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1. EP0574547 - ELECTROSTATIC VAPOR-AEROSOL GENERATOR

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Claims

1. Apparatus for generating electrostatically charged aerosols and/or vapors comprising:

a porous, capillary unit (10) of elongated configuration having a dispensing end, said capillary unit being comprised of a plurality of fiber filaments (10a, 10b) arranged in a tubular configuration which terminate at said dispensing end in a plurality of exposed, freely extending dispensing tips (10c) ;

electrode means, said electrode means comprising an electrode (5,15) in contact with said capillary unit;

electrical contact means (15a) on said electrode for connecting said electrode to a source (1) of high voltage, direct current (DC) power; and

means (8,14) for supplying liquid to said capillary unit, whereby liquid can pass through said porous capillary unit in proximity to said electrode and be electrostatically charged and dispensed as aerosols and/or vapors from said freely extending tips of said capillary unit.


  2. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein:
   said fiber filaments (10a, 10b) are braided into capillament bundles, the extremities (10c) of which at said dispensing end of said capillary unit (10) are open and unbraided to provide said freely extending, filament tip extremities (10c).
  3. Apparatus as defined in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein:
   said capillary unit (10) further comprises a central, elongated core made up of a plurality of semi-conductive capillaments (8a) through which liquid can pass, with said central core being positioned inside of said tubular configuration of fiber filaments (10a, 10b) in electrically conductive relation with said electrode (5,15).
  4. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 wherein:
   said capillary unit (10) is contained and protected in an outer, liquid impervious tubular member (11).
  5. Apparatus as defined in claim 3 or claim 4 wherein:
   said capillaments (8a) each comprise a bundle of fibers (8) in which a wire conductor (9) is embedded.
  6. Apparatus as defined in claim 5 wherein:
   said electrode (5,15) is elongated and extends at least partially into said core substantially centrally thereof.
  7. Apparatus as defined in any one of claims 1 to 6 wherein:
   said capillary unit (10) is contained within an outer, liquid impervious vessel (14) capable of holding a supply of liquid and comprising said means for supplying liquid to said capillary unit.
  8. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein:
   said fiber filaments (10a, 10b) terminate at their lower ends in end segments (10a) which extend into the vessel (14) and, in use, into liquid present therein.
  9. Apparatus as defined in claim 7 or claim 8 and further including:
   an electrically insulating holder (19) having an upwardly opening recess (21) within which said vessel (14) is removably received for dispensing operation, said holder having electrical connector means (20) therein for connecting said electrical contact means (15a) on said electrode (15)to a power supply wire (2).
  10. Apparatus as defined in any one of claims 1 to 6 and further including:

a tubular passage (30) within which said capillary unit (10) is positioned;

said means for supplying liquid comprises a liquid supply line (33) connected to said capillary unit; and means for delivering a pressurized stream of air into said tubular passage for flow over said capillary unit and removal of aerosol and/or vapors emitted from said capillary unit.


  11. Apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein:
   said means for delivering a pressurized stream of air comprises a blower housing (37) connected to one end of said tubular passage (30).
  12. The use of apparatus as defined in any one of claims 1 to 11 to generate electrostatically charged aerosols and/or vapors and/or air ions.
  13. The use of apparatus as defined in claim 11 to enhance the air quality within a building by supplying an aromatic essence, deodorant, disinfectant, fumigant, fungicide, insecticide or bactericide substance as said liquid, wherein the opposite end of said tubular passage (30) is connected to a duct of an air handling system of a building.
  14. A method of generating air quality enhancing vapors and/or aerosols and dispensing them into the air handling system of a building comprising:

placing an emitter having a dispensing end (10c) in air flow communication with the air handling system of a building, said emitter comprising;

a plurality of fiber filaments (10a, 10b) arranged in a tubular configuration which terminate at said dispensing end in a plurality of exposed, freely extending dispensing tips (10c) ;

liquid passage means (22);

means (29,32,33) for supplying liquid to said liquid passage means;

means (2,28,35) for imparting an electrostatic charge to liquid in said emitter; and

air flow passage means (30) in fluid flow juxtaposition to said liquid passage means (22);

directing a pressurized flow of liquid to said liquid passage means (22) from said means (29,32,33) for supplying liquid, said liquid being selected from the group of air quality enhancing substances comprising aromatic essences, deodorants, disinfectants, fumigants, fungicides, insecticides, and bactericides;

applying an electrostatic charge to liquid in said emitter and thereby generating vapors and/or aerosols from said freely extending tips (10c); and,

passing a stream of pressurized air through said air flow passage means (30) and thereby picking up said electrostatically charged vapors and/or aerosols in said air stream; and thence directing said stream of pressurized air into said air handling system.