US 3798152 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 19, 1974 P. CAWLEY 3,798,152
ELECTROPHORESIS CELL MEANS Filed 0ct. 16, 1972 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Wm, WM;
86 90 54 I It I i M 1 22 26 ,aa aa M h 19, 1974 L. P. CAWLEY 3,798,152
ELECTROPHORESIS CELL MEANS Filed Oct. 16, 1972 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent 3,798,152 ELECTROPHORESIS CELL MEANS Leo P. Cawley, P.O. Box 8152, Wichita, Kans.
Filed Oct. 16, 1972, Ser. No. 297,638 Int. Cl. B01k 5/00 U.S. Cl. 204-299 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Numerous types of electrolytic cells are known in the prior art as operable in immunoelectrophoresis work for the passing of an electric current through a flexible gel coated slide. Some of the prior art devices utilize a closable container with the flexible slide having the opposite ends thereof supported in separate ionizing solutions wherein an electric current is passed into the ionizing solutions and in turn through the slides coating. Other electrophoresis devices utilize ionizing solutions into two separate portions of a container with the ionizing solutions held in absorbent material blocks on which the slide specimen rests wherein the electric current is passed through the solution held in the blocks and through specimen or slide and its coating. Generally, the electrophoresis devices in the prior art have no means for cooling or heating the apparatus and/or the specimen slide to maintain a constant temperature. Electrophoresis devices which do have cooling or heating capacity are constructed specifically to heat or cool a block like portion of gel material rather than a slide like specimen with a gel coating thereon.
One object of this invention is to provide an electrolytic cell structure for immunodiffusion overcoming the aforementioned disadvantages of the prior devices.
Still, one other object of this invention is to provide an electrolytic cell structure having a means to regulate the temperature of the cell structure and particularly of a conductive gel specimen held in the cell structure during the operation thereof by passing a fluid through a cavity in the cell structure.
Another object of this invention is to provide an electrolytic cell structure which is adapted to receive and hold in a fixed position conductive gel specimen slides wherein the slides are positioned in contact with electrodes and in contact with a portion of the cell adjacent to a cavity of the cell which is used as a heat source or heat sink.
Still, another object of this invention is to provide an electrolytic cell structure adapted to in operation, maintain same, and at a substantially constant temperature by passing a fluid through a cavity portion of the structure and at the same time maintain a constant temperature environment for an article having conductive gel and placed therein for purposes of electrophoresis, immunoelectrophoresis, immunodiffusion, electroimmunoditfusion, and other like purposes.
Yet, another object of this invention is to provide an electrolytic cell structure having a tray like construction with a transparent removable cover, the tray having a raised center portion containing a cavity, and adjacent portions containing oppositely chargeable electrodes, the cavity adapted to pass a fluid therethrough for the maintaining of the cell structure at a substantially constant temperature, and the tray structure also having a mag netically operable switch with the actuator portion thereof attached to the cover, the switch being adapted to connect the electrodes with a source of electrical power when the cover is in place on the tray.
Various other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following discussion, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is perspective view of the electrolytic cell taken from above the end with the electrical connections, and having the cover in place and two slide specimens of conductive gel mounted in the cell;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the cell structure alone with the cover removed;
FIG. 3 is an end elevation view of the electrolytic cell structure taken from the end having the fluid conduits and with the cover in place;
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the electrolytic cell structure having portions of the cavity cut away for clarity;
FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of the electrolytic cell structure taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the electrolytic cell structure taken on line 6-6 of FIG. 4 showing the magnetically operable switch means.
The following is a discussion and description of preferred specific embodiments of the electrolytic cell means of this invention, such being made with reference to the drawings, where upon the same reference numerals are used to indicate the same or similar parts and/or structure. It is to be understood that such discussion and description is not to unduly limit the scope of the invention.
Referring to the drawings in detail and in particular to FIG. 1, a perspective view of the electrolytic cell structure of this invention, generally indicated at 10, is shown in a perspective view from one end thereof. The electrolytic cell structure 10 includes a tray portion 12 with a cover 14 over an open portion of the tray 12 that has an oppositely chargeable electrode means 16 in its side portions and an internal cavity portion 18 in the center portion of the tray. As shown in FIG. 1 the electrolytic cell 10 is adapted to mount a plurality of conductive gel slide specimens 20. Such slide specimens are for description purposes one type used in immunoelectrophoresis work and are flexible plastic members with a conductive gel coating. The conductive gel slide specimens 20 are positioned to be in contact with the electrode means 16 on their end portions or in contact with an electrolyte which is in contact with the electrode means 16 and also in contact with the cavity portion 18. As it is shown the electrolytic cell 10 with a cover 14 in place on the tray 12 is ready for operation once an electrical source has been connected with the electrode means 18 to oppositely charge them and a fluid source connected with the cavity means 18 as will be described hereinafter.
