Title:
Anti-frost evaporator pipe of drawer type refrigerator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator for preventing frost from being formed on a ceiling portion of a storage chamber of the refrigerator. It is an object of the present invention to provide an anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator, wherein by preventing frost from being formed on a ceiling surface of an inner case through a structural improvement in the evaporator pipe installed to the inner case, excessive cooling and spoilage of foods and food damage due to the conversion of frost into water can be prevented and a drawer container can be more smoothly opened or closed, and wherein more precise operating conditions can be set and temperature variation in the storage chamber cannot be produced by using a sensor installed to more accurately detect a status of the storage chamber. To achieve the aforementioned object of the present invention, there is provided an anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator including an inner case in which a storage chamber for accommodating a storage drawer container is defined and the storage drawer container is kept at a low temperature by means of the evaporator pipe for refrigerant circulation wrapped around the exterior of the inner case, the evaporator pipe comprising curved pipe portions positioned at both side surfaces of the inner case, and a straight pipe portion positioned at a top surface of the inner case and connected with the curved pipe portions.



Inventors:
Kim, Sang Woo (Changwon-si, KR)
Application Number:
11/302460
Publication Date:
06/22/2006
Filing Date:
12/14/2005
Assignee:
LG Electronics Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/441, 62/443
International Classes:
F25D11/02
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KOAGEL, JONATHAN BRYAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KED & ASSOCIATES, LLP (P.O. Box 8638, Reston, VA, 20195, US)
Claims:
1. An anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator including an inner case in which a storage chamber for accommodating a storage drawer container is defined and the storage drawer container is kept at a low temperature by means of the evaporator pipe for refrigerant circulation wrapped around the exterior of the inner case, the evaporator pipe comprising: curved pipe portions positioned at both side surfaces of the inner case; and a straight pipe portion positioned at a top surface of the inner case and connected with the curved pipe portions.

2. The anti-frost evaporator pipe as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of the curved pipe portions includes a plurality of densely arranged straight pipe sections and semicircular curved pipe sections connected with both ends of the straight pipe sections.

3. The anti-frost evaporator pipe as claimed in claim 1, wherein an evaporation area of the curved pipe portions positioned at an outlet side where the refrigerant is discharged is greater than that of the curved pipe portions positioned at an inlet side where the refrigerant is introduced.

4. The anti-frost evaporator pipe as claimed in claim 1, further comprising an auxiliary curved pipe portion to which a sensor for measuring a status of the storage chamber is installed, said auxiliary curved pipe portion being formed on a portion of the straight pipe portion.

5. The anti-frost evaporator pipe as claimed in claim 4, wherein the auxiliary curved pipe portion includes auxiliary straight pipe section arranged in parallel with each other and an auxiliary curved pipe sections connected with the auxiliary straight pipe sections, and a fixing piece is laid across the parallel auxiliary straight pipe sections to allow the sensor to be fixed thereto.

6. The anti-frost evaporator pipe as claimed in claim 2, wherein an evaporation area of the curved pipe portions positioned at an outlet side where the refrigerant is discharged is greater than that of the curved pipe portions positioned at an inlet side where the refrigerant is introduced.

7. The anti-frost evaporator pipe as claimed in claim 2, further comprising an auxiliary curved pipe portion to which a sensor for measuring a status of the storage chamber is installed, said auxiliary curved pipe portion being formed on a portion of the straight pipe portion.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator, and more particularly, to an anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator, wherein the structure of the evaporator pipe is improved to prevent formation of frost on a ceiling portion of a storage chamber of the refrigerator, and an operating state of the refrigerator can be more accurately controlled by more accurately detecting the status of the interior of the storage chamber.

2. Description of the Related Art

Generally, a refrigerator is to prolong a preservation term of a food by means of circulation of a refrigerant therethrough. Recently, various refrigerators have been developed according to their uses. For such specialized purposes, refrigerators that enable easy storage of foods and have a food-ripening function have been developed.

