Squeeze bottle atomizer
||Hayes, Thomas H.;
An apparatus for dispensing liquid including a container for storing liquid, a closure connected to the container, a film-forming post connected to the closure having an orifice therein, a cap rotatably connected to the closure having an orifice alignable with the orifice in the film-forming post, a dip tube connected to the closure for conveying liquid from the container to the closure, the cap being adapted to selectively seal the orifice in the closure.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to squeeze bottle dispensers and, more particularly, to such dispensers wherein a liquid spray is discharged from the dispenser by squeezing the container.
Squeeze bottle dispensers are utilized for packaging and dispensing a wide variety of liquids. When the dispenser is actuated by squeezing the sides of the container, the liquid is sprayed out of the dispenser through an orifice in the dispenser closure. The liquid is discharged through and out of the orifice in a spray pattern.
With some materials such as quick-drying antiperspirants, the uniformity of the spray pattern and the size of the liquid and solid particles in the pattern sprayed are of particular importance. Variation in the pattern and variations in the size of the liquid particles during the time when the contents of the dispenser is being used can adversely affect the spray application of the liquid and the effectiveness of such liquid.
Various attempts have been made to improve the spray pattern and uniformity of the particle size of the liquid sprayed from squeeze bottle dispensers. Such attempts have included arrangements in the valves, the orifices, and the internal diameter of the dip tube.
Exemplary methods for converting liquids into fine spray are those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,421,692 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,421,699, which are hereby incorporated by reference. In these patents liquid is introduced onto a smooth surface having an aperture therethrough which causes the liquid to "film out" on the surface either by surface tension or by the shape of the surface so the liquid is under stress before it reaches the aperture. The film flows past the aperture through which a gaseous dispensing medium is discharged to create minuscle particles with a thin liquid film to form a fine particle spray.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the present invention there is provided an apparatus for dispensing liquid including a container for storing liquid, a closure connected to the container, a film-forming post connected to the closure having an orifice therein, a cap rotatably connected to the closure having an orifice alignable with the orifice in the film-forming post, a dip tube connected to the closure for conveying liquid from the container to the closure, the cap being adapted to selectively seal or open the orifice in the closure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a partly cross-sectional, partly cut-away side elevational view of the upper portion of the dispenser of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the dispenser cap and closure of the present invention wherein the cap and closure is in the dispensing mode;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the dispenser cap and closure of the present invention wherein the cap and closure is in the closed mode;
FIG. 4 is a back elevational view of the dispenser cap of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the dispenser cap of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the cap of the present invention taken along lines 6--6 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of the cap of the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the closure of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the closure of the present invention;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the closure of the present invention taken along lines 10--10 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the closure of the present invention taken along lines 11--11 of FIG. 8; and,
FIG. 12 is a partly cross-sectional, partly cut-away side elevational view of the container and dispenser of the present invention wherein fluids are being dispensed therefrom.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to FIGS. 1 and 12, the liquid to be dispensed can be seen to be held in container 10 which has threaded upper portion 14 for receipt of closure 18. The upper portion 14 of container 10 has threads 14a which engage threads 14b on closure 18 to secure closure 18 to container 10. As is well-known in the art, container 10 may be formed without threads and closure 18 affixed thereto by gluing, snapping, or the like.
Closure 18 has a generally flat circular floor portion 21. Located above floor 21 is chamber 23. Floor 21 has a hole 20 therein through which liquids from chamber 23 may drain into container 10. If desired, a ball check valve and housing could be added beneath hole 20, but hole 20 is preferably open to allow air to travel upwardly therethrough when container 10 is squeezed.
Extending upwardly from floor 21 is film-forming post 15. Post 15 has an upper curved surface 19 onto which liquids are directed to form a thin film. The thin film formed on upper surface 19 passes over orifice 19a and post 15.
