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United States Patent Application 20180001038
Kind Code A1
Biggs, III; James Curtis ;   et al. January 4, 2018

Fluid Atomizer, Nozzle Assembly and Methods for Assembling and Utilizing the Same

Abstract

A method of assembling a nozzle assembly is disclosed. The method includes: providing a nozzle member having a central passage defined by at least an inner side surface and an inner distal surface; inserting a fluid atomizer into the central passage of the nozzle member; and, with a distal surface of the fluid atomizer arranged adjacent the inner distal surface of the nozzle member, flexing legs of the fluid atomizer in a radially-outward direction for engaging each leg of the legs with the inner side surface of the nozzle member. A fluid atomizer is also disclosed. A nozzle assembly is also disclosed. A method of utilizing a nozzle assembly is also disclosed.


Inventors: Biggs, III; James Curtis; (Goldsboro, NC) ; Benton, JR.; Arthur Michael; (Hampstead, NC) ; Carney; Paul C.; (Oakfield, NY)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Neogen Corporation

Lansing

MI

US
Family ID: 1000002860846
Appl. No.: 15/703100
Filed: September 13, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14186980Feb 21, 20149821126
15703100

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: B05B 15/02 20130101; B05B 12/002 20130101; B05B 9/0894 20130101; B05B 9/01 20130101; B05B 1/3436 20130101; B05B 1/34 20130101; A61M 2207/10 20130101; A61M 15/08 20130101; A61M 11/006 20140204; Y10T 29/49433 20150115
International Class: A61M 11/00 20060101 A61M011/00; B05B 12/00 20060101 B05B012/00; A61M 15/08 20060101 A61M015/08; B05B 9/01 20060101 B05B009/01; B05B 15/02 20060101 B05B015/02; B05B 1/34 20060101 B05B001/34

Claims



1-26. (canceled)

27. A method of utilizing a nozzle assembly, comprising the steps of: providing a nozzle member having a stem portion and a central passage defined by at least an inner side surface and an inner distal surface; assembling the nozzle assembly by inserting a fluid atomizer into the central passage of the nozzle member; and inserting a distal portion of a spray gun into the central passage of the nozzle member for: firstly urging a distal surface of the fluid atomizer adjacent the inner distal surface of the nozzle member then secondly flexing legs of the fluid atomizer in a radially-outward direction in response to an application of an axial force to a proximal surface of the fluid atomizer for radially engaging the legs with the inner side surface of the nozzle member; and actuating the spray gun for causing a fluid to travel from the spray gun, through the central passage of the nozzle member; atomizing the fluid as the fluid travels through the central passage of the nozzle member; and permitting the fluid to travel beyond the fluid atomizer and out of the nozzle member in an atomized spray pattern.

28. The method according to claim 27, wherein prior to the actuating step, arranging the nozzle assembly within a nasal passage of animalia, wherein the fluid is a drug, medicine or vaccination that is delivered into the nasal passage of the animalia in the atomized spray pattern.

29. The method according to claim 27, wherein the spray pattern includes fluid droplets, wherein the fluid droplets are defined by: a D10 particle size distribution value, a D50 particle size distribution value and a D90 particle size distribution value.

30. The method according to claim 29, wherein the D10 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 15-25 um (microns), the D50 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 50-65 um (microns), and the D90 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 180-200 um (microns).

31. The method according to claim 29, wherein the D10 particle size distribution value is greater than approximately 15 um.

32. The method according to claim 29, wherein the D90 particle distribution value is less than approximately 200 um.

34. The method according to claim 29, wherein the D50 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 50-60 um.

35. The method according to claim 30, wherein the D10 particle size distribution value is greater than approximately 15 um, the D50 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 50-60 um, and the D90 particle distribution value is less than approximately 200 um.

36. The method according to claim 28, wherein the assembling the nozzle assembly step includes, prior to the actuating step, connecting a cap member to the stem portion of the nozzle member.

37. The method according to claim 36, wherein the cap member includes an axial passage sized to receive the stem portion of the nozzle member.

38. The method according to claim 36, wherein the stem portion of the nozzle member includes one or more radially outwardly projecting barbs.

39. The method according claim 38 wherein the one or more radially outwardly projecting barbs secure the cap member to the stem portion of the nozzle member.

40. The method according to claim 36, wherein the cap member is conical.

41. The method according to claim 36, wherein the cap member is formed from a soft, resilient material.

42. The method according to claim 28, further comprising: after delivering the fluid to the animalia, removing the nozzle assembly from the nasal passage of animalia.

43. The method according to claim 42, further comprising cleaning the nozzle assembly.

44. The method according to claim 43, wherein the cleaning step includes removing the distal portion of the spray gun from the central passage of the nozzle member.

45. The method according to claim 44 wherein the cleaning step further includes removing the fluid atomizer from the central passage of the nozzle member.

46. The method according to claim 36, further comprising: after delivering the fluid to the animalia, removing the nozzle assembly from the nasal passage of animalia.

47. The method according to claim 46, further comprising cleaning the nozzle assembly.

48. The method according to claim 47, wherein the cleaning step includes disconnecting the cap member from the stem portion of the nozzle member.

