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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
COUPLER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/194871
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A coupler including a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end and a thickness disposed between an external surface and internal surface defining an interior passage and including one or more of an external annular groove disposed in the external surface overlaying an internal annular member disposed on the internal surface, and one or more external annular members disposed on the external surface correspondingly overlaying one or more internal annular grooves disposed in said internal surface.

Inventors:
JACOBS, Jon Joseph (405 N. Cr 3, Fort Collins, CO, 80524, US)
JACOBS, Lonnie Joseph (2941 Living Springs Lane, Fort Collins, CO, 80526, US)
NOYER, Robert Wayne (6062 E. CR 74, Carr, CO, 80612, US)
SEATON, Lioyd Dale (8757 Longs Peak Circle, Windsor, CO, 80550, US)
Application Number:
US2018/026587
Publication Date:
October 25, 2018
Filing Date:
April 06, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
COBALT COUPLER SYSTEMS, LLC (3813 Canal Drive, Fort Collins, CO, 80524, US)
International Classes:
F16L21/08; F16L37/02; F16L37/08; F16L37/091
Foreign References:
US1949451A1934-03-06
GB1372241A1974-10-30
US5553895A1996-09-10
US20100194098A12010-08-05
US5769460A1998-06-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MILES, Craig R. (CR Miles P.C, 405 Mason Court Suite 11, Fort Collins CO, 80524, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
V. CLAIMS

1. A coupler, comprising:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a conduit first end and a conduit second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said conduit first end and said conduit second end; and

a tubular guide coupled to said conduit first end, said tubular guide widening between said conduit first end and a tubular guide terminal end, said tubular guide including:

a first tubular guide first region proximate said conduit first end; a first tubular guide second region disposed adjacent said first tubular region and extending toward said tubular guide terminal end;

said first tubular guide first region having a first radius of curvature along the longitudinal axis of said tubular guide;

said first tubular guide second region having a second radius of curvature along the longitudinal axis of said tubular guide, said second radius of curvature less than said first radius of curvature.

2. The coupler of claim 1, wherein said first tubular guide first region has a first radius of curvature of about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters) to about 0.700 inches (17.78 millimeters).

3. The coupler of claim 2, wherein said first radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.460 inches to about 0.500 inches, about 0.475 inches to about 0.525 inches, about 0.500 inches to about 0.550 inches, about 0.525 inches to about 0.575 inches, about 0.550 inches to about 0.600 inches, about 0.575 inches to about 0.625 inches, about 0.600 inches to about 0.650 inches, about 0.625 inches to about 0.675 inches, about 0.650 inches to about 0.690 inches, and combinations thereof. 4. The coupler of claim 2, wherein said first tubular guide second region has a second radius of curvature of about 0.150 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters).

5. The coupler of claim 4, wherein said second radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.160 inches to about 0.200 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.200 inches to about 0.250 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.250 inches to about 0.300 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.300 inches to about 0.350 inches, about 0.325 inches to about 0.375 inches, about 0.350 inches to about 0.400 inches, about 0.375 inches to about 0.425 inches, about 0.400 inches to about 0.440 inches, and combinations thereof.

6. The coupler of claim 1, wherein a ratio of a cross-section area of said first tubular guide at said tubular guide terminal end orthogonal to a longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit to a cross-section area of said first tubular guide at said conduit first end orthogonal to said longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit comprises about 1:0.75 to about 1:0.95.

7. The coupler of claim 6, wherein said ratio is selected from the group consisting of: about 1 :0.76 to about 1 :0.77, about 1 :0.765 to about 1 :0.775, about 1 :0.77 to about 1 :0.78, about 1 :0.775 to about 1:0.785, about 1:0.78 to about 1:0.79, about 1:0.785 to about 1:0.795, about 1:0.79 to about 1:0.80, about 1:0.795 to about 1:0.805, about 1:0.80 to about 1:0.81, about 1:0.805 to about 1:0.815, about 1:0.81 to about 1:0.82, about 1:0.815 to about 1:0.825, about 1:0.82 to about 1:0.83, about 1:0.825 to about 1:0.835, about 1:0.83 to about 1:0.84, about 1:0.835 to about 1:0.845, about 1:0.84 to about 1:0.85, about 1:0.845 to about 1:0.855, about 1:0.85 to about 1:0.86, about 1:0.855 to about 1:0.865, about 1:0.86 to about 1:0.87, about 1:0.865 to about 1:0.875, about 1:0.87 to about 1:0.88, about 1:0.875 to about 1:0.885, about 1:0.88 to about 1:0.89, about 1:0.885 to about 1:0.895, about 1:0.89 to about 1:0.90, about 1:0.895 to about 1:0.905, about 1:0.90 to about 1:0.91, about 1:0.905 to about 1:0.915, about 1:0.91 to about 1:0.92, about 1:0.915 to about 1:0.925, about 1:0.92 to about 1:0.93, about 1:0.925 to about 1:0.935, about 1:0.93 to about 1:0.94, and combinations thereof. 8. The coupler of claim 1, further comprising a first external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface, said first external annular member overlaying a first internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

9. The coupler of claim 8, further comprising an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said external annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

10. The coupler of claim 9, further comprising a second external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit overlaying a second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

11. The coupler of claim 10, wherein said first external annular member overlaying said first annular groove and said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove, said external annular groove overlaying said internal annular member disposed proximate said second end.

12. The coupler of claim 11, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers from said conduit first end approaching said first internal annular groove. 13. The coupler of claim 12, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers about 0.01 inches (0.25 millimeters) to about 0.04 inches (1.02 millimeters) between said first end and said first internal annular groove.

14. The coupler of claim 13, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers between said first end of said tubular conduit and said first internal annular groove in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.020 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, about 0.028 inches to about 0.030 inches, about 0.029 inches to about 0.031 inches, about 0.030 inches to about 0.032 inches, about 0.031 inches to about 0.033 inches, about 0.032 inches to about 0.034 inches, about 0.033 inches to about 0.035 inches, about 0.034 inches to about 0.036 inches, about 0.035 inches to about 0.037 inches, about 0.036 inches to about 0.038 inches, about 0.037 inches to about 0.039 inches, and combinations thereof.

15. The coupler of claim 12, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers approaching said internal annular member. 16. The coupler of claim 15, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers about 0.0 inch to about 0.01 inch (0.254 inches) between said conduit second end and said internal annular member.

17. The coupler of claim 16, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers between said second end and said internal annular member in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.001 inches to about 0.003 inches, about 0.002 inches to about 0.004 inches, about 0.003 inches to about 0.005 inches, about 0.004 inches to about 0.006 inches, about 0.005 inches to about 0.007 inches, about 0.006 inches to about 0.008 inches, about 0.007 inches to about 0.009 inches, and combinations thereof.

18. The coupler of claim 1, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall comprises about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters).

19. The coupler of claim 18, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof.

20. The coupler of claim 11, wherein each of said first and second external annular members include a crown disposed between a pair of sides which taper towards said external surface, wherein said crown and said internal annular groove have substantially equal width, wherein said crown has a height of between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of a depth of said internal annular groove.

21. The coupler of claim 20, wherein said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, and said external annular groove each having a depth of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters).

22. The coupler of claim 21, wherein said depth of said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, and said external annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches, and combinations thereof.

23. The coupler of claim 1, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is between about 6.5 (165.1 millimeters) inches to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters).

24. The coupler of claim 23, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is selected from the group consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

25. The coupler of claim 23, wherein said tubular conduit is produced from a material selected from the group consisting of: metal, copper, concrete, polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof. 26. The coupler of claim 23, wherein said tubular conduit has a generally cylindrical internal surface.

27. The coupler of 26, wherein said cylindrical internal surface has a diameter of about 0.5 inches (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters).

28. The coupler of claim 27, wherein said diameter is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.75 inch to about 1.25 inches, about 1.0 inch to about 1.5 inches, about 1.25 inches to about 1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2.0 inches, about 1.75 inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2.0 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3.0 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3.0 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4.0 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof.

29. The coupler of claim 21, further comprising a seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

30. The coupler of claim 29, wherein said seal element comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, and combinations thereof.

31. The coupler of claim 29, further comprising an annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove.

32. A coupler, comprising:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a conduit first end and a conduit second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said conduit first end and said conduit second end;

a first tubular guide coupled to said conduit first end, said first tubular guide widening between said conduit first end and a first tubular guide terminal end, said first tubular guide including:

a first tubular guide first region proximate said conduit first end; a first tubular guide second region disposed adjacent said first tubular guide region and extending toward said first tubular guide terminal end;

said first tubular guide first region having a first radius of curvature along a longitudinal axis of said first tubular guide;

said tubular guide second region having a second radius of curvature along said longitudinal axis of said first tubular guide, said second radius of curvature less than said first radius of curvature;

a second tubular guide coupled to said conduit second end, said second tubular guide widening between said conduit second end and a second tubular guide terminal end, said second tubular guide including:

a second tubular guide first region proximate said conduit second end;

a second tubular guide second region disposed adjacent said second tubular guide second region and extending toward said second tubular guide terminal end;

said second tubular guide first region having a third radius of curvature along the longitudinal axis of said second tubular guide;

said second tubular guide second region having a fourth radius of curvature along the longitudinal axis of said second tubular guide, said fourth radius of curvature less than said third radius of curvature.

33. The coupler of claim 32, wherein said first tubular guide first region has a first radius of curvature of about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters) to about 0.700 inches (17.78 millimeters).

