US 3838822 A
A self-cleaning spray button design especially for use on aerosol valves for spraying starch. The discharge passageway within the button comprises an inlet from the valve stem leading into an annular expansion chamber which connected with a swirl chamber just behind the discharge outlet. Additionally, the orifice land of the terminal orifice tapers outwardly thereby restricting the diameter of the spray pattern.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 1111 3,838,822 Ewald 1 Oct. 1, 1974 [5 VALVE BUTTON 3,138,301 6/1964 Ward 2391579 x 1761 Inventor: Ronald Ewald, 2700 Cardinal 31555333 1311322 iitfiffi:iiiijii.... 1131113335233;
Ronlng Meadows, 60008 3,226,040 12/1965 Briechle et a1 239/573 x  Filed: Oct. 30, 3,266,678 8/1966 Green 239/579 X 1 1 Appl- NO-I 301,874 Primary Examine rM. Henson Wood, Jr.
Related US. Application Data Division of Ser. No. 74,770, Sept. 23, 1970, Pat. No. 3,71 1,031, which is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 727,511, May 8, 1968, Pat. No. 3,570,770.
US. Cl. 239/596, 239/601 Int. Cl 305!) 1/34 Field of Search 239/579, 573, 596, 601,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/1963 Nesin 239/579 X Assistant Examiner-Michael Y. Mar Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Stein and Orman [5 7] ABSTRACT 2 Claims, 21 Drawing Figures VALVE BUTTON This application is a division of Ser. No. 74,770, filed Sept. 23, 1970, now US. Pat. No. 3,71 1,031 which in turn is a continuatiomin-part of Ser. No. 727,51 1, filed May 8, 1968, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,570,770.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to a self-cleaning button or actuator which is used in conjunction with an aerosol valve and is especially designed for dispensing starch, in the form of an aerosol mist.
2. Description of the Prior Art The adaptation of aerosol dispensing devices to spray starch has been hampered by the tendency of the liquid starch to recrystalize within the spray button. What has frequently happened is that the device, being of customary design has functioned faultlessly on the initial use of each device. But after this use, a small quantity of liquid starch remained within the spray button where it is exposed to the atmosphere. The liquid starch, or more precisely granular starch in a volatile solvent, soon dried and recrystalized into granular form. These granules then partially, or wholly, blocked the flow passages within the button or actuator and the entire aerosol can of starch was unusable to the chagrin of the customer.
As is well known, the function of a spray button is to break up the dispensed liquid into a fine mist in a well defined conical pattern. However, when the button or actuator becomes clogged with granules, it can no longer function properly, and the product sputters out, improperly broken up and in an erratic pattern.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION With these considerations in mind, it is an object of this invention to provide a spray button or actuator which will break up a dispensed product, even liquid starch, into a fine aerosol mist throughout the life of the aerosol container.
. Another object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character which expel such an aerosol mist in a steady well defined divergent spray pattern.
Still another object is to provide a spray button or actuator, of the above character, wherein the spray pattern may be varied as desired.
A further object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character which will be unimpaired in its operation by the presence of a small quantity of granular matter such as dried starch.
A still further object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character which is substantially selfcleaning.
Another object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character which, because of its simplicity and ease of fabrication, is commercially useful on aerosol containers.
Another object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character which is easily assembled.
Another object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character which may be economically fabricated Another object is to provide a spray button or actuator of the above character, which may be disassembled for more thorough cleaning should the need arise.
Another object is to cause the diameter of the spray pattern to vary from that of a standard aerosol container.
Another object is to maintain a constant given spray rate for a certain product, while at the same time re duce the diameter of the resultant spray pattern.
Another object is to provide a valve button or actuator with an outwardly tapering terminal orifice.
Another object is to cause a decrease in pattern size by increasing the taper angle of the terminal orifice land of a valve button or actuator.
Another object is to provide a decrease in the radial force of the product as it leaves the terminal orifice by tapering the orifice land.
Another object is to provide a valve button or actuator wherein the terminal orifice land length and included orifice taper angle or matched to each other such that a desired pattern can be obtained.
Another object is to provide a valve button or actuator in which the radial force of the product as it leaves the terminal orifice is less than with a standard valve button on the same container.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
In its most basic embodiment, the invention comprises a mechanical breakup spray button or actuator especially useful for starch wherein the starch product passes from the valve stem of the aerosol valve into and through an inlet passageway to an annular, tapered, ring shaped expansion channel around an axial knob. The channel imparts a forwardly acting centrifugal motion and directs the starch product into a circular swirl chamber just behind the terminal orifice. The swirl chamber may possess an axial tit or a cone which aids in maintaining and even increasing the force of the centrifugal motion previously imparted to the starch product. A swirl chamber tangentially fed from the expansion channel may also be utilized within the knob with or without an axial tit to provide a more positive centrifugal motion to the starch product. With such centrifugal motion, the product is then dispensed through the terminal orifice to effect a well defined funnel shaped spray pattern.
