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Title:
COLLAPSIBLE FLUID CONTAINER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/170916
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure provides a fluid container comprising (a) a housing defining an enclosed fluid reservoir, wherein the housing includes a first side and a second side opposite the first side, wherein the first side and the second side are separated by a sidewall, wherein the sidewall has a first length in an expanded condition, wherein the sidewall has a second length in a compressed condition, and wherein the first length is greater than the second length such that the fluid reservoir has a greater volume when the sidewall is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall is in the compressed condition, and (b) a fluid port coupling disposed on the first side of the housing and providing fluid access to the fluid reservoir.

Inventors:
ARORA, Krishan (Nexcel Office Unit, 5-6 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA, RG30 1EA, GB)
BRADLEY, Kieron (Nexcel Office Unit, 5-6 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA, RG30 1EA, GB)
CHILDS, Ian (Nexcel Office Unit, 5-6 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA, RG30 1EA, GB)
DRURY, Alistair (Nexcel Office Unit, 5-6 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA, RG30 1EA, GB)
FITZSIMONS, James,Brian (Nexcel Office Unit, 5-6 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA, RG30 1EA, GB)
WOODHEAD, Darren (Nexcel Office Unit, 5-6 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA, RG30 1EA, GB)
Application Number:
EP2019/056039
Publication Date:
September 12, 2019
Filing Date:
March 11, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CASTROL LIMITED (Technology Centre, Whitchurch Hill Pangbourne, Reading RG8 7QR, RG8 7QR, GB)
International Classes:
F16N19/00; B60K15/03; B67D7/04; F01M11/04
Foreign References:
US2432025A1947-12-02
GB2114530A1983-08-24
FR2472680A11981-07-03
US20020023691A12002-02-28
EP2472109A12012-07-04
DE102008038580A12010-02-25
US5447110A1995-09-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOWLSON, Samantha Jayne (BP International Limited, BP Legal Technology Chertsey Road, Sunbury on Thames Middlesex TW16 7LN, TW16 7LN, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fluid container comprising:

a housing defining an enclosed fluid reservoir, wherein the housing includes a first side and a second side opposite the first side, wherein the first side and the second side are separated by a sidewall, wherein the sidewall has a first length in an expanded condition, wherein the sidewall has a second length in a compressed condition, and wherein the first length is greater than the second length such that the fluid reservoir has a greater volume when the sidewall is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall is in the compressed condition; and a fluid port coupling disposed on the first side of the housing and providing fluid access to the fluid· reservoir.

2. The fluid container of claim 1, further comprising:

a cavity having an opening disposed on the first side of the housing; and

a cap attached to the fluid container and covering the opening of the cavity, the cap including an external surface including a second fluid port coupling.

3. The fluid container of claim 2, wherein an inner surface of the cap includes a retainer having threads for securing an oil filter disposed in the cavity.

4. The fluid container of any one of claims 2-3, wherein the cavity is isolated from the fluid reservoir.

5. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-4, wherein the second fluid port coupling includes an inlet to the oil filter and an outlet from the oil filter.

6. The fluid container of any one of claims 1 -6, wherein the fluid reservoir includes a fluid positioned therein, and wherein a volume of the fluid in the fluid reservoir is greater when the sidewall is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall is in the compressed condition.

7. The fluid container of claim 6, wherein the fluid in the fluid reservoir comprises a lubricating oil.

8. The fluid container of any one of claims 6-7, wherein the fluid is configured to be expelled from the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and drawn into the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

9. The fluid container of any one of claims 6-7, wherein the fluid is configured to be sucked out from the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and forced into the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

10. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-9, wherein a portion of the sidewall includes a flexible section configured to expand or contract in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

11. The fluid container of any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the housing fluid container further comprises an external shield.

12. The fluid container of claim 11, wherein the sidewall comprises a material that forms a series of concertina folds.

13. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-10, wherein the sidewall comprises an inner sidewall moveably disposed within an outer sidewall, and wherein the inner sidewall is configured to move with respect to the outer sidewall in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

14. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-11, wherein the sidewall comprises an elastic material configured to expand or contract in response to a pressure within the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

15. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-12, further comprising a retention lock positioned on the sidewall of the housing and configured to lock the sidewall in the compressed condition.

16. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-10 and 15, wherein the retention lock comprises a catch and a latch, wherein the catch is positioned on a first portion of the sidewall, and wherein the latch is positioned on a second portion of the sidewall such that when the latch is secured to the catch the sidewall is locked in the compressed condition.

17. The fluid container of claim 16, wherein the retention lock comprises a snap fastener including a male component and a female component, wherein the male component is positioned on a first portion of the sidewall, and wherein the female component is positioned on a second portion of the sidewall such that when the male component is inserted into the female component the sidewall is locked in the compressed condition.

18. The fluid container of any one of claims 1-10 and 13 to 17, further comprising a handle positioned on the second side of the housing, wherein the handle is recessed with respect to the second side of the housing.

19. The fluid container of any of claims 1 to 18, wherein when the fluid container is in the compressed condition it has a reduced package volume.

20. The fluid container of any preceding claim, wherein the fluid container is adapted to be positioned under a hood of the vehicle, wherein a height of the fluid container in the expanded condition prevents the hood of the vehicle from closing, and wherein the height of the fluid container in the compressed condition allows the hood of the vehicle to close.

21. A vehicle comprising:

the fluid container of any one of claims 1-19; and

a fluid system of the vehicle in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling.

22. The vehicle of claim 21, wherein the fluid system is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine of the vehicle.

23. The vehicle of any one of claims 21 -22, wherein the fluid container is positioned under a hood of the vehicle, wherein a height of the fluid container in the expanded condition prevents the hood of the vehicle from closing, and wherein the height of the fluid container in the compressed condition allows the hood of the vehicle to close.

24. An apparatus comprising:

the fluid container of any one of claims 1-19; and

a fluid system of the apparatus in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling.

25. The apparatus of claim 24, wherein the fluid system is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine of the apparatus.

26. A method comprising:

securing the fluid container of any one of claims 1-198 to a fluid system of a vehicle such that the fluid system of the vehicle is in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling; and

applying a force to the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is expelled out of the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the fluid system is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine of the vehicle.

28. The method of any one of claims 26-27, wherein the force applied to the fluid reservoir comprises a manual force applied to the second side of the housing.

29. The method of any one of claims 26-27, wherein the force applied to the fluid reservoir comprises a vacuum pump force from a pump in the fluid system of the vehicle.

