|Publication number||USRE39171 E1|
|Application number||US 09/848,972|
|Publication date||Jul 11, 2006|
|Filing date||May 4, 2001|
|Priority date||Oct 22, 1996|
|Also published as||EP0932451A1, US5899634, WO1998017403A1|
|Publication number||09848972, 848972, US RE39171 E1, US RE39171E1, US-E1-RE39171, USRE39171 E1, USRE39171E1|
|Inventors||Thomas J. Lochtefeld|
|Original Assignee||Light Wave, Ltd|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (49), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (35), Classifications (8), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates in general to the formation of water sculptures, and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for providing a flowing body of water on an inclined surface to produce simulated wave shapes for aesthetic purposes such as for water fountains, water sculptures and the like.
2. Description of the Related Art
The concept of using water to create shapes of aesthetic beauty can broadly be categorized in the field of water sculpture. Examples of water sculpture can be seen in water fountains, water geysers and man-made or simulated rivers and waterfalls. These types of sculptures demonstrate numerous possibilities for creating different aesthetic water shapes. For instance, in the case of a man-made river, water can be shaped by being directed over and around various obstacles such as rocks. Water can also be made to fall from heights, as in waterfalls and fountains. Certain fountains may employ streams of water projecting upward or outward at different velocities, angle and volumes to create unique and appealing shapes, configurations or patterns.
Despite the many approaches to forming water sculptures, there have been relatively few attempts to create realistic-looking wave-like shapes or wave-forms. Of the several attempts that have been made, most have focused on natural propagating waves, i.e., waves that simulate conditions naturally found on beaches and elsewhere in the environment. Natural propagating wave simulation, however, is not ideal for the formation of water sculptures due to the need for a deep water source. Because water sculptures typically must operate in a limited amount of space using only limited amounts of water, deep water propagation would be inappropriate for many such sculptures. Further, the use of deep water creates problems of cost, size and capacity. Specifically, the reproduction of natural propagating waves in deep water requires expensive water containment and wave generating equipment.
The present invention overcomes many of the limitations of the prior art by providing a method and apparatus for producing natural-looking waves under shallow water conditions. In particular, a water sculpture is provided that can produce several types of wave forms occurring in a natural deep-water environment, but without the costs or space requirements associated with deep water wave propagation. Examples of such natural wave forms include: (1) undulating, unbroken waves; (2) breaking waves forming a white water bore; (3) curling or spilling waves; and (4) tube or tunnel waves.
The invention generally involves the use of a flow surface over which a relatively shallow flow or “sheet flow” of water is injected by a nozzle or other suitable means. The term sheet flow is a convenient term to describe water flow that follows the general contours of a flow surface. It should not be construed as limiting in any way the scope or application of the present invention. The flow surface is generally inclined, but in other respects may have a contour that is widely varied. It may also be tilted or declined if desired. For instance, the surface may be symmetrical, asymmetrical, planar, convex, concave, canted about its longitudinal axis, and/or provided with mounds, shapes, forms, or other contours in order to produce a wave of a particular shape or aesthetic appeal. Advantageously, by providing a flow of water over an appropriately formed surface, wave-like shapes simulating an unbroken wave face, a white water bore, a spilling breaking wave, a breaking tunnel wave or other desired wave shapes can be created.
In accordance with one embodiment the present invention provides a water sculpture comprising a flow surface with at least a portion thereof having a generally inclined slope. A source of water is provided for injecting a sheet flow of water onto the flow surface such that the sheet flow of water flows upwardly onto the inclined slope and substantially conforms to the contours thereof. The flow surface is formed such that it causes at least a portion of the sheet flow of water to separate from the flow surface producing a simulated wave form.
In accordance with another embodiment the present invention provides an apparatus for forming a water sculpture, comprising a flow surface with at least a portion thereof having a generally inclined slope. A flow source is provided injecting a shallow flow of water onto the flow surface such that the shallow flow of water flows upwardly onto the inclined slope and substantially conforms to the contours thereof. The flow surface further comprises an upwardly rising section sized and configured so as to induce separation of the shallow flow of water on said upwardly rising section, whereby at least a portion of the water flow assumes an airborne trajectory producing visual, aural and/or aesthetic appeal.
In accordance with another embodiment the present invention provides a water awning for a building or the like comprising a tunnel wave water sculpture forming a sheet flow of water which assumes a trajectory over a walkway or entranceway.
