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1. WO1985004507 - ROTARY ULTRASONIC SCAN HEAD INCLUDING FLUID DRIVE

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:
1. A rotary ultrasonic scan head comprising:
a housing;
a rotor supported within said housing for rotation, said rotor having a predetermined axis of rotation and including at least one ultrasonic transducer that is disposed so as to be capable of ultrasonic energy transmission and reception in directions transverse to said axis of rotation; and,
a fluid drive motor disposed within said housing and operatively associated with said rotor for rotating said rotor about said axis in response to the supply of a fluid to said fluid drive motor.
2. The scan head of Claim 1, further comprising means disposed within said housing and operatively associated with said rotor for coupling electrical signals between said housing and said rotor.
3. The scan head of Claim 1, further comprising means disposed within said housing for sensing the relative angular position and speed of rotation of said rotor.
4. The scan head of Claim 1, wherein said fluid drive motor includes: a cavity defined within said housing; anĪ¬mpeller disposed within said cavity and forming part of said rotor; and, fluid inlet means and fluid outlet means disposed in said housing and being respectively adapted to conduct fluid to and from said cavity, said fluid inlet means being disposed so as to direct the fluid conducted therethrough at said impeller.
5. The scan head of Claim 4, wherein the entirety of said rotor is disposed within said cavity so that the fluid circulated therethrough also serves as an acoustic coupling fluid for the ultrasonic energy transmitted and received by said at least one ultrasonic transducer.
6. The scan head of Claim 5, further- comprising means disposed in said housing and defining an acoustic window for said cavity for coupling ultrasonic energy between said cavity and the exterior of said housing.
7. The scan head of Claim 6, wherein said acoustic window is of flexible material, and further comprising pressure-compensating means disposed within said housing for regulating the pressure of fluid within said cavity upon deflection of said acoustic window.
8. A rotary ultrasonic scan head comprising:
a housing having a cavity defined therein;
a rotor disposed within said cavity and supported by said housing for rotation about a predetermined axis, said rotor including: at least one ultrasonic transducer that is disposed so as to be capable of ultrasonic energy transmission and reception in directions transverse to said axis of rotation; and, an impeller composed of a plurality of impeller blades disposed about said axis of rotation; and,
fluid inlet means and fluid outlet means disposed within said housing and being respectively adapted to conduct fluid to and from said cavity, said fluid inlet means being disposed so as to direct the fluid conducted therethrough at said impeller blades.
9. The scan head of Claim 8, further comprising means disposed on said housing and closing said cavity, said means defining therein an acoustic window for coupling ultrasonic energy between said cavity and the exterior of said housing.
10. The scan head of Claim 9, wherein said acoustic window is of flexible material, and further comprising a pressure-compensating diaphragm member of flexible material disposed within said housing and closing said cavity.
11. The scan head of Claim 8, wherein said housing includes first and second, separable housing portions having corresponding mating surfaces that abut in assembly, and further comprising means for maintaining said first and second housing portions in assembly.
12. The scan head of Claim 11, wherein said first and second housing portions are substantially symmetrical and have arcuate peripheral surfaces that form a substantially cylindrical surface in assembly; and wherein said means for maintaining said first and second housing portions in assembly comprises a rotatable collar engageable with said arcuate peripheral surfaces of said first and second housing portions.
13. The scan head of Claim 11, wherein said cavity is defined by at least one recess extending into said first housing portion from said mating surface thereof and at least one complementary recess extending into said second housing portion from said mating surface thereof.
14. The scan head of Claim 13, wherein said rotor and said recesses are each substantially cylindrical.
15. The scan head of Claim 14, wherein each of said recesses is defined by a circumferential sidewall and a floor transverse thereto, and further comprising means mounted in said floor of each said recess and at each end of said rotor for supporting said rotor for rotation upon assembly of said first and second housing portions.
16. The scan head of Claim 15, wherein said means for supporting said rotor includes first and second pivots mounted in said floors of said recesses in said first and second housing portions, respectively, and first and second jeweled bearings mounted at the respective- ends of said rotor and respectively riding on said first and second pivots.
17. The scan head of Claim 15, wherein: said impeller is substantially disposed in assembly within said cylindrical recess in one of said first and second housing portions; said fluid inlet means includes a fluid inlet bore and a nozzle in fluid communication therewith that are disposed in said one of said first and second housing portions, said nozzle being located so as to enter said cylindrical recess in said one of said first and second housing portions through said circumferential sidewall thereof and being disposed so that fluid conducted therethrough exits said nozzle as a jet substantially tangent to said circumferential sidewall; and, said fluid outlet means includes a fluid outlet bore disposed in said one of said first and second housing portions and extending to said floor of said cylindrical recess therein.
18. The scan head of Claim 15, wherein said cavity is further defined by a second recess extending into said first housing portion from said mating surface thereof and a complementary second recess extending into said second housing portion from said mating surface thereof, each of said second recesses further extending in directions transverse to said axis of rotation from said circumferential sidewall of said recess in its respective housing portion to an exterior surface of its respective housing portion, said second recesses defining upon assembly of said first and second housing portions an elongated aperture in said exterior surfaces that is transverse to said axis of rotation;
and further comprising a boot removably secured to said first and second housing portions in assembly and closing said elongated aperture, said boot having defined therein an elongated acoustic window that is substantially aligned with said elongated aperture.
19. The scan head of Claim 18, wherein: said boot is composed of a flexible material; said cavity is further defined by a third recess extending into said first housing portion from said mating surface thereof and a complementary third recess extending into said second housing portion from said mating surface thereof, said third recesses opposing said second recesses and extending in directions transverse to said axis of rotation and in fluid communication with said cylindrical recesses in said first and second housing portions;
and further comprising a pressure-compensating diaphragm member of flexible material received in said third recesses upon assembly of said first and second housing portions.

