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Title:
NON-ROTATING FLEXURE BEARINGS FOR CRYOCOOLERS AND OTHER DEVICES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/020903
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system includes a device (102), a support structure (112), and a flexure bearing (200, 400, 500, 600) configured to connect the device to the support structure. The flexure bearing includes an outer hub (202, 402, 502, 602) and an inner hub (204, 404, 504, 604), where the hubs are configured to be secured to the support structure and to the device. The flexure bearing also includes multiple sets of flexure arms (208a-208c, 408a-408c, 508a-508c, 608a-608c) connecting the outer and inner hubs. Each set of flexure arms includes symmetric flexure arms. The flexure bearing could include three sets of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis of the flexure bearing and having a spacing of about 120. Each flexure arm can follow a substantially curved path between the outer hub and the inner hub. The symmetric flexure arms in each set can be configured such that twisting of one flexure arm in one set is substantially counteracted by twisting of another flexure arm in that set.

Inventors:
ELLIS, Michael J. (5442 West 139th Street, Hawthorne, California, 90250, US)
BELLIS, Lowell A. (731 East 70th Street, Long Beach, California, 90805, US)
SCHAEFER, Brian R. (6171 Kelley Circle, Huntington Beach, California, 92647, US)
SCHAEFER, Robert D. (17931 Bluegate Lane, Huntington Beach, California, 92647, US)
KWAN, Marco K. (2319 Rockefeller Lane #A, Redondo Beach, California, 90278, US)
Application Number:
US2014/049438
Publication Date:
February 12, 2015
Filing Date:
August 01, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
RAYTHEON COMPANY (870 Winter Street, Waltham, Massachusetts, 02451-1449, US)
International Classes:
F16F3/00; F25B9/14
Foreign References:
JPH04347460A1992-12-02
JPH11201035A1999-07-27
DE7015469U1972-08-03
US2407757A1946-09-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOYLE, David M. et al. (Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP600 Banner Place Tower,12770 Coit Roa, Dallas Texas, 75251, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An apparatus comprising:

an outer hub and an inner hub, the hubs configured to be secured to a support structure and to a device; and

multiple sets of flexure arms connecting the outer hub and the inner hub, each set of flexure arms including symmetric flexure arms.

2. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein the sets of flexure arms are positioned radially around a central axis of the apparatus.

3. The apparatus of Claim 2, wherein the apparatus includes three sets of flexure arms having a spacing of about 120° around the central axis of the apparatus.

4. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein each flexure arm follows a substantially curved path between the outer hub and the inner hub.

5. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein the symmetric flexure arms in each set are configured such that twisting of one flexure arm in one set is substantially counteracted by twisting of another flexure arm in that set.

6. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein each flexure arm follows a path that includes one or more "S" curves and a loop back region in which the flexure arm substantially reverses a direction of travel within the apparatus. 7. The apparatus of Claim 1, wherein a portion of each flexure arm follows a tangential path around a central axis of the apparatus.

8. The apparatus of Claim 7, wherein each flexure arm comprises one or more circular or semi-circular openings.

9. A system comprising:

a device;

a support structure; and

a flexure bearing configured to connect the device to the support structure, the flexure bearing comprising:

an outer hub and an inner hub, the hubs configured to be secured to the support structure and to the device; and

multiple sets of flexure arms connecting the outer hub and the inner hub, each set of flexure arms including symmetric flexure arms.

10. The system of Claim 9, wherein the flexure bearing includes three sets of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis of the flexure bearing and having a spacing of about 120°. 11. The system of Claim 9, wherein each flexure arm follows a substantially curved path between the outer hub and the inner hub.

12. The system of Claim 9, wherein the symmetric flexure arms in each set are configured such that twisting of one flexure arm in one set is substantially counteracted by twisting of another flexure arm in that set.

13. The system of Claim 9, wherein each flexure arm follows a path that includes one or more "S" curves and a loop back region in which the flexure arm substantially reverses a direction of travel within the flexure bearing.

14. The system of Claim 9, wherein a portion of each flexure arm follows a tangential path around a central axis of the flexure bearing.