49. The method according to claim 28, wherein the animalia is selected from the group consisting of a swine, a cow and a horse.
Description



TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This disclosure relates to a fluid atomizer, nozzle assembly and methods for assembling and utilizing the same.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Structures for delivering a fluid are known in the art. Improvements to structures for delivering a fluid are continuously being sought in order to advance the arts.

SUMMARY

[0003] One aspect of the disclosure provides a method of assembling a nozzle assembly. The method may include the steps of: providing a nozzle member having a central passage defined by at least an inner side surface and an inner distal surface; inserting a fluid atomizer into the central passage of the nozzle member; and with a distal surface of the fluid atomizer arranged adjacent the inner distal surface of the nozzle member, flexing legs of the fluid atomizer in a radially-outward direction for engaging each leg of the legs with the inner side surface of the nozzle member.

[0004] Implementations of the disclosure may include the flexing step being conducted in response to applying an axial force to a proximal surface of the fluid atomizer.

[0005] Additionally, the applying step may be conducted in response to inserting a distal portion of a spray gun into the central passage of the nozzle member.

[0006] In some examples, the method may include the steps of: providing a conical cap member including an axial passage; and inserting a distal stem portion of the nozzle member through the axial passage of the conical cap member for connecting the conical cap member to the distal stem portion of the nozzle member. One or more radially outwardly projecting barbs may extend from an outer side surface of the distal stem portion of the nozzle member.

[0007] In some implementations, the inserting step results in radially engaging and securing the conical cap member for securing the conical cap member to the nozzle member.

[0008] In other implementations, the legs of the fluid atomizer may include a pair of opposing legs.

[0009] In some instances, engaging each leg of the legs with the inner side surface of the nozzle member results in spatially-fixing the fluid atomizer within the central passage of the nozzle member.

[0010] Another aspect of the disclosure provides a fluid atomizer. The fluid atomizer may include a proximal portion having a body, an intermediate portion and a distal portion. The intermediate portion may include legs connected to the body of the proximal portion. The distal portion may include a shoulder portion connected to the legs of the intermediate portion. The intermediate portion may be between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The distal portion may further include a head portion adjacent to the shoulder portion.

[0011] Implementations of the disclosure may include the proximal portion being integrally-formed with the intermediate portion. The intermediate portion may be integrally-formed with the distal portion.

[0012] Additionally, the body may include: a proximal surface, a distal surface, an outer side surface and an inner side surface. The inner side surface defines a passage that extends through the body from the proximal surface to the distal surface.

[0013] In some examples, each leg of the legs may include: a proximal portion, a distal portion and an intermediate knee portion between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The proximal portion of each leg of the legs may be integral with and extends away from the distal surface of the body.

[0014] In some implementations, as each of the proximal portion and the distal portion of each leg of the legs extend axially away from the proximal portion and the distal portion, each of the proximal portion and the distal portion of each leg of the legs extend with a radially outward component such that the intermediate knee portion of each leg defines a peak of each leg that may be arranged at a position that may be radially beyond a width defined by the side surface of the body.

[0015] In other implementations, the distal portion of each leg of the legs may be integral with and extend away from a proximal surface of the shoulder portion of the distal portion.

[0016] In some instances, the shoulder portion may further include a distal surface and a side surface between the proximal surface of the shoulder portion and the distal surface of the shoulder portion.

[0017] Implementations of the disclosure may include the side surface of the shoulder portion forming a radially inwardly projecting recess that extends along an entire height of the shoulder portion.

[0018] Additionally, the head portion may axially extend from and may be integral with distal surface of the shoulder portion. The head portion may include a distal surface and a side surface between the distal surface of the head portion and the distal surface of the shoulder portion.

[0019] In some examples, the side surface of the head portion may be interrupted by a plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses and a plurality of arcuate surfaces. Each arcuate surface of the plurality of arcuate surfaces may be arranged between radially inwardly projecting recesses of the plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses.

[0020] In some implementations, one of the arcuate surfaces of the plurality of arcuate surfaces of the head portion may be aligned with the radially inwardly projecting recess of the shoulder portion.

[0021] In other implementations, the body of the proximal portion may be a substantially circular body.

[0022] In some instances, the legs of the intermediate portion may include a pair of opposing legs.

[0023] In still yet another aspect of the disclosure provides a nozzle assembly including a nozzle member and a fluid atomizer. The nozzle member may include a proximal base portion and a distal stem portion. The proximal base portion may include an inner side surface that defines a passage that extends axially through the proximal base portion. The distal stem portion may include an inner side surface that defines a passage that extends through the distal stem portion. The fluid atomizer may include a proximal portion, an intermediate portion and a distal portion. The proximal portion may include a body. The intermediate portion may include legs connected to the body of the proximal portion. The distal portion may include a shoulder portion connected to the legs of the intermediate portion. The intermediate portion may be between the proximal portion and the distal portion. The distal portion may further include a head portion adjacent to the shoulder portion. The fluid atomizer may be configured to connect to the nozzle member when the fluid atomizer is arranged within the passage that extends through the distal stem portion of the nozzle member.

[0024] Implementations of the disclosure may include a conical cap member including an axial passage configured to accept insertion of the distal stem portion of the nozzle member therethrough.

