US 3805825 A
A unitary pneumatic flow director comprising a casing with a plurality of inlet ports and an outlet port. The casing interior is a reference chamber which communicates between the inlet ports and outlet port. A pressure responsive valve is concentrically aligned with each inlet port. The valves control the normal flow of fluid through their respective inlet ports into the reference chamber in response to external pressures exerted at the mouth of thier inlet ports and provide a restricted reverse flow of fluid which may act as a scouring stream for the inoperative section of a cyclic fluid system.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Lovin ham A r. 23 1974  UNITARY PNEUMATIC FLOW DIRECTOR 3,451,422 6/1969 Chorkey 137/525  Inven or: Joseph JlLovingham, Madison NJ. 3,550,612 12/1970 Maxon 137/112  Assignee: Wm. Steinen, Mfg. Co., Parsippany, Primary Examiner-William R, Cline N J Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Ostrolenk, Faber, Gerb &
S ff 22 Filed: Feb. 22, 1972  Appl. No.: 228,141  1 ABSTRACT A unitary pneumatic flow director comprising a casing  U S C] 137/512 137/513 3 with a plurality of inlet ports and an outlet port. The  15/62 casing interior is a reference chamber which commu-  Fieid l2 5 513 3 nicates between the inlet ports and outlet port. A pres- 1337/51 5] sure responsive valve is concentrically aligned with each inlet port. The valves control the normal flow of  References Cited fluid through their respective inlet ports into the reference chamber in response to external pressures ex- UNITED STATES PATENTS erted at the mouth of thier inlet ports and provide a Audemar X restricted reverse flow of may act 3 1,202,263 10/19l6 Harvey scouring stream for the inoperative section of a cyclic 1,734,292 11/1929 Gonzalez fluid system 2,138,988 12/1938 Thomas 2,318,962 5/1943 Parker 137/5133 1 Claim, 6 Drawing Figures k L\ Y BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a unitary pneumatic flow director including a cooperating valve arrangement, and more particularly to a unitary pneumatic flow director through which a restricted reverse flow of a fluid is permitted to provide a scouring stream adapted to purge a portion of a system in which the flow director is integrally connected.
This invention further relates to an improved apparatus for fractionating gaseous mixtures. One specific adaptation of the invention relates to the drying of a gase ous mixture, such as air, by removal of water vapor.
As disclosed in C. W. Skarstrom U.S. Pat. No. 2,944,627 issued July 12, 1960, prior pneumatic flow directors have been complex, integral and discrete. Such pneumatic flow directors complicate the processes in which they are used and are difficult to maintain.
This invention provides a simplified pneumatic flow director which is unitary, easy to maintain and which may include as few as two moving parts.
Other advantages of this invention will become apparent from the description that follows.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly, this pneumatic flow director comprises a casing with a plurality of inlet ports and an outlet port. The casing interior is a reference chamber which communicates between the inlet ports and outlet port. A pressure responsive valve is concentrically aligned with each inlet port. The valves control the normal flow of fluidthrough their respective inlet ports into the reference chamber in response to external pressures exerted at the mouth of their ports.
Each valve includes means for normally biasing and sealing the inlet port with which it is aligned to restrict or prevent the entry of fluid therethrough. However, each valve includes a by-pass orifice which communicates between its aligned inlet and the reference chamber. A portion of the fluid that inlets into the reference chamber through a first inlet port exits the reference chamber from a second inlet port through the by-pass orifice in the valve normally aligned with such second inlet port. The by-pass orifice is narrow in relation to the outlet port with which it is aligned and the bulk of the fluid entering the reference chamber exits through the outlet port.
Specifically.,'this invention relates to apparatus for fractionating gaseous mixtures. One specific adaptation of the invention relates to the drying of a gaseous mixture, such as air, by removal of water vapor therefrom. The apparatus is of the type including separate first and second chamber vessels which contain an adorbent material, such as zeolitic molecular'sieves, activated carbon, activated alumina, silica gel, glass wool, adsorbent cotton, soft tissue paper and the like. Vapor laden gas is cyclically alternated through each vessel and the bulk of the dry effluent is removed from the system. At least a portion of the dry effluent product is recirculated through the alternate adsorber vessels to purge the system of adsorbed moisture and scour the adsorbent material contained within the vessels.
Particularly, inlet conduit means are connected to each chamber vessel. Valve means regulate, control and alternate the flow of the gaseous mixture from vessel to vessel. Effluent product is alternately removed from each vessel through outlet conduit means. The unitary pneumatic flow director is connected in said outlet conduit means to regulate vessel and provide a restricted reverse flow of dry effluent product alternately through the adsorbent chamber vessels to scour same and remove adsorbed moisture therefrom.