In accordance with another embodiment the present invention provides a walkthrough water sculpture comprising a platform or walkway for allowing pedestrians or vehicles to traverse a predetermined distance and a flow surface disposed adjacent to the walkway and having a generally inclined slope. A flow source is provided for injecting a sheet flow of water onto the flow surface such that the sheet flow of water flows upwardly onto the inclined slope and substantially conforms to the contours thereof. The flow surface further comprises an upwardly rising section sized and configured so as to induce separation of the sheet flow on the upwardly rising section, whereby at least a portion of the sheet flow of water assumes an airborne trajectory over the walkway.
In accordance with another embodiment the present invention provides a water sculpture, comprising a contoured inclined flow surface and one or more flow sources for providing a flow of water onto the inclined flow surface, such that the flow substantially conforms to the contours of the flow surface. The flow surface further comprises an upwardly rising section sized and configured so as to induce separation of the flow of water on the upwardly rising section, whereby at least a portion of the flow of water assumes a path or trajectory that simulates a naturally occurring wave form.
These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art having reference to the drawings and detailed description that follows, the invention not being limited to any particular preferred embodiment(s) described.
My U.S. Pat. No. 5,236,280 first disclosed the concept of simulated surfing wave forms in a shallow or “sheet flow” water environment. One purpose of creating these wave shapes was to reproduce desired conditions in which surfers and other ride participants could wave-ride on simulated waves and thereby perform exciting new water-skimming maneuvers over a sustained period of time. My U.S. Pat. No. 5,401,117 further expanded this concept by providing a method and apparatus for containerless sheet flow which produced improved wave shapes for performing surfing maneuvers.
The present invention further improves and expands on this fundamental concept of producing simulated wave shapes by forming new and unique water sculptures having visual, aural and/or aesthetic appeal. This adaptation leads to some unique applications, such as an awning for an entranceway to a building, or an indoor breaking wave water sculpture to complement a surfing or beach theme. The overall result is the creation of a wide variety of desirable wave-shapes that can be used generally in water fountains and other applications intended for visual, aural or aesthetic appeal.
To better understand the preferred construction and operation of the invention as described herein, a few special terms are defined below. However, it should be pointed out that these explanations are intended to supplement the ordinary meaning of such terms, and are not intended to be limiting in any way.
A stationary wave is a progressive wave that is travelling against the flow of water and has a phase speed that exactly matches the speed of the current, thus, allowing the wave to appear stationary.
The equilibrium zone is that portion of an upward inclined flow surface upon which an actual or hypothetical object may be maintained in equilibrium on an upward flowing body of water. Consequently, the upslope flow of momentum as communicated to the object through hydrodynamic drag is balanced by the downslope component of gravity associated with the weight of the object.
The supra-equidyne area is that portion of a flow surface contiguous with but downstream of the equilibrium zone wherein the slope of the incline is sufficiently steep to allow an object to overcome the drag force associated with the upwardly sheeting water flow and slide downwardly thereupon.
The sub-equidyne area is that portion of a flow surface contiguous with but upstream of the equilibrium zone wherein the slope of the incline is either insufficiently steep, flat or declined such that the drag force associated with the water flow causes an object to move in the direction of flow and ultimately back up the incline in opposition to the downslope component of gravity.
Of course, those persons skilled in the art will recognize that the terms equilibrium, supra-equidyne and sub-equidyne, as used herein, are relative terms and may vary depending upon the size, shape, weight and drag coefficient of the actual or hypothetical object placed in the flowing body of water. Nevertheless, they are useful and convenient terms for describing the general characteristics of various flow supporting surfaces as disclosed herein.
The Froude number is a mathematical expression that describes the ratio of the velocity of the flow to the phase speed of the longest possible waves that can exist in a given depth without being destroyed by breaking. The Froude number equals the flow velocity divided by the square root of the product of the acceleration of gravity and the depth of the water. The Froude number squared is a ratio between the kinetic energy of the flow and its potential energy, i.e., the Froude number squared equals the flow speed squared divided by the product of the acceleration of gravity and the water depth. In formula notation, the Froude number may be represented by the following mathematical expression:
Critical flow occurs when the flow's kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy are equal. Critical flow has the characteristic physical feature of a breaking phenomenon or a hydraulic jump resulting from a local convergence of energy. Because of the unstable nature of wave breaking, critical flow is difficult to maintain in an absolutely stationary state in a moving stream of water given that the speed of the wave must match the velocity of the stream to remain stationary. This is a delicate balancing act. There is a match for these exact conditions at only one point for one particular flow speed and depth. Critical flows have a Froude number equal to one.
Subcritical flow can be generally described as a slower moving water flow. Specifically, subcritical flows have a Froude number that is less than 1, and the kinetic energy of the flow is less than its gravitational potential energy. If a stationary wave is in subcritical flow, then it will be a non-breaking stationary wave.
