US 3748099 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 1973 H. E. HORLACH 3,748,099
LIQUID HANDLING DEVICE Filed Sept. 7, 1971 INVIjNIOR. HE/MZ 5 21c Hoa/wH United States Patent 3,748,099 LIQUID HANDLING DEVICE Heinz Eric Horlach, Sunlaud, Calif., assiguor to Toluca Industries Corporation, North Hollywood, Calif. Filed Sept. 7, 1971, Ser. No. 178,018 Int. Cl. B65d 39/00; G01n 1/10 U.S. Cl. 23-259 3 Claims ABSTRACT on THE DISCLOSURE SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to devices for storing and transferring liquids, and more particularly to containers for receiving and storing liquid clinical specimens and dispensing aliquot portions therefrom.
Modern medical diagnostic and therapeutic technology places heavy emphasis on the clinical laboratory analysis of biological fluids by means of a variety of procedures. The number and complexity of these procedures and the sophistication of the instruments used to perform them have led to the development and widespread use by the medical profession of large remotely located commercial clinical laboratories. Specimens, such as blood or urine samples, are taken from patients in physicians oflices, clinics, public health facilities, and in some cases by the patients themselves in their homes, and are transported to these laboratories for analysis.
Previously specimen jars, test tubes and other containers of glass were used for specimen collecting, transferring and storage. The use of such containers created an ever present danger of breakage and spillage, and the relatively high cost of their manufacture necessitated their re-use with the attendant requirement for costly washing and sterilizing equipment. Where the distance to the laboratory was substantial, their weight and bulk added considerable mailing or transportation costs to the basic laboratory charges.
Once the container with its enclosed specimen arrived at the laboratory, aliquot portions were removed by decanting or pipetting. Carried out repeatedly, and with a large number of containers, this process was both tedious and time-consuming and necessitated the use, storage, maintenance, cleaning and stirilizing of a substantial supply of the not-inexpensive pipettes themselves.
One of the objects of this invention is the provision of a liquid handling device for clinical laboratory use, which provides means for both storing and transferring liquid specimens. Another object is the provision of such a device which is substantially unbreakable and nonspillable and which is sufficiently light in weight and compact to be stored and transported conveniently. A further object is the provision of a liquid handling device of this type which can be manufactured inexpensively in disposable form. Other and further objects will become apparent from a reading of the specification which follows, as illustrated by the attached drawing in which:
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side view illustrating a flexible transparent test tube, closure, pipette and cap embodying the subject invention;
3,748,099 Patented July 24, 1973 FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the device of FIG. 1 with the cap removed;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged side sectional view showing the construction of the upper portion of the device illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a still further enlarged. fragmentary view of the portion of FIG. 3 designated by the numeral 4;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to that of FIG. 4 illustrating a modified form of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side sectional view of a modified form of the device shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side sectional view of another embodiment of the device illustrated in FIG. 3;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary side view illustrating the operation of the device shown in FIG. 1 to withdraw liquid from another container; and
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary side view illustrating the operation of the device of FIG. 8 to discharge an aliquot portion of its contents.
Wherever practicable like numerals are used to identify the same or similar features in the several views.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION As illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, a preferred form of the invention comprises a thin walled generally cylindrical test tube 11 formed by conventional means of a resiliently flexible material, such as polyethylene plastic, having a rounded closed end 12 and an open end 13. A detachable closure 14, preferably molded of the same material as the test tube, is adapted to fit and releasably seal the open end 13 of test tube 11.
Closure 14 is formed with a resilient side wall 15 having an annular flange 16 around its periphery adapted to be seated around the open end 13 of test tube 11 when closure 14 is inserted, and is tapered downwardly outwardly to conform closely around its lower edge with the inner wall of test tube 11. A port 21 is provided centrally in the undersurface of closure 14, and a resilient sleeve 22 is formed around it. Port 21 and sleeve 22 are sized to receive a capillary tube or finely bored pipette 23 in a fluid-tight sliding fit. Preferably pipette 23 is of the same flexible resilient material as test tube 11 and closure 14, and it is of a length such that a portion of its upper end 25 extends outwardly of sleeve 22 when its lower end 26 engages the closed end 12 of test tube 11.
A cap 31, preferably of the same resilient material as test tube 11 and closure 14, is formed with an annular rib 32 surrounding its open end sized to be inserted into closure 14 and to exert a resilient force radially out wardly against resilient wall 15, thereby urging it against the wall of test tube 11. The force thus exerted by rib 32 serves both to enhance the fluid-tight seal between closure 14 and the wall of test tube 11 and, by increasing the total frictional force exerted between the wall of test tube 11 and wall 15, to, prevent closure 14 from being withdrawn from open end 13 of test tube 11 through accident or inadvertence.
FIG. 5 shows a modification of the closure 14 illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, wherein flange 16 is provided with a resilient, downwardly depending skirt 17 tapered inwardly at its lower edge to engage the outer surface of the wall of test tube 11 friction-ally. The result of this construction is elfectively to clamp the test tube wall between the wall 15 and skirt 17, thereby securing closure 14 firmly to test tube 11.
The tip of cap 31 is formed with an internally constricted portion adapted to receive releasably and seal the tip 35 of the upper end 25 of pipette 23.