The tray portion 12 of the electrolytic cell 10 is preferably an integrally formed structure and has a cavity portion 18 integrally constructed generally in the center portion thereof. As shown in the drawings the tray 12 is in its preferred form, namely an elongated rectangular structure. The tray portion 12 has elongated sidewalls 24 and 26 integrally joined with end walls 28 and 30 and has the interior thereof formed into two trough portions indicated generally at 32 and 34 extending in the elongated direction thereof which are used to contain the electrolyte. The interior of the tray portion 12 in its cross sectional shape is shown in FIG. and shown from the top or open portion thereof in FIG. 2. The upper portion of the tray portion 12 is preferably open for access to its interior and is closable by the cover 14. On the upper interior portion of the tray portion 12 is a recess area to receive and hold the lower peripheral portion of the cover 14. The recess portion is on the upper interior portion of the sidewalls and is indicated at 36, 38, 40 and 42, on the respective sidewalls 24, 26, 28, and 30. As can be seen in the combination of FIGS. 2, 5, and 6, the recess portion is an integrally formed portion of the tray and receives the edge portion of the cover 14.
The cavity portion 18 is integrally formed and the tray portion 12 between the troughs 32 and 34 generally centered therebetween, and forms a separation therebetween same. The cavity portion 18 has a dome portion 44 extending upward from the trough bottoms 46 and 48 as shown clearly in FIG. 5. A bottom portion of the cavity 18 is indicated at 50 and connects the sides of the dome portion 44 in the area of the trough bottoms 46 and 48. The cavity 18 is sealed at the juncture of the bottom 50 and the trough bottoms 46 and 48. The cavity portion 18 has end walls 52 and 54, as can be seen in FIG. 4 joining the bottom 50 with the dome portion 44 and extending above the recess portions 40 and 42 on its uppermost portion as can be seen in FIG. 1 and FIG. 3. A pair of conduits '56 and 58 extend through the end wall 30 of the tray portion '12 and into the cavity interior 60 through the cavity end wall 54. The conduits 56 and 58 are open and are used for the passing of a fluid through the cavitys interior 60 for the purpose of regulating the temperature of the electrolytic cell 10. The conduits 56 and 58 are shown clearly in FIG. 4 in their relative positions in the cavity portion 18. The conduit 56 is elongated and has its inner end 62 terminating at the end of the cell structure opposite to that which it enters the structure, and terminating near the cavity end wall 52. The other conduit 58 is a shorter conduit and has its inner end 64 terminating near the cavity end wall 54. The exterior of both of the conduits 56 and '58 is preferably formed with a rippled exterior indicated at 66 so as to provide for the easy attaching and sealing of flexible conduits used to connect the electrolytic cell in fluid communication with a fluid source. When in operation fluid will pass through the length of the cavity 18 as is flows in one of the conduits and out the other.
The electrode means 16 includes a pair of elongated electrodes 70 and 72 mounted in the troughs 32 and 34, a magnetically actuated switch means 74 and a pair of electrical connectors 76 and 78. The electrode means 16 is oppositely chargeable and provides the means of passing an electron flow into and in through the conductive gel, and is actuated by placing the cover 14 on the tray 12. The electrodes 70 and 72 are supported from the interior upright sidewalls of the troughs 32 and 34, the sidewalls are indicated at 80 and 82 respectively. Each of the electrodes 70 and 72 are constructed similarly from an electric conductive material and have an elongated rod portion 80 and 82 respectively with a plurality of support members 88 extending therefrom for mounting same with the trough sidewalls. In use, one of the electrodes is positively charged and the other is negatively charged. The support members 88 are integrally attached to the elongated rods 84 and 86 and have a flange portion 90 spaced a distance from the rod to contact the interior side of the trough walls and have a nut or the like 91 attached to the support element on the exterior side of th trough al T 4 flanges and nuts and 91 securely attach the rods 84, and 86 to the tray structure 12 on the interior of the troughs sidewalls in a position opposite to the dome portion 44 of the cavity portion 18 as shown clearly in FIG. 5.
One of the electrodes, in this instance the electrode adjacent the tray sidewall having numeral 24, is connected via a lug 94 and a wire 96 to the electrical connector 76. The other electrode having the numeral 70 and adjacent to the tray structure sidewall 24 is connected via a lug 98 and wire 99 to a micro switch 100 which is a part of the magnetically operated switch means 74.
