CA 02224360 1997-12-1o A CLOSURE CONTAINING A FLUIO FOR MIXTURE WITH A BEVERAGE
3 This invention involves apparatus and method relating 4 to beverages and finds a particular, although not exclusive, application in the carbonating or 6 recarbonating of beverages in a domestic environment 7 where the beverage is contained in a bottle or like 8 container. The beverage may be of an intoxicating or 9 alcoholic type, such as sparkling wine, or may be of a type referred to commonly as a "soft drink", being non-11 alcoholic. Indeed the invention herein finds a 12 primary, but not exclusive application in relation to 13 any drink where there may be benefit in it being 14 carbonated or further carbonated prior to its complete consumption.
17 It is common for such drinks to be sold or supplied in 18 containers, for example PET bottles, of a size which 19 may allow for their consumption over a relatively extended period and on several different occasions. A
21 problem encountered with such drinks, however, is that 22 once the seal or closure of the bottle has been opened 23 the level of "fizz" is reduced and the drinks can 24 become ~flat". This lessens the appeal of the drink and can frequently lead to wastage.
WO97/00213 PCT/Gs96/01391 l It is appreciated in this invention that a cause of
2 this undesirable decarbonating or flattening of such
3 beverages is due to the escape of gas from the liquid
4 and, su~sequently, from the bottle. When the beverage is adequately carbonated the pressure in the bottle is 6 greater than atmospheric pressure, and thus gas 7 naturally escapes when the bottle is opened and 8 reopened over a number of occasions. Also, once the 9 closure on a bottle has been opened for a first time the integrity of the seal is diminished and not usually ll fully recovered upon reclosing the bottle top.
13 In-the past it has been known to attempt to provide 14 apparatus for mitigating the escape of carbon dioxide from carbonated beverages using an air pump which may 16 be integral or attachable to a bottle closure. Such 17 apparatus typically provides a valve in the bottle 18 closure which allows for the intake of pumped or l9 compressed air. The intention with such devices is that by repressurising the internal volume of a 21 beverage containing bottle, gas dissolved in the liquid 22 is caused to remain so dissolved. Examples of such 23 devices are taught in US Patent 5,294,0lO and US Patent 24 4,763,802. These and similar devices have been found non practical and cumbersome. Further, they are not 26 adapted to increase the carbonation of a beverage, but 27 rather merely slow the process of the beverage 28 decarbonating.
Further disadvantages of devices adapted to pressurise 3l the gap or space between the beverage and the top of 32 the bottle with air include that they are expensive to 33 manufacture and they encourage the contact of air with 34 the beverage which may diminish product life, particularly in respect of wine- or fruit drinks.
W O 97/00213 PCT/~L~01391 1 Another manner by which some have attempted to overcome 2 this recognised problem involves the provision of an 3 adaptor or other connecting device intended to enable, 4 via a sealed fluid channel, the passing of carbon dioxide from a pressure cylinder containing such gas 6 into the beverage containing bottle. Examples of such 7 connectors may be ex~ ed in US Patent 4,899,896 and 8 British Patent Application GB 2 175 681. Again, 9 however, such designs have not proven satisfactory as, in use, adaptors can be lost or inconvenient, and the 11 process of "setting up" the equipment both tedious and 12 awkward.
14 An object of the present invention is to provide simple, convenient and practical apparatus in the form 16 of a container closure for enabling a drink to be 17 carbonated or recarbonated; the apparatus additionally 18 or alternatively being appropriate for the ~ixing of 19 other fluids, whether gaseous or liquid, in a beverage.
21 It is also herein observed that past attempts to 22 provide apparatus comprising a means for storing a 23 fluid in a container closure and separately from a 24 second fluid in the container has required, in use, the 2S rupturing of part of the closure to release the first 26 fluid and enable the two fluids to be mixed together.
27 A disadvantage associated with the partial rupturing of 28 the closure, usually at a membrane or the like, is 29 that, as the exact nature or shape of the rupture is unpredictable, the flow of the fluid from the closure 31 is not easily controlled. This is particularly 32 disadvantageous in relation to the release of a 33 pressurised gas intended to be dissolved in a beverage 34 contained in the container.
