Quantcast

Flexible connector

Imported: 25 Feb '17 | Published: 10 Sep '02

George M. Allen

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A connector includes an outer sleeve and an inner sleeve. The outer sleeve has an inner wall and a pair of juxtaposed slots. The inner sleeve has an outer surface with a first groove and a second groove defined therein. A sealing member is located in the first groove of the inner sleeve. The sealing member provides a continuous seal between the inner wall of the outer sleeve and the outer surface of the inner sleeve when the inner sleeve is mated within the outer sleeve. A retaining member is configured to engage the pair of juxtaposed slots, of the outer sleeve, and the second groove, of the inner sleeve, when the inner sleeve is mated with the outer sleeve. The retaining member restricts the longitudinal movement of the inner and outer sleeves in relation to one another.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features, and advantages of the invention will be readily understood from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevational cross-section of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of an inner sleeve of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines

3

3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an end view depicting a flexible connector utilizing a retaining member in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a side view of an outer sleeve of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines

7

7 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines

8

8 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a side view of an outer sleeve of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 10 is a partial cross-sectional view of an outer sleeve of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of a flexible connector in accordance with the present invention.

Claims

1. A connector comprising;

2. The connector of claim 1 wherein at least one of said inner sleeve and said outer sleeve is formed of 316 steel.

3. The connector of claim 1 wherein at least one of the said inner sleeve and said outer sleeve has a thickness in the range of 0.008-0.50 inches.

4. The connector of claim 1 wherein a distance between an outer portion of said inner sleeve and an inner portion of said outer sleeve is up to 0.010 inches.

5. The connector of claim 1 wherein at least one of said inner sleeve and said outer sleeve is at least one of machined onto an existing plumbing member, formed into an existing plumbing member, and pressed into an existing plumbing member.

6. The connector of claim 1 wherein said slots are located at a distance from an end of said outer sleeve so as to align said slots with said retaining groove when said outer sleeve and said inner sleeve are engaged.

7. The connector of claim 1 wherein said inner wall of said outer sleeve further comprises a plurality of tapered portions forming bottom sides of said slots to allow said sealing member to engage within said outer sleeve without being damaged.

8. The connector of claim 1 wherein said sealing member comprises a rubber O-ring.

9. The connector of claim 1 wherein said arms further comprise first portions adjacent to said collar wherein said first portions substantially resist bending.

10. The connector of claim 9 wherein said arms further comprise second portions adjacent to said first portions and extending towards said distal ends, wherein said second portions are flexible so as to allow the engagement of said retaining member with said inner sleeve and said outer sleeve.

11. The connector of claim 10 wherein said second portions are tapered from said first portions towards said distal ends.

12. The connector of claim 1 wherein said retaining member further comprises a key hole for aiding a user in engaging and disengaging said retaining member, said keyhole being at least one of formed into said collar and attached to said collar.

13. The connector of claim 1 wherein said retaining member is formed of 10/90 heat treated stainless steel.

14. The connector of claim 1 wherein said first groove, said retaining member, said slots said second groove, and said sealing member are dimensioned such that said inner sleeve and said outer sleeve are capable of at least one of axial movement relative to each other and rotational movement relative to each other about an axis substantially perpendicular to a longitudal direction of said inner sleeve wherein said sealing member is adapted to maintain said seal between said inner wall of said outer sleeve and said outer surface of said inner sleeve.

15. The connector of claim 14 wherein said rotational movement is up to 6 degrees of rotation from at least one of an axis of said inner sleeve and an axis of said outer sleeve.

16. The connector of claim 15 wherein said rotational movement is 3 degrees of rotation.

17. The connector of claim 1 wherein said sealing member prevents leakage up to 40 pounds per square inch of air pressure.

18. The connector of claim 1 wherein said arms are adapted to elastically deform to allow said arms to pass said inner sleeve and said arms are adapted to elastically return when said arms have passed said inner sleeve.

19. A method of operating a flexible connector comprising:

20. A connector comprising:

21. The connector of claim 20 wherein said inner wall is tapered toward an end of said outer sleeve adapted to receive said inner sleeve, said tapering providing a clearance between said inner wall and said outer surface, when said outer sleeve receives said inner sleeve; and