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Claims for Patent: 5,472,143

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Claims for Patent: 5,472,143

Title: Atomising nozzle and filter and spray generation device
Abstract:A nozzle assembly for use in atomizing and generating sprays from a fluid. The nozzle assembly includes two members joined together. In one of the two members are formed one or more nozzle outlets, one or more fluid inlets, and a plurality of channels that form filter passageways. The nozzle outlets discharge fluid jets that impinge on one another to thereby atomize the fluid. Alternatively, an impact element or a vortex-generating structure can be used in the nozzle outlet to atomize the fluid.
Inventor(s): Bartels; Frank (Waldbronn, DE), Bachtler; Wulf (Mainz, DE), Dunne; Stephen T. (Suffolk, GB), Eicher; Joachim (Karlsruhe, DE), Freund; Bernhard (Gau-Algesheim, DE), Hart; William B. (Suffolk, GB), Lessmoellmann; Christoph (Gernsbach, DE)
Assignee: Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH (DE) DMW (Technology) Ltd. (GB)
Application Number:08/128,021
Patent Claims: 1. A nozzle assembly for atomizing a flow of fluid supplied at a pressure into fine droplets, comprising:

a first member having a first generally planar surface;

a second member having a second generally planar surface, said first and said second generally planar surfaces being joined together;

a first set of channels formed in said first generally planar surface to form, in cooperation with said second generally planar surface, a first plurality of filter passageways;

a plenum chamber formed in said first member, said plenum chamber in fluid communication with and downstream of said first plurality of filter passageways;

a second set of channels formed in said first generally planar surface to form, in cooperation with said second generally planar surface, a plurality of nozzle outlet passageways, said plurality of nozzle outlet passageways being in fluid communication with said plenum chamber; and

wherein said plurality of nozzle outlet passageways includes a plurality of nozzle outlets that has a total cross-sectional area of approximately 25 to 500 square micrometers, wherein each of said plurality of nozzle outlet passageways has a cross-sectional area at least as large as that of each of said first plurality of filter passageways, said plurality of nozzle outlets adapted to discharge a plurality of fluid jets that impinge on one another to thereby atomize said flow of fluid.

2. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of nozzle outlets includes a mouth region, and wherein said plurality of nozzle outlets is configured so that said plurality of fluid jets impinge on one another adjacent said mouth region.

3. A nozzle assembly according to claim 2, wherein a cross-section of said plurality of nozzle outlets becomes smaller toward said mouth region.

4. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of fluid jets impinge at an angle of approximately 20.degree. to 160.degree..

5. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of fluid jets impinge at an angle of approximately 60.degree. to 150.degree..

6. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of fluid jets impinge at an angle of approximately 90.degree. to 120.degree..

7. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said plurality of nozzle outlets is two nozzle outlets and said plurality of fluid jets is two fluid jets that impinge at an angle of approximately 90.degree..

8. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, further comprising:

an intake for receiving said flow of fluid, wherein a cross-sectional area of said intake is greater than said total cross-sectional area of said plurality of nozzle outlets.

9. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, further comprising:

a third set of channels formed in said first generally planar surface to form, in cooperation with said second generally planar surface, a second plurality of filter passageways, wherein said second plurality of filter passageways is located upstream of said first plurality of filter passageways and a cross-sectional area of each of said second plurality of filter passageways is greater than said cross-sectional area of each of said first plurality of filter passageways.

10. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said first set of channels and said second set of channels are substantially rectangular in cross-section.

11. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises silicon.

12. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises silicon and glass.

13. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises gallium arsenide and glass.

14. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises a metal and glass.

15. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, further comprising:

fluid inlet means disposed substantially at a right angle to said first member; and

a fluid inlet chamber defined by said first member into which fluid is received from said fluid inlet means.

16. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, further comprising:

a fluid inlet defined by said first member, wherein said fluid inlet is connected by said first plurality of filter passageways to be in fluid communication with said plurality of nozzle outlets, wherein each of said plurality of nozzle outlets is formed along a first edge of said first member, said first edge defining a plane;

means for generating said flow of fluid; and

means for connecting said fluid inlet in fluid communication with said means for generating said flow of fluid.

17. A nozzle assembly according to claim 16, wherein each of said plurality of filter passageways are substantially parallel to each other.

18. A nozzle assembly according to claim 16, wherein said first plurality of filter passageways are configured to impose a pressure drop of from 0.2 to 25 bar to said flow of fluid.

