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Publication numberUS3886602 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 3, 1975
Filing dateMar 28, 1974
Priority dateMar 28, 1974
Publication numberUS 3886602 A, US 3886602A, US-A-3886602, US3886602 A, US3886602A
InventorsStanwood David A
Original AssigneeBaker Hydro Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wave quenching device
US 3886602 A
Abstract
A float to be strung on lines to mark the lanes for swimmers in a racing meet is molded in one piece from plastic and comprises fin-like wafers uniformly spaced apart, and barrier elements normal to and extending between confronting faces of adjacent discs. Circumferentially of the discs the barrier elements are in sets of four in quadrature, and longitudinally of the float they are aligned to form four sets in quadrature. The floats have an axial bore whereby they may be strung on a line or cable.
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United States Patent 1 Stanwood June 3, 1975 WAVE QUENCHING DEVICE [75] Inventor: David A. Stanwood, West Covina,

Calif.

[73] Assignee: Baker Hydro, Inc., Irvine, Calif.

[22] Filed: Mar. 28, 1974 21 Appl. No.: 455,630

[52] U.S. Cl 4/172; 9/8 R; 61/5 [51] Int. Cl E04h 3/16; E04h 3/18 [58] Field of Search 4/172, 172.15, 1; 9/8 R,

9/8 P; 114/.5 F, .5 R; 61/5; 272/1 B [56] References Cited I UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,074,083 l/l963 Schirmer 9/8 R 3,304,560 2/1967 Kiefer 4/172.l5 3,540,063 11/1970 Stanwood 4/172 3,755,829 9/1973 Walket 4/172 R 3,757,370 9/1973 3,786,521 1/1974 3,793,657 2/1974 Primary Examiner-l-lenry K. Artis [57] ABSTRACT A float to be strung on lines to mark the lanes for swimmers in a racing meet is molded in one piece from plastic and comprises fin-like wafers uniformly spaced apart, and barrier elements normal to and extending between confronting faces of adjacent discs. Circumferentially of the discs the barrier elements are in sets of four in quadrature, and longitudinally of the float they are aligned to form four sets in quadrature. The floats have an axial bore whereby they may be strung on a line or cable.

23 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJUM ms 3,886L602 SHEET 2 -WAVE QUENCI-IING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Boundary markers for lanes for swimmers competing in a meet are customarily formed of floats strung on cables or lines extending from one end of a swimming pool to the other. My US. Pat. No. 3,540,063, granted Nov. 17, 1970, discloses such a float. It is set forth in that patent that a person swimming in a body of water, such as a swimming pool, ordinarily generates turbulence within the water as he moves along the surface thereof. In an enclosed body of water, such as a swimming pool, the waves caused by such turbulence are reflected off the wall surfaces of the pool thereby increasing the turbulence in the water. When several swimmers are engaged in a race under these conditions the turbulence generated by the swimmers movement can have a detrimental effect on the movement and velocity of the swimmers. In the past efforts have been directed in a number of different ways to damping the waves and thus dispelling the turbulence, and one of these approaches has involved the designing of floats of which the racing lane boundaries are formed, to dispel turbulence. The float disclosed in my aforementioned patent accomplished this result to a considerable degree. Further experimentation, however, revealed that still better results could be achieved by a change in the structure and geometry of the float, and the float disclosed herein is an improvement over the one shown in that patent.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The float disclosed in the aforementioned patent is Comprised of a plurality of radially disposed ribs supported by an elongate cylindrical member and which in turn support a plurality of spaced rings having substantlany flat peripheral surfaces. It is specified in the patent that the area of the space between adjacent rings rs smaller than the surface area of the ring. It was found that although that float operated as a shock absorbing Y T taking some of the energy out of the water by forcing it to pass through the slots between the rings, substantial quantities of the water bounced off the flat surfaces of the rings and back into the lane, thereby falling short of optimum quelling of turbulence for the benefit of the swimmer.

