Title:
Heat exchanger, especially for vehicles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A heat exchanger including a collecting tank and at least one flat tube row. The flat tubes have a discharge end secured to the collecting tank, a closed end, and a longitudinal separator dividing the tubes into oppositely-traversed channels, wherein at least a portion of one tube wall at the closed end and the separator associated with the tube wall portion are omitted. A closure piece closes the tubes where the tube wall portions are omitted. A partition in the collecting tank separates the inlet and outlet sides. Heat exchanger elements between the flat tubes are adapted to be traversed by a medium flowing outside the tubes. The first tube row may be connected with one end to one side of the collecting tank with a second tube row connected with its first end to another side of collecting tank.



Inventors:
Nies, Jens (Holzgerlingen, DE)
Application Number:
11/294309
Publication Date:
06/22/2006
Filing Date:
12/05/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
165/177
International Classes:
F28D7/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALBERG, TERESA J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOOD, PHILLIPS, KATZ, CLARK & MORTIMER (500 W. MADISON STREET, SUITE 3800, CHICAGO, IL, 60661, US)
Claims:
1. A heat exchanger, comprising: at least one collecting tank; at least one row of flat tubes having a first end secured to said collecting tank to discharge therein, a closed second end, and at least one longitudinal separator in said tubes dividing said tubes into oppositely-traversed channels, wherein at least a portion of one tube wall at said closed second end and the separator associated with said tube wall portion are omitted; at least one closure piece closing said tubes where said portions of said one tube wall are omitted; at least one partition in said collecting tank separating the inlet side from the outlet side; and heat exchanger elements arranged between said flat tubes and adapted to be traversed by a medium flowing outside of said flat tubes.

2. The heat exchanger of claim 1, wherein said heat exchanger is a vehicle coolant radiator.

3. The heat exchanger of claim 1, wherein a common closure piece is provided for said second ends of a plurality of said tubes.

4. The heat exchanger of claim 1, wherein separate closure pieces are provided for each tube having a wall portion omitted.

5. The heat exchanger of claim 1, wherein aligned portions of both side walls of each flat tube are omitted.

6. A heat exchanger, comprising: at least one collecting tank; at least two rows of flat tubes having a first end secured to said collecting tank to discharge therein, a closed second end, and at least one longitudinal separator in said tubes dividing said tubes into oppositely-traversed channels, wherein a first row of flat tubes is connected with one end to one side of the collecting tank and a second row of flat tubes is connected with its first end to another side of collecting tank; at least one partition in said collecting tank separating the inlet side from the outlet side; and heat exchanger elements arranged between said flat tubes and adapted to be traversed by a medium flowing outside of said flat tubes.

7. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein at least a portion of one tube wall at said closed second end and the separator associated with said tube wall portion are omitted, and further comprising at least one closure piece closing said tubes where said portions of said one tube wall are omitted.

8. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein said heat exchanger is a vehicle coolant radiator.

9. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein said first and second rows of flat tubes lie in a common plane.

10. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein said first and second rows of flat tubes are at an angle to each other.

11. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein said flat tubes have different tube lengths (L).

12. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein said tube lengths (L) are different in both rows.

13. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein said tube lengths (L) are the same in both rows.

14. The heat exchanger of claim 6, wherein flow through the flat tubes occurs in the opposite direction in all rows of flat tubes.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not applicable.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention is directed toward heat exchangers, and more particularly to vehicle coolant radiators.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND TECHNICAL PROBLEMS POSED BY THE PRIOR ART

A radiator for the cooling unit of an internal combustion engine of a vehicle is shown and described in DE 34 40 489 C2, and has a collecting tank divided into parts by a partition, with a series of flat tubes discharging on one end into the tank. The flat tubes are divided into oppositely traversed channels by a longitudinal separator, which terminates short of the other tube end, whereby there is flow connection between the channels in the other end of the flat tubes. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that flowing medium in one part of the collecting tank enters one channel on the tube one end, flows through that channel to the other end, then passes to the adjacent channel at that other end (where there is no channel separator), and then flows back in the opposite direction through the adjacent channel to the other part of the collecting tank. The longitudinal separator is formed as an inserted rod or as a bead in the wall of the flat tube, which was flattened a bit on the other end of the flat tube. Both the rod to be inserted and the part of the bead to be flattened are obstacles to a cost-effective manufacturing process.

The present invention is directed toward overcoming one or more of the problems set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention, a heat exchanger includes at least one collecting tank and at least one row of flat tubes. The flat tubes have a first end secured to the collecting tank to discharge therein, a closed second end, and at least one longitudinal separator in the tubes dividing the tubes into oppositely-traversed channels, wherein at least a portion of one tube wall at the closed second end and the separator associated with the tube wall portion are omitted. At least one closure piece closes the tubes where the portions of the one tube wall are omitted, and at least one partition in the collecting tank separates the inlet side from the outlet side. Heat exchanger elements are arranged between the flat tubes and adapted to be traversed by a medium flowing outside of the flat tubes.

In one form of this aspect of the present invention, the heat exchanger is a vehicle coolant radiator.