The upper curved surface 19 of post 15 must be sufficiently smooth so that a film of liquid may be formed thereover, and the point of application of the liquid must be a distance sufficient from the aperture 19a to prevent formation of the film before the liquid passes over the aperture. This has been explained in U.S. Pat. No. 3,421,692 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,421,699.
The shape and conture of the aperture 19a has an effect on spray uniformity and capacity, and aperture or orifice 19a is preferably round in shape. Also, the walls of the aperture can be parallel or diverge outwardly from the upper surface 19 of post 15. As shown in the drawings, the aperture 19a in the preferred embodiment is simply a round hole having a straight-through circumferential wall.
Stem 22 is shown projecting upwardly from floor 21 of closure 18 and is adjacent to post 15. Stem 22 can be seen to have an opening 24 in the upper end thereof into which is inserted post 12b of cap 12. Opening 24 permits liquids to be directed onto the upper surface 19 of post 15 as indicated by the arrows in FIGS. 1 and 12.
Stem 22 is generally circular in cross-section and has an inner flange 25 at the lower end against which is fitted dip tube 28 and on which rests ball 22a. Ball 22a forms a liquid tight seal with flange 25 to hold liquids in tube 28 in the "primed" condition, i.e., tube 28 is completely filled with liquid.
Also at the upper end of stem 22 is channel 27 which in cooperation with the curved surface 27a of cap 12 forms a channel through which liquids are directed onto upper surface 19 of post 15. As shown in FIG. 12, dip tube 28 is received in the lower end of stem 22.
Located at the upper end and attached to closure 18 is cap 12 having exit orifice 13 in sidewall 12c. Cap 12 is shown snapped to the interior of closure 18 to hold cap 12 in place on closure 18. Cap 12 can rotate about closure 18 when snapped in place as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 12. However, if desired, threads may be provided on the interior of closure 18 and the exterior of cap 12 so that cap 12 may be threaded onto closure 18.
To seal orifice 13, cap 12 is rotated so that orifice 13 is no longer aligned with orifice 19 and post 22b forms a liquid-tight seal with orifice 13. Thus, when cap 12 is rotated from the position shown in FIG. 2 to the position shown in FIG. 3, orifice 13 is completely sealed and no fluids can leak from the container.
Closure 18 has a tab 18a thereon as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 8, and 11 which projects upwardly from the sides of closure 18 and is slidably received in slot 12d of cap 12. Thus, as shown in FIG. 2, when cap 12 is rotated counterclockwise (when viewed from the top), tab 18a strikes one edge of slot 12d and the dispenser is operational. However, as shown in FIG. 3, when cap 12 is rotated counterclockwise (when viewed from the top), tab 18a strikes the other extremity of slot 12d indicating that the container is fully closed.
In FIGS. 1 and 12 is illustrated the manner in which the dispenser functions. When the sides of container 10 are depressed as shown in FIG. 12 by the fingers of the user, the air inside container 10 is compressed or pressurized and liquids are forced upwardly from the bottom of dip tube 28, past ball 22a, through stem 22, and outwardly through opening 24 and channel 27. As the liquids exit through channel 27, they strike the upper surface 19 of post 15. Due partly to the velocity of the liquid and the smooth surface 19, a thin film is formed over the surface 19 downward to orifice 19a.
Gas or air under pressure in the interior of container 10 travels upward through the interior of post 15 as indicated by the arrow and through hole 20. The air traveling upward through post 15 then exits outwardly through orifice 19a, and the air traveling upward through hole 20 flows over post 15 and out through orifice 13 to produce finer particles of spray than is produced when hole 20 is plugged. As air exits through orifice 19a it strikes a thin film of liquid on the outer surface 19 of post 15 causing minuscle particles of liquid to break away from the film to produce a very fine uniform spray. The uniform spray continues outwardly through orifice 13 in cap 12.
It is thought that the invention and many of its attendant advantages will be understood from the foregoing description and it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction, and arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the forms hereinbefore described being merely preferred embodiments thereof.