34. The coupler of claim 33, wherein said first radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.460 inches to about 0.500 inches, about 0.475 inches to about 0.525 inches, about 0.500 inches to about 0.550 inches, about 0.525 inches to about 0.575 inches, about 0.550 inches to about 0.600 inches, about 0.575 inches to about 0.625 inches, about 0.600 inches to about 0.650 inches, about 0.625 inches to about 0.675 inches, about 0.650 inches to about 0.690 inches, and combinations thereof.

35. The coupler of claim 34, wherein said first tubular guide second region has a second radius of curvature of about 0.150 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters).

36. The coupler of claim 35, wherein said second radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.160 inches to about 0.200 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.200 inches to about 0.250 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.250 inches to about 0.300 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.300 inches to about 0.350 inches, about 0.325 inches to about 0.375 inches, about 0.350 inches to about 0.400 inches, about 0.375 inches to about 0.425 inches, about 0.400 inches to about 0.440 inches, and combinations thereof.

37. The coupler of claim 36, wherein said second tubular guide first region has a third radius of curvature of about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters) to about 0.700 inches (17.78 millimeters). 38. The coupler of claim 37, wherein said third radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.460 inches to about 0.500 inches, about 0.475 inches to about 0.525 inches, about 0.500 inches to about 0.550 inches, about 0.525 inches to about 0.575 inches, about 0.550 inches to about 0.600 inches, about 0.575 inches to about 0.625 inches, about 0.600 inches to about 0.650 inches, about 0.625 inches to about 0.675 inches, about 0.650 inches to about 0.690 inches, and combinations thereof.

39. The coupler of claim 38, wherein said second tubular guide second region has a fourth radius of curvature of about 0.150 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters).

40. The coupler of claim 39, wherein said fourth radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.160 inches to about 0.200 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.200 inches to about 0.250 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.250 inches to about 0.300 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.300 inches to about 0.350 inches, about 0.325 inches to about 0.375 inches, about 0.350 inches to about 0.400 inches, about 0.375 inches to about 0.425 inches, about 0.400 inches to about 0.440 inches, and combinations thereof. 41. The coupler of claim 40, wherein a ratio of a cross-section area of said first tubular guide at said tubular guide terminal end orthogonal to a longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit to a cross-section area of said tubular guide at said conduit first end orthogonal to said longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit comprises a first ratio of about 1 :0.75 to about 1 :0.95.

42. The coupler of claim 41, wherein said first ratio is selected from the group consisting of: about 1:0.76 to about 1:0.77, about 1:0.765 to about 1:0.775, about 1:0.77 to about 1:0.78, about

1:0.775 to about 1:0.785, about 1:0.78 to about 1:0.79, about 1:0.785 to about 1:0.795, about 1:0.79 to about 1:0.80, about 1:0.795 to about 1:0.805, about 1:0.80 to about 1:0.81, about 1:0.805 to about 1:0.815, about 1:0.81 to about 1:0.82, about 1:0.815 to about 1:0.825, about 1:0.82 to about 1:0.83, about 1:0.825 to about 1:0.835, about 1:0.83 to about 1:0.84, about 1:0.835 to about 1:0.845, about 1:0.84 to about 1:0.85, about 1:0.845 to about 1:0.855, about 1:0.85 to about 1:0.86, about 1:0.855 to about 1:0.865, about 1:0.86 to about 1:0.87, about 1:0.865 to about 1:0.875, about 1:0.87 to about 1:0.88, about 1:0.875 to about 1:0.885, about 1:0.88 to about 1:0.89, about 1:0.885 to about 1:0.895, about 1:0.89 to about 1:0.90, about 1:0.895 to about 1:0.905, about 1:0.90 to about 1:0.91, about 1:0.905 to about 1:0.915, about 1:0.91 to about 1:0.92, about 1:0.915 to about 1:0.925, about 1:0.92 to about 1:0.93, about 1:0.925 to about 1:0.935, about 1:0.93 to about 1:0.94, and combinations thereof.

43. The coupler of claim 42, wherein a ratio of a cross-section area of said second tubular guide at said second tubular guide terminal end orthogonal to a longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit to a cross-section area of said second tubular guide at said conduit first end orthogonal to said longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit comprises a second ratio of about 1 :0.75 to about 1:0.95.

44. The coupler of claim 43, wherein said second ratio is selected from the group consisting of: about 1:0.76 to about 1:0.77, about 1:0.765 to about 1:0.775, about 1:0.77 to about 1:0.78, about 1:0.775 to about 1:0.785, about 1:0.78 to about 1:0.79, about 1:0.785 to about 1:0.795, about 1:0.79 to about 1:0.80, about 1:0.795 to about 1:0.805, about 1:0.80 to about 1:0.81, about 1:0.805 to about 1:0.815, about 1:0.81 to about 1:0.82, about 1:0.815 to about 1:0.825, about 1:0.82 to about 1:0.83, about 1:0.825 to about 1:0.835, about 1:0.83 to about 1:0.84, about 1:0.835 to about 1 :0.845, about 1 :0.84 to about 1 :0.85, about 1 :0.845 to about 1 :0.855, about 1 :0.85 to about 1 :0.86, about 1 :0.855 to about 1 :0.865, about 1 :0.86 to about 1 :0.87, about 1 :0.865 to about 1 :0.875, about 1 :0.87 to about 1 :0.88, about 1 :0.875 to about 1 :0.885, about 1 :0.88 to about 1 :0.89, about 1 :0.885 to about 1 :0.895, about 1 :0.89 to about 1 :0.90, about 1 :0.895 to about 1 :0.905, about 1 :0.90 to about 1 :0.91, about 1 :0.905 to about 1 :0.915, about 1 :0.91 to about 1 :0.92, about 1 :0.915 to about 1 :0.925, about 1 :0.92 to about 1 :0.93, about 1 :0.925 to about 1 :0.935, about 1 :0.93 to about 1 :0.94, and combinations thereof.

45. The coupler of claim 44, further comprising an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

46. The coupler of claim 45, further comprising:

a plurality of external annular members circumferentially disposed on said external surface overlaying a corresponding plurality of internal annular grooves circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit, said plurality of external annular members including a first external annular member, a second external annular member, a third external annular member, and a fourth external annular member each correspondingly overlaying one of said plurality of internal annular grooves, and wherein said plurality of internal annular grooves includes a first internal annular groove, a second internal annular grooves, a third internal annular groove, and fourth internal annular groove;

said first and second external annular members correspondingly overlaying said first and second annular grooves disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove; and

said third and fourth external annular members overlaying said third and fourth annular grooves disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said second end, said third external annular member overlaying said third internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said second end than said fourth external annular member overlaying said fourth internal annular groove.

47. The coupler of claim 46, wherein said external annular groove overlaying an internal annular member medially disposed on said tubular conduit.

48. The coupler of claim 47, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers approaching said first external annular member.

49. The coupler of claim 48, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.04 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said first end and said first internal annular groove.

50. The coupler of claim 49, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers between said first end and said first internal annular groove in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.020 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, about 0.028 inches to about 0.030 inches, about 0.029 inches to about 0.031 inches, about 0.030 inches to about 0.032 inches, about 0.031 inches to about 0.033 inches, about 0.032 inches to about 0.034 inches, about 0.033 inches to about 0.035 inches, about 0.034 inches to about 0.036 inches, about 0.035 inches to about 0.037 inches, about 0.036 inches to about 0.038 inches, about 0.037 inches to about 0.039 inches, and combinations thereof. 51. The coupler of claim 50, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers approaching said third external annular member.

52. The coupler of claim 51, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.04 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said second end and said third internal annular groove. 53. The coupler of claim 52, wherein said internal surface of said tubular conduit tapers between said second end and said third internal annular groove in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.020 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, about 0.028 inches to about 0.030 inches, about 0.029 inches to about 0.031 inches, about 0.030 inches to about 0.032 inches, about 0.031 inches to about 0.033 inches, about 0.032 inches to about 0.034 inches, about 0.033 inches to about 0.035 inches, about 0.034 inches to about 0.036 inches, about 0.035 inches to about 0.037 inches, about 0.036 inches to about 0.038 inches, about 0.037 inches to about 0.039 inches, and combinations thereof.

54. The coupler of claim 53, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters).

55. The coupler of claim 54, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof.

56. The coupler of claim 55, wherein said first external annular member, said second external annular member, said third external annular member, and said fourth external annular member each include a crown disposed between a pair of sides which taper towards said external surface of said tubular conduit, each said crown and each said internal annular groove having substantially equal width, each said crown having a height of between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of a depth of said internal annular groove. 57. The coupler of claim 56, wherein said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, said third internal annular groove, said fourth internal annular groove, and said external annular groove each having a depth of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters).

58. The coupler of claim 57, wherein said depth of said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, said third internal annular groove, said fourth internal annular groove, and said external annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches, and combinations thereof.

59. The coupler of claim 58, wherein said length of said tubular conduit about 6.5 inches (165.1 millimeters) to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters). 60. The coupler of claim 59, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is selected from the group consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

61. The coupler of claim 60, wherein said material comprising said tubular conduit selected from the group consisting of: metal, copper, concrete, polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof.

62. The coupler of claim 61, wherein said tubular conduit has a generally cylindrical internal surface.

63. The coupler of claim 62, wherein said cylindrical internal surface has a diameter of about 0.5 inches (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters).

