US 3885257 A
A resilient block, preferably formed from a foamed resin, that has a number of criss-crossed arranged grooves formed therein which extend inwardly from at least a first surface thereof. The grooves cooperate with one another to define a number of spaced pads in the block, which pads include weight-supporting heads, with the pads being independently compressible without being subjected to a transverse shearing force. Inwardly from the heads thereof, the pads may vary in transverse cross section.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Rogers [451 May 27, 1975 PRESSURE CONTROLLED RESILIENT SUPPORTING STRUCTURE  Inventor: John E. Rogers, La Habra, Calif.
 Assignee: Ronald J. P. Evans, Herts, England  Filed: Apr. 20, 1973  Appl. No.: 352,862
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 301,724, Oct. 30, 1972, which is a continuation of Ser. No. 24,099, March 31, 1970.
 U.S. Cl. 5/345 R; 5/361 R  Int. Cl. A47c 27/08  Field of Search 264/138, 154; 83/5;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,763,013 9/1956 Valkenburgh 5/361 B 2,860,768 11/1958 Smithers 206/46 FC 3,222,697 12/1965 Scheermesser... 5/361 B 3,512,190 5/1970 Buff 5/345 3,679,263 7/1972 Cadiou 297/DIG. l
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 705,943 3/ 1954 United Kingdom 206/523 Primary ExaminerCasmir A. Nunberg Attorney, Agent, or FirmWilliam C. Babcock  ABSTRACT A resilient block, preferably formed from a foamed resin, that has a number of criss-crossed arranged grooves formed therein which extend inwardly from at least a first surface thereof. The grooves cooperate with one another to define a number of spaced pads in the block, which pads include weight-supporting heads, with the pads being independently compressible without being subjected to a transverse shearing force. lnwardly from the heads thereof, the pads may vary in transverse cross section.
By varying the transverse cross section of the pads, the block may provide a cushion or mattress on which the peaks and valley portions of a human body resting thereon are subjected to substantially controlled pressure. Such controlled pressure is of the utmost importance in eliminating bedsores in the case of a patient, and minimizing fatigue on the part of a user such as a pilot, bus driver, invalid, and vehicle passenger who must sit on a cushion over long periods of time. In addition, by controlling pressure it is possible to maintain an irregularly shaped object in a container for shipping from one point to another by allowing spring or shear-absorbing qualities to 'be' attained without fabricating a contained foamed block (Styrofoam) to match an irregularly shaped object.
The invention further includes a tool for forming the above described resilient block and method of using said tool when the block is formed from a resilient material that melts above a predetermined temperature.
4 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures Pmemau zmrs Y 3,885,257
' bHEET 2 UF 2 FIGJI PRESSURE CONTROLLED RESILIENT SUPPORTING STRUCTURE CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION The present application is a continuation-in-part of a continuation application Ser. No. 301,724 entitled Resilient Supporting Structure that was filed in the United States Patent Office on Oct. 30, 1972, which continuation application is based on my application Ser. No. 24,099 tiled in the Patent Office on Mar. 3 l,
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention A pressure-controlled resilient supporting structure.
2. Description of the Prior Art In the past, resilient cellular resin sheets and blocks have been used to form cushions and mattresses, but such equipment is unsatisfactory for use by invalids or patients who must sit or lie on the same for long periods of time. This unsatisfactory condition arises from the fact that the contacting surfaces of the resilient material is subjected to shear pressure when contacted by curved and flat portions of the patients body, and as a result, the resilient material does not provide controlled support for the patient. Furthermore, due to the curved configuration of a patients body, certain portions of resilient cushions and mattresses that have been used in the past become compressed to a greater degree than the balance thereof, whereby the supporting resilient cushion or mattress does not exert a controlled pressure contact on the patient lying or resting thereon.
In my copending application, Ser. No. 24,099 previously identified, the operational disadvantages of prior art resilient supporting structures have been eliminated by the use of a multilayer support.-
The primary purpose in devising the present invention is to provide a single block of a resilient material, preferably a cellular resin material, that is in full pres- .sure contact with the portions of the person s body resting thereon, with the peaks and valley portions of the human body in contact with the resilient structure .being subjected to substantially uniform pressure where required. By its resilient ability to conform to irregular shapes, this invention will also provide an ideal method of shipping objects from one point to another without damage due to shock.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A resilient cellular resin block, preferably in the form of a cushion, padding, a mattress, having at least a first flat surface subdivided by relatively deep criss-cross grooves into a number of longitudinally and transversely spaced pads that are independently compressible without being subjected to transverse shear when the peaks and valley portions of the human body or an irregularly shaped object rest on said first surface. The
desired position without undue stresses being imposed thereon.
A major object of the present invention is to supply a resilient block that is particularly adapted for use in the medical field, either in the form of a mattress or cushion, to so support a patient that the peaks and valleys of the contacting portion of the patient are subjected to controlled pressure, with the resilient structure conforming to the contour of the contact surfaces of the patient.
Another object of the invention is to control the pressure exerted on an object being shipped in a container from one point to another to eliminate the necessity of forming shaped and matched foamed blocks for this purpose.
