Apparatus and method for sulfonating an article and articles made therefrom

  • US 6,758,910 B2
  • Filed: 11/13/2001
  • Issued: 07/06/2004
  • Est. Priority Date: 11/13/2001
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. An apparatus for sulfonating the surface of an article with a sulfonating gas to modify and treat the surface, comprising:

  • an enclosable container for receiving the article therein, said container being capable of being substantially air tight to contain substantially all the sulfonating gas;

    a gas inlet for introducing the sulfonating gas into the enclosable container;

    an on-site and on-demand catalytically oxidizing gas generator in communication with the enclosable container through the gas inlet, said ass generator including a catalytic converter to oxidatively generate a sulfur-containing gas from a chemical feed stock selected from the group consisting of raw sulfur, processed sulfur, sulfur dioxide, liquid sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid and mixtures thereof to produce the sulfur-containing gas at a predetermined concentration;

    a source of dry air for mixing with the sulfur-containing gas to form the sulfonating gas;

    a means for exhausting the sulfonating gas from the enclosed container after the treatment has been effected;

    a means for neutralizing the sulfonated treated surface, including a source of a neutralizing agent selected from the group consisting of ammonia, calcium, aluminum and any positively charged ion-containing fluid and solutions and mixtures thereof, and a means for removing the neutralizing agent after it has neutralized the sulfonated article; and

    a pump for pumping the sulfonating gas into the enclosable container, whereby some of the sulfur in the sulfonating gas is consumed to form the treatment layer on the surface of the article.

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