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Sherwood WEBSTER & Richard HEISE

Variable Capacity Fuel Valve







Michael Edelhart: Omni Magazine (1980s): "Mistmaker"

S.F. Chronicle (26 October 1982): "New Valve May Increase Auto Fuel Economy"


Tom Valentine: Spotlight (6 February 1984)


Justin Roberts: Contra Costa Times (August 20,1983); "Classic tale of a hidden car invention is true"


J. Roberts: Contra Costa Times (August 1983); "Motorists not getting mileage out of invention"


T. Valentine: Spotlight (15 April 1991); "Invention has Potential for Energy Independence"


Sherwood Webster & Richard Heise: US Patent # 4,187,820: "Intake Manifold Variable Atomizing Valve"


S. Webster & R. Heise: US Patent #4,358,414; "Fuel Delivery System for Combustion Devices"


James Olmsted, S. Webster & R. Heise: US Patent # 4,493,750; "Thermodynamic Conditioning of Air..."


David Lindahl: "The Webster-Heise Valve" (Congressional Research Service Report # 82-176)



Omni Magazine
(Date unknown, early 1980s)

"Mistmaker"

Michael Edelhart

A Washington DC engineer and a Phoenix mechanic have proved that even in the Age of Corporate Patents, thereís still room for the independent inventor working out of a garage and driven by dreams. Now their idea for a simple device that raises a carís gas mileage while cutting pollution appears ready to leave the garage and make its debut in American cars. In widespread use it could slash by almost 50 percent the amount of oil imported into the US.

After dozens of false starts, engineer Sherwood Webster and mechanic Richard Heise created a valve that sits beneath an auto carburetor and, according to a Congressional Service Report, does all the following: cuts fuel consumption by 20%, increases engine torque by 13 to 40 %, cuts carbon monoxide emissions by almost 50% and hydrocarbon emissions by up to 23%, and drops required octane ratings by 10 to 15 points.

Octane is a measure of a fuelís capacity to resist engine knock; higher octane fuel requires additives and more crude oil per gallon than lower-octane fuel. The octane reduction in the Webster-Heise valve would translate into a 600,000 barrel-per-day savings if it were applied to every American car; the valveís gas-mileage improvement could save an additional 1.3 barrels per day. The savings could go up to almost half the 4.2 million barrels of imported oil this country consumes daily.

Webster and Heise achieved these results by solving one of automotive designís oldest problems: how to fully and evenly vaporize gasoline. Carburetors mix air and gas to form a vapor that feeds the pistons. Inconsistencies in the density and chemical composition of gasoline create heavy drops that the carburetor canít break up. These drops burn poorly, leave deposits that cause engine knock, increase wear on components, and lower efficiency.

The Webster-Heise valve sucks the gas-air mix from the carburetor, bounces it off a concave shield, and squeezes it through a sandwich of stainless-steel screens. The curved plate speeds up the mixture so that it hits the screens with enormous force. The arrangement of holes in the screens breaks even the heaviest drops into an invisible mist. The mix that results is almost totally uniform and perfectly blended.

The heart of the valve is the screen sandwich. Other valves with screens have failed, but this one succeeds because the sandwich creates a vibration pattern that pulverizes drops. Webster and Heise discovered their breakthrough in 1977 entirely by accident. Their 39 attempts to create a single-screen filter had all flopped. Then one day while washing off their stainless-steel screens with a hose in Heiseís garage, they happened to hold two screens next to each other. To their astonishment the water spray vanished. It emerged from the second screen in a mist so fine, it was invisible. Two years of testing this effect resulted in the prototype valve.

"When we built the prototypeĒ+, Webster recalls, "we didnít even understand why it worked. All we knew was that it did".

"Itís an inspiration", says Harvey Palmer, a chemical-engineering professor and distillation expert at the University of Rochester. "Two individuals with a solid guess. All the research money at GM and Ford just canít buy that".

Perhaps the most incredible feature of the valve is that it is expected to cost car manufacturers less than $100 to install. Chrysler, seeing the potential for a low-cost anti-pollution device to replace expensive catalytic converters, has licensed the valve and could begin using it in cars by the middle of the decade. Other American carmakers may follow, with government prodding.


San Francisco Chronicle (26 October 1982)

"New Valve May Increase Auto Fuel Economy"

At the request of two influential congressmen and the vice presidentís office, the Transportation Department has decided to test a new valve that its developers say boosts auto fuel economy and power while drastically cutting emissions.

Even though early private tests were quite promising, the valveís developers have had little luck persuading the industry to exploit it. But they have quietly attracted many highly placed investors over the last two years, including former President Ford and his former White House counsel, John Marsh; Senator John Warner (R-VA), and former Senator Carl Curtis (R-NE)

Partly because of these connections, the valve also grabbed the attention of some influential non-investors, including Rep. Edward Madigan (R-IL) and James Broyhill (R-NC) -- both involved with environmental and transportation issues -- and Vice President George Bush Sr. Bushís office became interested because of pending decisions on whether to further limit lead in gasoline.

According to the two Arizona men who developed the intake valve -- Sherwood Websters and Richard Heise of Scottsdale -- it would allow use of 75-octane gas, eliminating the need for lead and other additives. The lowest available octane now is 87. The valve also would eliminate the need for any pollution-control devices, the developers claim.

Preliminary private tests have been promising, according to an unpublished report from the Congressional Research Service. The new tests will be conducted with the cooperation of Chrysler Corp., which will provide technical aid and equipment.

As the developers describe it, the valve utilizes two bonded wire mesh screens to thoroughly vaporize gasoline entering the cylinder, eliminating gas droplets that produce hot and cold spots in a cylinder. If it proves feasible, therefore, the valve would eliminate the need for higher octane gas, lead and other additives used to fight this problem.

According to preliminary test results, the developers say, use of the valve increases fuel economy by 6 percent to 20 percent and boosts power by 13 percent to 40 percent, while reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide.


Spotlight (6 February 1984) ~ 

The Webster-Heise Valve

By Tom Valentine

Small devices designed to vaporize fuel and provide American cars and trucks with better mileage and less exhaust pollution have been claimed, and denied, for the past 40 years.

However, previous failures do not preclude a success, and the Webster-Heise Valve, invented by Sherwood Webster and Richard Heise of Phoenix, AZ has proven to be a success, despite blatant attempts at suppression by the "petrocrats" of big oil and big government.

According to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Webster-Heise valve is a "potentially significant device" for improving fuel economy, reducing emissions, increasing power, lowering carbon buildup, and eliminating cold-starting problems with pure methanol as the fuel.

Donít try to buy one for your car, however. The business end of this potentially tremendous business is bogged down, which is par for the course when anything that seriously affects the auto/oil monopoly is concerned.

David Lindahl, analyst for energy policy for the CRS, authored a 145-page report favorable to the Webster-Heise valve in September of 1982. In that report Lindahl wrote:

"[The valve] probably would not require substantial changes in the existing equipment or production techniques. Its impact outside the industry, however, could be considered Ďepochalí in terms of eliminating the need for gasoline additives, reducing crud oil imports and improving air quality".

Simple and Cheap ~

The device is a stainless steel cylinder with a double screen sandwiched inside. The fuel/air flow is automatically regulated by engine demand. The simple, inexpensive valve sits below the carburetor in the intake manifold and "employs recently discovered principles of turbulence and differential vaporization to force methanol or gasoline to change state from a liquid to a vapor at relatively low temperatures", according to co-inventor Webster.

Lindahl told the Spotlight his office encouraged both government and business to look upon the device favorably, and both GTE, Inc. and the Bank of America (Boa) extended options to the inventors, who are protected under the patent laws.

Webster, who is no stranger to suppression by the bureaucratic processes inherent in both big government and big business, told the spotlight recently that both options have now expired with nothing fruitful coming to pass.

GTE and the BoA carried out joint testing of the valve on a methanol-fueled Chevrolet Citation from the Boa fleet. The tests were carried out in a Denver laboratory under the approval of the EPA.

The emissions reductions and fuel economy results were impressive with methanol literally attaining the same mileage ratings as gasoline for the same vehicle.

This is unusual since methanol is known to have less than half the BTU (heat/energy) value of gasoline.

GTE Gets Interested ~

According to "Alcohol Week" (1 August 1983), GTE became interested in manufacturing the new valve since the company already makes auto components (early fuel evaporator now installed beneath the carburetor) and the Webster-Heise valve makes theirs obsolete.

"We are still in touch with GTE", Webster said, "but the option expired in December 1983 after nine months. I understand that the engineers working with us attempted to get management to exercise the option, but couldnít seem to get upper-level management attention".

The inventors discovered the precise screening proportions to Ďvaporizeí the fuel/air mixture quite by accident during their research in the late 1970s.

Lindahlís report explained: "After two months of screen testing, it was apparent to both Webster and Heise that a single screen would not work, as earlier inventors had already shown. Single screen vaporizing devices have not proven consistently effective, despite promotional claims. In the process of changing from one size screen to another, however, Heise (an outstanding, veteran garage mechanic) accidentally held both screens together and noticed to his astonishment, and that of everyone else present, that a totally unexpected phenomenon was occurring. The water was no longer falling in large drops on the impact side of the double-screen combination, but the entire flow was passing through the screens in a virtually invisible mist.

"Only when a watch crystal was placed in the flow downstream did small droplets reform and become visible".

A Breakthrough ~

This was a major breakthrough in automotive fuel conditioning. By early 1980 the Webster-Heise corporation had raised capital and thoroughly tested and patented the invention. Both inventors have worked exclusively on the development of the valve since 1978.

Lindahlsí report cites the extensive tests performed on the device, including tests by Ethyl, Inc., and a demonstration to 15 major US auto and oil companies in August 1980.

John Marsh Jr (now secretary of the Army) was the Webster-Heise corporate counsel at the time and he offered to license the valve to any US corporation , and to provided a 5-year moratorium on its use in foreign cars imported to the US.

Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) officials wrote of the valve as follows:

"The data from these previous tests do indicate the potential for reduction in octane, improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, and possibly improved drivability. Together these benefits, if realized, could represent significant value. Therefore, we are now exploring ways to further evaluate the valve".

Sohio urged Ford Motor Company to test the device and tests were undertaken at Fordís Dearborn laboratory beginning in January 1981. Initial tests indicated significant gains but Ford expressed concerns that the gains might be due to other factors -- primarily that the baseline engine (without the valve) had been contaminated with carbon deposits during the baseline tests.

Every car on the road today is contaminated by carbon deposits, so vaporization would definitely help. This fact was not determined by Ford.

Second Test ~

A second test was an extremely demanding wide-open throttle test, and again the valve performed effectively, but heat problems in the system indicated the prototype being tested was too small for the unit. Webster and Heise offered to enlarge the valve to accommodate these test conditions, but Ford declined.

Later Ford informed Webster that " It is Fordís opinion that the Webster-Heise device is not the most appropriate means of eliminating the necessity for carburetor heat".

The company added that, "the Webster-Heise device is not of interest to Ford at this time".

Daunted, but not defeated, Webster-Heise purchased a 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in order to test their device on a modern, electronically controlled system. Even with the restrictions imposed on their valve by the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) equipment demanded by EPA restrictions, the test vehicle showed significant gains with the valve installed.

Instead of reacting with delight and favor upon the announcement of a better, less costly means for cutting pollution and saving fuel, the minions of big auto/oil/government surged forward to stamp out the ingenuity of the two inventors.

Senate Report ~

In 1976 the Senate Commerce Committee authored a detailed, 300-page report on the infamous LaForce brothersí engine claims. In that report the committee concluded that the EPA had rigged the tests to fail the LaForce potential.

It should also be noted that Webster-Heise had, indeed, been tested under EPA auspices with GTE and BoA back in August of 1980. The memo was written in December of 1980.

Interestingly, the Ďjoint leadershipí of the House of Representatives, especially Thomas (Tip) OíNeill, have joined the issue by filing a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Sun Oil, arguing that the communication was "privileged".

Meanwhile, automobiles continue to be produced, sold and driven with every manner of expensive, regulated equipment involved in an effort to save fuel and reduce emissions.

A better idea has been presented, but our Establishment is beating a path to the inventorsí door --- not with accolades, but with brickbats and incompetence.


Contra Costa Times (August 20, 1983) ~

"Classic Tale of a Hidden Car Invention is True"
 by Justin Roberts

Are US auto makers and gasoline companies really interested in improving auto exhaust emissions and the environment? Are auto makers and major oil companies really interested in conserving diminishing petroleum supplies so that currently owned cars and those made in the next few years can be driven through their expected mechanical life spans? Are domestic auto makers really interested in competing with Japanese and European producers for their share of the US and world markets?

