Seal and Anti Foam Device
A carbonation apparatus includes a pressure vessel includes a cap that has a gas inlet and a gas outlet. The carbonation device also includes a seal. The seal includes a labyrinth preventing contact of a liquid within the pressure vessel with the cap during a carbonation process. A locking mechanism removably locks the cap and seal and antifoam device relative to the pressure vessel.
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This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/808,317 filed on Apr. 4, 2013. The content of that prior application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to seals and antifoam devices that may be utilized in a carbonation apparatus and methods for forming a carbonated batch of a finished beverage.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Current carbonated beverages may be formed by using a carbonator to carbonate a water source and then introducing a flavored syrup concentrate to make a carbonated beverage. Additionally, prior art apparatus may include a small C02 cartridge that introduces carbonation under pressure into a vessel of water, to which syrup or other ingredients are added to create a finished beverage.
However, prior art carbonation apparatus are limited in an amount of carbonation that they introduce to the beverage because they do not agitate the beverage or have the ability to vary the pressure to influence a carbonation level. Additionally, typical prior art apparatus may be utilized to only carbonate a water source and do not carbonate a finished beverage or allow for the carbonation of customized different beverages without cross contamination.
There is therefore a need in the art for a method and apparatus for fast carbonation of a pre-mixed beverage or final finished beverage on an individual basis such that the carbonation level may be adjusted to various levels. There is also a need in the art for a seal and antifoaming device that prevents liquid from exiting a pressure vessel during a venting procedure to prevent contamination of the carbonation apparatus. There is a further need in the art for a seal and antifoaming device that separates a liquid and gas during the venting process and is easy to clean and is reusable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In one aspect, a seal for use with a pressure vessel and cap is disclosed. The seal and antifoam device includes a body formed of a sealing material. The body includes a sealing edge that contacts the pressure vessel and cap sealing the cap relative to the pressure vessel. The seal includes a labyrinth preventing contact of a liquid within the pressure vessel with the cap during a carbonation process.
In another aspect, there is disclosed a carbonation apparatus that includes a pressure vessel with a cap that has a gas inlet and a gas outlet. The carbonation device also includes a seal. A locking mechanism removably locks the cap and seal and antifoam device relative to the pressure vessel. The seal includes a labyrinth preventing contact of a liquid within the pressure vessel with the cap during a carbonation process.
In another aspect, there is disclosed a method of forming a carbonated beverage in a batch that includes the steps of: providing a carbonation device; providing a locking mechanism; providing a pressure vessel including a cap, the cap including a gas inlet and a gas outlet, introducing a liquid beverage into the pressure vessel; locking a seal and cap relative to the pressure vessel using the locking mechanism; introducing gas at a specified pressure for a predetermined time and agitating the liquid beverage forming a carbonated beverage wherein the seal includes a labyrinth preventing contact of a liquid within the pressure vessel with the cap during a carbonation process.
A better understanding of the objects, advantages, features, properties and relationships of the invention will be obtained from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings which set forth illustrative embodiments that are indicative of the various ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The description that follows describes, illustrates and exemplifies one or more embodiments of the invention in accordance with its principles. This description is not provided to limit the invention to the embodiment(s) described herein, but rather to explain and teach the principles of the invention in order to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to understand these principles and, with that understanding, be able to apply them to practice not only the embodiment(s) described herein, but also any other embodiment that may come to mind in accordance with these principles. The scope of the invention is intended to cover all such embodiments that may fall within the scope of the appended claims, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.
In general, the carbonation process may be described utilizing Henry's Law which states that at a constant temperature the amount of a given gas that is dissolved in a given type and volume of liquid is proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with the liquid. By controlling the CO2 pressure at varying levels the amount of dissolved gas being absorbed allows a user to create beverages having varying amounts of carbonation to create a different taste and feel to the human palate.
The apparatus and method of the present invention may be implemented by placing a finished beverage which may include water, flavoring, syrups and other additives in a pressure vessel and pressurizing it with CO2 to allow the gas to saturate the liquid creating a carbonated beverage. By controlling the CO2 pressure introduced into the pressure vessel, the level of carbonation in a drink can be changed from a highly carbonated liquid to a lower level carbonated liquid. Agitation of the liquid within the pressure vessel reduces the time needed to saturate the liquid and improves accuracy of the carbonation.