64. The coupler of claim 63, wherein said diameter is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.75 inch to about 1.25 inches, about 1.0 inch to about 1.5 inches, about 1.25 inches to about 1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2.0 inches, about 1.75 inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2.0 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3.0 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3.0 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4.0 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof.

65. The coupler of claim 64, further comprising a first seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said first seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

66. The coupler of claim 65, further comprising a second seal element disposed in said third internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said second seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

67. The coupler of claim 66, wherein said seal element comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, or combinations thereof.

68. The coupler of claim 67, further comprising a first annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove.

69. The coupler of claim 68, further comprising a second annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said fourth internal annular groove.

70. A method of using a coupler, comprising:

positioning a coupler in spatial relation to a pipe first end, said coupler including:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a conduit first end and a conduit second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said conduit first end and said conduit second end; and

a tubular guide coupled to said conduit first end, said tubular guide widening between said conduit first end and a tubular guide terminal end, said tubular guide including:

a first tubular guide first region proximate said conduit first end;

a first tubular guide second region disposed adjacent said first tubular region and extending toward said tubular guide terminal end;

said first tubular guide first region having a first radius of curvature along the longitudinal axis of said tubular guide; said first tubular guide second region having a second radius of curvature along the longitudinal axis of said tubular guide, said second radius of curvature less than said first radius of curvature;

engaging a pipe first end to said tubular guide proximate said tubular guide terminal end, said pipe first end disposed in angled relation to a longitudinal axis of said tubular guide;

forcibly urging said pipe first end along said tubular guide; and

guiding said pipe first end into said interior passage of said tubular conduit.

71. The method of claim 70, wherein said first tubular guide first region has a first radius of curvature of about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters) to about 0.700 inches (17.78 millimeters). 72. The method of claim 71, wherein said first radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.460 inches to about 0.500 inches, about 0.475 inches to about 0.525 inches, about 0.500 inches to about 0.550 inches, about 0.525 inches to about 0.575 inches, about 0.550 inches to about 0.600 inches, about 0.575 inches to about 0.625 inches, about 0.600 inches to about 0.650 inches, about 0.625 inches to about 0.675 inches, about 0.650 inches to about 0.690 inches, and combinations thereof.

73. The method of claim 72, wherein said first tubular guide second region has a second radius of curvature of about 0.150 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters).

74. The method of claim 73, wherein said second radius of curvature is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.160 inches to about 0.200 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.200 inches to about 0.250 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.250 inches to about 0.300 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.300 inches to about 0.350 inches, about 0.325 inches to about 0.375 inches, about 0.350 inches to about 0.400 inches, about 0.375 inches to about 0.425 inches, about 0.400 inches to about 0.440 inches, and combinations thereof. 75. The method of claim 74, wherein a ratio of a cross-section area of said first tubular guide at said tubular guide terminal end orthogonal to a longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit to a cross-section area of said first tubular guide at said conduit first end orthogonal to said longitudinal axis of said tubular conduit comprises about 1 :0.75 to about 1 :0.95.

76. The method of claim 75, wherein said ratio is selected from the group consisting of: about 1 :0.76 to about 1 :0.77, about 1 :0.765 to about 1 :0.775, about 1 :0.77 to about 1 :0.78, about 1 :0.775 to about 1 :0.785, about 1 :0.78 to about 1 :0.79, about 1 :0.785 to about 1 :0.795, about 1 :0.79 to about 1:0.80, about 1:0.795 to about 1:0.805, about 1:0.80 to about 1:0.81, about 1:0.805 to about 1:0.815, about 1:0.81 to about 1:0.82, about 1:0.815 to about 1:0.825, about 1:0.82 to about 1:0.83, about 1:0.825 to about 1:0.835, about 1:0.83 to about 1:0.84, about 1:0.835 to about 1:0.845, about 1:0.84 to about 1:0.85, about 1:0.845 to about 1:0.855, about 1:0.85 to about 1:0.86, about 1:0.855 to about 1:0.865, about 1:0.86 to about 1:0.87, about 1:0.865 to about 1:0.875, about 1:0.87 to about 1:0.88, about 1:0.875 to about 1:0.885, about 1:0.88 to about 1:0.89, about 1:0.885 to about 1:0.895, about 1:0.89 to about 1:0.90, about 1:0.895 to about 1:0.905, about 1:0.90 to about 1:0.91, about 1:0.905 to about 1:0.915, about 1:0.91 to about 1:0.92, about 1:0.915 to about 1:0.925, about 1:0.92 to about 1:0.93, about 1:0.925 to about 1:0.935, about 1:0.93 to about 1:0.94, and combinations thereof.

77. The method of claim 76, wherein said coupler further comprises:

a first external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface, said first external annular member overlaying a first internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit;

a second external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit overlaying a second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit;

said first external annular member overlaying said first annular groove and said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove; and

a seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage further comprises sealably engaging said pipe to said seal element.

78. The method of claim 77, further comprising sealably engaging said pipe to said seal element.

79. The method of claim 78, wherein said coupler further comprises an annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove.

80. The method of claim 79, further comprising forcibly urging said pipe into said interior passage and flexing said resiliently flexible tabs of said annular retaining member.

81. A coupler, comprising:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said first and second ends; and

a first external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface, said first external annular member overlaying a first internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit. 82. The coupler of claim 81, further comprising an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

83. The coupler of claim 82, further comprising a second external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit overlaying a second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

84. The coupler of claim 83, wherein said first external annular member overlaying said first annular groove and said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove, said external annular groove overlaying said internal annular member disposed proximate said second end. 85. The coupler of claim 84, wherein said internal surface tapers approaching said first internal annular groove.

86. The coupler of claim 85, wherein said internal surface tapers about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said first end and said first internal annular groove. 87. The coupler of claim 86, wherein said internal surface tapers between said first end and said first internal annular groove in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.20 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof.

88. The coupler of claim 87, wherein said internal surface tapers approaching said internal annular member.

89. The coupler of claim 88, wherein said internal surface tapers about 0.0 inch to about 0.01 inch (0.254 inches) between said second end and said internal annular member.

90. The coupler of claim 89, wherein said internal surface tapering between said second end and said internal annular member in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.001 inches to about 0.003 inches, about 0.002 inches to about 0.004 inches, about 0.003 inches to about 0.005 inches, about 0.004 inches to about 0.006 inches, about 0.005 inches to about 0.007 inches, about 0.006 inches to about 0.008 inches, about 0.007 inches to about 0.009 inches, and combinations thereof.

91. The coupler of claim 90, wherein said conduit wall has a thickness of about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters).

92. The coupler of claim 91, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof.

93. The coupler of claim 92, wherein each of said first and second external annular members include a crown disposed between a pair of sides which taper towards said external surface, wherein said crown and said internal annular groove have substantially equal width, wherein said crown has a height of between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of a depth of said internal annular groove.

94. The coupler of claim 93, wherein said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, and said external annular groove each having a depth of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters).

95. The coupler of claim 94, wherein said depth of said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, and said external annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches and combinations thereof.

96. The coupler of claim 95, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is between about 6.5 (165.1 millimeters) inches to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters). 97. The coupler of claim 96, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is selected from the group consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

98. The coupler of claim 97, wherein said tubular conduit is produced from a material selected from the group consisting of: polyvinyl chloride, copper, concrete, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof.

99. The coupler of claim 98, wherein said tubular conduit has a generally cylindrical internal surface.

100. The coupler of claim 99, wherein said cylindrical internal surface has a diameter of about 0.5 inch (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters).

101. The coupler of claim 100, wherein said diameter is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.75 inch to about 1.25 inches, about 1 inch to about 1.5 inches, about 1.25 inches to about 1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2 inches, about 1.75 inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof.

102. The coupler of claim 101, further comprising a seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

103. The coupler of claim 102, wherein said seal element comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, or combinations thereof. 104. The coupler of claim 103, further comprising an annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove. 105. A coupler, comprising:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said first and second ends; and

an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

106. The coupler of claim 105, further comprising a plurality of external annular members circumferentially disposed on said external surface overlaying a corresponding plurality of internal annular grooves circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

107. The coupler of claim 106, wherein said plurality of external annular members includes a first external annular member, a second external annular member, a third external annular member, and a fourth external annular member each correspondingly overlaying one of said plurality of internal annular grooves, and wherein said plurality of internal annular grooves includes a first internal annular groove, a second internal annular grooves, a third internal annular groove, and a fourth internal annular groove.

108. The coupler of claim 107, wherein said first and second external annular members correspondingly overlaying said first and second annular groove elements disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove.

109. The coupler of claim 108, wherein said third and fourth external annular members overlaying said third and fourth annular groove elements disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said second end, said third external annular member overlaying said third internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said second end than said fourth external annular member overlaying said fourth internal annular groove.

110. The coupler of claim 109, wherein said external annular groove overlaying an internal annular member medially disposed on said tubular conduit.

111. The coupler of claim 110, wherein said internal surface tapers approaching said first external annular member.

112. The coupler of claim 111, wherein said internal surface tapers about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said first end and said first internal annular groove.

113. The coupler of claim 112, wherein said internal surface tapers between said first end and said first internal annular groove in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.20 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof. 114. The coupler of claim 113, wherein said internal surface tapers approaching said third external annular member.

115. The coupler of claim 114, wherein said internal surface tapers about 0.01 (0.254 inches) inches to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said second end and said third internal annular groove. 116. The coupler of claim 115, wherein said internal surface tapers between said second end and said third internal annular groove in an amount selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.20 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof. 117. The coupler of claim 116, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters).

