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Publication numberUS3709437 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 9, 1973
Filing dateSep 14, 1970
Priority dateSep 23, 1968
Also published asCA961015A1, DE2223560A1, DE2223560C2
Publication numberUS 3709437 A, US 3709437A, US-A-3709437, US3709437 A, US3709437A
InventorsHershel Earl Wright
Original AssigneeHershel Earl Wright
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and device for producing foam
US 3709437 A
Abstract
A device for producing and dispensing foam including a deformable reservoir adapted to contain a quantity of foamable liquid and air, a discharge cap releasably secured to the reservoir and defining a discharge orifice in communicating relation with the interior of the reservoir, foam producing means supported within the reservoir in communicating relation with the foamable liquid, and a foam homogenizing overlay disposed for controlling the foam discharged. Selective air passage means are provided in a wall portion of the foam producing means defining a mixing chamber such that compression of the reservoir effects the introduction of foamable liquid and air into the mixing chamber wherein they are intermixed to produce foam which is thereafter discharged through the discharge orifice. Selected embodiments employ a ball check valve between the reservoir and the discharge orifice to maintain the liquid upwardly within the foam producing means, and air valve means to assist air return into the reservoir.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Wright Jan. 9, 1973 [54] METHOD AND DEVICE FOR PRODUCING FOAM 75] inventor: i-lershel Earl Wright, Decatur, 111.

[22] Filed: Sept. 14, 1970 [21] App1.No.: 72,130

Related 0.8. Application Data [63] Continuation of Ser. No. 761 ,688, Sept. 23, I968,

abandoned.

[52] US. Cl. ..239/343, 222/190, 239/303, 239/304, 239/327, 239/328 [51] Int. Cl. ..BOSb 11/00 [58] Field of Search ..239/302, 303, 304, 311, 323, 239/327, 328, 343, 369, 370, 556; 222/94, 95,189,190,193,l95, 206, 207, 215

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,471,064 10/1969 Micallef ..222/l90 X 2,752,199 6/1956 Newell, Jr. ..239l327 3,361,304 1/1968 Thompson ..222/l89 2,318,769 5/1943 Freeman et a1 ..239/556 X 3,389,836 6/1968 Wakeman ..222/l89 2,680,010 6/1954 Dubay 239/343 X 3,474,936 10/1969 McDonnell ..239/327 X 1,457,895 6/1923 Campanella ..239/343 X 1,995,215 3/1935 Mehlsen et a1. ..239/434 X 3,269,389 8/1966 Meurer et a1 ..239/327 X 3,308,993 3/1967 Bruno ..239/343 X 3,422,993 l/l969 Boehm et a1. ..222/190 3,428,222 2/1969 Wright ..222l190 X 3,521,792 7/1970 Davidson ..239/304 X Great Britain ..239/327 F. Vern Lahart, George F. Lee, Raymond C. Nord haus and Richard L. Wood [57] ABSTRACT A device for producing and dispensing foam including a deformable reservoir adapted to contain a quantity of foamable liquid and air, a discharge cap releasably secured to the reservoir and defining a discharge ori- Free in communicating relation with the interior of the reservoir, foam producing means supported within the reservoir in communicating relation with the foamable liquid, and a foam homogenizing overlay disposed for controlling the foam discharged. Selective air passage means are provided in a wall portion of the foam producing means defining a mixing chamber such that compression of the reservoir effects the introduction of foamable liquid and air into the mixing chamber wherein the are intermixed to produce foam which is ereafter ischarged through the discharge orifice.

Selected embodiments employ a ball check valve between the reservoir and the discharge orifice to maintain the liquid upwardly within the foam producing means, and air valve means to assist air return into the reservoir.

23 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures 1' Ill PATENTEDJAN 9 197a SHEET 1 [if 4 w; gm 5 P I mEnm 91915 3.7 09437 METHOD AND DEVICE FOR PRODUCING FOAM This application is a continuation of Ser. No. 76l ,688, filed Sept. 23, l968, now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to dispensing devices, and more particularly to a dispensing device adapted to effect the formation and discharge of foam from a foamable liquid through a single compression of a deformable reservoir.

Applicator and dispenser devices utilizing liquid reservoirs having compressible or deformable bodies to facilitate the discharge of liquids therefrom are generally old. Such devices are commonly known for cleaning purposes, applying glue, and for applying lathers to the skin through a sponge or wick element disposed within a discharge opening in the reservoir. More recent dispensing devices employ an element disposed within a reservoir in contact with a foamable liquid therein, which element is adapted to effect discharge of foam upon compression of the reservoir and the element. The last mentioned foam dispensing devices, however, exhibit the drawback that repeated compression of the deformable reservoir and element is required to effect discharge of foam from the device. More particularly, the known dispensing devices of the latter described type require continual physical compression of a generally porous element to intermix the foamable liquid with air within the element to produce a foam which is discharged from the device.

Recent dispensing devices have also utilized pressurized containers to effect foaming of a foamable liquid within the container and force the foam from the container. Such pressurized dispensing devices have the disadvantage that the gas used in effecting the formation of foam and discharge thereof does not replenish itself, thus limiting the useful life of the dispensing device. In addition, such pressurized dispensing devices require containers capable of withstanding substantial internal pressures during assembly of the devices, thereby substantially increasing the cost of the devices to the consumer.

The production of foam having optimum characteristics, that is, foam having the desired spreading, stability and wetting properties, is dependent upon the nature ofthe foam able liquid used as well as the structural design of the dispenser device. Recent developments in foamable liquid compositions have provided foamable liquids which, when used with a dispensing device in accordance with the present invention, produce such optimum foams.

SUMMARY OF THE. INVENTION One of the primary objects of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device which overcomes the disadvantages in the prior art dispensing devices through providing a deformable reservoir having foam producing means disposed therein adapted to effect the formation of foam from a foamable liquid and dispense the foam upon a single compressing of the deformable reservoir.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device as described wherein the foam producing means comprises a depending hollow element having a wall portion defining a mixing chamber with selective air flow passages in the wall portion such that compression of the reservoir effects fluid flow upwardly within the hollow element into the chamber and air flow through the air passages to intermix with the foamable liquid and produce foam which is thereafter discharged through the discharge orifice of a cap member.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device as described including a foam homogenizing element disposed between the mixing chamber and the discharge orifice to control the consistency of foam discharged through the discharge orifice.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device as described including check valve means disposed within the hollow element and adapted to allow upward flow of foamable liquid therein during compression of the reservoir while preventing downward flow of the foamable liquid within the element after release of the reservoir thereby substantially reducing the time required to effect foaming on subsequent compression of the reservoir.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device including a deformable reservoir having one or more generally closed collapsible bags disposed therein, each bag being sealingly secured to an associated depending hollow element for communication between the interior of the bag and a mixing chamber such that compression of the reservoir effects the flow of foamable liquid from the bags into the mixing chamber simultaneously with the entry of air therein whereby to intermix the foamable liquid and air to produce foam within the mixing chamber and discharge the same from a discharge orifice.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device as described having a discharge cap releasably secured to the reservoir and adapted for seating engagement therewith to selectively prevent discharge of foamable liquid from the reservoir.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a foam dispensing device as described wherein the foam producing means is supported within the deformable reservoir in a manner such that it serves as an air return valve when the compression forces are removed from the deformable reservoir thereby assisting in replenishing air to the reservoir preparatory to further formation and discharge of foam.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method of producing foam using a foam dispensing device as above described, which method includes introducing a foamable liquid having a viscosity of between around 0.5 300 centipoises and a surface tension of between around 15 dynes per centimeter into the mixing chamber defined by a wall portion of the foam producing means, and thereafter introducing air into the chamber through air flow passages in the wall portion.