30. The method of any one of claims 26-29, further comprising:

locking the sidewall in the compressed condition via a retention lock positioned on the sidewall of the housing.

31. A method comprising:

securing the fluid container of any one of claims 1-19 to a fluid system of an apparatus such that the fluid system of the apparatus is in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling; and

applying a force to the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is expelled out of the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the apparatus as the fluid container transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

32. The method of claim 31 , further comprising:

locking the sidewall in the compressed condition via a retention lock positioned on the sidewall of the housing.

33. A method comprising : applying a force to the fluid reservoir of the fluid container of any one of claims to 1- 19 to thereby transition the sidewall from the compressed condition to the expanded condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is drawn into the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition; and

removing the fluid container from a fluid system of an apparatus.

34. A method of carrying out an oil change in a vehicle equipped with a fluid container in accordance to any one of claims 1-19, comprising

applying a force to the fluid reservoir of a first fluid container fitted within the vehicle to thereby transition the sidewall from the compressed condition to the expanded condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid system of the vehicle is drawn into the fluid port coupling and into the fluid reservoir as the fluid container transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition;

removing the first fluid container from the vehicle;

securing a second fluid container to the fluid system of a vehicle such that the fluid system of the apparatus is in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling; and

applying a force to the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is expelled out of the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

35. The method of claim 34, wherein the first and the second fluid containers contain a lubricating oil.

36. A transportation case comprising:

a hollow body sized to fit the fluid container of any of claims 1 to 20 within; and a handle attached to the hollow body.

Description:
COLLAPSIBLE FLUID CONTAINER

BACKGROUND

[0001] Many vehicle engines use one or more fluids for their operation. Such fluids are often liquids. For example, internal combustion engines use liquid lubricating oil compositions. As another example, electric engines use heat exchange liquids for example to cool the engine, to heat the engine or to cool and heat the engine during different operating conditions. Such fluids are generally held in reservoirs associated with the engine and may require periodic replacement.

[0002] Conventional periodic replacement of engine lubricating oil composition in a vehicle engine usually involves draining the composition from the engine sump. The process may also involve removing and replacing the engine oil filter. Such a procedure usually requires access to the engine sump drain plug and oil filter from the underside of the engine, may require the use of hand tools and usually requires a suitable collection method for the drained lubricating oil composition.

OVERVIEW

[0003] Due to the inherent drawbacks of replacing fluid in a vehicle using traditional methods, a quick-change system may be desirable. An example quick-change system may include a fluid container that is configured to hold a liquid, such as a lubricating oil. A key challenge in integrating such a system into a vehicle is the available space in the engine bays of modern vehicles. The fluid container is only required to hold the full service fill oil volume (i) .at the very start of service where a portion of the oil is pumped to the engine sump, and (ii) at the end of service where all the oil in the engine sump is returned to the fluid container before removal from the vehicle. As such, a collapsible fluid container may be desirable to reduce the installed package volume and therefore reduce the integration effort.

[0004] Thus, in a first aspect, the present disclosure provides a fluid container comprising (a) a housing defining an enclosed fluid reservoir, wherein the housing includes a first side and a second side opposite the first side, wherein the first side and the second side are separated by a sidewall, wherein the sidewall has a first length in an expanded condition, wherein the sidewall has a second length in a compressed condition, and wherein the first length is greater than the second length such that the fluid reservoir has a greater volume when the sidewall is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall is in the compressed condition, and (b) a fluid port coupling disposed on the first side of the housing and providing fluid access to the fluid reservoir.

[0005] In one embodiment, the fluid container further comprises a cavity having an opening disposed on the first side of the housing, and a cap attached to the fluid container and covering

the opening of the cavity, the cap including an external surface including a second fluid port coupling.

[0006] In another embodiment, the second fluid port coupling includes an inlet to the oil filter and an outlet from the oil filter.

[0007] In another embodiment, an inner surface of the cap includes a retainer having threads for securing an oil filter disposed in the cavity.

[0008] In another embodiment, the cavity is isolated from the fluid reservoir.

[0009] In another embodiment, the fluid reservoir includes a fluid positioned therein, and wherein a volume of the fluid in the fluid reservoir is greater when the sidewall is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall is in the compressed condition.

[0010] In another embodiment, the fluid in the fluid reservoir comprises a lubricating oil.

[0011] In another embodiment, the fluid is configured to be expelled from the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and drawn into the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

[0012] In another embodiment, the fluid is configured to be sucked out of the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and forced

into the fluid reservoir as the sidewall transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

[0013] In another embodiment, a portion of the sidewall includes a flexible section configured to expand or contract in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0014] In another embodiment, the fluid container further comprises an external shield.

[0015] In another embodiment, the housing comprises a material that forms a series of concertina folds.

[0016] In another embodiment, the sidewall comprises an inner sidewall moveably disposed within an outer sidewall, and the inner sidewall is configured to move with respect to the outer sidewall in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0017] In another embodiment, the sidewall comprises an elastic material configured to expand or contract in response to a pressure within the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0018] In another embodiment, the fluid container further comprises a retention lock positioned on the sidewall of the housing and configured to lock the sidewall in the compressed condition.

[0019] In another embodiment, the retention lock comprises a catch and a latch, wherein the catch is positioned on a first portion of the sidewall, and the latch is positioned on a second portion of the sidewall such that when the latch is secured to the catch the sidewall is locked in the compressed condition.

[0020] In another embodiment, the retention lock comprises a snap fastener including a male component and a female component, the male component is positioned on a first portion of the sidewall, and the female component is positioned on a second portion of the sidewall such that when the male component is inserted into the female component the sidewall is locked in the compressed condition.

[0021] In another embodiment, the fluid container further comprises a handle positioned on the second side of the housing, wherein the handle is recessed with respect to the second side of the housing.

[0022] In another embodiment, when the fluid container is in the compressed condition it has a reduced package volume.

[0023] In another embodiment, the fluid container is adapted to be positioned under a hood of the vehicle, wherein a height of the fluid container in the expanded condition prevents the hood of the vehicle from closing, and wherein the height of the fluid container in the compressed condition allows the hood of the vehicle to close.

[0024] In a second aspect, the present disclosure provides a vehicle comprising (a) the fluid container of any of the embodiments of the first aspect, and (b) a fluid system of the vehicle in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling.

[0025] In one embodiment, the fluid system is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine of the vehicle.