118. The coupler of claim 117, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof.

119. The coupler of claim 118, wherein said first external annular member, a second external annular member, a third external annular member, and a fourth external annular member each include a crown disposed between a pair of sides which taper towards said external surface, each said crown and each said internal annular groove having substantially equal width, each said crown having a height of between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of a depth of said internal annular groove.

120. The coupler of claim 119, wherein said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, said third internal annular groove, said fourth internal annular groove, and said external annular groove each having a depth of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters).

121. The coupler of claim 120, wherein said depth of said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, said third internal annular groove, said fourth internal annular groove, and said external annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches and combinations thereof.

122. The coupler of claim 121, wherein said length of said tubular conduit between about 6.5 (165.1 millimeters) inches to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters).

123. The coupler of claim 122, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is selected from the group consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

124. The coupler of claim 123, wherein said material comprising said tubular conduit selected from the group consisting of: polyvinyl chloride, copper, concrete, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof.

125. The coupler of claim 124, wherein said tubular conduit has a generally cylindrical internal surface.

126. The coupler of claim 125, wherein said cylindrical internal surface has a diameter of about 0.5 inch (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters). 127. The coupler of claim 126, wherein said diameter is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.75 inch to about 1.25 inches, about 1 inch to about 1.5 inches, about 1.25 inches to about 1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2 inches, about 1.75inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof.

128. The coupler of claim 127, further comprising a first seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said first seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage. 129. The coupler of claim 128, further comprising a second seal element disposed in said third internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said second seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

130. The coupler of claim 129, wherein said seal element comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, or combinations thereof.

131. The coupler of claim 130, further comprising a first annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove.

132. The coupler of claim 131, further comprising a second annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said fourth internal annular groove.

133. A coupler, consisting of:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said first and second ends;

a first external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface, said annular member overlaying a first internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit;

a second external annular member circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit overlaying a second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit, wherein said first external annular member overlaying said first annular groove and said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove disposed in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove, said external annular groove overlaying said internal annular member disposed proximate said second end; and

an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit. 134. The coupler of claim 133, further consisting of a first seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said first seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

135. The coupler of claim 134, further consisting of a first annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove.

136. A coupler, consisting of:

a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said first and second ends;

a first and second external annular member disposed on said external surface correspondingly overlaying a first and second annular groove disposed on said internal surface, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance axially from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove;

a third and fourth external annular member disposed on said external surface correspondingly overlaying a third and fourth annular groove disposed on said internal surface, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance axially from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove; and

an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on said external surface of said tubular conduit overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit, wherein said external annular groove overlaying said internal annular member medially disposed on said tubular conduit.

137. The coupler of claim 136, further consisting of a first seal element disposed in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said first seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

138. The coupler of claim 137, further consisting of a second seal element disposed in said third internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said second seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

139. The coupler of claim 138, further consisting of a first annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove.

140. The coupler of claim 139, further consisting of a second annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said fourth internal annular groove.

141. A method of producing a coupler, comprising:

forming a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said first and second ends; and circumferentially disposing a first external annular member on said external surface, said first external annular member overlaying a first internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

142. The method of claim 141, further comprising circumferentially disposing an external annular groove on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said external annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

143. The method of claim 142, further comprising circumferentially disposing a second external annular member on said external surface of said tubular conduit overlaying a second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

144. The method of claim 143, further comprising disposing said first external annular member overlaying said first annular groove and said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove, said external annular groove overlaying said internal annular member disposed proximate said second end. 145. The method of claim 144, further comprising circumferentially tapering said internal surface approaching said first internal annular groove.

146. The method of claim 145, wherein said internal surface tapering about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said first end and said first internal annular groove. 147. The method of claim 146, wherein said internal surface tapering between said first end and said first internal annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.20 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof.

148. The method of claim 147, further comprising circumferentially tapering said internal surface approaching said internal annular member.

149. The method of claim 148, wherein said internal surface circumferentially tapers about 0.0 inch to about 0.01 inch (0.254 inches) between said second end and said internal annular member.

150. The method of claim 149, wherein said internal surface tapering between said second end and said internal annular member selected from the group consisting of: about 0.001 inches to about 0.003 inches, about 0.002 inches to about 0.004 inches, about 0.003 inches to about 0.005 inches, about 0.004 inches to about 0.006 inches, about 0.005 inches to about 0.007 inches, about 0.006 inches to about 0.008 inches, about 0.007 inches to about 0.009 inches, and combinations thereof.

151. The method of claim 150, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters).

152. The method of claim 151, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof.

153. The method of claim 152, further comprising configuring said first and second external annular members to have a crown and each side of said first and second external annular members taper inward towards said external surface, have a width of said crown substantially equal to a width of said internal annular groove, and a height of between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of a depth of said internal annular groove.

154. The method of claim 153, wherein said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, and said external annular groove each having a depth of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters).

155. The method of claim 154, wherein said depth of said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, and said external annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches and combinations thereof.

156. The method of claim 155, wherein said length of said tubular conduit between about 6.5 (165.1 millimeters) inches to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters). 157. The method of claim 156, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is selected from the group consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

158. The method of claim 157, wherein said material comprising said tubular conduit selected from the group consisting of: polyvinyl chloride, copper, concrete, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof.

159. The method of claim 158, wherein said tubular conduit has a generally cylindrical internal surface.

160. The method of claim 159, wherein said cylindrical internal surface has a diameter of about 0.5 inch (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters).

161. The method of claim 160, wherein said diameter is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.75 inch to about 1.25 inches, about 1 inch to about 1.5 inches, about 1.25 inches to about 1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2 inches, about 1.75 inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof.

162. The method of claim 161, further comprising disposing a seal element in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

163. The method of claim 162, wherein said seal element comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, or combinations thereof. 164. The method of claim 163, further comprising configuring an annular retaining member having an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove. 165. A method of making a coupler, comprising:

obtaining a tubular conduit having:

a length disposed between a first end and a second end; and a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface, said internal surface defining an interior passage between said first and second ends; and

circumferentially disposing an external annular groove on said external surface of said tubular conduit, said annular groove overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

166. The method of claim 165, further comprising circumferentially disposing a plurality of external annular members on said external surface overlaying a corresponding plurality of internal annular grooves circumferentially disposed on said internal surface of said tubular conduit.

167. The method of claim 166, wherein said plurality of external annular members includes a first, second, third, and fourth external annular member, and said plurality of internal annular grooves includes a first, second, third, and fourth internal annular element. 168. The method of claim 167, further comprising disposing said first and second external annular members overlaying said first and second annular groove elements in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said first end, said first external annular member overlaying said first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said first end than said second external annular member overlaying said second internal annular groove. 169. The method of claim 168, further comprising disposing said third and fourth external annular members overlaying said third and fourth annular groove elements in axial spaced apart relation on said external surface of said tubular conduit proximate said second end, said third external annular member overlaying said third internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from said second end than said fourth external annular member overlaying said fourth internal annular groove.

170. The method of claim 169, further comprising disposing said external annular groove overlaying an internal annular element medially on said tubular conduit.

171. The method of claim 170, further comprising circumferentially tapering said internal surface approaching said first external annular member. 172. The method of claim 171, wherein said internal surface tapers about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said first end and said first internal annular groove.

173. The method of claim 172, wherein said internal surface tapering between said first end and said first internal annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.20 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof.

174. The method of claim 173, further comprising circumferentially tapering said internal surface approaching said third external annular member.

175. The method of claim 174, wherein said internal surface tapers about 0.01 (0.254 inches) inches to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between said second end and said third internal annular groove.

176. The method of claim 175, wherein said internal surface tapering between said second end and said third internal annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.20 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof.

177. The method of claim 176, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters).

178. The method of claim 177, wherein said thickness of said conduit wall is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof.

179. The method of claim 178, wherein said first, second, third, and fourth external annular members configured to have a crown and each side of said first, second, third, and fourth external annular members taper inward towards said external surface, have a width of said crown substantially equal to a width of said corresponding first, second, third, and fourth internal annular groove, and a height of between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of a depth of said internal annular groove.

180. The method of claim 179, wherein said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, said third internal annular groove, said fourth internal annular groove, and said external annular groove each having a depth of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters).

181. The method of claim 180, wherein said depth of said first internal annular groove, said second internal annular groove, said third internal annular groove, said fourth internal annular groove, and said external annular groove selected from the group consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches and combinations thereof.

182. The method of claim 181, wherein said length of said tubular conduit between about 6.5 (165.1 millimeters) inches to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters).

183. The method of claim 182, wherein said length of said tubular conduit is selected from the group consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

184. The method of claim 183, wherein said material comprising said tubular conduit selected from the group consisting of: polyvinyl chloride, copper, concrete, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof. 185. The method of claim 184, wherein said tubular conduit has a generally cylindrical internal surface.

186. The method of claim 185, wherein said cylindrical internal surface has a diameter of about 0.5 inch (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters).

187. The method of claim 186, wherein said diameter is selected from the group consisting of: about 0.75 inch to about 1.25 inches, about 1 inch to about 1.50 inches, about 1.25 inches to about

1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2 inches, about 1.75 inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof. 188. The method of claim 187, further comprising disposing a first seal element in said first internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said first seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

189. The method of claim 188, further comprising disposing a second seal element in said third internal annular groove, wherein a portion of said second seal element extending outward of said internal surface into said interior passage.

