36 there are provided first 44 and second 45 fluid pressure control channels on opposite sides of the interaction chamber on the sides corresponding to the first nozzle passage 35 and second nozzle passage 36, respectively.
Because the fluidic elements are constructed to eject liquid on different edge portions there are provided two pairs of these control channels in each element. In the embodiment of FIG. 3 the one pair 44 and 45 of control channels communicate with the interaction chamber 33 on oneside of the element. The other pair 46 and 47 of control channels communicate with the interaction chamber 34 on the other end surface of the elements 17. The elements 17 of this embodiment have the diverging jet nozzle passages 48 and and 49 leading from the interaction chamber 33 and nozzle passages 50 and 51 leading from the interaction chamber 34. v
In the embodiment of FIG. 2 theamplifier element 38 is provided in each nozzle passage 35 and 36 with somewhat S shaped double reverse bends indicated at 52 and 53, forming liquid traps. As liquid alternately flows through either passage 35 or passage 36, the passage through which the liquid is flowing being referred to as the active passage, the jet or stream of liquid substantially flows along one wall of the active passage. The double reverse bends at 52 and 53 cause the jet of liquid in the active passage to shift from one wall of the passage, across the passage, to the opposite wall of the passage. The double bends or liquid traps thus provide means for creating a water curtain across the active passage which prevents the inspiration by the emerging jet of water of outside air into the control zone defined by the interaction chamber 33. Such inspiration of air, if not prevented, would interfere with the positive control of the jet action of the disclosed washing apparatus.
In order to provide the liquid under pressure in the assembly 16 of FIG. 1 there is provided a liquid pump 54 arranged to draw liquid through a filter 55 from the sump 12. The pump 54 forces this liquid under pressure through an exit line 56 to a T-joint 57 having one branch 58 leading therefrom controlled by a valve 59. The other branch 60 from the liquid line 56 has flow therethrough controlled by another valve 61. The liquid branch line 58 from the pressure pump 54 leads directly into the bottom of the base 13 and from there is supplied to the liquid tube 25 which as explained above directs washing liquid into the liquid passages or openings 29 and 30.
In order to control liquid flow alternately through the jet exit passages from the switch amplifier elements 17 there is provided a pair of air lines 62 and 63 which are alternately opened and closed at their outer ends by means of a flap valve 64 pivoted at an intermediate point as indicated at 65. The valve 64 is pivoted periodically, for example, once every 3 seconds, by conventional timer means, not shown. When the valve 64 is in the position shown in FIG. 5 the air line 62 is closed and the line 63 is opened. When the valve 64 is pivoted in a counterclockwise direction from the position of FIG. 5 the conditions are reversed in that then the outer end of the line 63 will be closed and the line 62 opened.
The air transfer cap 19 is provided with a pair of concentric channels 72 and 73 which provide a continuous air passage to each pair of the control channels 45-47 and 44-46, respectively.
As shown in FIG. 3 the air lines 62 and 63 lead through the plenum base 20 and, respectively, via air passages 62a and 63a in elements 17 and openings 62b and 63b in disk 18, connect directly into the concentric channels 72 and 73 in air transfer cap 19. Thus, the air line 62 is connected to the control channels 44 and 46 via concentric channel 72 while the air line 63 is connected to the channels 45 and 47 via concentric channel 73. These various control channels are interconnected by corresponding openings in the partition disk 18 that is between each adjacent pair of elements 17. Thus the control channels 44 are connected by an opening 74 in each disk 18, channels 45 are interconnected by disk openings 75, channels 46 are connected by disk openings 76 and channels 47 are interconnected by disk openings 77.
With this structure jet deflection is obtained by closing one or the other of the air lines 62 and 63 by the flap valve 64 as described. Thus when both air lines 62 and 63 are exposed to ambient air the pressures within the lines and thus within the control channels are equal. Then when the passage 63 is opened as illustrated in FIG. by moving the flap valve 64 to the position shown pressure in the channels 44 and 46 will be reduced below that in channels 45 and 47 with the result that the jets of liquid fed by the liquid openings 29 and 30 will be directed into the jet exit channels 49 and 50 to emerge as jets from this right side of the stacked assembly of bistable fluidic switch amplifier elements as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 3. Then, when the flap valve 64 is moved to the opposite position to open the outer end of air line 62 and close the end of air line 63 as shown in FIG. 1 the emerging jets will move to the opposite sides of the interaction chambers 33 and 34 to emerge as jets from the nozzle passages 48 and 51 on the opposite side of the assembly of elements. With this arrangement as rapidly as the flap valve 64 is moved about its pivot 65 to expose and open the ends of the lines 62 and 63 the jets will be switch from one set of exit nozzles on one side of the assembly 16 to the other thereby to alternately agitate the washing system in the clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
This switching of the exit jets from one side to the other by changing the air pressure conditions in the interaction chambers 33 and 34 causes a pulsating ejection of washing liquid into the spin basket 11 to give a washing action generally similar to that of an agitator in an ordinary washing machine.
