Portable Flexible and Extendable Drain Pipe
A flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe has a corrugation structure that permits a tight bending radius and relatively facile collapsing and expansion of corrugations, thereby permitting convenient manipulation and installation of drain pipe and packaging, display, storage and transportation of the collapsed pipe sections.
The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/446,026 filed Jun. 2, 2006, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/714,772 filed Sep. 8, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to plastic drain pipe. In particular, the invention relates to a drain pipe particularly designed to provide a flexible and extendable pipe and to facilitate both the packaging and the connections of pipe segments.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention is directed to providing an improved drain pipe, and particularly to providing an improved drain pipe of the type used in the drainage of soil and the transportation of surface water by gravity for agricultural, septic, residential, civil construction, or recreational purposes. Typical product sold to residential end users is nominally four inches in diameter and sold in ten foot straight lengths or in rolls of 50 to 300 feet in length. Typically, the color is black and the material is high density polyethylene (HDPE). The plastic drain pipe is corrugated on the exterior and may or may not have a smooth interior wall. Both straight lengths and rolls of the corrugated pipe are not collapsible, and as a result are bulky. Some types of corrugated pipe require connectors to join pieces or elbows to cause the pipe to hold a curved position. Pipe sold in rolls tends to retain a memory making it difficult to place in a trench without elbows or weighting the pipe sections down with ballast such as rocks or a building block. Both the straight lengths and rolled corrugated pipe need to be cut to length. Corrugated pipe sections that are adapted to connect with adjacent sections often utilize proprietary connecting configurations and are rendered inoperable with pipe sections manufactured by other suppliers.
In the field of gutter downspouts, collapsible corrugated tubing has been utilized by Gutter World, Inc. as reflected in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,813,701; 5,915,735; 6,041,825; and 6,223,777. These downspout extensions have male and female rectangular end sections to connect with gutter downspouts and adjacent extensions. In addition, the corrugated collapsible downspout extension pipes have only been used in relatively short lengths, approximately six to eight feet long when fully extended, have utilized thick wall corrugations, and have utilized a profile that did not optimize either the collapse ratio or the bend radius of the product. It is believed that the downspout extension products have only been sold in a straight collapsed configuration which, with non-collapsible end sections, results in a longitudinal product between two and three feet in overall length.
Gutter World, Inc. has also manufactured a rectangular profile collapsible gutter spout tubing in lengths of less than about two feet when fully extended. Although this rectangular product approximates some measurements in its straight walled corrugations to the annular corrugations of the present invention, rectangular corrugated products have inherently irregular wall thicknesses. When fabricated on a corrugator, the midpoints of straight walls are thicker than the walls near corners, and thus the entire tubing must be made with relatively thick walls to ensure adequate coverage in the corner areas. This leads to thicker midpoints of walls in comparison to the corners, causing the resulting rectangular product to collapse irregularly.
Most other collapsible corrugated tubing has been constructed for medical uses in smaller diameter sizes such as about 1 to 1.5 inches. These tubings are much smaller and lighter than drainage tubing, which typically has a diameter at least about 3 inches and must possess some rigidity so that it is not crushed when buried in a trench. Due to the relatively small sizes and thin walls of these prior collapsible tubes, it has been possible to work with small tubes even when they were not optimized for portability and ease of manipulation.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a collapsible drain pipe that may provide one or more of the following benefits: ease of use and handling; improved corrugation profile for manufacturing and performance characteristics; and convenient packaging and storage.
In furtherance of these objectives, a collapsible corrugated drain pipe is disclosed with integrated male and female cuff sections at opposed ends and having therebetween a central section of collapsible and extendable rings alternating between a large diameter and a small diameter to allow the pipe to be fixedly directed in desired orientations, extended or reduced in length, and to be folded and packaged for convenient sale and handling.
