US 3829013 A
Improved apparatus for making artificial snow by simultaneously releasing a mixture of water and air under pressure through a discharge aperture into the atmosphere. Prior to discharge, the water and air mixture is forced to impinge against the concave surface of a blocking member mounted inwardly of the discharge aperture in the path of the exiting mixture. The blocking member serves to increase atomization of the water and air mixture and reduces the quantity of compressed air required to effect coverage of a given area with the artificially produced snow. In addition, the blocking member serves to significantly reduce the operating noise level of the improved snow making apparatus.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ SNOW MAKING APPARATUS  Inventor: H. Ronald Ratnik, 474 Thurston t Henson wood Rd llochester N Y ASSlStanl Exammer.]0hn LOVC Attorney, Agent, or Firm-S. A. Seinberg  Filed: Nov. 3, 1971 21 Appl. No.: 195,142  ABSTRACT Improved apparatus for making artificial snow by simultaneously releasing a mixture of water and air 2% 8 239/14 239/43 fi g g gi under pressure through a discharge aperture into the d atmosphere. Prior to discharge, the water and air mix- 1 g/ f z i' g 8 426 42 ture is forced to impinge against the concave surface 7 of a blocking member mounted inwardly of the discharge aperture in the path of the exiting mixture. The  References C'ted blocking member serves to increase atomization of the UNITED STATES PATENTS water and air mixture and reduces the quantity of 887,467 5/1908 Delcampe 239/431 X compressed air required to effect coverage of a given 949,913 2/1910 Russen... 239/431 area with the artificially produced snow. In addition, 1,050,756 l/l9l3 Wight 239/431 X th blo king member serves to significantly reduce the 1,063,913 6/1913 Cornelius 239/431 X Operating noise level of the improved Snow making 3,298,612 l/1967 Torrens 239/432 paratus 3,408,005 10/1968 Struble et a]. 239/14 3,567,1 16 3/1971 Lindlof 239/2 S 1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figures 34 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Y\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ I5 2 48 1\"\ =AK\\\ \Y\\ O J c 50 -s--- -7- |6 -z 46 54 49, l ,18 ll 22 x o 52 \\\ymx t k ,lx\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ 2\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ United States Patent 1191 Ratnik 1451 Aug. 13, 1974 s it;
\ lllllvllllv PATENTEDAUM 31914 SNOW MAKING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to snow making apparatus and, more particularly, to improved snow making apparatus having greater operating efficiency and significantly reduced operating noise level.
2. Description of the Prior Art Snow making apparatus of various types are known in the prior art. The earlier models tended to freeze up in operation and lacked sufficient covering power, that is, they were not able to cover large areas. In addition, these earlier models were useful only when the ambient temperature fell to at least 27 degrees fahrenheit. Furthermore, humidity conditions were often a limiting factor in utilizing these snow making devices, even when the ambient temperature was below its critical value. In other types of prior snow making equipment, the artificial snow produced was too wet and coarse and often created icy, dangerous conditions on the ski slopes. Still other types of snow making apparatus were known which produced artificial snow of an acceptable texture and dryness, however, their output was too limited to be practicable in commercial use save for dressing the top surface of a ski slope. Recently, some snow making apparatus has been introduced which produces artificial snow of acceptable particulate size, dryness and quantity. These newer devices, however, required large quantities of compressed air to generate sufficient artificial snow to cover a given area to a proper depth and have consequently proven to be expensive in use. Furthermore, all of the prior art snow making devices were extremely noisy in operation, a characteristic which has proven to be detrimental for modern ski resorts where the accomodations take the form of chalet type, A frame or similar units interspersed about the skiing areas. Since these areas must be covered from time to time, usually at night or in the early morning, with artificial snow, the excessive noise resulting from the operation of the prior art snow making devices is obviously disturbing to the occupants of the housing units and an impediment to thecommercial success of the particular resort.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide improved snow making apparatus which will produce acceptably dry and finely textured artificial snow.
It is another object of the present invention to provide improved snow making apparatus which will produce such artificial snow in commercially practicable quantities.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide improved snow making apparatus which will produce artificial snow of acceptable particulate size, dryness and quantity at a minimum operating cost.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide such improved snow making apparatus which is also relatively quiet in operation.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide improved snow making apparatus which will produce artificial snow of acceptable particulate size, dryness and quantity at a minimum operating cost and noise level, which apparatus is reliable in operation and can be inexpensively produced and assembled.