According to door-opening methods, such refrigerators are classified into a top opening refrigerator in which a food can be put in or withdrawn from the refrigerator through the top thereof and a drawer refrigerator in which a door is constructed in the form of a drawer.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view f a general drawer type refrigerator, and FIG. 2 is a view showing the internal configuration of the drawer type refrigerator according to a prior art.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the related art refrigerator 10 comprises an outer case 20 in the form of a rectangular box and inner cases 30 installed within the outer case 20 to define a plurality of storage chambers 32. The respective storage chambers 32 defined in the inner cases 30 are independently temperature-controlled by means of a control unit 22 installed at an upper front portion of the inner case 20.

Further, a predetermined gap is defined between the outer and inner cases 20 and 30, and an insulating material 25 is filled in the gap. Furthermore, a storage drawer container 40 is accommodated in the storage chamber 32 of the inner case 30. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and processed foodstuffs thereof are stored directly in the storage drawer container 40, or stored in the storage drawer container in a state where they are put in an additional interior container 42.

The drawer container 40 so configured includes a door 44 fixed to the front thereof and is slid in or out of the inner case 30 to close or open the storage chamber 32.

To this end, moving rails 47 are installed on both sides of the drawer container 40 in a horizontal direction and slidably supported on fixed rails 37 installed on the storage chamber 32 of the inner case 30.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the inner case and an evaporator pipe of the drawer type refrigerator according to a prior art, and FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view showing a state where the evaporator pipe of FIG. 3 is separated from the inner case. Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the configuration and operation of the inner case and evaporator pipe will be described in detail.

An evaporator comprising the evaporator pipe 34 through which a refrigerant circulates to keep foods stored in the storage chamber 32 at a low temperature wraps around the exterior of the inner case 30. Further, a compressor 29 for pumping the refrigerant and a refrigerant circulation system for feeding or collecting the refrigerant to and from the evaporator pipe 34 are installed below the inner case 30.

Here, the inner case 30 is made of an aluminum material to enhance a heat transfer rate thereof, and the evaporator pipe 34 is formed to wrap around three external surfaces, i.e. both side surfaces and top surface, of the inner case 30.

The related art drawer type refrigerator 10 so configured includes a sensor 38 for measuring a temperature or the like to keep the foods stored in the storage chamber at an optimal storage condition. To this end, the sensor 38 has been hitherto disposed between the evaporator pipes 34 arranged on the top surface of the inner case 30, and a fixing piece 39 for fixing the sensor 38 to the inner case is laid across the adjacent evaporator pipes 34.

When the evaporator pipe 34 of the conventional drawer type refrigerator 10 configured as described above is used for a long while, foods stored at an upper portion of the drawer container 40 are excessively cooled and thus frozen by means of the evaporator pipe 34 installed at the ceiling surface of the inner case 30, and consequently, they are spoiled.

Further, since frost is formed on the ceiling surface of the inner case 30, the drawer container 40 interferes with the inner case 30 when the container is slid in or out of the inner case. In addition, since the drawer container 40 is frozen fast to the inner case 30, the drawer container cannot be smoothly opened or closed.

Furthermore, since the frost formed on the ceiling surface of the inner case 30 prevents heat transfer into the inner case and thus reduces thermal efficiency of the refrigerator, it is necessary to remove the frost.

On the other hand, in a case where a user intends to melt the frost, the frost is converted into water and flows down into the drawer container 40. Therefore, the foods stored in the drawer container 40 are damaged and spoiled.

These problems are due to the frost formed on the surfaces of the inner case 30. Thus, it is necessary to take a measure to prevent the frost from being formed on the interior surfaces of the inner case 30. To this end, efforts for preventing the occurrence of frost through a structural improvement in the evaporator pipe have been made. More specifically, a structural improvement in which sensors are attached to more precisely measure the temperature in the storage chamber is required.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is conceived to solve the aforementioned problems in the prior art. Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator, wherein by preventing frost from being formed on a ceiling surface of an inner case through a structural improvement in the evaporator pipe installed to the inner case, excessive cooling and spoilage of foods and food damage due to the conversion of frost into water can be prevented and a drawer container can be more smoothly opened or closed, and wherein more precise operating conditions can be set and temperature variation in a storage chamber cannot be produced by using a sensor installed to more accurately detect a status of the storage chamber.