The micro switch 100 is supported by mount 101 from the electrical connector 78 and is a normally open switch closed by allowing the actuator button 102 to extend from the body of the switch. The micro switch 100 has a pivotably mounted swinging arm 103 secured to one side thereof extending past the opposite side of the switch and having a magnetic element 104 on the extended end thereof. In the normal non-use position the swinging arm 103 rests on the body of the switch 100 pressing the actuator button 102 into the switch structure and maintaining an open circuit. The cover 14 has a magnetic element 106 on one end thereof positioned generally as shown in FIG. 1. This magnetic element 106 attracts the other magnetic element 104 on the switch means 74. In the operating position the cover 14 is in place on the tray and the swinging arm 103 is raised from the switch body and the actuator button 102 is allowed to extend from the switch body thereby closing the circuit. It is to be noted that switch means other than the specific micro switch and swinging arm arrangement shown and described herein can be used to affect a similar result, that being to connect the electrodes with a source of electrical power when the cover is in place on the tray 12. In use of the magnetically operable switch means it has been found that such functions well and is effectively insulated from damage due to corrosion since it is substantially sealed within the electrolytic cell structure 10. The electrical connectors 76 and 78, as shown, are conventional quick disconnect style connectors usable to attach a low voltage direct circuit source to the electrolytic cell 10 for opposite charging of the electrodes 70 and 72.
It is to be noted that the fluid source and electrical source can be attached to the electrolytic cell 10' in the removably attachable manner, as shown. However, in the alternative the electrical source and the fluid source can be permanently attached to the electrolytic cell structure 10 without substantially departing from the scope of the invention. In the use and operation of the electrolytic cell 10 of this invention in primarily a laboratory atmosphere it has been found convenient to have the electrical and fluid sources removably attachable'to the cell structure for convenience and ease in cleaning the structure and storage of same when it is not in use.
The cover portion 14 of the electrolytic cell structure 10 is preferably formed of a transparent material as illustrated in the drawings. A dome shaped cover 14 is provided having a rounded center portion 110 and inwardly sloping end portions 112 and 114 terminated at its elongated peripheral edges 116 and 118, and shorter end portion edges 120 and 122. The peripheral edges of the cover portion 14 rest in the recessed portion of the open portion of the tray structure 12 with the cover of the edge portions 116, 118, 120 and 122 resting in the recessed portions 36, 38, 40, and 42, respectively. The magnetic member 106 is attached to the cover end portion 112 as shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 6. When the cover 14 is in place on the tray portion 12 the magnetic member 106 must be at the end of the tray having the switch means 74, so the magnetic members 104 and 106 will attract each other thereby causing the micro switch 100 to be closed. The cover 14 is preferably constructed of a transparent material so that the user can watch and monitor the electrolytic process taking place in the electrolytic cell 10. In electrolytic work of the type described,
the cover 14 has been found useful to prevent the gel specimens from drying during the diffusion process.
When the electrolytic cell of this invention is in use the conductive gel slide specimens 20 are placed within the tray portion 12 as shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 5. The articles or slide specimens 20 usually used in immunoelectrophoresis and immunodiifusion work are elongated strips of a transparent plastic material which have been coated on one side with an agar gel material and are placed in the tray portion with the gel coated slide thereof upward. FIG. 5 shows in detail the specific position of the slide segments 20 when properly in place in the cell structure 10. In this position the slide segments have the ends thereof 130 and 131 in the lower portion of the troughs with the coated side thereof being in contact with the electrode rods 70 and 72 respectively or the electrolyte in the troughs 32 and 34, and having the center portion of the slide 132 in contact with the dome surface 44 of the cavity portion '18. In this position substantially all the surface of the slide specimen 20 is in contact with the exterior cavity surface so a maximum heat transfer between the slide strip and the cavity portion 18 is achieved. It is not necessary for the slide specimens to touch the electrodes, they must only be in contact with the electrolite or buffer solution in the troughs. The fluid passed through the cavity portion 18, can be either used to heat or to cool the electrolytic cell structure 10 depending upon the desire of the user and more specifically the particular requirements of the test or type of tests to be performed with the electrolytic cell structure 10.
In practice it has been found that in immunoelectrophoresis work the cell structure 10 must be cooled during its operation and this can be achieved by connecting the conduits 56 and 58 to a water source and passing the water through the cavity interior 60 thereby cooling the cavity portion 18 and in turn cooling the articles or slide specimens 20. Temperature of water passing through the cavity interior 60 can be used to specifically regulate the temperature of the electrolytic cell 10 and the conductive gel slide specimens 20 by regulating its temperature and rate of flow through the cavity portion 18. In the event the electrolytic cell must be heated then Warm Water or hot water can be circulated through the cavity portion 18 and in the same manner used to regulate the temperature of the electrolytic cell structure 10 and the conductive gel silde specimens 20. In practice it has been found that water is a convenient fluid to use for regulating the temperature of the electrolytic cell structure, however, other fluids both liquid and gaseous may be used if so desired.