The answer to all three questions is "not very interested" if conservation, the environment, and competition interfere with the paths Detroitís auto moguls and the countryís oil industry have chosen.

As a car owner, your own answers are probably different"

This is a classic story about an invention which auto makers and gasoline companies prefer to keep off the market. Unlike such tales in the past about miraculous carburetors that give a hundred miles to the gallon and exotic engines that run on water only -- this is real. Itís happening now and itís all in a report buried in the archives of the US Library of Congress and detailed in a technical report by the Congressional Research Service.

The federal report, dated Sept. 7, 1982, deals with the Webster-Heise valve, a device for vaporizing gasoline covered by US patents and patents granted in 9 other countries.

The inventors are Sherwood F. Webster, an engineer of Scottsdale, and Richard L. Heise, a Phoenix area master mechanic who offered to give US manufacturers exclusive rights to produce and use their system for 5 years before licensing it for sale abroad.

The valve fits beneath an auto carburetor and it vaporizes gasoline; resulting in more complete combustion of fuel, increased mileage, remarkable reduced emissions far below EPA requirements and eliminates the need for fuel with costly additives.

It was tested by Ethyl Corporation, producers of tetraethyl lead and other gasoline additives at Ethylís laboratory near Detroit in early 1980. the findings by Ethyl were borne out when Environmental Testing Corporation near Denver, an EPA- recognized certified testing laboratory, conducted comprehensive tests in August 1980 and found the valve boosts gas mileage, cuts emissions and travel costs and operates normally on 75-octane fuel!

The following October, representatives of major automotive and oil companies attended another series of tests at the Denver area lab where a new series of EPA tests was run and caused the same conclusions. Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) was so impressed, it induced Ford Motor Co. to join in a joint test project. Ford agreed -- on the proviso that Sohio not participate and that no disclosure of results be made while testing was under way. In January 1981, Ford engineers did tests at Dearborn with impressive results, but Ford -- heavily into fuel injection engines and diesel engines -- exercised its options to drop testing and notified the inventors, "[T]he Webster-Heise valve is not of interest to Ford at this time".

The report, prepared for the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said General Motors and Chrysler were also interested in the invention. In October 1980, R.M. Hokanson, Chryslerís agent at the Denver tests, notified his company, "I think this device has merit for our company and recommend that we investigate the possibility of testing this device on our products as soon as possible".

Chrysler, in conjunction with the US Dept. of Transportation, was involved in tests earlier this year -- and for whatever reasons -- these tests emerged quite differently from earlier EPA test procedures. These results may be explained in the report which points out that the auto industry does not care to jeopardize its investments in fuel injection and diesel engines and major oil companies would find that independent refiners would gain a competitive position of all cars could use the same low-octane gasoline.

The Webster-Heise valve has undergone enough certified testing to demonstrate its engineering, environmental and economic values -- but competition, reduced emissions and lowered costs to customers arenít in style anymore...


Contra Costa Times (August 1983) ~ 

"Motorists Not Getting Mileage Out of Invention"

by Justin Roberts

Representatives of General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Sohio, Chevron, Cities Service, Marathon Oil, Texaco, Amoco, Gulf Oil, Arco, Gulf Science and Technology, Phillips Petroleum, Henningson, Durham and Richardson, the Pace Co., and the Swedish Embassy donít travel to Denver to watch a test -- if they donít have good reason the believe its worth watching.

So they gathered at Aurora CO, near Denver, on October 14 and 15, 1980, to observe results of an EPA standard highway test at the laboratories of Environmental testing Corporation to see what a Webster-Heise valve could do for a 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo -- compared to the vehicle without the invention.

The auto company people were impressed. The oil company people were also impressed because -- among other things -- the tests showed the car getting better mileage on 75-octane fuel than it does on 97-octane gas. It also showed it producing far less pollution on 75-octane fuel than it did on the ore costly 97-octane gasoline.

Sohio knew that earlier that year the Ethyl Corporation had performed similar testing at its own labs with favorable results. Sohio asked Ford to test it.

The inventors, Sherwood Webster and his partner, Richard Heise offered to sell rights to install the device on US cars exclusively for 5 years -- thus barring foreign car makers in Japan and Europe from using it. This incentive offered the domestic manufacturers a great marketing edge over their competitors.

Ford did some testing at Fordís Dearborn labs and Ford backed off. Chrysler and the US Dept of Transportation got together for testing early this year, and Chrysler backed off -- despite a comprehensive series of standard EPA evaluations which showed that Webster and Heiseís invention was a hot prospect to solve their need for a competitive edge over Japanese and European car makers.

The nitty-gritty is that the Webster-Heise invention eliminates the need for expensive (and profitable) fuel injection systems and diesel engines. It is seen as a threat to major oil refiners who use expensive additives to boost octane ratings -- something most independents canít keep up with.

The automotive establishment doesnít want competition and it wants to protect its investment in profitable "make-do technology" to solve its problems.

But the Bank of America heard about the invention and looked into it because of its interest in alcohol-fueled cars as a means of supplying gasoline -- when petroleum supplies run short before the end of this century.

The Celanese Corporation -- one of the worldís largest methanol producers -- heard about the banking firmís lab tests and has plans to set up methanol fuel distribution and General Telephone and Electronics became licensee for the patents.

GTE and BoA participated in comprehensive testing of the valve on a bank-owned Chevrolet Citation operated on methanol. They discovered valve use in a standard compression motor also boosts methanol mileage to the point where it virtually equals gasoline mpg.

Since 1980, the bank has operated its own methanol-powered fleet and is yearly expanding the ratio of alcohol-powered cars to gasoline -- with substantial savings in operation-per-mile. This venture was originally undertaken to protect the bankís ability to d business during future gasoline shortages since it depends on some 2500 vehicles to conduct its daily business. The bank currently operates several hundred alcohol cars.

Testing at the same Denver area lab under EPA requirements showed a bank-owned car with a valve gave performance that far exceeded levels for the same car without the invention shunned by gasoline companies and Detroit car-makers.

This leads to the conclusion that if Ford and Chrysler Ďs testing was accurate -- it establishes beyond question the efficacy of methanol fuels. Or, if the Ford and Chrysler tests were not (and EPA standard tests were right) it proves that expensive fuels injection systems, diesel engine and high octane gasolines are not needed.

In a report to members of the Senate Environment and Public works Committee, the Congressional Research Service confirms findings about the Webster-Heise valve to date.

But, while thereís apparently no way the invention will find its way to factory level marketing in American-made gasoline cars -- with Celanese setting up a distribution and GTE as licensee for alcohol and gasoline car applications and foreign car makers hungry to by rights to use it -- it seems thereís no way US auto and oil companies can block the innovation.

American auto firms may have missed the chance to get a beat on their foreign competition -- but they donít mind -- because youíre the one whoíll pay for that -- as well as the major oil companiesí reluctance to face competition from independent refiners.


Spotlight (15 April 1991) ~

"Invention Has Potential for US Energy Independence"

Tom Valentine

[ Transcipt of interview with Jack Gordon, March 12 1991 on Radio Free America ]

TV: Nine out of ten times, energy-related researchers and inventors have had their work ignored altogether, ripped off or otherwise exploited, and thatís what weíll be talking about tonight.

JG: I must say, first off, that I am not a technical person. I donít have any degrees in chemistry or engineering, like the research people in the car companies in Detroit or like the research people in the big energy companies.

TV: You are fortunate in that regard. You donít have to unlearn anything youíve been taught by the energy Establishment.

JG: I guess youíre right. So everything Iím going to say tonight is provable. It can be documented. Itís not my imagination. Itís the origination of people over the years who have made this story.

TV: Could you tell us about the Thermocharger? What is it?

JG:  The Thermocharger is a cylindrical device that changes a liquid into a vapor without the application of high heat. It has generally been known as the Webster-Heise valve, named after the inventors. Its number in the US Patent Office, for those who want to look at the records, is 4,187,820.

Now, in simplistic form, when you put a teakettle on the stove, you change water to steam by boiling it -- the high application of energy, whether it be gas stove or electric.

The Thermocharger takes the air-fuel mixture that comes down through a carburetor and changes it to a vapor mechanically in a cold state. Of course, heat rises and cold falls.

In the vaporized state it wafts through the intake manifold and drops into the cylinders. In the automobile engines of today, it bangs around in that intake manifold and all of the sophisticated innovations introduced into the manifold. It does not totally destroy the droplets of the fuel. This is the one thing that does not end being totally combusted.

There is really no way of knowing what goes on inside that manifold.

TV: There is no way to know what goes on in the engine.

JG: High heat that is produced in a combustion engine prevents any true visual observation. Researchers have not been able to get inside the operational manifold. We assume that there are certain things going on in there, through the effect of the Thermocharger.

We allege -- and Iíll be using the term allege quite a bit -- that the Thermocharger totally combusts the air-fuel charge in the cold vaporous state.

The problem in exhaust pollution is that the air-fuel charge is not totally combusted, but by the time it gets into the exhaust manifold and through what [in my view] is the totally unnecessary catalytic converter, it comes out the tailpipe as bad pollution from the exhaust, made up of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and a little bit of carbon dioxide. This is auto exhaust.

TV: In short, the Thermocharger mechanically vaporizes the gas so that it burns and combusts thoroughly, and you are able to get every possible value out of that fuel. Will a Thermocharger work on any car, however?

This is one of the most difficult phases of research. Because of all the electronic controls that are on cars these days, particularly in the pollution control area, every engine must be treated individually.

The Thermocharger program of research and development has been able to work on 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder GM products. Lord knows how many individual engines are in automobiles all over the world. Each of these engines would have to be researched and treated differently.

TV: Then the Thermocharger is not just one device that could be attached to any engine?

JG: The Thermocharger is one device, but because of the electronic systems of the new engines there has to be an associated item to go with it to make it work optimally.

TV: Does that mean, tehn, that we have to go back to the old Model T to get some real efficiency?

JG: What people are interested in is performance. They want to jam the accelerator down. Very importantly, people want extended mileage from their fuel dollar, and the Thermocharger presents that in al of the three engines researched and on the road that so far have been programmed with an electronic chip and a programmable readout. I hate to get into technical details here, but it is important.

TV: Thatís right, because it demonstrates to people that this isnít just some backyard invention. The Thermocharger has been tested with very modern equipment on very modern cars.

JG: The Thermocharger is always operated on GM products. Thatís an interesting part of the story. It has been tested with Chrysler and Ford, but as far as road operation is concerned, it has been on GM products.

It is on 9 cars experimentally owned by the corn growersí association in Idaho, Nebraska, Iowa, North and South Dakota and Missouri. There are also two cars in Washington DC.

These cars run magnificently on ethanol.

TV: Ethanol is not methanol. Ethanol is alcohol that can be made by grain. Itís booze -- corn liquor if you will.

JG: Thatís right. Ethanol is mixed with unleaded gasoline at 87 octane, and this is called 85.15.

TV: You mentioned that one of these ethanol cars is in Washington. Is it driven by somebody with some clout?

JG: Yes, the car is driven by C. Boyden Grey, the presidentís chief counsel. Mr. Bush himself has driven Thermocharged cars in the past, beginning in 1985.

Iíve driven this same car myself. Itís a 4-door Buick with a 4-cylinder engine that operates on both 85.15 ethanol and 87 unleaded gasoline. Thereís a little switch in the ashtray that switches it back from the ethanol tank to the unleaded tank. The valve will mechanically vaporize any combustible fuel.

TV: So the powers that be know about this. GM knows about it, of course.

JG: We have negotiated with GM over the past 12 years. Our last meeting was January 14 at the GM technical center in Warren MI. Nothing came of it.

TV: Every time you get to the high level in a corporation, new inventions donít get anywhere, it seems.

JG: The most interesting thing that came out of our meeting was that GMís engineers and thermodynamic experts said that it didnít work, in essence. They said that it was "thermodynamically impossible".

We heard this also from Chrysler.

The car industry has been searching for vaporization and trying to get complete combustion. They know the pollution problem. They know the power problem.

Pollution control devices on an engine just make a wimp out of the engine. If there were not all those pollution control devices on an engine, the engine would just about break your neck when you put your foot on the accelerator.

TV: Thereís a lot of money in the pollution control device business.

JG: Yes. We were told years ago by Detroit (sort of in concert) that it was, as I said, "thermodynamically impossible". This gets back into this business of "changing the laws of physics".