In furtherance of the above objects of the present invention, a dispenser device in accordance with the present invention includes a deformable reservoir having an opening therein, cap means defining a discharge orifice releasably supported by the reservoir adjacent the opening therein, and foam producing means disposed within the reservoir and adapted to establish foam upon a compression of the reservoir. The foam dispensing means comprises a depending hollow element having an upper portion releasably supported by the reservoir and having a wall portion defining a mixing chamber. Air passages of selected size are provided in the wall defining the mixing chamber such that upon compression of the deformable reservoir, foamable liquid is forced upwardly through the hollow element simultaneously with the passage of air through the air passages whereby to intermix the foamable liquid and air to produce foam within the mixing chamber and discharge the foam through the discharge orifice of the cap. A foam homogenizing element is supported between the mixing chamber and the discharge orifice to control the consistency of the foam discharged. Check valve means are preferably within the hollow element generally adjacent the mixing chamber to allow flow of foamable liquid upwardly within the hollow element upon compression of the reservoir but prevent downward flow therein upon release of the deformable reservoir.

Selected embodiments of the present invention employ one or more generally closed deformablefoamable liquid-containing bags within the reservoir sealingly secured to associated depending hollow elements with the interiors of the bags being in communication with the mixing chamber such that compression of the reservoir effects flow of foamable liquid from the deformable bags into the mixing chamber for intermixing with air to effect the formation of foam and discharge thereof from the discharge orifice.

A further embodiment utilizes an exterior air supply operatively associated with the discharge cap for selectively introducing of air into the reservoir and mixing chamber whereby to effect the production of foam and discharge thereof from the discharge orifice. Still another embodiment has air valve means operative to allow ready entry of air into the reservoir upon release of the reservoir.

Further objects and advantages of my invention, together with the organization and manner of operation thereof may best be understood by reference to the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals identify like elements throughout the several views.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view, partly broken away, of a foam dispensing device in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the dispensing device illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partial longitudinal sectional view of the dispensing device illustrated in FIG. 1 showing the depending hollow form producing element having air flow passages communicating with the mixing chamber, and a ball check valve within the hollow element;

FIG. 4 is a transverse sectional view taken substantially along the lines 4-4 of FIG. 3, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 5 is a partial longitudinal sectional view, similar to FIG. 3, illustrating another embodiment of a dispensing device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a foreshortened longitudinal sectional view of a further embodiment of a foam dispensing device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a foreshortened longitudinal sectional view of another embodiment of a foam dispensing device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a partial longitudinal sectional view of a further embodiment of a dispensing device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a partial sectional view illustrating the discharge cap having a separable foam controlling n02- zle on the outer end thereof;

FIG. 10 is a partial longitudinal sectional view illustrating an alternative manner of supporting the homogenizing overlay element such that it serves as an air valve during operation of the dispensing device;

FIG. 11 is a partial sectional view taken substantially along the lines 11-11 of FIG. 10 looking in the direction of the arrows with the overlay element removed; and

FIG. 12 is a foreshortened longitudinal sectional view of another embodiment of a dispensing device in accordance with the present invention showing the foam producing means supported to serve as an air return valve.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1-4, a preferred embodiment of a foam dispensing device constructed in accordance with the present invention is indicated generally at reference numeral 10. The foam dispensing device 10 finds ready application in dispensing cleaning and waxing products, cosmetics and toiletries, and food stuffs. To this end, the foam dispensing device 10 includes a deformable reservoir body 12 adapted to contain a quantity of foamable liquid 14 and air. The reservoir 12 has a generally cylindrical shape having a closed bottom end surface 16 and is preferably composed of a relatively deformable material, such as polyethylene, to allow inward deformation or compression of substantially the full longitudinal length of the annular wall defining the inner chamber which receives the foarnable liquid and air. As will become apparent hereinbelow, it is desirable that at least a small volume of air or other suitable gas be present within the reservoir body at all times above the foamable liquid 14.

The deformable reservoir 12 has an opening 18 (FIG. 3) therein generally adjacent the upper end portion thereof, which opening is in communicating relation with the interior ofthe reservoir. The opening 18 is defined by an upstanding annular wall portion 20 having a threaded outer peripheral surface to releasably receive and support cap means 22.

The cap means 22 comprises a cap member made of rigid plastic or other suitable material and has a generally outwardly extending portion 24 defining a discharge orifice or opening 26 therein. The discharge orifice 26 communicates with a central cavity portion 28 within the cap member which provides communication between the discharge orifice and the opening 18 in the reservoir 12.

Noting FIG. 3, the foam dispensing device 10 includes foam producing means, indicated generally at 30, supported within the interior of the reservoir 12 and adapted to effect the formation of foam from the foamable liquid 14 upon inward deformation of the annular side wall of the reservoir. The foam producing means 30 includes depending hollow element means, indicated generally at 32, adapted for communicating relation with the foamable liquid 14 within the reservoir and with the opening 18 therein, and air passage means, indicated generally at 34, operatively associated with the depending hollow element means such that compression of the reservoir causes upward flow of the foamable liquid through the depending hollow element means and flow of air through the air passage means to effect the formation of foam as will be more fully described hereinbelow. The depending hollow element means 32 includes an upper end portion 36 and a lower depending tubular member 38 extending downwardly generally centrally within the reservoir 12 such that the lower end of the tubular member extends substantially to the bottom of the reservoir in communicating relation with the foamable liquid therein. The lower depending tubular member 38 of the hollow element means 32 preferably comprises a cylindrical tubular member made from a nonporous polyethylene or other suitable nonporous material. It has been found that a tube having an inner flow passage diameter of between H312 to a inch, and preferably an inner diameter of between 1/16 to It inch, provides the desired flow capacity for upward flow of the foamable liquid 14 within the depending tubular member 38 during formation of foam as described more fully below. The upper end ofthe tubular member 38 of the depending hollow element means 32 is received within and suitably secured to the upper portion 36 of the hollow element means to provide sup port for the tubular member 38. if desired, the tubular member 38 of the depending hollow element means 32 may be formed integral with the upper portion 36.

The upper portion 36 of the hollow depending element means 32 includes a nonporous annular wall portion 40 spaced radially inwardly from the annular wall 20 of the reservoir 12. The annular wall portion 40 defines a mixing chamber 42 in the foam producing means 30, which chamber is in communication with the cavity 28 in the cap member 22 and with the central flow passage of the lower tubular member 38 of the hollow element means 32 through a flow passage 44 having a cross-sectional area substantially equal to the flow area of the lower tubular member 38. The upper portion 36 of the depending hollow element means 32 includes an annular planar flange 46 having an outer annular depending portion 48 adapted to be releasibly received over an upwardly extending annular portion 50 of the annular wall 20 of reservoir 12. Preferably, a radially inwardly directed lip is provided on the lowermost edge of the depending portion 48 of the annular flange 46, which lip is received over and cooperates with a mating radially outwardly directed lip on the annular wall portion 50 of the reservoir such that the foam producing means 30 may be releasably secured to and supported by the reservoir 12 within the opening 18 therein.