190. The method of claim 189, wherein said first and second seal elements comprises a material selected from the group consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, or combinations thereof. 191. The method of claim 190, further comprising configuring a first annular retaining member to have an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said second internal annular groove. 192. The method of claim 191, further comprising configuring a second annular retaining member to have an outer periphery and an inner periphery, said inner periphery having a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation about said inner periphery defining a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs, said outer periphery disposed in said fourth internal annular groove.

Description:
COUPLER

This International Patent Cooperation Treaty Patent Application is a continuation of United States Non-Provisional Patent Application No. 15/678,015, filed August 15, 2017, which is a continuation-in-part of United States Patent Application No. 15/490,691, filed April 18, 2017, each hereby incorporated by reference herein.

I. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

A coupler including a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end, having a thickness disposed between an external surface and internal surface defining an interior passage, and including one or more of an external annular groove disposed in the external surface overlaying an internal annular member disposed on the internal surface, and one or more external annular members disposed on the external surface correspondingly overlaying one or more internal annular grooves disposed in the internal surface.

II. DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a broad object of the invention can be to provide a coupler including one or more of a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and a second end, a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an internal surface and an external surface, an interior passage, and including one or more of an external annular groove circumferentially disposed on the external surface overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on the internal surface proximate the second end, and a first and second external annular member circumferentially disposed on the external surface overlaying a corresponding first and second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on the internal surface in axial spaced apart relation on the external surface proximate the first end, where the first external annular member overlaying the first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from the first end than the second external annular member overlaying the second internal annular groove. A seal element can further be disposed in the first internal annular groove, where a portion of the seal element can extend outward into the interior space. Further, an annular retaining member can be disposed in the second internal annular member, where the annular retaining member can include a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation to define a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs.

Another broad object of the invention can be to provide a coupler including one or more of a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a first end and second end, a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an internal surface and an external surface, an interior passage, and including one or more of an external annular groove circumferentially medially disposed on the external surface overlaying an internal annular member circumferentially disposed on the internal surface, a first and second external annular member circumferentially disposed on the external surface overlaying a corresponding first and second internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on the internal surface in axial spaced apart relation on the external surface proximate the first end, where the first external annular member overlaying the first internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from the first end than the second external annular member overlaying the second internal annular groove, and a third and fourth external annular member circumferentially disposed on the external surface overlaying a corresponding third and fourth internal annular groove circumferentially disposed on the internal surface in axial spaced apart relation on the external surface proximate the second end, where the third external annular member overlaying the third internal annular groove disposed a lesser distance from the second end than the fourth external annular member overlaying the fourth internal annular groove. A first and second seal element can further be disposed in the first and third internal annular grooves, where a portion of each seal element can extend outward into the interior space. Further, a first and second annular retaining member can be disposed in the second, fourth, or both the second and fourth internal annular members, where each of the annular retaining members can include a plurality of radially extending slots in circumferentially spaced apart relation to define a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs.

Another broad object of the invention can be to provide a coupler including one or more of: a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a conduit first end and a conduit second end, a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface defining an interior passage, and a tubular guide coupled to the tubular conduit first end and widening between the tubular conduit first end and a tubular guide terminal end.

Another broad object of the invention can be to provide a method of using a coupler including positioning a coupler in spatial relation to a pipe first end, the coupler including one or more of: a tubular conduit having a length disposed between a tubular conduit first end and a tubular conduit second end, a conduit wall having a thickness disposed between an external surface and an internal surface defining an interior passage, and a tubular guide coupled to the tubular conduit first end widening between the tubular conduit first end and a tubular guide terminal end, and engaging a pipe first end to the tubular guide proximate the tubular guide terminal end, forcibly urging the pipe first end along the tubular guide, and guiding the pipe first end into the interior passage of the tubular conduit.

Naturally, further objects of the invention are disclosed throughout other areas of the specification, drawings, photographs, and claims.

III. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 2 is a side view of a particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 3A is a cross sectional view 3A-3A of the particular embodiment of the coupler shown in Figure 1.

Figure 3B is an enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 3 A-3 A.

Figure 3C is another enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 3 A-3 A.

Figure 4 is a first end view of a particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 5 is a second end view of a particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 6 is a perspective of another particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 7 is a side view of another particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 8A is a cross sectional view 8A-8A of the particular embodiment of the coupler shown in Figure 6.

Figure 8B is an enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 8A-8A.

Figure 8C is another enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 8A-8A.

Figure 8D is another enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 8A-8A.

Figure 9 is a first end view of another particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 10 is a second view of another particular embodiment of a coupler.

Figure 11 is a perspective view of a particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide. Figure 12 is a side view of a particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 13 A is a cross sectional view 13 A-13 A of the particular embodiment of the coupler shown in Figure 11.

Figure 13B is an enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 13A-13A.

Figure 13C is another enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 13A-13A.

Figure 14 is a first end view of a particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 15 is a second end view of a particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 16 is a perspective of another particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 17 is a side view of another particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 18A is a cross sectional view 18A-18A of the particular embodiment of the coupler shown in Figure 16.

Figure 18B is an enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 18A-18A.

Figure 18C is an enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 18A-18A.

Figure 18D is an enlarged portion of the cross sectional view 18A-18A.

Figure 19 is a first end view of another particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 20 is a second end view of another particular embodiment of a coupler having a tubular guide.

Figure 21 is a perspective cross sectional view 21-21 of the particular embodiment of the coupler shown in Figure 1 further including a seal element and an annular retaining member. Figure 22 is a perspective cross sectional view 22-22 of another particular embodiment of a coupler shown in Figure 7 further including a seal element and an annular retaining member at each of the first end and the second end of the tubular conduit.

Figure 23 is a perspective cross sectional view 23-23 of the particular embodiment of the coupler shown in Figure 11 further including a seal element and an annular retaining member.

Figure 24 is a perspective cross sectional view 24-24 of the particular embodiment of a coupler shown in Figure 17 further including a seal element and an annular retaining member at each of the first end and the second end of the tubular conduit.

Figure 25 illustrates a method of using a particular embodiment of a coupler in which a first pipe first end engages a coupler and a second pipe first end engages a coupler.

Figure 26 is a cross section of a particular embodiment of a coupler having first and second pipe ends inserted into the interior passage of the coupler.

Figure 27 illustrates a method of using a particular embodiment of a coupler in which a pipe first end engages a tubular guide of the couple to guide the pipe into the interior passage of the coupler.

Figure 28 is a cross section of a particular embodiment of a coupler having a pipe inserted into the interior passage of the coupler.

IV. MODE(S) FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Generally referring to Figures 1 through 27, embodiments of a coupler (1) can include a tubular conduit (2) having a length (3) disposed between a first end (4) and a second end (5) and a thickness (6) disposed between an external surface (7) and an internal surface (8) defining an interior passage (9). As to particular embodiments, the coupler can, but need not necessarily include, one or more of an external annular groove (10) disposed in the external surface (7) overlaying an internal annular member (11) disposed on the internal surface (8), and one or more external annular members (12) disposed on the external surface (7) correspondingly overlaying one or more internal annular grooves (13) disposed in said internal surface (8).

Again, generally referring to Figures 1 through 27, in particular embodiments, the tubular conduit (2) can have a length (3) disposed between a first end (4) and a second end (5) of between about 6.5 inches (165.1 millimeters) to about 8.5 inches (215.9 millimeters); however, it is not intended that this illustrative example, preclude embodiments that may have a greater or lesser length. In further particular embodiments, the length (3) of the tubular conduit (2) can be selected from the group including or consisting of: about 6.6 inches to about 6.8 inches, about 6.7 inches to about 6.9 inches, about 6.8 inches to about 7.0 inches, about 6.9 inches to about 7.1 inches, about 7.0 inches to about 7.2 inches, about 7.1 inches to about 7.3 inches, about 7.2 inches to about 7.4 inches, about 7.3 inches to about 7.5 inches, about 7.4 inches to about 7.6 inches, about 7.5 inches to about 7.7 inches, about 7.6 inches to about 7.8 inches, about 7.7 inches to about 7.9 inches, about 7.8 inches to about 8.0 inches, about 7.9 inches to about 8.1 inches, about 8.0 inches to about 8.2 inches, about 8.1 inches to about 8.3 inches, about 8.2 inches to about 8.4 inches, and combinations thereof.

Again, referring generally to Figures 1 through 27, the tubular conduit (2) can include a conduit wall (14) having a thickness (6) disposed between an external surface (7) and an internal surface (8). In particular embodiments, the thickness (6) of the conduit wall (14) can, but need not necessarily, be about 0.15 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.35 inches (8.89 millimeters). In further particular embodiments, the thickness (6) of the conduit wall (14) can be selected from the group including or consisting of: about 0.16 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.3 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.3 inches to about 0.34 inches, and combinations thereof; however, this is not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser thickness.