In accordance with the present invention the float is molded in one piece from foamed plastic and comprises wafer components, a preferred embodiment thereof being discs and interconnecting barrier elements, the wafers being generally uniformly spaced along the axis of the float and normal to that axis. The barr er elements are normal to and extend between confronting faces of adjacent wafers. Four barrier elements comprise a set in the space between two adjacent and y are in a relationship of quadrature. L9ngltudinally of the float the barrier elements are ahgned in four Sets p e ing the axis of the float. The wafers are thin in relation to the spacing between adjacent and their Posed edges are rounded, prefermto a semicircular cross-sectional configuration. t the end of the float the diameters of the wafers dimmlsh progressively and terminate in small diameter hubs to minimize friction between adjacent floats when strung on a line, so that they may rotate freely and independently under the influence of turbulence in the water. A bore extends through the float from end to end whereby the floats may be strung end to end on a line to mark the boundary between adjacent racing lanes.

With this structure, waves striking the rounded edges of the wafers are not significantly reflected back toward the swimmer by the edges of the wafers but instead slide off sideways and enter the space between adjacent wafers. Moreover, the wafers direct the turbulent water entering the spaces between the wafers to impinge upon the faces of the barrier elements or baffles, which yieldingly resist the force of the turbulent water due to the freedom of the float to rotate on the line which supports it, and thus wave energy is absorbed and turbulence quelled.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken generally on the line 44 of FIG. 3; and

FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 are vertical sectional views showing in sequential steps the response of a float in accordance with the present invention to waves directed toward it.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings and particularly to FIG. 1 the reference numerals 12 and 14 designate the end walls and a sidewall respectively of a swimming pool. Cables 16 extend from one end wall 12 of the swimming pool to the other and have strung thereon a plurality of floats designated generally be-the reference numeral 18. For the purposes of the present disclosure it is immaterial how the cables 16 are secured at the ends or drawn to the desired degree of tautness. My aforementioned patent discloses a take-up winch to be associated with a float at the end of a string of floats and that float is provided with eye-fittings at both ends, one to be engaged by a book which also engages a ring secured to an end wall of the swimming pool and the other to receive a hook at the end of the cable. With this arrangement the cable is shorter than the length of the swimming pool by a length approximating that of the take-up mechanism associated with the end float and the hook.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 it will be seen that the principal components of the float 18 are a plurality of wafers, shown in the drawings as circular discs, designated generally by the reference numeral 24, and a plurality of intervening barrier elements, designated generally by the reference numeral 21. The wafers 24 will hereinafter be called discs because they are shown in the drawings as such. It will be understood, however, that they may be square or any other geometrical shape having like areas symmetrical about a central point that can serve as an axis. The discs 24 are spaced apart generally uniform distances throughout the length of the float. The barrier elements 21 interconnect the confronting faces of adjacent discs 24 and are normal to those faces. Preferably, four barrier elements 21 are provided in the space between each two confronting disc faces, and they extend radially of the discs and are disposed in quadrature about the axis of the float. Moreover, the barrier elements 21 are aligned longitudinally of the float in four sets which, of course, are in quadrature.

Thus, the barrier elements 21 divide the discs 24 into four quadrants, which in FIG. 3 have been designated by the reference numerals 26a, 26b, 26c and 26d, and from a three-dimensional standpoint they divide the space between two adjacent discs into four quadrantshaped pockets. Also in FIGS. 3 and 5 to 8 the barrier elements of one quadrature set have been designated by the reference numerals 22a, 22b, 22c and 22d. Preferably the outer or exposed edges of the barrier elements 21 are at the same distance from the axis of the float as the edges of the discs 24.

The float may be injection molded of low density polyethylene foam so that it is a one-piece structure, the discs 24 being integral with the radially extending components that form the barrier elements 21. In order to provide a bore through the float structure whereby it may be strung on a cord the float may be injection molded around a spindle, which, when withdrawn, provides the axial bore 28. Because the inner edges of the barrier elements 21 cannot be closer to the axis of the float than the surface of the removable spindle upon which the float is molded, the spindle may be of such diameter as to leave a narrow slot at the base of each pocket formed by confronting faces of two barrier elements and two adjacent discs.

At the ends of the float the barrier elements 21 slope downwardly toward the axis of the float as indicated by the reference numeral 30 and the discs correspondingly diminish in diameter as represented by the reference numerals 32 and 34. The disc 34 at the end slopes away toward the end of the float as indicated by reference numeral 36 and it terminates in a flat face 38 of small diameter to bear against the corresponding face of the next float on a lane-marking string of floats. This sloping also accommodates coiling of the line of floats.