15. The system of Claim 14, wherein each flexure arm comprises one or more circular or semi-circular openings.

16. The system of Claim 9, wherein:

the device comprises a movable component of a cryocooler; and

the support structure comprises a housing of the cryocooler. 17. A method comprising:

displacing a device coupled to a flexure bearing, the flexure bearing comprising an outer hub and an inner hub, the hubs configured to be secured to the device and to a support structure;

deforming flexure arms in the flexure bearing as a result of the displacement, the flexure bearing comprising multiple sets of flexure arms connecting the outer hub and the inner hub, each set of flexure arms including symmetric flexure arms; and

substantially preventing rotation of the device during the displacement.

18. The method of Claim 17, wherein the symmetric flexure arms in each set are configured such that twisting of one flexure arm in one set is substantially counteracted by twisting of another flexure arm in that set.

19. The method of Claim 17, wherein the flexure bearing includes three sets of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis of the flexure bearing and having a spacing of about 120°.

20. The method of Claim 17, wherein each flexure arm follows a substantially curved path between the outer hub and the inner hub.

Description:
NON-ROTATING FLEXURE BEARINGS FOR CRYOCOOLERS

AND OTHER DEVICES

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This disclosure is directed to devices for holding components in desired locations. More specifically, this disclosure is directed to non-rotating flexure bearings for cryocoolers and other devices.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Cryocoolers are often used to cool various components to extremely low temperatures. For example, cryocoolers can be used to cool focal plane arrays in different types of imaging systems. It is often necessary or desirable to secure certain components of a cryocooler in fixed positions relative to other components of the cryocooler. This may be needed, for example, to ensure proper operation of the cryocooler or to reduce disturbances in the cryocooler or in an overall system. One approach to securing components of a cryocooler involves the use of flexure bearings that connect moving mechanisms of the cryocooler to a support structure. A conventional flexure bearing includes arms arranged in a spiral pattern, where the arms extend between a moving mechanism of the cryocooler and the support structure.

SUMMARY

[0003] This disclosure provides non-rotating flexure bearings for cryocoolers and other devices.

[0004] In a first embodiment, an apparatus includes an outer hub and an inner hub, where the hubs are configured to be secured to a support structure and to a device. The apparatus also includes multiple sets of flexure arms connecting the outer hub and the inner hub. Each set of flexure arms includes symmetric flexure arms.

[0005] In a second embodiment, a system includes a device, a support structure, and a flexure bearing configured to connect the device to the support structure. The flexure bearing includes an outer hub and an inner hub, where the hubs are configured to be secured to the support structure and to the device. The flexure bearing also includes multiple sets of flexure arms connecting the outer hub and the inner hub. Each set of flexure arms includes symmetric flexure arms.

[0006] In a third embodiment, a method includes displacing a device coupled to a flexure bearing. The flexure bearing includes an outer hub and an inner hub, where the hubs are configured to be secured to the device and to a support structure. The method also includes deforming flexure arms in the flexure bearing as a result of the displacement. The flexure bearing includes multiple sets of flexure arms connecting the outer hub and the inner hub. Each set of flexure arms includes symmetric flexure arms. The method further includes substantially preventing rotation of the device during the displacement.

[0007] Other technical features may be readily apparent to one skilled in the art from the following figures, descriptions, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] For a more complete understanding of this disclosure and its features, reference is now made to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0009] FIGURE 1 illustrates an example system with non-rotating flexure bearings according to this disclosure;

[0010] FIGURES 2 and 3 illustrate an example non-rotating flexure bearing according to this disclosure;

[0011] FIGURES 4 through 6 illustrate other example non-rotating flexure bearings according to this disclosure; and

[0012] FIGURE 7 illustrates an example method for using a non-rotating flexure bearing according to this disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0013] FIGURES 1 through 7, described below, and the various embodiments used to describe the principles of the present invention in this patent document are by way of illustration only and should not be construed in any way to limit the scope of the invention. Those skilled in the art will understand that the principles of the present invention may be implemented in any type of suitably arranged system.

