Patents Assigned to Arthur D. Little, Inc.
  • Patent number: 6265867
    Abstract: An improved position encoder system for providing an output signal representative of the position of a movable body, relative to a reference position, includes at least one magnetic element fixedly attached to the movable body. The system further includes a first spatially orthogonal fluxgate sensor pair and a second spatially orthogonal fluxgate sensor pair for detecting the magnetic field. The first sensor pair is disposed adjacent to the polar axis at a first predetermined distance, and the second pair is disposed adjacent to the polar axis at a second predetermined distance, preferably twice the first predetermined distance. The system further includes a signal processor for receiving a signal from the first sensor pair and a signal from the second sensor pair.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventor: J. Thomas Fowler
  • Patent number: 6257002
    Abstract: A condensate handling assembly comprises a collection container for receiving and retaining condensate, a heating container for receiving condensate from the collection container, and a heating device for raising the temperature of condensate in the heating container to pressurize condensate in the heating container. A transfer conduit interconnects the collection container and the heating container, and a one-way valve is disposed in the transfer conduit for permitting flow of condensate from the collection container to the heating container. A level sensor senses the level of condensate in the collection container and activates the heating device upon the condensate in the collection container reaching a selected level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: John T. Dieckmann, Richard C. Williams, Robert A. Zogg
  • Patent number: 6254839
    Abstract: A hydrocarbon fuel reformer (200) is disclosed suitable for producing synthesis hydrogen gas from reactions with hydrocarbons fuels, oxygen, and steam. The reformer (200) comprises first and second tubes (208,218). The first tube (208) includes a first catalyst (214) and receives a first mixture of steam and a first fuel. The second tube (218) is annularly disposed about the first tube (208) and receives a second mixture of an oxygen-containing gas and a second fuel. In one embodiment, a third tube (224) is annularly disposed about the second tube (218) and receives a first reaction reformate from the first tube (208) and a second reaction reformate from the second tube (218). A catalyst reforming zone (260) annularly disposed about the third tube (224) may be provided to subject reformate constituents to a shift reaction. In another embodiment, a fractionator is provided to distill first and second fuels from a fuel supply source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence G. Clawson, William L. Mitchell, Jeffrey M. Bentley, Johannes H. J. Thijssen
  • Patent number: 6245303
    Abstract: A reformer reactor 10 for producing a hydrogen-rich gas includes a first zone 18, a second zone 20, a third zone 22, a fourth zone 24 and a product gas collection space 40. The zones are sequentially adjacent. A flow path P1 is provided for directing flow of a reaction stream in diverging directions from the first zone 18 into the second zone 20, the flow of the reaction stream continuing in the same general diverging directions through the second zone 20 and into and through the third and fourth zones 22,24. Directing the flow in diverging directions permits flow into and through a zone over more than just a single cross-sectional geometry of the zone or a single cross-section of the flow path transverse to the direction of flows. This configuration can be used to require a lower pressure for flowing the reaction stream so as to reduce the parasitic requirements of the reactor. This configuration can also be used to increase throughput of the reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Jeffrey M. Bentley, William L. Mitchell, Lawrence G. Clawson, James C. Cross, III
  • Patent number: 6218831
    Abstract: The present invention is a system for cyclically driving an electrical current through at least one non-linear (i.e., saturable) inductor in alternating directions so as to produce a substantially periodic current waveform, and for producing an output signal representative of the current waveform. The system includes at least one capacitive node electrically coupled between a voltage source and a system ground, for storing electrical energy provided by the voltages source. The energy stored within the system is transferred as electrical current in alternating directions through the inductor via a switching network and a controller for configuring the switching network. The controller allows current to flow in each direction until the inductor saturates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventor: J. Thomas Fowler
  • Patent number: 6207122
    Abstract: A hydrocarbon fuel reforming method is disclosed suitable for producing synthesis hydrogen gas from reactions with hydrocarbons fuels, oxygen, and steam. A first mixture of an oxygen-containing gas and a first fuel is directed into a first tube 108 to produce a first reaction reformate. A second mixture of steam and a second fuel is directed into a second tube 116 annularly disposed about the first tube 108 to produce a second reaction reformate. The first and second reaction reformates are then directed into a reforming zone 144 and subject to a catalytic reforming reaction. In another aspect of the method, a first fuel is combusted with an oxygen-containing gas in a first zone 108 to produce a reformate stream, while a second fuel under steam reforming in a second zone 116. Heat energy from the first zone 108 is transferred to the second zone 116.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence G. Clawson, William L. Mitchell, Jeffrey M. Bentley, Johannes H. J. Thijssen
  • Patent number: 6199395
    Abstract: A condensate handling assembly comprises a collection container for receiving and retaining condensate, a heating container for receiving condensate from the collection container, and a heating device for raising the temperature of condensate in the heating container to pressurize condensate in the heating container. A transfer conduit interconnects the collection container and the heating container, and a one-way valve is disposed in the transfer conduit for permitting flow of condensate from the collection container to the heating container. A level sensor senses the level of condensate in the collection container and activates the heating device upon the condensate in the collection container reaching a selected level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2001
