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Title:
BEARING AND SEAL-FREE BLOOD PUMP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1998/046879
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A pump (10) for transferring fragile and aggressive liquids such as human blood and comprising a pumping chamber (12) along with a pair of fluid inlet ports (16, 17) arranged in oppositely disposed relationship on the chamber, and one or more outlet ports (18, 19) arranged transversely and medially of the inlet ports. A rotor (20) is positioned within the pumping chamber having a dual-conical configuration converging toward opposed polar end regions (21, 22) and with an axis of rotation extending between the polar regions. The rotor includes magnets (24) which are arranged at radially spaced locations and with a magnetic drive positioned to deliver rotational driving energy to the rotor. The sole support for the rotor (20) are the hydrodynamic forces acting upon the rotor during its operation, with the rotor body having a relative density of between 10 % and 90 % of the relative density of the fluid being pumped.

Inventors:
Izraelev, Valentin M. (6574 Cherokee Trail West, Eden Prairie, MN, 55344, US)
Application Number:
PCT/US1997/006205
Publication Date:
October 22, 1998
Filing Date:
April 14, 1997
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ADVANCED BIONICS, INC. (6574 Cherokee Trail West, Eden Prairie, MN, 55344, US)
International Classes:
A61M1/10; F04D1/00; F04D13/06; F04D15/00; (IPC1-7): F04B17/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Haugen, Orrin M. (Haugen and Nikolai, P.A. 820 International Centre, 900 Second Avenue Sout, Minneapolis MN, 55402-3325, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A pump for transferring fluids especially fragile and aggressive liquids such as human blood and comprising a pumping chamber with an inner periphery, an outer periphery and a central axis, a pair of fluid inlet ports arranged in oppositely disposed relationship on said chamber and coaxially with said pumping chamber, an outlet port means arranged transversely and generally medially of said pair of inlet ports, a rotor disposed within said pumping chamber and having a dual conical configuration converging toward opposed polar regions and having an axis of rotation extending between said polar regions and arranged coaxially with the axis of said pumping chamber during operational rotation of said rotor, magnetic driven means arranged on said rotor at radially spaced locations generally medially along said axis of rotation, electromagnetic drive means coupled to a source of energy and arranged to deliver rotational driving energy to said rotor through said magnetic driven means; said rotor comprising: (a) a body having a relative density substantially less than that of the fluid being pumped and within a range of between about 0.1 and 0.9; (b) a dualconical configuration with an axial length and with the axial length along said axis of rotation defining the axial length of said pumping chamber disposed between said inlet ports; and with the diameter of said rotor body transverse to said axis of rotation defining a medial plane and the axial length and the diameter being selected to provide a clearance between the outer surface of said rotor and the inner surface of said pumping chamber and with the magnitude of the clearance between the said inner surface of said pumping chamber and the periphery of said rotor progressively increasing from said inlet ports to said outlet port at a rate substantially proportional to the increase of the circumference of said rotor from the polar tip to the medial plane thereof.
2. The pump as in Claim 1 wherein the clearance between the inner surface of said pumping chamber and the outer surface of said rotor is adequate to provide a flow channel for blood, and ranging from between about 1 millimeter and 7 millimeters.
3. The pump of Claim 1 having plural outlet ports, each having an equal crosssectional area.
4. The pump of Claim 3 where the said plurality of outlet ports are generally equally arcuately spaced, one from another.
5. The pump of Claim 2 wherein said clearance between the inner surface of said pumping chamber and the outer surface of said rotor is adequate to provide a flow channel for blood, and is such that the velocity of fluid being pumped remains substantially constant between said inlet ports and outlet ports relative to the surface of said housing.
6. The pump of Claim 1 wherein the rate of rotation of said rotor is controlably variable.
7. The pump of Claim 1 being particularly characterized in that means are provided for sensing the rotational velocity of said rotor.
8. The pump of Claim 1 being particularly characterized in that the driving forces for said rotor are coupled to magnetic coupling means disposed in the vicinity of the center of mass of the rotor.
9. The pump of Claim 1 being particularly characterized in that the fluid flows from inlets adjacent the polar tips of the cones to outlets adjacent the medial plane.
10. The pump as defined in Claim 1 wherein the drive means includes permanent magnets arranged within the rotor along radial points adjacent the outer circumference of the rotor.
11. The pump as defined in Claim 1 wherein the drive means includes permanent magnets disposed in a circular array, and wherein the outer perimeter of the magnets forming the array is adjacent the outer circumference of the rotor at the midpoint thereof, and with the structural mass of the rotor being disposed adjacent the rotational axis, thereby reducing the moment of inertia of said rotor.