As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the configuration of closure 14 and cap 31 may be modified if desired. Thus, in FIG. 6 closure 14 takes the form of a solid resilient stopper having an annular groove 41 in its upper surface adapted to receive the open end of cap 31. The extended bore 42 within the stopper 14 serves as the sleeve through which pipette 23 is journalled and sealed.
In the embodiment of FIG. 7 closure 14 is adapted to fit over, rather than into, the open end 13 of test tube 11, with its resilient wall 15 tapered downwardly inwardly against the wall of test tube 11. Cap 31 is formed with rib 32 on the inner face of its open end, and exerts a resilient force radially inwardly against wall 15 to enhance its seal and frictional contact with test tube 11. As in the other forms of the invention, cap 31 is adapted at its tip 34 to receive and seal the tip 35 of pipette 23.
FIGS 8 and 9 demonstrate the operation of the subject invention. A biological fluid, for example a urine specimen 51, is collected in connection bottle 52. A clean, preferably sterile, test tube 11 is taken in one hand and its cap 31 is grasped between the thumb and fingers of the other hand and removed from closure 14 by a twisting, pulling movement. The same motion will generally release tip 35 of pipette 23 from the tip 34 of cap 31; however, if it does not, the exposed portion of upper end 25 of pipette 23 may be grasped and tip 35 released with the exertion of a slight additional pulling force on cap 31. Test tube 11 is inverted and upper end 25 of pipette 23 inserted through the neck of bottle 52 until its tip 35 is immersed in the liquid 51. Simultaneously the resilient wall of test tube 11 is squeezed gently between the thumb and fingers as indicated by the arrows designated A. When this force is released the resilient wall returns to its original shape and fluid is drawn upwardly through pipette 23 by virtue of the pressure difierential created thereby. Additional fluid may be drawn into the test tube 11 by repeating the process. When the liquid level in test tube 11 reaches a desired level 53 the tube 11 is withdrawn from bottle 52.
Tube 11 may be calibrated in its inverted position and graduations 54 provided along its wall to indicate its volumetric content.
To adjust the liquid content of test tube 11 the tube 11 is grasped in one hand and the exposed end portion 25 of pipette 23 between the thumb and fingers of the other and pipette 23 slipped inwardly or outwardly of sleeve 22 until the opposite end 26 is aligned with the appropriate graduation 54. With tube 11 inverted over the mouth of bottle 52, slight pressure exerted in the direction of arrows A of FIG. 8 will force fluid out of tube 11 through pipette 23 and back into bottle 52 until the fluid level 55 in tube 11 reaches the tip 26 of pipette 23, whereupon the discharge will be terminated. Tube 11 is then reinverted and its cap 31 replaced over tip 35 of pipette 23 until its constructed tip 34 engages and seals the end 35 of pipette 23. Force exerted downwardly on cap 31 causes pipette 23 to slide into tube 11 until cap 31 is seated securely on closure 14. -As indicated earlier, this elfectively seals the liquid contents in test tube 11, and it may be transported without fear of breakage or spillage, preferably in a semi-rigid or rigid wrapper or container which will protect it from abuse. With its cap in place the tube may be stored indefinitely.
When aliquot portions are desired to be withdrawn from tube 11 for test purposes, cap 31 is removed and the tube inverted as shown in FIG. 9. The fluid level 55 is noted and pipette 23 drawn out of sleeve 22 until its tip 26 is aligned with a new graduation 56, the difference between graduations 55 and 56 representing the volume to be withdrawn. With tip 35 held over a test vessel, such as culture dish 57, gentle pressure is applied to test tube 11 as indicated by the arrows A and the liquid discharge into the dish 57 until the level within tube 11 reaches tip 26. In this manner any desired volume may be withdrawn with accuracy. The process may be repeated when and as desired until the entire contents of tube 11 have been withdrawn. If it is desired to terminate the testing and store the specimen until some later time, all that is necessary is to reinvert the tube 11 and replace cap 31 in the manner described earlier.
1. A device for storing and transferring liquids, comprising:
an elongated thin-Walled tube of resilient material having an opening formed at one end thereof;
a removeable closure adapted to be inserted into said opening, said closure haying a port therethrough, a resilient sleeve surrounding said port, and a resilient wall adapted to conform closely with the inner wall of said container adjacent the opening therein;
a pipette slidably inserted through said port and sleeve with one end extending outwardly thereof; and
a cap having an open end adapted to be seated releasably in said closure over the outwardly extending end of said pipette and a closed end adapted to receive releasably and seal the tip of said outwardly extending end, said cap having an annular rib formed around its open end and adapted to engage the resilient wall of said closure and urge said resilient wall into intimate fluid-tight frictional contact with the inner wall of said container.
2. The device defined =by claim 1 wherein the resilient wall of said closure is tapered downwardly outwardly.
3. The device defined by claim 2 wherein the resilient wall of said closure extends over the lip of the opening of said container and terminates in a skirt adapted to conform closely with the outside of the wall of the container.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,768,762 10/ 1956 Guinet 21541 2,799,434 7/1957 Malko 222211 3,066,834 12/1962 Kingsbury 222-215 3,241,663 3/1966 Kaepernik 215-41 X 3,297,184 1/ 1967 Andelin 215-41 MORRIS O. WOLK, Primary Examiner R. M. REESE, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.