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: John T. Dieckmann, Richard C. Williams, Robert A. Zogg
  • Patent number: 6126908
    Abstract: An apparatus and a method are disclosed for converting hydrocarbon fuel or an alcohol into hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide. The apparatus includes a first vessel having a partial oxidation reaction zone and a separate steam reforming reaction zone that is distinct from the partial oxidation reaction zone. The first vessel has a first vessel inlet at the partial oxidation reaction zone and a first vessel outlet at the steam reforming zone. The reformer also includes a helical tube extending about the first vessel. The helical tube has a first end connected to an oxygen-containing source and a second end connected to the first vessel at the partial oxidation reaction zone. Oxygen gas from an oxygen-containing source can be directed through the helical tube to the first vessel. A second vessel having a second vessel inlet and second vessel outlet is annularly disposed about the first vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 3, 2000
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence G. Clawson, William L. Mitchell, Jeffrey M. Bentley, Johannes H.J. Thijssen
  • Patent number: 6123913
    Abstract: A method is disclosed for synthesizing hydrogen gas from hydrocarbon fuel. A first mixture of steam and a first fuel is directed into a first tube 208 to subject the first mixture to a first steam reforming reaction in the presence of a first catalyst 214. A stream of oxygen-containing gas is pre-heated by transferring heat energy from product gases. A second mixture of the pre-heated oxygen-containing gas and a second fuel is directed into a second tube 218 disposed about the first tube 208 to subject the second mixture to a partial oxidation reaction and to provide heat energy for transfer to the first tube 208. A first reaction reformate from the first tube 208 and a second reaction reformate from the second tube 218 are directed into a third tube 224 disposed about the second tube 218 to subject the first and second reaction reformates to a second steam reforming reaction, wherein heat energy is transferred to the third tube 224 from the second tube 218.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 26, 2000
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence G. Clawson, William L. Mitchell, Jeffrey M. Bentley, Johannes H. J. Thijssen
  • Patent number: 6083425
    Abstract: A method for converting hydrocarbon fuel into hydrogen gas and carbon dioxide within a reformer 10 is disclosed. According to the method, a stream including an oxygen-containing gas is directed adjacent to a first vessel 18 and the oxygen-containing gas is heated. A stream including unburned fuel is introduced into the oxygen-containing gas stream to form a mixture including oxygen-containing gas and fuel. The mixture of oxygen-containing gas and unburned fuel is directed tangentially into a partial oxidation reaction zone 24 within the first vessel 18. The mixture of oxygen-containing gas and fuel is further directed through the partial oxidation reaction zone 24 to produce a heated reformate stream including hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide. Steam may also be mixed with the oxygen-containing gas and fuel, and the reformate stream from the partial oxidation reaction zone 24 directed into a steam reforming zone 26.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2000
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Lawrence G. Clawson, William L. Mitchell, Jeffrey M. Bentley, Johannes H. J. Thijssen
  • Patent number: 5946927
    Abstract: A water heater and storage tank assembly comprises a housing defining a chamber, an inlet for admitting cold water to the chamber, and an outlet for permitting flow of hot water from the chamber. A compressor is mounted on the housing and is removed from the chamber. A condenser comprises a tube adapted to receive refrigerant from the compressor, and winding around the chamber to impart heat to water in the chamber. An evaporator is mounted on the housing and removed from the chamber, the evaporator being adapted to receive refrigerant from the condenser and to discharge refrigerant to conduits in communication with the compressor. An electric resistance element extends into the chamber, and a thermostat is disposed in the chamber and is operative to sense water temperature and to actuate the resistance element upon the water temperature dropping to a selected level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: John T. Dieckmann, Brian J. Nowicki, W. Peter Teagan, Robert Zogg
  • Patent number: 5947370
    Abstract: A system for monitoring and controlling the state of a thermal process. The system applies a modulated heat input to a liquid in a vessel and a thermal response measured at the bottom of the vessel provides information for real time processing of thermal properties of the liquid as it is being heated. Detection and control of an unknown boiling point enables a steady simmer or boiling condition in the liquid to be maintained.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 7, 1999
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Mehmet Rona, Douglas J. Ely, William E. Morgan, Steven S. Carroll, deceased
  • Patent number: 5906109
    Abstract: A water heater and storage tank assembly comprises a housing defining a chamber, an inlet for admitting cold water to the chamber, and an outlet for permitting flow of hot water from the chamber. A compressor is mounted on the housing and is removed from the chamber. A condenser comprises a tube adapted to receive refrigerant from the compressor, and winding around the chamber to impart heat to water in the chamber. An evaporator is mounted on the housing and removed from the chamber, the evaporator being adapted to receive refrigerant from the condenser and to discharge refrigerant to conduits in communication with the compressor. An electric resistance element extends into the chamber, and a thermostat is disposed in the chamber and is operative to sense water temperature and to actuate the resistance element upon the water temperature dropping to a selected level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 25, 1999
