US20140355969A1 - One-way valve for atomizer section in electronic cigarettes - Google Patents

One-way valve for atomizer section in electronic cigarettes Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140355969A1
US20140355969A1 US14/287,658 US201414287658A US2014355969A1 US 20140355969 A1 US20140355969 A1 US 20140355969A1 US 201414287658 A US201414287658 A US 201414287658A US 2014355969 A1 US2014355969 A1 US 2014355969A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
section
electronic cigarette
way valve
cartomizer
cartomizer section
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Pending
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US14/287,658
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Joel Stern
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Nu Mark Innovations Ltd
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SIS RESOURCES Ltd
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Priority to US14/287,658 priority patent/US20140355969A1/en
Assigned to SIS RESOURCES, LTD. reassignment SIS RESOURCES, LTD. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: STERN, JOEL
Publication of US20140355969A1 publication Critical patent/US20140355969A1/en
Assigned to Nu Mark Innovations Ltd. reassignment Nu Mark Innovations Ltd. CHANGE OF NAME (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: SIS RESOURCES LTD.
Application status is Pending legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A24TOBACCO; CIGARS; CIGARETTES; SMOKERS' REQUISITES
    • A24FSMOKERS' REQUISITES; MATCH BOXES
    • A24F47/00Smokers' requisites not provided for elsewhere, e.g. devices to assist in stopping or limiting smoking
    • A24F47/002Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes
    • A24F47/004Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel
    • A24F47/008Simulated smoking devices, e.g. imitation cigarettes with heating means, e.g. carbon fuel with electrical heating means

Abstract

A cartomizer section of an electronic cigarette can be connected to a battery section of the electronic cigarette. The cartomizer section comprises a liquid reservoir operable to store liquid material and a one-way valve. The one-way valve is operable to seal an end of the cartomizer section which is in fluid communication with the liquid reservoir. The one-way valve is configured to allow one directional air flow towards a user's mouth during a draw on the electronic cigarette so as to prevent back flow of vapor produced during operation of the electronic cigarette towards the battery section.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/827,998, filed on May 28, 2013, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference thereto.
  • FIELD
  • This application relates to a device and method for preventing the back flow of liquid and vapor from a cartomizer section into a battery section of an electronic cigarette, and an improved method of sealing a cartomizer section during storage thereof through the use of a one-way valve included in the cartomizer section.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Electronic cigarettes are becoming a popular alternative to tobacco smoking because of the many advantages that they offer. One of the main reasons that they are popular is due to their similarities to tobacco smoking. In fact, the closer that they are in providing the experience of a traditional cigarette, the more likely they are to be accepted in the market place.
  • One example of an electronic cigarette is a “two-piece” (hereinafter referred to as a “two-piece”) device having a first battery section B and a second cartomizer section A, wherein the cartomizer section A is detachable from the battery section B (hereinafter an “Electronic Cigarette” or “E-cigarette”). An example of one such Electronic Cigarette is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In some embodiments, the battery section B contains a power cell, a chipset (i.e. control circuitry) and an airflow sensor. In some embodiments, the cartomizer section A contains a heating element and a container (reservoir) of “e-liquid” which comprises flavorings and a vaporizing base, such as glycol (hereinafter referred to as the “cartomizer”). The battery section and cartomizer section can be physically and electrically connected by a threaded engagement. In some embodiments, the battery section has the “male” threaded portion and the cartomizer section has the “female” threaded portion, as shown in FIG. 2.
  • Early E-cigarettes had one or more notches at the tip of the battery section to allow air intake. Air would enter from the tip, pass through the entire battery section, and continue through the cartomizer section, the vapor-producing portion of the E-cigarette, and enter the smoker's mouth via an opening in the mouth end insert of the cartomizer section. When a typical smoker puffs on an electronic cigarette, he/she may inadvertently or intentionally exhale into the cigarette, reversing the vapor flow from his/her mouth into the cigarette. This vapor often condenses and eventually builds up inside the battery, causing damage to the flow sensor, chipset and/or the lithium cell.
  • To avoid this kind of damage, electronic cigarettes were designed with side vents. When the user inhales, the air enters the cigarette through side holes that are located between the cartomizer section and battery section. Similarly, when the smoker exhales into the e-cigarette, the vapor from his/her mouth travels in the reverse direction, and escapes through the side vents. With this construction, there is minimal air passage through the battery section. However, an opening into the battery section is still necessary to allow the flow sensor inside to sense a puff and activate the heating coil. An example of an electronic cigarette with side vents is disclosed in WO 2012/142293 the entire contents of which is incorporated by reference herein.