Again, referring primarily to Figures 1 through 27, the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2) can define an interior passage (9) communicating between the first and second ends (4)(5). In particular embodiments, as shown in the examples of Figures 4, 5, 9, and 10, the tubular conduit (2) can, but need not necessarily, have a generally cylindrical internal surface (8). The interior passage (9) can have a diameter (15) of about 0.5 inch (12.7 millimeters) to about 4.5 inches (114.3 millimeters). In further particular embodiments, the diameter (15) can be selected from the group including or consisting of: about 0.75 inches to about 1.25 inches, about 1.0 inches to about 1.5 inches, about 1.25 inches to about 1.75 inches, about 1.5 inches to about 2.0 inches, about 1.75 inches to about 2.25 inches, about 2.0 inches to about 2.5 inches, about 2.25 inches to about 2.75 inches, about 2.5 inches to about 3.0 inches, about 2.75 inches to about 3.25 inches, about 3.0 inches to about 3.5 inches, about 3.25 inches to about 3.75 inches, about 3.5 inches to about 4.0 inches, about 3.75 inches to about 4.25 inches, and combinations thereof; however, this is not intended to preclude embodiments that have a greater or lesser diameter (15). Embodiments of the tubular conduit (2) can be produced from a wide variety of materials. As illustrative examples, the tubular conduit (2) can be produced from a material selected from the group including or consisting of: a metal, such as, copper or aluminum, concrete, a plastic, such as, polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, and combinations thereof; however, these illustrative examples are not intended to preclude embodiments produced from other materials. In particular embodiments, the tubular conduit (2) can be produced from a transparent, translucent, semi-opaque, or opaque material. The internal surface (8), external surface (7), or both, can have the same or different surface roughness or surface finish. Now referring generally to Figures 1 through 27, particular embodiments of a coupler (1) can, but need not necessarily, include one or more external annular members (12). As to particular embodiments, a first external annular member (16) can be circumferentially disposed on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2). As to particular embodiments, a second external annular member (17) can be circumferentially disposed on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2). In particular embodiments, the first external annular member (16) can overlay a first internal annular groove (18) circumferentially disposed in the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2). As to particular embodiments, a first and second external annular member (16)(17) can correspondingly overlay a first and second internal annular groove (18)(19) circumferentially disposed in axial spaced apart relation on the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2) (as shown in the examples of Figure 8 A and 13 A). In particular embodiments, the first external annular member (16) overlaying the first internal annular groove (18) and the second external annular member (17) overlaying the second internal annular groove (19) can further be disposed in axial spaced apart relation on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2) proximate the first end (4) (as shown in the illustrative examples of Figures 1 through 5). In further particular embodiments, the first external annular member (16) overlaying the first internal annular groove (18) can be disposed a lesser distance from the first end (4) than the second external annular member (17) overlaying the second internal annular groove (19).

Now referring primarily to Figures 3A, 8A, 13A and 18A, in particular embodiments, each of the first or second external annular members (16)(17) can be configured to have a crown (20) disposed at a height (24) outward of the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2). Each of the first and second annular members (16)(17) can have annular member sides (21) which can, but need not necessarily, taper from the crown (20) towards the external surface (7). In other particular embodiments, each of the annular member sides (21) can, but need not necessarily, extend orthogonally between the crown and the external surface (7). In particular embodiments, the width (22) of the crown (20) can be substantially equal to a width (23) of the corresponding first or second internal annular grooves (18)(19). In particular embodiments, the height (24) of the crown (20) of the first or second external annular members (16)(17) can be between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of the depth (25) of the corresponding first and second internal annular grooves (18)(19).

In particular embodiments, each of the first and second internal annular grooves (18)(19) can, but need not necessarily, be configured to have two annular groove sides (26) disposed orthogonal to the bottom (27) of each of the respective first and second internal annular grooves (18)(19), as shown in the examples of Figures 3A, 8A, 13A, and 18A. In further particular embodiments, each of the first and second internal annular grooves (18)(19) can, but need not necessarily, be configured as an arcuate bottom (28) disposed between the edges (29) of the respective first and second internal annular grooves (18)(19), as shown in the examples of Figures 3B and 8B.

Now referring primarily to Figures 1, 3A, 3C, 6, 8A, 8C, 11, 13A, 13C, 16, 18A, and 18C, in particular embodiments of a coupler (1), an external annular groove (10) can be circumferentially disposed on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2) to overlay an internal annular member (11) circumferentially disposed on the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2). The external annular groove (10) can, but need not necessarily, be configured to have two annular groove sides (30) disposed orthogonal to a bottom (31) of the external annular groove (10), as shown in the examples of Figures 3C, 8C, 13C, and 18C. In further particular embodiments, the external annular groove (10) can, but need not necessarily, be configured as a single arcuate annular groove (32) disposed between the edges (33) of the external annular groove (10), as shown in the examples of Figures 3A, 8A, 13A and 18A.

Now referring primarily to Figures 3A, 8A, 13 A, and 18A, in particular embodiments, the internal annular member (11) can dispose a crown (34a) at a height (34b) inward of the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2). Each internal annular member side (34c) of the internal annular member (11) can, but need not necessarily, taper from the crown (20) towards the internal surface (8). In other particular embodiments, each internal annular member side (34c) of the internal annular member (11) can, but need not necessarily, be orthogonal to the internal surface (8). The height (34b) of the internal annular member (11) at the crown (34a) can be between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of the depth (36) of the external annular groove (10). In particular embodiments, the width (34) of the crown (34a) can be substantially equal to the width (35) of the external annular groove (10). The external annular groove (10) overlaying the internal annular member (11) can further, but need not necessarily, be disposed proximate the second end (5) of the tubular conduit (2).

Now referring primarily to Figures 3A and 8A, in particular embodiments, the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2) can, but need not necessarily, taper (3A) as the internal surface (8) approaches the first internal annular groove (18) from the first end (4) of the tubular conduit (2). The internal surface (8) can taper about 0.01 inches (0.254 millimeters) to about 0.03 inches (0.762 millimeters) between the first end (4) and the first internal annular groove (18); however, this is not intended to preclude embodiments which taper (3 A) to a greater or lesser degree. In further particular embodiments, the taper of the internal surface (8) between the first end (4) and the first internal annular groove (18) can be selected from the group including or consisting of: about 0.012 inches to about 0.014 inches, about 0.013 inches to about 0.015 inches, about 0.014 inches to about 0.016 inches, about 0.015 inches to about 0.017 inches, about 0.016 inches to about 0.018 inches, about 0.017 inches to about 0.019 inches, about 0.018 inches to about 0.020 inches, about 0.019 inches to about 0.021 inches, about 0.020 inches to about 0.022 inches, about 0.021 inches to about 0.023 inches, about 0.022 inches to about 0.024 inches, about 0.023 inches to about 0.025 inches, about 0.024 inches to about 0.026 inches, about 0.025 inches to about 0.027 inches, about 0.026 inches to about 0.028 inches, about 0.027 inches to about 0.029 inches, and combinations thereof. Referring generally to Figures 6 through 10 and 16 through 20, particular embodiments of a coupler (1) can further include a third external annular member (37) circumferentially disposed on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2) and overlaying a third internal annular groove (38) circumferentially disposed in the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2). Additionally, a fourth external annular member (39) can be circumferentially disposed on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2) and overlaying a fourth internal annular groove (40) circumferentially disposed in the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2). The third and fourth external annular members (37)(39) correspondingly overlaying the third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40) can be disposed in axial spaced apart relation on the external surface (7) of the tubular conduit (2) proximate the second end (5). The third external annular member (37) overlaying the third internal annular groove (38) can be disposed a lesser distance from the second end (5) than the fourth external annular member (39) overlaying the fourth internal annular groove (40). In particular embodiments, the external annular groove (10) overlaying the internal annular member (11) can be medially disposed on the tubular conduit (2) between the second external annular member (17) and the fourth external annular member (39).

Now referring primarily to Figures 8 A and 18 A, in particular embodiments, each of the third and fourth external annular members (37)(39) can have a crown (41) disposed outward from the external surface (7). Each external annular member side (42) of the third and fourth external annular members (37)(39) can, but need not necessarily, taper towards the external surface (7). In other particular embodiments, each external annular member side (42) of the third and fourth external annular members (37)(39) can, but need not necessarily, be disposed orthogonal to the external surface (7). The height (45) of the crown (41) of the third and fourth external annular members (37)(39) can be between about 1.0 times and about 2.0 times that of the depth (46) of the corresponding third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40). In particular embodiments, the width (43) of the crown (41) can be substantially equal to a width (44) of the corresponding third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40). However, these illustrative examples of the height (45) and width (44) of the crown (41) are not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser height (45) or width (44).

Again referring primarily to Figures 8 A and 18 A, in particular embodiments, each of the third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40) can, but need not necessarily, have a pair of groove sides (47) orthogonally joined to the bottom (48) of each of the respective third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40). In further particular embodiments, each of the third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40) can, but need not necessarily, be configured as an arcuate bottom (49) disposed between the edges (50) of the respective third and fourth internal annular grooves (38)(40), as shown in the example of Figures 8D and 18D.