As previously stated the float may be injection molded in one piece, preferably using low density polymeric plastic foam, such as polyethylene. A blowing agent such as nitrogen may be employed to impart the desired density to the float. Preferably the float has a density of approximately .50, so that as a free-floating object it will float substantially one-half submerged and the remainder exposed above the surface of calm water. Because the length of the float is substantially greater than its average diameter, its floating attitude of equilibrium is with its axis horizontal. When it floats in this manner its attitude is as represented in FIGS. 3 and 5, two opposite longitudinal sets of the barrier elements 21 lying horizontally and substantially in the plane of the surface of the water and the other two sets standing vertically, and it tends always to rotate to this position.

FIGS. 5 to 8 inclusive show generally the action of a float under the influence of a wave traveling toward it in the water. In FIG. 5 the float 18 is shown in the same attitude as in FIG. 3 and it will be assumed that it has been floating quietly in calm water. A wave front or wavelet such as 40 approaches the float, enters the pockets between adjacent ones of the thin discs 24 and strikes the surface of the barrier element 22a. The

force of the wave front 40 starts rotation of the float 18 in the direction indicated by the arrow. The barrier elements 22b and 22c, being in the water, offer some resistance to rotation of the float, thus diminishing to some extent the force of the wave front 40 and causing it to build up against the barrier element 22a. Presuming that the wave front 40 has sufficient force to cause rotation of the float it rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow, the pockets bounded by the two barrier elements 22a and 22d and the many discs 24 filling with water. At the same time the barrier element 22b moves counterclockwise, and a slight trough forms between the barrier elements 22a and 22b due to the downward movement of the barrier element 22b pulling upon the surface of the water, which has been assumed to be calm on the left hand side of the float 18. This instantaneous condition is indicated in FIG. 6.

The trailing slope of the wave continues to move toward the float, now directing its force against the right hand surface of the barrier element 22d and forcing continued rotation of the float counterclockwise. Also the float is now in a condition of unstable equilibrium, because water is held between the confronting faces of the barrier elements 22a and 22d and there is little water between the confronting faces of the barrier elements 22a and 2212. Accordingly, continued counterclockwise movement of the float occurs and as soon as its movement has exceeded 45 from the initial position the water held between the confronting faces of the barrier elements 22a and 22d spills over onto the opposite side of the float, filling the spaces between the confronting faces of the barrier elements 22a and 22b. This rotation continues at least until the float has completed rotation through an angle of bringing the barrier element 22d standing vertically out of the water. The trough 42 that follows the wave front 40 permits the float to come generally to rest upon completion of its angular rotation of 45 where it will remain until the next wave front impinges upon it.

The discs 24 with the intervening spaces also provide substantial resistance to longitudinal waves traveling lengthwise of the string and tend to quell such longitudinal waves.

As stated hereinbefore the discs 24 are thin in comparison with the space between adjacent discs and their exposed edges as well as the exposed edges of the barrier elements 21 are rounded, as for example being semicircular in cross-section, so that they deflect impinging water laterally and into the pockets between the discs and barrier elements rather than reflecting the water back into the racing lane. In this way the floats absorb and dissipate turbulence created by the swimmers rather than contribute to that turbulence. In addition, this edge shape avoids presentation of a hazardous sharp edge to the swimmer.

Preferably the spacing between adjacent discs 24 is comparable with the thickness of an average adult finger at the tip, so that a swimmer cannot accidentally thrust the tip of a finger into one of the spaces as far as the first joint, and thereby the possiblity of wrenching a finger joint due to the forward motion of the swimmer relative to the string of floats is avoided. A spacing which will preclude accidental entry of a fingertip between two of the discs still provides a generous space between them for entry of turbulent water, particularly if the thickness of the discs is of the order of one-half to one-third the width of the space between discs. The

discs need only sufficient thickness to render them relatively stiff, although the injection molding technique establishes a certain minimum thickness.

What is claimed is:

1. A wave quelling device comprising:

a plurality of spaced wafers having axial apertures to accommodate an axis member on which they rotate; and

means for dividing the space between adjacent wafers into pockets comprising a plurality of barrier elements extending transversely between confronting surfaces of adjacent wafers, at least one of said barrier elements being above the surface of the water so that turbulence in the water such as waves impinges on the barrier elements exposed above the surface of the water which extend substantially entirely across the space between adjacent wafers and imparts to the device rotation about the axis, which rotation is resisted by submerged barrier elements to dampen the wave action.

2. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the edges of the wafers are convexly curved to deflect waves impinging upon the wafer edges in a wavediverting manner.

3. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 2 wherein: I

the edges of the wafers have a generally semicircular cross-section.

4. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the wafers are generally equidistant from one another; and

the distance between two adjacent wafers approximates the thickness of an average adult human finger at the tip and consequently precludes entry of the finger as far as the first joint thereof.

5. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 4 wherein:

the thickness of the wafers is less than about one-half the distance between two adjacent wafers.

6. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the barrier elements are arranged in rows parallel to the common axis of the wafers; and

the rows of barrier elements are radial with respect to the axis and uniformly spaced around said axis.

7. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 6 wherein:

the rows of barrier elements are'disposed in quadrature relationship.

8. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the wafers also quell waves longitudinal to the axis.

9. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein the outer edges of the barrier elements lie generally at the edges of the wafers.

10. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the wafers are circular discs.

11. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 10 wherein the discs all have the same diameter except at the two ends of the device where disc diameters diminish uniformly and symmetrically.

12. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 11 wherein:

the outer edges of the barrier elements associated with the discs at the two ends of the device slope toward the axis of the float at a rate generally matching the diminution in the radii of the discs at ends of the device.

13. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 11 wherein:

the outermost disc at each end of the device has a thickness substantially greater than the others to form a hub and it tapers toward the axis of the float to present a reduced diameter face to bear against the corresponding face of the adjacent float on the line.

14. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the wafers and the barrier elements are formed integrally.

15. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 1 wherein:

the wafers and the barrier elements are molded of plastic.

16. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 15 wherein:

the wafers and the barrier elements are injection molded in one piece using a polymer, typified by polyethylene, foamed to achieve a density of approximately .50 whereby the float as a free-floating object floats half submerged and half exposed.

17. A wave quelling device in accordance with claim 6 wherein:

the rows of barrier elements are in quadrature; and

the wafers and barrier elements comprising the float are formed of a material providing a density of .50 so that the float as a free-floating object in water floats half submerged and half exposed with two of the rows of barrier elements at the surface of the water and the other two rows of barrier elements standing vertically.

18. A float adapted for stringing end to end on parallel lines to delineate lanes for swimmers which comprises:

a plurality of coaxially arranged and equidistantly spaced discs having axial apertures to accommodate threading of the line therethrough and having their edges rounded; and

means for dividing the space between adjacent discs into sector-shaped pockets comprising a plurality of barrier elements disposed in quadrature and extending radially from the axial apertures in the discs to the edges thereof and between confronting faces of adjacent discs and normal to said faces:

said barrier elements being arranged in rows parallel to the common axis of the discs and the rows accordingly being in quadrature so that the turbulence in the water such as waves impinging on the edges of the discs is deflected outwardly in a wavedissipating manner and wave components entering the spaces between the discs and impinging upon the barrier elements impart to the float rotation about the line, which rotation is cushioned by the submerged rows of barrier elements to further dissipate and quell the wave turbulence.

19. A float in accordance with claim 18 wherein:

the exposed edges of the barrier elements are rounded to deflect in a wave-dissipating manner waves impinging upon those edges.

20. A float in accordance with claim 18 wherein:

the spacing of the discs from one another is generally the greatest that will preclude entry into that space of an average adult fingertip as far as the first joint of the finger; and

the thickness of the discs is at least as large a fraction of the spacing of the discs as to impart stiffness to the discs.

21. A float in accordance with claim 18 wherein:

the discs and the barrier members are integral and molded in one piece of a polymeric plastic, exemplified by polyethylene.

22. A float in accordance with claim 21 wherein:

the polymeric plastic is foamed to impart to the float a density of approximately .50 so that the float as a free-floating object floats generally half submerged and half exposed.