  • As such, e-cigarettes which include side vents that allow most of the vapor to exit through the side vents thereof during exhalation still include an opening for the vapor to travel into the battery section , which thereby exposes the components within the battery section to the damaging effects of the vapor. It is therefore advantageous to prevent the vapor from leaving the cartomizer section and continuing in the direction of battery components included in the battery section, to avoid its damaging effects on the battery components.
  • In contrast to two-piece cigarettes, there are e-cigarettes which encase the battery section and cartomizer section into one integrated housing which saves production costs and eliminates the need for assembly before use thereof. Such electronic cigarettes are often called “one-piece units” or “disposable cigarettes” (hereinafter referred to as a “disposables”).
  • Although disposables are convenient for the user, they present difficulties for long term storage and shelf life. Disposables lack some of the advantages of a two-piece. For example, when the cartomizer section is separate from the battery section, the ends of the cartomizer section can be sealed with caps or plugs. Sealing the two ends of the cartomizer section prevents moisture in the environment from being absorbed by the e-liquid, which often decreases the viscosity of the e-liquid and can cause leaking of the e-liquid into a user's mouth during smoking. The seals also prevent e-liquid or nicotine from evaporating or dripping out of the cartomizer section.
  • In disposables, there is typically no seal between the cartomizer section and the battery section, and if e-liquid drains into the air path of the cartomizer section, it can easily drain upstream into the battery section, thereby damaging the flow sensor, chipset and/or the lithium cell that are housed in the battery section. Additionally, without the presence of a seal between the cartomizer and battery sections, the e-liquid eventually evaporates, as well as the nicotine, which greatly impairs the effectiveness of the e-liquid as well as the user's experience. Also, lack of a seal allows ambient air moisture to enter the cartomizer section, which is then readily absorbed into the hydrophilic e-liquid, increasing the e-liquid's volume, and lowering the viscosity of the e-liquid, resulting in leakage of excess e-liquid.
  • Therefore, it is desirable to have a method of preventing the e-liquid in the cartomizer section from escaping into the battery section, and air moisture from the battery section from entering the cartomizer section when not in use.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates an electronic cigarette according to embodiments disclosed herein.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates an electronic cigarette including a cartomizer section which is detachable from a battery section according to embodiments disclosed herein.
  • FIGS. 3A-3D illustrate embodiments of a one-way valve.
  • FIG. 4A-4C illustrate embodiments of a one-way valve.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a cross-section of a cartomizer section including a one-way valve according to embodiments disclosed herein.
  • FIG. 6 illustrates an embodiment of an electronic cigarette including a one-way valve installed onto a post in a cartomizer section thereof according to embodiments disclosed herein.
  • SUMMARY
  • Disclosed herein is a cartomizer section of an electronic cigarette which can be connected to a battery section of the electronic cigarette. The cartomizer section comprises a liquid reservoir operable to store liquid material and a one-way valve. The one-way valve is operable to seal an end of the cartomizer section which is in fluid communication with the liquid reservoir. The one-way valve is configured to allow one directional air flow towards a user's mouth during a draw on the electronic cigarette so as to prevent back flow of vapor produced during operation of the electronic cigarette towards the battery section thereof.
  • DESCRIPTION
  • Disclosed herein is a one-way valve that can be included in a cartomizer section of an electronic cigarette, allowing one directional air flow towards a user's mouth, while preventing back flow of vapor or e-liquid towards the battery section of the electronic cigarette. Accordingly, during prolonged storage, the one-way valve provides a seal for the cartomizer section, which prevents e-liquid stored in a liquid reservoir of the cartomizer section from draining into the battery section, and greatly reduces evaporation of e-liquid and nicotine out of the cartomizer section. Additionally, the one-way valve prevents ambient air moisture from being absorbed into the e-liquid, preserving its viscosity and preventing leaking.
  • In another embodiment, sealing properties of the one-way valve allows for disposable electronic cigarettes to be stored for extended periods with minimal loss of e-liquid and nicotine potency, greatly extending the shelf life thereof. Additionally, because the one-way valve prevents the flow of excess e-liquid into the battery section, there is no longer a limitation on the orientation of the disposables during transportation or storage. Whereas before, one had to store and ship the disposables in an upright position with the battery section oriented above the cartomizer section to avoid leakage of e-liquid into the battery section, embodiments as disclosed herein allow for the disposables to be stored and shipped in any orientation.