[0026] In another embodiment, the fluid container is positioned under a hood of the vehicle, where a height of the fluid container in the expanded condition prevents the hood of the vehicle

from closing, and where the height of the fluid container in the compressed condition allows the hood of the vehicle to close.

[0027] In a third aspect, the present disclosure provides an apparatus comprising (a) the fluid container of any of the embodiments of the first aspect, and (b) a fluid system of the apparatus in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling.

[0028] In one embodiment, the fluid system is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine of the apparatus.

[0029] In a fourth aspect, the present disclosure provides a method comprising (a) securing the fluid container of any of the embodiments of the first aspect to a fluid system of a vehicle such that the fluid system of the vehicle is in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling, and (b) applying a force to the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is expelled out of the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0030] In one embodiment, the fluid system is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine of the vehicle.

[0031] In another embodiment, the force applied to the fluid reservoir comprises a manual force applied to the second side of the housing.

[0032] In another embodiment, the force applied to the fluid reservoir comprises a vacuum pump force from a pump in the fluid system of the vehicle.

[0033] In another embodiment, the method further comprises locking the sidewall in the compressed condition via a retention lock positioned on the sidewall of the housing.

[0034] In a fifth aspect, the present disclosure provides a method comprising (a) securing the fluid container of any one of the embodiments of the first aspect to a fluid system of an apparatus such that the fluid system of the apparatus is in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling, and (b) applying a force to the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid

reservoir is expelled out of the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the apparatus as the fluid container transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0035] In one embodiment, the method further comprises locking the sidewall in the compressed condition via a retention lock positioned on the sidewall of the housing.

[0036] In a fifth aspect the present disclosure provides a method comprising (a) applying a force to the fluid reservoir of the fluid container of any of the embodiments of the first aspect to thereby transition the sidewall from the compressed condition to the expanded condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is drawn into the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition; and

[0037] (b) removing the fluid container from to a fluid system of an apparatus.

[0038] In a sixth aspect, the present disclosure provides a method comprising (a) applying a force to the fluid reservoir of a first fluid container in accordance with any of the embodiments of the first aspect fitted within a vehicle to thereby transition the sidewall from the compressed condition to the expanded condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is drawn into the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition;

[0039] (b) removing the first fluid container from the vehicle;

[0040] (c) securing a second fluid container to the fluid system of a vehicle such that the fluid system of the apparatus is in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling; and

[0041] (d) applying a force to the fluid reservoir to thereby transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, wherein a fluid located in the fluid reservoir is expelled out of the fluid port coupling and into the fluid system of the vehicle as the fluid container transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0042] In one embodiment, the first and the second fluid containers contain a lubricating oil. [0043] In one embodiment, a transportation case comprises a hollow body sized to fit the fluid container within; and a handle attached to the hollow body.

[0044] These as well as other aspects, advantages, and alternatives, will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art by reading the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0045] Example embodiments are described herein with reference to the drawings, in which:

[0046] FIG. 1 A is a side cross-section view of a fluid container in an expanded condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0047] FIG. 1B is a side cross-section view of the fluid container of FIG. 1 A in a compressed condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0048] FIG. 2A is a side cross-section view of a fluid container in an expanded condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0049] FIG. 2B is a side cross-section view of the fluid container of FIG. 2 A in a compressed condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0050] FIG. 3A is a side cross-section view of a fluid container in an expanded condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0051] FIG. 3B is a side cross-section view of the fluid container of FIG. 3 A in a compressed condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0052] FIG. 4A is a side cross-section view of a fluid container in an expanded condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0053] FIG. 4B is a side cross-section of a view of the fluid container of FIG. 4A in a compressed condition, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0054] FIG. 4C is an isometric view of the fluid container of FIG. 4 A in an expanded condition, in accordance with example embodiments; [0055] FIG. 5 is a side cross-section view of a fluid container in fluid communication with a fluid system of a vehicle, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0056] FIG. 6 is a flow chart of functions to carry out a method, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0057] FIG. 7 is a flow chart of functions to carry out a method, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0058] FIG. 8 is a flow chart of functions to carry out a method, in accordance with example embodiments;

[0059]

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0060] Example methods and systems are described herein. It should be understood that the words“example” and“exemplary” are used herein to mean“serving as an example, instance, or illustration.” Any embodiment or feature described herein as being an“example” or “exemplary” is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments or features. In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying figures, which form a part thereof. In the figures, similar symbols typically identify similar components, unless context dictates otherwise. Other embodiments may be utilized, and other changes may be made, without departing from the scope of the subject matter presented herein.

[0061] The example embodiments described herein are not meant to be limiting. It will be readily understood that the aspects of the present disclosure, as generally described herein, and illustrated in the figures, can be arranged, substituted, combined, separated, and designed in a wide variety of different configurations, all of which are explicitly contemplated herein.

[0062] As used herein, with respect to measurements,“about” means +/- 5 %.

[0063] Unless otherwise indicated, the terms“first,”“second,” etc. are used herein merely as labels, and are not intended to impose ordinal, positional, or hierarchical requirements on the items to which these terms refer. Moreover, reference to, e.g., a“second” item does not require or preclude the existence of, e.g., a“first” or lower-numbered item, and/or, e.g., a“third” or higher-numbered item.

[0064] Reference herein to“one embodiment” or“one example” means that one or more feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the example is included in at least one implementation. The phrases“one embodiment” or“one example” in various places in the specification may or may not be referring to the same example.

[0065] As used herein, a system, apparatus, device, structure, article, element, component, or hardware“configured to” perform a specified function is indeed capable of performing the specified function without any alteration, rather than merely having potential to perform the specified function after further modification. In other words, the system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware“configured to” perform a specified function is specifically selected, created, implemented, utilized, programmed, and/or designed for the purpose of performing the specified function. As used herein,“configured to” denotes existing characteristics of a system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware which enable the system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware to perform the specified function without further modification. For purposes of this disclosure, a system, apparatus, structure, article, element, component, or hardware described as being “configured to” perform a particular function may additionally or alternatively be described as being“adapted to” and/or as being“operative to” perform that function.

[0066] In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the disclosed concepts, which may be practiced without some or all of these particulars. In other instances, details of known devices and/or processes have been omitted to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the disclosure. While some concepts will be

described in conjunction with specific examples, it will be understood that these examples are not intended to be limiting.