Physics says that you cannot change liquid into a gas without heat. Our program is to change a liquid into a gas without heat.

It is done and on the road in their products. That is what is impossible for us to understand.

TV: Years ago the late Sherwood Webster (a friend of mine whom you knew well) said that the Thermocharger vaporized so well that you couldnít see the vapor coming out the end of the device even when cold water was hitting it. Also the spray coming out the other end was so fine he couldnít see it until he checked the cover of his watch, which was wet.

JG: There was a great deal of accuracy there. The engineers donít believe it, however. It does work, though. Itís an idea whose time has come.

TV: There is a reason for the Thermocharger being used with alcohol rather than gasoline. Could you discuss that?

JG: Methanol is used in the racing cars at Indianapolis. Its octane rating is tremendous. It is terribly volatile in its 100 percent state. When it catches fire there are no flames.

Now the car that the presidentís counsel, C. Boyden Grey owns in Washington is a pure methanol Thermocharged 1981 Citation which is garaged at the moment. Methanol is a fossil fuel derivative and is the darling of the petroleum industry as an "alternative fuel".

Ethanol is not the darling of the petroleum industry because it comes from a source that the petroleum industry has nothing to do with: corn, a renewable resource, and so many other sources.

Methanol, in the long run, will not be the fuel of the future for the auto business. Mr Bush has described, publicly, ethanol as the fuel of the future, He did that in June of 1989 in Lincoln NE.

The documentation shows that Bush and Grey have been proponents of alternative fuel for a long, long time. His national energy strategy states that ethanol should be available as a fuel of choice at service stations across the land. I donít imagine that this goes over too well with the petroleum industry.

TV: Whatís keeping the Thermocharger from being produced?

JG: Previously it was te economics of the times. When the Thermocharger was first proved viable in the fall of 1980 at the Environmental Testing Corp. (ETC) lab in Aurora CO, it was demonstrated to operate on gasoline at 75 octane, a very low octane. Octane is the quality in gasoline that keeps the engine from falling out of the car. In other words, if you get too low on octane, you get pinging and knocking -- even in the idle state.

When there is an octane rating on a fuel pump and you see a rating in the 70s or 80s, that is, in my opinion, a con game because each point of octane rating is worth 3.5 cents at the pump.

Now, the petroleum industry, in 1980, was increasing octane content to increase profits. The Sun Oil and Shell were promoting 93.4 octane, saying it was better for the engine. They wanted people to buy a higher octane gasoline. Generally today to have a choice between 87 to 89 and 92.

If you extrapolate backward and go to 1980 when the Thermocharged 6-cylinder car (without any pollution devices on it) operated beautifully on 75 octane, and then go forward and see that there is a 42 cent spread between 75 octane and 87 octane and multiply that by 10 years, and multiply that number by between 100 and 130 million automobiles, I think it would make a computer die. Thatís a lot of cash out of the pockets of Americans.

In gasoline use, the Thermocharger will operate excellently at 75. The problem is that there is no 75 octane that is available. However, in 1980, the Phillips Petroleum Co in Bartlesville OK made 75 octane out of iso-octane and heptane. It was rated 75 octane by the EPA. This was for the test on the Thermocharger in 1980.

TV: I first heard about the Thermocharger in the 1970s.

JG: Well, the Thermocharger was "stumbled across" after the first inventors spent many, many years really trying to understand what they had come up with.Edisonís light bulb came on after 2000 tries. The Wright Brothers played around with the glider until they put an engine on it, and people had told them they couldnít do that.

The Thermocharger, if it had been put into production by a major company, would have saved the American driving public billions of dollars on 87, 89 and 92 octane.

TV: Whatís more, think of all the pollution that would have been eliminated.

JG: Thatís right.

TV: What about the oxides?

JG: Nitrous oxides are the primary cause of smog and really donít need to be there. It could be eliminated. The Thermocharger lowers the rates of nitrous oxides considerably.

TV: I have known several people who when told about what I consider "suppressed inventions" like the Thermocharger, they respond that if any big car company could get a leg up on the others, they would do it and take advantage of such an invention. Yet, the big boys do collude to suppress such inventions. Why is this the case?

JG: The big companies claim that they have an "open door" policy. Take Chrysler for example. When we went to Chrysler to test the Thermocharger, it was an entirely different matter. It was an awful mess. When we went to Ford after the ETC tests at Aurora, certain engineers rejected us. The same thing at GM.

However, when we went to the EPAís certified labs in California and in Texas and Colorado and paid for the testing, supervising, adjusting, etc., we did not fail.

TV: So even the nbig car companies know that these tests work?

JG: There are certain executives both active and retires at GM who know exactly what the Thermocharger does, and a few of them know why it works.

TV: What about Lee Iococca of Chrysler? Does he know about the Thermocharger?

JG: We are of the opinion Iacocca was never really informed about the Thermocharger, even though he was chief executive of Chrysler at the time of the 1980 tests at ETC.

One of his engineering executives was present at the test and shortly thereafter wrote a report almost demanding that the Thermocharger be tested by Chrysler. The report was placed on an "immediate" basis, but Chrysler didnít get around to testing the  Thermocharger until 1983. We donít know why it took that long.

At that time the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration joined with Chrysler to test the Thermocharger: and in their conclusion, it just didnít work out. The test was conducted at Southwest Laboratories in San Antonio TX. Fortunately the strange goings-on were all videotaped.

In September of last year we sent Iacocca a very detailed letter (which he evidently studied), and he turned the letter over to his vice president in charge of "outside suggestions".

This is a revelation. Chrysler has its own in-house department which wards off outside inventors. A vice-president of Chrysler has a full-time job doing this. He responded, saying that Chrysler was definitely, in no uncertain terms, not interested in the Thermocharger.

TV: Iíve been told that one of the big companies would like to take the Thermocharger when the patent runs out.

JG: Thatís what is alleged. Patents, you seem run for 17 years. The Thermocharger has 6 more years to go on its premier patent. When that patent runs out, the patented device becomes free game for anybody.

Now the American public has never heard of the Thermocharger, and thatís a little bit deliberate on the part of the automakers.

The co-inventors are also slightly responsible here. They didnít realize, in truth, what a tremendous thing they had. As a consequence, they werenít really able to communicate with these people in the big car companies. They werenít able to get across to them on a technical level what the Thermocharger is and what it does.

TV: What about the governmentís role in suppressing the Thermocharger?

JG: There is the additional difficulty of testing in terms of EPA demands. The Ann Arbor MI lab of the EPA is the EPAís primary experimental location (quite close to the big carmakers).

Hereís a part of a letter I received from Bill Reilly, the EPA administrator:

"While the federal government does not formally approve laboratories for emission and fuel economy testing of motor vehicles, independent laboratories are unofficially recognized by the EPA as having this capability. Their equipment is identical or equivalent to that at Ann Arbor and used by the EPA in every case of new vehicle certification.

"Thus, there is no EPA lab certified phrasing for the rest of the US as to labs which are independent and privately owned and operated.

"The federal EPA certifies manufacturersí new vehicles at Ann Arbor only. The federal EPA does not certify used vehicles modified with after-market, retrofitted devices offered for certification for those not associated with an automobile manufacturer".

TV: In other words, our own government will not give an invention its own test. Thatís amazing. Thatís typical bureaucracy. They are only for the automobile industry.

JG: When thereís enough public demand, there will be a great future for the Thermocharger.



Congressional Research Service Report No. 92-176 ENR

"The Webster-Heise Valve: A Significant Improvement in the Internal Combustion Engine and Its Fuels?"

David M. Lindahl (Analyst in Energy Policy, Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Division)

Contents ~

I. Preface
II. Executive Summary
III. Introduction
IV. Physical Description
V. History
VI. Status and Outlook
VII. Potential Benefits: (A) Refinery Feedstock Conservation; (B) End-Use Fuel Conservation; (C) Air Quality; (D) Competitiveness of the Auto Industry
VIII. Is There a Federal Role?

Appendix I. Technical Analysis:
(A) Pre-combustion Effects: (1) Gasoline Vaporization; (2) Mixing; (3) Distribution; (4) Volumetric Efficiency.
(B) Combustion Effects: (1) Combustion Stoichometry; (2) Octane Requirements; (3) Torque; (4) Cycle-by-Cycle Combustion Variations.

(C) Post-Combustion Effects: (1) Emissions; (2) Driveablility; (3) Engine Maintenance; (4) Catalytic Converter Operation

Appendix II. Summary of Tests



US Patent # 4,187,820

"Intake Manifold Variable Atomizing Valve"

Sherwood Webster / Richard Heise

(12 February 1980)

Abstract ~

An air-fuel mixture in the proper ratio is delivered by a carburetor to a variable atomizing valve which is positioned inside of the intake manifold by projecting through the main inlet opening on the customary carburetor base mounting face of the intake manifold. The atomizing valve is normally biased by an eccentric spring means to a nearly closed position but opens automatically to any required position in response to engine demand. The valve embodies an interior relatively stationary imperforate barrier sleeve and an exterior relatively movable screen assembly mounted telescopically on the barrier sleeve. The screen assembly consists of an interior comparatively coarse mesh screen surrounded by a fine mesh screen and an exterior rigid cage for the screens. The two concentric screens are in firm contact around their entire circumferences. A bearing intervened with the barrier sleeve and the rigid cage establishes a necessary jump space between the interior screen and the bore of the barrier sleeve so that the incoming fuel charge after turning will impinge with some force on the interior screen. Complete atomization of the engine fuel charge is obtained with many attendant advantages and wetting of the intake manifold with raw fuel droplets is completely avoided. The incoming fuel charge is aimed at the intake ports of the engine, is a cool charge, and travels with velocity.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The current worldwide energy crisis and the drive to clean up the environment, particularly the atmosphere, has created an urgent need for internal combustion engines having greatly increased fuel efficiency and much cleaner exhaust emissions. Responsive to this need, the automotive industry worldwide has taken action on a panic basis, and as a result of this action some improvements in both above categories have been realized, but only with a considerable sacrifice in engine performance, as is well known to any driver of a present day automobile. Engine starting is difficult and engine performance prior to complete warm-up is extremely poor. Such poor performance is in part due to costly anti-pollution equipment now required on all automotive vehicles and to other design changes which have been made in haste in an effort to meet the pressing requirement of fuel economy and reduced air pollution. In fact, some of the recent efforts of the automotive industry have proven to be self-defeating and it is believed that hasty efforts to find solutions to problems may have taken the industry along some improper paths which are now very difficult to deviate from without great economic loss.

One particular area of development which has been somewhat neglected is that relating to the delivery of the fuel charge to the combustion chambers of piston engines in the most beneficial manner in terms of fuel economy, cleaner emissions and better overall engine performance. Computerized fuel injection systems have been devised, but such systems are extremely costly and are economically feasible only on the most expensive vehicles. Furthermore, while fuel injection possesses a number of known advantages over engines which utilize carburetors, there are also known disadvantages incident to fuel injection.

Carburetors are very satisfactory in establishing a proper ratio of air and fuel in an engine fuel charge but are quite poor in properly mixing and atomizing the fuel. As a result, in carburetor fed engines much raw gasoline in the form of droplets enters the intake manifold and actually wets the manifold and is not atomized or mixed with air for proper combustion and is ultimately exhausted into the atmosphere as a harmful pollutant without utilization of its contained energy.

It is the principal objective of this invention to deal successfully and as completely as possible with all of the above defects of the prior art in a very simplified and comparatively economical manner. By means of the invention, a very significant improvement in fuel economy can be achieved, as much as 25%, with a comparable lessening of atmospheric pollutants in the engine exhaust. At the same time, greatly improved engine performance in all stages of operation is achieved, including cold starting, idling, low speed and high speed response, and most notably improved performance in the critical warm-up period which is highly unsatisfactory in present-day automobiles. With the invention, the most beneficial characteristics of carburetion and fuel injection are retained, while the most unsatisfactory characteristics of both systems are avoided.

The prior art contains some teachings pertaining to the utilization of screens to accomplish the atomization of fuel which is being inducted into the combustion chambers of engines. Apparently, the potential benefits which can be derived from screen atomization have been misunderstood and/or overlooked in the prior art, with the result that this method of atomization has not been adequately investigated or advanced in the art and some early efforts which proved unsuccessful have apparently been abandoned.