Accordingly, there is provided improved snow making apparatus wherein compressed air is admitted to an internal cylinder at one end thereof having a plurality of openings circumferentially spaced about the other end thereof. Water, under pressure, is admitted to a cylindrical jacket surrounding the internal cylinder and is admitted thereto through the openings therein to mix with the compressed air. The water and air mixture is then forced to impinge against the concave surface of a blocking member which is disposed in the throat of the discharge aperture.
In passing through the improved snow making apparatus, the water stream is first broken up by the circumferentially spaced openings formed in the inner cylinder into a member of smaller streams or droplets. The water droplets contained in the water and air mixture formed thereby are further broken up or reduced in size by the impingement thereof and against the blocking member. During impingement, an umbrella-shaped shield of water droplets forms immediately in front of the blocking members concave surface and serves to contain and conserve compressed air and to reduce the noise of the atomized mixture as it is discharged from the improved snow making apparatus.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above-described objects and advantages of the present invention, as well as additional advantages thereof, will more fully appear from the following exemplary detailed description and the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of improved snow making apparatus embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view, partly in section, schematically illustrating the operation of the improved snow making apparatus shown in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the blocking member shown in FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals have been used in the several views to identify corresponding elements, FIG. 1 perspectively illustrates one embodiment of the present invention. A generally tubular housing 10 is depicted having a pair of mounting lugs 12 and 14 depending therefrom. By suitable and known connection thereto, the illustrated snow making apparatus can be fixedly or adjustably mounted in a horizontal or angled position for distribution of the artificial snow being discharged therefrom.
Extending from one end of the tubular housing 10 and adapted for coupling to a source of compressed air (not shown) is the inlet end 15 of an internal hollow cylinder 16. Extending from the side of tubular housing 10 and adapted for connection to a source of water (not shown) is a short tube 19 having an entrance port 18 communicating with the passageway or conduit formed by the outer surface of cylinder 16 and the inner surface of tubular housing 10. Extending from the other end of tubular housing 10 is the discharge nozzle 20 having a discharge aperture 22 formed therein.
As is more clearly shown in FIG. 2, tubular housing 10 is formed by the union of mixing chamber 24 and the hollow cylinder 26. At their mating ends, mixing chamber 24 is provided at that end thereof with an externally cut circumferential notch 28 which accepts for sealing and structural purposes, shoulder 30 of cylinder 26. The internal surface 32 of mixing chamber 24 is threaded to accept and hold the matingly threaded outer surface of the exit end 17 of internalcylinder 16. End cap 34 is welded to the inlet end of cylinder 25 and serves to seal the inlet end of passageway 36. As is further shown in FIG. 2, the discharge nozzle 22 is threadingly mounted within the exit end of mixing chamber 24. Due to the ease of exchange, discharge nozzles of various inner diameters can be utilized depending upon the particular set of conditions encountered. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that two or more of the components of the described snow making apparatus can be joined by other suitable conventional means.
The exit end 17 of inner cylinder 16 has a plurality of openings 38 formed circumferentially in the wall thereof. As shall hereinafter more fully be explained, the openings 38 provided communication between the water passageway or conduit 36 and the air passageway or conduit 40.
Further illustrated in FIG. 2, and in FIG. 3 as well, is a blocking member 42. The blocking member 42 is welded to the exit end 17 of cylinder 16 with its inlet end 44 positioned just downstream of openings 38. The outwardly flaring inlet end 44 of blocking member 42 is connected to an anvil section 46 thereof by ribs 48, 50 and 52. The anvil section 46 is provided with a concave surface 54 which faces and is positioned in the path of the water and air mixture being discharged into the inlet end 44 of the blocking member 42.
In operation, the improved and above-described snow making apparatus works in the following manner. Compressed air is introduced via inlet into passage way 40. Typically, the air is pressurized within the range of 60 to 120 p.s.i. Water is introduced into passageway 36 via entrance port 18, typically pressurized within a range of 60 to I p.s.i. When the water stream flowing along passageway 36 reaches openings 38, it passes therethrough into the air stream in passageway 40. It will be appreciated that in passing through openings 38, the water stream is broken up into a number of much smaller streams making it relatively easy for the pressurized air stream to atomize or break up the water droplets as they enter passageway 40 via openings 38.