In the manufacture of the electrolytic cell structure of this invention, it is obvious the cell structure can be easily produced from a plastic material to achieve the end product. The tray portion of the electrolytic cell structure 10 can be molded or formed in substantially one piece with the conduits 56 and 58 and the cavity bottom 50 added and joined after formation of the other portions. The cover portion 14 can be easily molded or formed from transparent plastic material and have the magnetic element 106 attached thereto. The electrode means 16 consists of standard elements and easily fabricatable elements which can be mounted with and attached to the tray structure 12.
In the use and operation of the electrolytic cell structure of this invention, it is seen that same provides an electrolytic cell with means to regulate the temperature thereof by using a fluid passing through an enclosed cavity of same, and which has an electrode means with a switch means to connect the electrodes thereof to a source of electrical power when the cover of the cell structure is in place. When the electrolytic cell 10 is in use a fluid, such as water, can be circulated through the enclosed cavity portion of the cell structure thereby raising or lowering the temperaturae of the cell structure and the gel slide specimens therein as desired by the user. The magnetically operable switch is a convenience to the user in that the electrodes of the cell are not connected to the power source until the cover is in place on the tray. The electrolytic cell structure of this invention is particularly adapted for use in the areas of electrophoresis, immunoelectrophoresis, electroimmunodilfusion and immunodiffusion although it may be used for other electrolytic operations and areas of endeavor.
As will become apparent from the foregoing description of the applicants electrolytic cell structure, relatively simple, and inexpensive means have been provided to regulate the temperature of an electrolytic cell that is adapted for holding articles such as conductive gel slide specimens. The electrolytic cell structure 10 is provided with a magnetically operable switch means to connect the electrodes thereof to a power source when the cover is placed on the tray, as it is when in normal operation. The cooling apparatus of the electrolytic cell structure has a. cavity portion enclosed in the tray portion of the structure which is easily connectable with a fluid source such as Water, so the electrolytic cell can be heated or cooled as desired by passing water or other fluid through the cavity portion of the structure.
While the invention has been described in conjunction with preferred specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that this description is intended to illustrate and not limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the following claims.
1. An electrolytic cell means for immunodilfusion comprising a tray with a bottom, a first side, a second side and a pair of ends, an enclosed heat transfer fluid reservoir integrally bound to said sides and said ends of said tray and including an inlet and an outlet for circulating the heat transfer fluid therethrough to regulate temperature of the entire outer surface of said enclosed reservoir, said enclosed reservoir additionally including a base and an essentially parabolic shaped roof connected to said base, said parabolic shaped roof having a first sloping portion and a second sloping portion, said first side of said tray and said first sloping portion define a first trough and said second side of tray and said second sloping portion define a second trough, a first electrode secured in said first trough, a second electrode oppositely charged from said first electrode attached in said second trough, and an electrical source connected to said first electrode and said second electrode.
2. The electrolytic cell of claim 1 additionally including a cover removably engaging with said tray.
3. The electrolytic cell means of claim 1 wherein said first side of said tray comprises a first enclosed elongated annulus therein, and said second side includes a second enclosed elongated annulus therein.
I 4. The electrolytic cell means of claim 3 additionally including a third annulus formed by said base of said enclosed fluid reservoir and said bottom of said tray, and sa1d first annulus and said second annulus are in communication with said third annulus.
5. The electrolytic cell means of claim 3 additionally including means attached within said tray for actuating the flow of electrical current from said electrical source.
6. The electrolytic cell means of claim 5 wherein said means for actuating said flow of said electrical current from said electrical source comprises a first magnetic member attached to said cover, a switch connected within said tray, and said first magnetic member magnetically closes said switch when said cover engages with said tray.
7. The electrolytic cell means of claim 1 wherein said first and said second trough include an electrolytic fluid which immerses said first and said second electrode.
8. The electrolytic cell means of claim 7 additionally including at least one conductive gel having a structure defined by a pliable elongated strip having an electrolytic environment mounted thereon and superimposed on said parabolic roof such that the structure thereof contours said roof and has one end immersed in said electrolytic fluid of said first trough and the opposite end immersed in said electrolytic fluid of said second trough.
9. The electrolytic cell means of claim 8 wherein said inlet and said outlet of said enclosed reservoir are removably connectable to a heat transfer fluid source, and said first electrode and said second electrode are removably connected to said electrical source.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,594,263 7/1971 Dwyer et al. 204180 SX 3,371,027 2/1968 LaPaglia et al 204-299 3,407,133 10/1968 Oliva et al 204-299 8 Csizmas et a1. 204299 XR Arquembourg 204180 G Anderson 204-299 Valmet 204299 Post, Jr. et a1. 204-299 Meshbane et a1 204-4299 JOHN H. MACK, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.