In prior art fractionating apparatus, such as that shown in the aforementioned Skarstrom U.S. Pat. No. 2,944,627, a complex five valve system is required to regulate the flow of dry effluent product which exits alternatively through the first and second chamber vessels and provides the restricted reverse flow necessary to purge moisture from the system. The pneumatic flow director of this invention comprises a unitary arrangement including two valve assemblies which perform the regulatory, control and purge functions which previously were performed by an inter-locking five valve system. This simplification of the fractionating apparatus represents a significant advantage. Further, this simplified system is easier to maintain than the prior art apparatus.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention may be fully understood in conjunction with the following drawings in which:
FIG. 1 shows, in schematic, the prior art Skarstrom' fractionating apparatus;
FIG. 2 shows, in schematic, a fractionating apparatus according to the present invention, illustrating the pneumatic flow director adapted to regulate and control the flow of effluent product through the system;
FIG. 3 is a vertical section taken through one embodiment of the pneumatic flow director of this invention which may be adapted for use in conjunction with the apparatus shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view, partly in section, of another embodiment of the pneumatic flow director of this invention which may be adapted for use in conjunction with the apparatus shown in FIG. 2; I
FIG. 5 is a side elevation of the pressure responsive valve partly shown, in section, in FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken generally in the direction of 6-6 of FIG. 4.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to FIG. 3, a casing 10 is shown having opposed concentric inlet ports 11, 12, outlet port 13, and referenceor plenum chamber 14. Casing 10 carries pressure responsive valves 15,16. Valves'l5y16are, respectively, concentrically aligned with inlet ports, 12. Thus, valves 15, 16, respectively, regulate and control the flow of fluid through inlet ports 11, 12.
Valves 15, 16 areuni-directional and include poppets 17, 18 and spring biases 19, 20; One end of each spring bias is compressibly mounted within casing 10, which is provided with two pairs of internal supports 2l-22 and 23-24 to align and support springs 19 and 20, respectively. The end of springs 19, 20 farthest from inlet ports 11, 12 are supported in casing 10, respectively, at internal supports 21-22 and 23-24%. The other end of each spring bias 19, 20, nearest respective inlet ports 11, 12 respectively, engages poppets 17, 18.
Valve 16 is shown ina normal closed position in which poppet 18 is spring loaded to close against seating surface 25in casing 10 to thereby seal inlet port 12 and prevent any low pressure fluid from flowing therethrough.
Valve 15 is shown in an open position with fluid under pressure flowing therethrough into reference chamber 14.
Each of poppets or valve members 17, 18 is provided with a by-pass orifice 26, 27 through which a restricted reverse flow of fluid may pass.
In operation, the application of a pressure at inlet port 11, higher than the pressure at inlet port 12, causes poppet 17 to compress spring bias 19 and move toward the right opening inlet port 11; simultaneously the inlet flow through inlet port 12 is restricted since poppet 18 is seated in seating surface 25, and the only flow of fluid which occurs through inlet port 12 occurs in the reverse direction by virtue of the small by-pass orifice 27 which communicates between reference chamber 14 and inlet port 12.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 4, and 6, casing 110 carries valves 115, 116 which respectively seal inlet ports 111, 112. Each valve 115, 116 normally seals the inlet port 111, 112, respectively, with which it is aligned. Each valve member or bodies 115, 116 includes a flanged valve head 133, 134 mounted on a reduced diameter threaded member such as 137. Casing 110 is cut away at the top of FIG. 4 to show valve 115 in detail, however, in this embodiment, valves 115 and 1 16 are identically made. Parts of valve 1 16 within casing 110 are not, therefore, separately described. The casing interior in proximity to inlet ports 111, 112 is provided with complementary threaded portions adapted to receive rotatable member 137. Rotatable member 137 is provided with a plurality of radial bores or apertures 111. Fluid flowing through inlet ports 111, 112 enters reference chamber 114 through apertures 111'. Most of the fluid would then flow from reference or plenum chamber 114 to outlet port 113. If fluid has entered through inlet port 112 then in addition to fluid flow through outlet port 113, some fluid would also flow in a reverse direction through by-pass 126 to inlet port 111. O-ring 119 sits in annular groove 138 and normally seals apertures 111'. By-pass orifice 126 communicates between reference chamber 114 and both inlet ports 111 and 112.
When pressure is applied at inlet port 111, O-ring 119 is urged outwardly and away from apertured annular groove 138 and fluid enters reference chamber 114 through apertures 111. On the other hand, when pressure is applied at inlet port 112, a reverse flow of fluid passes from reference chamber 1 14 in reverse direction through inlet port 111 by virtue of the by-pass orifice 126 which communicates between reference chamber 114 and inlet port 111. Gasket 143 seals valve 115 against casing 110.
Referring now toFIG. 1, which shows a prior art apparatus in which air, for instance, is cyclically routed through adsorber units to extract moisture therefrom, numerals 201 and 202 designate respective adsorber vessels. Each vessel is fully packed with an adsorbent material.
Each vessel is equipped with conduit connections providing for the passage of moisture laden air through vessels 201 and 202. Numbers 205 and 206 respectively designate combined input and purge conduits for respective vessels 201 and 202, and numerals 207 and 208 correspondingly designate dry air discharge conduits. Each of the conduits 205 and 206 is connected at its outer end to a common inlet manifold conduit 209 and each of the conduits 207 and 208 are, in turn, connected to a common discharge manifold conduit 210. Moisture laden air is introduced into the system through conduit 211, while conduit 213 connects with discharge manifold 210 to provide for the discharge of product dry air.