The diameter and angle of this funnel shaped spray pattern is dependent upon several variables such as; orifice diameter at the entrance and exit, product, viscosity and container pressure. For example, it has been found that by holding all of the above variables constant except orifice entrance and exit diameters and orifice land length, the pattern size at a given distance can be varied by changing the diameter or the land length; By so doing the centrifugal force on the product is varied so that the spray pattern is changed.
The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts which will be exemplified in the construction hereinafter set forth and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the: nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical aerosol container with one embodiment of the button of this invention thcrcon showing the funnel shaped spray pattern that it emits, in a horizontal fashion.
FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view of the button of this invention taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of the button taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a front view of the button taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 through 8 are cross sectional side views of different embodiments of orifice inserts.
FIG. 9 is a side view, partly in section, of a second embodiment of the button and the spray pattern it emits in a vertical fashion.
FIG. 10 is a cross sectional view taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9.
FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 9.
FIG. 12 is a detailed side cross sectional view of the swirl chamber of the bottom of FIG. 9, showing another variation of swirl chamber configuration.
FIG. 13 is a broken perspective view showing the tangentially fed swirl chamber in the knob version of the valve button.
FIGS. 14 and 15 show variations in the swirl chamber of FIG. 13.
FIG. 16 is a side cross sectional view of a button taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 3, the button having a tapered terminal orifice land.
FIGS. 17-20 are cross sectional side views of different embodiments of orifice inserts with tapered lands.
FIG. 21 is a front view of the orifice insert. Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With special reference to FIG. 2, it can be seen that spray button 10 is provided with a substantially vertical and cylindrical valve stem receiving recess 12 extending upwardly from its base 14. Recess 12 is of a size to fit snugly about the valve stem, (not shown) and may even be provided with an anchoring groove, (not shown) to grasp the anchoring ring frequently found of valve stems.
When the aerosol valve is actuated by pressing downward on button 10, the product for which the button 10 has particular application, such as liquid starch, is forcibly ejected, under pressure, through the valve stem and out its orifice into a wedge shaped inlet passage 16 (see FIG. 3). Inlet passage 16 channels the flow to one side to cause it to enter into a tapered ring shaped expansion channel 18. As the starch enters the channel, it is partially vaporized and is directed via the walls of channel 18 around horizontal knob 20. And since channel 18 is tapered; i.e. in the shape of a helix, the starch is driven forwardly onto circular swirl chamber 22. A forwardly acting centrifugal motion is thereby imparted to the product. As more product enters chamber 22, the earlier entering product swirls into a whirlpool thereby greatly increasing angular velocity, and then out through terminal orifice 24 and flare 26 of orifice insert 28. To aid in creating the swirl" flow pattern, a tit 27 may be formed on protrusion 20.
As the product leaves flare 26, the starch encounters a rapid drop in pressure. With the high angular velocity imparted to the product, the product rapidly spirals 4 outwardly under its own centrifugal force into a well defined funnel shaped spray pattern as seen in FIG. I.
When actuation of the aerosol valve is terminated, flow stops. This may leave a small quantity of product, such as starch within channel 18 and chamber 22. Such starch will remain liquid long enough to drain into the lower portion of the channel, where (as seen in FIG. 2) it is generally below inlet 16 and does not block either channel 18 nor chamber 22. The starch may recrystallize into granules 30 or remain as a liquid.
Then when the valve is again activated, the new starch swirl passes over granules 30 and, since it is not completely saturated, any granules 30 left from prior use, will be quickly redissolved therein. Spray button 10 is therefore self-cleaning and the possibility of granular or liquid starch adversely affecting the normal functioning of the button is avoided.
The terminal orifice 24, the orifice wall 23 and flare skirt 26 are contained within a separate dish-shaped terminal orifice insert 28. The length of the wall or land 23, as well as its taper, will effect the spray pattern as will be discussed below. The insert is anchored within a cylindrical cavity 32, within the button 10 in such fashion that it is concentric with chamber 22. Cavity 32 has a diameter approximately equal to that of insert 28 whereby a press fit between the two can be utilized. A lip or circular barb on the wall of cavity 32 may be used to insure retention although such is not necessary.
Several different embodiments of orifice inserts are shown in FIGS. 5-8 and 17-21. Basically, the orifice inserts shown in FIGS. 5-8 differ with respect to their terminal orifice inner wall and the length of the land. In FIG. 5, the inner wall 36 is completely conical with a short orifice land 23. In FIG. 6, a step 40 is provided about the exit of the terminal orifice 24 so as to lengthen the orifice land 23. In FIG. 7, the insert has a completely flat rear wall 42 and in FIG. 8, the rear wall 44 has a tangentially fed swirl chamber 46, much like chamber of FIG. 13 described hereinafter, in its back surface 44 axial with the terminal orifice 24. In each of these FIGS. the length of the orifice land and/or the character of the stream which enters the orifice, in addition to the diameter of the terminal orifice 24, affects the spray pattern 48 (see FIG. 1).
