US 3818269 A
The present invention deals with ion producing means for the treatment of atmospheric air and like gaseous media environments and the like, and more specifically refers to an air treatment system through ionization in rooms, enclosures and the like. The creation of small ions as chosen unipolar carriers takes place in predetermined concentrations and at relatively high mobility by corona discharge, while ozone generation, nitric oxides and like concomitant formations of this type are reduced to a very negligible and almost no more detectable amount. In producing negative ions through controlled negative high voltage discharge pulses, ozone is also absent in the presence of a relatively high humid atmosphere.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Stark SYSTEM FOR ION PRODUCTION  Inventor: Walter Otto Stark, P.O. Box 1, 6983 Magliaso-Lugano, Switzerland  Filed: May 25, 1972  Appl. No.: 256,927
 Foreign Application Priority Data Primary Examiner-L. T. l-lix Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Marvin Feldman; J. B. Felshin  ABSTRACT The present invention deals with ion producing means [111 3,818,269 June 18, 1974 for the treatment of atmospheric air and like gaseous media environments and the like, and more specifically refers to an air treatment system through ionization in rooms, enclosures and the like. The creation of small ions as chosen unipolar carriers takes place in predetermined concentrations and at relatively high mobility by corona discharge, while ozone generation, nitric oxides and like concomitant formations of this type are reduced to a very negligible and almost no more detectable amount. In producing negative ions through controlled negative high voltage discharge pulses, ozone is also absent in the presence of a relatively high humid atmosphere.
lon production system pursuant to the invention employs one or more emission needles with electrostatic field or fields established thereabout and preferably parabolic-shaped reflector means rearwardly of the needle or needles and of the same unipolar charge for focusing, accelerating and controlling ion emission conditions. Consequently the invention relates to a system for producing ions in predetermined concentrations, preferably of over 5 sk (propagating capacity) at high mobility k, while substantially suppressing or keeping to a minimum the content of ozone and the like undesirable constituents of atmospheric air.
11 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures 1 SYSTEM FOR ION PRODUCTION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION An apparatus for reflectively discharging positive or negative ions into atmospheric air at atmospheric pressure within enclosed areas, such as room has been known.
There are further known devices which continuously emit both positive and negative ions together and which are equipped with means for selectively filtering ions of one or the other polarity and circulate those not filtered ions throughout such rooms or enclosures.
Ions may result from natural ionization processes, but also from the action of electrical fields, of thermionic (heater) emission and the like.
All these known ion producing installations have numerous disadvantages and shortcomings, which do not consider the presence of substantial amounts of harmful ozone and other undesirable attendant substances, and neglect the formation of active small" air ions of relative great mobility in order to attain, among other things, rapid air treatment and clean-up of the surrounding medium.
Atmospheric ions, of which (O (N H 0+ (H O),,, N0 C0 (H O)+, (H 0) have been found to be the most frequent components to occur in a pure atmosphere close to the floorof a room, ground surroundings, etc. in quantities between 500 and 2,000 ions per Co. The ratio of positive to negative ions prevailing in free nature is about 5:4.
Atmospheric ions and hence the conductivity of air result from the ionizing effect of radioactive substances, cosmic radiation and through lightning discharges. This knocks one or more electrons out of the electron phase of an atom or molecule. These ionized atoms or molecules soon are deposited onto or accumulate to a neutral atom or molecule forming positive or negative atomic or molecular ions. Ten to twelve molecule additions form a complex'termed small ions (in distinction to intermediate and large ions). The conductivity of the air results largely from the mobility of these small ions according to the equation wherein n n is equal to the number of positive or negative small ions per cc (cm k,, k mobility of the positive or negative small ions in m /voltsec e elementary charge of 1.6 X Coulomb A conductivity in Ohm X m The concentration of the air ions in the atmosphere is counted and measured in number of ions per cc; the production capacity of an ion generator is expressed in sk values. One sk corresponds by known definition to 10 single ions of a charge 2 measured at a distance of about 30 cm from the emitter needle of the generator.