To comply with the requirements of 37 C.F.R. 1.56 relative to disclosure of known prior art teachings, the following U.S. Pat. Nos. are made of record herein: 1,173,157 2,701,557 4,058,102 4,088,104 4,091,786 4,092,966.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An engine demand responsive variable atomizing valve is carried by a supporting module which is mounted between the base of a conventional down draft carburetor and the top carburetor mounting pad of an engine intake manifold. The atomizing valve is cylindrical and projects through the main fuel charge inlet bore of the manifold which normally registers with a bore in the carburetor base containing the main throttle valve. The atomizing valve assembly of the invention is thus positioned inside of the manifold centrally in relation to the manifold branches which deliver the fuel charge to the engine cylinders. The incoming fuel charge in passing through the atomizing valve is aimed at the combustion chamber intake ports.

The atomizing valve includes an interior relatively stationary cylindrical imperforate barrier sleeve, curtain or fuel charge blocking element, and an exterior axially reciprocal atomizing screen assembly telescopically engaging over the barrier sleeve. The barrier sleeve is anchored to the supporting module intervened with the carburetor base and manifold mounting pad. The screen assembly consists of an interior relatively coarse mesh screen surrounded by an exterior fine mesh screen, the two screens having their cylindrical walls in intimate contact entirely around the circumference of the screen assembly. A rigid cage for the atomizing screens is provided and this cage contains slotted areas and intervening bars to expose a plurality of areas through which the incoming fuel mixture is atomized. A bearing or bushing in the bore of the rigid cage slidably engages the exterior of the barrier sleeve and establishes a necessary fuel charge radial jump space between the bore of the sleeve and the surface of the interior screen. The fuel charge can gain momentum and velocity in this space before striking the screens.

The screen assembly is spring-biased toward a retracted position on the barrier sleeve which corresponds to engine idle. The screen assembly of the atomizing valve extends or opens automatically against spring tension in response to fuel charge velocity, which results from the demand of the engine cylinders for fuel. The automatic incremental adjustability of the atomizing valve responsive to engine demand is infinite. A spring-biasing linkage connected with the reciprocal screen assembly is of the overdead-center type so that the spring may offer greater resistance to valve opening at certain times, such as during engine idle and initial acceleration, than at other times, as during high speed cruise when spring resistance is automatically reduced. A vacuum assisted linkage is also provided to assure complete or nearly complete closing of the atomizing valve during deceleration when manifold vacuum is at the maximum.

Paramount among the many advantages derived from the invention are the following:

(1) Complete atomization of the fuel charge at all times during engine operation with a resulting delivery of a completely uniform charge to every engine cylinder.

(2) A constant high velocity fuel charge aimed at the engine combustion chambers under all conditions of engine demand for fuel, including idle, low speed and high speed engine operation.

(3) Increased volumetric efficiency resulting in greater power and increased mileage and consistently smoother engine operation without stalling, due to maintaining ambient air temperature adjacent to the atomizing valve in the intake manifold instead of an elevated temperature in the range of 200.degree. F. to 600.degree. F. which is standard in present-day automotive engines.

(4) Equal distribution of fuel charge to all cylinders as a result of complete atomization, higher velocity and circular configuration of atomizing valve in intake manifold, and the complete absence of liquid fuel droplets in the manifold.

(5) Higher velocity of ambient temperature air-fuel mixture as it enters the intake manifold, as a result of harnessing a previously overlooked inherently present energy source which is the increased velocity of fluids passing through restricted passages. No outside energy input is required for this benefit, merely the utilization of a naturally present source of energy. This results in greater fuel economy, more power and reduced pollution.

Additional benefits flowing from the invention include reduction of the cold start problem and engine stalling because, with the invention, it is impossible for the operator to pump raw gas into the intake manifold. Dieseling,also called engine run-on, is substantially eliminated by use of an ambient temperature fuel charge and complete atomization of the charge.

Present-day use of a heated charge in the intake manifold contributes to dieseling and engine knock. Because of the invention, the engine can operate efficiently on fuel having a significantly lower octane rating. Another very important benefit derived from lower temperature of the fuel charge is the reduction or elimination of lethal nitric oxide (NO.sub.x) in the exhaust emission. The exhaust will contain more carbon dioxide and water than under standard practice. Carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons are also substantially reduced in the exhaust emissions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of an engine and intake manifold equipped with the automatic variable atomizing valve according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevation of the atomizing valve and its support element and associated valve biasing means.

FIG. 3 is a similar view showing the opposite side of the valve and support element and associated vacuum boosted linkage for closing the atomizing valve substantially completely during engine deceleration.

FIG. 4 is a central vertical cross section taken through the intake manifold, atomizing valve and support module.

FIG. 5 is a horizontal section taken through the atomizing valve on line 5--5 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a vertical section through the valve and support element at right angles to FIG. 4.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical section taken through the movable screen assembly and associated stationary sleeve and showing various operational relative positions of these elements.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of the valve and associated elements taken substantially on line 8--8 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary section, similar to FIG. 7, showing the valve screen assembly substantially entirely closed in relation to the sleeve.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts throughout the same, and referring first to FIG. 1, an engine 20, such as a conventional six cylinder automotive engine, has an intake manifold 21 for supplying a suitable air-fuel mixture to the engine cylinders in three pairs through center and opposite end manifold outlet branches 22 and 23. While a six cylinder in-line engine has been illustrated, it should be stated that the invention is applicable to all engine types. The customary air cleaner 24 and down draft carburetor 25 are shown in FIG. 1 and a mounting module or element 26 forming part of the invention is placed between the carburetor base and a top machined pad 27 on the manifold 21 on which the carburetor is usually mounted. An automatic variable atomizing valve carried by the mounting element 26 is also shown at 28 in FIG. 1.

Referring to the other drawing figures, the automatic atomizing valve 28, which is the main subject matter of the invention, comprises a stationary cylinder sleeve 29 which is fixedly secured in a bore 30 of the element 26 so as to be coaxial with the throat of the carburetor 25 and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the manifold 21. The sleeve 29 is an imperforate sleeve and projects well into the interior of the intake manifold below the top mounting pad 27 thereof. The sleeve 29 has a dual purpose in the invention in that it serves as a guide for a surrounding axially movable screen assembly 31 of the atomizing valve 28 and as a curtain or barrier element which regulates the degree of exposure of screen in the assembly 31 and therefore the degree of opening of the valve during engine operation.

The axially moving screen assembly 31 comprises an outer cylindrical cup-like rigid cage 32 having a closed bottom wall 41 and a plurality of circumferentially equidistantly spaced longitudinal slots 34 intervened by parallel longitudinal bars 35 which prevent the screen elements inside of the cage 32 from being drawn by suction into the intake manifold. Within the rigid cage 32 is a pair of concentric cylindrical equal length screens 36 and 37, with the outermost screen 36 lying firmly against the interiors of the bars 35. The two screens extend axially from the bottom wall 41 to a point above the tops of the slots 34 so that the two screens completely cover the slots 34. As best shown in FIG. 7, the top end portions of the two screens are suitable anchored to an upper sleeve bearing 39 of the cage 32, which bearing will be further discussed. The total area of screen exposed through the several slots 34 is at least equal to the area of a main inlet opening 38 in the top of intake manifold 21, within which the atomizing valve is located. Preferably, the total area of screen exposed through the slots 34 is greater than the area of the opening 38.

The exterior screen 36 is a stainless steel fine mesh screen in the range of 100-250 mesh and preferably 120 mesh. The exterior screen 36 has its cylindrical wall in tight contact with the several bars 35 of rigid cage 32. The interior screen 37 is of a coarser mesh in the range of 30-60 mesh and preferably is a 45 mesh stainless steel screen. The cylindrical wall of the interior screen is packed tightly against the exterior screen 36 with no spacing between the two screens. It has been found by experimentation that any other screen arrangement will not accomplish the desired function of complete atomization of the fuel mixture. If the coarser screen is arranged outermost in the assembly, the desired result is not produced nor is it produced if there is a space between the two screens or if a single screen only is employed in the cage 32, or if three or more concentric screens are employed. The described arrangement of the two screens 36 and 37 is quite critical in achieving the desired complete atomization of the fuel charge, and the complete elimination of raw liquid fuel droplets within the intake manifold 21. It should be noted that the desired results cannot be achieved by placing a screen or plural screens across the manifold opening 38 and it is essential that the movable screen assembly extend inside of the manifold 21 and be capable, because of its cylindrical shape, of aiming the atomized charge in all directions so that all of the engine cylinders can be equally supplied with the atomized charge through the manifold branches 22 and 23.

At its top, extending above the two screens 36 and 37, the rigid cage 32 has the previously-noted comparatively short sleeve bearing 39 fixed in its bore to guide the screen assembly smoothly on the fixed sleeve 29 and for maintaining a necessary radial spacing on the screens from the fixed sleeve 29 at all times. In the operation of the invention, this radial "jump space" for the fuel charge between the sleeve 29 and screens is necessary and critical, and if not maintained, complete atomization of the fuel charge will not be obtained. When the fuel charge exits the lower end of sleeve 29 and turns ninety degrees to the axis of sleeve 29 to pass radially in all directions through the exposed areas of screens 37 and 36, the charge will gain velocity and momentum across the jump space before impinging on the screens for atomization.

For further guidance of the screen assembly 31 during its movement and to prevent the fuel charge from reversing flow and passing upwardly between the exterior of fixed sleeve 29 and the screens, a second sleeve bearing 40 is fixed on the exterior of sleeve 29 at or slightly above its lower end in axially opposed relation to the upper sleeve bearing 39. The bearing 40 is in sliding contact with the interior stainless steel screen 37.

At the bottoms of the screen exposure slots 44, relatively minute engine idle notches 34' are formed through the rigid cage 32 to allow proper idling as when the screen assembly is in the relative retracted position indicated by the phantom line A in FIG. 7. This line A in FIG. 7 denotes the position of the bottom end of fixed sleeve 29 relative to the screen assembly when the screen assembly is at the engine idle position. The line A also denotes that the idle notches 34 will still be exposed or open and not blocked by the fixed sleeve 29 in the idle position. In a second relative position of the lower end of sleeve 29 to the movable screen assembly indicated by the phantom line B in FIG. 7, the sleeve 29 will cover the main slots 34 and idle notches 34' thus nearly completely blocking the fuel charge through the sleeve 29 from entering the intake manifold. This condition of the atomizing valve is also separately shown in FIG. 9 which is the condition indicated by the line B in FIG. 7. This condition, which will be further discussed, exists only during engine deceleration which induces maximum vacuum in the manifold 21. The cutting off of the fuel charge during deceleration prevents wasting fuel which is not needed for burning or for producing power at this time and also eliminates raw fuel exhaust emissions which are present in great quantities during deceleration under present day standard practice.

FIG. 7 also illustrates above the engine idle line A that the axially movable screen assembly 31 is automatically extended from the fixed sleeve 29 responsive to engine demand to whatever relative position is required to satisfy the demand for completely atomized fuel in the engine. The automatic adjustability or movement of the screen assembly is infinitely variable in the invention and constitutes one of the main features of the invention. When the accelerating engine demands or calls for more fuel, the resulting increase in velocity of the incoming fuel charge progressively opens or extends the screen assembly 31 to meet the demand by exposing progressively greater areas of screen through the slots 34 which are progressively uncovered by the fixed sleeve 29. In all conditions, the two screens effect complete fuel charge atomization.

It should also be stated that, when the fuel charge traveling downwardly from the fixed sleeve 29 impinges on the arched bottom wall 41 of the cage, such bottom wall will tend to deflect the charge radially in all directions through the atomizing screens and the charge will turn in its travel 90 degrees from the axis of the sleeve 29 so as to be aimed in the atomized state at the combustion chambers. While desirable, the arching of the bottom wall 41 is not essential to satisfactory operation of the invention. As previously noted, the atomizing valve 28 is spring-biased to the engine idle position A where only the idle notches 34 are open to the incoming charge. This spring-biasing means shown at 42 in the drawings forms a very important part of the invention. It not only enables the atomizing valve 28 to automatically open gradually inside of the manifold 21 as engine demand increases, but the biasing means is constructed to offer more resistance to valve opening during engine idle or at slow speeds than later on at higher speeds where engine demand increases. Under those conditions, the spring-biasing means offers less resistance to opening of the atomizing valve because of its unique geometry, to be described. The desired results and greatest engine efficiency could never be achieved with a constant tension spring-biasing means acting on the movable element of the atomizing valve.

The variable tension valve biasing means 42 for the valve 28 comprises a retractile spring 43 near one side of the element 26 having one end connected to a crank arm 44 through a link 45 pivoted at 46 to the crank arm. The crank arm 44 is pivoted between its ends to the element 26 through a rocker shaft 47. The crank arm 44 is biased toward engagement with an adjustable screw stop 48 on the element 26, as best shown in FIG. 2. The other end of spring 43 is secured to a threaded spring tension adjusting means 49.

