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Pressurized water filtration system

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Pressurized water filtration system


A piston pressurized water filter activated by the user or external source. The water filter assembly includes a hollow cylindrical water reservoir, a hollow cylindrical piston threaded into the top of the water reservoir, and a water filter threaded into the bottom of the water reservoir. The interior of the water reservoir is sealed by the piston and water filter. When the water reservoir is filled with unfiltered water, the piston can be threaded down into the water reservoir to create sufficient pressure on the unfiltered water and force the water into the water filter. The water filter can include any combination of carbon, ceramic or other filtering material in a block or disk form. Water is forced into the water filter, through the carbon or ceramic filter mass, and into a container that may or may not be coupled to the water filter.

Browse recent Instapure Brands, Inc. patents - Loveland, CO, US
Inventors: William Scott Wright, Bradley J. Florin
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120292238 - Class: 210137 (USPTO) - 11/22/12 - Class 210 
Liquid Purification Or Separation > Flow, Fluid Pressure Or Material Level, Responsive >Maintaining Stream Pressure Or Flow

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120292238, Pressurized water filtration system.

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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates, generally, to water filtration at the point-of-use for the reduction of undesirable contaminants and increase in the quality of taste and odor. More particularly, it relates to portable water filtration using a novel water filtration system with thread-forced pistons that allow the system or its user to easily generate water pressure capable of achieving high quality water filtration.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Municipal water is treated with chlorine or chloramine in order to kill bacteria and viruses. To address consumer concern over taste and odor, as well as potential health effects caused by the excessive consumption of chlorine, stationary point-of-use water filtration systems designed to reduce chlorine using granular activated carbon (GAC) and often certified against NSF/ANSI Standard 42, are well-known and have been effective in the art. Examples include tap water filters attached to the end of a water faucet, said filters filtering water on-demand; water filters that are installed in the water source line, said filters filtering all or part of the water flowing through the line; and refrigerator water filters that provide water filtration prior to the production of ice or delivery of water on-demand.

Municipal water treatment is an imperfect science. The levels of chlorine and chloramine may be inconsistent and are not always fully effective against microbial cysts, such as giardia and cryptosporidium. Even with treatment, some water supplies contain unsafe levels of lead from aging plumbing fixtures, as well as mercury and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) introduced into the water supply through ground water leaching of industrial pollutants or agricultural chemicals. To address these concerns, manufacturers of household water filtration systems began to develop solid carbon block based filters with micro pores small enough to eliminate substantially all microbial cysts. Additionally different additives can be combined with the carbon block formula to allow for adsorption of undesirable contaminants such as lead, mercury and VOCs. These stationary systems connected to household plumbing benefit from the water pressure delivered by the municipal water systems, thereby producing the force required to push the water through the solid carbon block, achieving a reduction level of contaminants compliant with NSF/ANSI Standard 53.

Portable water filtration systems for use when hiking or camping are also well known and typically use a carbon, ceramic or combination filter with a hand pump or lever manually driven by the user to draw water from a source and/or create pressure through the filtration system, expelling filtered water from the filter media. These systems are designed to reduce bacteria, protozoa and viruses that are commonly found in untreated water sources. However, these systems suffer from slow flow of water, require a high degree of maintenance with regular cleaning of their ceramic filter, and demand a large work effort on the part of the user in relation to the amount of filtered water produced.

A relatively new innovation in portable water filtration systems is the use of a specially designed straw that incorporates one or more water filtration media, such as a hollow fiber membrane (“HFM”). Originally designed for third world countries where water quality is very low in order to facilitate reduction of bacteria and viruses, these filter straws are seeing more popularity as an alternative to cumbersome hiking and camping water filtration systems. However, filter straws are not conducive to filtering water for cooking, not usable for filtering water to be stored for later use (e.g., for use while away from a river, lake, or other water source), and are not designed for shared use due to cross-contamination concerns. Additionally, these straws do not address taste or odor, as HFM does not necessarily absorb particulates but simply stops the flow of particulates larger than its pore size.

Another relatively new innovation that is seeing widespread adoption is the incorporation of a portable water filter into plastic squeeze bottles. Because plastic squeeze bottles can generate only minimal pressure, granular activated carbon is the primary filtration media used since these devices produce insufficient pressure to drive water through a ceramic filter or solid carbon block, which are substantially denser. Thus, the highest rating this type of water filter bottle can receive is NSF/ANSI Standard 42. This degree of water filtration is not sufficient to address consumer concerns regarding other contaminants in their water that are embodied in NSF/ANSI Standard 53 such as lead, mercury, industrial pollutants and agricultural chemicals.

