Title:
REFRIGERATOR AND EVAPORATOR FOR REFRIGERATOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided are a refrigerator and a refrigerator evaporator, in which a frost-inducing member is provided between an evaporator and a defrosting heater for improving heat-exchange efficiency of the evaporator and reducing defrosting time. The refrigerator includes a main body including a storage space. A heat exchange chamber is disposed inside the main body to accommodate an evaporator for generating cooling air to be circulated between the heat exchange chamber and the storage space. A defrosting heater is disposed beside the evaporator to generate heat for defrosting. A frost-inducing member is disposed at an oblique angle between the heat exchange chamber and an inlet through which cooling air returns to the heat exchange chamber, so as to induce frost formed by moisture contained in the returning cooling air. Therefore, the evaporator can have high efficiency, and power consumption can be reduced owing to a short defrosting time.



Inventors:
Kim, Hyoung Soek (Changwon-si, KR)
Application Number:
12/171824
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/11/2008
Assignee:
LG Electronics Inc. (Seoul, KR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/515
International Classes:
F25D21/08; F25B39/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ARANT, HARRY E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (8110 Gatehouse Road Suite 100 East, Falls Church, VA, 22042-1248, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A refrigerator comprising: a main body defining a storage space; a heat exchange chamber disposed inside the main body to accommodate an evaporator; a defrosting heater disposed at a side of the evaporator and configured to generate heat for defrosting; and a frost-inducing member obliquely disposed between the heat exchange chamber and an inlet through which cooling air returns to the heat exchange chamber, the frost-inducing member being configured to induce frost of the moisture contained in the returning cooling air.

2. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein the frost-inducing member is fixed to a side of the evaporator and is bent at an obtuse angle.

3. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein the frost-inducing member is fixed to a bracket fixing the evaporator and is bent at an obtuse angle.

4. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein the frost-inducing member is fixed to the defrosting heater and is bent at least one time.

5. The refrigerator according to claim 1, wherein the frost-inducing member is installed in a manner that crosses the defrosting heater in a diagonal direction.

6. A refrigerator comprising: a main body having a storage space; a heat exchange charter disposed inside the main body and configured to accommodate an evaporator; a defrosting heater disposed under the evaporator and configured to generate heat for removing frost from the evaporator; and a frost-inducing member disposed across the heat exchange chamber and comprising a plurality of return holes through which cooling air returning toward the evaporator passes, the frost-inducing member being configured to induce frost of the moisture contained in the returning cooling air.

7. The refrigerator according to claim 6, wherein the frost-inducing member obliquely extends downward from an end of the evaporator.

8. The refrigerator according to claim 6, wherein the frost-inducing member further comprises a heater hole into which the defrosting heater is inserted.

9. The refrigerator according to claim 6, wherein the defrosting heater is installed in a manner that penetrates the frost-inducing member.

10. The refrigerator according to claim 6, wherein the frost-inducing member crosses a space between the evaporator and a bottom surface of the heat exchange chamber in a diagonal direction so as to facilitate draining of water generated by defrosting.

11. The refrigerator according to claim 6, wherein one end the frost-inducing member is coupled to an end of the evaporator and the other end of the frost-inducing member is coupled to the defrosting heater.

12. An evaporator of a refrigerator, comprising: a refrigerant conduit through which a refrigerant flows, the refrigerant conduit being bent a plurality of times; a defrosting heater disposed under the refrigerant conduit and configured to generate heat for defrosting; brackets disposed at both sides of the refrigerant conduit for supporting the refrigerant conduit; and a frost-inducing member disposed under the refrigerant conduit and fixed to one of the brackets, the frost-inducing member obliquely extending downward so as to induce frost the moisture contained in cooling air flowing toward the refrigerant conduit.

13. The evaporator according to claim 12, further comprising a plurality of cooling fins on an outside of the refrigerant conduit for facilitating heat exchange.

14. The evaporator according to claim 12, wherein the frost-inducing member is in close contact with the defrosting heater and extends from an upper portion to a lower portion of the defrosting heater in a diagonal direction.

15. The evaporator according to claim 12, wherein the frost-inducing member comprises: a fixation portion fixed to a side of the bracket; and a frosting portion bent and extending from an end of the fixation portion at an obtuse angle.

