Beds – Mattress – Having confined gas
Shackelford, Heather (Department: 3673)
Having confined gas
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
The invention relates to an active fluid channeling system for a bed. The fluid channeling system is designed to equalize the pressure within a series of chambers inside the bed to evenly displace a user's weight across this bed reduce the occurrence of bed sores and improve comfort.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to a fluid channeling system for a bed. This fluid channeling system comprises a series of chambers that may be formed as elongated chambers having a rectangular cross section. Each of these chambers is disposed adjacent to each other and extend parallel to each other. In a first embodiment of the invention the chambers are positioned in two layers with a first layer of chambers on top of a second layer of chambers. In a second embodiment of the invention the chambers are positioned adjacent to each other in only one layer.
These chambers are defined by a material that is substantially airtight. There is at least one fluid such as air, helium, or an air helium combination disposed within each of these chambers. The fluid enters these chambers through at least one fluid intake valve which is in fluid communication with these chambers. Helium has particular properties that make it conducive for this type of an application. Helium is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. However, Helium can diffuse through many materials commonly used in laboratories such as rubber and PVC. Therefore, if the present invention uses Helium, the materials used in creating this device must reflect these properties.
There is also at least one fluid conveyor such as a series of pipes or a series of pipes and a manifold connecting these pipes wherein the fluid conveyor conveys the fluid between alternating chambers in the series of chambers. In the first embodiment, with the fluid chambers in the stacked position, the pipes connect alternating chambers with a chamber in the top row being connected in a diagonal manner with a chamber in a bottom row. In the second embodiment of the invention, with the chambers being in a single row, the pipes connect alternating chambers in this row.
The chambers in the fluid channeling system may be simply filled with fluid or also contain a resilient material such as a polyurethane foam disposed within these chambers, wherein the foam is designed to resist the application of a load applied to the series of chambers. This foam can also be porous to the passage of the fluid.
This device may also contain a manually actuatable relief valve. The manually actuatable relief valve may be a twisty valve, a ball valve or a quick release connection such as a CPC connection marketed by the Coulter Products Company. The relief valve is designed to allow a user to deflate the mattress when shipping the mattress. In addition, the user may also wish to reset the pressure within the mattress by briefly opening the manually actuatable relief valve and letting all of the fluid out of the valve.
This device is designed to equalize the fluid pressure within the chambers and the air pressure outside the chambers so that a user lying on this cushioning device would have his or her body balanced on the cushioning device. Essentially this cushioning device can be in the form of a seat cushion or a bed.
When a load is placed on the chambers, at least one of the chambers is compressed creating a recessed chamber. When the load is released, the resilient material expands in the compressed chamber, thus expanding the compressed chamber causing the fluid to enter the series of chambers. This fluid flows through the fluid conveyor to alternating chambers. Because the fluid flows to an alternate chamber and not to an adjacent chamber, this design helps to improve the circulation of fluid through the system. For example if fluid only flowed from one chamber into an adjacent chamber, then this fluid would not circulate as much throughout the cushioning device to chambers positioned away from the affected chambers. This is because the fluid would have to travel through a first adjacent chamber and then on to a second chamber adjacent to the first adjacent chamber to reach an alternate chamber. Instead, because only alternate chambers are connected together the fluid flows directly into the alternate chamber instead of just into the adjacent chamber.
There is also a method for cushioning a load. This method includes the following steps:
providing a series of chambers;
providing at least one selectively openable fluid intake valve in fluid communication with the series of chambers;
providing at least one fluid conveyor for providing fluid communication between alternating chambers;
applying a load to at least one of the chambers;
relieving at least a portion of the load from at least one of the chambers;
opening said at least one intake valve to receive said at least one fluid into said series of chambers;
communicating fluid from at least one of the chambers to alternating chambers wherein the fluid flows through the intake valve and communicates with alternating chambers until a fluid pressure inside of the chambers balances with a pressure outside of the chambers.
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Collard & Roe P.C.
Lagman Frederick L.
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