The rocker shaft 47 to which the crank arm 44 is firmly attached extends across the mounting module or element 26, FIGS. 4, 6 and 8, and is suitably journaled therein by bearing means 50. The rocker shaft 47 intersects the bore 30, FIG. 8, and its axis is offset substantially from the center axis of the bore 30 which bore is coaxial with the axis of the atomizing valve 28. The axis of rocker shaft 47 extends chord-wise of the bore 30, FIG. 8. A driving fork 51 is attached to the rocker shaft 47 rigidly to turn therewith, and is disposed bodily in the bore 30 above the fixed sleeve 29. The fork 51 straddles a connecting rod 52 and is pivoted thereto at 53 substantially above the valve 28. The connecting rod 52 extends to a location near and above the bottom wall 41 of the cage 32 and is pivoted to a central upstanding anchor 54 by means of a wrist pin 55, the anchor 54 being disposed centrally on the cage bottom wall 41. The driving fork 51, FIG. 4, swings through an arc and is centered on rocker shaft 47 and during such movement connecting rod 52 can pivot about the axis of the wrist pin 55 as shown in phantom lines in FIG. 4 so that the mechansim will not bind. A feature of the invention is that the connecting rod 52 forms the ultimate support for the cage 32 and screens. This is a simple and convenient arrangement. When the engine is shut off, the parts are adjusted so that the cage or screen assembly 31 will assume approximately the idle position A, FIG. 7.

Referring to FIG. 4, the over-dead-center relationship of the driving fork pin 53 to the axis of rocker shaft 47 can be noted. By virtue of this geometry, the biasing spring 43, through its linkage, offers greatest resistance to downward extension of the screen assembly 31 at idle speed and at relatively slow engine speed above idle. The resistance of the biasing means 42 gradually lessens in response to greater engine demand for fuel as engine speed increases and this lessening of spring resistance occurs as the driving fork 51 approaches dead-center relationship with the axis of rocker shaft 14 or beyond dead-center. Therefore, at the higher engine speeds where the demands for fuel is the greatest, and vacuum in the manifold 21 is decreased, the resistance offered by the spring-biasing means 42 will be less than at comparatively low speeds above idle or during idling. The described arrangement is critical for proper operation of the atomizing valve.

A further feature of the invention shown in FIG. 3 comes into play only during rapid engine deceleration to save fuel and to prevent polluting the atmosphere through the exhaust system. During deceleration, intake manifold vacuum peaks, and unless the supply of fuel is completely or very nearly shut off, great quantities of fuel will be sucked into the intake manifold and cylinders and wasted through the exhaust system and into the atmosphere in a largely unburned state, because the engine is not working during deceleration and no appreciable burning of fuel is taking place.

To assure nearly complete closure of the valve screen assembly 31 to the position B, FIGS. 7 and 9, during deceleration, a vacuum booster 56 having a direct connection through a fitting 57 and associated hose with vacuum in the manifold 21 responds to such high vacuum by shifting a link 58 in one linear direction until a projecting lug 59 on an extension link 60 engages a crank arm 61 on the adjacent end of rocker shaft 47 or the end remote from the crank arm 44 of the spring-biasing means 42. The force of this engagement of the crank arm 61 through the vacuum booster 56 is sufficient to retract the screen assembly 31 to substantially closed position B, thus preventing the atomizing valve from opening during engine deceleration with the stated advantages. In actual manufactured form, the vacuum booster 56 and associated linkage may be eliminated and an equivalent means in the form of a servo-piston can be placed inside of the module 26 to provide the same function. Likewise, the mechanical configuration of biasing means 42 may be changed in production without altering the mode of operation.

Summary of Operation ~

Assuming that the engine 20 is idling, the following conditions will prevail. Carburetor 25 will supply a charge containing a proper ratio of air and fuel into the bore 30 and thence to the fixed sleeve 29 of the atomizing valve. The fuel itself possesses lubricating properties and detergents and this aids in making the valve operate freely as well as keeping it clean and unclogged.

During idling, the valve cage 32 is at position A, FIG. 7, with only small areas of the screens exposed at the notches 34', the main slots 34 being completely covered by the sleeve 29. A sufficient volume of the fuel charge to maintain idling will be completely atomized through the two screens 37 and 36 at the notches 34' and in flowing outwardly through these small notches the charge will attain a high velocity in all radial directions around the circumference of the cylindrical valve 28 within the manifold 21. Atomization will be just as complete as at higher engine speeds where there is greater opening of the valve 28 and correspondingly greater screen areas uncovered or exosed.

The fuel charge delivered to the manifold 21 in completely atomized form through the valve 28 is an ambient temperature charge using ambient air instead of a heated charge in accordance with present-day automotive practice under which the intake manifold is actually heated. In the invention, the fuel charge is 200.degree. F.-400.degree. F. cooler than under standard practice, thereby greatly increasing volumetric efficiency in accordance with one of the prime objectives of the invention. In this regard, the invention departs radically from the most recent prior art practices and a great deal of the success of the invention lies in the use of an ambient air temperature fuel charge in combination with the other enumerated main features.

The previously-described radial spacing afforded by bearings 39 and 40 causes the incoming fuel charge, after turning 90.degree. from the axis of sleeve 29, to pass radially in all directions across the described jump space between the bore of the sleeve 29 and the screen 37 before striking the screens. In negotiating this radial jump space, the charge acquires the necessary velocity and momentum for complete atomization by the two screens at all engine speeds. Thus, a cool, dense and completely atomized charge which is uniform and has high velocity is delivered to the engine combustion chambers.

The resulting reduced time of combustion in the combustion chambers further reduces temperature and greatly impedes the formation of highly toxic nitric oxide (NO.sub.x) which is formed only under very high temperatures. The absence of NO.sub.x is evidenced in engines equipped with the invention by the absence of a telltale white ash on the exhaust pipe. This is an important benefit achieved by the invention additional to its economy and performance benefits. The more complete combustion of the charge by means of the invention also substantially reduces carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust emission. The more nearly complete combustion of fuel forms an exhaust containing greater amounts of carbon dioxide and water, which is desirable.

It should be stated that the described radial jump space between the screen 37 and the bore of sleeve 29 is in the dimensional range of 1/16 to 1/4 inch, and preferably 1/8 inch. This feature combined with the variable tension spring-biasing means 42 and the arrangement of the two screens 36 and 37 in tight contact is the heart of the invention and critical to the important improved economy and engine performance achieved with the invention.

A final important feature or benefit of the invention is its harnessing and utilization of an inherently available energy source which heretofore has been overlooked in the art. This utilized source is the kinetic energy present in the air-fuel mixture stream entering the intake manifold from the carburetor. The invention utilizes the velocity of this always available stream to operate the movable screen assembly 31 of the atomizing valve against the spring-biasing means and no outside source of energy is required for this.

The many advantages of the invention should now be apparent to those skilled in the art without further explanation herein.

It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.




US Patent # 4,285,320
 

"Variable Capacity Fuel Delivery System for Engines"

Sherwood Webster / Richard Heise

(25 August 1981)

Abstract ~

A fuel atomizing valve and cooperative engine intake manifold are disclosed wherein the air volumetric capacity of the atomizing valve is infinitely varied automatically as a function of engine demand and without external controls. Intake manifold size and volumetric capacity are likewise varied automatically according to engine demand to assure delivery to all engine cylinders a cool dense homogeneous charge with superatomization of the fuel in a near molecular state.

Description:  BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The above prior patent application discloses a fuel atomizing valve for engines which are supplied with fuel and air through a carburetor whose primary function is to establish and maintain a proper air-fuel mixture ratio. In the prior application, the variable atomizing valve is supported on a mounting module arranged between the base of the carburetor and the customary carburetor mounting pad of the intake manifold. The valve projects through the main inlet opening of the manifold and into the manifold passage leading to the cylinders of the engine. The valve consists of a stationary sleeve surrounded by a coaxial telescoping relatively movable atomizing screen assembly which includes a rigid screen cage which holds and confines a pair of closely interfitting coaxial cylindrical screens, the interior one of which is of relatively coarse mesh, the outer screen being of much finer mesh construction. Guide bearing means provided between the screen assembly and the fixed sleeve establish an essential radial jump space across which the inducted air-fuel mixture is accelerated at the outlet end of the fixed sleeve in response to engine-created suction before impinging upon the atomizing screens. The movable screen assembly is yieldingly biased toward a nearly closed slow idle position relative to the fixed sleeve but extends itself automaticaly against the biasing means in response to engine demand to provide an infinitely variable atomized fuel delivery device directly into the intake manifold for all conditions of engine operation and demand.

While the atomizing valve according to the prior application operates with good efficiency to atomize fuel to a degree heretofore unattainable in the prior art and to deliver a homogeneous mixture of air and fuel into the intake manifold on demand, nevertheless, certain variables inherently present in piston engines exceeds the capability of the atomizing valve to respond completely to these variables particularly in terms of instantly deliverying the required volume of air under all conditions and in assuring the necessary intimate comingling and mixing of the air with fuel immediately prior to delivering the atomized charge into the manifold passage leading to the cylinders.

In view of the above, it is the object of this invention to substantially improve the variable atomizing valve of the above patent application so that it can satisfy automatically and immediately in response to engine demand all of the varying requirements for a superatomized homogeneous cool and dense fuel charge at each cylinder of an engine in the necessary volume for optimum engine operation at all speeds and under all power requirements encountered in normal operation. In essence, the present invention reacts automatically to engine demand without external control to deliver to the several cylinders the optimum fuel charge for greatest efficiency under all conditions encountered from slow idle through high speed high load operation. At any given engine demand situation, the fuel charge will contain the optimum volume of air and the always essential homogeneous mixture of air and fuel making up the combustible charge. Furthermore, the improved value and manifold arrangement will insure high velocity delivery of the charge through the manifold passage without the possibility of separation of the atomized fuel from the air during such delivery plus equality of charge volume, density and combustible quality at each cylinder under all conditions. The improved atomizing valve requires no additional moving components. As stated, it can respond to engine demand and alter its air volumetric capacity or air flow through effective size without external control. In accomplishing this, all of the desirable features of the atomizing valve according to the prior patent application are retained, including simplicity of construction, reliability and comparative low cost of manufacturing. The invention is entirely compatible with either carburetion fuel systems or fuel injection systems of the class in which raw fuel is directly injected into the center of the intake manifold upstream from the engine cylinders. The invention is also completely compatible with various piston engine configurations including four and six cylinder in-line engines which the automobile industry is turning to in the present-day energy crisis.

The heart of the improvement in the variable atomizing valve is the provision of a second exterior fixed sleeve in concentric surrounding relationship to the inner fixed sleeve. The movable screen assembly surrounds and telescopes over the exterior fixed sleeve and responds to engine demand generally in the manner set forth in the prior application.

A very important benefit derived from the use of the second exterior fixed sleeve is a substantial increase in the radial jump space for air and fuel as the latter change direction at the outlet ends of the fixed sleeves and begin to enter the main manifold passage after impinging upon and passing through the atomizing screens. This jump space in the improved valve is the full distance between the periphery of the interior fixed sleeve and the annular screen structure through which the accelerating fuel charge must pass to become superatomized. Because of the larger jump space, the velocity of the mixture impinging on the screen is supersonic, and this results in atomization of the fuel into particles of near molecular size with the atomized particles remaining at all times mixed with air in a homogeneous manner. In this important way, the results achieved with the invention are dramatically different from the prior art fuel delivery systems where unatomized fuel droplets are entrained in air entering conventional intake manifolds in a mixture of varying and changing density and continuity. As is well known, light vaporous fuel molecules ignite and burn readily in the engine whereas heavy molecules may fail to ignite or to burn completely, resulting in great losses of power, increased hydrocarbon pollutants in exhaust emissions and excessive carbon buildup, among many other known disadvantages.