  • The one-way valve extends the longevity of the electronic cigarette by preventing the back flow of vapor towards the battery section, thereby eliminating the damage typically caused by vapor on the battery components of the battery section.
  • Additionally, the one-way valve provides a seal between the cartomizer section and the battery section which can extend the life of the e-liquid of the electronic cigarette between smoking sessions. The presence of a one-way valve prevents liquid leakage and evaporation of e-liquid from the distal end of the cartomizer section. A plug can be used to seal the mouth end insert of the cartomizer section or disposable between uses.
  • FIGS. 3A-D and FIGS. 4A-C illustrate embodiments of a one-way valve 300 as disclosed herein. According to an embodiment, a one-way valve 300 can be formed as a generally cylindrical shape forming an elongated portion 320 with one end that is blocked which forms a valve face 305. The valve face 305 can have a cut or a slit 310 on a surface thereof The cut or slit 310 can extend across the entire surface (along the diameter) of the valve face 305. Two flaps 315 a,b are formed on opposite sides of the slit 310. Under normal storage conditions or between puffs, the two flaps 315 a,b on opposite sides of the slit 310 can be situated tightly adjacent to each other so as to form a tight seal against air and e-liquid.
  • In an alternative embodiment, the valve face 305 can include more than one slit thereon wherein the slits can be made by making 3 or 4 (criss-cross) symmetrical cuts on the valve face 305, thus creating 3 or 4 flaps respectively. Alternatively, the slits 310 do not need to be straight or symmetrical. They can be wavy, saw-toothed or virtually any shape imaginable.
  • The one-way valve 300 should be preferably made of a flexible and/or stretchable material such as rubber or silicone, so that when the smoker inhales, a vacuum is formed above the surface of the valve face 305, creating a negative pressure. This negative pressure pulls the flaps 315 a,b on opposite sides of the slit 310 to fold up and away from each other, forming an air pathway in the direction towards a mouth of the user. If a user exhales or blows into the e-cigarette, a positive pressure is applied on the surface of the valve face 305, forcing the flaps 315 a,b to go back to their original shape and block the back flow of vapor. Alternatively, the one-way valve 300 can be made of one material or a composite of materials, and does not necessarily need to have uniform flexibility and elasticity throughout. For instance, the flaps 315 a,b can include edges or “lips” 316 a,b (see FIG. 4B) along the slit 310 which may be made more rigidly than the flaps 315 a,b, and the opening motion can occur at the joints where the “lips” 316 a,b meet at the extremities of the slit 310.
  • FIG. 5 depicts a schematic of a cutaway section of a cartomizer section 500 including a one-way valve 300. Some components of the cartomizer section 500 have been removed for the purpose of simplicity. The cartomizer section can include a liquid reservoir, heating coil, an air channel (i.e. airflow path) and other components as shown in WO 2012/142293. As can be seen in FIG. 5, the cartomizer section 500 can be generally cylindrical and can include a center space 505 therein. The center space 505 can include a metal or plastic “post” 510 which can protrude in an axial direction of the cartomizer section 500 towards a mouth end insert 650 (see FIG. 6). The one-way valve 300 should be made of the correct size so as to fit tightly onto the post 510 of the cartomizer section 500. Preferably, when the one-way valve 300 is on the post 510, the cylindrical length of the one-way valve 300 should be such that the valve face 305 of the valve 300 should either sit directly on the top of the post 510 (to prevent the flaps from opening in the wrong direction) or it should extend at least slightly beyond the top of the post 510 (up to 3 mm).
  • The valve face 305 should preferably be axially spaced from a heater such as a heating coil 620 (see FIG. 6) so that it does not melt or warp from the elevated heat of the heater. It is therefore also recommended to preferably make the valve out of a heat resistant material such as for example silicone.
  • FIG. 6 depicts a cutaway section of an electronic cigarette 600, also showing a one-way valve 300 installed onto a post 510 in a cartomizer section 601. The electronic cigarette 600 can include a separate cartomizer section 601 which is disposable and a separate battery section 602 which is reusable, or alternatively, the cartomizer section 601 and the battery section 602 can be an integral piece wherein the electronic cigarette 600 is disposable. As shown in FIG. 6, the valve face 305 of the one-way valve 300 is located between the top of the post 510 and the heating coil 620. The battery section 602 can include an airflow sensor, battery, and other components as shown in WO 2012/142293.