36 It is also recognised herein that the use of a membrane CA 02224360 1997-12-lo 1 which is adapted to rupture with relative ease when 2 required, restricts the ability of the chamber to store 3 fluid, and potentially a gas, at high pressures.
Yet further, such membranes are generally ruptured by 6 being brought forcibly into contact with a sharp edge 7 or blade; this feature being undesirable and 8 potentially dangerous in view of the unfortunate 9 tendency to discard disposable closures on pavements and in other accessible areas.
12 It is therefore a further object of the present 13 inuention to provide a suitable release means for 14 releasing a fluid from a container closure into the container when desired. A yet further object of the 16 invention is to cause the fluid held in the chamber to 17 be released into direct contact with the beverage.
19 According to the present invention there is provided a closure for use in relation to a beverage container, 21 the closure comprising sealing means for sealingly 22 engaging the container, an integral chamber formed 23 within or as part of the closure for sealingly 24 containing a fluid for mixture with the beverage, and a release means for releasing the fluid from the chamber 26 into the attached container.
28 Where it is intended to carbonate or recarbonate a 29 beverage the chamber advantageously is constructed as a pressure vessel to safely house a carbonating fluid 31 pressurised, for example, in excess of twenty 32 atmospheres. (This is not to say that the normal 33 working pressure of the fluid, even in such 34 applications, need be this high; but rather to allow for extreme conditions resulting from temperature 36 variations, impact loads and so on.) CA 02224360 1997-12-lo 1 Preferably the release means includes one or more 2 apertures or ports in a wall of the chamber, the 3 aperture or port being associated with a valve such 4 that when the closure is engaged with the container and the valve is open the fluid in the chamber may 6 physically communicate with the beverage and when the 7 valve is closed the fluid is retained in the chamber.
9 Preferably the sealing means may enable the closure to be repeatedly and sealingly attached to and removed 11 from the container without essentially operating the 12 valve.
14 This has the considerable advantage of enabling the mixture of the fluid with the beverage at a time 16 subsequent to the initial opening of the container.
18 Preferably the aperture or port is preformed in the 19 chamber wall. This allows the aperture to be shaped under manufacturing conditions to a design which 21 optimises the flow of the fluid into the container for 22 mixing or dispersion purposes.
24 It has been found that a nozzle designed to release a gaseous fluid into the beverage in the form of a fine 26 spray of bubbles optimises the absorption of the gas by 27 the beverages. Such a nozzle may be formed into or 28 associated with the aperture.
Alternatively, the aperture may be formed, in use, by 31 puncturing or rupturing the chamber wall. The chamber 32 may have an inner compartment and an outer compartment, 33 the inner compartment including a rupturable membrane 34 and the outer compartment having a preformed aperture in its wall.
W 0 97/00213 PCT/~Lr.~1~1391 1 The valve may be adapted to reseal the aperture after 2 having been opened. Such a feature is advantageous 3 where it is beneficial to ensure that any remaining 4 fluid or received beverage does not escape or drip from the closure when the closure is .e,..o~ed from the 6 container. Beneficially it may be that the valve is 7 operable to an open position only when the closure is 8 attached to the container and is necessarily returned 9 to a closed position upon or prior to being removed from the container.
12 The valve may include a valve seal which is retained in 13 a sealing relationship with the aperture when the valve 14 is closed by a retaining means. The retaining means may include a valve body, possibly in the form of an 16 arm or sleeve of the like, acting upon the valve seal 17 to retain it in position. Apart from the retaining 18 means other influences, including the pressure of the 19 fluid in the chamber and the gravitational pull acting on the valve, may act to resist movement of the valve 21 seal away from the aperture.
23 The retaining means may be released by the tightening 24 or clockwise rotation beyond a predetermined level of the closure or part of the closure on or relative to 26 the container.
28 Alternatively the retaining means may comprise fluid 29 pressure acting on the valve seal, the retaining means being releasable by creating a reversed pressure 31 differential or gradient across the valve seal which 32 encourages the valve seal to move in a direction away 33 from the aperture.
Advantageously the valve may be operable to an open 36 position only when the closure is in an inverted CA 02224360 1997-12-1o 1 orientation. This is advantageous where the fluid is 2 at least partly in a gaseous state and it is desirable 3 to release the fluid directly into the beverage -4 rather than into a space within the container occupiedS by air between the closure and the beverage. It is 6 considered that conduits or the like leading from the 7 chamber, through the space between the closure and the 8 beverage, when upright, and into the beverage are less 9 desirable, particularly when the conduits require to be removed from the container or bottle in order for the 11 beverage to be accessed or poured.