12. A pump for transferring fluids especially fragile and aggressive liquids such as human blood and comprising a pumping chamber with an inner periphery, an outer periphery and a central axis, inlet port means arranged in polar relationship to said pumping chamber and coaxially with said pumping chamber during operational rotation of said rotor, an outlet port means arranged transversely and generally medially of said pair of inlet ports, a rotor disposed within said pumping chamber and having a dual conical configuration converging toward opposed polar regions and having an axis of rotation extending between said polar regions and arranged coaxially with the axis of said pumping chamber, magnetic driven means arranged on said rotor at radially spaced locations generally medially along said axis of rotation, electromagnetic drive means coupled to a source of energy and arranged to deliver rotational driving energy to said rotor through said magnetic driven means; said rotor comprising: (a) a body having a relative density substantially less than that of the fluid being pumped and within a range of between 10% and 90% of the density of the fluid being pumped; (b) a body having a dualconical configuration with an axial length and with the axial length along said axis of rotation defining a substantial portion of the axial length of said pumping chamber between said inlet ports; and with the configuration and diameter of said rotor body defining a medial plane and being selected to provide a clearance between the outer surface of said rotor and the inner surface of said pumping chamber and with the magnitude of the clearance between the said inner surface of said pumping chamber and the outer surface of said rotor increasing from said inlet ports to said outlet port means at a rate proportional to the increase of the circumference of said rotor from the polar tip to said medial plane; and (c) the arrangement being such that the sole support for the rotor are the hydrodynamic forces created in the fluid being pumped, wherein the casing structure of the pump is free of rotor supporting members and bearings.
13. A pump for transferring especially fragile and aggressive liquids such as human blood and comprising a pumping chamber with an inner periphery, an outer periphery and a central axis, a pair of fluid inlet ports arranged in oppositely disposed relationship on said chamber and coaxially with said pumping chamber, an outlet port means arranged transversely and generally medially of said pair of inlet ports, a rotor disposed within said pumping chamber and having a dual conical configuration converging toward opposed polar regions and having an axis of rotation extending between said polar regions and arranged coaxially with the axis of said pumping chamber during operational rotation of said rotor, magnetic driven means arranged on said rotor at radially spaced locations generally medially along said axis of rotation, electromagnetic drive means coupled to a source of energy and arranged to deliver rotational driving energy to said rotor through said magnetic driven means; said rotor comprising: (a) a body having a relative density substantially less than that of the fluid being pumped and within a range of between about 0.1 and 0.9.
14. The pump as defined in Claim 1 being particularly characterized in that a single outlet port is provided for said pumping chamber.
15. The pump as defined in Claim 12 being particularly characterized in that the fluid being pumped flows from a single inlet port adjacent a polar tip to a single outlet port adjacent the medial plane.
16. The pump as defined in Claim 15 being particularly characterized in that the inlet fluid flow is substantially equally divided into two substantially equal fluid flow portions where the first flow portion passes from the inlet adjacent a first polar tip of the cone to an outlet adjacent the medial plane, and the second fluid flow portion flows through a bore formed coaxially of said rotor to a second polar tip of the cone in opposed position from said first polar tip and thence through said pumping chamber to an outlet adjacent the medial plane.
17. The pump of Claim 2 wherein said clearance between the inner surface of said pumping chamber and the outer surface of said rotor is adequate to provide a flow channel for blood, and the periphery of said rotor is such that the kinetic energy of the fluid being pumped is increased between the inlet port and the outlet port.
18. The pump as defined in Claim 12 wherein the pumping chamber has inner and outer peripheral surfaces and with the arrangement being such that the clearance space between the inner peripheral surface and the outer peripheral surface forms a flow path for fluid moving through said pump and wherein said flow path is free of flow obstructing elements creating stagnation, and wherein the clearance space dimension is between 1 millimeter and 7 millimeters and sufficient to accommodate fluid flow through the pump.
19. The pump as defined in Claim 12 wherein the pumping chamber has inner and outer peripheral surfaces and with the arrangement being such that the clearance space between the inner peripheral surface and the outer peripheral surface forms a flow path for fluid moving through said pump and wherein said flow path is free of flow obstructing elements.
Description:
BEARING AND SEAL-FREE BLOOD PUMP BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to an improved pump for transferring fragile or aggressive fluids. Examples of fragile fluids include human or animal blood, neither of which can tolerate exposure to unusual impact and/or sheer forces. Aggressive fluids include corrosive or poisonous fluids, as well as fluids which cannot tolerate contamination, or which otherwise may destroy seals and/or bearings to reduce the lifetime and/or longevity of the pump structure. Poisonous fluids, for example, are extremely dangerous if a leak develops. More particularly, the present invention relates to a pump which is bearing and seal-free and wherein the rotor is dynamically balanced by a combination of hydrodynamic and buoyant forces. The pump of the present invention is particularly adapted for transferring human blood and is capable of creating a flow of such liquids without damaging and/or otherwise adversely affecting the quality of the material being pumped. The rotor employed in the pump of the present invention is rotated electromagnetically by means of an electromagnetic drive system operating in conjunction with an array of permanent magnets disposed on the rotor in a brushless motor configuration. Alternatively, a permanent magnet-to-permanent magnet coupling may be employed. As such, the arrangement of the present invention is capable of achieving relative rotation while at the same time being bearing and seal-free.