16. The evaporator according to claim 15, wherein the frosting portion comprises a heater hole into which the defrosting heater is inserted.

17. The evaporator according to claim 15, wherein the frosting portion comprises an opened heater hole to receive the defrosting heater having a bent shape.

18. The evaporator according to claim 17, wherein the frosting portion further comprises a return hole beside the heater hole so as to allow returning cooling air to pass through the return hole.

19. The evaporator according to claim 15, wherein the frosting portion comprises a plurality of return holes to allow returning cooling air to pass through the return holes.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 and 35 U.S.C. 365 to Korean Patent Application No. xx-xxxx-xxxxxxxx (7 ) (filed on date, year), which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates to a refrigerator and an evaporator for a refrigerator, in which a frost-inducing member is provided between an evaporator and a defrosting heater for improving heat-exchange efficiency of the evaporator and reducing defrosting time.

Generally, refrigerators are used to store food at low temperatures and are configured to refrigerate or freeze food according to the state of the food.

Refrigerators can be classified into the top mount type in which freezer and refrigerator compartments are vertically arranged, the bottom freezer type in which refrigerator and freezer compartments are vertically arranged, and the side-by-side type in which freezer and refrigerator compartments are transversely arranged.

The trends in recent refrigerators are size-up and multi-functionalization based on various user demands and changes in eating habits, and thus products having various configurations are being introduced to the market.

The inside of a refrigerator is cooled by cooling air that is continuously generated by heat exchange with a refrigerant undergoing a compression-condensation-expansion-evaporation cycle repeatedly.

Supply of cooling air is enabled by an evaporator disposed inside the refrigerator. Air cooled at the evaporator is distributed throughout the inside of the refrigerator by convection so that food can be kept in the refrigerator at a desired temperature.

After the air flows throughout the inside of the refrigerator, the air returns to the evaporator for exchanging heat with the evaporator, and then flows back to the inside (food storage space) of the refrigerator.

When the air returns to the evaporator, the air contains a large amount of moisture. Thus, while the air exchanges heat with the evaporator, the moisture contained in the air sticks to the surface of the evaporator.

Therefore, the evaporator is frosted since the moisture attached to the evaporator is frozen. This frosting decreases the heat exchange efficiency of the evaporator. Thus, operating time of the refrigerator increases, and the power consumption of the refrigerator increases.

As a device for removing such a problem, an evaporator of a refrigerator is disclosed in Korean Patent No. 10-0305542.

In the disclosed patent, a metal member, which is long in a transverse direction, is horizontally disposed under an evaporator to induce frosting thereon.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, a refrigerator includes: a main body defining a storage space; a heat exchange chamber disposed inside the main body to accommodate an evaporator; a defrosting heater disposed at a side of the evaporator and configured to generate heat for defrosting; and a frost-inducing member obliquely disposed between the heat exchange chamber and an inlet through which cooling air returns to the heat exchange chamber, the frost-inducing member being configured to induce frost of the moisture contained in the returning cooling air.

In another embodiment, a refrigerator includes: a main body having a storage space; a heat exchange chamber disposed inside the main body and configured to accommodate an evaporator; a defrosting heater disposed under the evaporator and configured to generate heat for removing frost from the evaporator; and a frost-inducing member disposed across the heat exchange chamber and comprising a plurality of return holes through which cooling air returning toward the evaporator passes, the frost-inducing member being configured to induce frost of the moisture contained in the returning cooling air.

In further another embodiment, there is provided an evaporator of a refrigerator, the evaporator including: a refrigerant conduit through which a refrigerant flows, the refrigerant conduit being bent a plurality of times; a defrosting heater disposed under the refrigerant conduit and configured to generate heat for defrosting; brackets disposed at both sides of the refrigerant conduit for supporting the refrigerant conduit; and a frost-inducing member disposed under the refrigerant conduit and fixed to one of the brackets, the frost-inducing member obliquely extending downward so as to induce frost the moisture contained in cooling air flowing toward the refrigerant conduit.