  • Although the elongated portion 320 of the one-way valve 300 is typically cylindrical, it can alternatively have a square, rectangular or virtually any-shaped cross-section. In fact, that elongated portion 320 of the one-way valve 300 does not necessarily need to exist, and indeed, just the valve face 305 of the one-way valve 300 is enough for the one-way valve 300 to function. As seen from FIGS. 3A-D and 4A-C, the valve face 305 can be flat (see FIGS. 4A-C), or contoured and protruding (See FIGS. 3A-D). For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 3B, the valve face 305 of the one-way valve can protrude outwardly, or alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 3D, the valve face 305 of the one-way valve 300 can be contoured such that the slit 310 of the valve face 305 fits in a recess thereof.
  • It will be understood that the embodiments disclosed herein have been disclosed herein by way of example, and that other modifications and alterations may occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the embodiments disclosed herein.

Claims (20)

1. A cartomizer section of an electronic cigarette which can be connected to a battery section of the electronic cigarette, the cartomizer section comprising:
a liquid reservoir operable to store liquid material; and
a one-way valve, the one-way valve operable to seal an end of the cartomizer section in fluid communication with the liquid reservoir wherein the one-way valve is configured to allow one directional air flow towards a user's mouth during a draw on the electronic cigarette so as to prevent back flow of vapor produced during operation of the electronic cigarette towards the battery section.
2. The cartomizer section of claim 1, wherein the one-way valve includes an elongated portion which has a valve face at an end thereof, wherein the valve face includes a slit having a flap on each respective side of the slit, the flaps operable to form a seal against air and liquid stored in the liquid reservoir wherein when a user inhales the flaps separate thereby forming an air pathway in the direction of the user's mouth.
3. The cartomizer section of claim 1, wherein the one-way valve is made of rubber or silicone.
4. The cartomizer section of claim 1, wherein the one-way valve is formed of an elastic material.
5. The cartomizer section of claim 1, wherein each flap includes a rigid lip along the slit of the valve face.
6. The cartomizer section of claim 1, further comprising a post in a center space of the cartomizer section wherein the post protrudes in an axial direction of the cartomizer section towards a mouth end insert thereof, wherein the one-way valve is disposed on the post such that the valve face is disposed on top of a distal end of the post or extends slightly beyond the distal end of the post.
7. The cartomizer section of claim 1, further comprising a heater operable to heat liquid drawn theretoward to form a vapor in an air channel of the cartomizer section, the heater axially spaced from the valve face of the one-way valve.
8. The cartomizer section of claim 1, wherein the valve face is flat, contoured, or protruding.
9. An electronic cigarette comprising a cartomizer section and a battery section, the cartomizer section including:
a liquid reservoir operable to store liquid material; and
a one-way valve, the one-way valve operable to seal an end of the cartomizer section in fluid communication with the liquid reservoir wherein the one-way valve is configured to allow one directional air flow towards a user's mouth during a draw on the electronic cigarette so as to prevent back flow of vapor produced by the electronic cigarette towards the battery section thereof.
10. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the one-way valve includes an elongated portion which has a valve face at an end thereof, wherein the valve face includes a slit having a flap on each respective side of the slit, the flaps operable to form a seal against air and liquid stored in the liquid reservoir wherein when a user inhales the flaps separate thereby forming an air pathway in the direction of the user's mouth.
11. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the one-way valve is made of rubber or silicone.
12. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the one-way valve is formed of an elastic material.
13. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein each flap includes a rigid lip along the slit of the valve face.
14. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the cartomizer section further comprises a post in a center space of the cartomizer section wherein the post protrudes in an axial direction of the cartomizer section towards a mouth end insert thereof, wherein the one-way valve is disposed on the post such that the valve face is disposed on top of a distal end of the post or extends slightly beyond the distal end of the post.
15. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the cartomizer section further comprises a heater operable to heat liquid drawn theretoward to form a vapor in an air channel of the cartomizer section, the heater axially spaced from the valve face of the one-way valve.
16. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the valve face is flat, contoured, or protruding.
17. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the battery section comprises a battery operable to power a heater of the cartomizer section.
18. The electronic cigarette of claim 17, wherein the battery section further comprises control circuitry and an airflow sensor, the air flow sensor operable to initiate the supply of power from the battery to the heater when the air flow sensor senses air flow through the electronic cigarette.
19. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the cartomizer section is disposable and the battery section is reusable.
20. The electronic cigarette of claim 9, wherein the cartomizer section and the battery section are an integral piece wherein the electronic cigarette is disposable.
US14/287,658 2013-05-28 2014-05-27 One-way valve for atomizer section in electronic cigarettes Pending US20140355969A1 (en)

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