An upwardly extending annular wall 52 is formed integral with the annular flange 46 of the upper portion 36 of the depending hollow element means 32 and has a beveled upper end surface 54 adapted for sealing cooperation with a mating annular beveled surface 56 formed in the cap member 22. The beveled surfaces 54 and 56 are such that when the cap means 22 is threadedly received over the upper threaded portion of the reservoir 12 and rotated downwardly thereon to a position as shown in FIG. 3, the beveled surfaces 54 and 56 cooperate to prevent flow between the cavity 28 and the discharge orifice 26. When the cap means 22 is rotated relative to the reservoir 12 in a direction to partially remove the cap from the reservoir, the beveled surfaces 54 and 56 disengage to establish a flow path between the cavity 28 in the cap member and the discharge orifice 26.

As noted, the foam producing means 30 includes air passage means 34 operatively associated with the depending hollow element means 32. The air passage means 34 comprises at least one and preferably a plurality of selected air passages 58 provided in the annular wall portion 40. Noting FIG. 4, four equidistantly circumferentially spaced air passages 58 are provided in the wall portion 40 of the depending hollow element means 32. The air passages 58 are generally angularly disposed relative to the longitudinal axis of the depending element means 32 as illustrated in FIG. 3. The air passages 58 provide for the introduction of air into the mixing chamber 42 upon compression or inward deformation of the deformable reservoir 12. The circular cross-sectional areas of air passages 58 are such that the air passages restrict free air flow therethrough upon compression of the reservoir 12 thereby causing the air pressure acting upon the upper surface of the foamable liquid to force foamable liquid upwardly through the tubular portion 38 of the foam producing means 30 and into the mixing chamber 42. Simultaneously, passage of air through the air passages 58 into the mixing chamber 42 is effected to establish intermixing of the foamable liquid and air within the mixing chamber to produce foam. While any desired member of air passages 58 may be provided in the annular wall portion 40, the total cross-sectional area of the air passages 58 preferably should not exceed 0.010 square inch nor be less than 0.001 square inch. It has been found that the use of a depending tubular member 38 having an inner flow passage diameter of 0.15 inch and four air passages 58 each having a diameter of 0.040 inch provides effective foam formation during operation of the dispensing device. The annular wall 40 and air passages 58 of the upper portion 36 of the hollow depending element means 32 may comprise a noncollapsible material having any number of air passages therethrough such that the ratio of open flow area through the wall defining the mixing chamber to the cross sectional area of the flow passage of tubular member 38 is approximately the same as the ratio of the flow area of passages 58 to flow passage 38 as above described.

Valve means are disposed within the depending element means 32 adjacent the mixing chamber 42, which valve means are adapted to allow upward flow of foamable liquid within the tubular member 38 into the mixing chamber upon compression of the deformable reservoir, and prevent downward flow of the foamable liquid within the tubular member 38 upon release of the reservoir. With such an arrangement the foamable liquid is maintained upwardly within substantially the full length of the depending member 38 when the dispenser device is in an upright position, thereby reducing the time required to force the foamable fluid into the mixing chamber 42 upon compression of the reservoir during use of the dispensing device. Noting FIG. 3, the valve means illustrated comprises a spherical ball check valve 60 adapted to be supported by and sealingly seated on a conical surface 62 formed in the upper portion 36 of the foam producing means 30 adjacent the mixing chamber 42. The flow passage 44 is positioned at the vertex of the conical surface 62 in communicating relation with the flow passage of hollow depending member 38. The ball check valve 60 sealingly seats against the conical surface 62 by gravity in a conventional manner. With the ball check valve 60 being so disposed within the upper portion 36 of the foam producing means 30, it can be seen that the ball may be unseated from the conical surface 62 to allow liquid flow into the mixing chamber 42 during compression of the reservoir 12 through impingement of the foamable liquid against the undersurface of the ball, but that the ball will reseat against the conical surface upon release of the reservoir to thereby effect a reduced pressure within the upper portion of the depending member 38 and maintain the foamable liquid upwardly in the depending member in a known manner.

For optimum foaming, the dispensing device is provided with a foam homogenizing overlay element 64 disposed between the mixing chamber 42 and the discharge orifice 26 to homogenize and control the density of foam discharged from the discharge orifice. The homogenizing overlay 64 is a fiat circularly shaped element made of a porous material having an open area, when considered in a planar cross section, ranging between to 80 percent. The porosity of the homogenizing overlay 64 is depending upon the desired richness of foam to be discharged and upon the thickness of the element. Preferably, the homogenizing element has a thickness of between 0.0005 to 0.5 inch, but may have a thickness of up to L5 inches. It has been found that a homogenizing overlay made from a fibrous material having a thickness less than 0.005 inch and having the desired porosity serves to effectively homogenize the foam produced within the mixing chamber 42 during passage of the foam to and through the discharge orifice 26. The homogenizing overlay 64 is supported by the upper portion 36 of the foam producing means 30 such as by seating the homogenizing overlay on a shoulder 66 on the upper edge of the annular wall 40. An annular retainer ring 68 is suitably secured to the inner peripheral surface of the annular wall 52 to retain the homogenizing element 64 against the shoulder 66.

The total cross-sectional area of the air passages 58 required to effect efficient operation of the dispenser device bears a critical relation to the cross-sectional area of the interior flow passage of the depending tubular member 38 and the viscosity of the foamable liquid within the reservoir 12. The foamable liquids used in the present invention have viscosities between 0.5 to 300 centipoises, and more preferably between 0.5 to 50 centipoises. For viscosities within these ranges the ratio of the cross sectional area of the inner flow passage of tubular member 38 to the total cross sectional area of the air passages 58 is optimally between around 0.75 to 5.0. The desirable surface tension of the foamable liquid utilized may vary between 15 dynes per centimeter to dynes per centimeter and is preferably within the range of 20 to 50 dynes per centimeter. Foamable liquids having surface tensions in the lower portion of the surface tension range provide greater spreading and better wetting characteristics within porous materials thereby increasing the foaming characteristics of such liquids. Foamable liquids having higher surface tensions usually provide more stable foams when foamed.