In a large number of tests it was found that the conductivity of the air, as well as the physiological effects of the atmospheric or air ions on human beings, animals and plants derive exclusively from small ions. According to the above mentioned formula for the conductivity of the air (atmospheric environment) it is evident that, at given ion number, it depends primarily on the mobility k. k generally ranges between 1 and 2 X 10 m /Vsec. The greater k is, the greater will be the conductivity, or in the case of therapeutic application, the physiological effect. The more reduced the mass of the small ions is, the higher will be the value of k. But to obtain efiicacious therapeutic or technical effects through atmospheric ions, it has been now discovered that ion capacities of over sk with ion mobilities of k greater than 1.5 must be used or assigned to the applied treatment or procedure.
These conditions have not so far been attainable simultaneously with any of the employed ion generator systems. Tritium sources which are known to generate active small ions, although in limited quantity, are not without any hazard. High voltage generators as developed through electrostatic charges, can generate polar or bipolar high-voltage discharges, but they evolve major quantities of ozone and air ion capacities which are below 5 sk. The same is true of atmospheric ion generators operating on the thermal process principle.
SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION The invention deals with the problem of developing a system by which atmospheric ions can be generated in higher concentrations of over 50 sk with most extensive exclusion of presence of ozone.
It has accordingly been found that small ions of the one or the other polarity at a mobility greater than 1.5 X 10" m Vsec and substantially ozone-free according to the chemical detecting efficiency by the known measuring method of Treadwell, are attainable if the unipolar high-voltage discharge is carried out via needle point or points in short pulses of at least l/500 sec. To this end, high-voltage peaks, for example of 6, 12 to kV can be produced in the above mentioned or longer intervals. This is achieved in that highvoltage capacitors are charged to the peak value by a pulse train and are then brought to partial discharge via corona needle point or points. The air molecules surrounding the needle point and in particular at the glow discharge region, 0 N CO H O, are thus partially subjected to ionization. Simultaneously one produces by means of the pulsating high voltage a strong electrical field homopolar in relation to the air ions, so that one obtains an appreciable ion wind, which causes propagation into and focusing of atmospheric ions in space and at the same time feeds non-polarized air toward the emitter needle. The hereinafter described system is of decisive importance and has not been realizable with previously known principles for the reason that stagnating, already polarized air is caused by additional high-voltage discharges to undergo undesired chemical reactions, namely to O (NO NO H O(O which until now, had to be accepted as contamination or pollution components.
It is therefore one of the important objects of the present invention to provide means rendering the possibility of pulse discharge ion generation of high efficiency and concentration control, with concomitantly generated ozone quantity in very negligible amount.
It is another object of the present invention to provide means resulting in either negative or positive gaseous (air) or hydro-ions in dependency on the conversion and/or adjustment of the generator system employable in carrying out the contemplated aims and technical application of the invention.
It is a further object of the invention to provide means conducive to a convenient adjustability of the frequency of the pulse sequence of high voltage discharge systems, which enable a discharge frequency substantially between 0.9 and lOl-I,
Yet another object of the invention is to provide means taking into consideration the use of electronic accessories (e.g. control diodes, trigger diodes, zenerdiode, etc.), which will not be subjected to exhaustive or slackening influences or effects, but are rather usable in commercial continuous service at median rated output or load, sothat the life of the ion generator system will not be disturbed and is substantially devoid of supervisory control and surveillance.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide means leading to the avoidance of critical frequency ranges at preselected potentials, such as 40 to 80 H and 4 to kV heretofore employed in generators for ion production. through high voltage application.
Still another object of the present invention resides in the provision of means contributing to a focused and propelled launching of ions into a chosen area of a gaseous air conditioned medium formation adjacent corona needle point or points, whereby ions will be bunched in rays of searchlight fashion, e. g. at increased kV air'ions to be propelled within about 2 seconds a distance of more than 6 meters.
A still further object of the invention is to provide means imparting a parabolic reflector formation to an instrumentality with predetermined potential and disposed rearwardly of chosen ion emission via needle or needles to bring about a substantially uniform distribution of ions of selected polarity within an enclosure or room with thermal or other air circulation condition or for other technical applications in textile and similar industries.
The invention contemplates further means facilitating quick and efficacious riddance of undesirable air particles, microorganisms and other germ carrying diminutive masses from ambientsurroundings in very efficient and highly economical method and apparatus for performing such method.
These and other objects and advantages are derived from the ensuing description of certain embodiments of the invention and from the attached drawings, the latter being exemplary and explanatory of the principles of the invention and being in no way restrictive thereof.
I BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS of a series of reflection means and needles with their pointed ends (preferably placed in the focal point of the respective parabolical reflection means).
DESCRIPTION OF TI-IEINVENTION Referring more particularly to the attached drawings there is shown in FIG. 1 a side elevational view of an apparatus which contains besides transformer Tr a printed circuit Pr shown in greater detail in FIG. 2. From the secondary of transformergenerator Tr leads a connection via high voltage rectifier HD to conductor 11 which is connected to high voltage capacitors C to C7 and resistor R to a needle 12 provided in holder 13. The casing 10 encloses all the vital parts of ion generating means (in this particular case, for producing negative ions), while the needle 12 proper extends from within casing 10 therewithout and terminates in needle end or point 12a. Around the needle end there is provided an open cage-like insulating and protecting safety attachment 14, which can be omitted, if desired, especially if the ion producing system according to the invention is arranged on the ceiling or on a bracket in the upper region of a room and the like.
Rearwardly of the needle arrangement there is pro vided as part of the housing 10 a parabolically-shaped recess 15 which preferably accommodates a suitable metal layer 15a which is negatively loaded or connected to the negative polarity of the system. If the needle point 12a forms the focal point of parabolic reflector means 15 the emission of negative ions may be accelerated and enhanced. However, it is not necessary that the needle point 12a be so located.
It is to be stated that attachment 14 is completely accessible to the surrounding atmosphere and in no way impedes the reflector effects of metallic layer 15a.
As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2 the cable conduit 16 to rec tifier diode D and capacitor C, and to the primary of the transformer aggregate Tr may be connected to any suitable supply source (AC).
The printed circuit Pr incorporates the diode switching or control circuit 20, which comprises rectifier diode D3, Zener (breakdown) diode D4 and trigger diode D5 and further resistor R2 as well as diode D2, which is activated through the primary to cut off the positive peak part of positive oscillations, as will be later on mentioned during the description of two following examples.
Circuit means seen in FIG. 3 are substantially the same as those of FIG. 3 in which the positive pole and negative pole of the primary appear in reversed order, whereas the rectifier HD is also reversed in connection with the secondary winding of Tr. The circuit system of FIG. 3 is employable, e.g. for developing positive ions at needle point 12a.
The values indicated for the various conductor components including resistors and capacitors have been indicated in FIG. 2 for exemplary and not for restrictive purposes and may be varied for all practical plans.
FIG. 4 shows on a somewhat enlarged scale the coop eration of a single reflection means 15 with negative charged layer 15a together with needle 12 and its needle point 12a for the emission of beams 18a of emerging ions, which are, in this case, negatively charged and are accelerated and focused for movement according to arrows 18a, while non-ionized air will then be moved 7 atmospheric zone through corona discharge which is concentrated around and adjacent needle point 12a.
As previously stated the new ion production system is applicable to pollution suppression, to dedusting of waste gases for plants through ion loading of gas particles and to the treatment of textile materials in connec' tion with destaticiser instrumentalities.
FIG. 5 in contradistinction to FIG. 4 illustrates schematically respective connections 18 (e.g. via bananashaped plug means, not shown) with casing and with a series of ion emission needles 12b, 12c, 12d and l2e rearwardly of which respective metallic reflectors 15b, 15c, 15d and l5e are arranged for ion emission, as previously referred to, especially for the treatment of larger areas of air and other fluids, for example, below the ceiling or from a board 19 of an enclosure and the like. The principle on which such an array of emission needles is based, which are operatively connected to the circuitry in casing 10, housing also conductor means and ion generating means as disclosed in FIG. 2 or 3, remains otherwise unchanged.
. Casing 10 may also be constructed, so that it encompasses both systems as seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, but suitably insulated from each other, so that respective series of emission needles will discharge desired ions of positive and negative polarities at predetermined distances from each other for respective separate purposes, as it is well understood.
In order to further elucidate the principles of this invention reference is now made to two examples relating primarily to the diagrammatic illustration of FIG. 2.
