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1. (WO2019060965) DIFFUSEUR POUR L'AÉRATION D'UN FLUIDE
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

CLAIMS

1 . An elongate diffuser comprising :

a diffuser base comprising a diffuser body;

a membrane attached to the diffuser body;

wherein the membrane is connected to the diffuser body so that introduction of gas at a working pressure into the diffuser displaces part of the membrane from contact with the diffuser body to provide an elongate sealed compartment between the membrane and a surface provided mainly or wholly by the diffuser body, the compartment having a first lateral side interface region where the membrane contacts the diffuser body, a laterally intermediate region where the membrane is spaced apart from the diffuser body and a second lateral side interface region where the membrane contacts the diffuser body, and wherein gas can pass from the compartment through the membrane for aeration of a fluid in which the diffuser is immersed; and

wherein the diffuser body surface which bounds the compartment comprises a recessed portion which is recessed away from the membrane between the first lateral interface region and the second lateral interface region, compared to a planar surface extending between the first lateral side interface region and the second lateral side interface region, to thereby provide the compartment with larger transverse cross sectional size than would be provided by a planar surface extending from the first lateral side interface region to the second lateral interface region.

2. An elongate diffuser according to claim 1 , wherein the surface is recessed across at least 75% of the lateral distance between the first lateral side interface region and the second lateral side interface region.

3. An elongate diffuser according to either preceding claim, wherein the surface has a substantially uniform curvature across at least most of the lateral distance between the first lateral side interface region and the second lateral side interface region.

4. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein when the diffuser is inactive with substantially no gas pressure applied thereto, the membrane engages the surface of the diffuser body across the recessed region.

5. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the surface has a substantially concave form in transverse cross section.

6. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser provides a gas inlet for introducing gas into the compartment, and provides only a single gas inlet into the compartment.

7. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the compartment formed between the diffuser body and the membrane provides the only distribution channel for distributing gas along the length direction of the diffuser.

8. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein a gas inlet is provided at a first axial end region of the diffuser body, and the interior compartment distributes gas between the inlet and a second axial end of the interior compartment.

9. An elongate diffuser according to claim 8, wherein the diffuser provides a gas outlet at the second axial end region thereof, so that the interior compartment can be used for distributing gas from a gas supply to another diffuser.

10. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser has a length of at least 6 metres

1 1 . An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser has a width of between about 10 cm and about 20 cm.

12. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser has a length to width ratio of at least about 20.

13. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein when substantially no gas pressure is provided to the diffuser, the membrane is in a relaxed or collapsed state, so that the compartment does not exist; when a first, lower, level of gas pressure is provided to the diffuser, the membrane is inflated, but not stretched, to provide said compartment, which in this state has a first, smaller, cross-sectional size; when a second, higher, level of gas pressure is provided to the diffuser, the membrane is inflated, and also stretched, to increase the spacing between the membrane and the diffuser body at the laterally intermediate region of the compartment, so that in this state the compartment has a second, greater, cross-sectional size.

14. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein at least one axial end region the membrane is sealed with respect to a surface of the diffuser base such that a transversely extending region of the membrane is retained in a substantially convex cross sectional shape irrespective of whether the membrane is inflated.

15. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein at least one axial end region of the interior compartment is at least partially defined by a base surface end portion which is shaped to provide a smooth transition from a transverse cross sectional shape that is substantially convex closer to the corresponding end of the diffuser to a transverse cross sectional shape that is recessed closer to an axial centre of the diffuser.

16. An elongate diffuser according to claim 15, wherein at least one base surface end portion is provided by an end piece component manufactured separately to the diffuser

body, and the diffuser base comprises said diffuser body and said at least one end piece component.

17. An elongate diffuser according to claim 16, wherein at least one end piece component provides a blocking region which at least partially blocks a recess provided by the recessed portion of the diffuser body, at an end region of the diffuser.

18. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser comprises a gas inlet for passage of gas into the compartment and a non-return valve associated with the gas inlet.

19. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser body underside provides a single open channel structure.

20. An elongate diffuser according to claim 1 , any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser is a fine bubble diffuser.

21 . An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein the diffuser is provided with a mounting plate for mounting the diffuser to a support, the mounting plate comprising two mounting plate parts which can be connected to provide the mounting plate.

22. An elongate diffuser according to claim 21 , wherein each of the two mounting plate parts can, when separated from the other, be operatively engaged with the diffuser body at substantially any desired axial position along the length of the diffuser body but when connected together can only be disengaged from the diffuser body at predefined axial positions.

23. An elongate diffuser according to either of claims 21 or 22, wherein when the mounting plate parts are not connected, neither extends across the full distance between engaged side portions of the diffuser, but when they are connected the combined two-part mounting plate extends between the engaged side portions of the diffuser and can thereby be retained in a fixed position relative to the diffuser.

24. An elongate diffuser according to any of claims 21 to 23, wherein each mounting plate part provides a connection formation for connecting with a connection formation of the other mounting plate part, and the two mounting plate parts are substantially identical.

25. An elongate diffuser according to any preceding claim, wherein an air inlet pipe of the diffuser provides a purge valve comprising:

a purge control element movable between a first control position for closing a water outlet when there is little or no accumulated water to be purged, and a second control position for opening the outlet in response to the presence of water to be purged; and

a flow check valve through which water is, in use, purged, said flow check valve being a one-way valve which allows flow of water therethrough in the purging direction and in use substantially prevents flow of water therethrough in the reverse direction.