In particular embodiments, the first internal annular groove (18), the second internal annular groove (19), the third internal annular groove (38), the fourth internal annular groove (40), and the external annular groove (10) can each have a depth (25)(36)(46) of about 0.1 inches (2.54 millimeters) to about 0.3 inches (7.62 millimeters). In further particular embodiments, the depth (25)(36)(46) of the first internal annular groove (18), the second internal annular groove (19), the third internal annular groove (38), the fourth internal annular groove (40), and the external annular groove (10) can be selected from the group including or consisting of: about 0.12 inches to about 0.14 inches, about 0.13 inches to about 0.15 inches, about 0.14 inches to about 0.16 inches, about 0.15 inches to about 0.17 inches, about 0.16 inches to about 0.18 inches, about 0.17 inches to about 0.19 inches, about 0.18 inches to about 0.2 inches, about 0.19 inches to about 0.21 inches, about 0.2 inches to about 0.22 inches, about 0.21 inches to about 0.23 inches, about 0.22 inches to about 0.24 inches, about 0.23 inches to about 0.25 inches, about 0.24 inches to about 0.26 inches, about 0.25 inches to about 0.27 inches, about 0.26 inches to about 0.28 inches, about 0.27 inches to about 0.29 inches, and combinations thereof. These illustrative examples are not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser groove depth. Now referring primarily to Figures 21 and 22, particular embodiments of the coupler (1) can include a seal element (51) disposed in the first internal annular groove (18). The seal element (51) can be configured to have a portion of the seal element (51) extending outward of the internal surface (8) into the interior passage (9). While the seal element shown in Figures 21 and 22 have a circular cross-sectional width; this is not intended to preclude particular embodiments of the seal element having other configurations of the cross-sectional width such as square, rectangular, or oval cross-sectional widths. The seal element (51) can be produced from a material selected from the group including or consisting of: ethylene propylene diene monomer, silicone, fluorocarbon, fluorosilicone, polyurethane, tetrafluoroethylene/propylene, nitrile, and neoprene, or combinations thereof.

Again referring primarily to Figures 21 and 22, particular embodiments of the coupler (1) can further include an annular retaining member (52). The annular retaining member (52) can have an outer periphery (53) and an inner periphery (54). A plurality of slots can be disposed in circumferentially spaced apart relation about the inner periphery (54) and radially extend from the inner periphery (54) toward the outer periphery (53) to define a plurality of tabs (55). As to particular embodiments, the plurality of tabs (55) can be a plurality of resiliently flexible tabs. In particular embodiments, each of the plurality of tabs (55) can taper toward the inner periphery (as shown in the examples of Figures 21 and 22). The outer periphery (53) can be disposed in the second internal annular groove (19). The annular retaining member (52) can be produced from a material selected from the group including or consisting of rust-resistant metal, coated metal, metal, rigid plastics, coated rigid plastics, or combinations thereof.

Now referring primarily to Figures 11 through 20, particular embodiments of a coupler (1) can include one or more tubular guides (56). A first tubular guide (57) can be coupled to the conduit first end (4). The first tubular guide (57) can widen between the conduit first end (4) and a first tubular guide terminal end (58). Now referring primarily to Figure 13A, the first tubular guide (57) can have a first tubular guide length (59) disposed between the tubular conduit first end (4) and the first tubular guide terminal end (58) of between about 0.5 inches to about 1 inch. However, this illustrative range is not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser length. Now referring primarily to Figure 13 A, the first tubular guide (57) can further include a first tubular guide first region (60) and a first tubular guide second region (61). The first tubular guide first region (60) can be disposed proximate the conduit first end (4). The first tubular guide first region (60) can further have a first radius of curvature (62) along the longitudinal axis (63) of the first tubular guide (57). The first tubular guide second region (61) can be disposed adjacent the first tubular guide first region (60) and extend toward the first tubular guide terminal end (58). The first tubular guide second region (61) can have a second radius of curvature (64) along the longitudinal axis (63) of the first tubular guide (57). In particular embodiments, the second radius of curvature (64) can be less than the first radius of curvature (62). Again referring primarily to Figure 13 A, in particular embodiments, the first tubular guide first region (60) can have a first radius of curvature (62) of about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters) to about 0.700 inches (17.78 millimeters). In further embodiments, the first radius of curvature (62) can be selected from the group consisting of: about 0.460 inches to about 0.500 inches, about 0.475 inches to about 0.525 inches, about 0.500 inches to about 0.550 inches, about 0.525 inches to about 0.575 inches, about 0.550 inches to about 0.600 inches, about 0.575 inches to about 0.625 inches, about 0.600 inches to about 0.650 inches, about 0.625 inches to about 0.675 inches, about 0.650 inches to about 0.690 inches, and combinations thereof. However, these examples of a first radius of curvature (62) are not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser first radius of curvature (62). Again referring primarily to Figure 13 A, in particular embodiments, the first tubular guide second region (61) can have a second radius of curvature (64) of about 0.150 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters). In further embodiments, the second radius of curvature (64) can be selected from the group consisting of: about 0.160 inches to about 0.200 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.200 inches to about 0.250 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.250 inches to about 0.300 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.300 inches to about 0.350 inches, about 0.325 inches to about 0.375 inches, about 0.350 inches to about 0.400 inches, about 0.375 inches to about 0.425 inches, about 0.400 inches to about 0.440 inches, and combinations thereof. However, these examples of a second radius of curvature (64) are not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser second radius of curvature (64).

Now referring primarily to Figure 23, in particular embodiments, the ratio of the cross- section area (65) of the first tubular guide (57) at the first tubular guide terminal end (58) orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the tubular conduit (2) to the cross-section area (66) of the first tubular guide (57) at the conduit first end (4) orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the tubular conduit (2) can have a first ratio of about 1:0.75 to about 1:0.95. In further embodiments, the first ratio can be selected from the group consisting of: about 1 :0.76 to about 1 :0.77, about 1 :0.765 to about 1:0.775, about 1:0.77 to about 1:0.78, about 1:0.775 to about 1:0.785, about 1:0.78 to about 1:0.79, about 1:0.785 to about 1:0.795, about 1:0.79 to about 1:0.80, about 1:0.795 to about

1:0.805, about 1:0.80 to about 1:0.81, about 1:0.805 to about 1:0.815, about 1:0.81 to about

1:0.82, about 1:0.815 to about 1:0.825, about 1:0.82 to about 1:0.83, about 1:0.825 to about

1:0.835, about 1:0.83 to about 1:0.84, about 1:0.835 to about 1:0.845, about 1:0.84 to about

1:0.85, about 1:0.845 to about 1:0.855, about 1:0.85 to about 1:0.86, about 1:0.855 to about

1:0.865, about 1:0.86 to about 1:0.87, about 1:0.865 to about 1:0.875, about 1:0.87 to about

1:0.88, about 1:0.875 to about 1:0.885, about 1:0.88 to about 1:0.89, about 1:0.885 to about

1:0.895, about 1:0.89 to about 1:0.90, about 1:0.895 to about 1:0.905, about 1:0.90 to about

1:0.91, about 1:0.905 to about 1:0.915, about 1:0.91 to about 1:0.92, about 1:0.915 to about

1:0.925, about 1:0.92 to about 1:0.93, about 1:0.925 to about 1:0.935, about 1:0.93 to about 1:0.94, and combinations thereof. However, these examples of a first ratio are not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser first ratio.

Now referring primarily to Figures 16 through 20, particular embodiments of a coupler (1) can further include a second tubular guide (67) coupled to the conduit second end (5). The second tubular guide (67) can widen between the conduit second end (5) and a second tubular guide terminal end (68). The second tubular guide (67) can include a second tubular guide first region (69) proximate the conduit second end (5). The second tubular guide first region (69) can have a third radius of curvature (70) along the longitudinal axis (71) of the second tubular guide (67). The second tubular guide (67) can further have a second tubular guide second region (72) disposed adjacent to the second tubular guide first region (69) and extending toward the second tubular guide terminal end (68). The second tubular guide second region (72) can have a fourth radius of curvature (73) along the longitudinal axis (71) of the second tubular guide (67). In particular embodiments, the fourth radius of curvature (73) of the second tubular guide second region (72) can be less than the third radius of curvature (70) of the second tubular guide first region (69). Now referring primarily to Figure 18A, in particular embodiments, the second tubular guide first region (69) can have a third radius of curvature (70) of about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters) to about 0.700 inches (17.78 millimeters). In further embodiments, the third radius of curvature (70) of the second tubular guide first region (69) can be selected from the group consisting of: about 0.460 inches to about 0.500 inches, about 0.475 inches to about 0.525 inches, about 0.500 inches to about 0.550 inches, about 0.525 inches to about 0.575 inches, about 0.550 inches to about 0.600 inches, about 0.575 inches to about 0.625 inches, about 0.600 inches to about 0.650 inches, about 0.625 inches to about 0.675 inches, about 0.650 inches to about 0.690 inches, and combinations thereof.

Again referring primarily to Figure 18 A, in particular embodiments, the second tubular guide second region (72) can have a fourth radius of curvature (73) of about 0.150 inches (3.81 millimeters) to about 0.450 inches (11.43 millimeters). In further embodiments, the fourth radius of curvature (73) can be selected from the group consisting of: about 0.160 inches to about 0.200 inches, about 0.175 inches to about 0.225 inches, about 0.200 inches to about 0.250 inches, about 0.225 inches to about 0.275 inches, about 0.250 inches to about 0.300 inches, about 0.275 inches to about 0.325 inches, about 0.300 inches to about 0.350 inches, about 0.325 inches to about 0.375 inches, about 0.350 inches to about 0.400 inches, about 0.375 inches to about 0.425 inches, about 0.400 inches to about 0.440 inches, and combinations thereof. Now referring primarily to Figure 24, in particular embodiments, the ratio of a cross- section area (74) of the second tubular guide (67) at the second tubular guide terminal end (68) orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the tubular conduit (2) to a cross-section area (75) of said second tubular guide (67) at the conduit second end (5) orthogonal to the longitudinal axis (71) of the tubular conduit (2) can have a second ratio of about 1:0.75 to about 1:0.95. In further embodiments, the second ratio can be selected from the group consisting of: about 1 :0.76 to about

1:0.77, about 1:0.765 to about 1:0.775, about 1:0.77 to about 1:0.78, about 1:0.775 to about