The prior art described herein only partially addresses a traveler\'s portable water filtration needs, forcing one to choose between a system designed for municipal water where chlorine, lead, industrial pollutants and agricultural chemicals are of primary concern under NSF/ANSI Standard 53 and a system designed for untreated (i.e., non-potable) water where the potential for bacteria, protozoa and viruses are of significant, if not primary, concern.

The prior art has not shown the application of a portable filtration device designed specifically to meet NSF/ANSI P231 Protocol. “Microbiological Water Purifiers Overview: Protocol P231”, which is incorporated by reference herein, addresses systems that use chemical, mechanical, and/or physical technologies to filter and treat waters of unknown microbiological quality, but that are presumed to be potable. Filtration to this Protocol would meet the needs of travelers visiting countries where the municipal water supply is deemed to be “Potable” but may not meet or equal the quality to which they are accustomed or acclimated. To date, conventional compact, portable water filtration devices have been unable to meet the standards for this certification. The only systems that remain close to the standards are chlorinators that simply add chlorine to the water.

Prior art has attempted to address the apparent conundrum with little success. U.S. Pat. No. 978,265 granted December 1910, to Barnett describes a hand pump that pressurizes liquid through an outlet pipe via use of a hand-rotated, threadably-engaged piston applying a force onto the liquid. While useful for a method of providing pressure Barnett fails to address the use of the pressure for filtration purposes.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,397,177 granted August 1983, to Cain herein incorporated by reference, addresses a hydraulic filter press apparatus for filtering samples of drilling mud. Cain uses a piston threadably engaged to a pump body. As the piston rotates, engaging the threads therearound, the fluid within the pump body is pressurized into the lower portion or the apparatus. The lower portion of the apparatus contains a fine metal screen, a disc filter paper, and a liquid outlet. While Cain is a filter of sorts, it lacks in portability and functionality for use in water filtration. The primary focus of Cain is in obtaining mud samples free of water as opposed to water free of harmful contaminants.

Along the lines of Cain, several pressure filter patents exist that concern filtration of substances, but lack the necessities of drinkable water purification and portability. U.S. Pat. No. 63,090 to Phillips describes an improved press strainer, or fruit strainer, that uses a threaded screw that, when rotated and threaded into a cylinder, pressurizes and filters food items, such as fruit or butter. The cylinder is threaded along its lower portion as well to fit an output funnel. U.S. Pat. No. 7,014,817 to Hand, et al. describes a remote zero headspace extractor that places a sampling container within a stainless steel vessel. A manual piston is disposed within the vessel and underneath the sampling container. As the piston is threaded, pressure is exerted on the sampling container, which pushes the extract within the sampling container through a filter and into a tedlar bag or bottle. PCT Patent App. Pub. No. WO 1992013700A1 to Tsutsumi describes a hot runner mold apparatus that utilizes a screw plunger to pressurize and force a plasticized melt into a filter that removes any impurities in the metered melt. All of these patents lack the purpose, direction and capability of producing highly filtered drinking water.

Filters that use pressure to filter water lack the tools to be truly compact, simplistic in application and receive ratings of NSF/ANSI Standard 53. Chinese Patent App. No. CN201008766Y to Song describes an apparatus for treating water via a portable vacuum filter that is actuated by rotating a threadably-engaged piston. Japanese Patent App. No. JP11051832A to Yutaka, et al. describes an apparatus that uses a rotatable shaft coupled to a piston to apply pressure to a sample of soil, the water within which is siphoned through a filter into a container. U.S. Patent App. Pub. No. 2006/0273000 to Chung describes a “portable” water filtering device that uses a threaded piston to apply pressure onto water, forcing the water across a series of tubing and into a filtering tube. Sufficient pressure must be provided to force the water up the filtering tube and into the dispensing pipe. PCT Patent App. Pub. No. WO 2000057985A1 to Brebner, et al. describes a water filtration device including a filter member that is pressed into container via threaded piston rod. Initially, water is filled within container underneath filter member. Then the filter member is driven down through the volume of water, urging the water up through filter medium. The structure is a mesh screen that protects the water from airborne contaminants.

These various embodiments of pressurized filters span a period of over one-hundred years. They span from mining to organic, from water removal to water filtration. Yet throughout this evolution there lacks a compact, portable, easy to use, pressurized filtration device that achieves optimum filtration, via filters capable of achieving ratings of NSF/ANSI Standard 42, NSF/ANSI Standard 53, and NSF/ANSI Protocol P231.

