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United States Patent Application 20180028007
Kind Code A1
Lazarov; Ross ;   et al. February 1, 2018

Drinking Straw

Abstract

An apparatus and method for delivering liquids to a user from a container. The liquids are aerated during delivery of the liquid to the user. The present invention includes a flow control regulator that regulates the amount of aeration of the liquid delivered to the user and also restricts backflow of liquids through the regulator. The apparatus of the invention is particularly well suited for aerating wine while it is delivered through a drinking straw.


Inventors: Lazarov; Ross; (Prior Lake, MN) ; Holly-Marinelli; Shannon; (Prior Lake, MN)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

One Eleven L.L.C.

Prior Lake

MN

US
Family ID: 1000002094905
Appl. No.: 15/222458
Filed: July 28, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47G 21/183 20130101
International Class: A47G 21/18 20060101 A47G021/18

Claims



1. A liquid aeration drinking straw apparatus, said straw apparatus comprising: a tube having a sidewall defined by an internal and external surface, wherein said internal surface of said sidewall defines a hollow central portion extending between an inlet end and outlet end of the tube; a recessed groove extending about a circumference of said tube and into the sidewall from the external surface, said recessed groove having a width dimension and a depth of the recessed groove; an aperture extending through said sidewall from said recessed groove to the internal surface of said sidewall of said tube; and an air flow regulator coupled to said tube to control flow of fluid through said aperture.

2. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein said air flow regulator includes a gasket encompassing the external sidewall of said tube and wherein said gasket is at least partially aligned and engaged to said recessed groove.

3. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 2, wherein said width dimension of said recessed groove is approximately 0.040 inches and wherein said gasket is comprised of an o-ring.

4. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 3, wherein said o-ring has a thickness dimension of approximately 0.0625 inches.

5. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, further including ridges formed on the internal surface of said tube.

6. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, further including ridges formed on the internal surface of said tube and aligned in a spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.

7. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, further including dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube.

8. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, further including dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube and aligned in a spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.

9. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, further including spaced apart ridges and dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube.

10. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 1, further including spaced apart ridges and dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube and aligned in an offset spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.

11. A liquid aeration drinking straw apparatus, said straw apparatus comprising: a tube having a sidewall defined by an internal and external surface, wherein said internal surface of said sidewall defines a hollow central portion extending between an inlet end and outlet end of the tube; a recessed groove extending about a circumference of said tube and into the sidewall from the external surface, said recessed groove having a width dimension and a depth of the recessed groove; an aperture extending through said sidewall from said recessed groove to the internal surface of said sidewall of said tube; a gasket encompassing the external sidewall of said tube and wherein said gasket at least partially aligns and engages said recessed groove; and ridges formed on the internal surface of said tube.

12. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein said width dimension of said recessed groove is approximately 0.040 inches and wherein said gasket is comprised of an o-ring having a thickness dimension of approximately 0.0625 inches.

13. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 11, wherein said ridges are aligned in a spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.

14. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 11, further including dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube.

15. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 11, further including dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube and aligned in a spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.

16. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 15, wherein said ridges and dimples are aligned in an offset spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.

17. A liquid aeration drinking straw apparatus, said straw apparatus comprising: a tube having a sidewall defined by an internal and external surface, wherein said internal surface of said sidewall defines a hollow central portion extending between an inlet end and outlet end of the tube; a recessed groove extending about a circumference of said tube and into the sidewall from the external surface, said recessed groove having a width dimension and a depth of the recessed groove; an aperture extending through said sidewall from said recessed groove to the internal surface of said sidewall of said tube; a fluid control gasket encompassing the external sidewall of said tube, wherein said fluid control gasket is aligned and at least partially engaged to said recessed groove; and spaced apart ridges and dimples formed on the internal surface of said tube.

18. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 17, wherein said width dimension of said recessed groove is approximately 0.040 inches and wherein said fluid control gasket is comprised of an o-ring having a thickness dimension of approximately 0.0625 inches.

19. The straw apparatus as recited in claim 17, wherein said spaced apart ridges and dimples are aligned in an offset spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of said tube.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not Applicable.

FEDERAL SPONSORSHIP

[0002] Not Applicable

JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

[0003] Not Applicable

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0004] This invention pertains generally to a tube or delivery device that is usable to drink liquids. More particularly, the invention pertains to straws used to aerate liquids as the liquid passes through the straw. The drinking straw is particularly well suited for aerating a wine as it passes through the straw.

BACKGROUND

[0005] Over the years, various drinking straws have been devised to allow a user to draw fluid out of a drinking vessel without contacting the vessel itself. Some drinking straws have included entertainment features while others have added functional features to the straw. For example, a multi looped, translucent straw has been marketed as a fun way to drink liquids by watching the liquid flow through the loops. Alternatively, a straw with internal filters has been devised to trap contaminants within the straw rather than allowing the contaminants to flow through the straw to the user.

