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Publication numberUS3761221 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 25, 1973
Filing dateOct 13, 1971
Priority dateOct 13, 1971
Publication numberUS 3761221 A, US 3761221A, US-A-3761221, US3761221 A, US3761221A
InventorsStillions F
Original AssigneeStillions F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combination combustible gas generator-burner
US 3761221 A
Abstract
A combination combustible gas generator-burner for use as a cirgarette lighter and other applications. An electrolyte such as a saline water solution is electrolyzed within an electrolytic cell to produce a combustible gas such as hydrogen which is ignited at a valved gas outlet from the cell to produce a flame, as by rotating a striker wheel against a flint positioned adjacent the outlet. Electrolysis of the electrolyte is automatically stopped and started in response to the pressure of the combustible gas pressure in the cell, as by utilizing increasing gas pressure to displace the electrolyte to a level below that of the electrode at which the combustible gas is produced.
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nited States Patent 91 Stillions Sept. 25, 1973 COMBINATION COMBUSTIBLE GAS GENERATOR-BURNER Primary Examiner-Carrll B. Dority, Jr. [76] Inventor: Frederick K. Stillions, 651 E. Attorney Bomard Brown Kingsley, Pomona, Calif. 91766 [22] Filed: Oct. 13, 1971 [5 7] ABSTRACT A combination combustible gas generator-burner for [52] US. Cl 431/18, 431/276, 204/278 se as a cirgarette lighter and other applications, An [51] Int. Cl. F23 electrolyte uch as a safine water olution is e]ectro Of Search .4 lyzed within an electrolytic cell to produce a ombusti- 1310- 6 ble gas such as hydrogen which is ignited at a valved gas outlet from the cell to produce a flame, as by rotating [56] p 7 Re e en Cited a striker wheel against a flint positioned adjacent the UNITED STATES PATENTS outlet. Electrolysis of the electrolyte is automatically 3 490,235 1/1970 Grant 204/278 X Stopped and Started in response to the Pressure of the 423,160 H1969 Genoud 431/276 combustible gas Pressure in the Cell, as y utilizing 3,654,104 4/1972 Yoshida et al 204/129 creasing gas pressure to displace the electrolyte to a 3,616,436 10/ 1971 Haas 204/278 level below that of the electrode at which the combustil,255,096 l/l9l8 Jaubert.... 204/278 ble gas is produced, a 2,701,790 2/1955 Goument 204/278 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 2 Chin's, 1 Drawing Figure 732,594 4/1966 Canada 204/278 32 /2 W I II I III I I t I I I /4 z 22 d 'g I -4 I z I h a a z I 25 III/l III/II I I I I I I I I I s 24 1 z 1 2 r I I I s I W/ 4 4 4 44 A, .2 i-y 1111/1 1/1/17/ 11/ l0 14 DC, +1 1- RECT/F/ER 46 L //0 MAC.

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COMBINATION COMBUSTIBLE GAS GENERATOR-BURNER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to the field of combustible gas generation and combustion and more particularly to a novel combination combustible gas generator-burner for use as a cigarette lighter and other applications.

2. Discussion of the Prior Art A conventional cigarette lighter must be refueled p'eriodically with a combustible liquid or gaseous fuel, commonly referred to as lighter fluid." This lighter fluid must be purchased and is quite costly. The user of such a lighter is thus faced with two problems, namely, maintaining a sufficient supply of the lighter fluid and absorbing the cost of the fluid.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The combination gas generator-burner of the present invention may be used as a cigarette lighter and when so used avoids the above noted and their disadvantages of conventional cigarette lighters. As will appear from the ensuing description, however, the generator-burner may be used for other purposes and this should not be regarded as limited in use to a cigarette lighter.

The gas generator-burner has an electrolytic cell for containing an electrolyte such as a saline water solution capable of producing a combustible gas by electrolysis. Within the cell are a pair of electrodes across which a voltage is impressed to electrolyze the electrolyte and thereby produce the combustible gas at one electrode. This gas exits from the cell through a valved outlet. Mounted adjacent the outlet are ignition means, such as a flint and a rotary serrated striker wheel for igniting the gas to produce a flame at the outlet.