[0067] Embodiments of the invention may provide a replaceable fluid container for supplying a plurality of fluids, in particular a plurality of lubricating fluids, to a plurality of fluid circulation systems of an engine.

[0068] The fluid containers described herein may be suitable for supplying a plurality of fluids to an engine having, or having associated with it, one or more fluid circulation systems, or an engine having a fluid circulation system comprising one or more fluid circulation subsystems. Each of the fluid circulation systems or subsystems may be configured to circulate fluid around a particular area of the engine or, where the engine is a vehicle engine, an ancillary area of a vehicle.

[0069] Embodiments of the invention may provide a fluid container arranged to be seated in a dock associated with an engine, such as the engine of a vehicle. The fluid container may include one or more valves for controlling the supply of its fluid to a fluid circulation system to which it is arranged to be fluidly coupled. A fluid container controller may be provided to control operation of the valves, for example by controlling the degree to which each valve is opened or closed, to control the rate or amount of fluid provided to the fluid circulation system. The fluid container controller may control the valves in accordance with a control regimen. Such a control regimen may be provided by an operational controller such as an engine control system, or it may be pre-programmed into the fluid container controller or supplied to the fluid container controller at a user interface. The control regime may be selected or modified based on a measurement of a property of one or more of the fluids, such as a measure of viscosity, density, temperature, cleanliness or chemical composition.

[0070] The fluid container controller may be configured to store identification data indicating, for example, a serial number, manufacturer details, service history data, service regime data, one or more property of one or more of the fluids, the vehicle with which the replaceable fluid container is designed to be used, container history data, engine history data of an engine with which the fluid container has been used, and so on, and may be configured to communicate the identification data to the engine control device. The fluid container controller may be configured to select, or update, a service interval or control regime based on fluid-quality data provided by one or more sensors located in the engine or the fluid container or on data provided from elsewhere.

[0071] While aspects of the present disclosure have been described in relation to vehicle engines and examples of the invention described the use of engine lubricating oil compositions, it is envisaged that features of the invention could find other applications.

[0072] For example, a fluid container according to an aspect of the present disclosure could be used in relation to a wide range of apparatus or equipment. For example, the fluid container could find application in relation to various static and movable machines, for example industrial machines such as a lathe, or manufacture and assembly equipment, to an engine, or to a vehicle other than a passenger vehicle, for example, an off-road vehicle (such as earth moving equipment or agricultural machinery) or a heavy duty vehicle (such as a truck). As another possibility, the fluid container may be configured to supply fluid, during operation, to a fluid circulation system associated with an engine other than a vehicle engine or to a reverse engine or generator or a turbine such as a wind turbine, for example, a coolant or hydraulic fluid.

[0073] Examples of a fluid container of an aspect of the present disclosure could thus be used to supply lubricant composition to a region of the apparatus or equipment, for example to a region including one or more moving parts, for example a gearbox. In an example of an aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a fluid container for a wind turbine, for example to provide lubricating composition to one or more parts of the wind turbine apparatus.

[0074] The fluid container may supply a lubricant composition to the apparatus, or may supply fluid other than lubricant to the apparatus. For example, the fluid may comprise a fuel composition, for example gasoline or diesel. The fluid reservoir of an aspect of the present disclosure may be for supply of the fluid for example to the fuel supply system of the apparatus. For example, the fluid reservoir may supply fuel to a vehicle, or tool, for example to a car, motorcycle or lawn mower.

[0075] In another example, the fluid container is used to supply a fluid, for example lubricant and/or fuel, to a hand tool, for example a hedge trimmer or leaf blower.

[0076] The fluid may comprise for example an aqueous or other solvent-based composition, for example a cleaning composition. The fluid may for example comprise windscreen wash fluid. A fluid container of an example of an aspect of the present disclosure may be for supplying fluid to the windscreen washer fluid delivery system for example of a vehicle. The fluid may comprise a gas rather than a liquid, and as such may need to be used under a pressure enable by the structure of the fluid container. Other examples are possible as well.

[0077] With reference to the Figures, FIG. 1 A illustrates a fluid container 100 according to an example embodiment. As shown in FIG. 1A, the fluid container 100 includes a housing 102 defining an enclosed fluid reservoir 104. The housing 102 includes a first side 106 and a second side 108 opposite the first side 106. The first side 106 may form the base of the fluid container 100 and the second side 108 may form the top of the fluid container 100. The first side 106 and the second side 108 of the housing 102 are separated by a sidewall 110A. The sidewall 110A has a first length 111 in an expanded condition as shown in FIG. 1 A. The sidewall 110A has a second length 113 in a compressed condition as shown in FIG. IB. The first length 111 is greater than the second length 113 such that the fluid reservoir 104 has a greater volume when the sidewall 110A is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall 110A is in the compressed condition. The first length 111 and the second length 113 can be a distance between portions of the first side 106 and the second side 108 that are nearest each other. Alternatively, the first length 111 and the second length 113 can be a distance between a vertical center point of the first side 106 and a vertical center point of the second side 108. Other examples of specifying the first length 111 and second length 113 are possible. As shown in FIG. 1 A, the fluid container 100 further includes a fluid port coupling 112 disposed on the first side 106 of the housing 102 and providing fluid access to the fluid reservoir 104.

[0078] In the context of the present disclosure, any of the fluid port couplings of the fluid reservoir 104 described herein could comprise any suitable coupling for retaining the a fluid reservoir 104 in fluid communication with a corresponding fluid system, as shown and described, for example, in FIG. 4 below. The fluid port couplings could be arranged to be remotely decoupled from the fluid lines. The fluid container 100 could comprise an actuator to decouple the fluid container 100 from the fluid circulation system. The fluid port couplings described herein may comprise a self-sealing port. In general, self-sealing ports have the characteristic that when corresponding ports are being connected, a seal is made between the connecting ports before valve or valves open to allow fluid to flow. On disconnection, the valve or valves close to seal off each of the ports before the seal between the ports is broken. Suitable valves include spring loaded poppet valves and biased non-return valves. Each selfsealing port of the fluid container 100 may provide a "dry break" in which no fluid flows on connection or disconnection of the ports. Alternatively, each self- sealing port of the system may provide a "damp break" in which there is flow of only a non-essential amount of fluid, for example a few drips of liquid, on disconnection or connection of the port. In some examples, the fluid port couplings comprise a non-return valve. It is also possible to include a dry break valve on one side of the valve and not the other, for example, provide a diy break valve on the side of the fluid container only. Other examples are possible as well.