EXAMPLE I In the circuit diagram of FIG. 2 there is disclosed a high-voltage generator Tr for the excitation of unipolar, negative atmospheric ions, with k value greater than 1.5 m /V.sec, sk value being preferably greater than 50. This generator consists of a high-voltage transformer of the commercial type, say, with a trans mission ratio of 1:90. To obtain, for example, 13 kV of secondary voltage, about 144 V are thus necessary in the primary generator part. The codirectional input current of 220 V flows from the current supply line via a series-resistor R, to a capacitor C, which is to be charged in the positive half-wave. Via the low-ohm primary winding of the transformer Tr this potential is fed to the anode of controllable rectifier diode D whose path leads to the gate. Base and diode path of controllable rectifier D are connected via a Zener diode D, of 120 V to trigger diode D which undergoes at 32 V a negative breakdown and thus ignites D (diode control circuit). When the voltage at the anode of diode D has risen to about 150 V, the diode becomes activated and conductive. Diode D breaks down and discharges a small charge part of capacitor C, onto the gate of D Simultaneously the ignition is initiated and C, discharges via the primary winding of the high-voltage transformer. Thus 150 V are transferred to the secondary side of the transformer, where a single negative voltage pulse occurs.
By the self-capacity of the coil and its inductivity an oscillation is set up which causes the voltage to reverse its direction. On the primary side the diode D becomes activated. It cuts ofi the otherwise occurring primary peak. Due to this overshoot the controllable rectifier carries no voltage for an instant and returns to nonconducting state. Since the capacitor C, was previously not discharged to zero, it takes only a few milliseconds until the voltage has risen to 150 V and a new breakmember, the frequency of the discharge can be predetermined.
EXAMPLE II It has been found that on one hand the production of small ions decreases at natural or proper frequencies of over 50,000 Hz, and that on the other hand with increasing pulse frequency, ozone production also increases. Both are undesirable. In many cases it is also advantageous to make the pulses of the high-voltage discharge variable, so as to adjust the optimum for therapeutic, as well as to technical applications. An optimum physiological small ion production can be at tained, for example, at 500 1000 Hz when using them as hydro-ions for the treatment of asthma. Since in the treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract ozone must be considered as a respiratory poisonous medium, the aforesaid low frequency is particularly suitable. For the continuous after-treatment of patients one can add to the room air or may enrich same with atmospheric ions with the same ion generator through variable frequency, for example at 50,000 Hz, whereby a strong ion propagation takes place. This is achieved by inserting in the electronic circuit shown in Example I an additional R-C member with variable R and/or variable C within the primary circuit (e.g. R 100 and C 1000 P).
Instead of using negative high voltage, as in the above examples, also positive high voltage (FIG. 3) can be generated by the employment of the same circuit, by reversing the polarity of the junctions to the secondary part of the transformer and to the high-voltage diode (HD).
It is of importance and novel concept that by the pulsating high-voltage discharge and the electric field connected before the corona emission, undesired chemical reactions of the air components with one another are suppressed and ozone formation be minimized. While previously hydroxy reactions were believed to be brought to naught at 6 kV (regarded as the upper limit) according to the invention high voltages of kV and up to several kV can be used. It is thus possible for the first time to produce ion capacities previously regarded to be not realizable and practicable.
By the selection of high voltages as herein stated, the frequency of the discharge pulses at the corona point or points, and the form and size of the electric field established which is built up behind the corona and can be self-regulating, it is possible for the first time to realize technical applications in the elimination of static effects in the textile industry, or for improving plant growth in greenhouses, as well as therapeutic applications through the use of clearly defined pure atmospheric and hydro ions.
Reverting to Example I, it is to be noted that capacitor Cl is charged via resistor R, in the positive half wave. Zener diode D, has the Zener potential of V,
the trigger diode D triggers at 32 V a negative breakthrough, thereby igniting the controllable rectifier circuit 20.
As soon as the potential at the anode of D is increased to approximately 150 V the diodeline becomes conductive 120 V l- 32 V), D, breaks through and discharges a small portion of the capacitor C, to the gate of D At the same microsecond the ignition will be started and C is discharged via eg the primary of an autotransformer, so that a single negative potential impulse is originated. Due to the capacitance of the transformer coil and the inductivity thereof an oscillation is caused, which induces the directional reversal of the potential.
Thereby diode D is activated on the primary side it cuts off the otherwise produced positive primary peak.