20. The scan head of Claim 13, wherein said rotor includes a plurality of ultrasonic transducers disposed at angular intervals about said axis of rotation, and further comprising means for selectively enabling each said ultrasonic transducer as each said ultrasonic transducer traverses a desired sector.
21. The scan head of Claim 20, wherein said means for selectively actuating includes: a plurality of reed switches disposed at angular intervals about said axis of rotation, each reed switch being associated and electrically connected with one of said plurality of ultrasonic transducers and being diametrically opposed to its associated ultrasonic transducer; and, at least one permanent magnet disposed within one of said first and second housing portions in opposition to said desired sector for actuating each said reed switch to enable its associated ultrasonic transducer as its associated ultrasonic transducer traverses said desired sector.
22. The scan head of Claim 13, wherein said rotor further includes an optically encoded member that is substantially disposed in assembly within said recess in one of said first and second housing portions; and further comprising means disposed within said one of said first and second housing portions for coupling light tb and from said optically encoded member.
23. The scan head of Claim 22, wherein said means for coupling light includes: a bore formed in said one of said first and second housing portions and extending to said recess therein; and, a fiber-optic bundle disposed within said bore.
24. The scan head of Claim 23, wherein said means for coupling light further includes: a second bore formed in said one of said first and second housing portions and extending to said recess therein, said bore and said second bore being disposed at different angular locations relative to said axis of rotation; and, a second fiber-optic bundle disposed within said second bore.
25. The scan head of Claim 13, further comprising a rotary transformer for coupling electrical signals between one of said first and second housing portions and said rotor.
26. The scan head of Claim 25, wherein said rotary transformer includes: a first winding disposed within said recess in said one of said first and second housing portions and coaxial with said axis of rotation; and, a second winding carried by said rotor and coaxial with said axis of rotation, said second winding being substantially disposed in assembly in said recess in said one of said first and second housing portions and being aligned with said first winding in directions transverse to said axis of rotation.

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27. The scan head of Claim 13, further comprising: a bore extending from an exterior surface of one of said' first and second housing portions to said recess therein; and, means for selectively closing and opening said bore to permit fluid to be bled from said cavity.
28. A rotor for a rotary ultrasonic scan head, said rotor comprising:
a substantially cylindrical mandrel having a longitudinal axis;
a disc formed at one end of and coaxial with said mandrel;
a bore extending axially through said mandrel and said disc;
a plurality of ultrasonic transducers disposed at angular intervals about said longitudinal axis;
a plurality of reed switches disposed at angular intervals about said longitudinal axis, each said reed switch being associated with one of said plurality of ultrasonic transducers and diametrically opposing its associated ultrasonic transducer;
a printed circuit board affixed in proximity to said disc, said printed circuit board including inner and outer conductive rings each coaxial with said longitudinal axis;
means connecting each reed switch and its associated ultrasonic transducer in electrical circuit with said inner and outer conductive rings;
a winding disposed on said mandrel at its end away from said disc, said winding being coaxial with said longitudinal axis;
means connecting said winding in electrical circuit with said inner and outer conductive rings;
an impeller carried by said mandrel at its end away from said disc, said impeller including a plurality of impeller blades disposed at substantially equal angular intervals about said longitudinal axis, said impeller having a diameter substantially equal to that of said disc;
a body formed about said mandrel intermediate said impeller and said disc, said body being formed from a resinous material that encapsulates said plurality of ultrasonic transducers and said plurality of reed switches; and,
a pair of bearings disposed in said bore at opposite ends thereof.
29. A rotor as recited in Claim 28, wherein said body is formed by molding said resinous material about said mandrel.
30. A rotor as recited in Claim 29, wherein said impeller is also formed by molding said resinous material about said mandrel.
31. A rotor as recited in Claim 28, wherein said pair of bearings are jeweled bearings.

32. A rotor as recited in Claim 28, further comprising an optically encoded ring carried by said disc, said ring having formed thereon a plurality of areas each having a different light reflectivity from said ring, said plurality of areas being disposed at substantially equal angular intervals about said ring.
33. A rotor as recited in Claim 28, further comprising a ferrite slug disposed within said bore and substantially aligned with said winding in directions transverse to said longitudinal axis.
34. In combination with the rotary ultrasonic scan head recited in Claim 8, a fluid drive system comprising:
a source of a fluid suitable for rotating said rotor and for coupling ultrasonic energy to and from said at least one ultrasonic transducer included in said rotor; and,
means for recirculating said fluid through said source and said scan head, by conducting fluid from said source to said fluid inlet means and by conducting fluid from said fluid outlet means to said source.
35. The combination recited in Claim 34, wherein said means for recirculating includes a flexible fluid inlet tube in fluid communication with said fluid inlet means and a flexible fluid outlet tube in fluid communication with said fluid outlet means.
36. The combination of Claim 34, wherein said source and said means for recirculating comprise a closed fluid drive system.
37. The combination of Claim 36, further comprising means for regulating the pressure of said fluid during recirculation thereof.
38. The combination of Claim 36, further comprising means for regulating the speed at which said fluid is recirculated.
39. The combination of Claim 34, wherein said fluid is water.
40. The combination of Claim 39, wherein said scan head further includes means disposed in said housing for bleeding air from said cavity.