The resulting mixture of water and air next passes into the mixing chamber 24 where it is further acted upon to reduce the size of the water droplets in the following manner. The mixture enters chamber 24 via the inlet end 44 of the blocking member 42 and is guided by the narrowing sides thereof against concave surface 54. Initially, the water droplets impinge against and are further broken up when they strike surface 54. Almost immediately, however, an umbrella of water droplets have the general shape of surface 54 is formed adjacent thereto. The continuously flowing water and air mixture entering inlet end 44 of blocking member 42 strikes the umbrella of water droplets and the resultant collisions between water droplets and water droplets and those water droplets which pass through the umbrella to strike surface 54 significantly reduces the droplet size even further. The umbrella also acts to muffle the noise of the water and air mixture as it leaves the discharge aperture 22.
After colliding with either the umbrella of water droplets or surface 54 of anvil section 46 or both, the now smaller water droplets and some of the compressed air rushes into mixing chamber 24 between the ribs 48, 50 and 52. Expansion of the mixture within mixing chamber 24 cools the water droplets appreciably as does the subsequent expansion of the mixture as it leaves the discharge aperture 22. As the cooled and now very small water droplets enter the atmosphere, they form snow particles covering a defined and relatively large area.
The flow of water and air and the subsequent mixture thereof is schematically illustrated in FIG. 2 by the dashed arrows shown therein.
In operation, the described and illustrated improved snow making apparatus has been found to reduce the amount of compressed air required to achieve satisfactory coverage of a given area to a desired depth by at least a factor of two. Consequently, the improved snow making apparatus achieves a 50 percent saving in operating efficiency with respect to the use of compressed air, as well as a significant reduction in the operating noise level of such equipment.
Set forth below are tables illustrating the performance characteristics of the improved snow making apparatus where a 1% inch inner diameter nozzle 20 is employed. Table I shows performance characteristics for high humidity ambient conditions and Table II shows performance characteristics for low humidity ambient conditions.
TABLE I Conversion Ambient C.F.M. Air G.P.M. Water Ratio C.F.M. Temperature Consumed Consumed per G.P.M.
20F 380 84.0 4.5 l0F 430 78.0 5.5 OF SlO 68.0 7.5 IOF 560 62.0 9.0 20F 6l5 41.0 15.0 30F 705 I50 47.0
TABLE II Conversion Ambient C.F.M. Air G.P.M. Water Ratio C.F.M. 7 Temperature Consumed Consumed per G.P.M.
-2OF 360 90.0 4.0 l0F 405 81.0 5.0 OF 490 70.0 7.0 10F 520 65.0 8.0 20F 580 58.0 l0.0 30F 675 27.0 25.0
The data shown above in Tables I and II was observed with air temperature at F and at p.s.i.g. pressure and water temperature at 40F and at 100 p.s.i.g. pressure.
There has been shown and described, improved snow making apparatus having a preferred embodiment. It is to be understood, however, that various modifications or alterations in and to its construent elements may occur to and be made by those having skill in this art without departing from the spirit of the invention. Consequently, it will be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to the precise details or arrangement set forth by way of example above.
1. Improved snow making apparatus utilizing water and air to produce artificial snow, said apparatus comprising:
a. a first tubular member having a first passageway therein, for admitting air thereto and an exit end, said exit end having a plurality of openings circumferentially formed in the wall thereof;
b. a second tubular member positioned about said first tubular member to define-a second passageway therebetween, said second pasageway communicating with said first passageway only via said plurality of openings, said second tubular member having an entrance port communicating with said second passageway for admitting water thereto;
c. mixing chamber means connected to the exit ends of said first and second tubular members for permitting expansion and mixing of water and air ,7 reias d. blocking means positioned in said mixing chamber means at the entrance thereto for breaking up and reducing the size of water droplets entering said chamber means, said blocking means including i. an inlet end communicating with said first passageway after water has been introduced thereto and mixed with the air via said plurality of openings;
ii. an anvil section having a concave surface, facing said inlet end, positioned in the path of the water and air mixture; and
iii. a plurality of spaced ribs defining openings therebetween joining said inlet end and said anvil section.
e. discharge means connected to said mixing chamber means for discharging the water droplets to the