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1. (WO2018098574) FIRST-FILL THERMOSTATIC VALVE ELEMENT
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We claim:

A thermostat valve assembly for controlling fluid flow in an internal combustion engine and/or transmission system including:

(a) a relatively movable valve and valve seat providing an unobstructed valve passageway between a valve-open and a valve-closed position corresponding to a minimum operating temperature and a maximum operating temperature,

(b) a valve drive motor assembly centrally located within the valve seat structured to reversibly move the valve seat in relation to the valve between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions responsive to a range of engine operating temperatures including:

i. a linear drive motor with a reversible valve drive stroke operable over said range of operating temperatures, and,

ii. a drive stroke extension structured to maintain:

A. the unobstructed valve passageway between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions, and,

B. a temporary extension of the drive stroke during only the first cycle of engine operating temperature up towards or within said range of operating temperatures.

A valve assembly as claimed in claim 1 including an axial valve stem between the valve and the linear drive motor.

A valve assembly as claimed in claim 2 wherein the drive stroke extension includes the valve stem.

A valve assembly as claimed in claim 1 wherein the drive stroke is axial to the valve assembly.

726 5. A valve assembly as claimed in any of claims 1 through 4 wherein the valve drive motor assembly is structured to drive the valve stem and the linear motor against a reversible resistance pressure.

729 6. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 5 wherein the reversible resistance pressure is spring pressure.

7. A valve assembly as claimed in any of claims 1 through 6 wherein the drive 732 stroke extension ceases to maintain the temporary extension of the drive stroke upon the valve assembly first reaching a set engine operating temperature below a maximum operating temperature in said range.

735 8. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 7 wherein the set operating temperature is well below said maximum operating temperature in said range.

9. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 7 wherein said set operating temperature 738 is below said range of operating temperatures.

10. A valve assembly as claimed in any of claims 7 through 9 wherein said drive stroke extension is thermally responsive and changes its state upon reaching the

741 set operating temperature.

1 1 . A valve assembly as claimed in claim 10 wherein said change of state facilitates said cessation.

744 12. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 11 wherein said drive stroke extension disappears from the drive stroke upon said cessation.

13. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 12 said drive stroke extension changes 747 state away from a drive stroke resisting state upon said cessation.

1 . A valve assembly as claimed in claim 12 wherein said drive stroke extension is a solid below said set temperature and becomes maleable at said set

750 temperature and above.

15. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 12 wherein said drive stroke extension is a solid below said set temperature and a liquid at said set temperature and

753 above.

16. A valve assembly as claimed in any of claims 13 through 15 wherein said drive stroke extension is encapsulated into said valve drive motor assembly.

756 17. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 16 wherein said drive stroke extension extends said valve stem.

18. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 17 wherein said drive stroke extension is 759 encapsulated into the valve drive motor assembly only when it is a solid.

19. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 18 wherein said drive stroke extension escapes its encapsulation into the valve drive assembly reaching the set

762 temperature.

20. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 19 wherein said drive stroke extension escapes into the valved fluid.

765 21 . A valve assembly as claimed in claim 20 wherein said drive stroke extension escapes into the valved fluid and dissolves into that fluid.

22. A valve assembly as claimed in claim 21 wherein said drive stroke extension 768 escapes into the valved fluid and permanently dissolves into that fluid.

23. A method of testing a thermostat valve assembly for controlling fluid flow in an internal combustion engine and/or transmission system including providing:

771 (a) a relatively movable valve and valve seat with an unobstructed valve passageway between a valve-open and a valve-closed position corresponding to a minimum operating temperature and a maximum

774 operating temperature,

(b) a valve drive motor assembly centrally located within the valve seat

structured to reversibly move the valve seat in relation to the valve

777 between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions responsive to a range of engine operating temperatures,

(c) a linear drive motor with a reversible valve drive stroke operable over said

780 range of operating temperatures, and,

(d) a drive stroke extension structured to maintain the unobstructed valve passageway between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions,

783 (e) a temporary extension of the drive stroke operative during only the first cycle of engine operating temperature up towards or within said range of operating temperatures, and,

786 (f) leak testing the valve assembly in place within engine componentry during operation of the temporary extension of the drive stroke and prior to engine operation.

789 24. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F, wherein:

(a) the apparatus includes an inlet-port-S, which conveys liquid flow into

792 the apparatus from a heat-source of the circuit-F;

(b) the apparatus includes a full-flow outlet-port-D, which conveys liquid flow from the apparatus to a heat-dissipator of the circuit-F;

795 (c) the apparatus includes a full-flow control-valve-F which is operable between an open-position and a closed- position;

(d) the control-valve-F includes a valve-seat-F and a relatively-movable

798 valve-member-F;

(e) the apparatus includes a valve-spring-F, which is so arranged in the apparatus that the valve-spring-F urges the valve-member-F towards and 801 into sealing contact with the valve-seat-F, with a valve-spring-force-F;

(f) the apparatus includes a thermal motor, having a motor-body;

(g) the motor includes a movable stem, which protrudes a protrusion-804 distance out from the motor-body;

(h) the motor is so structured and arranged in the apparatus that the protrusion-distance varies in relation to the temperature of the liquid;

807 (i) a variable motor-length is the length of the motor from a point on the axis of the motor-body to the tip of the movable stem;

(j) the apparatus includes a first-fill spacer;

810 (k) the spacer is of a material that is solid at ambient temperatures, and, being solid, is strong enough to maintain its solid shape despite being subjected to being compressed by the valve-spring-force-F;

813 (I) the material of the spacer is meltable, in that, at a temperature-T above ambient, the material becomes sufficiently liquid that the softened spacer is no longer able to withstand the valve-spring-force-F, but rather,