In another form of this aspect of the present invention, a common closure piece is provided for the second ends of a plurality of the tubes.

In still another form of this aspect of the present invention, separate closure pieces are provided for each tube having a wall portion omitted.

In yet another form of this aspect of the present invention, aligned portions of both side walls of each flat tube are omitted.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a heat exchanger includes at least one collecting tank and at least two rows of flat tubes. The flat tubes have a first end secured to the collecting tank to discharge therein, a closed second end, and at least one longitudinal separator in the tubes dividing the tubes into oppositely-traversed channels. A first row of flat tubes is connected with one end to one side of the collecting tank and a second row of flat tubes is connected with its first end to another side of collecting tank. A partition in the collecting tank separates the inlet side from the outlet side; and heat exchanger elements are arranged between the flat tubes and adapted to be traversed by a medium flowing outside of the flat tubes.

In one form of this aspect of the present invention, at least a portion of one tube wall at the closed second end and the separator associated with said tube wall portion are omitted, and at least one closure piece closes the tubes where the portions of the one tube wall are omitted.

In another form of this aspect of the present invention, the heat exchanger is a vehicle coolant radiator.

In still another form of this aspect of the present invention, the first and second rows of flat tubes lie in a common plane.

In yet another form of this aspect of the present invention, the first and second rows of flat tubes are at an angle to each other.

In another form of this aspect of the present invention, the flat tubes have different tube lengths (L).

In still another form of this aspect of the present invention, the tube lengths (L) are different in both rows.

In yet another form of this aspect of the present invention, the tube lengths (L) are the same in both rows.

In another form of this aspect of the present invention, flow through the flat tubes occurs in the opposite direction in all rows of flat tubes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a heat exchanger incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a heat exchanger incorporating the present invention with two rows of flat tubes at an angle relative to each other;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a heat exchanger incorporating the present invention with two rows of flat tubes lying in a plane;

FIG. 4 is a perspective, partially broken away view of flat tubes ends with a closure piece incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective, partially broken away view of a first alternate of flat tubes ends with closure piece incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective, partially broken away view of a second alternate of a flat tubes end incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective, partially broken away view of a third alternate of a flat tubes end with a closure piece incorporating the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective, partially broken away view of a multiport flat tube end with a closure piece incorporating the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The Figures illustrate different variants of air-cooled coolant radiators which may be advantageously produced completely from aluminum. The coolant, according to the arrows C (see, e.g., FIG. 1, flows through flat tubes 10. Cooling air flows across the flat tubes 10 through heat exchanger elements (corrugated ribs) 12 between and in heat-conducting connection with the flat tubes 10 (the corrugated ribs 12 are not shown in FIG. 1 but are indicated in FIG. 4) as indicated by arrow A in FIG. 1.

The heat exchanger according to FIG. 1 includes a collecting tank 20 with a partition 22 (indicated by a dashed line) separating the collecting tank 20 into an inlet side 24 and an outlet side 26. A collecting tank inlet 30 is on the inlet side 24 and a collecting tank outlet 32 is on the outlet side 26.

It should be appreciated that it would be within the scope of the present invention for there to be, for example, two directly adjacent or connected collecting tanks (with, e.g., an inlet tank and an outlet tank). Further, it would be within the scope of the invention, depending upon the requirements of a particular application, to include more than one partition in the collecting tank(s).

A single row of flat tubes 10 with corrugated ribs 12 is shown in FIG. 1. The flat tubes 10 are connected with one end 40 tightly to the collecting tank 20 so that the coolant can flow as described. The flat tubes 10 each have a longitudinal separator 46 (indicated by a dashed line in FIGS. 1-3) which divides the flat tubes 10 into two oppositely traversed channels 50 and 52. The partition 22 in the collecting tank 20 is positioned to be aligned with the position of the longitudinal separator 46 so that opposite flow is established between the channels 50, 52.

The flat tubes 10 can, for example, be advantageously produced from an endless sheet of metal which is shaped and soldered or welded, where the longitudinal separator 46 is formed by the longitudinal edges of the sheet metal, where the longitudinal edges are in contact roughly in the center of the flat tube and there form the longitudinal separator 46. It should be appreciated, however that advantages of the present invention could be obtained with a variety manufacturing methods used to form the basic tubes, including manufacturing of flat tubes in which several channels per flow direction and several longitudinal separators are provided.

Advantageous formation of the other tube ends 54 (remote from the collecting tank 20) is shown in FIGS. 4-8, where a cut-out 60 is formed in at least one of the broad flat walls 64 of the flat tubes 10. The longitudinal separator 46 is also removed in the region of the cut-out 60 and a closure piece 70 closes the cut-out 60 that end of the tube 10, and as a result the channels 50, 52 are not separated in that area and the coolant can pass from the one channel 50 to the other channel 52 for return flow as previously described.

Manufacture of tubes 10 according to this aspect of the invention can be advantageously accomplished by first forming tubes stock, either continuously or at desired lengths, then cutting tubes from the tube stock to the desired length, including forming cut-outs 60 at one end 54 such as described herein, then adding the closure piece(s) 70 while assembling the tubes 10 with the collecting tank 20.