In the past, pumps and pumping systems have been designed which have been characterized as being bearing and seal-free. Such systems typically employ magnetic levitation means which is in effect an actual form of bearing, much the same as sleeve bearings, ball bearings, or other friction-inducing bearings. Such arrangements using magnetic bearings, while being operational and functional, may be rendered complex and accordingly

require significant number of additional components including magnetic devices, position sensors, and rapid- response magnetic drive means. A number of such patents have been granted in the past, including those to Olsen et al. 4,688,998 and 5,195,877. The apparatus of the present invention, by contrast, is fully bearing and seal-free, with dynamic balance being achieved through a combination of hydrodynamic and buoyant forces.

Among the disadvantages inherent in pumps utilizing friction-reducing bearings include local heat generation such as may occur from the use of ball bearings, friction bearings, sleeve bearings, and the like. Low flow and high pressure may result in local areas due to the use of such structures. In addition, with all such bearing- equipped pumps, a high spring constant is provided wherein a small displacement of the rotor (or impeller) introduces very high forces which can damage or effectively destroy bearings. In addition, different forces are introduced in the structure whenever variations in axial positions occur.

In the present structure, the pump is bearing and seal-free, with the effective low compliance of the rotor allowing for relatively high displacement without the creation of large forces otherwise required to hold the rotor in its predetermined position. In addition, the rotor seeks and finds an equilibrium position which in certain situations can be off-set from the housing axis (in either the rotational or transverse axes) which typically occurs when the rotational axis of the pump is altered. Rotational movement of the pump housing will be manifested in displacement of the rotational or vertical axis of the rotor. The present arrangement has been found to eliminate the need for a highly precise axis in design, fabrication and operation. The lack of a positionally fixed rotational axis reduces the introduction of large forces which otherwise would be created when the axis of the rotor is shifted away from

its normal centrally disposed position.

In the arrangement of the present invention, the pump includes a pumping chamber with a central axis, and with a rotor body being disposed within the chamber for bearing and seal-free rotation therewithin. The rotor has a double or dual-conical configuration which converges toward opposed polar regions, and with the axis of rotation extending between these polar regions. Fluid inlet ports are arranged in the pumping chamber in oppositely disposed relationship within the chamber, with the fluid being transported or transferred to the inlet port area either externally or internally of the chamber.

Except for those occasions when the rotor is displaced, it is normally arranged in coaxial relationship with both the pumping chamber and the fluid inlet ports. The outlet port or ports are arranged generally medially of the chamber, midway between the inlet ports and typically are positioned tangentially of the medial portion of the pumping chamber. In those situations where the axis of rotation of the rotor is arranged vertically, the dual- conical configuration is such that flow on the outside portion of the rotor proceeds downwardly on the upper portion, and upwardly on the lower portion of the dual- cone.