The invention may be better appreciated with reference to the following drawings in which like numerals refer to like elements throughout the several views:
Referring now to the drawings,
Turning then to
A greater variation in size between larger ring 45 diameter and smaller ring 44 diameter produces threefold effects. First, the longer distance between interior pivot hinges 47 and outer hinges 43 means that when manufacturing corrugated tubes, the HDPE, or other plastic being applied, will tend to be thicker at the interior hinges 47 and thinner at the outside hinges 43. Indeed, at the interior hinges 47 the tubing of
Some background about the measurements applied to corrugated tubing is helpful to their understanding. Corrugated tubing is manufactured in expanded state, typically on a corrugator. Then the expanded tubing is collapsed, and some permanent deformation occurs. If the collapsed tubing is again expanded, it will not reach its original manufactured length but will typically be about 5%-15% shorter. Subsequent collapsing and expansion does not significantly alter the tubing's length. Accordingly, all measurements are taken after the tubing has been collapsed and then re-expanded after manufacture.
For the Flex-A-Spout tubing described in
Ratio of static angle β to tuck angle α=127%
Sum of α and β=91°
Collapse ratio=less than 4.5
Bend radius=6.625 inches
Ratio of bend radius to maximum diameter=144.3%
Maximum diameter=4.59 inches
Minimum diameter=3.664 inches
Ratio of maximum diameter to minimum diameter=125.27%
Length of static wall=0.704 inches
Length of tuck wall=0.504 inches
Ratio of static wall to tuck wall=139.6%
Thus for this example of collapsible drain pipe, the following measurement are applicable:
Wall thickness=0.035 inches
Bend radius=5.5 inches
Ratio of bend radius to maximum diameter=1.34
Maximum diameter=4.09 inches
Minimum diameter=3.494 inches
Ratio of maximum diameter to minimum diameter=117%
Length of static wall=0.445 inches
Length of tuck wall=0.380 inches
Ratio of static wall to tuck wall length=117.1%
In particular, a number of desirable characteristics are demonstrated, which provide advantages individually and in combination. For a collapsible drain pipe, it is desirable that the wall thickness be less than 0.04 inches. It is also desirable that the collapse ratio of the corrugated sections be at least about 5. Of particular significance for packaging, and precise deployment, it is desirable to achieve a ratio of bend radius to maximum diameter of less than 1.5, and preferably less than 1.40 or 1.35. The illustrated embodiment achieves a ratio of static wall to tuck wall length of less than 1.2 at about 117.1%. The ratio of the length of the static wall to the tuck wall is preferably less than 1.35, 1.30, 1.25 or 1.20. The sum of the angles α and β should be less than 110° and preferably less than 100°. Tuck angle α should be at least 3° less than static angle β, and the ratio of β to α should be less than 1.25 and preferably less than 1.20. The force required to expand a corrugation should be no more than about twelve or even ten pounds of force. The ratio of the maximum diameter to minimum diameter and the ratio of static wall to tuck wall length can also be optimized to be similar, within about 10% of one another.
The other principal prior art gutter spout design pipe configuration is of a generally rectangular shape as shown in
Due to the rectangular shape, this pipe 70 has different ratios and performs differently along its major (vertical) and minor (horizontal) axes. Specifically, along the major axis, the maximum diameter 75 is 4.978 inches and the minor diameter 74 is 4.382 so that the ratio of maximum to minor diameter is 113.6%. The bend radius in this direction is 8.5 inches, or a ratio of over 170% to the maximum diameter. In the direction of the minor axis, the minimum diameter 78 is 3.387 inches and the maximum diameter 79 is 3.923 inches so that the ratio of maximum to minor diameter is nearly 118%. The bend radius is 6.25 inches so that the ratio of bend radius to maximum diameter is 159.3%.
In order to utilize the drain pipe of the invention, typically a trench is excavated to a desired depth, including the thickness of the pipe plus the thickness of bedding material to place beneath the pipe and the haunching and backfill to be placed above the pipe. Because the pipe with corrugation according to
After the trench is prepared at appropriate grade to allow for drainage, and large rocks are removed from the bottom or sides of the trench, then bedding material to provide firm but not hard support for the drain pipe is placed in the trench. If the unexcavated bottom of the trench is used as bedding, it should be relatively flat and free of large rocks or obstructions. Then, the drain pipe is extended to its full length by bending it to the right and the left while pulling. Generally, no more than about ten pounds of force is required. If the length is longer than one pipe section, then male 30 and female 20 cuffs are snapped together from adjacent pipe sections. The pipe is laid along the side of the trench and the pipe is bent by collapsing one side as necessary to form the desired shape. The excess pipe may be trimmed with a knife or other cutting instrument, or unneeded length may be left in collapsed form, and the pipe dropped into place in the trench. Then haunching is preferably added on either side of the pipe and covering the pipe. Then layers of backfill are added and compacted in layers until the drain pipe is covered by the desired depth.