[0025] Additionally, the conical cap member may be formed from a soft, resilient material.

[0026] In some examples, one or more radially outwardly projecting barbs may extend from an outer side surface of the distal stem portion of the nozzle member to radially engage the conical cap member to the nozzle member.

[0027] In some implementations, the body of the proximal portion may include a substantially circular body.

[0028] In other implementations, the legs of the intermediate portion may include a pair of opposing legs.

[0029] In yet another aspect of the disclosure provides a method of utilizing a nozzle assembly includes the steps of: providing a nozzle member having a central passage defined by at least an inner side surface and an inner distal surface; assembling the nozzle assembly by inserting a fluid atomizer into the central passage of the nozzle member; inserting a distal portion of a spray gun into the central passage of the nozzle member for: firstly urging a distal surface of the fluid atomizer adjacent the inner distal surface of the nozzle member then secondly flexing legs of the fluid atomizer in a radially-outward direction in response to an application of an axial force to a proximal surface of the fluid atomizer for radially engaging the legs with the inner side surface of the nozzle member; actuating the spray gun for causing a fluid to travel from the spray gun through the central passage of the nozzle member; atomizing the fluid as the fluid travels through the central passage of the nozzle member; and permitting the fluid to travel beyond the fluid atomizer and out of the nozzle member in an atomized spray pattern.

[0030] Additionally, prior to the actuating step, the method includes arranging the nozzle assembly within a nasal passage of animalia. The fluid may be a drug, medicine or vaccination that may be delivered into the nasal passage of the animalia in the atomized spray pattern.

[0031] In some examples, the spray pattern may include fluid droplets. The fluid droplets may be defined by: a D10 particle size distribution value, a D50 particle size distribution value and a D90 particle size distribution value. The D10 particle size distribution value is greater than approximately 15 um (microns). The D50 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 50-65 um (microns). The D90 particle distribution value is less than approximately 200 um (microns).

[0032] In some implementations, the D10 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 15-25 um, and, the D50 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 50-60 um, and, the D90 particle size distribution value ranges between approximately 180-200 um (microns).

[0033] The details of one or more implementations of the disclosure are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other aspects, features, and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0034] FIG. 1A is an exploded perspective view of an exemplary nozzle assembly and spray gun.

[0035] FIG. 1B is an assembled perspective view of the nozzle assembly that is attached to the spray gun of FIG. 1A.

[0036] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an atomizer of the nozzle assembly of FIGS. 1A-1B.

[0037] FIG. 3A is a side view of the atomizer of FIG. 2.

[0038] FIG. 3B is a bottom end view of the atomizer of FIG. 2

[0039] FIG. 3C is a top end view of the atomizer of FIG. 2.

[0040] FIG. 4 is a side view of a nozzle member of the nozzle assembly of FIGS. 1A-1B.

[0041] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the nozzle member according to line 5-5 of FIG. 4.

[0042] FIG. 6 is a perspective, cross-sectional view of the nozzle member of FIG. 5.

[0043] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the nozzle member according to line 7-7 of FIG. 4.

[0044] FIG. 8A is an exploded, side, partial cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly according to line 8A-8A of FIG. 1A.

[0045] FIG. 8B is a first assembled, side, partial cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly according to FIG. 8A.

[0046] FIG. 8B' is an enlarged view of FIG. 8B according to line 8B'.

[0047] FIG. 8C is a second assembled, side, partial cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly and spray gun according to line 8C-8C of FIG. 1B.

[0048] FIG. 8C' is an enlarged view of FIG. 8C according to line 8C'.

[0049] FIG. 8D is a third assembled, side, partial cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly and spray gun according to line 8D-8D of FIG. 1B.

[0050] FIG. 8D' is an enlarged view of FIG. 8D according to line 8D'.

[0051] FIG. 9 is an assembled, side, partial cross-sectional view of the nozzle assembly and spray gun according to line 9-9 of FIG. 1B.

[0052] FIG. 9A is an enlarged view of FIG. 9 according to line 9A.

[0053] FIG. 9B is an enlarged view of FIG. 9 according to line 9B.

[0054] FIG. 9C is an enlarged view of FIG. 9 according. to line 9C.

[0055] FIG. 9D is an enlarged view of FIG. 9 according to line 9D.

[0056] Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0057] Referring to FIGS. 1A-1B, a nozzle assembly 10 may be removably-connected to a spray gun, G. As will be described in the following disclosure at FIGS. 8C-8D, the nozzle assembly 10 may be removably-connected to the spray gun, G.

[0058] As seen in FIG. 1A, in some implementations, the nozzle assembly 10 includes a first portion 12, a second portion 14 and a third portion 16. In some examples, the first portion 12 is a fluid atomizer. In some examples, the second portion 14 is a nozzle member that receivably-contains the fluid atomizer 12 (as seen in, e.g., FIGS. 8B-8D). In some examples, the third portion 16 is a conical cap member that is connected to and disposed about an outer surface portion of a distal end of the nozzle member 14 (as seen in, e.g., FIGS. 1B and 8B-8D). The conical cap member 16 may be made of a soft, resilient material (e.g., foam, rubber or the like).