An example of an external transfer of fluids between the oppositely disposed fluid inlet ports is a fluid transfer line which introduces the fluids at opposite ends of the housing. As an example of an internal transfer, a bore may be provided which extends between opposite ends of the rotor, thereby permitting transfer of fluids internally of the structure.

The term"oppositely disposed inlet ports"is intended to reflect the utilization of fluid introduction at opposite ends of the rotor, and is intended to include those arrangements wherein all of the fluid being pumped is initially introduced into one polar region of the housing, the fluid nevertheless is transferred either

internally or externally to the oppositely disposed polar region.

Levitation of the rotor, as indicated, is achieved by a combination of hydrodynamic and buoyant forces.

Briefly, the buoyant component is achieved as a result of careful selection of the rotor density, with the preferred relative density being between about 0.1 and 0.9 of the relative density of the fluid being pumped.

In a dynamic and operational mode, the buoyant forces merely become a component of lesser or secondary importance to the more significant and more highly effective hydrodynamic force.

The hydrodynamic force component is achieved as a result of the motion of the fluid as it is being moved through the pumping chamber. As the velocity of the fluid increases, the hydrodynamic forces increase substantially, and with the proper selection of rotor density, the hydrodynamic forces which are created during normal operation result in achieving a precise, steady and controllably repeatable centering of the rotor within the pumping chamber.

The pump structure of the present invention has particular application for transferring fragile and/or aggressive liquids, in particular, for transferring human blood. Since certain components in blood are extremely fragile and are damaged upon exposure to external forces, conventional pumps are simply unsuited for the application. Additionally, conventional seals and/or bearings typically found within conventional pump structures pose substantial and significant threats to cell damage. A further feature of the pump of the present invention rendering the pump well suited for transfer of blood is its essentially friction-free operation. Any frictional force creates the risk of generation of thermal energy, and thus may contribute to heat build-up. Since blood is extremely sensitive to temperature change, particularly any increase in

temperature above conventional body temperature, reduction and/or virtual elimination of friction provides significant and substantial advantages.

Since the structure of the present invention does not require bearings, energy consumption is reduced through the elimination of energy losses otherwise occurring in the bearings, including energy lost in contact bearings as well as electrical losses in magnetic bearings. The driving forces for the impeller are located generally in the plane of the center of gravity or center of mass of the impeller, or at least closely adjacent thereto. This feature results in the creation of a gyroscopic effect of a free-body gyroscope, and the configuration of the present invention is such as to stabilize the impeller when the axis of the housing is rotated relative to the spin axis of the rotor. In other words, the spin axis of the rotor may be altered because of a change-of-position of the housing, and thus the spin axis may not always be about the vertical axis, but can be about the horizontal axis as well.

In addition to blood pump applications, the device of the present invention finds utility in connection with other fluids as well. Certainly non-delicate fluids may be appropriately treated and/or moved with pump devices of the present invention including the aggressive fluids as discussed hereinabove.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved pump for transferring fragile liquids such as human blood, and wherein the pump is bearing and seal-free, with the rotor being dynamically balanced by a combination of hydrodynamic and buoyant forces.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide an improved pump for application with human blood which is capable of creating a uniform and consistent flow of such liquids without damaging or

otherwise adversely affecting the quality of the material being pumped.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a pump structure utilizing a pumping chamber housing a rotor wherein rotation of the rotor is achieved by an electromagnetic drive system operating in conjunction with an array of permanent magnets disposed on the rotor in a brushless configuration.

Other and further objects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon a study of the following specification, appended claims, and accompanying drawings.

IN THE DRAWINGS Figure 1 is a perspective view of a pump assembly prepared in accordance with the present invention; Figure 2 is a vertical sectional view taken through the axis of the structure as illustrated in Figure 1, and illustrating the flow pattern created by the pump when in actual operation; Figure 3 is a horizontal sectional view of the pump structure illustrated in Figure 1, and showing the detail of the flow pattern of the pump in operation; Figure 4 is a fragmentary sectional view taken on a slightly enlarged scale and illustrating the tapering of the clearance between the rotor and housing, and illustrating the manner in which the rate of fluid flow may be held substantially constant; Figure 5 is a perspective view of a pump prepared in accordance with the present invention and illustrating one application of the pump functioning as a portion of the natural heart of a patient; and Figure 6 is a schematic diagram illustrating a typical system in which the device of the present invention may function.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention, and with particular attention being

