Patent Number: 6,241,117

Title: Pressure differential containment structure

Abstract: A pressure differential containment structure, including a vacuum chamber and a pressure vessel, for operation in the pressure range of 1 to 2 atmospheres of pressure differential, using relatively thin wall material and incorporating strengthening members by folding or forming the walls of the containment structure itself. The structural configuration of the preferred embodiment is of rectilinear geometry with four lateral walls and two end walls. Each lateral wall component is preferably fabricated from at least one sheet, such as stainless steel, aluminum, or synthetic material including polymers and composites, to comprise reinforcing ribs or corrugations transverse to the longitudinal direction of the wall and include transverse flanges at each end. The lateral walls are preferably joined, such as by welding or adhesion, along longitudinal joints with four corner members, along with separate reinforcing corner plates and gusset plates, to form a lateral wall structure with two open ends, oriented either as front and back ends or as top and bottom ends. The end walls are preferably joined at transverse flange faces or can be sealed as with sealing rings under removable fastening means. An alternative embodiment is of cylindrical geometry with a laterally arcuate wall structure terminating in annular flange plates and two end walls. The lateral wall component is preferably first fabricated from at least one sheet to comprise reinforcing flutes or channels longitudinally along the full length of the lateral wall, such formed wall sheet component is subsequently arcuately rolled to be joined, as by welding or adhesion, along opposing longitudinal edges to configure the cylindrical wall structure. Annular flange plates are then welded along the fluted arcuate profile of each end of the cylindrical wall structure. As with the rectilinear configuration, the end walls are preferably welded at the transverse flange faces or can be sealed as with sealing rings under removable fastening means. Longitudinal corrugations in a rigid tube would support compressive or expansive loads as long as the length of the tube is appropriate to the material properties. The end flanges can be much thinner than those on a conventional cylindrical chamber due to support from the corrugations.

Inventors: Wickins; Steven R. (Westminster, CO), Schumacher, III; John E. (Boulder, CO), Lawrence; Carl E. (Longmont, CO)


International Classification: B65D 88/10 (20060101); B65D 88/00 (20060101); B65D 88/12 (20060101); B65D 007/46 ()

Expiration Date: 06/05/2018