Referring now to FIGS. 16-21, various other embodiments of orifice inserts are shown but with terminal orifice lands 82 which are tapered. It has been found that as the orifice land 82 gradually tapers from a small entrance 84 to a larger exit 86, the resultant diameter of the spray pattern 48 will surprisingly decrease. Theoretically, the reason for this is that there is a decrease in centrifugal force aplied to the product as it leaves terminal orifice 86. The product enters orifice 84 with a forward rotary motion due to the particular valve configuration and container pressure. As the product moves into the outwardly tapering terminal orifice, it will tend to hug the expanding sides. The centrifugal force on the product will thereby be correspondingly diminished. Since'the centrifugal force is diminshed, the diameter of the resultant spray pattern will be smaller. Thus, by varying the radius of the entrance 84, the taper and the length of the land 82, and the radius of the exit 86, the spray pattern can be varied as desired within certain limits.
Experimentation has shown that increasing the taper from 0 (horizontal) to 20, and depending upon the length of the land 82 a broad range of spray pattern The structure of the terminal orifice and its effect on the spray pattern, as discussed albove with respect to FIGS. l62l, applies equally to all embodiments.
While the invention has been illustrated and described with particular reference to a valve button, it
Pattern Diameter at 8 from Actuator Starch Brand X Container 35 psig Spray Rate St. 6 10 14 .015" (ha. orifice .045" land 1.31-1.37 g/sec. 6 5" 4 /2 ri i .018 dia. orifice .045" land 1.9-2.03 g/sec. 7" 6" 5 /2" t5rle Another embodiment of the invention is shown in should be understood that the invention may also be FIGS. 9 through 11. This embodiment comprises a oneincorporated into a valve actuator. piece, vertical discharge button 40. The button is It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, mounted on closed end hollow valve stem 42 of a mg among those made apparent from the preceding degle action tilt valve 44. In such a valve when button 40 i ti r efficiently attained and, since certain is pressed sideways, valve stem 42 tilts about its rim 46 changes may b d i h above construction i hto depress valve sealer 48a and open the seal to allow out departing f the Scope f the invention, i is dispensing of Product The P travels tended that all matter contained in the above descripwardly through the hollow 50 of valve stem 42. It then tion or Shown in the accompanying drawings Shall be Passes out Valve Stem Orifice 52 in the Side of the closed interpreted as illustrativeand not :in a limiting sense. upper end of the Valve Stem much like Wedge Shaped Now that the invention has been described, what is inlet passage 16 of the embodiment of FIG. 2. An annuclaimed is; f" tapefed expansion channel 54 leads from Orifice 52 1. A terminal orifice insert for an aerosol button or into swirl chamber 56. The taper of channel 54 leads from orifice 52 into swirl chamber 56. The taper of channel 54 imparts a rising spiral motion to the product. Upon reaching swirl chamber 56, the product swirls in whirlpool fashion until it issues from terminal orifice 58. As in the above embodiment, when the product leaves orifice 58, and subsequently flare 60, a well defined hollow funnel shaped spray pattern, as in FIG. 1, is-again produced.
Any undischarged liquid starch remaining in channel 54 of swirl chamber 56 drains outwardly before recrystallizing. Upon first reuse, the crystals so formed are swept up and out of orifice 58 to cause reliable operatron.
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 12 to 15. Here a tangentially fed (from expansion channel 18) swirl chamber 70 is formed in knob 20 and the inside wall of terminal orifice insert 28 abuts against the face of knob 20. By such structure, and with a central tit 72, which may also be utilized in the structure of FIGS. 2-4 and FIGS. 9-12, a more positive control over the centrifugal motion is effected. If desired, a cone shaped knob 20a, as seen in FIG. 12, may be employed instead of tit 72 on knob 20.
actuator comprising a terminal orifice body having a rear and forward wall, a recess formed in said forward wall having a base, a substantially cylindrical protrusion formed on said base and extending inwardly into said recess, said insert including a terminal passage comprising an entrance formed in said rear wall and an exit formed in the face of said protrusion, said entrance and said exit interconnected in spaced relation by an outwardly tapered land such that the spray pattern size is a function of the spaced relation and taper between said exit and said entrance.
2. A terminal orifice insert configured for use with a mechanical breakup button or actuator for dispensing product comprising a terminal orifice body including a discharge passage having an entrance and exit orifice interconnected in spaced relation by an outwardly tapered land of less than twenty degrees wherein the spray pattern size is inversely proportional to the taper and length of said land whereby the spray pattern size may be varied to maintain a constant spray rate, said.
insert including a recess having a substantially cylindrical protrusion formed therein to house said discharge