[0059] Referring to FIG. 1B, upon actuating the spray gun, G (by, e.g., pressing a handle member, OH, of the spray gun, G), fluid, F, may be guided from a fluid container, C (that is attached to the spray gun, G), through the spray gun, G, and out of the nozzle assembly 10 such that the fluid, F, may be sprayed in a pattern. The spray pattern is determined, at least in part, by an outer surface profile of the fluid atomizer 12 and an inner surface fluid conduit profile of the nozzle member 14. Although the container, C, is shown mounted to a top portion of the spray gun, G, the mounting location of the container, C, is not limited to what is shown in the Figures; for example in some instances, the container, C, may be a tube-shaped structure (not shown) that is mounted to a rear portion of the spray gun, G.

[0060] In some instances, the spray pattern may be defined by fluid droplets. The fluid droplets may be described in terms of particle size distributions (i.e., `D values`). `D values` of D10, D50 and D90 may be used to represent the midpoint and range of particle sizes of a given sample. The D10 particle size is the diameter at which 10% of a sample's mass is comprised of smaller particles. The D50 may be known as the `mass median diameter` as it divides the sample equally by mass. The D90 particle size is the diameter at which 90% of a sample's mass is comprised of smaller particles. In some examples, the D10 particle size may be greater than approximately 15 um (microns) in order to minimize tracheobronchial and deep lung deposition while maintaining a high nasal fraction; and in some examples, the D10 particle size may range between approximately 15-25 um. In some instances, the D50 particle size may range between approximately 50-65 um (microns) in order to maximize nasal deposition; and in some instances the D50 particle size may range between approximately 50-60 um. In some implementations, the D90 particle size may be less than approximately 200 um (microns) in order to minimize gastrointestinal dosage; and in some implementations the D90 particle size may range between approximately 180-200 um.

[0061] In some instances, prior to actuating the spray gun, G, a distal portion of the nozzle assembly (e.g., including conical cap member 16 attached to the nozzle member 14) may be arranged within nasal passage (not shown) of animalia. Animalia may include any animal species including, but not limited to: humans, swine, cows, horses or the like. The fluid, F, that is dispensed from the nozzle assembly 10 in a spray pattern may be directed into the nasal passage for administering a drug, medicine, vaccination or the like to the animalia.

[0062] After one or more uses of the spray gun, G, as described above, a user may disconnect the nozzle assembly 10 from the spray gun, G, in order to unclog or clean the nozzle assembly 10 of obstructions and contaminates, such as, for example, mucus. As will be described in the following disclosure, upon disconnecting the nozzle assembly 10 from the spray gun, G, the components 12, 14, 16 of nozzle assembly 10 may easily separate in order to access and clean each component 12, 14, 16 of nozzle assembly 10.

[0063] Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3A-3C, an exemplary fluid atomizer 12 is shown according to an embodiment. As seen in FIG. 2, the fluid atomizer 12 generally includes one-piece integral body having a proximal portion 18, an intermediate portion 20 and a distal portion 22. A central axis, A-A, is shown extending through an axial center of the fluid atomizer 12.

[0064] The proximal portion 18 includes a substantially circular body 24 having a proximal surface 26 and a distal surface 28. The substantially circular body 24 also includes an outer side surface 30 and an inner side surface 31 that both connect the proximal surface 26 to the distal surface 28. The outer side surface 30 may define the substantially circular body 24 to include a width 24.sub.W. The inner side surface 31 defines a passage 32 that extends through the substantially circular body 24 from the proximal surface 26 to the distal surface 28.

[0065] The intermediate portion 20 includes a pair of opposing legs 34. Each leg 34a, 34b includes a proximal portion 36, a distal portion 38 and an intermediate knee portion 40 that joins the proximal portion 36 to the distal portion 38. The proximal portion 36 of each leg 34a, 34b is integral with and extends away from the distal surface 28 of the substantially circular body 24. The distal portion 38 of each leg 34a, 34b is integral with and extends away from a proximal surface 44 of a shoulder portion 42 of the distal portion 22. As each of the proximal portion 36 and the distal portion 38 of each leg 34a, 34b extends axially away from the proximal portion 18 and the distal portion 22 as described above, each of the proximal portion 36 and the distal portion 38 of each leg 34a, 34b extends with a radially outward component such that the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg 34a, 34b defines a peak 41 of each leg 34a, 34b that is arranged at a position that may be radially beyond the width 24.sub.W defined by the side surface 30 of the substantially circular body 24.

[0066] The distal portion 22 includes a shoulder portion 42. The shoulder portion 42 includes a proximal surface 44, a distal surface 46 and a side surface 48 connecting the proximal surface 44 to the distal surface 46. The side surface 48 may define the shoulder portion 42 to include a diameter 42.sub.D. In some instances, the diameter 42.sub.D may subtly narrow along a height 42.sub.H of the shoulder portion 42 as the shoulder portion 42 axially extends from the proximal surface 44 toward the distal surface 46. The diameter 42.sub.D defined by the side surface 48 is interrupted by a radially inwardly projecting recess 50 formed in the side surface 48. The radially inwardly projecting recess 50 may be defined by a flat surface 52 that extends along the entire height 42.sub.H of the shoulder portion 42.