In addition to the feature of increased jump space above discussed, the improved atomizing valve having the two concentrically spaced fixed sleeves insures complete and thorough intermixing of fuel and air into a nearly perfect homogeneous charge prior to its superatomization and in the critical zone between the carburetor or suitable injection means and points of entry into the manifold passage following passage of the mixture through the screens. In this connection, all of the supplied fuel under all engine demand conditions must enter and pass through the relatively confined passage provided by the interior sleeve, whereas air only under certain increased conditions of demand enters and passes through the annular space between the two fixed sleeves. Because of this unique arrangement there will always be proper thorough mixing of fuel and air within the bore of the inner fixed sleeve regardless of varying engine demand for a greater or lesser volume of the fuel charge. Under low demand conditions, all required air and fuel for optimum engine operation may be delivered through the interior fixed sleeve. As demand increases, some air and increasing volumes of air only are delivered through the annular space between the two fixed sleeves to satisfy engine requirements but without disturbing the mixing capability of the valve within the inner sleeve.

Another feature of the improved atomizing valve is the provision thereon of a fine conical screen across the top of the annular air only passage between the two fixed sleeves to divert or funnel all air into the interior sleeve passage for confined intermixing with fuel at low engine demand, such as idling. At such times, manifold suction is insufficient to force air through the conical screen and into the annular space between the two sleeves. However, as demand increases and suction in the manifold increases accordingly, additional air and air only will begin to be drawn through the conical screen to automatically increase the volumetric capacity of the valve, as air and fuel continue to pass without interruption through the interior sleeve. The necessary increase or decrease in fuel to meet changing conditions of demand is satisfied by state-of-the-art liquid fuel controls which, per se, are not a part of this invention.

In a second major aspect of the invention, the intake manifold of the engine is restructured to coact with the improved valve in a unique manner to satisfy engine demand most efficiently. Toward this end, the intake manifold has a divider plate between its top and bottom walls, preferably spaced from the top wall about one-third of the total distance between the two walls. The divider plate extends completely between the manifold side walls and is continuous from the main central inlet of the manifold receiving the valve to the individual cylinder fuel inlet ports. The divider plate defines two separated manifold passages, one of which is somewhat narrower than the other. Under low engine demand conditions, atomized fuel and air may be delivered by the valve into only the narrower passage with the wider passage completely blocked off. As demand increases, the second manifold passage gradually comes into play and is progressively uncovered. At maximum engine demand, both passages are active and receive the atomized charge from the valve. The arrangement insures that the atomized charge passes through the manifold at sufficient velocity and charge density and in a homogeneous state to enable optimum engine operation at all times.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art during the course of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of the invention installed on a piston engine equipped with a carburetor.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevation similar to FIG. 1 showing the invention on an engine having fuel injection means.

FIG. 3 is a central vertical section on an enlarged scale taken through the invention in accordance with FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a horizontal section taken substantially on line 4--4 of FIG. 3.
 
 

FIG. 5 is a plan view showing an intake manifold for a six cylinder in-line engine in accordance with the invention with the improved atomizing valve thereon.

FIG. 6 is a vertical section through the manifold taken on line 6--6 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary view similar to FIG. 3 showing the invention used with carburetion in accordance with FIG. 1

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, there is shown in FIG. 1 a typical six cylinder in-line piston engine 20 equipped with an intake manifold 21 in accordance with the present invention. As best shown in FIG. 5, the six cylinders of the engine receive the fuel charge through a center manifold branch 22 and two end branches 23, the cylinders, not shown, being indicated by the consecutive numerals 1 through 6, and the ending cylinder firing order being indicated schematically by the non-consecutive numerals 1-5, 3-6 and 2-4 on the manifold branches.

The engine 20 further includes a customary air cleaner 24 and carburetor 25 of any conventional type. A mounting block or module 26 for the automatic atomizing valve according to the invention is placed between the carburetor base and the usual machined carburetor mounting pad 27 on the intake manifold.

The improved automatic variable atomizing valve forming an important element of the invention is indicated by the numeral 28 in its entirety. This valve is shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings associated with fuel injection means 29 of the type employed to deliver liquid fuel to the main central inlet of an intake manifold according to one embodiment of the invention. The valve 28 is depicted in FIG. 7 in relationship to the base of the carburetor 25 shown in FIG. 1 in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention. The valve 28 per se may be substantially identical in either application or embodiment.

The valve comprises a fixed exterior cylindrical sleeve 29' held within a bore 30 of the mounting block 26, as shown. An interior fixed sleeve 31 of lesser diameter than the sleeve 29' is also held within the bore 30 of mounting block 26 in spaced concentric relationship to the outer sleeve 29'. The upper end of sleeve 29' extends above the upper end of sleeve 31 and the top of the annular space 32 between the two fixed sleeves is covered by a downwardly tapering fine mesh conical screen 33 which, during low demand periods of engine operation, such as idling, blocks combustion air at the top of the annular passage 32 and deflects or funnels the air into the smaller interior sleeve 31 along with the fuel from the injection means 29 or carburetor. Such fuel, as distinguished from air, is always directed into the inner fixed sleeve 31 and never into the passage 32 between the two sleeves 29' and 31, which is an air only passage receiving air in varying amounts as engine demand for air increases. At these times, increasing manifold suction will overcome the resistance offered by the screen 33, and the necessary additional air for optimum engine operation will be drawn through the screen 33 and passage 32 while fuel and air continue to be drawn through the interior sleeve 31.

The relatively confined passage provided by the smaller sleeve 31 insures at all times a very intimate comingling and mixing of air and fuel in the valve so that a homogeneous dense charge will always be delivered through the manifold to the engine cylinders, as previously discussed.

The lower ends of the two fixed sleeves terminate in alignment, as shown in FIG. 3, and the two sleeves project somewhat below the top wall of the manifold 21, as shown. The entire valve 28 is received within a main inlet opening 34 of the manifold at right angles to the main manifold passage.

The atomizing valve 28 further comprises an axially movable screen assembly 35 substantially in accordance with the construction of the screen assembly in the above-referenced patent application. This assembly includes an exterior longitudinally slotted essentially rigid screen cage 36 and two contained coaxial cylindrical atomizing screens 37 and 38 in contacting relationship. The two interfitting screens are of equal length axially. The interior screen 37 is of relatively coarser mesh than the exterior screen 38, as set forth in the prior patent application. The screen assembly 35 is telescopically mounted on the exterior sleeve 29' for restrained axial movement relative thereto in response to varying conditions of engine means, as previously discussed. Guide bearings 39 and 40 for the movable screen assembly are also provided, as described in the prior application.

The screen assembly cage 36 further includes a preferably flat bottom wall or closure 41 at the bottom ends of the two screens 37 and 38. Below the wall 41, the screen assembly further includes a cylindrical wall or skirt 42 extending entirely across the main manifold passage and beyond the far side of inlet opening 34 and into the bore of a cylindrical cup-like extension or well 43 formed on the bottom of the manifold 21 coaxially with the inlet 34. The well 43 preferably has a bearing surface 44 for the movable skirt 42 to guide it smoothly. As shown in FIG. 3, under conditions of minimal engine demand and hence minimal manifold vacuum, the screen assembly 35 including the attached skirt 44 are elevated in relation to the fixed sleeves 29' and 31. Such a condition would prevail at engine idle speeds. Only a very small annular area of the screens 37 and 38 are exposed at such time between the closure wall 41 and the lower ends of the fixed sleeves.

In accordance with the illustrated embodiments of the invention, the movable screen assembly 35 is yieldingly biased upwardly toward the illustrated idle position by a suitable compression spring 45 bearing on the wall 41 and the bottom wall 46 of the manifold well 43. When engine demand increases and vacuum in the manifold becomes stronger, the resulting downward fluid pressure on the wall 41 overcomes the resistance of spring 45 to suitably lower the screen assembly in relation to the sleeves 29' and 31 to satisfy engine demand by uncovering greater areas of the atomizing screens, as in the prior application structure.

The second main improvement feature of the invention discussed previously comprises providing in the intake manifold 21 a divider partition or plate 47 extending continuously from the main inlet 34 of the manifold through the manifold passage in the several branches 22 and 23 to the fuel charge inlet ports of the engine cylinders, not shown in the drawings but conventionally arranged in relation to the intake manifold branches. The divider plate 47 is continuous between the opposite side walls of the manifold and is parallel to the manifold top and bottom walls, and preferably about one-third of the distance down between the top and bottom walls so as to define two isolated manifold passages 48 and 49 throughout the entire manifold system. The upper passage 48, being considerably narrower in cross section than the lower larger passage 49, is suitable for delivering smaller fuel charge volumes to the cylinders at the necessary high velocity. As demand increases causing the screen assembly 35 to move downwardly, the skirt 42 will pass below the divider plate 47 and gradually uncover the passage 49 while an ever increasing area of the atomizing screens is exposed below the fixed sleeves 29' and 31. As this takes place, the active total cross sectional area of the maniofld increases as does the volume of the inducted fuel charge, due to additional air being drawn through the annular space 32, as previously described. As a net result of this, greater and greater volumes of the air-fuel mixture are delivered to the atomizing screens into both passages 48 and 49 of the manifold with the full velocity of the charge being maintained at all times. The operation of the total delivery system including the atomizing valve and the divided manifold insures that the homogeneous dense and cool fuel charge mixture will never separate inside of the manifold before reaching the engine cylinders and thus all of the main drawbacks of the prior art delivery systems are overcome by the invention. Under conditions of maximum engine demand for fuel and air, the skirt 42 will descend sufficiently to entirely uncover both manifold passages 48 and 49 and the atomizing screen assembly will be spanning the full cross section of the manifold and a superatomized homogeneous fuel charge at full velocity without separation and with no wetting of the manifold walls will be equally delivered to all cylinders.

Again, it should be stated and emphasized that the operation of the system does not require an external control, such as a microprocessor, and the engine itself delivers the necessary signal to the valve causing it to respond automatically with precisely the necessary gradient to satisfy the engine without diminishing operating efficiency at any demand condition. The atomizing valve is fully and automatically coordinated with the variable manifold passage through coaction of its skirt 42 with the divider wall 47 or plate, as described. In some instances, the plate 47 could be movably installed in the manifold 21 and yieldingly biased upwardly by spring means, not shown. In such cases, the divider plate 47 would gradually descend to increase or widen the manifold passage cross section responsive to engine demans for more fuel and air.

It should also be emphasized that a very important benefit is realized from the widened jump space created between the bottom of interior sleeve 31 and the wall defined by the two atomizing screens. The mixture will actually impact on the screens at supersonic speed due to being accelerated across the jump space. Superatomization to a near molecular particle state will result. At low engine demand or speed conditions, the velocity of the smaller volume atomized charge required to satisfy the demand will be increased by the smaller cross section of the upper passage 48 in the manifold. Full manifold suction is now diverted to the upper passage 48 due to the blockage of the lower passage 49 by skirt 42.

In conventional manifold systems, because of the large passage required to accommodate engine demand for maximum power, speed, acceleration or load, the system cannot react properly to diminish speed or demand and this causes undesirable separation of fuel from air in the charge. This separation is due to decreased velocity of the charge because the cross section of the manifold passage cannot change as with the present invention. The resulting manifold wetting due to fuel separation in the prior art destroys the correct balance of the air to fuel ratio.

Among the many important advantages achieved by the invention are the following:

1. Significantly increased mileage in automotive applications, as the result of a better atomized cold charge which increases the volumetric efficiency of the engine and promotes more complete combustion.

2. Pollutants in the engine exhaust are greatly reduced due to more complete and efficient combustion in every cylinder.

3. Engine performance is markedly improved including the absence of missing, difficult starting particularly when the engine is cold, and the elimination of dieseling or engine run-on. Improved performance is the result of superatomization of a cold air-fuel charge, homogeneous mixing under all conditions, and automatic response of the system to engine demand without waste of fuel by charge separation in the manifold, and consequently with no cylinder starvation.

4. In effect, the system increases the octane rating of a given fuel without chemical additives or lead. The improved valve creates an ideal uniform air-fuel mixture which causes air molecules to be intervened with fuel molecules in the atomized manifold charge. The intervening air acts in a manner similar to chemical additives or tetraethyl lead in retarding burning of the charge.

5. A lower grade of crude oil can be successfully utilized for making engine fuel with significant savings at the refinery on a comparative basis with prior art fuel delivery arrangements which necessitate a more expensive higher grade crude.

6. An engine utilizing this invention will idle smoothly at a much lower rpm than the usual 600-700 rpm at idle where state-of-the-art fuel delivery means are employed. A major reason for the greatly improved idle condition is the utilization of the varying cross section manifold, with about two-thirds of the manifold covered by the screen assembly skirt at idle.

While the improved variable atomizing valve has been disclosed in a free-floating arrangement within the manifold entrance, under the influence of a biasing spring, it should be understood that in some instances the movable screen assembly of the valve can be coupled with a control linkage for positive operation in various ways not shown in this application.