Supercritical flow can be generally described as faster moving water flow. Specifically, supercritical flows have a Froude number greater than 1, and, thus, the kinetic energy of the flow is greater than its gravitational potential energy. No stationary waves are involved. The reason for the lack of stationary waves is that neither breaking nor non-breaking waves can keep up with the flow speed because the maximum possible speed for any wave is the square root of the product of the acceleration of gravity times the water depth. Consequently, any waves which might form are quickly swept downstream.
The hydraulic jump is the point of wave-breaking of the fastest waves that can exist at a given depth of water. The hydraulic jump itself is actually the break point of that wave, resulting from a local convergence of energy. Any waves occurring upstream of the hydraulic jump in the supercritical area are unable to keep up with the flow. Consequently they bleed downstream until they meet the area where the hydraulic jump occurs. At that point, the flow is thicker and the waves can travel faster. Concurrently, the downstream waves that can travel faster move upstream and meet at the hydraulic jump. The convergence of waves at this flux point leads to wave breaking. In terms of energy, the hydraulic jump is an energy transition point where energy of the flow abruptly changes from kinetic to potential. A hydraulic jump occurs when the Froude number is 1.
White water breaking occurs due to wave breaking at the leading edge of the hydraulic jump where the flow transitions from critical to subcritical. In the sheet flow environment, remnant turbulence and air bubbles from wave breaking are merely swept downstream through the subcritical area, and dissipate within a short distance downstream of the hydraulic jump.
A bore is a progressive hydraulic jump which can appear stationary in a current when the bore speed is equal and opposite to the current.
Separation is the point where the sheet flow breaks away from the flow surface. Flow separation results from differential losses of kinetic energy through the depth of the sheet flow. As the sheet flow proceeds up the incline it begins to decelerate, trading kinetic energy for gravitational potential energy. The portion of the sheet flow that is directly adjacent to the walls of the incline (the boundary layer) also suffers additional kinetic energy loss to wall friction. These additional friction losses cause the boundary layer to run out of kinetic energy and come to rest in a state of zero wall friction while the outer portion of the sheet flow still has residual kinetic energy left. At this point the outer portion of the sheet flow breaks away from the wall of the incline (separation) and continues on a ballistic trajectory with its remaining energy forming either a spill down or curl over back upon the upcoming flow. The separating streamline is the path taken by the outer portion of the sheet flow which does not come to rest under the influence of frictional effects, but breaks away from the wall surface at the point of separation.
Flow partitioning is the lateral division of flows having different hydraulic states. A dividing streamline is the streamline defining the position of flow partitioning on the surface along which flows divide laterally between supercritical and critical hydraulic states.
Conforming flow occurs where the angle of incidence of the entire depth range of a body of water is (at a particular point relative to the inclined flow forming surface over which it flows) predominantly tangential to the flow surface. Consequently, conforming flow upon a flow surface will conform to gradual changes in inclination, e.g., curves, without causing the flow to separate. As a consequence of flow conformity, the downstream termination of an inclined surface will always physically direct and point a conforming flow in a direction aligned with the downstream termination surface. The change in direction of a conforming flow can exceed 180 degrees in some cases.
The following detailed disclosure and drawings set forth several particularly preferred embodiments of certain water sculptures having features and advantages in accordance with the preset invention. For convenience throughout the various examples, like numbers are used to refer to like elements. However, the use of the same or similar numbers in different figures should not in any way be interpreted as requiring identity of structure or function. Also, while water is the preferred flow medium those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that a wide variety of other suitable liquids may also be used, including without limitation colored liquids, liquid mixtures, and various beverages, such as champagne and the like.
Basic Sheet Flow
The water sculpture 10a generally comprises a subsurface structural support 12 and a flow surface 14a, defined by upstream edge 16, downstream edge 18, and side edges 20a and 20b. The flow surface 14a is preferably smooth and can be a skin placed over the sub-surface structural support 12, or the structures can be integrated together, provided that the flow surface is sufficiently smooth. The flow surface 14a can be fabricated of any of several well known materials, e.g., plastic; foam; formed metal; stretched or reinforced tension fabric; treated wood; fiberglass; tile; fluid filled plastic or fabric bladders; or any other suitable materials having a sufficiently smooth outer surface and which will withstand the surface loads involved. Sub-surface structural support 12 can be sand/gravel/rock; truss and beam; thin shell concrete; compacted fill; tension pole; or any other suitable materials for firmly grounding and structurally supporting the flow surface 14a in a manner so as to receive flowing water thereon.