A particular advantage of the bend radius achieved by expandable flexible drain pipe is illustrated in
Alternative packaging configurations are also possible such as rectangular box 80 having a top panel 81 and handle 82, side panel 83 with window 84 permitting consumer inspection of drain pipe 10. Typically, the drain pipe is again folded with first, second and third folds 87, 88, 89 as shown in
All publications, patents, and patent documents are incorporated by reference herein as though individually incorporated by reference. Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail herein, it will be understood that various substitutions and modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment described herein without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention as recited in the appended claims.
1. A flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe comprising a first end section, an intermediate section of annular corrugations and a second end section, in which the corrugations comprise smaller rings joined by tuck walls connected at tuck angles to larger rings so that tuck walls are hingedly connected at larger rings to static walls extending at static angles and connecting the larger rings to next adjacent smaller ring where the ratio of the static angles to the tuck angles is less than 1.20.
2. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 1 wherein the wall thickness is less than about 0.04 inches.
3. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 1 having an expanded length greater than 10 feet.
4. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 1 wherein the ratio of the diameter of the larger rings to the diameter of the smaller rings is less than 1.20.
5. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 1 wherein the ratio of the bend radius of the pipe to the diameter of the larger rings of the pipe is less than 1.4.
6. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 1 having a collapse ratio greater than 5.
7. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 1 wherein the ratio of the length of the static wall to the length of the tuck wall is less than 1.3.
8. A flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe having a corrugated annular section comprised of a corrugation with a first smaller ring having a minimum diameter connected by a tuck wall to a larger ring having a maximum diameter and a static wall connecting the larger ring to a second smaller ring wherein the ratio of the maximum diameter to the minimum diameter is less than 1.2 and having a collapse ratio greater than 5.
9. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 8 wherein the ratio of the length of the static wall to the length of the tuck wall is less than 1.3.
10. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 8 wherein the corrugated annular section has a bend radius such that the ratio of the bend radius to the maximum diameter is less than 1.3.
11. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 8 having an expanded length greater than then feet.
12. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 8 wherein the thickness of each of the tuck walls and the static walls is less than 0.04 inches.
13. A flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe comprising:
- (a) a first end section;
- (b) a second opposite end section;
- (c) corrugated annular section intermediate said first and second end sections wherein said corrugated section has corrugations with: minor diameter rings joined to first ends of tuck walls; said tuck walls having second opposite ends joined at a tuck angle to major diameter rings; static walls having first ends joined to major diameter rings opposite the tuck walls, at a static angle, said static walls having second opposite ends joined to minor diameter rings opposite the tuck walls;
- wherein the ratio of the size of the major diameter rings to the minor diameter rings is less than 1.2 and wherein the corrugated annular section has a bend radius such that the ratio of the bend radius to the diameter of the major diameter rings is less than 1.3.
14. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 wherein the force needed to expand a tuck wall from a collapsed position against an adjacent static wall is less than about twelve pounds.
15. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 wherein the ratio of the static angles to the tuck angles is less than 1.20.
16. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 having a collapse ratio greater than 5.
17. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 wherein the ratio of the length of the static wall to the length of the tuck wall is less than 1.3.
18. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 having an expanded length greater than ten feet.
19. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 wherein the thickness of each of the tuck walls and the static walls is less than 0.04 inches.
20. The flexible collapsible corrugated drain pipe of claim 13 wherein in an expanded position, the sum of the tuck angle and the static angle at a major diameter ring is at least 92° and the static angle is at least 3° larger than the tuck angle.