[0014] FIGURE 1 illustrates an example system 100 with non-rotating flexure bearings according to this disclosure. As shown in FIGURE 1, the system 100 includes a compressor 102, which can be used with other components (not shown) to form a cryocooler. A cryocooler generally represents a device that can cool other components to cryogenic temperatures or other extremely low temperatures. In FIGURE 1, the components on the left side of FIGURE 1 are mirrored on the right side of FIGURE 1, and for convenience only the components on one side of the compressor 102 are identified using reference numbers.

[0015] In this example, the compressor 102 includes a motor magnet 104 and a motor coil 106 that operate to cause movement of a compressor piston 108. The piston 108 strokes back and forth during each compression cycle, which causes repeated pressure changes in a fluid that is provided through a transfer line 110. Controlled expansion and contraction of the fluid creates a desired cooling of one or more components. Note that this represents one specific implementation of a compressor 102 and that any other suitable compressor can be used in the system 100.

[0016] The compressor 102 and other components of a cryocooler (such as an expander and balancer units) are positioned within a housing 112, which is sealed by an end cap 114. The housing 112 represents a support structure to which the compressor 102 is mounted. The housing 112 includes any suitable structure for encasing or otherwise protecting a cryocooler (or portion thereof). The end cap 114 represents any suitable structure for closing a cryocooler housing.

[0017] In order to help precisely control the positioning of the compressor 102, multiple flexure bearings are provided to mount the compressor 102 to the housing 112. In this example, there are multiple stacks 116a-l 16b of flexure bearings. Each stack 116a-l 16b can include one or multiple flexure bearings. As described in more detail below, each flexure bearing generally includes an outer hub, an inner hub, and flexure arms. The outer and inner hubs can be secured to a support structure (such as the housing 112) and to a device that includes a movable component (such as the compressor 102 or other portion of a cryocooler). The flexure arms couple the outer and inner hubs. Symmetric sets of flexure arms are configured to help prevent rotation of the device when the device is displaced. Example embodiments of the flexure bearings are described below.

[0018] As noted above, one conventional flexure bearing includes arms arranged in a spiral pattern, where the arms extend between a moving component of a cryocooler and a support structure. While this conventional flexure bearing can generally hold the moving component of the cryocooler at a desired location, one problem with this design is that it allows the moving component to rotate. Rotation of the moving component can cause disturbances in the operation of a larger system (referred to as "exported disturbances" of the cryocooler). The non-rotating flexure bearings described in this patent document help to both secure components of a cryocooler in place and reduce or eliminate rotation of the components. Among other things, this helps to reduce or minimize off-axis vibrations and moments of the components. Such off-axis vibrations and moments are inherent in spiral- designed flexure bearings. While the components of a cryocooler may still be disturbed in their positions, the use of the non-rotating flexure bearings can allow extremely low levels of exported disturbances from the cryocooler to be obtained. This can be useful, for instance, in helping to keep the compressor pistons 108 aligned with their respective bores.

[0019] The cryocooler can be used to cool any suitable components. For example, the cryocooler could be used to cool a focal plane array, which represents an image sensing device used in various types of applications including infrared sensors. However, the cryocooler could be used to cool any other suitable components of a system. Other example uses for the cryocooler include cooling computing components (such as processors), radio frequency components in telecommunication and deep space communication equipment (such as RF filters), components in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, and superconducting electronics. These uses are for illustration only, and the cryocooler can be used to cool components in any other type of system.

[0020] Note that the compressor 102 in FIGURE 1 represents a portion of a cryocooler, and the cryocooler could include various other components, such as an expander and balancer units. The expander, balancer units, or other components of the cryocooler could also include moving components, and one or more non-rotating flexure bearings could be used with those moving components in the same or similar manner as that described above.

[0021] Although FIGURE 1 illustrates one example of a system 100 with non- rotating flexure bearings, various changes may be made to FIGURE 1. For example, while described as coupling a compressor 102 to a housing 112, one or more flexure bearings could be used to help secure any other suitable components to any suitable support structure. The non-rotating flexure bearings are not limited to use with cryocoolers.

[0022] FIGURES 2 and 3 illustrate an example non-rotating flexure bearing 200 according to this disclosure. The flexure bearing 200 could be used in any suitable system. For example, the flexure bearing 200 could represent the flexure bearings contained within the stacks 116a- 116b in the system 100 of FIGURE 1.