The advantageous cut-out 60 according to the present invention may be formed in a variety of ways and configurations.

The cut-out 60 in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4 is a semicircular shape extending through both broad walls 64 of the flat tubes 10. A single closure piece 70 is provided for all the flat tube ends 54, with the illustrated closure piece 70 being advantageously formed as a single deformed sheet strip whose width corresponds to that of flat tubes 10, with the sheet strip having a meandering configuration with a plurality of bevelings which correspond to the spacings of the individual flat tubes 10 and the depth of cut-out 60. Directed embossings (not shown) may also be advantageously provided at the flat tube ends 54 whereby each embossing fits into the end 54 of the flat tube 10 in order to improve tightness of the connection there.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the cut-out is provided in only one broad side 64 of the flat tube ends 54, with the flat tubes 10 being arranged so that two cut-outs 60a are always opposite each other. Such cut-outs 60a can be advantageously closed with a roughly U-shaped closure piece 70a inserted in the spacing between two flat tube ends 54. The cut-outs 60a are designed there so that a connector is still included in the broad side 64 that has the cut-out 60, right on the end 54 of flat tube 10.

Other embodiments are shown in FIGS. 6-8, in which both broad sides 64 of each flat tube 10 are cut out and each flat tube end 54 has assigned its own closure piece 70′, which is shaped accordingly.

FIG. 8 shows the tube end 54 of a multichamber flat tube 10 with a plurality of channels 50a, 52a defined thereby (and advantageously produced, for example, by an extrusion method), with the cut-out 60b according to another embodiment of the present invention advantageously roughly triangular and a width bridging connector left on the end 54 there as well.

Two heat exchangers are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 with flat tubes 10 and flat tube ends 54 are formed as described. It should be appreciated from these figures, and the rest of the disclosure, that a different configuration of flat tube ends 54 could be provided within the scope of the present invention

Moreover, FIGS. 2 and 3 show heat exchangers having two rows of flat tubes 10 connected with one end 40 to opposite sides 20a, 20b of the collecting tank 20 so that the already-described flow of the heat transfer agent (as indicated by the arrows) is established in conjunction with the partition 22 in collecting tank 20. The tube lengths L increase continuously in those rows so that, in two diagonally opposite corner regions of the heat exchanger, the longest flat tubes 10 are provided and in the other two corner regions the shortest flat tubes 10 are present, as both figures show. As a result, heat exchangers according to this feature of the present invention may be readily manufactured with a front surface having a configuration deviating from the usual rectangle or square. For example, a front surface configuration can be achieved in which the round or U-shape of the opening fits into a fan hood. As a result, it is possible to provide heat exchangers which can be more simply adapted to different space requirements such as may be encountered in different vehicles.

The difference between FIGS. 2 and 3 is that the FIG. 2 heat exchanger has a collecting tank 20 with a roughly triangular cross-section (rather than rectangular) so that the two rows of flat tubes 10 and the heat exchanger elements 12 are at a corresponding angle to each other (in FIG. 3, by contrast, both rows lie in a common plane). Depending on the space requirements, for example, beneath the hood of a particular vehicle, such shape may allow for better utilization of the space.

Moreover, it should be appreciated that while the formation of the tubes by use of cut-outs 60 such as previously described could be advantageously used with heat exchangers such as shown in FIGS. 2-3, advantages of the FIGS. 2-3 structure (with tube rows extending from two sides of the collecting tank 20) could still be achieved by alternatively closing the other tube ends 54 by simply turning back the ends, squeezing them broadly and then tightly soldering them later.

It should also be appreciated that these are only practical examples intended to illustrate that different forms of the heat exchanger are possible by the simple expedient of providing different tube lengths L, and variants having a heat exchanger shape that differs significantly from FIGS. 2 and 3 could also fall within the scope of the present invention. Moreover, continuous increase or decrease of the tube lengths is not required, as it would be possible in the scope of the present invention to provide tubes in the same row which are longer and then shorter, and in which the amount of increase or decrease from tube to tube need not be identical, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

It should further be appreciated that the tubes requiring passage between the channels 50, 52 at the outer end 54 may be relatively simply and efficiently produced by use of cut-outs 60 as described. For example, production of cut-outs is simpler than flattening of the bead such as was done in the prior art. This is especially true when the flat tubes are extremely flat (free width 1 mm or less), as often used, for example, with vehicle engine radiators. Moreover, production of the cut-outs 60 can be readily and efficiently accomplished simultaneously with cutting off lengths of the endlessly produced flat tubes.

Moreover, it should be appreciated that heat exchangers according to the invention promises excellent heat exchange efficiency, because heat exchange according to the cross-counterflow principle is provided. That is, the coolant flows in a channel 50 within the flat tubes 10 and flows back in a parallel channel 52 of the flat tube 10 in counter-current, and cooling air flows across the flat tubes 10 between them and through the heat exchange elements (corrugated ribs) 12.

Still other aspects, objects, and advantages of the present invention can be obtained from a study of the specification, the drawings, and the appended claims. It should be understood, however, that the present invention could be used in alternate forms where less than all of the objects and advantages of the present invention and preferred embodiment as described above would be obtained.