The foamable liquids used in the present invention include those composed of about 70 to 99.98 percent by weight of a solvent component and 0.02 to 30 percent by weight of a surfactant component wherein the surfactant has an HLB within the range of about 7 to 40 with the solvent component comprising about 70 to l00 percent by weight water and about 0 to 30 percent by weight of a co-solvent component. The co-solvent component will generally be selected from the class consisting of monohydric alcohols having two to five carbon atoms, glycol ethers and mixtures of the same. The surfactant component may be selected from organic anionic, nonionic, cationic and ampholytic materials and mixtures thereof having an HLB within the range of 7 to 40. The HLB number is a semi-empirical designation that has been applied to many classes of surfactants to characterize the ratio of hydrophobic to hydrophilic properties. See CLUES TO SURFAC- TANT SELECTlON OFFERED BY THE HLB SYSTEM by W.C. Griffin, appearing in the June, 1956 issue of the OFFICIAL DIGEST OF THE FEDERATION OF PAINT AND VARNISH PRODUCTION CLUBS. Thus the term surfactant includes, for example, such individual organic materials as the triethanolamine, sodium and/or potassium salts of coconut fatty acids, oleyl fatty acids, etc.; metal and amine salts of alkyl sulphonic acids in which the alkyl group contains seven to 18 carbon atoms; metal and amine salts of long chain alkyl-aryl sulfonates such as sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate and potassium tetradecylbenzene sulfonate; alkyl sulfates, such as those that are manufactured by sulfating aliphatic alcohols having from six to 20 carbon atoms in either their branched or unbranched alkyl chains, including, typically, sodium and potassium lauryl sulfate, sodium and potassium hexadecyl sulfate, sodium and potassium octadecyl sulfate, etc.; as well as metal and amine salts of long chain alkyl sulfosuecinate esters such as octadecyl disodium sulfosuccinate; as well as alkali metal salts of sulfated ethylene oxide and/or propylene oxide condensation products manufactured by ethoxylating and/or propoxylating (and subsequently sulfating) various organic hydrophobic compounds containing active hydrogen such as alcohols, mercaptans, phenols, and amines; sodium and potassium alkyl glyceryl ethers such as those derived from tallow and coconut oil, including for example, sodium coconut oil fatty acid monoglyceride sulfate, etc.; fatty alkanolamides such as N-dodecyl monoethanolamide, N-octadecyl diethanolamide and the like; alcohol-alkylene oxide condensates (i.e., alcohols having from six to 20 carbon atoms, in either straight or branched chain configuration having from about 4 to about 30 mols of ethylene oxide and/or propylene oxide per mol of alcohol in their molecules), alkylphenol-alkylene oxide condensates (i.e., those made of condensing alkylphenol having an alkyl group that contains from about six to about 20 carbon atoms in the chain with from about 4 to about 30 or more mols of ethylene oxide and/or propylene oxide per mol of alkylphenol); and the like.

Nonionic surfactants which may be used in the practice of this invention include esters formed between 1 mol of a polyhydric alcohol containing two to six hydroxyl groups and at least I mol ofa monobasic carboxylic acid containing seven to 18 carbon atoms in its structures, e.g., ethylene glycol monolaurate, glyceryl monolaurate, pentaerythritol monolaurate, sorbitan monopalmitate, sorbitan monostearate, sorbitan distearate, etc.; ethylene oxide condensates of the partial fatty acid esters of polyhydric alcohols above described; seven to 18 carbon atom monohydric alcohols, ethylene oxide condensates of reactive hydrogen compounds containing seven or more carbon atoms in their structure, i.e., the long chain fatty alcohols such as lauryl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, the long chain fatty acids such as myristic acid and stearic acid, the rosin acids, etc.

Examples of cationic surfactants that may be used in the practice of this invention include quaternary ammonium salts containing a long chain alltyl group such as cetyl pyridinium chloride, N-alkyl trimethyl ammonium chloride and lauryl trimethyl ammonium bromide; amines such as lauryl amine, stearyl amine, rosin amine, N-dodecyl ethanoldiamine and the like.

Of the above listed surfactants, those in the anionic class are preferred while those anionic surfactants selected from the class consisting of allcyl aryl sulfonates and sulfates having seven to 18 carbon atoms in their carbon chains are still further preferred for use in the present invention.

In most of the applications of the present invention, it is generally preferable to employ a foam stabilizer in the proportion of 0.002 to l5 percent by weight of foam stabilizer to 99.98 to 85 percent of the combined solvent and surfactant ingredients. The types which find particular utility in the present invention are generally organic stabilizers such as a mono or diethanolamide of a fatty acid for example, lauric isopropanolamide, sodium carboxymethylcellulose; sodium hydroxyethyl cellulose, polyvinyl-pyrollidone; hydrolyzed and partially hydrolyzed polymers made by reacting a lower alkylene such as ethylene, propylene, and methyl vinyl ether with maleic and/or fumaric anhydride, for example, ethylenemaleic anhydride, propylenefumaric anhydride, methyl vinyl ether-maleic anhydride; polyvinyl alcohol; and the like. Of the above listed foam stabilizers, those stabilizers having an HLB within the range of l to l2 are preferred.

It may sometimes be desirable to include ingredients to support the surfactants such as certain inorganic salts which may be added up to 30 percent by weight of the combined solvent and surfactant ingredients, such as inorganic sulfate, phosphate carbonate, borate and the like. The commonly employed inorganic salts are phosphate salts, which are used in their commercially available anhydrous form, obtained by the high temperature dehydration of the orthophosphates; tripolyphosphates, from a mixture of disodium orthophosphate and monosodium orthophosphate;

tetrasodium pyrophosphates, from disodium orthophosphate; and sodium polyphosphate glasses, from orthophosphate. The various condensed phosphates can be used singly or in admixture.

Generally good results are obtained when tripolyphosphate is essentially the sole condensed phosphate, or is admixed with the other condensed phosphates, for example, percent tripolyphosphate and 20 percent pyrophosphate.

The characteristics of the foam, i.e. density, wetness, uniformity, etc. which will be produced employing the above-described foamable liquids are dependent to a great extent by the ratio of liquid to air employed and the degree of interfacial contact which results from the particular mechanical mixing process employed. For purposes of comparison the quality of foam is characterized by its density, cell size, rate of collapse and its absorption character against fine filter paper. The density is affected primarily by the ratio of liquid to air employed and the mechanical mixing technique as referred to above. In general, it has been found that the quantity of air to the quantity of foamable liquid used in the practice of this invention should vary between l5 to I00 cm. air/gram liquid. To obtain useful foams for a hand cleaner, a wetter foam is preferred such that the ratio of air to foamable liquid will generally vary from 10 to 50 cm air/gram liquid. On the other hand, a dryer foam is generally required for hard surface applications wherein the ratio of air to foamable liquid will generally vary between 40 to 80.

Assume for purposes of illustration that the foam dispensing device 10 is assembled as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, with the cap means 22 threadedly engaging the upper threaded wall portion 20 of the reservoir in sealing relation, and with the reservoir containing a quantity of foamable liquid and air. In operation, the operator rotates the cap means 22 through the threaded connection to the reservoir 12 to provide a flow passage between the inclined surfaces 54 and 56 of the foam producing means 30 and cap means 22, respectively. Thereafter, the reservoir 12 is compressed in the operators hand in a known manner. The air passages 58, being of a size to resist free unrestricted air movement therethrough, cause the air pressure within the reservoir to act downwardly on the surface of the foamable liquid to effect upward flow of the liquid through the depending hollow member 38 whereupon it unseats the ball valve 60 and passes into the mixing chamber 42. Simultaneously, a limited quantity of air is forced through the air passages 58 into the mixing chamber where it is intermixed with the fluid from the depending member 38 to effect the formation of foam within the mixing chamber. Further inward compression of the reservoir causes the foam produced within the mixing chamber 42 to pass through the homogenizing overlay 64 and be discharged through the discharge orifice 26. As the foam is forced through the homogenizing overlaying element 64 it is homogenized to provide the desired foam consistency from the discharge orifice 26.

When the inward compression forces are released from the reservoir 12, the ball check valve 60 will again seat against the conical surface 62 to prevent air flow downwardly within the depending tubular member 38. Such seating of the ball check valve 60 maintains the foamable liquid upwardly within the hollow depending element 38 in a known manner. Simultaneously, air will move in a reverse direction through the air passages 58 into the interior of the deformable reservoir through the opening 18. The dispenser device may thereafter be actuated through further compressing or deforming of the reservoir 12 to effect additional formation of foam and discharge thereof through the discharge orifice.