[0079] In one example, the fluid container 100 may further include a cavity 114 having an opening 116 disposed on the first side 106 of the housing 102. In such an example, the fluid container 100 may further include a cap 118 attached to the fluid container 100 and covering the opening 116 of the cavity, the cap 118 being to allow access to the interior of the cavity 114. In one example, an inner surface 124 of the cap 118 includes a retainer having threads for securing an oil filter 126, such as a so-called“spin-on” filter, disposed in the cavity 114. In one example, as shown in FIG. 1A, the second fluid port coupling 122 includes an inlet 128 to the oil filter 126 and an outlet 130 from the oil filter 126. As further shown in FIG. 1A, the cavity 114 may be isolated from the fluid reservoir 104. As such, the filter 126 may be removed from the cavity 114 without accessing the fluid contained in the fluid reservoir 104. The fluid port couplings 112, 122 may be push fit, snap fit, screw fit or other suitable securing mechanism.

[0080] In at least some examples the fluid reservoir 104 of the fluid container 100 contains a fluid, for example a liquid. In such an example, a volume of the fluid reservoir 104 is greater when the sidewall 110A is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall 110A is in the compressed condition, enabling the fluid container 100 to hold a greater amount of fluid than when in the compressed condition. Further, the fluid may be configured to be expelled from the fluid reservoir 104 as the sidewall 110A transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and drawn into the fluid reservoir 104 as the sidewall 110A transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition, as discussed in additional detail below. Further, the fluid may be configured to be sucked out from the fluid reservoir 104 as the sidewall 110A transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and forced into the fluid reservoir 104 as the sidewall transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

[0081] The fluid reservoir 104 may be a reservoir for a fluid which is a liquid. The liquid may be lubricating oil composition, for example an engine lubricating oil composition or heat exchange fluid for an electric engine. The liquid may be a liquid for a self-sustaining fluid system for example a lubricating oil composition for example an engine lubricating oil composition, or a heat exchange fluid for example a heat exchange fluid for an electric engine. The liquid may be a liquid for a non-sustaining fluid system, for example de-icer, water and or detergent.

[0082] Thus, the fluid container 100 may be provided as a self-contained system containing fresh, refreshed or unused engine lubricating oil composition which may conveniently replace a fluid container 100 on an engine which comprises a fluid reservoir 104 containing used or spent engine lubricating oil composition. If the fluid container 100 also comprises a filter 126, this also is replaced together with the spent or used heat exchange fluid. The lubricating oil composition may have heat exchange properties.

[0083] The lubricating oil composition may comprise at least one base stock and at least one lubricating oil additive. Suitable base stocks include bio-derived base stocks, mineral oil derived base stocks, synthetic base stocks and semi synthetic base stocks. Suitable lubricating oil additives, for example engine lubricating oil additives are known in the art. Examples of additives include organic and/or inorganic compounds. Typically, according to at least some examples, the engine lubricating oil composition comprises about 60% to 90% by weight in total of base stocks and about 40% to 10% by weight additives. Suitable engine lubricating oil compositions include lubricating oil compositions for internal combustion engines.

[0084] The lubricating oil composition may be a mono-viscosity grade or a multi-viscosity grade engine lubricating oil composition. Examples of suitable engine lubricating oil compositions include single purpose lubricating oil compositions and multi-purpose lubricating oil compositions.

[0085] According to at least some examples, the lubricating oil composition is a lubricating oil composition for example and engine lubricating oil composition for example for an internal combustion engine, for example a spark ignition internal combustion engine and/or a compression internal combustion engine.

[0086] The liquid may be a heat exchange fluid for an electric engine. Thus, the fluid container 100 may be provided as a self-contained system containing fresh, refreshed or unused heat exchange fluid for an electric engine which may conveniently replace a container on an engine which container comprises a reservoir containing used or spent heat exchange fluid. If the fluid container also 100 comprises a filter 126, this also is replaced together with the spent or used heat exchange fluid.

[0087] Suitable heat exchange fluids for electric engines include aqueous and nonaqueous fluids. Suitable heat exchange fluids for electric engines include those which comprise organic and/or non-organic performance boosting additives.

[0088] Suitable heat exchange fluids include be man-made or bio-derived fluids, for example Betaine. According to at least some embodiments, the heat exchange fluids have fire retarding characteristics and/or hydraulic characteristics. Suitable heat exchange fluids include phase change fluids. Suitable heat exchange fluids include molten metals and salts. Suitable heat exchange fluids may include nanofluids. Nanofluids comprise nanoparticles suspended in a base fluid, which may be solid, liquid or gas. Suitable heat exchange fluids may include both gases and liquids. Suitable heat exchange fluids may further include liquefied gases.

[0089] While vehicle fluid systems for example vehicle engine fluid systems have been described herein, the present invention also relates to fluid systems for engines in general whether or not associated with a vehicle.

[0090] As discussed above, the sidewall has a first length 111 in an expanded condition as shown in FIG. 1 A and the sidewall 110A has a second length 113 in a compressed condition as shown in FIG. 1B. The first length 111 is greater than the second length 113 such that the fluid reservoir 104 has a greater volume when the sidewall 110A is in the expanded condition than when the sidewall 110A is in the compressed condition. The sidewall 110A may be configured to transition from the expanded condition to the compressed condition in a variety of ways. In one example, a portion of the sidewall 110A includes a flexible section 132 configured to expand or contract in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall 110 from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. The flexible section 132 may comprise a helical section, an accordion section, or a coiled section that is configured to expand or contract in response to a force (e.g., push-pull force). The flexible section 132 may comprise the same material as the other sections of the sidewall 110 A, or may comprise a different material than the other sections of the sidewall 110A. The different materials may be moulded together, bonded together using an adhesive or welded together using either a hot welding technique or ultrasonic welding technique.

[0091] In another example, as shown in FIGS. 2A-2B, the first side 106 and the second side 108 of the housing 102 are separated by a sidewall 110B. The sidewall 110B comprises an inner sidewall 142 moveably disposed within an outer sidewall 144. In such an example, the inner sidewall 142 may be configured to move with respect to the outer sidewall 144 in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall 110B from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. In another example, the outer sidewall 144 may be configured to move with respect to the inner sidewall 142 in response to a force to thereby transition the sidewall 11 OB from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. In one example, the inner sidewall 142 may include a protrusion configured to fit within a slot in the outer sidewall 144, such that rotation between the inner sidewall 142 and the outer sidewall 144 is prevented or reduced. In another example, the outer sidewall 144 may include a protrusion configured to fit within a slot in the inner sidewall 142, such that rotation between the inner sidewall 142 and the outer sidewall 144 is prevented or reduced. Other arrangements are possible as well, including the use of a seal in the form of a gusset made from a flexible but inelastic material joined at one end to the inner sidewall 142 and at the other to the outer sidewall 144. Alternatively a seal such as an“O” ring may be provided on the inner sidewall 142 and in contact with the outer sidewall 144, or vice versa, such that the seal slides across the surface of the other sidewall as the fluid container 100 moves between the expanded condition and the compressed condition.