The flow surface 14a as shown and described in connection with
Simulated White Water Bore
Simulated Spilling Wave
A simulated spilling wave with a smooth unbroken shoulder may be created on a flow surface by two general methods: (1) a cross-stream velocity gradient and (2) a cross-stream pressure gradient. The use of either method depends upon overall objectives and constraints of the flow surface structure and available flow characteristics. A cross-stream velocity gradient is the preferred method when the structure of the flow surface is limited to a symmetrical configuration such as flow surface 14a shown in
The cross-stream velocity gradients as described above were created by placing multiple flow sources of differing kinetic energy side by side and simultaneously projecting them upslope as shown in FIG. 4A. An alternative way of creating cross-stream velocity gradients employs the use of a single source of water with a specially configured nozzle or plenum. For instance, nozzles with asymmetrical apertures can be used to produce the same effect.
As noted above, a second general approach to simulating a spilling wave with a smooth unbroken shoulder is to generate a cross-stream pressure gradient. Such cross-stream pressure gradients can be generated, for example, by sills, depressions, injected water, etc. The preferred technique, in order to avoid penetrations or discontinuity on flow surface 14c, is through increased hydrostatic pressure. In this regard,
Simulated Tunnel Wave
One of the most desirable and aesthetically pleasing wave shapes is the tunnel wave. In order to simulate a tunnel wave, a portion of the flow surface is shaped so as to form a generally concave curvature.
Referring now to the topographic contour shown in
In shoulder region 38, the sole source of outside pressure is due to gravity. The uniform rate of surface incline results in flow 24 taking a predominantly two dimensional straight trajectory up flow surface 14e and over downstream ridge line 18 as indicated by a streamline 50a.
In the elbow region 40, a backwards or downstream sweep in the inclined portion of surface 14e creates a low pressure area towards the backswept side. As flow 24 rises in elevation upon elbow region 40, flow 24 begins to turn toward the area of lower pressure as indicated by the solid streamline 50b. Now flow 24 is no longer following a two dimensional streamline. Rather, the streamline path 50b moves in three dimensions due to the cross-stream pressure gradient. The trajectory of flow 24 as indicated by the solid streamline 50b is spirally shaped. If hypothetically extended (indicated by continued dashed line), the last half of this spiral would be directed downslope and conforming to the backswept side of the flow surface 14e.
In pit region 42, the flow 24 again rises in elevation and then turns toward the area of lower pressure as indicated by solid streamline 50c. The trajectory of flow 50c is parabolically inclined and, if hypothetically extended (indicated by continued dashed line), would separate from flow surface 14e and would arc downward until reconnecting in the pit area 44. The swale 46 formed in area 48 combined with an increasing steepness of flow surface 14e results in a parabolic trajectory that moves up straighter and more vertically, as illustrated by streamline 50c. This leads to flow separation resulting in the desired stationary tunnel opening to an unbroken shoulder. As supercritical flow 24 separates from flow surface 14e, its new direction of flow, as indicated by the dashed portion of streamline 50c, is generally transverse to the original direction of flow 26. When streamline 50c reattaches to the flow 26, white water 30 appears and forms a tail race 52 as guided by tail region 44.
A prerequisite to tunnel wave formation is that supercritical flow 24 must have at least sufficient velocity to clear downstream ridge line 18 on shoulder area 38.
Further increases in the velocity of supercritical flow 24 will result in an increase in tunnel diameter, i.e., an increase in apparent wave size.
At least three characteristics of the flow surface influence the overall appearance of the tunnel wave and each of them interacts with the other: (1) its shape; (2) its attitude or horizontal angle with respect to the direction of water flow; and (3) its inclination or vertical angle with respect to the direction of water flow.
The flow surface of the tunnel wave water sculpture 10e of
The horizontal attitude of the flow surface with respect to the direction of water flow can vary within certain limits so as to facilitate the formation of the tunnel wave. Since the front surface of the concave curvature has varying degrees along its horizontal axis for purposes of orientation an extension of upstream edge is used to indicate varying horizontal attitudes of the front face therefrom. Accordingly, upstream edge varies from substantially perpendicular to the direction of water flow to a preferred angle of approximately 35-45 degrees, as shown.
Two additional factors are particularly important with respect to the inclination: (1) the change in angle of incline relative to the depth of water is preferably sufficiently gradual to avoid separation or deflection of streamlines; and (2) the angle of release (the line tangent to the front face of the downstream edge when compared to the vertical) is preferably beyond vertical as shown (although this is not necessary). Amounts of incline beyond vertical may vary, as desired; however, a preferred amount is about 10 degrees.