13 Preferably the closure is further provided or inherent 14 with valve disenabling means for preventing the inadvertent opening of the valve. The disenabling 16 means most suitably provides a physical obstruction to 17 releasing the retaining means.
19 The disenabling means may be in the form of an insert located in the closure which may be removed or 21 disengaged, when intended, at the discretion of the 22 user. Alternatively the disenabling means may be one 23 or more associated lugs or catches which require to be 24 fractured or pressed past in order to open the valve.
Alternatively, the disenabling means may be a cover 26 denying access to the retaining means during the usual 27 opening or closing operation of the closure relative to 28 the container.
Preferably the fluid comprises gas of a type which is 31 soluble in the beverage and when so dissolved has the 32 effect of increasing the carbonation of the beverage.
33 The gas may be carbon dioxide. It may also include 34 nitrogen. It may include a refrigerant, such as isobutane or propane.
W O 97/00213 PCT/~Lr~'11391 1 Alternatively the fluid may include a flavouring. It 2 may be a carbonating gas mixed with or dissolved in a 3 liquid flavouring, for example in a syrup.
According to a further aspect of the invention there is 6 provided a method of releasing a fluid stored in a 7 closure into a container, the method including the 8 steps of:
11 1) sealingly engaging the closure relative to the 12 container; and 14 2) releasing a retaining means for retaining a valve in a closed position relative to an aperture 16 or port in the closure; the aperture or port 17 providing an escape path for the fluid from the 18 closure.
The method may also include the step of inverting the 21 container and engaged closure, either before or after 22 step 2 above.
24 The method may also include the step of removing or rendering inoperable a disenabling means for 26 disenabling the operation of the valve associated with 27 the closure either before or after step 1 above, but 28 before step 2.
Various embodiments of the invention will now be 31 described, by way of example only, with reference to 32 the accompanying figures in which:
34 Fig 1 is a pictorial illustration of a closure attached to a plastics soft drink bottle;
l Figs 2a and 2b are sectional elevations of 2 preferred embodiments of a closure in accordance 3 with the invention;
Figs 3, 4 and 6 illustrate further embodiments of 6 a closure;
8 Fig 5 shows a closure located on the bottom of a 9 bottle and being additional to a st~nd~rd bottle closure at the top of the bottle; and 12 Fig 7 illustrates a commercially packaged set of 13 closures as may be sold to the consumer market.
Referring firstly to Figure l there is shown a bottle l 16 to which there is sealingly attached a closure 2. The 17 closure is larger than conventional or traditional 18 bottle closures, but need not be so large as to be l9 difficult to hold or grip. In fact, its size may be one which arguably optimises a user's ability to 21 tightly grip the closure, while also pro~iding a large 22 suitable surface for bearing promotional or descriptive 23 printed information.
Preferred embodiments of the closure 2 are illustrated 26 in Figures 2a and 2b. In Figure 2a the closure 2 27 comprises a housing 3 consisting of at least two 28 separate components, namely an inner member 4 and an 29 outer shell 5. If desirable, these members may be formed of more than one part, depending on 31 manufacturing methods and materials employed. The 32 housing defines an internal chamber 15 in which is 33 stored a pressurised fluid, such as carbon dioxide. By 34 way of example, the chamber 15 may be twenty cubic centimetres and contain two grams of CO2.
W O 97/00213 PCTt~L,''~1391 1 The inner member 4 is substantially in the form of a 2 cylinder 4a closed at one end by an upper cap 4b.
3 Located in the upper cap 4b is a passage or aperture 6.
The internal face of the cylinder 4a is provided with a 6 means for sealingly engaging a container, which here, 7 by way of example, is an internal thread 7 8 corresponding to an external thread on a bottle or 9 other container. Notably, the thread 7 is a right hand thread. An annular seal 9 is provided as shown.
12 The outer shell 5 also has an outer cylindrical wall 13 Sa,- an upper plate 5b, an annular base Sc and an inner 14 cylindrical wall 5d. The inner cylindrical wall Sd is lS provided with an internal thread 8a which corresponds 16 to an external thread 8b formed integrally with the 17 outside surface of the cylindrical wall 4a of the inner 18 member 4. Notably the thread 8 is a left hand thread.