It is to be understood that the forms of the invention herewith shown and described are to be taken as preferred examples of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without deparating from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.




US Patent # 4,358,414

Fuel Delivery System for Combustion Devices

(US Cl 261/53)

Sherwood Webster & Richard Heise

Abstract ~

An air-fuel mixture is delivered at a certain predetermined velocity through a pressure-regulated gate to a dual screen atomizer consisting of a first comparatively coarse mesh screen in contact with a finer mesh screen close to the throat of the gate. The liquid fuel is atomized to uniform size droplets in the small micron range and a homogeneous charge is created in an enlarged plenum downstream from the dual screen atomizer. Pressure in the downstream plenum is reduced in comparison to the pressure existing in the fuel mixture delivery passage upstream from the gate.

References Cited ~
U.S. Patent Documents

2993484 ~ Jul., 1961 ~ Gallman ~ 123/389
3682608 ~ Aug., 1972 ~ Hicks ~ 48/180
4117046 ~ Sep., 1978 ~ Nohira et al ~ 261/44
4153653 ~ May., 1979 ~ Moore ~ 123/593
4187820 ~ Feb., 1980 ~ Webster et al ~ 123/593

Primary Examiner: Myhre; Charles J. ~ Assistant Examiner: Cross; E. Rollins
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Fishburne, Jr.; B. P.

Parent Case Text

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 098,033, filed Nov. 28, 1979, now U.S. Pat. No. 4,285,320, for VARIABLE CAPACITY FUEL DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR ENGINES.

Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

U.S. Pat. No. 4,187,820 and the above-referenced patent application disclose intake manifold fuel atomizing sleeve valves for piston engines whose use results in many benefits including increased fuel economy or mileage, reduced air pollution, much smoother engine operation over a wide RPM range, and others.

The object of the present invention is to provide a pressure regulated air-fuel charge atomization device for a wide range of combustion systems including domestic and industrial heating apparatus, gas turbine engines and power plants and the like.

In accomplishing these aims, a fuel atomization means is provided which will operate efficiently with a wide range of liquid fuels including industrial and home heating oils, kerosenes, gasolines and alcohols.

The system employs an air-fuel charge which can be delivered to the pressure-regulated atomization means by any upstream mixing and metering device in accordance with the prior art. For example, a carburetor may be employed or various fuel injection means to deliver liquid fuel into an air stream may be employed. The fuel mixture is metered through a variable gate at a predetermined velocity, the throat of the gate being automatically adjusted to maintain this velocity by a regulator which senses upstream and downstream fuel charge pressures. The upstream pressure is always greater than the downstream pressure, because of a blocking effect of the atomization means. The downstream plenum for the homogeneous super-atomized charge is enlarged in comparison to the upstream fuel charge delivery passage ahead of the gate.

The atomization means forming the heart of the invention consists of two screens in surface contact with each other immediately adjacent to the rear or downstream side of the adjustable gate and completely spanning the gate throat in all adjusted sizes of the latter. The homogeneous charge in the downstream enlarged plenum contains uniform size fuel particles in the small micron range, and due to the low pressure in the plenum and reduced velocity of the charge therein, any tendency for agglomeration of the charge resulting in surface wetting is substantially eliminated. The plenum downstream from the dual screen atomizer may be a manifold or other chamber means leading to any type of combustion device or forming a part of a combustion space where burning of the atomized fuel charge occurs, as in a jet engine.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the coarse of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partly cross sectional schematic side elevation of a fuel charge atomization mechanism according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a transverse vertical section taken on line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, the numeral 10 designates an air-fuel charge delivery chamber or passage, such as the delivery throat of a carburetor or an air delivery conduit of a predetermined cross sectional size and shape. The passage 10 may be equipped with an adjustable throttling device 11, such as a butterfly valve. A suitable liquid fuel delivery tube 12 may be utilized to inject a fuel, such as oil or kerosene, into the passage 10 downstream from the throttling device 11. A plurality of the tubes 12 can be utilized around the perimeter of the passage 10 and other types of liquid fuel delivery means communicating with the passage 10 can be utilized. In all cases, the passage 10 will deliver a mixed charge consisting of air and liquid fuel droplets downstream toward the atomization mechanism forming the main subject matter of the invention.

A pressure-regulated automatically adjustable gate consisting of a movable gate component 13 and an opposing fixed component 14 is arranged across the axis of the fuel charge delivery passage 10 at the downstream end of the latter. The gate components 13 and 14 define a variable width throat 15 through which the mixed charge flows at a predetermined velocity toward a dual atomizing screen assembly 16 forming the heart of the invention. This screen assembly consists of two separate screen elements 17 and 18 arranged in face-to-face contacting relationship over their full areas. The upstream screen 17 is of comparatively coarser mesh in the range of 20-90 mesh whereas the second downstream screen 18 of finer mesh is in the range of 100-300 mesh. The two screens may be formed of stainless steel or other suitable material. The dual screen assembly is located closely adjacent to the downstream side of the adjustable gate, as shown.

The two screen elements 17 and 18 are suitably joined at their peripheries and the screen assembly 16 is attached as at 19 to the wall or walls 20 of a downstream atomized fuel charge plenum 20' or chamber of considerably larger cross sectional size than the upstream delivery passage 10.

In passing through the dual atomizing screen assembly 16, the air-fuel mixture entering the plenum 20' is rendered uniform and homogeneous and the atomized liquid fuel particles are uniform in size and reduced in size to a small micron range. Probably a fuel droplet particle size of substantially less than 20 microns is obtained.

The pressure in the delivery passage 10 is higher than the pressure within the larger plenum 20' because of the retarding or blocking effect of the adjustable gate and the atomizing screen assembly on the charge traveling downstream through the gate and screen assembly. This pressure differential is constantly sensed by a pressure regulator means 21 having a sensing tube 22 in communication with the plenum 20' and another sensing tube 23 in communication with the passage 10.

The sensing tube 22 leads to parallel branches 24 and 25 in communication, respectively, with a chamber 26 below an elastic diaphragm 27 and a cylinder chamber 28 containing a servo-plunger 29. The servo-plunger 29 has two opposite end piston heads 30 within the cylinder chamber 28 and reduced end terminals 31 which are attached to the elastic diaphragm 27 and another diaphragm 32 at the far end of the plunger.

A chamber 33 behind the diaphragm 32 communicates through the tube 23 with the delivery passage 10. The movable gate component 13 is connected through a guided stem 34 with a diaphragm 35 behind which is a chamber 36 in communication through a tube 37 with the cylinder chamber 28 between the two piston heads 30. The diaphragm 36 is opposed by a calibrated spring 38 whose tension may be regulated by an adjuster 39. A similar spring 40 opposes the diaphragm 27 and has its tension regulated by an adjuster 41 so that the pressure regulator 21 can be properly adjusted or calibrated.

In the operation of the system, the regulator constantly senses the pressure differential between the delivery passage 10 and plenum 20' and automatically adjusts the throat 15 of the gate to maintain a predetermined velocity of the fuel charge through the throat. This assures that the fuel charge will impinge on the dual atomizing screen assembly with the correct velocity and energy to enable the two screens to effect the described super-atomization of the charge within the plenum 20'.

The movement or velocity of the atomized charge in the plenum 20' is greatly reduced compared to the upstream velocity and the pressure on the charge in the plenum 20' is reduced. Consequently, there is little or no tendency for agglomeration of the atomized fuel particles and the atomized charge will reach whatever ignition means the combustion system utilizes in the proper state for ideal ignition and burning in a most complete and efficient manner.

As stated, the device can be used to supply an atomized fuel charge to a variety of combustion devices. Also, the invention may utilize a variety of liquid fuels ranging from heating oils through kerosenes and lighter components including gasolines and alcohols.

It is to be understood that the form of the invention herewith shown and described is to be taken as a preferred example of the same, and that various changes in the shape, size and arrangement of parts may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the subjoined claims.



US Patent # 4,493,750
US Cl. 159.48.1(Jan. 15, 1985)

Thermodynamic Conditioning of Air or any Other Gas to Increase the Operating Efficiency of Diverse Energy Consuming Systems

James Olmsted, Sherwood Webster, Richard Heise

Abstract ~

Air or any other gas in a moving stream possessing kinetic energy is impinged on a foraminous barrier having a multitude of dissimilar adjacent nozzle orifices. Such impingement converts the kinetic energy of the stream to internal energy within the gas; and compression through the nozzle orifices of the foraminous barrier also increases the internal energy and reduces the pressure of the air or other gas (Bernoulli's principle), and greatly increases the downstream intensity of turbulence in the flowing air or gas. This treatment conditions the air, after its expansion in a processing chamber, to effect mixing with and rapid vaporization of liquid substances at low temperatures without the addition of external sensible heat, or with less external sensible heat, thus effecting savings of energy in many industrial, commercial and consumer applications. Typically, the foraminous barrier consists of two screens having appropriate characteristics pressed together in firm contact with their interstices randomly arranged. The foraminous barrier can be installed on diverse new and existing equipment.

References Cited
U.S. Patent Documents
348772 ~ Sep., 1886 ~ Pearce ~ 126/247
797847 ~ Aug., 1905 ~ Gilroy ~ 126/247
823856 ~ Jun., 1906 ~ Gilroy ~ 126/247
1682102 ~ Aug., 1928 ~ Allen ~ 126/247
2107933 ~ Feb., 1938 ~ Crockett et al. ~ 237/1
2449366 ~ Sep., 1948 ~ Bowen et al. ~ 159/43
2683940 ~ Jul., 1954 ~ Pixler ~ 126/247
3813036 ~ May., 1974 ~ Lutz ~ 122/26
4181098 ~ Jan., 1980 ~ Kruse ~ 126/247
4187617 ~ Feb., 1980 ~ Becker et al. ~ 159/4
4381762 ~ May., 1983 ~ Ernst ~ 126/247

Primary Examiner: Garris; Bradley
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Fishburne, Jr.; B. P.

Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The general objective of the present invention is to improve the operational efficiency of, and thus save energy in, many industrial, commercial and consumer energy conversion systems which require the introduction of air or other gases in comingling relationship with materials, including liquids, semi-liquids and other flowables. The invention is applicable to both combustion and non-combustion energy consuming processes of a highly diverse nature.

In its essence, the present invention involves a thermodynamic treatment of air or any other gas in a manner whereby the air or gas has dramatically improved ability to initiate and rapidly complete vaporization of liquids at comparatively low temperatures (approximately 130.degree. F. for gasoline), without the addition of external sensible heat: and also has markedly increased ability to promote mixing with other materials due to increased scale of turbulence. Palmer, The Hydrodynamic Stability of Rapidly Evaporating Liquids at Reduced Pressure, Vol. 75, Part 3, JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS, 487-511, 1976, and Bennett and Myers, Momentum, Heat, and Mass Transfer, 2nd Ed., 1974, at 147-151 and 548-550.

The above treatment of air or other gas is very simply obtained by causing a flowing stream of air or gas possessing kinetic energy to impinge on a foraminous barrier and pass through a matrix of dissimilar adjacent nozzle orifices in the barrier to a utilization space beyond the barrier where diverse material processing in energy consuming systems takes place.

Upon impingement at the foraminous barrier, the kinetic energy of the stream is converted to internal energy within the air or gas. After being compressed through the nozzle matrix provided within the barrier, which further increases its internal energy, the pressure of the flowing stream is markedly reduced (Bernoulli's principle). The adiabatic expansion of the air or gas upon leaving the nozzle orifices increases its ability to transfer its unusually high internal energy to another comingling medium in the processing chamber which aids in initiating and completing low temperature vaporization (differential vaporization). Pierce, Microscopic Thermodynamics, 1968, at pages 46-50, 284-285 and 303; Palmer and Maheshri, Enhanced Interfacial Heat Transfer by Differential Vapor Recoil Instabilities, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL HEAT MASS TRANSFER, 117-122, January, 1981; Anis and Buthod, How Flashing Fluids Change Phase in Pipelines, THE OIL AND GAS JOURNAL, 150-157, June 24, 1974; Hoffman, Differential Vaporization Curves for Complex Mixtures, CHEMICAL ENGINEERING SCIENCE, Vol. 24, 1734-1736, 1969; and Collins, Flow of Fluids Through Porous Materials, 1961, at pages 246-248. Simultaneously, the intensity of turbulence of air or gas exiting the nozzle matrix of the foraminous barrier is drastically increased, without reducing the scale of turbulence, which promotes unusually rapid vaporization, drying or oxidization of another medium in the processing space downstream from the barrier, namely, a liquid, semi-liquid, paste or other flowable; and also enables thorough mixing with such medium, Palmer (supra); Bennett and Myers (supra); and Pope and Goin, High-Speed Wind Tunnel Testing, 99-102, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York; and Miyashita et al., Flow Behavior and Augmentation of the Mass Transfer Rate in a Rectangular Duct with a Turbulence Promoter, Vol. 21, No. 4, INTERNATIONAL CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, 646-651, October, 1981.