26. An elongate diffuser comprising:

a diffuser base comprising a diffuser body;

a membrane attached to the diffuser body;

wherein the membrane is connected to the diffuser body so that introduction of gas at a working pressure into the diffuser displaces part of the membrane from contact with the diffuser body to provide an elongate sealed compartment between the membrane and a surface provided mainly or wholly by the diffuser body, and wherein gas can pass from the compartment through the membrane for aeration of a fluid in which the diffuser is immersed; and

wherein the diffuser body surface which bounds the compartment comprises a recessed portion which is recessed away from the membrane in use, and which contributes to the lateral cross sectional area of the compartment, to thereby facilitate distribution of gas along at least a substantial part of the length of the diffuser by the compartment.

27. An elongate diffuser according to claim 26, wherein the compartment has a first lateral side interface region where the membrane contacts the diffuser body, a laterally intermediate region where the membrane is spaced apart from the diffuser body and a second lateral side interface region where the membrane contacts the diffuser body.

28. An elongate diffuser according to claim 27, any preceding claim, wherein the shape of the diffuser body surface provides the compartment with larger transverse cross sectional size than would be provided by a planar diffuser body surface extending between the first lateral side interface region and the second lateral side interface region.

29. An elongate diffuser comprising:

a diffuser base comprising a diffuser body;

a membrane attached to the diffuser body;

wherein the membrane is connected to the diffuser body so that introduction of gas at a working pressure into the diffuser displaces part of the membrane from contact with the diffuser body to provide an elongate sealed compartment between the membrane and a surface provided mainly or wholly by the diffuser body; and

wherein the diffuser body and membrane are dimensioned and configured so that said compartment can be formed without substantial stretching of the membrane.

30. A method of operating a diffuser to aerate a liquid comprising:

providing a diffuser in a body of liquid, the diffuser comprising a diffuser base and a membrane, wherein the membrane fits substantially unstressed on the base when no air gas pressure is provided to the diffuser;

operating the diffuser with a first lower level of gas pressure applied to flex the membrane and displace at least some of the membrane away from the base, to thereby

form an interior compartment between the membrane and the base which acts as a conduit to distribute gas over a substantial part of the length of the diffuser, without substantially stretching the membrane; and

after formation of the interior compartment along substantially the working length of the diffuser, operating the diffuser with a second, greater, level of gas pressure, sufficient to stretch the membrane, to thereby open slits or apertures therein for formation of bubbles in the body of liquid.

31 . A method of operating a diffuser to aerate a liquid according to claim 30, wherein the method comprises use of a diffuser in accordance with any one or more of claims 1 to 29.

32. A method of operating a diffuser to aerate a liquid according to either of claims 30 or 31 , wherein operating the diffuser with a first lower level of gas pressure applied comprises operating the diffuser with at a gas pressure of marginally greater than the fluid pressure immediately adjacent the diffuser, and operating the diffuser with a second, greater, level of gas pressure applied comprises operating the diffuser with at a gas pressure of at least 2 kPa greater than the fluid pressure immediately adjacent the diffuser.

33. A purge valve system for use in an air inlet pipe of an air diffuser, comprising:

a purge control element movable between a first control position for closing a water outlet when there is little or no accumulated water to be purged, and a second control position for opening the outlet in response to the presence of water to be purged; and

a flow check valve through which water is, in use, purged, said flow check valve being a one-way valve which allows flow of water therethrough in the purging direction and in use substantially prevents flow of water therethrough in the reverse direction.

34. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 33, wherein the flow check valve is provided downstream, in a water purge flow direction, of the water outlet.

35. A purge valve system in accordance with either of claims 33 or 34, wherein the purge control element comprises a float.

36. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 35, wherein the first control position corresponds to a non-floating position of the float.

37. A purge valve system in accordance with either of claims 35 or 36, wherein the water outlet comprises a seat engageable by the float.

38. A purge valve system in accordance with any of claims 33 to 37, wherein the water outlet comprises an inlet part of the flow check valve.

39. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 35, or any claim dependent thereon wherein the second control position corresponds to a floating position of the float.

40. A purge valve system in accordance with any of claims 33 to 39, wherein the flow check valve comprises a flexible part which is deformable by positive net fluid pressure on an upstream side thereof, in a water purge flow direction, into an open configuration.

41 . A purge valve system in accordance with claim 40, wherein the flexible part of the flow check valve is configured to remain in a substantially closed configuration in the circumstances of positive net fluid pressure on aa downstream side thereof, in a water purge flow direction.

42. A purge valve system in accordance with either of claims 40 or 41 , wherein the flexible part of the flow check valve comprises an elastomer material.

43. A purge valve system in accordance with any of claims 33 to 42, wherein the flow check valve is configured to provide a slot which is closed in the absence of net pressure from either side of the flow check valve.

44. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 43, wherein the flow check valve is configured so that the slot remains closed in the presence of a positive net pressure applied to a downstream side thereof, in a water purge flow direction.

45. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 44, wherein the flow check valve is configured to provide a slot which is configured to be forced open by a positive net pressure applied to an upstream side thereof, in a water purge flow direction.

46. A purge valve system in accordance with any of claims 43 to 45, wherein the slot is provided by two opposed parts of the flow check valve.

47. A purge valve system in accordance with any of claims 33 to 46, wherein the flow check valve comprises a duck-bill valve.

48. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 35 or any claim dependent thereon, wherein the purge valve system comprises a float restraining member positionable in a first, float restraining, position to retain the float substantially in the first, non-floating, position.

49. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 48, wherein the float restraining member is moveable by providing increased air pressure in a vessel from which water is to be purged.

50. A purge valve system in accordance with claim 49, wherein the float restraining member is moveable by providing increased air pressure in the air inlet pipe from which water is to be purged.