A guide pin 10 extends downwardly from the centre of 21 the upper plate 5b. An O-ring 16 is also provided, as 22 shown, to seal the chamber 15.
24 A valve for closing the aperture 6 comprises a retaining means in the form of a sleeve 11, and a valve 26 seal 12 attached to or integral with the lower end of 27 the sleeve 11. The sleeve 11 is located over the guide 28 pin 10, such that the valve seal 12 is positioned over 29 the aperture 6.
31 The embodiment of closure shown in Figure 2a is also 32 provided with a valve disenabling means. By this 33 reference is made to the small lug 13 protruding from 34 the top face of the upper cap 4b, and the arm 14 which projects inwardly at one point on the upper edge of the 36 wall Sd.
1 In use the closure 2 may be attached to the neck of a 2 container by conventionally screwing the closure in a 3 clockwise direction. By this action both the outer 4 shell 5 and the inner member 4 is tightly and sealingly engaged on the neck of the container. The further 6 clockwise rotation of the outer shell 5 will firstly 7 cause the arm 14 to fracture the lug 13 and thereafter 8 cause the outer shell S to rise upwardly relative to 9 the inner member 4. The upward movement results from the left hand thread 8.
12 As the outer shell 5 so rises the upper plate Sb and 13 guide pin 10 lift off the top rim of the sleeve 11, 14 providing a gap between the top rim of the sleeve 11 and the lower face of the upper plate 5b. The pressure 16 of the fluid in the chamber 15, together with the 17 weight of the sleeve 11 and valve seal 12 hold the 18 valve in a sealing relationship over the aperture 6 19 until the closure and container is inverted. When inverted the sleeve 11 and valve seal 6 fall back down 21 the guide pin 10 onto the upper plate 5b allowing the 22 release of fluid through the aperture 6.
24 In order to remove the closure the outer shell 5 is rotated in a conventional anti-clockwise direction 26 which firstly causes it to return back downwardly 27 relative to the inner member 4. This action clamps the 28 sleeve 11 and valve seal 12 back over the aperture 6 29 re-sealing the aperture 6. The further anti-clockwise rotation of the outer shell 5 causes the inner member 4 31 to also rotate in an anti-clockwise direction, which 32 serves to loosen the closure from the neck of the 33 container.
Figure 2b illustrates an embodiment which works 36 substantially on the same principle as the embodiment W097/00213 PcTlGs96lol3 1 of Figure 2a, although in preferred form. The closure 2 2 comprises a chamber 15 provided by a domed internal 3 member 100. Fitted snugly over the internal member 100 4 is a cover member 101. The internal member 100 is S provided with a engaging means 42 for engaging a 6 container. An annular seal 9 is provided in 7 juxtaposition with the sealing means 42 to prevent the 8 inadvertent escape of beverage from the container 9 through the engaging means 42. In the lower wall of the inner member 100 is provided two preformed 11 apertures 43 shaped to provide the release of fluid 12 contained in the chamber 15 in the form of a fine spray 13 of-bubbles or the like.
lS A rod 45 extends from the cover 101 and is threaded at 16 48 with a left hand thread where it engages a 17 corresponding thread in the inner member 100. An O
18 ring 16 provides a seal at the thread 48. At the 19 bottom of the rod 45 is a valve seal 44 which, in use, seals the apertures of 43.
22 A channel 103 is provided in both the cover 101 and 23 inner member 100, there being further provided a key 24 104 located in the channel 103 which, when the closure 2 is in a normal upright orientation, nests at the 26 bottom of the channel 103 and, by reason of its size, 27 prohibits the rotation of the cover 101 relative to the 28 inner member 100. However, when the closure 2 is 29 inverted the key 104 drops down the inverted channel 103 and nests in the channel 103 such that it is 31 contained wholly within the cover 101, thereby allowing 32 rotation of the cover 101 relative to the inner member 33 100.