Half-Pipe Flow Configurations
To this point, the sheet flow upon the flow surface has been described as issuing at either an upward incline or horizontally. However, water flowing upon downhill ramps may also have advantages in connection with simulated wave formation. When the source for such flow is from a pump or darn/reservoir with associated aperture, e.g., nozzle, there is significant likelihood that oblique waves (i.e., non-coherent streamlines) will form at an angle to the flow as a result of boundary layer disturbances associated with the aperture enclosure. Oblique waves may grow and lead to choking of an entire flow. The use of downhill ramps can help solve or mitigate this problem by encouraging smooth sheeting flow. Further, downhill ramps add new possibilities for the creation of water scultures with enhanced visual, aural or aesthetic appeal.
The various sections of the flow surface 14f of
Tunnel Wave Awning
The ability to create stable simulated waves as described above leads to several additional unique possibilities in the field of water sculpture. One particularly exciting possibility is the ability to reproduce the experience of actually being inside a tunnel wave. The sight, sound and sensation of walking through a tunnel wave is a thrilling experience and has heretofore only been available to relatively few people in the world capable of surfing in a naturally occurring tunnel wave or tube. Advantageously, the subject invention allows this prized experience to be enjoyed by virtually anyone who can walk or otherwise traverse down a walkway. The particular examples discussed herein should not be construed as limiting the present invention in any way. Rather, these teachings apply generally to any application which can take advantage of the aesthetic appeal of simulated wave shapes.
Theoretically, no pool or water reservoir is required for the water sculpture since a flow from a suitable flow source is all that is required. However, where water recycling is preferred, low channel walls can be constructed to retain the flowing water with a lower collection pool recycling pump and appropriate conduit connected back to the upstream flow source. The area of channel containment need only be large enough to form the tunnel wave since most of the returning water of the tunnel wave will remain more or less stationary within the containment structure. Thus, such a structure can be constructed even in a limited amount of space.
In the particular embodiment shown, two tunnel waves 36a, 36b are formed, the main tunnel wave being formed by the streamlines 26e-26i and the secondary tunnel wave being formed by the streamlines 26a-c. Starting from the lowermost flow source 22a, water under pressure is forced out of a nozzle or other flow forming aperture onto the flow supporting surface 14h. The flow supporting surface 14h is angled and inclined such that the streamline 26a rises up the incline and is then bent back upon itself forming a free falling tunnel wave 36b, as shown. Flow sources 22b-22d inject corresponding water flows 26b-26d, which impact generally at the apex or “V” section of the flow supporting surface 14h. The velocity of the water flow at this point is preferably sufficient to overcome the potential energy at the uppermost ridge 18 of the flow surface at that point. Referring to
Beginning with flow sources 22e, a flow 26e is projected upward onto the flow surface 14h and is directed upward and to the right, such that the flow separates forming a dramatic tunnel wave 36a, as illustrated in FIG. 10A. The remaining streamlines 26f-26i also follow the same general path progressively flowing upward along the flow supporting surface 14h and being directed across the walkway, as shown, to form a tunnel wave 36a. The radius of vertical curvature (ie. curvature about a vertical axis) of the flow supporting surface 14h preferably decreases or gets tighter progressively toward the downstream end of the flow surface 14h. This allows each of the streamlines 26e-26i to assume a generally converging funnel-type tunnel wave shape so as to provide a unique and inviting appearance. Alternatively, a constant horizontal or vertical curvature may also be employed or changing curvatures may be used, as desired, to form any number of desired symmetric or asymmetric wave shapes.
Dynamic Water Sculpture
Another desirable option for a water sculpture is to provide a dynamic component or effect such as a moving water swath 58, as shown in the time-sequenced depictions in
It should be understood that the preferred embodiments and examples shown and described herein are merely exemplary applications of a wave-shaped water sculpture having desirable features of the present invention. The scope of the present invention should not be construed as limited to any specific embodiment described herein. Rather, the invention may be embodied in a wide variety of other forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics as disclosed herein. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the present invention should be determined only by reference to the claims that follow.
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|U.S. Classification||405/79, 239/17|
|International Classification||A63B69/00, B05B17/08|
|Cooperative Classification||B05B17/085, A63C19/00|
|European Classification||A63C19/00, B05B17/08F|
|Sep 27, 2006||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Dec 6, 2010||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Mar 24, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR, LLP, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LIGHT WAVE, LTD.;REEL/FRAME:026108/0783
Effective date: 20110314
Owner name: KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR, LLP, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LIGHT WAVE, LTD.;REEL/FRAME:026108/0783
Effective date: 20110314
|May 4, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|May 4, 2011||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 11
|May 6, 2014||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: LIGHT WAVE, LTD., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST TERMINATION;ASSIGNOR:KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR, LLP;REEL/FRAME:032836/0322
Effective date: 20140219