[0023] As shown in FIGURE 2, the flexure bearing 200 includes an outer hub 202 and an inner hub 204. The outer hub 202 can be secured to a support structure, and the inner hub 204 can be secured to a device (such as a compressor 102 or other component of a cryocooler). Alternatively, the outer hub 202 can be secured to a device, and the inner hub 204 can be secured to a support structure. The flexure bearing 200 thereby helps to secure the cryocooler component or other device at a desired location relative to the support structure. While the device may be temporarily displaced due to external forces, the flexure bearing 200 helps to quickly return the device to the desired location. As shown in FIGURE 1, multiple flexure bearings 200 can be used (such as in a stack) to help tune the spring stiffness and thus the natural frequency of the moving mechanism in the cryocooler or other device.

[0024] Note that the circular shapes of the hubs 202-204 are for illustration only. Each hub 202-204 of the flexure bearing 200 could have any suitable size, shape, and dimensions. In particular embodiments, the outer hub 202 has an inner diameter of about 4.7 inches (about 119.38mm) and an outer diameter of about 5.4 inches (about 137.16mm), and the inner hub 204 has an inner diameter of about 1.375 inches (about 34.925mm) and an outer diameter of about 2.42 inches (about 1.468mm).

[0025] Each hub 202-204 includes various openings 206. The openings 206 are arranged to receive connectors for coupling the flexure bearing 200 to the support structure and to the cryocooler component or other device. For example, each opening 206 could allow a bolt to be inserted through a hub 202-204 in order to secure the flexure bearing 200 to the support structure or to the cryocooler component or other device. Each opening 206 could have any suitable size, shape, and dimensions. Note, however, that any other suitable mechanism could be used to secure the flexure bearing 200.

[0026] As shown in FIGURE 2, the flexure bearing 200 also includes three sets 208a- 208c of flexure arms. The sets 208a-208c of flexure arms couple the outer hub 202 and the inner hub 204. As a result, when the flexure bearing 200 is secured to a support structure and to a cryocooler component or other device, the sets 208a-208c of flexure arms help to hold the cryocooler component or other device at a desired location. Even though external forces can cause deformation of the flexure arms and movement of the cryocooler component or other device, the flexure arms operate to return the device to the desired location. In the example shown in FIGURE 2, there are three sets 208a-208c of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis at a spacing of about 120°.

[0027] Each flexure set 208a-208c includes two flexure arms 210a-210b. The flexure arms 210a-210b in each set 208a-208c are mirror images of one another, meaning the flexure arm 210a in one set is a mirror image of the flexure arm 210b in that set. The flexure arms 210a-210b in each set 208a-208c are therefore symmetric, meaning the load path connecting the hubs 202-204 is symmetric. As can be seen in FIGURE 2, each flexure arm 210a-210b is connected to the outer hub 202 and follows a winding path with various "S" curves to the inner hub 204. The path followed by each flexure arm 210a-210b generally includes a "loop back" region 212 where the flexure arm 210a-210b substantially reverses direction within the flexure bearing 200. Note that while each flexure arm 210a-210b is shown here as being curved along most or all of its path, this need not be the case.

[0028] In the following discussion of various flexure bearings, reference is made to an "axial" direction. The "axial" direction refers to the direction along a central axis of a flexure bearing, meaning along the central axis of the flexure bearing 200 that is perpendicular to the image shown in FIGURE 2. This is in contrast to a "radial" direction, which refers to the direction from the central axis of the flexure bearing 200 out towards the outer hub 202 in FIGURE 2.

[0029] As noted above, the outer hub 202 of the flexure bearing 200 can be coupled to a support structure, and a cryocooler component or other device can be coupled to the inner hub 204 of the flexure bearing 200. In this configuration, the flexure arms can flex and twist, but the inner hub 204 does not rotate significantly (or at all) when the cryocooler component or other device is displaced axially along the central axis of the flexure bearing 200. As shown in FIGURE 3, this is because deformation of one flexure arm 210a in a set 208a-208c is associated with a substantially opposite deformation of the other flexure arm 210b in the same set 208a-208c. In other words, due to the symmetry of the flexure arms 210a-210b in each set 208a-208c, the inner hub 204 does not rotate as a function of displacement. As a result, the deformations of the flexure arms 210a-210b within each set 208a-208c substantially cancel each other, resulting in little or no rotation of the inner hub 204. Note that if the outer hub 202 of the flexure bearing 200 is coupled to a device and the inner hub 204 of the flexure bearing 200 is coupled to a support structure, the same mechanism can help to reduce or minimize rotation of the outer hub 202.