In use, having regard to the e~odiment of Figure 2b, 36 the closure 2 may contain carbon dioxide in addition, W 0 97/00213 PCT/~L~f'~1391 1 if desired, to any other fluid and may be sealingly 2 engaged to a container via the sealing engagement means 3 42. The engagement means 42 may comprise a right hand 4 thread to allow for attachment of the closure to the container in a standard right hand screw on mAnner. To 6 screw the closure 2 onto the container the closure 2 7 may be gripped by the outer cover 101 as rotation of 8 the cover 101 relative to the inner member 100 is 9 prohibited by the key 104. When it is then desired to release the fluid contained in the chamber 15 into the 11 container, the container and closure 2 is inverted 12 causing the key 104 to drop down the inverted channel 13 103 thereby being contained wholly within the cover 14 101. Further right hand rotation of the cover 101 then causes the cover 101 to be lifted away from the inner 16 member 100 via the left hand thread 48. This in turn 17 lifts the rod 45 and valve seal 44 exposing the 18 apertures 43 to the fluid, allowing for the release of 19 same. As the container is inverted the fluid is released directly into contact with the beverage 21 contained in the container.
23 Thus, the valve is only operable when the container and 24 closure are sealingly engaged and inverted, and advantageously, the key 104 is allowed to drop under 26 the influence of gravity without the resistance of high 27 pressure fluid, thereby being distinguished from other 28 embodiments where the valve seal drops when inverted, 29 under gravity, against the pressure of the fluid.
31 In Figure 3 there is shown an alternative embodiment of 32 a closure. The closure comprises an outer shell 31 33 substantially of a domed cylindrical form, but with a 34 receptive threaded bore 18 on its underside to allow for sealing engagement with a threaded bottle neck 20 36 or the like. The shell 31 defines a chamber 32 in 1 which may be located a fluid, stored under pressure and 2 intended for mi ~; ng with the beverage stored in the 3 bottle.
An insert 21, preferably made of a resilient and 6 pliable rubber or plastics material, acts as a 7 disenabling means and is located between an annular 8 seal 22 and the rim of the bottle neck 20. A small 9 handle 33 is formed on the insert 21.
11 The shell 31, at that part of it which sits over the 12 area within the neck of the bottle, has one or more 13 small apertures 27. The apertures 27 are associated 14 with a valve comprising a valve seal 26 and a rigid arm 24 anchored at 25 to the shell 31. The anchor 25 is 16 beneficially located marginally outside the 17 circumference of the bottle neck 20.
19 A small hard semi spherical knob 30 is formed integrally on the underside of the shell 31 and 21 directly below the arm 24. The seal 22 is provided 22 with a dimple 29 to receive the knob 30. A similar 23 dimple 28 is provided on the upper side of the insert 24 21.
26 The effect of the dimple 28 in the insert 21 is to 27 prevent the rim of the bottle neck 20 from bearing 28 forcibly on the seal 22 at that point on the seal 22 29 directly below the knob 30, regardless of how tight the closure is screwed onto the bottle.
32 When it is desired to mix the fluid in the chamber 32 33 with the beverage in the bottle or like container, the 34 closure is first removed from the bottle and the insert 21 is pulled out using the handle 33. The insert 21 36 may be discarded, or may be used as a token, collectors CA 02224360 1997-12-1o 1 item or for any promotional activity. With the absence 2 of the insert 21, the closure may then be screwed onto 3 the bottle neck 20 and eventually, when the closure is 4 on tight, the rim of the bottle neck 20 will bear upon the seal 22. As the seal 22 is relatively thin below 6 the knob 30, further tightening of the closure will 7 push the knob 30 upward, causing the shell 31 to buckle 8 slightly above the knob 30. The buckling of the shell 9 31 in this vicinity, in turn, lifts the rigid arm 24.
The anchor 25 may be deformed or ruptured by this, 11 although the combination of the weight of the arm 24, 12 valve seal 26 and pressure differential across the 13 valve seal 26 and aperture 27 act to maintain the valve 14 seal 26 in its sealing relationship with the aperture 27. Where this is difficult to achieve, a further arm 16 or clip (not shown) may be employed to restrain the arm 17 24 and valve seal 26 in a position which maintains the 18 valve in a closed capacity.
However, upon the inversion of the bottle, the weight 21 of the valve and any additional restraining means pulls 22 the valve seal 26 away from the aperture 27 allowing 23 for the fluid in the chamber 32 to pass through the 24 aperture 27 and mix with the beverage in the bottle.