According to an aspect of the present invention for achieving the aforementioned object, there is provided an anti-frost evaporator pipe of a drawer type refrigerator including an inner case in which a storage chamber for accommodating a storage drawer container is defined and the storage drawer container is kept at a low temperature by means of the evaporator pipe wrapped around the exterior of the inner case, the evaporator pipe comprising curved pipe portions positioned at both side surfaces of the inner case, and a straight pipe portion positioned at a top surface of the inner case and connected with the curved pipe portions.

Preferably, each of the curved pipe portions includes a plurality of densely arranged straight pipe sections and semicircular curved pipe sections connected with both ends of the straight pipe sections. More preferably, an evaporation area of the curved pipe portions positioned at an outlet side where the refrigerant is discharged is greater than that of the curved pipe portions positioned at an inlet side where the refrigerant is introduced. The anti-frost evaporator pipe may further comprise an auxiliary curved pipe portion to which a sensor for measuring a status of the storage chamber is installed, said auxiliary curved pipe portion being formed on a portion of the straight pipe portion. Preferably, the auxiliary curved pipe portion includes auxiliary straight pipe section arranged in parallel with each other and an auxiliary curved pipe sections connected with the auxiliary straight pipe sections. Further, a fixing piece may be laid across the parallel auxiliary straight pipe sections to allow the sensor to be fixed thereto.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments given in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a general drawer type refrigerator;

FIG. 2 is a view showing the internal configuration of a related art refrigerator;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an inner case and an evaporator pipe of the related art drawer type refrigerator;

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view showing a state where the evaporator pipe of FIG. 3 is separated from the inner case;

FIG. 5 is a view showing the inner configuration of a drawer type refrigerator according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an inner case and an evaporator pipe with an anti-frost structure applied thereto; and

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view showing a state where the evaporator pipe of FIG. 6 is separated from the inner case.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Hereinafter, a preferred embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 5 is a view showing the interior configuration of a drawer type refrigerator according to the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 5, the drawer type refrigerator 50 comprises an outer case 60 in the form of a rectangular box which defines an external appearance of the refrigerator, and inner cases 70 in the form of a front open box which are installed within the outer case 60 to define a plurality of storage chambers 72. The respective storage chambers 72 are independently temperature-controlled by means of a control unit 62 installed at an upper front portion of the inner case 60.

Further, the outer and inner cases 60 and 70 are coupled to each other at a predetermined gap and an insulating material 65 is filled in the gap to maintain the storage chambers 72 at a constant temperature.

A storage drawer container 90 is accommodated in the storage chamber 72 of the inner case 70. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and processed foodstuffs thereof are stored directly in the storage drawer container 90, or stored in the storage drawer container 90 in a state where they are put in an additional interior container 92.

The drawer container 90 includes a door 94 fixed to the front thereof and can be slid in or out of the inner case 70 to close or open the storage chamber 72.

To this end, moving rails 97 are installed on both sides of the drawer container 90 in a horizontal direction, while fixed rails 77 corresponding to the moving rails 97 are installed on the storage chamber 72 of the inner case 70 to slidably support the drawer container 90 and guide the moving rails 97 along the fixed rails 77 when the drawer container is slid in or out of the inner case.

Mechanical apparatuses including a compressor 69, a condenser and a refrigerant storage unit (which are not shown in this figure) are installed in a space positioned below the inner case 70. The condenser (not shown) is connected to an outlet of the compressor 69, and an expansion valve and evaporator (not shown) are also sequentially connected to the outlet of the compressor.