[0092] In one example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 to transition the sidewall 110A, 110B from the expanded condition to the compressed condition comprises a manual force applied to the second side 108 of the housing 102. In another example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a vacuum pump force from a pump in a fluid system of a vehicle or other apparatus, as discussed in additional detail below. In order to expand the fluid reservoir 104 fluid may be pumped back into the fluid reservoir 104, thus causing it to expand, or the second side 108 of the housing 102 may be pulled upwards, creating a vacuum inside the fluid reservoir 104 to suck fluid from the fluid system. Other examples are possible as well.

[0093] In yet another example, as shown in FIGS. 3A-3B, the first side 106 and the second side 108 of the housing 102 are separated by a sidewall 110C. The sidewall 110C comprises an elastic material configured to expand or contract in response to a pressure within the fluid reservoir 104 to thereby transition the sidewall 110C from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. In such an example, the entire sidewall 110C may comprise the same material. Such a material may include shape memory properties that bias the housing 102 to the compressed condition. The sidewall of the housing 102 may include a single embodiment of any of the embodiments of the sidewalls 110A-110C described above in FIGS. 1A-3B to transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition, or the sidewall may include a combination of two or more of the embodiments of the sidewalls 110A- 110C described above in FIGS. 1 A-3B to transition the sidewall from the expanded condition to the compressed condition.

[0094] In yet another example, as shown in FIGS. 4 A to 4C, the first side 106 and the second side 108 of the housing 102 are separated by a sidewall 110D. The sidewall 110D comprises a material configured to expand or contract in response to a pressure within the fluid reservoir 104 to thereby transition the sidewall 110D from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. In such an example, the entire sidewall 110D comprises a material that forms a series of concertina folds. The sidewall 110D may comprise a single material, such that it forms a continuous cylinder of concertina folds and/or a single dimension of concertina fold substantially along its length from the first side 106 to the second side 108. Alternatively, the sidewall HOD may comprise a single material having a variety of dimensions of concertina folds either substantially along its length from the first side 106 to the second side 108 or around its circumference, and/or different materials having the same or differing dimensions of concertina folds either substantially along its length from the first side 106 to the second side 108 or around its circumference. The housing 102 may be formed of a plastics or other oleophobic material that is flexible enough to collapse into a loose concertina or serpentine shape, or may be formed from a material that has pre-determined regions that fold to create the concertina folds. This may be due to areas of weakness, such as score lines, folds or changes in thickness. Alternatively, the housing 102 may be formed from an elastic material and/or a compressible material.

[0095] FIG. 4B shows the fluid container 100 in the compressed condition. In addition to the housing 102, the example shown has an external shielding 165 that forms a shell over the fluid container 100 whilst it is in the compressed condition. The external shielding 165 comprises an outer shielding portion 165 A that surrounds the second side 108 and an inner shielding portion 165B, that connects with the first side 106 of the housing 102, and may in some examples, be integral with this. The inner shielding portion 165B is provided with external protrusions 166 adjacent the first side 106 of the housing 102, and the outer shielding portion 165 A is provided with corresponding internal protrusions 167, where the external 166 and internal 167 protrusions are designed to form a mating fit so as to retain the outer shielding portion 165 A in a mating fit with the inner shielding portion 165B, thus also retaining the fluid container 100 in the compressed condition.

[0096] FIG. 4C shows the external shielding 165 in more detail. The external shielding 165 comprises a number of concentric, cylindrical portions 168 A, B that are designed sit within one another so as to overlap completely when the fluid container 100 is in the compressed condition, and to have a minimal overlap when the fluid container 100 is in the expanded condition. In both the expanded condition and the compressed condition the outer shielding 165 forms a shell over the housing 102 of the fluid container 100. When the fluid container 100 is transitioning from the expanded condition to the compressed condition the cylindrical portions collapse downwards under the movement of the outer shielding portion 165 A, each slotting into position within the inner shielding portion 165B. The cylindrical portions 166A, B may be arranged such that each portion moves only when the portion above has fully collapsed, such that portion 166A collapses onto portion 166B, which collapses into the inner shielding portion 165B. Alternatively, each cylindrical portion 166A, B may begin to move as the fluid is forced out of the fluid container 100. As the fluid container 100 expands from the compressed condition to the expanded condition the opposite occurs, such that as fluid is forced into the fluid container 100 each cylindrical portion 166A, B is either pulled upwards by the outer shielding portion or adjacent cylindrical portion 166 A, B or pushed upwards by the adjacent cylindrical portion 166B, A. Although in the example shown in FIGS. 4A - 4C only two cylindrical portions 166 are shown, it may be desirable to have three, four or more. Each of these cylindrical portions 166 A, B and the outer shielding portion 165 A and the inner shielding portion 165B may be made of a plastics material, and may be of the same or differing plastics materials depending on the volumes of fluid contained in the fluid container 100 and/or the position the fluid container 100 is in with respect to a fluid supply system.

[0097] In one embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 1 A-3B, the fluid container 100 further includes a retention lock 134 positioned on the sidewall 110A-110C of the housing 102 and configured to lock the sidewall 110A-110C in the compressed condition. The retention lock 134 may take a variety of forms. In general, the retention lock 134 may include any mechanism configured to prevent the sidewall 110A-110C from transitioning from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

[0098] In one particular example, the retention lock 134 comprises a catch 146 and a latch 148. In such an example, the latch 148 is positioned on a first portion 136 of the sidewall 110A- 110C, and the catch 146 is positioned on a second portion 138 of the sidewall 110A-110C such that when the latch 148 is secured to the catch 146 the sidewall 110A-110C is locked in the compressed condition.