[0067] The distal portion 22 also includes a head portion 54 that axially extends from and is integral with distal surface 46 of the shoulder portion 42. The head portion 54 includes a distal surface 56 and a side surface 58 connecting the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54 to the distal surface 46 of the shoulder portion 42. The side surface 58 may define the head portion 54 to include a diameter 54.sub.D. In some instances, the diameter 54.sub.D may subtly narrow along a height 54H of the head portion 54 as the head portion 54 axially extends from the distal surface 46 of the shoulder portion 42 toward the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54.

[0068] Referring to FIG. 3C, the side surface 58 is interrupted by a plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses 60 formed in the side surface 58. Each radially inwardly projecting recess 60a, 60b, 60c of the plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses 60 may be defined by a flat surface 62 that extends along the entire height 54.sub.H of the head portion 54. As a result of the formation of the plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses 60, the side surface 58 of the head portion 54 includes a plurality of arcuate surfaces 63 that generally define the diameter 54.sub.D defined by the side surface 58.

[0069] In some implementations, the plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses 60 are defined by three radially inwardly projecting recesses 60a-60c including a first radially inwardly projecting recess 60a, a second radially inwardly projecting recess 60b and a third radially inwardly projecting recess 60c. In some implementations the plurality of actuate surfaces 63 are defined by three arcuate surfaces 63a-63c including a first arcuate surface 63a, a second arcuate surface 63b and a third arcuate surface 63c. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3C, in some examples, one of the arcuate surfaces 63a-63c (e.g., the first arcuate surface 63a) of the plurality of arcuate surfaces 63 of the head portion 54 is aligned with the radially inwardly projecting recess 50 of the shoulder portion 42.

[0070] Referring to FIGS. 4-7, an exemplary nozzle member 14 is shown according to an embodiment. The nozzle member 14 generally includes one-piece integral body having a proximal base portion 64 and a distal stem portion 66. A central axis, A-A, is shown at FIGS. 4-6 extending through an axial center of the nozzle member 14.

[0071] Referring to FIGS. 4-5, the proximal base portion 64 includes a substantially tube-shaped body 68 having a proximal outer surface 70 and a distal outer surface 72. The substantially tube-shaped body 68 also includes an outer side surface 74. The outer side surface 74 may define the substantially tube-shaped body 68 to include a diameter 68D. The outer side surface 74 connects the proximal outer surface 70 to the distal outer surface 72.

[0072] Referring to FIG. 5, the substantially tube-shaped body 68 further includes an inner surface 76. The inner surface 76 is defined by an inner chamfered side surface 76a, an inner side surface 76b and an inner distal surface 76c. The inner chamfered side surface 76a includes a substantially conical surface portion connecting the proximal outer surface 70 to the inner side surface 76b; the inner chamfered side surface 76a extends away from the proximal outer surface 70 at an angle, .theta., which may range between approximately an angle greater than 0.degree. and an angle less than 90.degree.. The inner side surface 76b includes a threaded surface. The inner distal surface 76c includes a substantially flat surface portion 76c.sub.1 extending radially inwardly from the inner side surface 76b toward the central axis, A-A. The inner distal surface 76c also includes a substantially circumferential rib portion (see, e.g., reference numerals 76c.sub.2A, 76c.sub.2B) that circumscribes the central axis, A-A, and projects axially away from the substantially flat surface portion 76c.sub.1 of the inner distal surface 76b. The circumferential rib portion includes a substantially flat surface portion 76c.sub.2A connected to the substantially flat surface portion 76c.sub.1. The circumferential rib portion also includes a chamfered surface portion 76c.sub.2B that extends radially inwardly from the substantially flat surface portion 76c.sub.2A.

[0073] The inner side surface 76 defines a passage 80 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 68. In some instances, the passage 80 may extend between the proximal outer surface 70 and the inner distal surface 76c such that the passage 80 extends through approximately about 90% of a length 68.sub.L of the substantially tube-shaped body 68. In some instances, the passage 80 includes a substantially constant diameter 76c.sub.D defined by threaded inner side surface 76b and a non-constant diameter 76a.sub.D defined by the inner chamfered side surface 76a.

[0074] Access to the passage 80 is permitted by a proximal passage opening 82 and a distal passage opening 84. The proximal passage opening 82 may be defined by a diameter 82.sub.D defined by the connection of the proximal outer surface 70 to the inner chamfered side surface 76a. The distal passage opening 84 may be defined by a diameter 84.sub.D. In some instances the distal passage opening 84 may be defined by the chamfered surface portion 76c.sub.2B of the substantially circumferential rib portion of the inner distal surface 76c.

[0075] The diameter 82.sub.D of the proximal passage opening 82 may be approximately equal to the largest diameter of the non-constant diameter 76a.sub.D defined by the inner chamfered side surface 76a. The smallest diameter of the non-constant diameter 76a.sub.D defined by the inner chamfered side surface 76a may be approximately equal to the substantially constant diameter 76c.sub.D defined by threaded inner side surface 76b. The diameter 84.sub.D defined by the distal passage opening 84 is less than the substantially constant diameter 76c.sub.D defined by threaded inner side surface 76b.