Typically, the foraminous barrier employed in the thermodynamic treatment of air or gas consists of two screen sections, one relatively coarse and one relatively fine, in a mesh number ratio of approximately 0.375:1. The coarser screen section is placed upstream relative to the air or gas flow path and the finer screen section is placed downstream. The two screen sections are pressed together into firm contact with their interstices and apertures randomly arranged. In situations where it is not desired to promote mixing of the treated air or gas with another medium, the interstices of the two screen sections are arranged symmetrically with the screen apertures in registration. In this case, the mesh number ratio is approximately 0.5:1 to enable proper aperture registration. The mesh number ratio of 0.375:1 where mixing is desired is chosen to assure that the apertures of the two screen sections cannot register when the screen sections are pressed together randomly.

The utilization of two screen sections only in the mesh number ratio specified to promote mixing and rapid, low temperature vaporization, drying or oxidization is critical in the invention and a significant departure from this arrangement will destroy substantially the utility of the foraminous barrier. For example, a single screen of any mesh number will not function properly because, when intensity of turbulence increases as mesh number increases, scale of turbulence decreases inversely. Scale of turbulence is the factor which promotes mixing, whereas intensity of turbulence promotes rapid vaporization. Therefore, when both of these factors are essential to a given process, the dual screen arrangement specified above must be used, Bennett and Myers (supra), and Pruppacher and Rasmussen, A Wind Tunnel Investigation of the Rate of Evaporation, JOURNAL OF THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES, 1257-1258, July, 1979.

The two screen sections which form the foraminous barrier are advantageously formed of stainless steel, but in some cases, can be formed from other materials including other metals and synthetics. The screen sections or the strands from which they are woven may be coated with a catalyst in order to promote the desired chemical effect. In still other cases, the foraminous barrier can consist of two porous membranes of natural or synthetic materials or can be formed by a pair of contacting perforated plates having, respectively, matrixes of relatively coarse and relatively fine square apertures corresponding to the required mesh number ratio stated above, approximately 0.375:1.

It should be stated that significant benefits for the environment are derived from the invention. This is due to the fact that processes carried out at relatively low temperatures produces significantly less pollutants, such as nitrous oxide, compared to processes carried out at higher temperatures.

Examples of other gases, in addition to air, which might be treated in accordance with the invention are carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen.

As suggested previously, thermodynamically conditioned air or gas in accordance with the invention lends itself to a wide variety of uses. One of the most widespread applications of the invention is the spray drying process, where it is believed the invention will constitute a major advance in the art. The scope of application of spray drying and hence the diverse application of the invention is well defined by Masters, Spray Drying, 2nd Ed., 1976, John Wiley & Sons, New York. This publication, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,187,617, describe essentially a one step suspended particle process wherein the feed is a solution, suspension or paste. The resulting dried product conforms to powders, granules or agglomerates. The above-referenced spray drying publication and patent both describe introducing external sensible heat into air before the latter is blown into the drying process chamber. A substantial reduction of such external heat, if not complete elimination of it in some cases, with resultant conservation of energy, is achieved by placing the foraminous barrier in accordance with this invention across the flow path of air or other gas entering the chamber, very slightly upstream from the orifice of the feed nozzle.

The unusually high internal energy of the entering nozzled air, its low pressure, and its high intensity of turbulence developed by passing through the foraminous barrier, combine to effect rapid complete vaporization of the liquid content of the feed, thorough and rapid mixing of the nozzled air with feed particles, or more rapid drying with substantially less energy expended. To achieve these multiple benefits, the temperature of the incoming air or gas need only be 5.degree.-25.degree. F. above the dew point temperature of the particular liquid feed.

Another important application of the invention lies potentially in water desalinization by using the foraminous barrier to upgrade flash vaporization to differential vaporization in one or more stages of the system, Howe, Fundamentals of Water Desalination, 1974, pages 67-72 and 149-154.

Another important application of the invention lies in the field of sewage treatment where the foraminous barrier of the invention can be placed across incoming air streams of such systems.

Other practical applications of the present invention include fluidized bed heat exchangers of the types shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,307,773, 4,272,895 and 4,226,830; material treatment systems of the type shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,109,394; food roasting systems as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,964,175: and fluid bed driers for foods and other products, U.S. Pat. No. 3,849,900. Other examples of practical uses of the invention are mentioned hereinafter. Such uses are almost without limit, and it should be understood that the principle of the invention is applicable to any system where it is required or desirable to achieve rapid low temperature vaporization, together with thorough and continuous mixing of a product or product component with air or other gas, without the necessity of applying great amounts of external sensible heat to the air or gas or to the product being processed.

Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary plan view of a relatively coarse screen section forming one component of a foraminous barrier used in the thermodynamic conditioning of air or gas according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is a similar view of a relatively fine screen section forming a second component of the foraminous barrier.

FIG. 3a is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of the two screen sections shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 pressed together in firm contact with their apertures and interstices randomly arranged on three axes.

FIG. 3b is a similar view of the two screen sections with their apertures and interstices randomly arranged on two orthogonal axes.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical section taken on line 4--4 of FIG. 3a.

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 3b where the screen apertures and interstices are symmetrically arranged in registration in accordance with a variation in mode of operation.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of a spray drying system utilizing the invention .

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings in detail wherein like numerals designate like parts, attention is directed first to FIGS. 1-5 showing screen components which form a foraminous barrier comprising the essence of the invention.

In FIG. 1, a preferably stainless steel screen section 20 of any required size and shape has a mesh number for many important applications in the range of 30-60 (holes per inch). It should be understood that the mesh numbers specified herein may vary depending upon particular applications of the invention. For example, small scale applications, including medical, pharmaceutical and biological, may require mesh numbers above the typical ranges specified while large industrial applications, such as blast furnaces and fluidized bed gasification reactors, may require mesh numbers below the ranges stated above. The screen section 20 is the coarser of two screen sections employed to produce a foraminous barrier in this invention.

A companion screen section 21, FIG. 2, preferably formed of stainless steel, has a mesh number in the range of 90-240. This screen section is the finer of the two making up the foraminous barrier, and is always placed at the downstream face of the barrier, in relation to a stream of air or gas impinging on the barrier.

The two described screen sections 20 and 21 are usually installed flat for most uses but can be installed vertically, horizontally or at any intermediate angle across an air or gas stream. In some cases, however, the screens forming the barrier may be cylindrical or in other bent forms to meet the needs of a particular situation.

FIG. 3a shows the two screen sections 20 and 21 assembled in face-to-face firm contact with their apertures 22 and 23 and interstices randomly arranged on three axes to form in the barrier and through it a multitude of dissimilar adjacent nozzle orifices. For the typical mesh numbers specified above, suitable for many industrial and commercial applications, the preferred ratio of the mesh number of screen 20 to the mesh number of screen 21 is approximately 0.375:1.

FIG. 3b shows the screen sections 20 and 21 pressed together with their apertures and interstices randomly disposed or offset on two orthogonal axes only, without rotation on the third axis. The arrangement in FIG. 3a is preferable in some commercial applications. While all screen apertures are shown square, in some cases the apertures of the finer screen 21 could be oblong along one axis only without disturbing the desired mode of operation. However, the mesh number of the finer screen must be as specified herein along at least one orthogonal axis. Also, the coarser screen 20 must always form the upstream face of the foraminous barrier.

FIG. 4 shows the two screen sections 20 and 21 pressed together firmly and randomly with the coarser screen 20 on the upstream side of the barrier and the finer screen 21 in the downstream side relative to the air or gas flow path.

FIG. 5 shows a variant of the invention where the screen sections 20 and 21 are pressed together symmetrically with their apertures 22 and 23 in coaxial registration, rather than randomly disposed. When this situation prevails, the ratio of the mesh number of screen 20 to the mesh number of screen 21 is approximately 0.5:1. This mesh number ratio enables screen aperture registration as shown in FIG. 5, wherein the previously stated mesh number ratio of 0.375:1 precludes complete aperture registration in the random aperture situation shown in FIG. 3a. The arrangement of the screen sections shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b is necessary when vaporization and mixing are desired, while the arrangement in FIG. 5 is employed when it is desired to achieve vaporization, drying or oxidization without promoting mixing of air or gas with a product. Except for the reduced mixing, the barrier structure in FIG. 5 possesses the same advantages as the structures of FIGS. 3a and 3b, as regards converting kinetic energy to internal energy and producing low temperature vaporization. However, the arrangement in FIG. 5 reduces the scale of turbulence and therefore does not create as much mixing in a processing space as the mixing obtained with the randomly assembled dual screens shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b.

FIG. 6 illustrates one of the most widespread commercial applications of the invention, namely, spray drying. Spray drying is essentially a one step continuous suspended particle drying process which finds application in a wide variety of industries, as described in Masters (supra).

In FIG. 6, a spray drying system includes a drying chamber 24 receiving at one end thereof an atomized product spray delivered by a nozzle means 25. Substantially dew point temperature air in a flowing stream possessing kinetic energy is separately delivered to the chamber 24 through a manifold 26 coaxial with and surrounding feed nozzle means 25. A foraminous barrier 27 consisting of the two screen sections 20 and 21 as described in connection with FIG. 3 is placed very slightly upstream from the outlet of the orifice in nozzle means 25, so as to treat air or gas entering the drying chamber 24 from the manifold 26 without similarly treating the atomized feed delivered by the nozzle means 25.

The unusually high internal energy of the air discharged from the foraminous barrier 27, its reduced pressure, and its increased intensity of turbulence, combine to greatly enhance the one step spray drying process and allow a substantial savings in energy compared to prior art practice where the air temperature is externally increased to well above 200.degree. F., Masters, Spray Drying (supra) and U.S. Pat. No. 4,187,617.

In a generally similar manner, the foraminous barrier according to the invention, in whatever size and shape is required, can be installed at strategic locations in a great variety of industrial, commercial and consumer equipment, to improve the operational efficiency of the same, and reduce considerably the consumption of external energy to increase temperature. Notable among these diverse applications, but not limited thereto, are the following:

I. Agriculture

A. Food, fiber and fish processing

1. Crop preparation--sorting, cleaning, skinning and drying
2. First stage operations--milling, pressing and grinding
3. Final stage operations--flavoring, coloring, drying freezing and packaging

II. Mineral and Metallurgical

A. Metal ores, hydrocarbons, stone and clay operations

1. Ore preparation--sorting, cleaning and drying
2. First stage operations--smelting, blast furnaces, roasting and refining
3. Final stage operations--separation, cooling and forming

III. Textile Manufacture

A. Weaving, knitting and finishing

1. Fiber preparation--cotton ginning, cleaning, sorting and drying
2. First stage operations--drying after bleaching, sizing, etc.
3. Final stage operations--drying after dyeing

IV. Lumber and Wood Products

A. Veneer and plywood production

1. Drying before and after bonding
2. Drying after coating

V. Furniture Manufacture

A. Wood bending operations

1. Drying after bending

VI. Paper and Paperboard Manufacture

A. Drying operations in various stages of process

VII. Printing

A. Drying after inking

VIII. Glass and Glass Container Manufacture

A. Production operations

Raw material preparation, melting and fining
Conditioning, blowing and setting
Fiber spraying, annealing and after-working

IX. Rubber Products

A. Foaming
B. Vulcanization and cooling

X. Leather Products

A. Processing operations

1. Hide preparation--curing and unhairing
2. Primary processes--tanning, dyeing and lubricating
3. Finishing--coating, brushing, buffing and glazing

XI. Kiln Furnace applications

A. Firing, baking, roasting, drying and burning of various materials such as cement, bricks and ceramics

XII. Chemical, Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Preparations

Numerous applications and materials.

XIII. Downstream Equipment

1. Evaporators
2. Driers
3. Dehumidifiers
4. Vaporizers
5. Air brushes
6. Air cleaning equipment
7. Air blasting of abrasives
8. Laundry and dry cleaning equipment
9. Hair driers, clothes driers and dish washers

The terms and expressions which have been employed herein are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention, in the use of such terms and expressions, of excluding any equivalents of the features shown and described.





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