[0099] In another particular example, the retention lock 134 comprises a snap fastener including a male component and a female component. The male component of the snap fastener could be positioned where latch 148 is positioned as shown in FIGS. 1A-3B, and the female component of the snap fastener could be positioned where the catch 146 is positioned as shown in FIGS. 1 A-3B. In particular, the male component is positioned on the first portion 136 of the sidewall 110A-110C, and the female component is positioned on the second portion 138 of the sidewall 110A-110C such that when the male component is inserted into the female component the sidewall 110A-110C is locked in the compressed condition. Other retention locks 134 are possible as well. Further, one component of the retention lock 134 may be positioned on the sidewall 110A-110C or other component of the housing 102, and a second component of the retention lock 134 may be positioned on a dock 162 (described below in FIG. 5), an engine 154 (described below in FIG. 5), or other component of the location in which the fluid container 100 is to be placed. Pushing down on the second side 108 of the fluid container 100 such that a first component of the retention lock 134 passes beyond a second component followed by a slight release of pressure such that the first component moves upward into engagement with the second component may be used in place of a latch. Providing the slight pressure on the second surface 108 to disengage the first and second components allows the first component to pass beyond the second component enables the fluid container 100 to return to the expanded condition. Should a suitably rigid material be used to create an accordion-like sidewall then this may remain in the compressed condition without the use of further locking means.

[0100] In another example, as shown in FIGS. 1A-3B, the fluid container 100 may further include a handle 140 positioned on the second side 108 of the housing 102. In one example, the handle 140 is recessed with respect to the second side 108 of the housing 102. Such a handle may also be used with the example shown in FIGS. 4A - 4C.

[0101] The fluid container 100 described above provides a fluid container with a reduced installed volume. Such an arrangement as described above may remove the requirement of an electrically driven motor and pump to transfer fluid from the replaceable fluid container to the engine on initial installation. Further, the fluid container 100 described above allows for container expansion and contraction during shipping to prevent permanent deformation due to internal pressure.

[0102] Typically a breather or breather port is a valve included to enable the headspace within the fluid reservoir 104 to vent either directly to air or to the headspace of the engine. This prevents unacceptable pressure build ups within the fluid system as the volume of fluid within the fluid reservoir changes. However, the fluid container 100 described above removes the requirement for an oil cell breather as the fluid container 100 is allowed to expand and contract as required.

[0103] In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 5, the present disclosure provides a vehicle 150 comprising the fluid container 100 of any of the embodiments described above, and a fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling 112. In such an embodiment, the fluid system 152 may be a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine 154 of the vehicle 150 via one or more fluid lines 156A-156C. Further, in such an embodiment, the fluid container 100 may be positioned under a hood 158 of the vehicle 150. In such an example, a height of the fluid container 100 in the expanded condition prevents the hood 158 of the vehicle 150 from closing, and the height of the fluid container 100 in the compressed condition allows the hood 158 of the vehicle 150 to close.

[0104] As discussed above, the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 may also include a fluid container controller 160 to control operation of the fluid port couplings 112, 122, for example by controlling the degree to which a valve is opened or closed, to control the rate or amount of fluid provided to and from the fluid system 152.

[0105] In another embodiment, the present disclosure provides an apparatus comprising the fluid container 100 of any of the embodiments described above, and a fluid system 152 of the apparatus in fluid communication with the fluid port coupling 112. In such an embodiment, the fluid system may be a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine 154 of the apparatus. As such, the vehicle 150 shown in FIG. 5 could be replaced with an apparatus having a similar arrangement of components.

[0106] FIG. 6 is a simplified flow chart illustrating method 200. Although the blocks in FIG. 6 are illustrated in a sequential order, these blocks may also be performed in parallel, and/or in a different order than those described herein. Also, the various blocks may be combined into fewer blocks, divided into additional blocks, and/or removed based upon the desired implementation.

[0107] At block 202, the method 200 includes securing a fluid container 100 to a fluid system 152 of a vehicle 150 such that the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 is in fluid communication with a fluid port coupling 112 of the fluid container 100. In one example, the fluid system 152 is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine 154 of the vehicle 150. Other example fluid systems are possible as well. In one example, the fluid container 100 is removably seated in a dock 162 that is fixed to the vehicle 150. Other ways of securing the fluid container 100 to the fluid system 152 are possible as well.

[0108] At block 204, the method 200 includes applying a force to the fluid reservoir 104 to thereby transition a sidewall 110A- 110C of the fluid container 100 from an expanded condition to a compressed condition such that a fluid located in the fluid reservoir 104 is expelled out of the fluid port coupling 112 and into the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 as the fluid container 100 transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. In one example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a manual force applied to the second side 108 of the housing 102. In another example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a vacuum pump force from a pump 164 in the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150. Other examples are possible as well.

[0109] In another embodiment, the method 200 may further include locking the sidewall 110A- 110C in the compressed condition via a retention lock 134 positioned on the sidewall 110A- 1 IOC of the housing 102. As discussed above, the retention lock 134 may take a variety of forms. In general, the retention lock 134 may include any mechanism configured to prevent the sidewall 110A-110C from transitioning from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

[0110] In another example, the method 200 may further include the sucking the fluid out from the fluid reservoir 104 as the sidewall 110A-110C transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition and forcing the fluid into the fluid reservoir 104 as the sidewall 110A-110C transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition.

[0111] In yet another embodiment, similar method steps 202-204 may be performed by securing the fluid container 100 to a fluid system 152 of an apparatus instead of a vehicle 150.

[0112] FIG. 7 is a simplified flow chart illustrating method 300. Although the blocks in FIG. 7 are illustrated in a sequential order, these blocks may also be performed in parallel, and/or in a different order than those described herein. Also, the various blocks may be combined into fewer blocks, divided into additional blocks, and/or removed based upon the desired implementation. In one example, the fluid system 152 is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine 154 of the vehicle 150. Other example fluid systems are possible as well. In one example, the fluid container 100 is removably seated in a dock 162 that is fixed to the vehicle 150. Other ways of securing the fluid container 100 to the fluid system 152 are possible as well.

[0113] At block 302, the method 300 includes applying a force to the fluid reservoir 104 to thereby transition a sidewall 110A-110C of the fluid container 100 from a compressed condition to an expanded condition such that a fluid located in the fluid reservoir 104 is drawn in through the fluid port coupling 112 and out of the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 as the fluid container 100 transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition. In one example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a manual force applied to the second side 108 of the housing 102 to pull the second side upwards. In another example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a positive pressure pump force from a pump 164 in the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150. Other examples are possible as well.