Accordingly, what is needed is a portable water filter that can generate sufficient pressure to produce the desired or required quality of filtration. However, in view of the art considered as a whole at the time the present invention was made, it was not obvious to those of ordinary skill how the art could be advanced.

While certain aspects of conventional technologies have been discussed to facilitate disclosure of the invention, Applicants in no way disclaim these technical aspects, and it is contemplated that the claimed invention may encompass one or more of the conventional technical aspects discussed herein.

The present invention may address one or more of the problems and deficiencies of the prior art discussed above. However, it is contemplated that the invention may prove useful in addressing other problems and deficiencies in a number of technical areas. Therefore, the claimed invention should not necessarily be construed as limited to addressing any of the particular problems or deficiencies discussed herein.

In this specification, where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or discussed, this reference or discussion is not an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date, publicly available, known to the public, part of common general knowledge, or otherwise constitutes prior art under the applicable statutory provisions; or is known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The long-standing but heretofore unfulfilled need for an improved, higher quality, sufficiently pressured travel portable water filtration system that both drives water through a micro-pore filtration medium and maximizes adsorption (i.e., increase the amount of time the water is exposed to the filter medium, thereby allowing the filter medium to adsorb unwanted contaminants) is now met by a new, useful and nonobvious invention.

In an embodiment, the current invention is a portable water filtration assembly. The assembly includes a hollow cylindrical water reservoir with an open top and open bottom and a cylindrical piston at least partially disposed within the open top of the water reservoir. The bottom of the piston has sealing contact with the wall of the reservoir. The water reservoir has a plurality of threads disposed partially along its inner extent, and the piston has another plurality of threads disposed at least partially along its outer extent. Both pluralities of threads are adapted to engage each other. A water filter is disposed along the open bottom of the reservoir, so that when the threads are engaged, the piston pushes any unfiltered water down the reservoir and through the water filter.

In a separate embodiment, the current invention is a portable water filtration assembly. The assembly includes a hollow cylindrical water reservoir with open top and open bottom, a first cylindrical piston partially disposed within the open top of the water reservoir, a second cylindrical piston wholly disposed within the reservoir below the first piston, and a spring mechanism that couples the first and second pistons. A plurality of threads is disposed partially along the inner extent of the reservoir, and a plurality of threads is disposed at least partially along the outer extent of the first piston. Both pluralities of threads are adapted to engage each other. A water filter is disposed along the open bottom of the reservoir, so that when the threads are engaged, the first piston is driven downward, compressing the spring mechanism, which in turn drives the second piston downward, thereby pushing any unfiltered water down the reservoir and through the water filter. This embodiment of the current invention may include one or more of the structural and functional additions, described previously, for example direct drive motor, return spring, various filter masses and disks, etc.

In either embodiment, the water filter may include a circular filter frame disposed under the bottom edge of the reservoir, and a fluid port can be disposed in the center of the filter frame, so water can flow through the fluid port into the water filter. The water filter itself may be structured similar to conventional end-of-faucet or refrigerator filters.

In a further embodiment, the water filter may include a filter mass disposed in underlying relation to the filter frame. The filter mass is coupled to the fluid port via a filter enclosure that encloses the filter mass. The filter enclosure can include an additional fluid port on its bottom portion, so then water may flow through the filter mass and out the additional fluid port into a beverage container. In yet a further embodiment, the additional fluid port is structurally adapted to couple to the beverage container, for example by threading. In another embodiment, the filter mass may be formed of a material selected from carbon, ceramic, hollow fiber membrane, micro-porous plastic, or any combination thereof.

In a further embodiment, the water filter can include a filter disk within the filter frame and above the fluid port. Thus, the water can flow through the filter disk and exit the water filter through the fluid port of the beverage container. In yet a further embodiment, the fluid port is structurally adapted to couple the beverage container, for example by threading. In another embodiment, the filter disk may be formed of a material selected from carbon, ceramic, hollow fiber membrane, micro-porous plastic, or any combination thereof. This water filter itself may be similar to conventional end-of-faucet, refrigerator, or camping filters.

The piston may be substantially hollow and adapted to store supplementary items, such as additional water filters, filter masses, and/or filter disks.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120292238 A1
Publish Date
11/22/2012
Document #
13565322
File Date
08/02/2012
USPTO Class
210137
Other USPTO Classes
2104163, 2102571, 2102572
International Class
/
Drawings
10



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