26 A further embodiment of a closure shown in Figure 4 has 27 a housing 40 defining a chamber 41. As before, the 28 housing is provided with a thread 42 for sealing 29 engagement with a beverage container. It should be appreciated that any suitable attachment means may be 31 used for this purpose.
33 Two pre-formed apertures 43 are provided in the housing 34 40 directly over the neck of the container (not shown).
The apertures 43 are sealed by a valve seal 44. The 36 valve seal 44 is part of a valve which also includes a CA 02224360 1997-12-lo 1 restraining means in the form of a threaded bolt 45 2 with head 46. Notably the restraining means presses 3 downwardly on the valve seal 44, but is not attached to 4 the valve seal 44.
6 The bolt head 46 nests in a seat 47 provided at the top 7 of the closure. Tapped into the seat 47 is a thread 48 8 which receives a corresponding thread on the bolt 45.
9 A seal 49 is positioned between the head 46 and the seat 47 in the housing 40. In use, rotating the bolt 11 45 by turning the head 46 causes the restraining means 12 to lift off the valve seal 44. However while the 13 closure is upright the valve seal, being suitably 14 weighted, remains over the apertures 43 under the influence of gravity. Only when the closure is 16 inverted is the valve seal 44 caused to fall away from 17 the apertures 43 allowing for the release of fluid 18 stored in the chamber 41 into the container.
A protective cover 50, referred to generically herein 21 as a disenabling means, is provided over the seat 47 22 denying access to the restraining means when closed.
23 The cover 50 may be hinged to the housing 40 on one 24 side and spot tacked at points opposite to the hinge, which act as an indicator of tampering; that is, when 26 the tacks have been ruptured one can expect that the 27 cover 50 has been opened, restraining means lifted, and 28 fluid released.
A disadvantage associated with this embodiment is that 31 the fluid may be released from the closure while the 32 closure is not sealingly engaged with a container.
33 Notably, with the embodiments shown in Figures 2, 3, 5 34 and 6, this is not easily possible.
36 Although in the previous embodiments the closures are WO97/00213 pcTlGs96lol39l 1 intended for attachment to the top of a container, the 2 invention is not so limited. In Figure 5 there is 3 illustrated a 1.5 litre bottle 51 of carbonated soft 4 drink bearing a standard or conventional bottle closure 52 at its upper end. The bottle 51 is however provided 6 with a further closure attachment 53, at its lower end 7 to which there is attached a closure 54 in accordance 8 with the invention.
The closure again provides a sealed chamber 55 with one 11 or more apertures 56 at its upper side. In the base of 12 the bottle are corresponding apertures 57, although 13 these are not aligned with the apertures 56 in the 14 closure 54. A retaining ring 58 is fixed around the circumferential wall of the bottle and a plurality of 16 small fractural members 59 prevent rotation of the 17 closure 54 relative to the bottle 51 up to a 18 predetermined minimum torque applied to the closure 54 19 relative to the bottle 51. In the event that this minimum torque is exceeded the closure 54 rotates about 21 the further closure attachment 53 until it is stopped 22 by the stopper lugs 60,61, at which point the 23 respective apertures 56,57 in the base of the bottle 51 24 and the upper side of the closure 54 are aligned, allowing the flow of pressurised gas or other fluid in 26 the chamber to disperse in the beverage.
28 A yet further embodiment is shown is Figure 6 wherein a 29 container closure 2 is fitted internally in the neck of a container 80. The container 80 may be of any shape 31 but in one embodiment it may be a plastics PET bottle 32 formed with an open neck, the neck being of 33 approximately the same diameter as the body of the 34 bottle. This allows for an increased volume of fluid to be stored in chamber 81 integral with the closure 2.
1 The closure 2 is provided with a pouring channel 82 2 which is sealed at its top end by a reclosable sealing 3 lid 83. The lid 83 is hinged at one side (by the hinge 4 84) and is accessed by a user's thumb or the like via the recess 85 formed in the uppermost face 86 of the 6 closure 2.
8 The pouring channel 82 is separate from the chamber 81 9 and any fluid held in the chamber 81 may not access the pouring channel 82, while any fluid or beverage 11 contained in the container 80 and pouring channel 82 12 may not access the chamber 81.