By the overshoot the controllable rectifier will be for a short instant without voltage, i.e., no current will flow anymore, therefore it returns to the blocking condition. Thereafter the same cycle starts anew. If the potential has then again increased to 150 V, a new breakthrough will occur. The generator is so dimensioned that per one positive half wave three high voltage impulses are generated. When now the negative half wave arrives the residual potential remaining on capacitor C, is discharged via diode D As a consequence thereof the current flows only via resistor R and diode D The voltage in theentire remaining circuitry becomes substantially zero (about 0.7 V in the case of the use of asilicon diode).
It can thus be seen that there has been provided pursuant to the invention a system for producing unipolar small ions by means of high voltage generator means connected to circuit means; comprising at least one corona discharge needle terminating in a point, conductor means operatively connected to said needle point and forming part of said generator circuit means, said needle point being linked via said generator means to the emission of pulsating discharge of unipolar voltage, a homopolar electric field formable adjacent said corona needle point, and reflection means disposed rearwardly of said needle and cooperable therewith, said reflection means being provided with the same unipolar voltage, thereby to accelerate and focus said pulsating discharge ions into a medium substantially directed forwardly of saidrieedle point.
It is to be understood from the aforementioned disclosure that the system herein contemplated lends itself to a great variety of embodiments and may be modified or altered within the concept of this invention and within the scope of the claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In a system for emitting unipolar small ions via high voltage generator means connected to circuit means including one or more conductor needles each terminating in a needle point for high potential discharge to condition a corona effect; the combination of a transformer provided on its primary side with controllable conductor means including a rectifier diode, a zener diode and a trigger diode, with a capacitor cooperable with said conductor means, and a high voltage rectifier diode operatively connected to a series of high voltage capacitors on the secondary side for effectuating said high potential needle point discharge to obtain homopolar ionization, and wherein the frequency of said discharge of said small ions providable at a frequency range of from about 0.9 to about 10 Hz.
2. In a system according to claim 1, including a further rectifier diode on said primary side and connected for coaction with said capacitor to dissipate any residual voltage from the latter.
3. In a system according to claim 1, characterized in that the range of high voltage discharge amounts to about 10 to 18 kV.
4. In a system according to claim 1, characterized in that the mobility k of small ions is greater than lm /Volt sec.
5. In a system according to claim 1, characterized in that the range of high voltage discharge amounts to about 10 to over kV.
6. In a system according to claim 1, characterized in that the concentration of said unipolar atmospheric ions is greater than 50 sk.
7. A system for producing unipolar small ions through high voltage generator means operatively connected to circuit means; comprising at least one corona discharge needle terminating in a point, conductor means forming part of said generator circuit means and operatively connected to said needle point, said needle point being linked via said generator means for the emission of a pulsating discharge of unipolar voltage, a homopolar electric field forwardly of and adjacent said corona needle point, electrically chargeable concave reflection means disposed rearwardly of and adjacent said needle point so that said needle point is disposed within the curvature of said concave reflection means and for cooperation therewith, so that said reflection means are provided with the same unipolar voltage, and means focusing and accelerating ions via said needle point in a medium of air, aerosol and the like.
8. A system according to claim 7, said reflection means being of parabolical formation, and a conductive layer on said reflection means carrying the same unipolar potential as said needle point and ions emanating therefrom. I
9. A system according to claim 7, said needle point being protected against contact by an operator through safety means located in the proximity of said needle.
10. A system for-producing unipolar small ions in air comprising high voltage generator means, circuit means operatively connected to said high voltage generator means, said circuit means comprising at least one conductor needle terminating in a needle point for high potential discharge to effect a corona discharge, a transformer providedon its primary side with conductor means including a rectifier diode, a zener diode and a trigger diode; a resistor; a capacitor in series with said resistor and operable with said conductor means; and on the secondary side of the transformer, a high voltage diode operatively connected to a series of high voltage capacitors so that pulses pass via the high voltage rectifier diode to one of said capacitors for effectuating said high potential needle point discharge to effect homopolar ionization of the air, and electrically chargeable concave reflection means disposed rearwardly of and adjacent said needle point so that said needle point-is disposed within the curvature of said concave reflection means and for cooperation .herewith, so that said reflection means and said needle point are at the same unipolar voltage, and means focusing and accelerating said ions of the ionized air, and wherein the ionized air is substantially free of ozone.
11. The system of claim 10 wherein the primary resistor and series capacitor factors provide a frequency of discharge of said ions of from about 0.9 to about 10 Hz. l =l l