directed to Figures 1,2 and 3 of the drawings, the pump generally designated 10 comprises a housing 11, the interior of which defines pumping chamber 12. In other words, the inner periphery 13 of housing 11 is the outer periphery of the chamber 12. As is clear from the views of Figures 2 and 3, housing 11 and chamber 12 share a central axis which extends along axis 14 as set forth in Figure 2. Housing 11, and accordingly chamber 12, is provided with a pair of inlet ports as at 16 and 17, along with outlet ports as at 18 and 19. Inlet ports 16 and 17, collectively, define the inlets to the chamber, while outlet ports 18 and 19 collectively define the outlets. The inlet ports 16 and 17 are arranged coaxially with the chamber, that is, along axis 14, with the inlet ports being arranged in oppositely disposed relationship to chamber 12. Outlet ports 18 and 19 are arranged medially of the inlet ports, and are, as indicated, disposed generally transversely of axis 14.

With continued attention being directed to Figures 2 and 3 of the drawings, rotor 20 is disposed within chamber 12 and has a symmetrical dual conical configuration. This configuration provides dual cones converging toward opposed polar regions such as 21 and 22, and the rotor is provided with an axis of rotation which extends between the polar regions 21 and 22. The base of each of the two cones forming the dual cone configuration are coupled together and form a common center plane. This common center is further utilized as a mounting base for a plurality of permanent magnets such as magnets 24-24. These magnets are arranged at radially spaced locations generally medially along the axis of rotation of rotor 20, with the permanent magnets being provided at equally radially and arcuately spaced locations. Electromagnetic drive means are provided as at 26-26 and 27-27, with the electromagnetic drive means being, in turn, coupled to a source of electrical energy and arranged to deliver rotational driving energy to the

rotor through the permanent magnets 24-24. The drive arrangement is, of course, commonly referred to as a brushless motor configuration and brushless motor drives are, of course, well known in the art. The rate of rotation of rotor 20 is conveniently controlled by means of the frequency of the field applied to electromagnetic members 26-26 and 27-27, with the rate of rotation being controlled by the frequency of the applied electromagnetic field, or by selective energization of the electromagnetic means 26-26 and 27-27. Such drives are, of course, commonly utilized and well known in the art.

Rotor 20 is further defined by walls 29 and 30, with the material of construction being either similar or identical to that employed in housing 11. A suitable biocompatible material such as polycarbonate, acrylic, or copolymers of polystyrene may be employed, or alternatively a coating may be applied to a suitable substrate in order to enhance the biocompatibility of the structure. In those instances where the device is not being employed for implantation, then, of course, other materials may be employed, provided that the blood- contacting surfaces be formed and/or coated with a non- thrombogenic material.

Rotor 20 is provided with a hollow core or void area as at 32, with this area providing a means for controlling the relative density of the rotor body.

Preferably, the relative density is selected by the ratio of the relative density of the rotor to that of the fluid being pumped, and in most applications, the relative density of the rotor to the fluid being pumped is between about 0.3 and 0.6, with it being understood that relative densities of between about 0.1 and 0.9 may be found useful. Also, the dual conical configuration of rotor 20 provides the finished structure with an axial length along the axis of rotation as being generally equal to the axial length of the pumping chamber between the inlet

ports 16 and 17. The transverse diameter of the rotor 20 is defined along a medial plane, as along medial line 33 and with the configuration of the dual converging cones providing a clearance between the surface of the rotor and the inner surface of the pumping chamber as illustrated in greater detail in Figure 4. Generally speaking, the clearance as indicated at A-A and B-B is such that the clearance increases from the inlet port area to the outlet port area. The rate of increase is preferably proportional to the increase of the circumference of the rotor from the polar tip to the medial plane, with this increase in clearance providing a generally consistent rate of motion for the fluid being pumped as it moves along its translational and rotational motions and/or vectors. With these considerations in mind, the clearance between the inner surface of the pumping chamber and the periphery of the rotor preferably ranges from between about 1 millimeter up to about 7 millimeters, with a narrower range of between about 1 millimeter and 3 millimeters being generally preferred.

Generally, a clearance of about 1.5 millimeters is preferred.

