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Publication numberUS3918920 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 11, 1975
Filing dateJan 7, 1974
Priority dateJan 7, 1974
Publication numberUS 3918920 A, US 3918920A, US-A-3918920, US3918920 A, US3918920A
InventorsDuane G Barber
Original AssigneeBeckman Instruments Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Holder for sample containers of different sizes
US 3918920 A
Abstract
A holder for bottles and vials of different sizes comprises a hollow cylindrical support with flexible ribs extending inward partially to a center axis. The ribs extend longitudinally and are spaced around the periphery of the hollow cylindrical support so that their inner edges are also spaced to form a support for a test tube, vial or bottle and are deflectable to accommodate various sizes of test tubes, vials or bottles.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Barber 5] Nov. 11, 1975 [5 HOLDER FOR SAMPLE CONTAINERS OF 3.361.343 [H968 Lerner 233/26 DIFFERENT SZES 3.375.934 4/[968 3.475130 10/1969 Baruch 23/259 X Inventor: Duane r, Yor Li 3.5l8.164 6/1970 Andelin et al. 23/29: x Calif. 3.78l.12() 12/1973 Engelhardt 233/26 X [73] Assignee: Beckman Instruments, Inc.,

Fullerton C lif Primary E.ruminer.loseph Scovronek Artur/1e), Age/11. or Firm-Robert J. Steinmeyer; R. R. [22] F1led: Jan. 7, 1974 Meads [2]] Appl. No: 431.506

[57] ABSTRACT [52] 23/292; Zl U74; 248/31 A holder for bottles and vials of different sizes com- [5i] Int Cl 2 301%??933 prises a hollow cylindrical support with flexible ribs extending inward partially to a center axis. The ribs {58] Fleld of Seal-chm" 3 3 extend longitudinally and are spaced around the pe 8/38 1/74" 33/26 riphery of the hollow cylindrical support so that their inner edges are also spaced to form a support for a [56] References and test tube. vial or bottle and are deflectable to accom- UNITED STATES PATENTS modate various sizes of test tubes, vials or bottles.

558.433 4/1896 Stoddard 23/292 X 2.053.l85 9/l936 Flowers 233/26 6 Clams 5 Drawmg F'gures l3 l4 l7 [Ill/[III/II Il/II/IIIII IJIIII/ U.S. Patent Nov. 11,1975

FIG..

FIG

FIG.

FIG. 5

HOLDER FOR SAMPLE CONTAINERS OF DIFFERENT SIZES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In various types of analytical instruments such as liquid scintillation and gamma radiation instruments, for example, means are needed for holding test tubes, vials, bottles and other sample containers. Such containers may be of various sizes and range in size, for example, between 5 millimeters and 20 millimeters outside diameter in certain types of instruments.

Such instruments are normally designed to use one size of sample holder, whereas the instrument operators may normally work with test tubes or other containers of different sizes.

It is, accordingly, an object of the invention to provide a sample container holder which will fit within the compartments provided in standard instruments but which will support and satisfactorily hold sample containers of various sizes, holding the sample container straight in a vertical position without rubbing against the walls of a sample container compartment in the instrument or becoming jammed or breaking.

Other and further objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the description proceeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, a cylindrical holder is provided to receive articles of various sizes such as sample containers. For supporting the sample containers, such as test tubes, the holder is formed with longitudinally extending flexible ribs with outer edges integral with the cylindrical wall of the holder and with inner edges toward the center axis of the holder. The ribs are relatively thin sheets of flexible material which are capable of deflecting away from the center axis so that the surfaces adjacent the inner edges thereof will act as supports for a sample container and accommodate sample containers of various sizes. The ribs are arranged so that when undeflected they will lie along planes which are at an angle to the radii extending from the central axis of the holder to the outer supported edges of the ribs.

In an alternative embodiment the ribs lie along conical surfaces concentric with the center axis of the holder and are spaced longitudinally instead of angularly.

A better understanding of the invention will be afforded by the following detailed description considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawing.

DRAWING In the drawings:

FIG. I is a cross'sectional view taken along a gener ally vertical plane of an analytical instrument compartment receiving a sample container such as a test tube;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of an embodiment ofa sampie-container holder in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal sectional view of the holder of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a holder constituting another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a longitudinal sectional view of the holder of FIG. 4.

Like reference characters are utilized throughout the drawing to designate like parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION As illustrated in FIG. I, an analytical instrument may be provided with a compartment ll of standard size which is adapted to receive a sample container such as a test tube 12 which must necessarily fit within the compartment II and preferably does not deviate greatly in size from the size for which the compartment II is designed in order that the container [2 will be retained upright and will not be subject to spillage or breakage. In order that smaller sample containers of various sizes may be accommodated in the compart ment II, a holder 13 is provided as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 for one embodiment of the invention. In the embodiment illustrated, the holder 13 is in the form of a hollow cylinder 14 having a bottom 15 and having longitudinally extending ribs 16. The outer diameter of the cylinder 14 is such as to fit within the compartment 11. The ribs 16, shown as three in number, extend substantially from the bottom 15 of the container 13 throughout the greater part of the length of the container 13.