[0114] At block 304, the method 300 includes removing a fluid container 100 from a fluid system 152 of a vehicle 150 such that the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 is no longer in fluid communication with a fluid port coupling 112 of the fluid container 100.

[0115] FIG. 8 is a simplified flow chart illustrating method 400. Although the blocks in FIG. 8 are illustrated in a sequential order, these blocks may also be performed in parallel, and/or in a different order than those described herein. Also, the various blocks may be combined into fewer blocks, divided into additional blocks, and/or removed based upon the desired implementation. In one example, the fluid system 152 is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine 154 of the vehicle 150. Other example fluid systems are possible as well. In one example, the fluid container 100 is removably seated in a dock 162 that is fixed to the vehicle 150. Other ways of securing the fluid container 100 to the fluid system 152 are possible as well.

[0116] At block 402, the method 400 includes applying a force to the fluid reservoir 104 to thereby transition a sidewall 110A-110C of a first fluid container 100 from a compressed condition to an expanded condition such that a fluid located in the fluid reservoir 104 is drawn in through the fluid port coupling 112 and out of the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 as the fluid container 100 transitions from the compressed condition to the expanded condition. In one example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a manual force applied to the second side 108 of the housing 102 to pull the second side upwards. In another example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a positive pressure pump force from a pump 164 in the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150. Other examples are possible as well.

[0117] At block 406, the method 400 includes securing a second fluid container 100 to a fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 such that the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 is in fluid communication with a fluid port coupling 112 of the fluid container 100. In one example, the fluid system 152 is a lubricant circulation system that delivers a lubricating oil to an engine 154 of the vehicle 150. Other example fluid systems are possible as well. In one example, the fluid container 100 is removably seated in a dock 162 that is fixed to the vehicle 150. Other ways of securing the fluid container 100 to the fluid system 152 are possible as well.

[0118] At block 408, the method 400 includes applying a force to the fluid reservoir 104 to thereby transition a sidewall 110A-110C of the fluid container 100 from an expanded condition to a compressed condition such that a fluid located in the fluid reservoir 104 is expelled out of the fluid port coupling 112 and into the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150 as the fluid container 100 transitions from the expanded condition to the compressed condition. In one example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a manual force applied to the second side 108 of the housing 102. In another example, the force applied to the fluid reservoir 104 comprises a vacuum pump force from a pump 164 in the fluid system 152 of the vehicle 150. Other examples are possible as well.

[0119] In this embodiment, the fluid is preferably a lubricating oil. Both the first and the second fluid containers contain the same grade of lubricating oil.

[0120] FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a transportation case for use with embodiments of the present invention. The transportation case 500 however is particularly suitable for use with the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 4A, B and C. The transportation case

500 comprises a hollow body 501, sized to fit a fluid container 100 within. The hollow body

501 in the exemplary embodiment illustrated is generally in the form of a four- sided tubular construction having first 502a and second 502b rectangular sides joined by first 503a and second 503b curved sides and closed at one end by an endpiece 504, onto which all of the rectangular 502a, 502b and curved 503a, 503b sides are attached. However, other extrudable or mouldable hollow bodies based generally on a cylindrical shape, cuboid or other appropriate shape may be used as alternatives. A handle 505 for carrying the transportation case 500 is fixed to the endpeice 504. The hollow body 501 and handle 505 may be formed as an integral, single body out of a plastics material, or the handle may be attached using other means, such a mechanical bond (screw) or chemical bond (adhesive) or physical bond (welding). Typical materials suitable for forming the hollow body 501 and handle include polymers such as Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and other materials exhibiting an appropriate durability in terms of strength, impact protection and resistance to oil, using a moulding technique, for example, injection moulding. The handle 505 may alternatively be mounted on a side of the hollow body, and/or more than one handle 505 may be provided. As an alternative to an endpiece 504 the hollow body 501 may be left open, so as to receive a handle mounted on the fluid container 100.

[0121] Opposite the closed end and endpiece 504 of the transportation case 500 an opening 506 is provided, sized to fit onto the dock 162 positioned in a vehicle for receiving a fluid container 100. The open end 506 is provided with a fastening means 507 for fastening the transportation case 500 onto the dock 162 during filling and draining of fluid from the fluid container 100. The fastening means 507 on the transportation case 500 engage with corresponding locking means 508 on the dock 162. The fastening means 507 in the present example comprise a pair of clasps 509a, 509b mounted opposite one another at the opening of the open end 506 of the container 500, and the locking means 508 comprise a corresponding pair of lugs 510a, 510b positioned on the dock 162. Other fastening mechanisms may be used, such as clips, catches and rotating locking devices. The same fastening means 507 may be used to hold the fluid container 100 within the hollow body 501 or the hollow body 501 to the fluid container 100, depending on the arrangement of the fastening means 507 and corresponding locking means provided on the fluid container 100 (not shown).

[0122] In use, a filled fluid container 100 is positioned inside the transportation case 500 in order to be transported to a dock 162 in a vehicle. The transportation case 500 is positioned such that the open end 506 covers the dock 162 and locked into position using the fastening means 507. The fluid container 100 contracts, with the transportation case 500 being used as a guide as the fluid container 100 empties up until a pre-determined limit is reached. This limit corresponds to a desired level of fluid for top-ups if required. Once this limit is reached the fastening means 507 are unlocked and the transportation case 500 removed from the dock 162, leaving the fluid container 100 in place with the limited supply of top-up fluid. Conversely, to replace fluid in the fluid container 100 from the engine, the transportation case 500 is fitted over the fluid container 100 on the dock 162 to guide expansion of the fluid container 100 as fluid flows into it. Once sufficient fluid is held within the fluid container 100 the transportation case 500 is unlocked from the dock 162, and both the fluid container 100 and the transportation case 500 removed.

[0123] The above detailed description describes various features and functions of the disclosed systems, devices, and methods with reference to the accompanying Figures. In the Figures, similar symbols typically identify similar components, unless context dictates otherwise. The illustrative embodiments described in the detailed description, Figures, and claims are not meant to be limiting. Other embodiments can be utilized, and other changes can be made, without departing from the scope of the subject matter presented herein. It will be readily understood that the aspects of the present disclosure, as generally described herein, and illustrated in the Figures, can be arranged, substituted, combined, separated, and designed in a wide variety of different configurations, all of which are explicitly contemplated herein.

[0124] While various aspects and embodiments have been disclosed herein, other aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. The various aspects and embodiments disclosed herein are for purposes of illustration and are not intended to be limiting, with the true scope being indicated by the following claims.