A further object of the invention is to supply a tool and method of using the same, to transform a block of resilient foam material that melts at a predetermined temperature into either a 4attress, cushion or padding having the above described operational advantages and characteristics.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of anelectrically operated device used in forming the resilient supporting structure; I
FIG. 2 is an end elevational view of the device prior to being moved into contact with the resilient body;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a resilient block after being formed into a resilient structure by use of the device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the resilient supporting structure shown in FIG. 3, taken on the line 4-4 thereof;
FIG. 5 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the resilient supporting structure shown in FIG. 4, taken on the line 5-5 thereof;
FIG. 6 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the resilient structure, a portion of which is shown in FIG. 4, but with the pads defined by use of the device illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 having a greater transverse cross section than those shown in FIG. 4;
. FIG. 7 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional view of a portion of a supporting structure having an alternate form of pad formed therein;
FIG. 8 is another view of the supporting structure shown in FIG. 7, but with the pads having greater transverse cross-sectional area;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of a block of resilient material that has pads formed therein that areof a second alternate form;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary transverse cross-sectional view of a resilient structure in which the pads defined therein are of the third alternate form;
. FIG. 11 showsthe second form of pads illustrated in FIG. 9, and demonstrates the manner in which the same are compressed longitudinally without transverse shear when a load is applied thereto;
FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of one of the resilient structures in the form of a cushion and illustrating the manner in which the upper surface thereof conforms to the peaks and valleys of a portion of the human body, or other irregularly shaped body that is supported thereon;
FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of a person in a supine position, resting on a resilient structure in which the pads are so arranged as to contact the full surface of the peaks and valleys of the person or patient resting thereon; and
FIG. 14 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of a container with the invention retaining an irregularly shaped object in a protected position therein.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The tool A used in forming a resilient block B of a foamed resin that melts at a predetermined temperature into a cushion C, as shown in FIG. 12, or a mattress D illustrated in FIG. 13, is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The tool A includes an elongate rigid member formed from an electrical insulator that may be subjected to a high temperature without damage. Electrical conductors 12 and 14 are supported by conventional means from opposite sides of member 10, with each conductor having a number of longitudinally spaced metallic screws or connectors 16 projecting outwardly therefrom that may-be removably engaged by eyes 18 on the ends of loops 20. The loops 20 are defined by an electrical resistance wire such as Nichrome, or the like.
Conventional fastening means such as nuts, or the like, (not shown) engage the screws or connectors 16 and hold the eyes 18 in electrical contact therewith. The loops 20 may be of any desired configuration, but are illustrated in FIG. 1 as being generally elliptical in shape. Conductors l2 and 14 are connectable to a source of electrical power (not shown) and the electric power heating the loops above the predetermined temperature previously mentioned.
The rigid member 10 may be grasped by the hand, and after the loops 20 are heated to above the predetermined temperature, the member is moved transversely across the block B to cause the loops 20 to pass therethrough due to being heated above the melting point of the resilient foam material defining the block. The operation is then repeated, with the member 10 then being moved longitudinally relative to the block to cause the loops 20 to pass therethrough, with this operation being conducted on that portion of the block B adjacent at least a first surface 22 thereof. If is also possible to move the block under the loops to obtain the same result. A
After the above described operation has been completed, that portion of the block B adjacent the first surface 22 thereof is transformed to define a number of longitudinally and transversely spaced pads 24, each of which has a head 26, with the pads being separated by criss-cross grooves 25. The external surfaces of each of the pads 24 is preferably of the same transverse crosssectional area, as may best be seen in FIG. 3. In FIG. 4 it will be seen that the above described operation has also been completedon a second surface 28 of the block B that is oppositely disposed from the first surface 22. The block B may be formeed into a cushion E, as shown in FIG. 12, by the above described operation. When a user F sits thereon, the peak portion 29 of the user is in contact with the portion E-l of the cushion E. The valley portion 30 of the user F will be in contact with a portion E-2 of the cushion E.
The portion E-2 will have pads 24 of the configuration shown in FIG. 4 defined therein. The portion E-l of the cushion E will have pads 24' formed therein, which pads have heads 26' such as shown in FIG. 6. It
will be particularly noted that the head 26' are of greater depth than the heads 26, and the cross section of the pads 24' below the heads are of greater transverse cross section than those shown in FIG. 4.
Although the portion E1 is subjected to greater weight than the portion E-2, the pads 24', due to their greater transverse cross section, compress longitudinally less than the pads 24, whereby the pressure exerted by the cushion on the peak 29 and valley 30 of the user is substantially uniform. It is also possible to have portion E-2 with transverse cuts in only one direction or no cuts at all. This also gives increased strength in area and demonstrates gradation that may be obtained with the method.
The pads 24' are formed in the same manner as the pads 24, but with resistance loops 20 of different configurations being mounted on the device. The distribution of the pads 24 and 24' on the cushion E is so selected that when the user F is resting on the cushion E as shown in FIG. 12, both the peak portion 28 and the valley portion 30 of the user are subjected to the same supporting pressure from the cushion E.