Although for the sake of illustration a form of the invention has been described in which separate holders 13 are provided for mounting in standard compartments II of an analytical instrument, it will be understood that the invention does not exclude the provision of sets of ribs 16 mounted or secured in the manner illustrated in FIG. 2 directly in an analytical instrument or other equipment with which sample containers are used.

As shown, each rib I6 has an outer longitudinally extending edge I7 which is secured to the inner surface of the cylinder 14. Each rib 16 is relatively thin, lying along a plane which extends generally inward from the cylinder 14 to the center axis 18 of the cylinder 14, but not directly inward, instead making an angle A with a radius 19 drawn between the outer edge 17 and the center axis 18. Consequently, each inner edge 21 of the ribs 16 is readily deflectable and always deflects in the same angular direction when a cylindrical container is inserted which has a greater diameter than a cylinder tangent to the edges 21 of the ribs [6 when they are undeflected. Thus, when a container 22 of larger diameter is inserted, the ribs 16 assume the positions represented in dotted lines 16'. In a similar manner a container of polygonal or other similar cross-section is supported.

It will be understood that the ribs 16 are made wide enough so that when in undeflected or in least deflected position they will support a sample container which is relatively small in comparison with the diameter of the cylinder 14. For example, in an illustrative case, the dimensions may be such that sample hoiding containers may range in size between 5 millimeters outside diameter and 20 millimeters outside diameter.

The ribs [6 may be composed of any suitable flexible, durable material such as an olefinic polymer, for example, polypropylene. As shown in the drawing, the ribs 16 are thinner than the cylindrical wall 14 of the holder 13 so that the ribs 16 may be quite flexible, whereas the cylinder 14 and bottom 15 have sufficient rigidity fo practical use. This permits the ribs 16 to be molded integrally with the cylinder 14 without difference in formulation, if desired.

The embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 has the advantage of providing the sample container 22 with lateral support throughout most of its length. However, the invention is not limited thereto and. if desired, flexible supporting ribs may also be provided which are spaced longitudinally or axially with respect to the hollow cylinder 14 and extend along conical surfaces concentric with the central axis 18 as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. In the embodiment of FIGS, 4 and 5, a plurality of groups of inwardly extending ribs 25 are provided which are spaced along the length of a hollow cylinder 24. For example, as illustrated, there may be three peripherally spaced ribs 25 in each group and two or more, preferably three groups, of such inwardly extending ribs 25 as indicated in FIG. 5. In the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, when a test tube 22 is inserted, the ribs 25 are deflected to assume the positions represented by dotted lines 25. Although the invention is not limited thereto, in this embodiment also, the ribs 25 may be formed integrally with the hollow cylindrical wall 24 of the holder 13.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, sloping ribs 25 are provided, which when undeflected lie along conical surfaces or in planes at an angle of about 45 to the center axis 18.

Specific arrangements and structural relationships have been illustrated and described by way of example, but it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiments illustrated and various modifications will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A holder for articles of various sizes comprising:

a plurality of longitudinally extending flexible ribs spaced around a center axis, each rib having longitudinally extending inner and outer edges and further having a surface adjacent the inner edge thereof for supporting an article within the holder;

a cylinder having an interior surface for supporting the outer edge of each rib, the ribs extending inward therefrom toward the center axis and being deflectable in a direction away from the center axis to accommodate articles of various sizes within the holder; and

each rib, when undeflected, being angularly dis placed with respect to a radius connecting the center axis and the outer edge of the rib, whereby insertion of articles of various sizes into the holder deflects the ribs in the same direction.

2. The holder of claim 1 wherein the ribs lie generally parallel to the center axis.

3. The holder of claim 1 wherein the ribs and the cylinder are formed integrally.

4. The holder of claim 2 wherein the ribs are thinner than the wall of the cylinder.

5. The holder of claim 2 wherein the ribs extend longitudinally a distance sufficient to provide lateral support for an article throughout most of the length of the article.

6. The holder of claim 2 wherein the ribs extend loninder.

l i l

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Classifications
U.S. Classification422/560, 211/74, 215/12.1, 248/311.2, 206/521, 220/903, 206/306, 206/591, 220/23.87, 248/314, 422/562
International ClassificationB01L9/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65G2201/0261, Y10S220/903, B01L9/06
European ClassificationB01L9/06