Referring now to FIG. 5, an alternative embodiment of a foam dispensing device in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. The dispensing device of FIG. is generally similar to the dispensing device illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 and includes a deformable reservoir 12 adapted to receive a quantity of foamable liquid and air and having a configuration similar to the reservoir 12 illustrated in FIG. 1. The reservoir 12 of FIG. 5 threadedly and releasably supports a cap means 22 and has foam producing means, indicated generally at 70, supported within the interior of the reservoir.

The foam producing means 70 comprises a depending hollow member 72 preferably made from a nonporous tubular material of sufficient length to depend longitudinally within the reservoir such that its lower end extends downwardly to substantially the bottom of the reservoir. The upper end of the depending hollow member 72 is suitably received within and supported by an upper support portion 74 of the foam producing means 70. The upper portion 74 of the foam producing means 70 is releasably secured to and supported by the annular wall portion 50 of the reservoir 12 in similar fashion to the supporting of the upper portion 36 of the foam producing means 30 illustrated in FIG. 3. Similarly, the upper portion 74 of the foam producing means 70 includes an upstanding annular wall 52' having an upper surface 54' adapted to sealingly engage the inclined surface 56 on the cap member 22 to provide selective sealing for the cap member and prevent outward flow of foamable liquid from the reservoir 12. The upper portion 74 of the foam producing means 70 includes a downwardly extending annular wall 76 formed integral with the planar annular flange portion 46' which defines an opening through the upper portion 74 to receive the upper end of the depending tubular member 72.

The foam dispensing means 70 includes air passage means comprising a plurality of air passages 78 provided in the lower depending tubular member 72. The air passages 78 in the tubular member 72 are positioned below the upper portion 74 of the foam dispensing means and above the highest level which the foamable liquid attains when the reservoir 12 is initially supplied with foamable liquid. Preferably, a flat circular homogenizing overlay element 64 is supported by a shoulder 66' on the upper portion 74 of the foam producing means 70 and is retained thereon by a suitable annular retainer ring 68.

The dispensing device illustrated in FIG. 5 has a mixing chamber 80 defined within the depending tubular member 72 of the foam producing means 70 between the air passages 78 and the homogenizing element 64. The air passages 78 communicate with the interior of the reservoir through the opening 18 therein and provide a means for introducing air into the mixing chamber 80 upon compression of the reservoir.

The operation of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5 is generally similar to that of the dispensing device illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. After rotating the cap means 22 to effect a flow passage between beveled surfaces 54' and 56', compression of the reservoir 12 effects flow of the foamable liquid upwardly within the depending tubular member 72 simultaneously with the passage of air through the air passages 78. The air and foamable liquid are intermixed in the mixing chamber to form a foam which is forced through the homogenizing element 64 and thereafter discharged through the discharge orifice 26. Releasing the reservoir l2 allows air to reenter the interior of the reservoir through the air passages 78 preparatory to subsequent compression of the reservoir to effect further foam formation.

FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of a dispenser device, indicated generally at 86, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The dispenser device 86 includes a deformable reservoir 12 having an opening 18 therein defined by an annular wall portion 20 which threadedly and releasably supports cap means 22 in similar fashion to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. The dispensing device illustrated in FIG. 6 includes foam producing means, indicated generally at 88, supported within the interior of the deformable reservoir 12 through an upper support portion 90 having a configuration generally similar to the upper portion 36 of the dispenser device illustrated in FIG. 3. A downwardly depending tubular member 38 is secured to and supported by the upper portion 90 of the foam dispensing means 88 and has a central flow passage therein communicating with a mixing chamber 42 through a flow passage 44 in the upper support portion 90.

The dispensing device 86 includes a generally closed deformable bag means 92 disposed within the reservoir 12. The deformable bag means 92 is sealingly connected to the foam producing means 88 with the depending tubular member 38 extending downwardly within the interior of the collapsible bag. An upper open end portion 94 of the collapsible bag is suitably sealingly secured over a flange portion 96 on the upper support portion 90 of the foam dispensing means 88 so as to be selectively removable therefrom.

The use of a deformable bag 92 is desired where a foamable liquid is utilized with the dispensing device which is not compatible with air or other gas used to effect foaming. The deformable bag 92 serves to retain the foamable liquid and prevent contact between the liquid and gas, thereby preventing contamination of the foamable liquid or other deterioration thereof. Food stuffs and perfume are examples of foamable liquids in which a deformable bag or lining 92 is desirable.

When using a deformable bag or liner 92 to store the foamable liquid as illustrated in FIG. 6, a ball check valve 60 should be used in conjunction with the upper portion 90 of the foam producing means 88 to prevent entry of air into the depending tubular member 38 when the cap means 22 is rotated to a position wherein the discharge orifice 26 is in communicating relation with the mixing chamber 42. The ball check valve 60 also serves to retain the foamable liquid upwardly within the tubular member 38 upon release of the reservoir as above described with respect to FIGS. 1-4.

The operation of the dispensing device 86 is generally similar to the operation of the dispensing device illustrated in FIGS. 1-4. Compression of the deformable reservoir 12 effects a corresponding inward deformation of the collapsible bag 92 to force the foamable liquid within the bag upwardly through the depending tubular member 38 and into the mixing chamber 427 Simultaneously, air is introduced through the air passages 58 in the upper portion 90 of the foam producing means and intermixed with the foamable liquid therein to produce a foam. The foam so produced is thereafter passed through a homogenizing overlay element 64 and outwardly through the discharge orifice 26.

FIG. 7 illustrates a further embodiment of a dispensing device, indicated generally at 100, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7 is generally similar to that illustrated in FIG. 6 and includes a deformable reservoir 12, cap means 22 releasably supported by the reservoir for sealing relation therewith, and foam producing means, indicated generally at 102. The foam producing means 102 is adapted to support a plurality of depending tubular members 106. Each of the depending tubular members 106 is made from a flexible nonporous tubular material such as polyethylene and has its interior flow passage in communicating relation with the mixing chamber 42 in an upper portion 104 of the foam producing means through suitable flow passages 108. The depending members 106 are suitably secured to and supported by the upper portion 104 of the foam producing means and depend downwardly within the reservoir 12 such that the lower ends thereof extend substantially to the bottom of the reservoir.

A generally closed deformable bag 110, similar to the above described bag 92, is suitably sealingly secured to each of the depending tubular members 106 such that the tubular members depend within the interiors of the collapsible bags 110 whereby to provide communication between the bag interiors and the mixing chamber 42. A ball check valve 60 is provided within the upper portion 104 of the foam producing means 102 adjacent the mixing chamber 42 and is adapted to sealingly close the upper ends of the flow passages 108 through engagement with the conical surface 62 on a circular line contact above the intersection of passages 108 with the conical surface. The ball check valve 60 is normally urged against the conical surface 62 in sealing relation therewith by gravity when the dispensing device 100 is in an upright position as illustrated in FIG. 7.

The deformable bags 110 are adapted to hold and retain foamable liquids in similar fashion to the deformable bag 92 of FIG. 6, and are desirable where two or more foamable liquids are to be intermixed to form a foam, but which foamable liquids are incompatible or not otherwise desirably intermixed prior to the formation of foam therefrom.