The recessed arcuate apex or cusp 43 in each interaction chamber 33 and 34 creates a vortex as indicated at 66 in the embodiment of FIG. 4 which will aid in exhausting fluid pressure in the inactive nozzle 49 thereby adding momentum to the liquid in the active nozzle passage 48 and also increasing the stability of the bistable valve. In addition, the liquid traps 52 and 53 in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 create a water curtain across the respective active nozzles and prevent the inspiration of air by the emerging jet of water.
After the washing action has been completed by the rhythmic jetting of water from first one side and then the other of each of the fluidic amplifier elements in the stacked assembly 16 the valve 59 is closed to stop the flow of washing liquid from the pump 54 into and through the assembly of elements 16. The liquid then drains through a bottom drain 69 into the bottom sump 12. The valve 61 is then opened and liquid under pressure from the pump 54 is ejected through a nozzle 70 on the inner end of the liquid branch 60. The emerging liquid from the nozzle 70 impinges against the series of spin imparting elements or vanes 71 arranged in a circle on the bottom of the spin basket 11 and causes the basket to spin at a very high rate of speed to centrifugally extract liquid from the articles within the basket. This liquid thereupon also flows through the drain 69 into the sump 12.
As can be seen from the above description the fluidic system of this invention utilizes the kinetic energy of liquid jets to provide an agitation washing operation with the only mechanical moving parts being the pump and the flap valve 64 in combination with the main control valves 59 and 61. The energy input to achieve .the agitation is obtained from the synchronous switching by valve 64 of the stack of fluidic bistable switches 17. Thus this fluidic system had the advantages of requiring a very small number of component parts and is a very lightweight system employing no electric motors except in the pump 54 that applies pressure to the washing liquid. The system not only weighs less than a customary laundry device of equivalent capacity but also is more reliable and requires less service as there are fewer moving parts and these parts are much simpler than those in a conventional washer. In addition the pump is a standard pump that can be used for other purposes in other environments as its function is only to pump liquid through the system under a desired pressure. These advantages of the fluidic washer of this invention facilitate its use under the zero gravity conditions encountered in space exploration, while to design a conventional agitator washer for these conditions would be extremely difficult.
Having described our invention as related to the embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings, it is our intention that the invention be not limited by any of the details of description, unless otherwise specified.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. An automatic article washing apparatus, comprising: a container for washing liquid and said articles; liquid jet means in said container comprising a stacked assembly of bistable fluidic switch amplifier elements each having a washing liquid supply port, an interaction chamber receiving liquid from said port, first and second diverging jet nozzle passages leading from said chamber on the side thereof to project jets of liquid from said element, first and second differential fluid pressure control channels leading to said interaction chamber; means for simultaneously supplying liquid under pressure to said supply ports; and means for supplying differential fluid pressure alternately to said first control channels simultaneously and to said second control channels simultaneously to provide a plurality of jets of said liquid alternately from said first nozzle passages and from said second nozzle passages.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the stacked assembly of amplifier elements have all liquid supply ports interconnected, all first control channels interconnected and all second control channels interconnected for parallel fluid flow through said respective ports and channels.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein successive elements in said assembly of said jet passages empty from opposite edge portions of the elements.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein each element in said stacked assembly comprises a circular disk with both said first and second nozzle passages emptying at the edge os the disk.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein each disk has opposite side surfaces each containing an interaction chamber and first and second diverging jet nozzle passages, the first and second nozzle passages on one side of each disk extending in a direction opposite to that of the first and second nozzle passages on the other side of the disk.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein means are provided for alternately closing said first and second channels while leaving the others of the first and second channels open to atmosphere to supply said differential pressure.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein each adjacent pair of elements in said assembly are separated by a partition having openings therethrough for said connecting of the liquid supply ports and the fluid pressure control channels in successive disks.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein there are provided a sump, means for directing liquid from said container into said sump and means for pumping liquid under pressure from said sump to said liquid supply ports of said stacked assembly of bistable fluidic switch amplifier elements.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said container includes a spin dry basket for said articles having spin imparting elements thereon and means are provided for directing said liquid under pressure inforce applying contact with said elements in order to spin dry the articles in the basket.
means for creating a water curtain alternately across said first and second diverging jet nozzle passages thereby to prevent the inspiration of air into said interaction chamber.
12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said means for creating a water curtain comprises means forming a double bend in each of aid jet nozzle passages.