The seal 10 also includes a circular area or cavity also referred to herein as an outer channel. The outer channel 32 is radially inward from the half o-ring structure 24 and extends downward from the sealing portion 25. The outer channel 32 corresponds to a gas in port 20 and gas out port 22, that extend through the cap 16. The outher channel allows the seal 10 to be placed in various positions without impeding the gas in 20 and gas out 22 ports. The outer channel 32 maximizes the area in the vessel 14 and prevents the seal 10 from impeding the gas out port 22 during depressurizing when a force may be applied to the seal 10 causing it to deform or change shape.
The seal 10 also includes a center section 33 located radially inward of the outer channel 32. The center section includes an annular inner channel 34, a porting cavity 36 and a valve 38. As shown in the embodiment in
A plurality of first ports 40 are located in the first wall 44 and pneumatically connect outer channel 32 to inner channel 34. A plurality of second ports 42 are located in the second wall 54 and pneumatically connect inner channel 34 to porting cavity 36. The first ports 40 and second ports 42 thereby create a pneumatic circuit between outer channel 32, the inner channel 34 and the porting cavity 36. That pneumatic circuit is sometimes referred to herein as a labyrinth 46. During carbonation and venting stages, gas is allowed to pass through first and second ports 40, 42 to permit gas to pass through the labyrinth 46. By forcing the gas to pass through the labyrinth en route between the gas in and gas out ports and the vessel, the liquid transfer from the vessel 14, including foam that may have been formed during carbonation, to the gas in and gas out ports 20, 22 through the labyrinth 46 is minimized. In one aspect shown in
In one embodiment, the center section may include a cover 48 as best seen in
As shown in
The pressure vessel 14 is then agitated to carbonate the liquid in the pressure vessel. During the agitation cycle, the structure of the seal 10 diffuses energy during the agitation cycle thus controlling and containing any liquid that exits the vessel 14 through the valve 38 and maintains any such liquid in within the labyrinth 46 of the seal 10, thereby preventing contamination of the gas in and gas out ports 20, 22.
As shown in
While specific embodiments have been described in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications and alternatives to those presented herein could be developed in light of the overall teachings of the disclosure. Accordingly, the particular arrangements disclosed are meant to be illustrative only and not limiting as to the scope of the invention which is to be given the fill breadth of the appended claims and any equivalent thereof.
25. A method of forming a carbonated beverage in a batch comprising the steps of:
- providing a carbonation device;
- providing a locking mechanism;
- providing a pressure vessel including a cap, the cap including a gas inlet and a gas outlet,
- introducing a liquid beverage into the pressure vessel;
- locking a seal having a labyrinth comprising a pneumatic circuit defined by a plurality of walls relative to a cap and the pressure vessel using the locking mechanism, wherein the seal and the cap define a first chamber and the pressure vessel and the cap define a second chamber; and
- introducing gas at a specified pressure for a predetermined time and agitating the liquid beverage forming a carbonated beverage.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein the seal allows the gas to freely flow from the first chamber to the second chamber through a valve in the seal.
27. The method of claim 26 wherein the labyrinth diffuses and trap any liquids that bypass the valve.
28. The method of claim 27 wherein the labyrinth includes a first wall separating an outer channel from an inner channel, a second wall separating the inner channel from the a cavity positioned radially inward of the inner channel, at least one first port formed in the first wall pneumatically connecting the outer channel to the inner channel, and at least one second port formed in the second wall pneumatically connecting the inner channel to the cavity.
29. The method of claim 28 further comprising the step of when pressure within the vessel reaches a predetermined level, permitting the pressure vessel and seal to be removed from the carbonation device and the seal to be removed from the vessel allowing the seal and antifoam device to be cleaned and reused.
Filed: Apr 13, 2016
Publication Date: Aug 4, 2016
Applicants: Cornelius, Inc. (St. Paul, MN), Starbucks Corporation d/b/a Starbucks Coffee Company (Seattle, WA)
Inventor: David K. Njaastad (Palatine, IL)
Application Number: 15/097,735