In operation, the reservoir 12 of the foam dispensing device 100 is compressed an extent sufficient to compress the deformable bags 110 and effect flow of the foamable liquids therein upwardly within the associated depending tubular members 106. The upwardly flowing foamable liquid unseats the ball check valve 60 and passes into the mixing chamber 42. Simultaneously, air from the interior of the reservoir 12 is forced through the air passages 58 whereupon it is intermixed with the foamable liquids to produce a foam which is thereafter passed through the homogenizing overlay 64 and discharged through the discharge orifice 26, it being understood that the cap means 22 must be rotated to a position wherein a flow passage is established between the discharge orifice therein and the mixing chamber 42.

FIG. 8 illustrates another embodiment of a foam dispensing device, indicated generally at 112, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The dispensing device 112 includes a deformable reservoir 12; cap means, indicated generally at 114; and foam producing means, indicated generally at 116. The dispensing device 112 further includes a manually operable exterior air supply means comprising a deformable air bag 118 adapted to selectively supply air to the cap means 114 and to the interior of the reservoir 12 upon manual compression thereof as more fully described below.

The cap means 114 is releasably threadedly supported by the reservoir 12 in similar fashion to the above described cap means 22 and includes a depending annular wall portion 120. The annular wall 120 defines a cylindrical passage or opening 121 in the cap means to receive and retain the upper end portion of the foam producing means 116 which comprises a depending tubular member 122 similar to the tubular member 72 above described with respect to FIG. 5. The cap means 114 includes a discharge orifice 124 defined by a generally annular wall 126 forming the upper portion of the cap means 114. A foam homogenizing overlay element 128, made of a material similar to the above described homogenizing element 64, is suitably retained within the discharge orifice 124 by a retainer ring 130. A circular plate 132 is retained within a cylindrical chamber 134 in the cap means 114 axially rearwardly of the homogenizing overlay 128. The plate 132 is retained within chamber 134 by a retainer ring 138 and has a central orifice 136 therethrough to control air flow from the air supply bag 118 into the chamber 134 as more fully described below. A second air flow orifice 140 is provided in the cap means 114 to establish air flow communication between chamber 142 and the interior of the reservoir 12 such that air from the air supply bag 118 will be simultaneously supplied to the interior of the reservoir and to chamber 134.

The deformable air supply bag 118 is of conventional design and has a hollow interior in communicating relation with a chamber 142 disposed rearwardly of the plate 132 in the cap means 114 through a suitable flow passage 144. The air bag 118 has a rearwardly extending air intake passage 146 therein providing communication between the interior of the bag and atmosphere. A conventional closure valve 148 is suitably secured to the interior portion of the bag 118 adjacent the air intake 146 in a manner to allow inward flow of air into the bag while preventing outward flow through the passage 146 upon compression of the air bag.

The depending tubular member 122 of the foam dispensing means 116 includes air passage means comprising a plurality of air passages 147 disposed below the cap means 114 and above the highest level the foamable liquid attains when the reservoir is initially filled. The air passages 147 preferably comprise four equidistantly circumferentially spaced orifices having diameters of 0.040 inch when employing a tubular member 122 having an inner flow passage diameter of 0.l inch, similar to the above described air passages 78 in tubular member 72 of FIG. 5. The air passages 147 establish a primary mixing chamber 149 in the foam producing means 116 between the air passages and the upper end of tubular member 122.

The dispensing device 112 of FIG. 8 operates in a manner generally similar to the dispensing device illustrated in F IG. 5. Rather than compressing the reservoir 12, the air supply bag 118 is compressed to force air into the reservoir through orifice 140. The air pressure thus established within the reservoir effects flow of the foamable liquid upwardly within the tubular member 122. Simultaneously, air is passed through air passages 147 into the mixing chamber 149 where it is intermixed with the foamable liquid from member 122 to produce foam. The foam so produced is forced into the chamber 134 which serves as a secondary mixing chamber to further intermix air from orifice 136 with the foam from the primary mixing chamber 149. The foam from chamber 134 is thereafter passed through the homogenizing overlay 128 and outwardly from the discharge orifice 124.

Noting FIG. 9, a foam control nozzle, indicated generally at 150, may be supported on the discharge end of the extending portion 24 of the above described cap means 22 to spread the discharged foam in a selected pattern or direction. The foam control nozzle 150 includes a rearward wall portion 152 adapted to be received over the outer end of the extending portion 24 of the cap means 22 and suitably retained thereon such as by a retaining ring 154 formed on the peripheral surface of the extending portion 24 received within a corresponding recess in the adjacent wall portion 152 of the control nozzle. A plurality of discharge passages 158 are selectively positioned in the control nozzle 150 to provide communication between an interior cavity or chamber 156 and atmosphere. The flow areas of the flow passages 158 and their respective positions within the control nozzle are selected to provide the desired foam discharge pattern and may be positioned to concentrate the foam or spread it outwardly from the control nozzle 150. if desirable, the control nozzle 150 may be formed integral with the outwardly extending end portion 24 of the cap means 22 with the selected discharge passages 158 being formed therein.

FIGS. 10 and 11 illustrate an alternative arrange ment for supporting a homogenizing overlay element, indicated at 64', wherein the overlay element is supported for slidable movement and serves as an air flow valve during operation of the dispensing device. The homogenizing overlay element 64' is made ofa material similar to the above described homogenizing overlay element 64 and has an outer peripheral circular edge surface of a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the inner peripheral surface of the annular wall 52 of the upper portion 36 of the depending hollow element means 32. The overlay element 64' is generally flat with the lower surface thereof being supported in spaced relation abovethe shoulder surface 66 on the upper edge of the annular wall 40 through engagement with four equi-distantly circumferentially spaced projections 67 formed on the shoulder surface 66 such that the bottom surface of the overlay is supported on the projections when the overlay is in its downward position as illustrated in FIG. 10. An inwardly directed annular ring 69 is formed integral with the upstanding annular wall 52 and disposed above the projections 67 on the annular shoulder surface 66 a distance greater than the thickness of the overlay element. The annular ring 69 is such that the inner annular edge surface thereof has a diameter less than the outer diameter of the overlay element thereby restricting movement of the overlay element between the projections 67 and the annular ring.

With the homogenizing overlay element 64' disposed between the projections 67 on the shoulder surface 66 and the annular ring 69, the overlay element will move upwardly such that its upper surface abuts the annular ring 69 when the reservoir is compressed to effect the formation and discharge of foam. With the overlay element 64' in its upward position abutting the annular ring 69, the foam produced within the chamber 42 will be forced through the overlay element and outwardly of the discharge cap 22. When the deformable reservoir body is released, the overlay element 64' will move downwardly such that it rests upon the projections 67 thereby allowing free air flow inwardly through the passage 26 in the discharge cap and around the outer peripheral surface of the overlap element into the body of the reservoir through the mixing chamber 42. In this manner, the homogenizing overlay element 64' serves to homogenize the foam produced within the mixing chamber 42 as it is forced outwardly through the discharge cap 22 and also serves as an air flow valve allowing air flow into the reservoir upon release of the compression forces from the deformable reservoir 12. This alternative embodiment may be readily adapted to the foam dispensing devices illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5-7.