The evaporator comprises the evaporator pipe 74 arranged to wrap around an external surface of the inner case 70. A refrigerant pumped from the compressor 69 circulates along the evaporator pipe 74 to cool the interior of the inner case 70.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the inner case 70 and the evaporator pipe with an anti-frost structure applied thereto; and FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view showing a state where the evaporator pipe of FIG. 6 is separated from the inner case.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the evaporator pipe 74 is arranged densely at both side surfaces of the inner case 70 and sparsely at a top surface of the inner case 70.

To this end, the evaporator pipe 74 is composed of a curved pipe portion 75 formed at both side surfaces of the inner case 70 and a straight pipe portion 76 formed at the top surface of the inner case 70. The curved pipe portion 75 includes a plurality of straight pipe sections 75a densely arranged on the side surfaces of the inner case 70, and a plurality of semicircular curved pipe sections 75b connected to the ends of the straight pipe sections 75a to allow fluids to flow through the straight and curved pipe sections. In the meantime, the straight pipe portion 76 is sparsely arranged. Cooling capacity can be adjusted by changing the cross sectional size and number of the curved and straight pipe portions 75 and 76.

Furthermore, a sensor 78 for detecting a temperature of the storage chamber to measure the status of the storage chamber is installed on a side of the inner case 70. To this end, a sensor mounting portion 80 where the sensor 78 is installed is formed on a side of the evaporator pipe 74.

More specifically, the sensor mounting portion 80 is formed on a side of the straight pipe portion 76 to be brought into close contact with the top surface of the inner case 70 such that the sensor 78 can detect the status of an upper portion of the storage chamber 72. To this end, the sensor mounting portion 80 is provided with an auxiliary curved pipe portion 85 formed at the side of the straight pipe portion 76.

In this embodiment of the present invention, the auxiliary curved pipe portion 85 is formed at the center of the top surface of the inner case 70. Here, the auxiliary curved pipe portion 85 is composed of two auxiliary straight pipe sections 85 arranged in parallel with each other and an auxiliary curved pipe section 85b connected to be in communication with the ends of the respective auxiliary straight pipe sections 85a. In addition, a fixing piece 79 is installed to be laid across the parallel auxiliary straight pipe sections 85a. The fixing piece 79 is used to fix the sensor 79 to the auxiliary curved pipe portion 85 such that the sensor 79 is mounted to a bottom surface of the fixing piece 79 and then brought into close contact with the top surface of the inner case 70.

Moreover, the curved pipe portions positioned on the side surfaces of the inner case 70 are formed in such a manner that the curved pipe portion positioned at an outlet side of the refrigerant is greater than the curved pipe portion positioned at an inlet side of the refrigerant in view of their evaporation areas. Here, the larger evaporation area means a larger contact area of the inner case 70 with the outside. More specifically, the curved pipe portion positioned at the outlet side where the refrigerant is discharged is longer than the curved pipe portion positioned at the inlet side where the refrigerant is introduced. That is, the refrigerant circulating in the inlet-side curved pipe portion 75 can sufficiently cool the storage chamber 72 due to its high cooling capacity even though the evaporation area of the inlet-side curved pipe portion is smaller, whereas the refrigerant circulating in the outlet-side curved pipe portion 75 has a relatively lower cooling capacity due to the loss of cooling capacity while passing through the inlet-side curved pipe portion and the straight pipe portion. Accordingly, the evaporation area of the outlet-side curved pipe portion 75 is increased such that its cooling capacity is controlled similar to that of the inlet-side curved pipe portion 75. Furthermore, to achieve more uniform cooling performance, the outlet-side curved pipe portion 75 may be formed to extend to a part of the top surface of the inner case 70.

As described above, it is possible to reduce variation of temperature in the right and left side of the storage chamber 72 and also operate the refrigerator at an optimal condition by adjusting the length of the curved pipe portion according to the refrigerant cooling capacity.