According to a feature of the invention, electrolysis in the electrolytic cell is automatically stopped and restarted in response to the pressure of the combustible gas produced in the cell. That is to say, electrolysis ceases when the gas pressure rises to a given level and resumes when the gas pressure drops below this level. In the particular physical embodiment of the invention selected for illustration, this automatic control of electrolysis is accomplished by enclosing the electrodes in separate chambers which communicate below the level of the electrode at which the combustible gas is produced and utilizing the combustible gas pressure to control the electrolyte level in the chamber, referred to herein as the gas production chamber, containing the latter gas producing electrode. As the gas pressure increases, it displaces the electrolyte from the gas production chamber into the other electrode chamber until the electrolyte level drops below the level of the gas producing electrode to terminate electrolysis. When the gas pressure drops due to usage or leakage, the electrolyte level in the production chamber rises to or above the level of the gas producing electrode to restart electrolysis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The single FIGURE of the drawing is a section through a gas generator-burner according to the invention whose intended use is a cigarette lighter.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The illustrated combustible gas generator-burner 10 has an electrolytic cell 12 containing an electrolyte 14 which may be electrolyzed to produce a combustible gas, means 16 for electrolyzing the gas, and ignition means 18 adjacent an outlet 20 through which the gas exits from the cell for igniting the gas to produce a flame at the outlet. In this disclosure, the electrolyte 14 is assumed to be a saline water solution. The combustible gas produced by electrolysis is hydrogen.

Cell 12 comprises a vessel 22 constructed of plastic or other non-conductive material. Within the vessel is a partition 24 which divides the interior of the vessel into chambers 26 and 28. Chamber 26 is referred to herein as a gas production chamber. Gas production chamber 26 communicates to the combustible gas outlet 20 through a flexible tube 30. As will appear presently, the gas ignition means 18 is attached to the outer end of the tube. Chamber 28 opens to atmosphere through a vent opening 32 at the upper end of the vessel. At the lower end of the partition 24 is a port 34 through which the chambers 26, 28 communicate to permit passage of the electrolyte 14 between the chambers and provide an electrical current path between the electrolyte in the chambers. A porous barrier 36 such as a small mesh screen or the like extends across the port to restrict the passage of electrolyte between the chambers.

Electrolyzing means 16 comprises a pair of electrodes 38 and 40 mounted in holders 42 at the bottoms of the chambers 26, 28. Extending from the electrodes to the exterior of the vessel 22 are terminals 44. These terminals are connected to the terminals of a DC. power source 46 which may be a battery or an A.C. rectifier power from a wall receptable. When the electrodes 38, 40 are energized from the power source 46, the electrolyte 14 is electrolyzed to produce the combustible gas at one terminal and possibly another gas at the other terminal. According to the present invention, the electrodes are so polarized that the combustible gas is produced at the electrode 38, herein referred to as the gas producing electrode, within the gas production chamber 26. The gas, if any, produced in the other chamber 28 vents to atmosphere through the opening 32 to prevent pressure build-up within the chamber for the reasons explained below. The combustible gas exits from the chamber 26 through the hose 30 and outlet 20 for ignition by the ignition means 18 in the manner described presently.

The generator-bumer 10 is provided with control means 48 for stopping electrolysis in the cell 12 when the gas pressure in the gas production chamber 26 rises to a given level and restarting electrolysis when the gas pressure drops below that level. In the particular device illustrated, this automatic control involves displacement, by increasing gas pressure in the production of electrolyte from the chamber through the port 34 into chamber 28 until the electrolyte drops below the level of the electrode 38 to stop electrolysis. Reduction of gas pressure in the production chamber due to usage or leakage of the gas effects return of the electrolyte by gravity to a level above the electrode 38 to restart electrolysis.

Ignition means 18 comprises an igniter housing 50 fixed to the outer end of the gas tube 30. Igniter housing 50 has a passage 52 which opens at one end to the tube passage and at the other end to an externally opening cavity 54 in the housing. Passage 52 is enlarged between its ends to form a valve seat 56 about the end of the passage which opens to the tube passage.

Movable longitudinally in the housing passage 52 is a valve 58 having a valve head 60 engageable with the valve seat 56 and a valve stem 62 extending from the head, longitudinally through the passage, into the housing cavity 54. The valve stem slides in a bearing 64 formed by the upper reduced end of the passage 52. Extending axially through the valve stem 62 is a passage 66 which opens axially through the upper end of the stem into the housing cavity 54 to form the gas outlet 20. The lower end of the valve stem passage 66 opens laterally to the igniter housing passage 52 via ports 68 just above the valve head 60. A seal ring 70 seals the stem to the passage wall above the parts.