FIG. 12 illustrates still another embodiment of a foam dispensing device, indicated generally at 160, constructed in accordance with the present invention. The foam dispenser includes a deformable reservoir 12 having discharge cap means 22 releasably secured thereon in similar fashion to the discharge cap and reservoir above described with respect to FIG. 3. The foam dispensing device 160 is generally similar to the above described foam dispensing device 10 except that the foam producing means of dispenser 160 is movably supported within the deformable reservoir 12 and is adapted to serve as an air return valve during operation of the foam dispensing device.

The foam dispensing device 160 includes a sealing member 162 releaseably secured to the upper end of the threaded portion 20 of the reservoir and adapted for cooperation with the cap means 22 to selectively seal the interior of the reservoir against leakage of the foamable liquid therefrom. The sealing member 162 has a generally planar portion adapted to engage the uppermost edge of the reservoir and includes an upstanding annular wall l64 similar to the abovedescribed annular wall 52, which wall 164 has an upper beveled edge surface 166 to sealingly engage the corresponding annular beveled surface 56 in the cap means 22.

Foam producing means, indicated generally at 168, are supported within the interior of the deformable reservoir 12 and are adapted to effect the formation of foam from the foamable liquid 14 upon compression of the reservoir in similar fashion to the foam producing means 30 of foam dispensing device 10. The foam producing means 168 includes depending hollow element means having an upper portion 170 and a lower hollow tubular portion 172 fixedly secured within a receiving bore in the upper portion 170. The upper portion 170 of the foam producing means 168 has a mixing chamber 42 defined by a nonporous non-compressible wall 176 and includes air passage means comprising four equidistantly circumferentially spaced air passages 174 formed in the wall 176. The air passages 174 have a total cross sectional area equal to the cross sectional area of the above described air passage means 34.

An annular flange 178 is formed integral with the annular wall 176 adjacent the upper edge portion thereof such that the flange lies in a plane parallel to the general plane of the sealing member 162 considered across the upper edge of the reservoir. The annular flange 178 has an outer diameter greater than the diameter of the inner peripheral surface of the annular wall 164 of the sealing member 162 and has a flat homogenizing overlay element 180 suitably secured to the uppermost surface thereof. The homogenizing overlay element 180 is made of a material identical to the above-described overlay element 64 illustrated in FIG. 3 and has an outer peripheral surface ofa diameter equal to the outer diameter of the annular flange 178.

The deformable reservoir 12 of the foam dispensing device 160 includes a plurality of radially inwardly directed stops or abutment members 182, preferably four in number, equidistantly spaced about the inner peripheral surface of the upper neck of the reservoir defined by the annular wall portion 50. The stops 182 are spaced downwardly from the uppermost edge of the reservoir neck and project radially inwardly and extent sufficient to underly the annular flange 178 and engage the annular flange 178 upon downward movement thereof and more fully described below. The stops 182 are spaced below the upper end of the reservoir a distance greater than the thickness of the annular flange 178 and the overlay element 180, considered along the longitudinal axis in FIG. 12, to allow movement of the foam producing means 168 and overlay element 180 longitudinally within the reservoir between the under surface of the sealing member 162 and the stop members 182.

Means are provided within the reservoir 12 to urge the upper portion 170 of the foam producing means 168 upwardly within the deformable reservoir to a position wherein the overlay element 180 abuts the under surface of the sealing member 162 as illustrated in FIG. 12. Such means comprises a coil compression spring 184 disposed about an upstanding pin or guide projection 186 between the bottom of the reservoir and the lower end of tubular member 172. The pin 186 is formed integral with or otherwise suitably secured to the bottom surface 16 of the reservoir in normal relation thereto and has a longitudinal length such that it is received within the axial flow passage in the depending tubular portion 172 of the foam producing means 168 at all times. Pin 186 has a cross sectional area small enough to preclude interference with the free flow of foamable liquid upwardly within the axial flow passage of the tubular member 172. The coil compression spring 184 has a coil diameter such that when disposed between the lower end of the depending tubular member 172 and the bottom surface 16 of the reservoir, it engages the lower end of the tubular member 172 and urges it upwardly thereby urging the annular flange 178 of the upper portion 170 of the foam producing means upwardly to a position wherein the overlay element engages the under surface of the sealing member 162. The axial length of the coil spring 184 may be selected such that the spring will be fully compressed upon selected downward movement of the foam producing means 168 and thereby limit the extent of downward movement of the flange 178. With the spring 184 selected to limit downward movement of flange 178, the stop members 182 could be eliminated.

In operation, the foam dispensing device 160 produces foam in a manner generally similar to the foam producing device 10 above described with respect to FIGS. 1-4. Compression of the deformable reservoir 12 forces the foamable liquid 14 upwardly within the depending tubular portion 172 of the foam producing means and into the mixing chamber 42 in the upper portion 170, the foamable liquid acting to unseat the ball check valve 60 as it passes upwardly through the axial opening 44. Simultaneously, air within the reservoir is forced through the air passages 174 and effects intermixing of the air with the foamable liquid within the mixing chamber 42. During compression of the reservoir 12, the pressure within the reservoir acts against the under surface of the annular flange 178 and assists the compression spring 184 in seating the overlay element 180 against the under surface of the sealing member 162 whereby to prevent air passage or fluid flow between the annular flange 178 and the sealing member 162.

With the cap means 22 released from the reservoir 12 such that a flow passage is established between the discharge orifice 26 in the cap and the interior of the reservoir, the foam produced within the mixing chamber 42 will pass through the homogenizing overlay element 180 and outwardly through the discharge orifice 26. Releasing the inward compression forces from the deformable reservoir 12 allows the ball check valve 60 to reseat against the conical cavity within the mixing chamber 42 to prevent the flow of air downwardly through the depending tubular member 172 and retains the foamable liquid upwardly within the depending tubular member. Releasing the compressive forces from the reservoir 12 reduces the pressure therein to a point below the outside atmospheric pressure. Such pressure differential acts downwardly against the upper surface of homogenizing overlay 180 and moves the overlay and foam producing means 168 downwardly to a position wherein the annular flange 178 engages the stop members 182. With the foam producing means 168 moved downwardly, air will flow inwardly through the discharge orifice 26 and around the peripheral surface of the overlay element and annular flange 178 into the interior of the reservoir. It will be understood that the spring force of compression spring 184 is selected such that it assists in urging the foam producing means 168 upwardly to a position wherein the overlay element 180 engages the under surface of the sealing member 168 upon compression of the reservoir, but does not prevent the above described downward movement of the foam producing means upon release of the compression forces from the reservoir. With the foam producing means 168 and homogenizing overlay element 180 movably supported within the deformable reservoir 12 of the foam dispensing device 160, as described, it can be seen that the foam producing means serves as an air valve allowing the entry of air into the reservoir upon release of the compression forces from the reservoir, thereby reducing the time required to replenish the air supply within the reservoir preparatory to effecting further formation and discharge of foam.

The foamable liquids used in conjunction with the foam dispensing devices illustrated in FIGS. -12 are preferably selected from the group of foamable liquids having characteristics in the ranges above described.