The portion E2 of cushion E, due to the valley configuration of the user F, is obviously subjected to a less downward force than that exerted by the peak portion 29 on the portion E-l of the cushion E. Accordingly, the pads 24 can be of less transverse cross section below the heads 26 than that of pads 24'. The pads 24 and 24, due to the curved configuration of the side walls defining the same, initially have the major portion of the longitudinal compression thereof at substantially the center of the pads, due to the center portions of the pad being of minimum transverse cross section. As the force on the pads increases, the compression of the pads gradually spreads to the portion above and below this central portion. The degree of longitudinal compression of the pads 24 and 24 is controlled by the tapered configuration of the pads inwardly from the heads 26. In FIG. 12 it will be seen that the weight of the user F is concentrated on the portion E-l of the cushion E, and downwardly extending areas so indicate, but with the portion E-2 being .urged upwardly by the resiliency of the pads in the portion E-2 to exert a substantially equallydistributed and greater pressure on the valley portion 30 of the user.
By changing the configuration of the loops 20, the block B may be transformed to a cushion G in which a first portion thereof has pads 32 formed thereon, that include heads 34, with a second portion of the supporting structure G having pads 32' and heads 34'. The transverse cross section of the pads 32 is substantially greater than that of the pads 32, and the cushion G accordingly acts in the same manner as the cushion E previously described. It will be particularly noted that in both the cushions E and G, that the pads 24, 24'; 32 and 32' are independently movable relative to one another and that each of these pads may be compressed longitudinally to a desired degree, without the pads adjacent thereto being deformed.
Pads 24 and 32 above described can be formed to extend inwardly from the first surface 22 of the block B, as well as the second surface 28 thereof. The block B can be transformed to a cushion H, such as shown in FIG. 9, that has pads 36 with heads 28 that are of a different configuration than those previously described, and with the pads 36 being connected to the center portion of the block or resilient material by relatively narrow necks 40.
Formation of the pads 36 is carried out in the same manner as previously described with the device A, but with the loops being of a different configuration, and of a shape to provide the pads 36 when the loops are passed transversely and longitudinally through the block. When a cushion H has one of the pads 36 thereof loaded as shown in FIG. 11, the initial longitudinal compression will be in the neck 40, and as the pad is subjected to further weight, the portion above the neck 40 will deform downwardly. The pad 36 to the left of the deformed pad in FIG. 11, is shown without a sufficient weight or force being applied to the top therefrom to deform the neck 40.
In FIG. 10 the pad J is shown that results from the transformation of a block B, but with the pads 42 having side walls 42a that taper inwardly towards one another. The forrn of resilient support J operates in the same manner as the forms previously described.
In FIG. 13 the block B is in the form of a mattress K which is simply an elongation of the cushion E, and those portions of the mattress that are subjected to maximum and minimum weight are indicated by the notation B1 and E-2, respectively. Mattress K may be supported by a flat horizontal member L or by a hinged frame, as in a hospital bed. The operation of the mattress K, as shown in FIG. 13, is the same as that of the cushion E illustrated in FIG. 12. The resilient material defining the block B may be either a closed or open cell foamed resin, such as polyurethane, or the like, that can be cut with a heated wire. After the cutting operation is completed, the severed portions of the block B are removed therefrom to provide the grooved paddefining structure in the block. In FIG. 4 the pads 24 are shown as being formed on both sides 22 and 28 thereof, but if desired the pads may be formed on side 24 only.
A shipping container S is shown in FIG. 14 in which two of the blocks B have an irregularly shaped object 0 such as a vase V sandwiched therebetween, and with all surface portions of the object subjected to desired pressures. It will be noted that the grooves 25 on opposite sides of each blockmay be transversely off-set from one another if desired.
1. A resilient support for effecting full surface contact with the peaks and valleys of the portions of an irregularly shaped object resting thereon to substantially equalize the pressure distribution of said object over the surface of said support in contact with said object, said support comprising:
a. a block resilient material that has a plurality of spaced grooves extending inwardly from a first side thereon on which said object rests, which grooves cooperatively define a plurality of independently movable pads therebetween, with each of said pads having flat external first surfaces of substantially of said pads having flat external first surfaces of substantially the same area that lie in a common plane when said object is not supported on said block, with a first portion of each of said pads compressing inwardly in proportion to the transverse crosssectional area of said pad inwardly from said first surfaces and the loading to which said pad is subjected, with first groups of said pads that are subjected to the load of said peaks of said object being of greater transverse cross-sectional area than second groups of said pads that are subjected to the valleys of said object, and with the ratio of said transverse cross-sectional areas of said first and second groups of said pads being so chosen that when said object rests on said block said peaks and valleys of said object in contact with said first side are subjected to pressures that are controlled by said cross-sectional areas of said first portions of said pads.
2. A resilient support as defined in claim 1 wherein said object is the body of a person.
3. A resilient device as defined in claim 1 that is in the form of a cushion.
4. A resilient device as defined in claim 1 that is in the form of a mattress.