In the meantime, a defrosting device (not shown) for defrosting the storage chamber 72 is installed at a side of the inner case 70.

The operation of the anti-frost evaporating pipe of the drawer type refrigerator according to the present invention so configured will be described as follows.

First, when the refrigerator is operated by controlling the control unit 62, the compressor 69 starts to operate and then delivers a refrigerant compressed at a high pressure to the condenser. The refrigerant delivered to the condenser releases heat and is thus converted into a high-pressure and low-temperature phase and then supplied to the expansion valve. Next, the refrigerant delivered to the expansion valve suddenly expands and is thus converted into a low-pressure and low-temperature phase while being supplied to the evaporator. The refrigerator delivered to the evaporator performs heat exchange with the storage chamber 72 in the inner case 70 while passing through the evaporator pipe 74 wrapped around the inner case 70. At this time, the drawer container 90 received in the storage chamber 72 and the foods stored in the drawer container 90 are cooled such that the foods can be kept at a fresh state for a long while.

In addition, the storage chamber 72 in the inner case 70 is heat exchanged with the curved pipe portions 74 installed at the side surfaces of the inner case and with the straight pipe portion 76 installed on the top surface of the inner case and connected to the curved pipe portion. A heat exchange effect is also added in the storage chamber 72 due to air circulation therein.

In the drawer type refrigerator operated as described above, the ceiling surface of the inner case 70 is not excessively cooled, and thus, the foods stored in the upper portion of the drawer container 90 can be kept at an unfrozen and fresh state.

Further, since the frost is not formed on the ceiling surface of the inner case 70, the drawer container 90 does not interfere with the frost to be thus operated more smoothly when the drawer container is slid in or out of the inner case.

Furthermore, since the sensor 78 that is fixedly installed at the sensor mounting portion 80 on the top surface of the inner case by means of the fixing piece 79 can measure the status in the storage chamber and then send information on the measured status to the control unit 62, it is possible to operate the refrigerator 50 at an optimal condition.

According to the present invention so configured, the structure of the anti-frost evaporator pipe of the drawer type refrigerator installed to the inner case is improved such that heat exchange in the storage chamber defined in the inner case can be efficiently made. Therefore, since the ceiling surface of the inner case is not excessively cooled, the foods stored in the upper portion of the storage chamber cannot be frozen. Further, since the frost is not formed on the ceiling surface, the drawer container can be smoothly slid in or out of the inner case. Furthermore, since the frost is not formed on the ceiling surface of the inner case, water that may be produced by melting the frost formed on inner surfaces of the inner case is not introduced into the drawer container. Therefore, the foods stored in the drawer container are not spoiled due to the produced water, and working environment is also clean as well as heat exchange performance is enhanced. In addition, since the evaporation area of the curved pipe portions positioned at an outlet side where the refrigerant is discharged is greater than that of the curved pipe portion positioned at an inlet side where the refrigerant is introduced, variation of temperature in right and left sides of the storage chamber can be reduced, and thus, the refrigerator can be operated at an optimal condition. Moreover, since the sensor is installed such that it can measure the temperature in the storage chamber more accurately, the status of the storage chamber can be detected precisely and thus the refrigerator can also be operated at the optimal operating condition.

Although the anti-frost evaporator pipe of the drawer type refrigerator according to the present invention has been described with reference to the accompanying drawings, the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described in connection with the drawings. It is apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and changes can be made within the scope of the appended claims. It is also possible to further enhance the cooling performance by adding a curved pipe portion to a side of the straight pipe portion. It should also be understood that the curved and straight pipe sections described in the specification of the present invention are merely expressed according to their arrangement forms, but do not mean that they are mathematically precise straight lines or curves. As an example, the straight pipe sections positioned on the top surface of the inner case may include some curved pipe sections to further improve the cooling performance of the evaporator pipe. In addition, the aforementioned sensor is a sensor for measuring the temperature condition in the storage chamber, but anther sensor having a function of detecting humidity or the like may be further installed for the better performance.