[0030] Moreover, the design of the flexure arms 210a-210b in each set 208a- 208c can be chosen so that the natural frequency of the flexure bearing 200 (with one hub 202-204 secured to a cryocooler component or other device) does not couple with the operating frequency of the cryocooler component or other device. For example, the natural frequency of the flexure arms 210a-210b could be around 80Hz to around 120Hz. If used with a compressor 102 having an operating frequency of about 40Hz to about 60Hz, the flexure arms 210a-210b are not be susceptible to dynamic amplification (or are susceptible to an extremely small extent).

[0031] The flexure bearing 200 could be formed from any suitable material(s). In some embodiments, the flexure bearing 200 can be formed from stainless steel or flapper valve steel, such as BOHLER-UDDEHOLM 716 UHB stainless steel. The flexure bearing 200 can also have any suitable size, shape, and dimensions. As particular examples, the flexure bearing 200 could have a thickness of about 0.008 inches (about 0.2032mm), about 0.01 inches (about 0.254mm), about 0.022 inches (about 0.5588mm), or about 0.0315 inches (about 0.8mm). The flexure bearing 200 can further be formed in any suitable manner, such as by machining a solid piece of material into the proper form, molding material into the proper form, or welding or otherwise connecting various components manufactured separately.

[0032] In particular embodiments, the flexure bearing 200 is designed with the following details in mind. Maximum axial displacement of the inner hub 204 could be about ±0.3 inches (about ±7.62mm) to about ±0.4 inches (about ±10.16mm) as measured from the neutral position of the inner hub 204. Also, maximum stress placed on any portion of the flexure bearing 200 could be under a specified threshold, such as 62 kilopounds per square inch (ksi). This can be done to help ensure an adequate operational lifetime for the flexure bearing 200. Note, however, that these values are examples only and that other values could be used.

[0033] FIGURES 4 through 6 illustrate other example non-rotating flexure bearings

400-600 according to this disclosure. Each of these flexure bearings 400-600 could be used in any suitable system. For example, each of these flexure bearings 400-600 could represent the flexure bearings contained within the stacks 116a- 116b in the system 100 of FIGURE 1. [0034] As shown in FIGURE 4, the flexure bearing 400 includes an outer hub 402, an inner hub 404, and openings 406. The flexure bearing 400 also includes three sets 408a-408c of flexure arms 410a-410b. In the example shown in FIGURE 4, there are three sets 408a- 408c of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis at a spacing of about 120°. As with the flexure bearing 200, the flexure arms 410a-410b help to hold a cryocooler component or other device at a desired location while reducing or minimizing rotation of the device.

[0035] The flexure bearing 400 shown in FIGURE 4 is similar in structure to the flexure bearing 200 of FIGURE 2. However, the flexure arms 410a-410b in FIGURE 4 do not follow as curved a path as the flexure arms 210a-210b in FIGURE 2, making the flexure arms 410a-410b somewhat shorter. This could make the cryocooler component or other device less susceptible to displacement but can increase the stresses placed on the flexure arms 410a-410b (since the stresses are distributed along shorter paths).

[0036] As shown in FIGURE 5, the flexure bearing 500 includes an outer hub 502, an inner hub 504, and openings 506. The flexure bearing 500 also includes three sets 508a-508c of flexure arms 510a-510b. In the example shown in FIGURE 5, there are three sets 508a- 508c of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis at a spacing of about 120°. As with the flexure bearings 200 and 400, the flexure arms 510a-510b help to hold a cryocooler component or other device at a desired location while reducing or minimizing rotation of the device.

[0037] In FIGURE 5, the path followed by each flexure arm 510a-510b is shorter still, where much of each flexure arm 510a-510b moves tangentially around a central axis of the flexure bearing 500. The non- tangential portions of each flexure arm 510a-510b include the flexure arm's "loop back" region 512 and the portions connecting that flexure arm to the hubs 502-504.

[0038] As shown in FIGURE 6, the flexure bearing 600 includes an outer hub 602, an inner hub 604, and openings 606. The flexure bearing 600 also includes three sets 608a-608c of flexure arms 610a-610b. In the example shown in FIGURE 6, there are three sets 608a- 608c of flexure arms positioned radially around a central axis at a spacing of about 120°. As with the prior flexure bearings, the flexure arms 610a-610b help to hold a cryocooler component or other device at a desired location while reducing or minimizing rotation of the device.

[0039] The flexure arms 610a-610b are similar to the flexure arms 510a-510b in FIGURE 5, except a number of circular and semi-circular openings 614 are present in the flexure arms 610a-610b. These openings 614 can alter various characteristics of the flexure bearing 600, such as its axial stiffness and natural frequency.

[0040] In all of the flexure bearings 400-600 shown in FIGURES 4 through 6, the flexure arms in each set of flexure arms are mirror images of one another and therefore symmetric. This helps to reduce or minimize rotation of each flexure bearing's inner or outer hub (depending on which is secured to a support structure) since displacement of one flexure arm is substantially counteracted by the displacement of the mirror-image flexure arm.

[0041] Although FIGURES 2 through 6 illustrate examples of non-rotating flexure bearings, various changes may be made to FIGURES 2 through 6. For example, the number of flexure arms is for illustration only and can change as needed. As a particular example, depending on the size of a flexure bearing, the flexure bearing could include more than three sets of flexure arms. Also, the flexure arms need not be curved and could be formed from substantially straight sections.

[0042] FIGURE 7 illustrates an example method 700 for using a non-rotating flexure bearing according to this disclosure. For ease of explanation, the method 700 is described with respect to the flexure bearing 200 being used in the system 100 of FIGURE 1. However, the method 700 could involve the use of any other flexure bearings (such as the flexure bearings 400-600) in any other suitable system.

[0043] As shown in FIGURE 7, at least one flexure bearing is coupled to a support structure and to a device needing positioning at step 702. This could include, for example, inserting bolts or other connectors through openings 206 of the flexure bearing 200. This can be done to secure the flexure bearing 200 to a compressor 102 or other cryocooler component or device and to a housing 112.

[0044] The device coupled to the flexure bearing is displaced at step 704. This could include, for example, external forces causing the compressor 102 to be displaced axially along the central axis of the flexure bearing 200. As a result, symmetric flexure arms in the flexure bearing are deformed at step 706. This could include, for example, rotation of a hub 202-204 caused by deforming one flexure arm being substantially cancelled by the rotation of the hub 202-204 caused by deforming the mirror-image flexure arm. This helps to reduce or minimize rotation of the device during the displacement at step 708. The device returns substantially to its desired resting location at step 710. This could include, for example, the flexure bearing 200 causing the compressor 102 to return to a neutral position once the external force that caused the displacement is removed.

[0045] Although FIGURE 7 illustrates one example of a method 700 for using a non- rotating flexure bearing, various changes may be made to FIGURE 7. For example, while shown as a series of steps, various steps in each figure could overlap, occur in parallel, occur in a different order, or occur multiple times.

[0046] It may be advantageous to set forth definitions of certain words and phrases used throughout this patent document. The terms "include" and "comprise," as well as derivatives thereof, mean inclusion without limitation. The term "or" is inclusive, meaning and/or. The phrase "associated with," as well as derivatives thereof, may mean to include, be included within, interconnect with, contain, be contained within, connect to or with, couple to or with, be communicable with, cooperate with, interleave, juxtapose, be proximate to, be bound to or with, have, have a property of, have a relationship to or with, or the like.

[0047] While this disclosure has described certain embodiments and generally associated methods, alterations and permutations of these embodiments and methods will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the above description of example embodiments does not define or constrain this disclosure. Other changes, substitutions, and alterations are also possible without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure, as defined by the following claims.