816 at and above temperature-T, the spacer collapses mechanically and thereby permits or enables the valve-member-F to close against the valve-seat-F;

819 (m) the spacer being absent:

i. the valve-F is in its open position when the motor-length is longer than an open/close threshold-length-F, in that the valve-spring-F 822 urges the valve-member-F into contact with the valve-seat-F, but the motor-length is now long enough to hold the valve-member clear of the valve-seat; and

825 ii. the valve-F closes when the motor-length is shorter than the

open/close threshold-length-F, in that the valve-spring-F urges the valve-member-F into contact with the valve-seat-F, and the motor-828 length is too short to prevent the valve-member-F from making contact with the valve-seat-F;

(n) the spacer being present, and solid:

831 i. the spacer is so structured and so arranged in the apparatus that, when present, the solid spacer effectively increases the length of the motor;

834 ii. the sum of the motor-length and the spacer-length is referred to, here, as the overall-length;

iii. the overall-length is long enough that, even when the motor-837 length is shorter than the open/close threshold-length-F, at ambient temperature, the overall- length is longer than the open/close threshold-length-F;

840 (o) whereby the motor and the solid spacer together act to hold the valve- F open;

(p) the spacer is so positioned in the apparatus as to be compressed by the 843 valve-spring-force-F;

(q) the spacer is located elsewhere than directly between, and in contact with either, or both, of respective sealing surfaces of the valve-member-846 F and the valve-seat-F;

(r) the apparatus includes a solid-spacer container, and the solid first-fill spacer is housed within the container;

(s) the solid spacer fits into the container in such manner that the container constrains the solid spacer against significant movement relative to the container;

852 (t) the container is so structured, and is so mounted in the apparatus, as to hold the solid spacer in its as-designed position and posture;

(u) the container constrains the solid spacer against tipping movements 855 relative to the container, being movements:

i. tending to change the location and posture of the solid spacer, relative to the container, from the as-designed location and posture

858 of the spacer; and

ii. being movements other than minor insignificant movements of the solid spacer within the container arising from the solid spacer being a

861 loose fit, to accomodate manufacturing clearances and tolerances;

(v) the solid-spacer-container is not sealed, but has an opening, which is arranged to enable the now-liquid spacer in the container to pass out of 864 the container;

(w) the open-close threshold-length-F occurs at a liquid temperature here called the threshold-temperature-F;

867 (x) the apparatus is so structured and arranged, and is of such materials, that the material of the spacer, when raised above the threshold- temperature-F, melts or softens enough to enable the material to exit

870 from the container, through the opening, thereby enabling the full-flow control valve-F to close when the liquid in the circuit falls to ambient temperature.

873 25. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in claim 24, wherein:

(y) an axial length of the solid spacer being the overall length of the spacer 876 in the direction in which the valve-spring-force-F acts on the spacer;

(z) a diametral width of the solid spacer being the overall width of the spacer, in a plane at right angles to the axial length;

879 (aa) the axial length is no more than twice, and no less than half, the diametral width;

(ab) whereby the solid spacer is of a compact configuration.

882 26. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in any of claim 24 or claim 25, wherein:

(a) a line drawn from the valve-spring-F to the valve-member-F passes 885 through components of the apparatus that transmit the valve-spring- force-F from the valve-spring-F to the valve-member-F, and such line is here termed the valve-spring-force-axis-F;

888 (b) the apparatus is so arranged that the solid spacer, being present in its container, is one of the components that transmits the valve-spring-force from the valve-spring-F to the valve-member-F, and lies on the valve- 891 spring-force-axis-F.

27. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in any one of claims 24, 25, or 26, wherein:

894 (a) upon melting, the material of the spacer exits from the container, through the opening, into the liquid flowing in the circuit;

(b) the apparatus is so configured that the material, once having passed out 897 of the container, dissolves or otherwise disappears in the flowing liquid, and is unable later to reconstitute as a coherent solid, capable of holding the full-flow valve-F in its open-position at ambient temperatures.

900 28. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in any one of claims 24, 25, 26, or 27, wherein the solid spacer is located on the valve-spring-force-axis-F, between the valve-spring-F and the movable 903 valve-member-F;

29. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in any one of claims 24, 25, 26, 27, or 28, wherein the temperature-T, at 906 which the material of the spacer loses its solidity, is well above ambient temperatures, but is lower than the normal operating temperature of the liquid in the full-flow circuit.

909 30. Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in any one of claims 24, 25, 26, 27 28, or 29, wherein:

(a) the solid spacer has a spring-force-axis, being a line drawn through the 912 spacer in the direction of the compressive force acting on the solid spacer that arises from the valve-spring-F;

nwhen the valve-F is closed;

915 (b) the valve-member-F is in contact with the valve-seat-F over a preferably-circular line-of-contact-F, which encloses an area VA-F sq.mm;

918 (c) the spacer has an overall cross-sectional area, taken in a plane at right angles to the force-axis, of SA sq.mm; and

(d) the cross-sectional area SA sq.mm is half the VA-F sq.mm area, or less;

921 31 . Flow-control apparatus for controlling liquid flow in a full-flow circuit-F as claimed in any one of claims 24, 25, 26, 27 28, 29, or 30, wherein:

(a) the solid spacer has an overall length SL mm, measured along the spring-924 force-axis;

(b) the length SL mm is equal to ... to ensure that the solid

whole circuit

927 32. A full-flow liquid circulation system in an internal combustion engine or transmission system, wherein the system includes:

(a) an apparatus that embodies every word of claim 1 ;

930 (b) the full-flow circuit;

(c) the heat-source-S;

(d) the heat-dissipator-D;

933 (e) a liquid circulation pump; and

(f) associated conduits, pipes, and fittings.