[0006] Further, water bottles have been devised with internal straws and closeable spouts to allow a user to suck fluid out of the water bottle and seal the bottle, thereby reducing spills when not in use. Also, when drinking wine, it has been found desirable to aerate the wine prior to drinking. Various sized and shaped glasses have been devised to assist the user in swirling the wine to aerate the wine before drinking. Additionally devices have been attached to a wine bottle that aerates the wine as it is poured into the wine glass. The palatability of the wine is believed to increase depending upon the amount of aeration provided to the wine. Although swirling and agitating the wine may provide an amount of aeration to the wine, it has been found that a significant amount of swirling is required to achieve some users desired levels of aeration. Additionally, the amount of aeration provided to the wine during a swirling may be lost before the wine makes it the user's mouth. The shortcomings of prior wine glasses is overcome with a drinking straw that aerates or agitates the wine as it passes through the straw.

SUMMARY

[0007] Embodiments according to aspects of the invention provide a drinking straw that aerates a liquid passing through the straw. Embodiments of the drinking straw apparatus of the present invention includes a low profile, flow control regulator that creates an air flow resistance, backflow resistance, and vacuum chamber. Additionally, the drinking straw may include features that both agitate and aerate a liquid as it passes through the straw. The drinking straw is particularly well suited for aerating wine while the user drinks wine through the straw. The flow control regulator allows air to mix with the wine as it is drawn through the straw. The flow control regulator further restricts the backflow of wine through the aeration aperture and limits dripping of wine from the aeration aperture. In embodiments of the invention the drinking straw may include a tube, a recessed groove in the tube, an aperture extending between an interior of the tube and the groove, and a low profile air flow regulator coupled to the tube. The tube has a sidewall defined by an internal and external surface, wherein the internal surface of the sidewall defines a hollow central portion extending between an inlet end and outlet end of the tube. The recessed groove extends about a circumference of the tube and into the sidewall from the external surface of the tube. The recessed groove has a width dimension and a depth of the recessed groove that is adapted for receiving the low profile air regulator. The aperture extends through the sidewall from the recessed groove to the internal surface of the sidewall of the tube. The air flow regulator may comprise an annular gasket that encompasses the external sidewall of the tube and wherein the gasket at least partially aligns and engages the recessed groove.

[0008] In embodiments according to aspects of the invention the drinking straw or tube may include a recesses groove that has width dimension of approximately 0.040 inches. Further, the gasket may comprise an o-ring having a thickness dimension of approximately 0.0625 inches. The drinking tube may further include one or more ridges and one or more dimples formed on an internal surface of the tube. The dimples and spirals may be spaced apart, offset, and arranged in a spiral orientation along a longitudinal axis of the tube. Further, the orientation of the spiral formed by the ridges may be aligned approximately orthogonal to the spiral formed by the dimples.

[0009] In use, when an inlet end of a straw, in accordance with aspects of the invention, is submerged in a liquid drink and a suction is applied to an outlet end of the straw, liquid is drawn up through the straw. As the liquid is drawn up through the straw, the o-ring positioned in the annular groove is sized to allow air to be drawn between the o-ring and groove and through the aperture. As the liquid passes through the aperture, the air stream mixes with the liquid, thereby aerating the liquid. Further, ridges and/or dimples may be formed on an interior surface of the straw and arranged in a multitude of orientations to create a desired agitation of the liquid as it is drawn through the straw. When suction is removed from the outlet end of the straw the o-ring blocks fluid from passing out the aperture and groove as liquid drains out the inlet end of the straw.

[0010] The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a portion of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the detailed description, serve to further explain the invention. The embodiments illustrated herein are presently preferred; however, it should be understood, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. For a fuller understanding of the nature and advantages of the invention, reference should be made to the detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] In the various figures, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, like numerals throughout the figures identify substantially similar components.

[0012] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing a smooth interior of the drinking straw;

[0014] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing an air flow regulator removed;

[0015] FIG. 4 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing a vent extending into a smooth bore of the straw;

[0016] FIG. 5 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw;

[0017] FIG. 6 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw;

[0018] FIG. 7 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw;

[0019] FIG. 8 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw;

[0020] FIG. 9 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw;

[0021] FIG. 10 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw; and

[0022] FIG. 11 is a partial sectional perspective view of an embodiment of a drinking straw of the present invention, showing various sized and shaped projections extending from an interior of the drinking straw.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] The following description provides detail of various embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are set forth below. Each of these embodiments are provided by way of explanation of the invention, and not intended to be a limitation of the invention. Further, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications and variations may be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. By way of example, those skilled in the art will recognize that features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment, may be used in another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention also cover such modifications and variations that come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

[0024] The apparatus of the present invention is particularly well suited for aerating wine prior to drinking. The apparatus utilizes a controlled volume of air that mixes with the wine as it is drawn through the drinking straw. The apparatus may also include featured structures to agitate and swirl the wine as it is drawn through the straw. With reference to the Figures, embodiments according to aspects of the invention will be described in conjunction with the straw apparatus 10.