[0076] With reference to FIGS. 4-5, the distal stem portion 66 includes a substantially tube-shaped body 86 having a distal outer surface 88 and an outer side surface 90. The outer side surface 90 may define the substantially tube-shaped body 86 to include a diameter 86.sub.D. The outer side surface 90 connects the distal outer surface 72 of the tube-shaped body 68 of the proximal base portion 64 to the distal outer surface 88 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66.

[0077] Referring to FIG. 5, the substantially tube-shaped body 86 further includes an inner surface 92. The inner surface 92 is defined by an inner side surface 92a and an inner distal surface 92b. The inner side surface 92a includes a substantially circular surface portion that is connected to and extends axially away from the chamfered surface portion 76c.sub.2B of the substantially circumferential rib portion of the inner distal surface 76c of the substantially tube-shaped body 68 of the proximal base portion 64. The inner distal surface 92b includes a substantially flat surface portion extending perpendicularly from the inner side surface 92a.

[0078] The inner side surface 92 defines a passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86. In some instances, the passage 94 may extend between the chamfered surface portion 76c.sub.2B of the substantially circumferential rib portion of the inner distal surface 76c of the substantially tube-shaped body 68 of the proximal base portion 64 and the inner distal surface 92b such that the passage 94 extends through approximately about 90% of a length 86.sub.L of the substantially tube-shaped body 86. In some instances, passage 94 includes a substantially constant diameter 92a.sub.D defined by substantially circular surface portion 92a.

[0079] Access to the passage 94 is permitted by a proximal passage opening 96 and a distal passage opening 98. The proximal passage opening 96 is substantially equal to and may be defined by the diameter 84.sub.D formed by the chamfered surface portion 76c.sub.2B of the substantially circumferential rib portion of the inner distal surface 76c as described above. The proximal passage opening 96 may be slightly greater than the substantially constant diameter 92a.sub.D defined by the substantially flat surface portion 92a of the inner side surface 92 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66.

[0080] Referring to FIGS. 6-7, the distal passage opening 98 is defined by a recess 100 formed in the inner distal surface 92b of the inner side surface 92 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66. Referring to FIG. 7, the recess 100 is defined by a plurality of radial recess portions 100a, a central recess portion 100b and an axial recess passage portion 100c. The plurality of radial recess portions 100a radially converge upon and are fluidly connected to the central recess portion 100b, and, the axial recess passage portion 100c is fluidly connected to the central recess portion 100b. In some examples, the plurality of radial recess portions 100a may include three radial recess portions that are angularly spaced apart by approximately 120.degree..

[0081] With reference to FIG. 5, the passages 80, 94 and openings 82, 84, 96, 98 described above permit the nozzle member 14 to guide movement of the fluid, F, through the nozzle assembly 10. For example, the proximal passage opening 82 of the passage 80 formed by the proximal base portion 64 permits fluid to enter the nozzle member 14. Once the fluid has entered the nozzle member 14, the passage 80 formed by the proximal base portion 64 is in fluid communication with the passage 94 formed by the distal stem portion 66, and, therefore, the passages 80, 94 cooperate by guiding the fluid, F, as the fluid, F, travels through the nozzle member 14 after entering the proximal passage opening 82 of the passage 80. Thereafter, the distal passage opening 98 of the passage 94 formed by the distal stem portion 66 permits fluid to exit the nozzle member 14.

[0082] Referring to FIGS. 1A-1B and 8A-8D, an exemplary method for assembling the nozzle assembly 10 is described. As seen in FIG. 8A, a first step for assembling the nozzle assembly 10 may include arranging the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12 opposite the proximal passage opening 82 of the nozzle member 14. Then, as seen in FIG. 8B, the fluid atomizer 12 may be firstly axially inserted into the passage 80 formed by the proximal base portion 64 of the nozzle member 14 and then secondly axially inserted into the passage 94 formed by the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14. In some instances, the diameter 42.sub.D (see, e.g., FIGS. 2 and 3A) formed by side surface 48 of the shoulder portion 42 of the fluid atomizer 12 may be approximately equal to but slightly less than the substantially constant diameter 92a.sub.D of the passage 94 formed by the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14; in some examples, upon inserting the fluid atomizer 12 into the passage 94 formed by the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14, at least one surface portion (e.g., one or more of the side surface 48 of the shoulder portion 42 and the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54) of the fluid atomizer 12 may be disposed adjacent a surface (e.g., the inner side surface 92 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66) of the nozzle member 14 for connecting the fluid atomizer 12 to the nozzle member 14 for forming the nozzle assembly 10.

[0083] As seen in FIG. 8B, the conical cap member 16 may connected to and disposed about the outer side surface 90 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14. The conical cap member 16 includes an axial passage 102 (see, e.g., FIG. 8A) that permits insertion of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14 there-through when connecting the conical cap member 16 to the distal stem portion 66. In some instances, one or more radially outwardly projecting barbs 104 may extend from the outer side surface 90 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14 in order to bite into and radially secure the conical cap member 16 to the nozzle member 14 once the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14 is arranged within the axial passage 102 of the conical cap member 16. The conical cap member 16 may include a conical shape in order to easily facilitate insertion of the nozzle assembly 10 into an orifice (e.g., a nostril) of an animalia; if the nozzle assembly 10 is to be utilized for the purpose of delivering a nasal drug, a nasal medicine, a nasal vaccination or the like, the conical cap member 16 may be sized for insertion into a nostril of an animalia.