23. A float in accordance with claim 18 wherein:

the mass of the combination of discs and barrier elements comprising the float is uniformly distributed throughout the length of the float and has a density of approximately .50 so that the float as a freefloating object floats generally half submerged and half exposed and the distribution of the barrier elements causes it to float with one pair of diametrically opposed rows of barrier elements horizontal and substantially at the surface of the water and with the other pair of rows of barrier elements standing vertically

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3074083 *Nov 5, 1959Jan 22, 1963Hermsdorf Fixture Mfg Co IncCable float
US3304560 *Aug 5, 1964Feb 21, 1967Adolph Kiefer & CompanyTurbulence-reducing device for swimming pools
US3540063 *Feb 4, 1969Nov 17, 1970Swimquip IncTurbulence dispelling float device and string
US3755829 *Mar 28, 1972Sep 4, 1973A Mc Neil CorpsTurbulence suppression apparatus for a body of water
US3757370 *May 10, 1972Sep 11, 1973Seno FRope and float assembly for use as a course demarcation line in a swimming pool
US3786521 *Jul 13, 1972Jan 22, 1974Kiefer A Mcneil CorpSwinging baffle element for water turbulence suppression systems
US3793657 *May 30, 1972Feb 26, 1974Svejsa AsDevice for separating the lanes in a swimming pool for swimming race
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4048677 *Jun 2, 1975Sep 20, 1977Kajlich Anton JTurbulence inhibitors
US4052755 *May 18, 1976Oct 11, 1977Baker William HWave-quelling float
US4115190 *Nov 24, 1976Sep 19, 1978The United States Of America As Represented By The United States Department Of EnergyHigh beta plasma operation in a toroidal plasma producing device
US4616369 *May 28, 1985Oct 14, 1986Mcneil CorporationAquatic turbulence suppression device
US4712944 *Oct 29, 1986Dec 15, 1987Rose Leo JSea wave dissipator apparatus and method for its manufacture
US4894873 *Apr 21, 1988Jan 23, 1990Kiefer Jack KWave suppression means
US5443408 *Mar 8, 1994Aug 22, 1995N. A. Taylor Co., Inc.Low drag buoy
US5558459 *Feb 13, 1995Sep 24, 1996Odenbach; Peter W.Wave suppression means for large waves
US7100219 *Sep 13, 2001Sep 5, 2006Anton KajlichEquipment for faster swimming pools
US8851793 *Apr 15, 2011Oct 7, 20149223-0523 Quebec Inc.Water wave breaker assembly
US20040031093 *Sep 13, 2001Feb 19, 2004Anton KajlichEquipment for faster swimming pools
US20090133612 *Dec 28, 2005May 28, 2009Krzysztof Jan WajnikonisDynamic motion suppression of riser, umbilical and jumper lines
US20130236248 *Apr 15, 2011Sep 12, 2013RobicWater wave breaker assembly
EP0203775A2 *May 21, 1986Dec 3, 1986Richey Industries, Inc.Aquatic turbulence suppression device
WO2012071594A2 *Oct 4, 2011May 31, 2012Steven Alan WolfowitzDevice for deriving energy from wave motion
WO2012071594A3 *Oct 4, 2011Oct 11, 2012Steven Alan WolfowitzDevice for deriving energy from wave motion
Classifications
U.S. Classification4/497, 4/505, 405/27, 441/6
International ClassificationE04H4/00, E04H4/14
Cooperative ClassificationE04H4/143
European ClassificationE04H4/14B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 4, 1991ASAssignment
Owner name: BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED, R.D. #5, BOARD ROAD, BOX
Free format text: RELEASED BY SECURED PARTY;ASSIGNOR:FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BOSTON, THE;REEL/FRAME:005617/0047
Effective date: 19901130
Feb 4, 1991AS17Release by secured party
Owner name: BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED, R.D. #5, BOARD ROAD, BOX
Owner name: FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BOSTON, THE
Effective date: 19901130
Jul 12, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: KIEFER, DALE A., LOS ANGELES, CA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:TOLO INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:005146/0391
Effective date: 19841226
Jul 12, 1989AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: KIEFER, DALE A., LOS ANGELES, CA
Owner name: TOLO INCORPORATED
Effective date: 19841226
Apr 10, 1989ASAssignment
Owner name: FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BOSTON, THE, MASSACHUSETTS
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:005075/0632
Effective date: 19880923
Apr 10, 1989AS06Security interest
Owner name: BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED
Owner name: FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF BOSTON, THE, 100 FEDERAL ST
Effective date: 19880923
Nov 25, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED, A CORP. OF PA, PENNSYLVA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:TOLO INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:005006/0697
Effective date: 19881101
Owner name: TOLO INCORPORATED, A CORP. OF CA, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:005006/0695
Effective date: 19861001
Nov 25, 1988AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: BAKER-HYDRO INCORPORATED, R.D. #5 BOARD ROAD, P.O.
Effective date: 19881101
Owner name: TOLO INCORPORATED