Valve 58 is retained in a closed position of seating engagement with the valve seat 56 by a spring 72. At the upper end of the valve stem 62 is a lever 74 rockably supported on a fulcrum 76. One end of the lever is apertured to receive and engages the underside of a thrust shoulder 78 on the upper end of the stem 62. The other end of the lever projects externally of the igniter housing 50 to form a finger piece 80 by which the lever may be pivoted by finger pressure to raise the valve 58 out of contact with its valve seat 56. When the valve is thus opened, combustible gas flows around the valve head 60 and then into and through the valve stem passage 66 to the gas outlet 20.

An igniter 82 is provided adjacent the gas outlet 20. This igniter includes a flint 84 which slides in a bore 86 in the igniter housing 50 and extends through an opening in the valve lever 74. Above the flint is a serrated striker wheel 88 rotatably supported in the housing cavity 54. A spring 90 urges the flint upwardly against the serrated edge of the wheel.

It is now apparent that assuming the electrolyzing means 16 is energized, and the valve 58 is closed, the gas production chamber 26 contains combustible gas under a pressure determined by the automatic control means 48. A flame is lit at the gas outlet 20 by depressing the valve lever 74 to open the valve 58 and rotating the striker wheel 88 to create sparks which ignite the gas exiting through the outlet.

I claim: 1. A cigarette lighter, comprising: an electrolytic cell having two communicating chambers for containing an electrolyte which may be electrolyzed to produce a combustible gas and having an outlet means from one chamber through which said gas exits from said cell and a vent opening to atmosphere from the other chamber, means including electrodes in said chambers, respectively, for electrolyzing said electrolyte in said cell to produce said gas in one chamber, a normally closed shut-off valve for controlling gas flow through said outlet means, and ignition means adjacent said outlet means for igniting gas emerging through said outlet means to produce a flame at said outlet means, the electrode in said one chamber being mounted on the bottom chamber wall and insulated from the electrolyte in said one chamber toa given level above said bottom wall, whereby gas production is terminated in response to increasing gas pressure in said one chamber to lower the electrolyte level in said production chamber below said given level until the gas pressure in said production chamber drops sufficiently to effect return of the electrolyte in the latter chamber to a level above said given level. 2. A cigarette lighter according to claim 1 wherein: said ignition means includes an ignitor housing comprising a portion of said outlet means and mounting said valve, a flint holder mounted on said housing, and a peripherally serrated striker wheel mounted on said housing and rotatable against a flint in said holder to produce sparks for igniting said gas, and said outlet means including a flexible hose connecting said electrolytic cell and ignitor housing.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1255096 *Jul 26, 1917Jan 29, 1918George Francois JaubertElectrolytic apparatus.
US2701790 *Dec 3, 1951Feb 8, 1955Oliver Goument VearElectrolytic hypochlorite generator
US3423160 *Aug 22, 1966Jan 21, 1969Genoud & Cie EtsLighter
US3490235 *Sep 12, 1967Jan 20, 1970NasaPassively regulated water electrolysis rocket engine
US3616436 *Jun 11, 1968Oct 26, 1971Haas GeorgOxygen stream dispenser
US3654104 *Feb 5, 1970Apr 4, 1972Asahi Chemical IndElectrolysis of salt solution
CA732594A *Apr 19, 1966Henes Mfg CoProduction and safe consumption of electrolytic hydrogen and oxygen
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4090940 *Jan 23, 1976May 23, 1978Alpha Systems CorporationApparatus for producing methane gas by processing waste materials
US4560345 *Nov 23, 1981Dec 24, 1985Schaechter FriedrichLiquid gas-operated lighter
US4680007 *Apr 29, 1985Jul 14, 1987Schaechter FriedrichLighter with adjustable flame
US4861451 *Nov 23, 1987Aug 29, 1989Hammond Royce Corporation Pty. LimitedChlorinator cell
US5211828 *Aug 19, 1991May 18, 1993Shkarvand Moghaddam RahimApparatus for generating hydrogen and oxygen
US5779866 *Nov 26, 1996Jul 14, 1998Florida Scientific Laboratories Inc.Electrolyzer
USRE33282 *Nov 23, 1981Jul 31, 1990Bic CorporationLiquid gas-operated lighter
EP3056815A1Feb 9, 2016Aug 17, 2016Universita' Degli Studi Del MoliseOrganic hydrogen gas lighter
Classifications
U.S. Classification431/18, 431/276, 204/278
International ClassificationF23Q2/00, F23Q2/16
Cooperative ClassificationF23Q2/16
European ClassificationF23Q2/16