[0084] Although the conical cap member 16 is illustrated in a separated orientation with respect to the nozzle member 14 in FIG. 8A, the conical cap member 16 may be connected to and disposed about the outer side surface 90 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14 before insertion of the fluid atomizer 12 within the passage 94 of the nozzle member 14. Further, it should be noted that the conical cap member 16 may be considered an optional component of the nozzle assembly 10, and, accordingly, some implementations of the nozzle assembly 10 may include the fluid atomizer 12 and the nozzle member 14.

[0085] Once the nozzle assembly 10 is assembled as described above at FIGS. 8A-8B, the proximal passage opening 82 of the nozzle member 14 is arranged opposite a distal portion G.sub.D (see, e.g., FIG. 8B) of the spray gun, G. In some instances, the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, includes an outer threaded surface G.sub.T. The outer threaded surface G.sub.T of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, corresponds to the threaded inner side surface 76b of the substantially tube-shaped body 68 of the nozzle member 14 in order to permit the nozzle member 14 (and, thereby, the nozzle assembly 10) to be removably-connected to the spray gun, G.

[0086] As seen in FIG. 8B, a non-threaded surface portion G.sub.N of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, includes a diameter, D, that is slightly less than that of the substantially constant diameter 92a.sub.D of the passage 94 of the nozzle member 14. Accordingly, as seen in FIG. 8C, as the threaded inner side surface 76b of the nozzle member 14 is threadingly-connected to the outer threaded surface G.sub.T of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, a distal surface G.sub.DS of the non-threaded surface portion G.sub.N of the of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, enters the passage 94 and subsequently engages the proximal surface 26 of the substantially circular body 24 of the proximal portion 18 of the fluid atomizer 12. Engagement of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, with the proximal surface 26 of the substantially circular body 24 of the proximal portion 18 of the fluid atomizer 12 results in the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, axially pushing the fluid atomizer 12 through the passage 94 until the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12 engages the inner distal surface 92b of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14. Additionally, as seen in FIGS. 8C-8D, once the nozzle member 14 is fully threadingly-connected to the spray gun, G, the chamfered surface portion 76c.sub.2B of the substantially circumferential rib portion of the inner surface 76 of the nozzle member 14 axially engages a rounded surface portion of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, thereby sealing the passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the nozzle member 14 from the passage 80 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 68; as a result of the seal described above, residual fluid, F, is not permitted to leak from the passage 94 and into the passage 80 after actuation of the spray gun, G.

[0087] As seen in FIG. 8B', prior to the distal surface 56 of the fluid atomizer 12 being axially urged toward the inner distal surface 92b of the nozzle member 14 by the spray gun, G, the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg member 34a, 34b of the pair of opposing legs 34 does not engage the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14 such that a gap or spacing, S, is located between the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg member 34a, 34b of the pair of opposing legs 34 and the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14. As seen in FIG. 8C', upon initial engagement of the distal surface 56 of the fluid atomizer 12 with the inner distal surface 92b of the nozzle member 14 as described above in FIG. 8C, the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg member 34a, 34b of the pair of opposing legs 34 still does not engage the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14 such the gap or spacing, S, still remains between the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg member 34a, 34b of the pair of opposing legs 34 and the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 of the nozzle member 14.

[0088] As seen in FIG. 8D', after engagement of the distal surface 56 of the fluid atomizer 12 with the inner distal surface 92b of the nozzle member 14, any further axially-directed force imparted to the fluid atomizer 12 by the spray gun, G (caused as a result of further rotation of the nozzle member 14 relative the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, by way of the threaded coupling described above), may cause the fluid atomizer 12 to be subtly compressed between the distal surface G.sub.DS of the non-threaded surface portion G.sub.N of the of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, and the inner distal surface 92b of the nozzle member 14. As a result of the compression of the fluid atomizer 12 as described above, the pair of opposing legs 34 of the fluid atomizer 12 flexes radially outwardly, R (as seen in FIG. 8D' comparatively with respect to FIGS. 8B' and 8C'), such that the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg member 34a, 34b of the pair of opposing legs 34 engages the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14 that defines the passage 94. As a result of the engagement of the intermediate knee portion 40 of each leg member 34a, 34b of the pair of opposing legs 34 engaging the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14, any spinning movement of the fluid atomizer 12 about the central axis, A-A, relative the nozzle member 14 is prohibited when a fluid is guided from the container, C, through the spray gun, G, and out of the nozzle assembly 10.

[0089] With reference to FIGS. 9 and 9A-9D, once the nozzle assembly 10 is connected to the spray gun, G, as described above, fluid, F, is guided from the container, C, through the spray gun, G, and out of the nozzle assembly 10 according to the following exemplary embodiment. Firstly, as seen in FIG. 9A, after actuating the spray gun, G (e.g., by, for example, pressing a handle member, GH (see, e.g., FIGS. 1A-1B) of the spray gun, G), fluid, F, may be guided from the container, C, such that the fluid, F, enters a passage G.sub.P formed in the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G. As described above, the passage G.sub.P formed in the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, extends through the passage 80 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 68 of the nozzle member 14; therefore, as the fluid, F, travels through the passage G.sub.P formed in the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, the fluid, F, is also travelling through the passage 80 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 68 of the nozzle member 14.