14 The channel 82 enables beverage contained in the lS container 80 to be poured from the container 80 without 16 removal of the closure 2 from the container 80. This 17 is in accordance with the spirit of the invention in 18 that the integrity of the seal between the closure 2 19 and the container 80 is not ~i~inished by the frequent removal and reattachment of the closure 2 to the 21 container 80, mitigating the release of carbon dioxide 22 from a carbonated beverage in the container.
24 Formed into the lower side 97 of the closure 2 is provided an aperture 6 for the release of fluid from 26 the chamber 81 into a beverage contained in the 27 container 80. The aperture 6 communicates with a 28 conduit 90, which is provided with a nozzle or is 29 otherwise so formed at its bottom end as to provide a fine spray of fluid to enhance the mixing of the fluid 31 with the beverage when desired. A valve seal 12 is 32 positioned over the aperture 6 and held in a closed 33 position by the pressure of the fluid in the chamber 34 81. That is, the pressure of the fluid, which may be maintained at, say, 4-6 atmospheres, bears downwardly 36 on the upper surface of the valve seal 12 to hold it in WO97/00213 PCT/Gs96/01391 1 sealing engagement over the aperture 6.
3 Positioned directly over the valve seal 12 is a rigid 4 conduit 87 which is attached to the upper surface 86 of the closure 2. The conduit 87, being hollow, is sealed 6 from atmosphere at its top end by a ring pull 88. When 7 the valve seal 12 is sealingly engaged over the 8 aperture 6 a very small gap exists between the top 9 surface of the valve seal 12 and the lower end of the conduit 87.
12 In order to open the valve 12 the ring pull 88 is 13 removed or opened from the top surface 86 of the 14 closure 2 allowing for the escape of pressurised fluid, preferably gas, through the conduit 87 out of the 16 aperture formed by the opened ring pull 88. By this, 17 relative suction forces are created which act on the 18 upper surface of the valve seal 12 from the lower edge 19 of the conduit 87 and these cause the valve seal 12 to lift from the aperture 6 and bear against the lower 21 edge of the conduit 87, this action sealing the conduit 22 87 and opening the escape path of the gas via the 23 aperture 6 and conduit 90 into the internal volume of 24 the container 80.
26 The embodiment is most suitable for the release of a 27 pressurised gas held in the chamber 81 into a beverage 28 contained in the container 80.
Although not previously recommended, the conduit 90 31 shown in Figure 6 is suitable in this embodiment as it 32 is not necessary to lift the closure 2, with the 33 conduit 90, out of the container neck every time it is 34 desired to pour beverage from the container 80. Thus the conduit 90 will not drip or spill, nor will it 36 render accessing the beverage awkward.
CA 02224360 1997-12-lo 1 With the embodiments shown in Figures 5 and 6 it is not 2 needed to invert the bottle prior to releasing the 3 fluid in the chamber 55,81 into the container 51,80 in 4 order to release the fluid into direct contact with the beverage.
7 An advantage associated with the embodiments described 8 herein is that the holes or apertures through which the 9 fluid passes into contact with the beverage may be preformed under manufacturing conditions. That is, the 11 apertures are not so formed by the rupture or fracture 12 of an element in use. While the use of preformed 13 apertures may not be essential to the invention it does 14 provide for enabling better dispersion or control of the flow of the fluid from the chamber into the 16 container. This is particularly desirable where the 17 fluid is a gas which is required to be absorbed into 18 the liquid beverage.
In Figure 7 a set or plurality of closures 70 are shown 21 held in a single package 71. The illustration supports 22 the commercial possibility of the invention allowing 23 for closures to be retailed separately from containers, 24 bottles or the like containing beverage. The closures 70 in Figure 6 may be constructed in accordance with 26 one or more of the embodiments described hereinbefore 27 and may contain, by way of example, a syrup or 28 flavouring in liquid form together with carbon dioxide.
29 In use a closure can be attached to a bottle at a consumer's home, the bottle containing, for example, 31 merely tap water prior to beinq mixed with the contents 32 of the closure. Consequently the relatively awkward 33 transporting of bulky drinks bottles from retail 34 outlets to the home can be minimised.
36 Further modifications and improvements may be 1 incorporated without departing from the scope of the 2 invention herein intended.