Numerals 203 and 204 designate respective elements of a pair of three-port, flow-switching valves connected to the manifold 209 on opposite sides of the connection thereto of the feed or supply conduit 211, and respectively intermediate such connection and the conduits 205 and 206. In the respective valves 203 and 204, the ports are designated by the letters a, b and c. In each valve, port a is connected to that portion of the manifold 209 communicating directly with supply conduit 21 1; port b is connected to that portion of the manifold communicating directly with a corresponding input and purge conduit such as 205 and 206; and air which has been used to purge moisture from the system exhausts through port c.
Valves 203 and 204 are preferably adapted for automatic, cyclical operation to alternately connect one of the vessels 201, 202 through their respective conduit connections 205 and 206 and manifold 209, with either supply conduit 211 or purge discharge ports 203a and 204s respectively. Valves 203 and 204 may be actuated by means of solenoids or manually or by other equivalent conventional means, such as a cycle timing device.
In the apparatus illustrated, valve 204 has been actuated to provide for purge discharge from the vessel 202 by way of valve ports 204i) and 2040. At the same time, or slightly in advance, valve 203 has been actuated to provide for introduction of vapor laden air into vessel 201 through conduits 21 1, 209 and 205 by way of valve ports 203a and 203b. By subsequent operation fo the valves, an opposite relationship of the valves to their respective conduits and communicating vessels is provided, thereby completing a regular process cycle.
Referring to the conduit connections which include conduits 207 and 208 and manifold 210, the latter is provided with a branch conduit connection 221 in which pressure reducing control valve 221a is disposed. Valve 221s may exercise control to maintain a constant pressure at its outlet port. Flow through the valve 2210 is always in the direction indicated by the arrows.
Numeral 222 designates a conduit cross-section between conduits 207 and 208, and includes check valves 222a and 222b adapted to close against flow from and to open for flow toward conduits 207 and 208, respectively. Check valves 210a and 2l0b respectively provide against flow through conduit 210 in the direction of respective vessels 201 and 202 with which these'conduits communicate.
According to one aspect, the pneumatic flow director 10 or of this invention may be used in conjunction with the apparatus of the type shown in FIG. 1. When it is used therein, the apparatus may be simplified because conduits 221, 222 and valves 221e, 222a and 222b may be eliminated therefrom. The pneumatic flow director 10 or 110 accomplishes the same functions with two valves that the prior art required fiv valves to accomplish.
Referring now to FIG. 2', pneumatic flow director 310 may be connected in conduit 210.'Thus, the pneumatic flow director 10 of FIG. 3 or the pneumatic flow director 110 of FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 could be used with the dotted lines of 310. Conduit 212 now connects with the outlet port (such as 13 of flow director or 113 of flow director 110) in the pneumatic flow director casing. The same numbers refer to identical elements in FIGS. 1 and 2 for the sake of clarity. In FIG. 2, valves 203 and 204 are in the same positions as shown in FIG. 1. As valves 203 and 204 are arranged in FIG. 2, vapor laden air enters the system through conduit 211 and passes through the system in the direction of the solid arrows. The purge which enters the system through bypass orifice 327 and scours vessel 202, passes through the system in the direction of the dotted arrows.
When valves 203 and 204 are actuated to reverse the inlet flow of vapor laden air through conduit 206 and vessel 202, the functions of valves 315 and 316 are reversed and vessel 201 is scoured by the purge stream entering conduit 207 through by-pass orifice 326.
While the present invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments and their adaptation to a specific arrangement of elements for the fractionation of vapor laden air, these embodiments are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not to be construed as limiting the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.
What is claimed is: l. A valve assembly for fluid pressure lines adapted for a reverse flow therethrough including in combination:
a casing having an outlet port and a plurality of inlet ports, each of said last mentioned ports including a valve seat, the positioning of said plurality of inlet ports being such so as to define and communicate with a plenum chamber, said outlet port communicating with said plenum chamber;
a plurality of internal supports disposed at and supported from the interior periphery of said casing so as to extend partially into said plenum chamber;
a plurality of valve members adapted to seat on the respective one of the valve seats of each of said plurality of inlet ports;
a by-pass orifice disposed through and along the central longitudinal axis of each of said plurality of valve members to permit a reverse fluid flow therethrough and adapted to couple the respective one of each of said plurality of inlet ports to said plenum chamber; and
a plurality of helical springs interposed between one face of each of said plurality of valve members and at least a pair of said plurality of internal supports to thereby bias the respective ones of said plurality of valve members against its respective valve seat so that the application of fluid pressure at an inlet port lifts the respective one of said plurality of valve members from blocking the respective one of said plurality of inlet ports to thereby allow a fluid flow around said respective one of said plurality of valve bodies into said plenum chamber and egress said outlet port while the other ones of said plurality of valve bodies experience a reverse flow of fluid therethrough.