Inventors: Richard A. Wilkinson, 1316 Jersey p Ave.; Thomas M. Brown, R.R. 6, Box 191, lsaogle Rd., both of Muncie, Ind. 47302
Appl. N0.: 44,584
Filed: Jun. 1, 1979
Int. Cl.-‘ .............................................. .. A62B 7/00 U.S. Cl. ........................ .. 128/204.17; 128/207.12; 128/203.27
Field of Search .................... .. 128/203.27, 203.26, 128/204.17, 201.13
_ References Cited U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
197946 4/1924 United Kingdom .............. .. 128/204.17
Primary Examiner—Henry J. Recla V
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Cross, Marshall, Schuck &
A frigid air respirator comprising a cylindrical housing affixed to a face mask, openly constructed so as to permit the passage of air upon inhalation by the user into the chamber formed by the housing. A heating means is situated within the housing to increase the temperature of incoming air by radiation and a transversely positioned intake valve governs the admission of air into the respiratory tract of the user and divides the chamber formed by the housing into an internal chamber which is contiguous with the mask cavity and into a receiving chamber wherein a supply of previously heated air is stored prior to inhalation. An exhaust valve is encompassed into the device to allow the expulsion of air from the internal chamber and mask cavity.
2 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
-N The present invention relates to a mask apparatus assisting in the respiratory process, and in particular to an apparatus enabling persons with physiological deficiencies such as cardiac or respiratory ailments to be active in frigid. air environments without subjecting their respiratory systems to the stress created by inhaling extremely cold ambient air. '
lt is well known that the inhalation of air in low temperature surroundings may be burdensome on the human respiratory system, sharply reducing the ability to carry on outside activities efficiently under such conditions. In order to adequately admit oxygen into the body, the frigid ambient air from which it is taken must be warmed sufficiently in the upper respiratory tract. Such a process necessitates a dissipation of a great deal of heat energy, and may result in the initiation of fatigue far more rapidly than in warmer climates. Persons with cardiac problems or respiratory deficiencies are especially susceptible to discomfort and impaired function caused by the inhalation of cold air and may even be subject to intense pain or attacks of angina pectoris as a result. Due to their increased sensitivity to the breathing of frigid air, such persons have often been forced -to sharply reduce work and other activities outdoors or forego them altogether.
In recognition of the need for a means of enabling persons with cardiac or respiratory impediments to withstand substantial periods of exposure to air in frigid environments without these difficulties, a number of devices have been developed in the prior art for the purpose of reducing the harmful or dangerous effects caused by the inhalation of extremely cold air. While some of these devices operate to increase air temperature.to some degree, they all possess deficiencies rendering them less effective and their use less desirable than that of the present invention. 40
For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,491,754 to Weese, U.S. ‘ Pat. No. 3,707,966 to Nebel, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,062,359 to Geaghan all disclose devices wherein the body temperature of the user is employed in some fashion to heat ambient air before it is inhaled. Inlet tubes or pads are placed underneath the wearer’s clothing, and as the person inhales, heated air in close proximity to the body is transported through conduit means of some sort to the person's nose and mouth. Devices utilizing the body heat in this manner have the obvious disadvantage of being able to introduce only stale air into the respiratory system of the user. In addition to the somewhat undesirable quality of the preheated air, apparatuses such as those are cumbersome and impede the normal functioning of the user. Furthermore, if the user is performing even moderately strenuous tasks, his or her oxygen requirements are substantially increased and it is doubtful that these devices are capable of providing enough sufficiently warmed air to satisfy such demand.
The principle of applying heat energy from a person’s exhalations to increase temperature of incoming air is taught by U.S. Pat. No. 3,333,585 to Barghini and U.S. Pat. No. 3,814,094 to DeAngelis. Valveless mask apparatuses fit over the user's nose and mouth. As the user exhales, some of the heat energy from his expelled breath is absorbed by materials in the mask. Air to be inhaled is drawn through the mask and is warmed by the resultant transfer of heat energy. These devices
suffer from the obvious disadvantage of inter-mingling exhaled air with.inhaled air. An excess buildup of carbon dioxide within the cavity between the mask and the user’s face is possible in situations where the user is required p to breathe rapidly, rendering its use as a breathwarmer difficult if not impossible. Additionally, the ability of such devices to adequately warm enough quantities of air to satisfy the user’s demands in extremely frigid conditions or in situations where the user is forced to breathe rapidly or heavily is highly doubtful.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,249,108 to Terman features a heating element contained in a pocket of a mask with incoming air passing through the element becoming heated by radiation. In situations in which the user is required to breathe heavily or rapidly, this device too may be inadequate to provide the needed quantities of sufficiently heated air, and there is also the potential for buildup of excess carbon dioxide that is present in other devices.
The present invention was developed in an effort to circumvent the disadvantages existing in the devices of the prior art.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved frigid air respirator for use by persons exposed to cold air environments.
Another object is to provide a frigid air respirator as aforesaid which is capable of efficiently supplying adequate quantities of heated air despite rapid or heavy breathing by the user.
Another object is to provide a frigid air respirator as aforesaid which supplies fresh air to the user.
Other objects and features of the invention are to be found in the following description and claims.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Drawings accompany the disclosure and the various views thereof may be briefly described as: _
FIG. 1, a pictorial view of the device;
FIG. 2, a side view of the device wherein the cylindrical housing is shown in section;
FIG. 3, a frontal view of one embodiment of the heating means to be incorporated into the device, taken along the line indicated in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4, a side view of another embodiment of the device, wherein the cylindrical housing is shown in section. ,
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring now to FIG. 1, there is pictorially shown a frigid air respirator generally indicated by the number 10. A cylindrical housing 20 extends outwardly from a face mask 30 to which it is affixed. The device can be secured to the head of the user in any conventional fashion, such as by the use of a strap 32 and buckle 33 as depicted.
As disclosed in FIG. 2, the end 22 of the housing 20 which is not attached to the face mask 30 is open and permits the entry of air into the cylindrical chamber 23 defined by the housing 20 immediately. An air permeable heating means 40 is positioned transversely to the axis of the housing 20 inside the chamber 23. Air is drawn into the respirator by the inhalation of the user and is heated by radiation as it passes over or near the heating means 40. Although any number of heating