[0025] FIGS. 1-4 illustrates an embodiment according to aspects of the invention. The straw or hollow tube 10 includes a sidewall 14 having a thickness defined by the separation distance between an interior wall 16 and exterior wall 18. An annular groove 20 extends into the sidewall 14 from the exterior surface or wall 18. Aperture 40 extends through the sidewall 14 providing a fluid passage between the exterior and hollow interior of the straw 10. Gasket or o-ring 30 extends about the circumference of the straw and is aligned to engage at least a portion of the groove 20. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the inner diameter and length dimensions of straw 10 may be varied to achieve different flow rates through the straw. By way of example, and without limitation intended the straw 10 may have an approximate length of 7.75 inches, an outer diameter of 0.188 inches and an inner diameter of 0.118 inches to provide a desired flow rate of wine while applying a typical suction to the straw. The straw 10 may further be cast or machined from Aluminum or other suitable food grade material. An annular groove having a width of 0.040 inches and a depth of 0.015 inches is suitable for receiving an o-ring of known suitable construction having an outer diameter of 0.3125 inches, an inner diameter of 0.1875 inches, and a thickness of 0.0625 inches. The groove width may be increased or decreased by 0.005 inches without significantly effecting the amount of air drawn between the o-ring 30 and groove 20. In a preferred embodiment, aperture 40 has a diameter of 0.0145 inches extending through the sidewall 14. The aperture 40 may be centered within the groove 20 for ease of production.

[0026] With reference to FIGS. 5-11, exemplary patterns of projections, ridges, or vanes 60 and dimples 70 of the present invention will be further described. The projections 60 extend from the interior wall 16 at an angle relative to the longitudinal axis of the straw. As wine is drawn past the projection 60, the projection redirects a portion of the wine flowing through the straw. The angle formed between the longitudinal axis of the projection 60 and the longitudinal axis of the straw 10 will affect the amount of swirl created in the wine vector flow. The angle may be increased or decreased to achieve the desired swirl of wine within the straw. Further, the number and spacing of the projections may be increased or decreased to further affect the desired swirl of wine within the straw. Similarly, a series of aligned concave dimples 70 may be formed into the interior wall 16. The depth of each dimple 70 and the angle formed between the longitudinal axis of the series of dimples 70 and the longitudinal axis of the straw 10 will affect the amount of swirl created in the wine vector flow. The depths and angles may be increased or decreased to achieve the desired swirl of wine within the straw. Further, the number and spacing of the dimples may be increased or decreased to further affect the desired swirl of wine within the straw. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that other geometries and combinations of projections 60 and dimples 70 may be incorporated to achieve varying degrees of swirl within the straw 10. For example, FIGS. 5-11 illustrate varying patterns of alternating projections 60 and dimples 70. Of course, there are a multitude of arrangements capable of being devised all of which will have varying effects on the amount and degree of swirl achieved.

[0027] Having described the constructional features of the drinking straw apparatus 10 of the present invention, the mode of use will now be described in greater detail. First, the user determines the amount of aeration and or swirling desired for a particular drinking. A straw 10 is selected having the appropriate sized groove 20, o-ring 30, aperture 40 and inner diameter to achieve the desired aeration. The number, orientation and style of projections and dimples is also determined to achieve the desired swirl within the straw. Once the desired straw is selected, the user submerges the inlet end 24 of a straw 10 into a desired liquid drink. Suction is applied to an outlet end 26 of the straw to draw liquid up through the straw 10. As the liquid is drawn up through the straw, the o-ring 30 positioned in the annular groove 20 is sized to allow air to be drawn between the o-ring 30 and groove 20 and through the aperture 40 into the hollow interior of the straw. As the liquid passes by the aperture, the air stream mixes with the liquid, thereby aerating the liquid. Further, ridges 60 and/or dimples 70 formed on the interior surface of the straw creates the desired swirling or agitation of the fluid as it is drawn through the straw. When suction is removed from the outlet end 26 of the straw, the o-ring 30 blocks liquid from passing out the aperture 40 and groove 20 as liquid drains out the inlet end 24 of the straw.

[0028] These and various other aspects and features of the invention are described with the intent to be illustrative, and not restrictive. This invention has been described herein with detail in order to comply with the patent statutes and to provide those skilled in the art with information needed to apply the novel principles and to construct and use such specialized components as are required. It is to be understood, however, that the invention can be carried out by specifically different constructions, and that various modifications, both as to the construction and operating procedures, can be accomplished without departing from the scope of the invention. Further, in the appended claims, the transitional terms comprising and including are used in the open ended sense in that elements in addition to those enumerated may also be present. Other examples will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reviewing this document.

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