19. A nozzle assembly according to claim 16, wherein said plane is substantially perpendicular to said first generally planar surface.

20. A nozzle assembly according to claim 16, wherein said fluid inlet is disposed along a second edge of said first member, and said means for connecting said fluid inlet is connected to said first member.

21. A nozzle assembly according to claim 16, further comprising:

a third member joined to said first member; and

a fluid conduit connected to said third member, wherein said fluid conduit is in fluid communication with said means for generating said flow of fluid.

22. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said first member comprises silicon and said first set of channels and said second set of channels are etched in silicon.

23. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said first plurality of filter passageways are configured to receive said flow of fluid supplied at said pressure of at least 50 bar.

24. A nozzle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said first plurality of filter passageways are configured to receive said flow of fluid supplied at said pressure in the range of 50-400 bar.

25. A nozzle assembly for atomizing a flow of fluid supplied at a pressure into fine droplets, comprising:

a first member having a first generally planar surface;

a second member having a second generally planar surface, said first and said second generally planar surfaces being joined together;

a first set of channels formed in said first generally planar surface to form, in cooperation with said second generally planar surface, a first plurality of filter passageways;

a plenum chamber formed in said first member, said plenum chamber in fluid communication with and downstream of said first plurality of filter passageways;

an outlet channel formed in said first generally planar surface to form, in cooperation with said second generally planar surface, a nozzle outlet passageway, wherein said nozzle outlet passageway includes a nozzle outlet and said nozzle outlet passageway is in fluid communication with said plenum chamber; and

means for inducing secondary flow in said flow of fluid as it exits said nozzle outlet to thereby facilitate atomization, wherein said nozzle outlet has a cross-sectional area of approximately 25 to 500 square micrometers, and wherein said nozzle outlet passageway has a cross-sectional area at least as large as that of each of said first plurality of filter passageways.

26. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said means for inducing secondary flow comprises an impact element disposed in said nozzle outlet.

27. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said means for inducing secondary flow comprises a vortex-generating structure disposed in said nozzle outlet.

28. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, further comprising:

a second set of channels formed in said first generally planar surface to form, in cooperation with said second generally planar surface, a second plurality of filter passageways, wherein said second plurality of filter passageways is located upstream of said first plurality of filter passageways and a cross-sectional area of each of said second plurality of filter passageways is greater than said cross-sectional area of each of said first plurality of filter passageways.

29. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said first set of channels and said outlet channel are substantially rectangular in cross-section.

30. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises silicon.

31. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises silicon and glass.

32. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises gallium arsenide and glass.

33. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein at least one of said first member and said second member comprises a metal and glass.

34. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, further comprising:

fluid inlet means disposed substantially at a right angle to said first member; and

a fluid inlet chamber defined by said first member into which fluid is received from said fluid inlet means.

35. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, further comprising:

a fluid inlet defined by said first member, wherein said fluid inlet is connected by said first plurality of filter passageways to be in fluid communication with said nozzle outlet, wherein said nozzle outlet is formed along a first edge of said first member, said first edge defining a plane;

means for generating said flow of fluid; and

means for connecting said fluid inlet in fluid communication with said means for generating said flow of fluid.

36. A nozzle assembly according to claim 35, wherein each of said plurality of filter passageways are substantially parallel to each other.

37. A nozzle assembly according to claim 35, wherein said first plurality of filter passageways are configured to impose a pressure drop of from 0.2 to 25 bar to said flow of fluid.

38. A nozzle assembly according to claim 35, wherein said plane is substantially perpendicular to said first generally planar surface.

39. A nozzle assembly according to claim 35, wherein said fluid inlet is disposed along a second edge of said first member, and said means for connecting said fluid inlet is connected to said first member.

40. A nozzle assembly according to claim 35, further comprising:

a third member joined to said first member; and

a fluid conduit connected to said third member, wherein said fluid conduit is in fluid communication with said means for generating said flow of fluid.

41. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said first member comprises silicon and said first set of channels and said outlet channel are etched in silicon.

42. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said first plurality of filter passageways are configured to receive said flow of fluid supplied at said pressure of at least 50 bar.

43. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said first plurality of filter passageways are configured to receive said flow of fluid supplied at said pressure in the range of 50-400 bar.

44. A nozzle assembly according to claim 25, wherein said nozzle outlet has a cross-sectional area of approximately 30 to 200 square micrometers.
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