Flow distributor of an electrically heated cigarette smoking system
A heater fixture for use in an electrically heated cigarette smoking system having a source of electrical energy for heating a cigarette includes an inner wall or barrel having at least one opening through the inner wall extending from an outer peripheral surface to an inner surface of the inner wall, and at least one flow distributing element positioned within the at least one opening and extending inwardly from the inner surface. The flow distributing element or elements are provided with a plurality of openings that are in fluid communication with an interior of the heater.
The present invention relates to a heater for use in an electrically heated cigarette smoking system.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Previously known conventional lit cigarettes deliver flavor and aroma to the user as a result of combustion of tobacco. A mass of combustible material, primarily tobacco, is oxidized as the result of applied heat with typical combustion temperatures in a conventional cigarette being in excess of 800 degrees Celsius during puffing.
Lit-end cigarettes have some perceived drawbacks associated with them. Among them is the production of side stream smoke during smoldering between puffs, which may be objectionable to some non-smokers. Also, once lit, lit-end cigarettes must be fully consumed or discarded. Relighting a lit-end cigarette is possible but is usually an unattractive prospect for subjective reasons related to flavor, taste and odor.
Electrical smoking systems including electrically powered lighters and specially designed cigarettes that are adapted to cooperate with the lighters are disclosed in several commonly assigned U.S. patents, including U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,591,368, 5,878,752, 5,093,894, 5,225,498, 5,060,671, 5,095,921, 5,388,594 and 5,499,636, each of which is incorporated herein by reference.
In an embodiment of the lighter of U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,752, as shown in
The plurality of metallic heaters 120 are disposed in a configuration that slidingly receives a tobacco rod portion of a cigarette. One of the many advantages of such a smoking system is the reusability of the lighter for numerous cigarettes. In the heater fixture disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,752 and shown in
An embodiment according to the present invention provides a desirable improvement in air flow distribution to heater blades of an electrical smoking system, which results in an increase of the total aerosol delivery of the system.
In a modification of the heater disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,752, the air flow channel sleeve 87 can be eliminated and air directed to the heater blades through radial holes in the sleeve 200. Air can reach the outside of sleeve 200 after passing through an opening or openings in the housing 31 of the lighter 25. Although not shown in
A heater fixture for use in a smoking system having a source of electrical energy for heating a cigarette according to an embodiment of the invention includes an inner wall, said inner wall having at least one opening through the wall extending from an outer peripheral surface to an inner surface of the wall, and at least one flow distributing element positioned within said at least one opening and extending inwardly from the inner surface. The at least one flow distributing element includes a plurality of openings that are in fluid communication with an interior of the heater fixture. A plurality of heater elements are arranged in the interior of the heater fixture within the inner wall, and fit snugly around the outer circumference of a cigarette inserted into the heater fixture. The openings from the flow distributing element into the interior of the heater fixture extend radially outward from the central axis of each flow distributing element and ensure that the air flow will be mixed within the heater fixture as the air is directed in different directions through the holes from the flow distributing element.BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A heater fixture of an electrical smoking system having improved air flow is described below. Electrically heated cigarette smoking systems are described in greater detail in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,388,594 and 5,878,752, which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties. The fixture used in the electrically heated cigarette smoking systems described in the above patents is shown in
The heater fixture 39 includes a plurality of radially spaced heater blades 120 supported to extend from the hub 110, as shown in
The heater elements 120 can comprise any suitable heater element for heating tobacco to evolve tobacco flavors. For example, the heating system can comprise any of the resistance and induction heating systems disclosed in the above-referenced patents.
A cigarette is inserted in the orifice 27 of the heater fixture 39, and into a substantially cylindrical space of the heater fixture 39 defined by a ring-shaped cap 83 having an open end for receiving the cigarette, and a cylindrical sleeve 87, such as shown in
The heater fixture 39 according to an embodiment of the present invention, as shown in
It has been found that a primarily transverse or radial air flow relative to the inserted cigarette results in a more desirable aerosol flow radially inward from the cigarette heater blades. Flow distributing elements 20 shown inserted through side holes in the inner barrel 200 in
As shown in
As shown in
An outer barrel or sleeve 300 preferably forms the outer housing of the lighter, concentrically surrounds the inner sleeve 200, and is provided with openings 302, 304 that are preferably positioned radially outward from the location of the flow distributing elements 20 through inner sleeve 200. Ambient air on the outside of the outer barrel 300 enters through the openings 302, 304 and is directed into the flow distributing elements 20 when a smoker draws upon a cigarette inserted within the heater fixture 39. The outer barrel or sleeve 300 preferably forms the outer housing of the lighter containing the heater fixture 39, such that openings 302, 304 open to the outside, ambient air.
The improved air flow that is caused by air entering into the space around heater blades 120 after being distributed by passage through the flow distributing element 20 results in an increase in the total delivery of aerosol caused by the heating of the cigarette inserted within heater blades 120. The improvement in delivery of total particulate matter caused by the heating of tobacco in proximity to heater blades 120 has been measured to be approximately 10% greater than the total particulate matter delivered by a heater fixture 39 that does not include the advantage of the flow distributing elements 20 for better air flow distribution to and around the heater blades 120.
Many modifications, substitutions and improvements may be apparent to the skilled artisan without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as described in and defined herein and in the following claims. In particular, the number of openings through the flow distributing element wall is not limited to four and the openings can be distributed at circumferential positions around the distributing element other than at 90 degrees. Additionally, although two flow distributing elements 20 are shown at approximately 180 degrees from each other through the wall of inner sleeve 200, the number of flow distributing elements can vary as well as their locations through the wall of the inner sleeve or barrel 200.
While this invention has been described in conjunction with the exemplary embodiments outlined above, many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
14. A method of operating an electrically heated cigarette smoking system, comprising:
- establishing operative contact between a heater blade and a cigarette;
- directing air flow adjacent said heater blade by causing the air flow to flow in different directions relative to the inserted cigarette before the air is drawn through the cigarette;
- establishing operative contact between a heater blade and a cigarette in an electrically heated cigarette smoking system; and
- directing air flow in a plurality of directions at a location adjacent the operatively contacted cigarette.
15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the air flow is passed through at least one air flow distributing element having openings in fluid communication with a space around the heater blades within the heater.
16. The method according to claim 15, wherein the openings in the at least one air flow distributing element direct the air flow at least in opposite directions.
17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the openings direct the air flow in four different directions.
International Classification: A24F 1/32 (20060101);