1:0.785, about 1:0.78 to about 1:0.79, about 1:0.785 to about 1:0.795, about 1:0.79 to about

1:0.80, about 1:0.795 to about 1:0.805, about 1:0.80 to about 1:0.81, about 1:0.805 to about

1:0.815, about 1:0.81 to about 1:0.82, about 1:0.815 to about 1:0.825, about 1:0.82 to about

1:0.83, about 1:0.825 to about 1:0.835, about 1:0.83 to about 1:0.84, about 1:0.835 to about

1:0.845, about 1:0.84 to about 1:0.85, about 1:0.845 to about 1:0.855, about 1:0.85 to about

1:0.86, about 1:0.855 to about 1:0.865, about 1:0.86 to about 1:0.87, about 1:0.865 to about

1:0.875, about 1:0.87 to about 1:0.88, about 1:0.875 to about 1:0.885, about 1:0.88 to about

1:0.89, about 1:0.885 to about 1:0.895, about 1:0.89 to about 1:0.90, about 1:0.895 to about

1:0.905, about 1:0.90 to about 1:0.91, about 1:0.905 to about 1:0.915, about 1:0.91 to about

1:0.92, about 1:0.915 to about 1:0.925, about 1:0.92 to about 1:0.93, about 1:0.925 to about

1:0.935, about 1:0.93 to about 1:0.94, and combinations thereof. However, these examples of a second ratio are not intended to preclude embodiments having a greater or lesser second ratio. Now referring primarily to Figure 18A the second tubular guide (67) can have a second tubular guide length (76) disposed between the tubular conduit second end (5) and the second tubular guide terminal end (68) of between about 0.5 inches to about 1 inch. However, this illustrative range is not intended to preclude embodiments have a greater or lesser length. Now referring to Figures 25 and 26, a method of using the coupler (1) in a pipeline system

(82) includes by insertingly engaging a first pipe first end (77) of a first pipe (78) into the first end (4) of the tubular conduit (2), and insertingly engaging a second pipe first end (79) of a second pipe (80) to the second end (5) of the tubular conduit (2). As to particular embodiments, the first pipe first end (77) of a first pipe (78) may be coupled in fixed engagement with the first end (4) of the tubular conduit (2) by interference fit or through the use of an amount of adhesive. However, as to particular embodiments, the first pipe first end (77) may not be coupled in fixed engagement to the coupler (1) by interference fit or the use of adhesives, whether due to the differences in the materials of the first pipe end (7) and the first end (4) of the tubular conduit (2), or otherwise. Accordingly, the first pipe first end (77) can be slidingly inserted into the first end (4) of the tubular conduit (2) to sealably engage the seal element (51) and sufficiently flex the resiliently flexible tabs (55) of the annular retaining member (52) to allow passage through the annular retaining member (52) toward the internal annular member (11). The resiliently flexible tabs (55) forcibly engage the first pipe first end (77) to prevent egress from the annular retaining member (52). The second pipe first end (79) may be compatible with interference fit or the use of adhesive to couple the second pipe (80) in fixed engagement to the second end (5) of the tubular conduit (2). Accordingly, an amount of adhesive can be disposed on the internal surface (8) of the tubular conduit (2) adjacent the second end (5). Adhesive can also be disposed on the second pipe (80) adjacent the second pipe first end (79) and the second pipe first end (79) can be slidingly inserted in the coupler second end (5) toward the internal annular member (11). As one illustrative example, the adhesive can, but need not necessarily, be an adhesive for adhering surfaces of polyvinyl chloride material.

Generally referring to Figures 27 and 28, in particular embodiments, a method of using a coupler (1) including a tubular guide (56) can include positioning a coupler (1) in spatial relation to a first pipe first end (77). The first pipe first end (77) may be disposed in an angled relation to a longitudinal axis (63) of a tubular guide (56) coupled to a tubular conduit (2) of a coupler (1). The method can further include forcibly urging (81) the first pipe first end (77) along the tubular guide (56), and guiding the first pipe first end (77) into the interior passage (9) of the tubular conduit (2). In particular embodiments, the coupler (1) can, but need not necessarily include a seal element (51), and the first pipe first end (77) can be slidingly inserted into the conduit first end (4) to sealably engage the seal element (51). In further particular embodiments, the coupler (1) can include an annular retaining member (52) having resiliently flexible tabs (55), whereupon the first pipe first end (77) can be slidingly inserted into the conduit first end (4), sufficiently flexing the resiliently flexible tabs (55) of the annular retaining member (52) to allow passage through the annular retaining member (52). The resiliently flexible tabs (55) can forcibly engage the first pipe first end (77) to prevent egress from the annular retaining member (52).

As can be easily understood from the foregoing, the basic concepts of the present invention may be embodied in a variety of ways. The invention involves numerous and varied embodiments of a coupler and methods for making and using such couplers including the best mode.

As such, the particular embodiments or elements of the invention disclosed by the description or shown in the figures or tables accompanying this application are not intended to be limiting, but rather exemplary of the numerous and varied embodiments genetically encompassed by the invention or equivalents encompassed with respect to any particular element thereof. In addition, the specific description of a single embodiment or element of the invention may not explicitly describe all embodiments or elements possible; many alternatives are implicitly disclosed by the description and figures.

It should be understood that each element of an apparatus or each step of a method may be described by an apparatus term or method term. Such terms can be substituted where desired to make explicit the implicitly broad coverage to which this invention is entitled. As but one example, it should be understood that all steps of a method may be disclosed as an action, a means for taking that action, or as an element which causes that action. Similarly, each element of an apparatus may be disclosed as the physical element or the action which that physical element facilitates. As but one example, the disclosure of a "coupler" should be understood to encompass disclosure of the act of "coupling"— whether explicitly discussed or not— and, conversely, were there effectively disclosure of the act of "coupling", such a disclosure should be understood to encompass disclosure of a "coupler" and even a "means for coupling." Such alternative terms for each element or step are to be understood to be explicitly included in the description. In addition, as to each term used it should be understood that unless its utilization in this application is inconsistent with such interpretation, common dictionary definitions should be understood to be included in the description for each term as contained in the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, second edition, each definition hereby incorporated by reference.

All numeric values herein are assumed to be modified by the term "about", whether or not explicitly indicated. For the purposes of the present invention, ranges may be expressed as from "about" one particular value to "about" another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value to the other particular value. The recitation of numerical ranges by endpoints includes all the numeric values subsumed within that range. A numerical range of one to five includes for example the numeric values 1, 1.5, 2, 2.75, 3, 3.80, 4, 5, and so forth. It will be further understood that the endpoints of each of the ranges are significant both in relation to the other endpoint, and independently of the other endpoint. When a value is expressed as an approximation by use of the antecedent "about," it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment. The term "about" generally refers to a range of numeric values that one of skill in the art would consider equivalent to the recited numeric value or having the same function or result. Similarly, the antecedent "substantially" means largely, but not wholly, the same form, manner or degree and the particular element will have a range of configurations as a person of ordinary skill in the art would consider as having the same function or result. When a particular element is expressed as an approximation by use of the antecedent "substantially," it will be understood that the particular element forms another embodiment. Moreover, for the purposes of the present invention, the term "a" or "an" entity refers to one or more of that entity unless otherwise limited. As such, the terms "a" or "an", "one or more" and "at least one" can be used interchangeably herein.

Thus, the applicant(s) should be understood to claim at least: i) each of the couplers herein disclosed and described, ii) the related methods disclosed and described, iii) similar, equivalent, and even implicit variations of each of these devices and methods, iv) those alternative embodiments which accomplish each of the functions shown, disclosed, or described, v) those alternative designs and methods which accomplish each of the functions shown as are implicit to accomplish that which is disclosed and described, vi) each feature, component, and step shown as separate and independent inventions, vii) the applications enhanced by the various systems or components disclosed, viii) the resulting products produced by such systems or components, ix) methods and apparatuses substantially as described hereinbefore and with reference to any of the accompanying examples, x) the various combinations and permutations of each of the previous elements disclosed. The background section of this patent application provides a statement of the field of endeavor to which the invention pertains. This section may also incorporate or contain paraphrasing of certain United States patents, patent applications, publications, or subject matter of the claimed invention useful in relating information, problems, or concerns about the state of technology to which the invention is drawn toward. It is not intended that any United States patent, patent application, publication, statement or other information cited or incorporated herein be interpreted, construed or deemed to be admitted as prior art with respect to the invention.

The claims set forth in this specification, if any, are hereby incorporated by reference as part of this description of the invention, and the applicant expressly reserves the right to use all of or a portion of such incorporated content of such claims as additional description to support any of or all of the claims or any element or component thereof, and the applicant further expressly reserves the right to move any portion of or all of the incorporated content of such claims or any element or component thereof from the description into the claims or vice-versa as necessary to define the matter for which protection is sought by this application or by any subsequent application or continuation, division, or continuation-in-part application thereof, or to obtain any benefit of, reduction in fees pursuant to, or to comply with the patent laws, rules, or regulations of any country or treaty, and such content incorporated by reference shall survive during the entire pendency of this application including any subsequent continuation, division, or continuation-in-part application thereof or any reissue or extension thereon. Additionally, the claims set forth in this specification, if any, are further intended to describe the metes and bounds of a limited number of the preferred embodiments of the invention and are not to be construed as the broadest embodiment of the invention or a complete listing of embodiments of the invention that may be claimed. The applicant does not waive any right to develop further claims based upon the description set forth above as a part of any continuation, division, or continuation-in-part, or similar application.