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: John T. Dieckmann, Brian J. Nowicki, W. Peter Teagan, Robert Zogg
  • Patent number: 5800140
    Abstract: A compact scroll fluid device includes a pair of wrap support elements with one of the wrap support elements having an inner axial surface formed with an involute spiral recess and the other of the wrap support elements having an involute spiral wrap member projecting from an inner axial surface thereof. The spiral wrap member is received within the spiral recess while being relatively movable about an orbital path therein. A synchronizer assembly is provided axially between the wrap support elements, radially inwardly of both inlet and outlet zones associated with the scroll fluid device and radially outwardly of an orbit center of the device. The entire scroll fluid device is preferably made of plastic. With this arrangement, an extremely compact and inexpensive device is provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 1, 1998
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventor: Ronald J. Forni
  • Patent number: 5753820
    Abstract: A sensing unit includes a re-usable portion which is isolated from system fluids and a disposable portion. The disposable portion includes an enclosure that defines an internal cavity with one wall of the enclosure being constituted by a flexible diaphragm that is exposed to operating pressure of the system. The re-usable portion has mounted therein a sensing array at a position adjacent to a non-system pressure side surface of the diaphragm. The sensing array includes a plurality of sensing elements which are arranged as radial inner and outer sets with each set being adapted to preferentially sense a deflection of a central portion of the diaphragm. An output signal representative of the fluid pressure in the fluid system is established based on a ratio of deflection signals from the sets of sensing elements. Preferably, the sensing elements constitute capacitive plates that have equally exposed surface areas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 19, 1998
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael A. Reed, Paul Franzosa
  • Patent number: 5746719
    Abstract: A fluid flow control system includes a disposable cartridge which is receivable in a shifting carrier body portion of a control module. The disposable cartridge houses a disposable pump and a pressure transducer element which are fluidly interconnected by an internal fluid flow circuit formed in part by an elastomeric separating sheet within the cartridge. Following loading of the cartridge, shifting of the carrier body portion automatically results in a drive connection to the pump, the positioning of various flow control valves within the cartridge and the seating of the pressure transducer element to the control module. External flow lines are readily placed in fluid communication with the internal fluid flow circuit through exterior connection ports provided on the cartridge.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 5, 1998
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Robert Farra, Ronald J. Forni
  • Patent number: 5637942
    Abstract: An aerodynamic drag reduction arrangement for use in a mechanical device that incorporates a high speed rotating element includes a boundary layer control member that defines a control surface. The control member is positioned adjacent the rotating element so as to optimize the clearance therebetween in order to effectively block axial flow and prevent radial pumping in order to minimize power consumption. The aerodynamic drag reduction arrangement is particularly adapted for use in electric rotors and scroll fluid devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 10, 1997
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventor: Ronald J. Forni
  • Patent number: 5591544
    Abstract: A current collector device for a rechargeable electrolytic cell and method for manufacturing same. The device includes an aluminum current collector having a substantially reduced oxidation layer relative to its native oxide layer, to, in turn, exhibit a relatively low interfacial impedance. A layer of electrode material is applied and adhered to the surface of the aluminum current collector to enable electrochemical activity with the particular ions in an electrolyte within the electrolytic cell. A primer may be applied between the electrode material and the aluminum current collector, wherein the primer serves to substantially preclude re-growth of the oxide layer which would otherwise occur absent such a primer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: January 7, 1997
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Denis G. Fauteux, Arthur A. Massucco, Ronnie D. Wilkins, Jie Shi
  • Patent number: 5589300
    Abstract: A method for preparing an electrode is provided including generating aerosol droplets of a precursor capable of being converted into a component of an electrode in a carrier liquid; converting the droplets into precursor particles; converting the precursor particles into particles of the electrode component; and depositing the electrode component onto an electrically conductive substrate. The electrode is characterized by a highly porous structure having a surface area in the range of >4 m.sup.2 /g and a discharge density at least 1.5 times greater than comparable electrodes prepared by conventional methods.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 31, 1996
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Denis G. Fauteux, Arthur A. Massucco, Ronnie D. Wilkins
  • Patent number: 5588971
    Abstract: A current collector device for a rechargeable electrolytic cell and method for manufacturing same. The device includes an aluminum current collector having a substantially reduced oxidation layer relative to its native oxide layer, to, in turn, exhibit a relatively low interfacial impedance. A layer of electrode material is applied and adhered to the surface of the aluminum current collector to enable electrochemical activity with the particular ions in an electrolyte within the electrolytic cell. A primer may be applied between the electrode material and the aluminum current collector, wherein the primer serves to substantially preclude re-growth of the oxide layer which would otherwise occur absent such a primer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 1994
    Date of Patent: December 31, 1996
    Assignee: Arthur D. Little, Inc.
    Inventors: Denis G. Fauteux, Arthur A. Massucco, Ronnie D. Wilkins, Jie Shi