With respect to the areas of the inlet and outlet ports, it is generally preferred that the combined area of the inlet ports be generally equal to the combined areas of the outlet ports, thereby providing more consistency in flow and pressures, and also providing for an appropriate hydrodynamic balancing of the rotor 20 within the chamber 12.

As has been indicated, the drive means for the electromagnetic drive elements 26-26 and 27-27 is preferably in the form of conductor windings, and for purposes of achieving appropriate hydrodynamic balance, the windings are carefully controlled and selectively made so as to preserve the hydrodynamic balance of the rotating rotor while eliminating the need for any form of bearing.

As has been indicated, the moment of inertia of the impeller is effectively minimized by virtue of the positioning of the mass of the impeller closer to the center of gravity (or center of mass). This may be obtained by moving the mass of the impeller needed for structural integrity closer to the center, and generally as closely as possible to the rotational axis. The moment of inertia may be controlably adjusted in connection with the structure of the present invention by arranging and mounting the permanent magnets within a circular or annular zone which is at the maximum radius of the rotor inner impeller, as required, while increasing the strength of the structure along its axis of rotation.

With respect to the fluid being pumped, it should be noted that the human blood has a viscosity of about 4 centipoises at 25° C., and this viscosity is sufficient to provide for sufficient friction between a relatively smooth rotor surface and blood so as to achieve a sufficient rotational component of motion for hydrodynamic balancing. As the rotational velocity of the fluid being pumped increases, its hydrodynamic balance effect will, of course, increase correspondingly and proportionately. With a rotational velocity of approximately 1000 rpm, the hydrodynamic balancing effect substantially overwhelms the buoyant effect afforded by the relative density of the rotor within the chamber.

For start-up purposes, saline is normally preferred as the functional material, with the saline being employed for a period of time until the desired rotational velocity is achieved, and thereafter blood may be introduced as the working solution being pumped and/or transferred.

While the rotor structure illustrated is described as being relatively smooth, vanes may be employed on the structure with the vanes forming arcuately spaced passages within the rotor. In other words, the vanes may

be formed as individual arcuately spaced paddles to form spaced-apart fluid passages and/or channels.

The inlet and outlet diameters are preferably 7 millimeters and the relative density is preferably between 0.1 to 0.9, with a relative density of 0.5 being preferred.

For most operational purposes, an inlet pressure ranging from between about 5 millimeters of Hg (mercury) up to about 40 millimeters Hg (mercury) is considered normal and appropriate for fluid dynamics dealing with human blood. Outlet pressures of between about 40 millimeters Hg (mercury) up to about 150 or 200 millimeters Hg (mercury) may be employed. When the device of the present invention is functioning as an implantable unit, the outlet pressure will, of course, depend upon the patient's activity and circulatory requirements being indicated.

Attention is now directed to Figure 5 of the drawings wherein a system is illustrated for utilization of the pump device of the present invention as a patient- assist unit. In the drawing of Figure 5, the pump 40 may be employed as a device with the outlets coupled to the aorta. In an alternative construction, the outlet may be coupled to the pulmonary artery. As indicated, the device of the present invention has application as a transfer pump as well, and may be employed, therefore, in surgical procedures which involve temporarily removing and/or temporarily disabling the heart function.

Attention is now directed to Figure 6 of the drawings wherein the pump 10 is coupled in a system which functions as a ventricular or heart-assist device. Pump 10 is powered by power supply 50 and sensors, including pickup ratio sensor 51 and ratio control 52 are employed.

The patient pressure level monitor provides an input to ratio control 52 with the level monitor receiving information including patient pressure level input as at 54 and pressure level signal 55. These systems are known

in the art and may be employed effectively in connection with the device of the present invention.

While double cones have been discussed, it is possible that multiple cones may be employed in lieu of vanes, wherein the rotor is provided with surfaces of revolution disposed axially outwardly of the rotor, and with the surfaces of revolution being arranged coaxially with the axis of rotation of the rotor.

While the term"double conical configuration"has been employed throughout, it will be understood that other surfaces of revolution may be employed, such as those surfaces of revolution generated by a curved line such as parabola, or a straight line so as to form a cone. Thus, the term"cone"is understood to be broadly defined herein.

It will be appreciated, of course, that various modifications may be made in the preferred embodiment illustrated above, and these modifications may be made without actually departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

What is claimed is: