Lighting The Way to Olympic Success

By Isobel Gauld, Marketing Assistant

Despite the year delay, a lack of crowds and tight protocols prohibiting the mingling of athletes, the Tokyo Olympics have delivered a number of memorable moments. Sky Brown became the youngest athlete to win an Olympic medal for team GB at the age of just 13; Mutaz Barshim (Qatar) and Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy) made the decision to share the Gold medal in the high jump instead of battling for first place in a jump-off; and Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) won her 1500m heat after falling to the floor with less than 400m to go. We also saw 23 year old Japanese-Haitian-American Naomi Osaka be the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, in what she called her “greatest athletic achievement”. But how does the Olympic torch work? And what patents exist for technology relating to it?

US6733282B2 “TORCH FUEL DELIVERY SYSTEM AND BURNER”

This patent describes a fuel delivery system and burner suitable for an Olympic torch. In one aspect, the fuel delivery system includes a regulator, which is mounted in a torch body and is in fluid communication with a fuel supply, such as a fuel canister. The regulator maintains the fuel exiting the fuel canister at a substantially constant pressure within a regulator cavity. Fuel passes from the regulator cavity into a tube, or conduit, that extends through the path of a flame that is produced by the burner. The tube is preferably shaped into a coil around the area of the flame so that the coil is heated by the flame, which assures that the liquid fuel is vaporised as it passes through the coil. The coil may act as a flame spreader, giving the flame a much larger, fuller appearance.

In another aspect, the burner tube includes an internal passage and an outer passage. Fuel flows through both the internal and outer passages. The fuel flows relatively slowly through the outer passage, such that air is not aspirated, causing the flame to remain attached to the burner and to burn yellow. The fuel flows relatively quickly through the inner passage, which helps the burner flame to be wind resistant.

JP6813877B2 “OLYMPIC TORCH”

This patent presents a torch that can ensure combustion of fuel (used to generate a flame) takes place even in poor weather conditions, such as in rainy or windy conditions, without impairing the design. To achieve this aim, a torch body is provided, comprising a concave part in an upper surface of the body, a combustion unit placed in the concave part to light a flame, and an air passage formed in the torch body to allow air intake. The air passage is configured to transfer the air to the concave part thereby ensuring that the combustion unit has an air supply for the generation of the flame.

JP2019079764A “DECORATIVE LONG MATERIAL, METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING DECORATIVE LONG MATERIAL, TORCH AND LIGHTING FIXTURE”

JP2019079764A relates to a decorative elongated object, such as Olympic torch comprising the elongated object. The patent application in question states that conventional extrusion-molded elongated objects have a uniform cross section running between their ends, which, as a result, can have a monotonous outer shape. The application further states that such elongate objects have not therefore been used for decorative purposes. To overcome this issue, JP2019079764A discloses a method for manufacturing a decorative elongated object that is at least partially tapered, comprising the steps of (i) molding, by extrusion molding, an elongated material having a cross section comprised of a plurality of radial lines and (ii) cutting and removing a side surface of the elongated material, the cutting being performed in an angled direction with respect to the side surface.