While preferred embodiments of my invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the invention in its broader aspects.

lclaim:

l. A foam dispensing device for use with foamable liquids and the like, comprising a deformable reservoir adapted to contain a quantity of foamable liquid and air, said reservoir having an opening therein in commu nicating relation with the interior thereof, cap means supported by said reservoir and defining a discharge orifice in communicating relation with said reservoir opening, and foam producing means supported within said reservoir, said foam producing means including depending non-poroushollow element means axially open at its lower end to provide fluid entry means for the entry of the foamable liquid, said foam producing means further including air passage means formed in said hollow element in an area of said reservoir above the foamable liquid, said air passage means comprising at least one restricted opening which simultaneously permits at least one discrete air stream to be introduced into said hollow element and liquid to be conveyed upwardly through said hollow element after entry through the axially open lower end by differential air pressure to establish a mixing chamber within said hollow element means above the foamable liquid such that an increase in air pressure within said reservoir by collapse of said reservoir effects intermixing of the foamable liquid and air within said mixing chamber to produce foam and discharge the foam through said discharge orifice, the cross-sectional area of said axial opening being substantially greater than that of any of the said restricted openings.

2. A foam dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said hollow element means includes an upper end portion supported within said reservoir opening and a lower tubular portion depending generally longitudinally within said reservoir in communicating relation with the foamable liquid in said reservoir to define a liquid flow path between said foamable liquid and said mixing chamber.

3. A dispensing device as defined in claim 2 wherein said air passage opening is provided in the wall of said lower tubular portion of said hollow element means, said air passage opening being disposed intermediate the foamable liquid within said reservoir and said upper end portion of said hollow element means.

4. A dispensing device as defined in claim 2 wherein said upper end portion of said hollow element means includes a wall portion defining said mixing chamber, and wherein said restricted opening is disposed in said wall portion and establishes communication between the interior of said reservoir and said mixing chamber such that compression of said deformable reservoir effects upward flow of foamable liquid within said lower tubular portion and air flow through said restricted opening in a manner to effect intennixing of the air and foamable liquid within said mixing chamber to produce foam.

5. A dispensing device as defined in claim 4 including valve means disposed within said upper portion of said hollow element means, said valve means being adapted to allow upward flow of foamable liquid within said lower tubular portion of said hollow element means upon compression of said reservoir and prevent downward flow of foamable liquid therein upon release of said reservoir.

6. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 including a foam homogenizing element supported by said foam producing means and adapted to homogenize the foam passed from said mixing chamber through said discharge orifice.

7. A dispensing device as defined in claim 4 including a foam homogenizing element supported by said upper end portion of said hollow element means between said mixing chamber and said discharge orifice, said homogenizing element being adapted to homogenize the foam passed from said mixing chamber to said discharge orifice.

8. A dispensing device as defined in claim 5 wherein said valve means comprises a ball check valve adapted to prevent communication between said mixing chamber and said lower tubular portion of said hollow element means when said reservoir is in a normal noncompressed state, said check valve being adapted for movement to a position allowing communication between said mixing chamber and said lower tubular portion of hollow element means upon compression of said reservoir.

9. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 including a control nozzle supported by said cap means adjacent said discharge orifice therein.

10. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 including a generally closed deformable bag sealingly connected to said depending hollow element means within said reservoir such that the interior of said bag is in communicating relation with said mixing cham her, said deformable bag being adapted to contain a quantity of foamable liquid and effect flow of the foamable liquid upwardly through said hollow element means upon compression of said reservoir whereby to effect intermixing of the foamable liquid with air within said mixing chamber.

H. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said depending hollow element means includes a plurality of depending tubular members, and including generally closed deformable bag means sealingly connected to each of said depending tubular members such that the interior of each bag means is in communicating relation with said mixing chamber, each of said bag means being adapted to contain a foamable liquid and effect upward flow thereof through the corresponding tubular member upon compression of said reservoir whereby to effect intermixing of the foamable liquids with air within said mixing chamber.

12. A dispensing device as defined in claim 11 wherein said dispenser device includes two depending tubular members. each of said tubular members having a separable bag sealingly secured thereto and adapted to retain a foamable liquid therein.

13. A dispensing device as defined in claim 11 wherein said foam producing means includes a support element supported by said reservoir within said reservoir opening, said support element including a wall portion defining said mixing chamber and being adapted to support said depending tubular members with the inner flow passages therein in communicating relation with said mixing chamber, and wherein said restricted opening is disposed in said wall portion and provides communication between the interior of said reservoir and said mixing chamber such that compression of said deformable reservoir effects air flow through said restricted opening simultaneously with the flow of foamable liquid into said mixing chamber.

14. A dispensing device as defined in claim 13 including valve means operatively associated with said support member and adapted to preclude flow of foamable liquid downwardly within said depending tubular members upon release of compression forces from said reservoir.

15. A dispensing device as defined in claim 13 including a foam homogenizing element supported by said support element and adapted to homogenize foam passed from said mixing chamber to said discharge orifice.

16. A dispensing device as defined in claim I wherein said cap means comprises a cap member having a discharge orifice therein, said cap member being releasably secured to said reservoir and movable between first and second positions, and wherein said foam producing means includes means adapted for cooperation with said cap member to prevent discharge of foam from said discharge orifice when said cap member is in said first position but allowing discharge of foam from said discharge orifice when said cap is in said second position.

17. A dispensing device as defined in claim 1 including manually operable air supply means operatively associated with said reservoir to provide selective introduction of air into said reservoir whereby to increase the air pressure therein.

18. A foam dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said foam producing means is supported within said reservoir for longitudinal movement therein, said foam producing means including air return valve means allowing entry of air into the reservoir when the compressive forces are removed from the deformable reservoir.

19. A dispensing device as defined in claim l8 wherein said foam producing means includes a homogenizing element operativelg, associated therewith, such homogenizing element emg movable with said foam producing means and serving to homogenize foam produced within said mixing chamber prior to discharge of the film through said discharge orifice.

20. A foam dispensing device as defined in claim 19 wherein said air return valve means comprises an annular flange on the upper portion of said foam producing means, and wherein said reservoir includes a plurality of stop members adapted to selectively engage said annular flange and limit downward movement of said foam producing means within the reservoir.

21. A foam dispensing device as defined in claim 20 including a sealing member operatively associated with said reservoir and said cap means, said annular flange being movable between a first position abutting the sealing member and a second position abutting said stop members, and including spring means urging said annular flange to said first position.

22. A dispensing device as defined in claim 21 including a ball check valve disposed within said mixing chamber of said foam producing means and adapted to prevent air flow downwardly within said foam producing means upon release of the compression forces from the deformable reservoir.

23. A dispensing device as defined in claim I including air return means to allow entry of air into the reservoir when the compressive forces are removed from the deformable reservoir.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification239/343, 222/190, 239/304, 239/328, 239/327, 239/303
International ClassificationB65D1/32, B05B11/00, B05B11/06, B65D83/00, B65D51/18, B65D, B05B7/00, B65D83/14, B05B11/04, C11D
Cooperative ClassificationB05B7/0037, B05B11/046, B05B11/043, B65D83/68, B65D83/0055, B65D83/62, B05B11/0078, B05B11/06
European ClassificationB65D83/62, B65D83/68, B05B11/06, B05B11/04D3, B05B7/00C1A1, B05B11/04D1, B05B11/00B11, B65D83/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 9, 1992ASAssignment
Owner name: CALMAR INC., A CORPORATION OF DELAWARE, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY OF A SECURITY AGREEMENT RECORDED AT REEL 5020 FRAME 0974 AND DATED 12-08-88;ASSIGNOR:CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:006082/0535
Effective date: 19911212
Dec 19, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC., AS AGENT, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CALMAR INC.;REEL/FRAME:005020/0974
Effective date: 19881208