[0090] Then, as seen in FIG. 9B, the fluid, F, may exit the passage G.sub.P at the distal surface G.sub.DS of the non-threaded surface portion G.sub.N of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G. The passage G.sub.P may terminate at the distal surface G.sub.DS of the non-threaded surface portion G.sub.N of the of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, and may be axially aligned with the passage 32 that extends through the substantially circular body 24 of the proximal portion of the fluid atomizer 12 such that the fluid, F, may travel beyond the distal surface G.sub.DS of the non-threaded surface portion G.sub.N of the of the distal portion G.sub.D of the spray gun, G, and through the passage 32 that extends through the substantially circular body 24 of the proximal portion of the fluid atomizer 12. After the fluid, F, travels through the passage 32 that extends through the substantially circular body 24 of the proximal portion of the fluid atomizer 12, the fluid, F, may axially flow through the passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stern portion 66 nozzle member 14 and about the pair of opposing legs 34 of the intermediate portion 20 fluid atomizer 12 and toward the proximal surface 44 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12.

[0091] Referring to FIG. 9C, the fluid, F, then axially travels toward the proximal surface 44 of the distal portion 22, the fluid atomizer 12 and is axially channeled toward the radially inwardly projecting recess 50 formed in the side surface 48 of the shoulder portion 42 of the fluid atomizer 12 as a result of the side surface 48 of the shoulder portion 42 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12 being disposed adjacent or close to the inner side surface 92a of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14. Accordingly, the fluid, F, may be guided axially along the radially inwardly projecting recess 50 formed in the side surface 48 of the shoulder portion 42 toward the head portion 54 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12 such that the fluid, F, is permitted to further axially flow through the passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14.

[0092] Referring to FIG. 9D, after the fluid, F, travels through the radially inwardly projecting recess 50 formed in the side surface 48 of the shoulder portion 42 of the fluid atomizer 12, the fluid, F, may axially flow through the passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14 and about the side surface 58 of the head portion 54 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12 and toward the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54 of the distal portion 22 of the fluid atomizer 12. Because one of the arcuate surfaces 63a-63c (e.g., the arcuate surface 63a) of the plurality of arcuate surfaces 63 of the head portion 54 is aligned with the radially inwardly projecting recess 50 of the shoulder portion 42, the fluid, F, that is axially guided along the arcuate surface 63a is radially diverted around the head portion 54 as the fluid further axially flows through the passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14.

[0093] As the fluid, F, is radially diverted around the head portion 54 as described above, the fluid, F, is axially channeled toward each radially inwardly projecting recess 60a, 60b, 60c of the plurality of radially inwardly projecting recesses 60 of the head portion 54 and toward the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54. Once the fluid, F, flows through the passage 94 that extends through the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66 nozzle member 14 such that the fluid, F, arrives at the distal surface 56 of the head portion 54, the fluid, F, is guided out of the passage 94 upon entering the recess 100 formed in the inner distal surface 92b of the inner side surface 92 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66.

[0094] Once the fluid, F, enters the recess 100 formed in the inner distal surface 92b of the inner side surface 92 of the substantially tube-shaped body 86 of the distal stem portion 66, the fluid, F, firstly enters the plurality of radial recess portions 100a of the recess 100 such that the fluid, F, is radially guided toward the central axis, A-A. The fluid, F, that is radially guided by the plurality of radial recess portions 100a of the recess 100 collides at the central recess portion 100b of the recess 100 and then subsequently exits the nozzle member 14 at the axial recess passage portion 100c. As a result of the arrangement of the fluid atomizer 12 within the nozzle member 14, and, as a result of the collision of the fluid, F, arising from the arrangement of the plurality of radial recess portions 100a, the fluid, F, exits the nozzle member 14 with an atomized, swirling spray pattern.

[0095] After one or more uses of the spray gun, G, as described above, one or more of the passages 80, 94 and openings 82, 84, 96, 98 may be clogged (with, e.g., mucus, if, for example, the nozzle assembly 10 is arranged within the nasal passage of animalia). Therefore, a user may disconnect the nozzle assembly 10 from the spray gun, G, by threadingly decoupling the nozzle assembly 10 from the spray gun, G. When the nozzle assembly 10 is decoupled from the spray gun, G, the pair of opposing legs 34 of the fluid atomizer 12 may no longer be flexed in the radially outwardly direction (as seen in FIG. 8D') and return to a relaxed, non-flexed orientation (as seen in FIGS. 8B' and 8C'); as a result, the fluid atomizer 12 may slide out of the passages 80, 94 of the nozzle member 14.

[0096] Once the fluid atomizer 12 has been disconnected from the nozzle member 14, the fluid atomizer 12 may be cleaned. Further, once the fluid atomizer 12 has been disconnected from the nozzle member 14, unobstructed access to one or more the passages 80, 94 and openings 82, 84, 96, 98 may be provided in order to facilitate cleaning of the nozzle member 14.

[0097] A number of implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims. For example, the actions recited in the claims can be performed in a different order and still achieve desirable results.

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