The details of one or more embodiments are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view illustrating a refrigerator according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a schematic side sectional view illustrating a freezer compartment of the refrigerator according to an embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a front view illustrating coupling of an evaporator and a frost-inducing member, which are characteristic parts of the refrigerator, according to an embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the characteristic frost-inducing member of the refrigerator according to an embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Reference will now be made in detail to the embodiments of the present disclosure, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The present disclosure may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the embodiments set forth herein.

FIG. 1 is a front view illustrating a refrigerator 10 according to an embodiment, and FIG. 2 is a schematic side sectional view illustrating a freezer compartment 300 of the refrigerator 10 according to an embodiment.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the refrigerator 10 is rectangular-shaped and includes a main body 100 forming a storage space. The main body 100 is transversely divided by a barrier 120 into the freezer compartment 300 disposed at the left side and configured to freeze food and a right refrigerator compartment 200 configured to refrigerate food.

The freezer compartment 300 and the refrigerator compartment 200 can be selectively closed and opened by a freezer compartment door 320 and a refrigerator compartment door 220, respectively. For this, the freezer compartment door 320 and the refrigerator compartment door 220 are hinged on upper and lower ends of left and right sides of the main body 100 such that the freezer compartment door 320 and the refrigerator compartment door 220 can be rotated in predetermined directions.

A home bar 240 is disposed at the refrigerator compartment door 220, and a dispenser 340 is disposed at the freezer compartment door 320 for user's convenience.

A plurality of door baskets 360 are on rear surfaces of the refrigerator compartment door 220 and the freezer compartment door 320 so that various kinds of food can be separately stored.

Each of the freezer compartment 300 and the refrigerator compartment 200 is divided into multiple stories, and a plurality of containers 150 are disposed in the multiple stories so that food can be separately stored.

The containers 150 include a vegetable box used to store vegetables and a multipurpose drawer. The vegetable box and the drawer are disposed in both the freezer and refrigerator compartments 300 and 200 and are forwardly slidable.

A compressor 120 is disposed at an outer lower side of the freezer compartment 300 (refer to FIG. 2), that is, at a rear lower side of the main body 100, so as to compress a refrigerant at a high temperature and pressure. The compressor 120 is connected through a pipe to an evaporator 420 disposed at a rear side of the freezer compartment 300.

An evaporation chamber 400 is formed above the compressor 120, that is, in a rear portion of the freezer compartment 300. The evaporation chamber 400 is divided from the freezer compartment 300 by a grill pan 410 forming a rear wall of the freezer compartment 300.

A plurality of cooling air discharge holes 412 are formed in the grill pan 410 for allowing cooling generated in the evaporation chamber 400 to flow to the inside of the freezer compartment 300.

The evaporator 420 is disposed in the evaporation chamber 400 for generating cooling air through heat exchange between refrigerant and air. Cooling air generated by the evaporator 420 is directed to the inside of the freezer compartment 300 through the cooling air discharge holes 412 by a cooling fan 402 disposed above the evaporator 420.

Then, the cooling air circulates through the inside of the freezer compartment 300 and returns to the evaporation chamber 400 through a cooling air return duct 414 disposed at a lower portion of the main body 100.

The cooling air, which returns through the cooling air return duct 414, is cooled again at the evaporator 420 and is directed to the freezer compartment 300 by the cooling fan 402. This circulation is repeated to maintain the freezer compartment 300 at a desired temperature.

A frost-inducing member 500 is disposed under the evaporator 420 to catch moisture contained in the cooling air that returns through the cooling air return duct 414 by facilitating freezing of the moisture. A defrosting heater 430 (refer to FIG. 3) is disposed under the frost-inducing member 500 and is operated in defrosting mode so as to remove frost from the evaporator 420 and the frost-inducing member 500.

The frost-inducing member 500 is in contact with the defrosting heater 430. The frost-inducing member 500 is sloped from an upper end to a lower end of the defrosting heater 430 to diagonally cross the defrosting heater 430.

FIG. 3 is a front view illustrating coupling of the evaporator 420 and the frost-inducing member 500, which are characteristic parts of the refrigerator 10, according to an embodiment, and FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the characteristic frost-inducing member 500 of the refrigerator 10 according to an embodiment.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the evaporator 420 includes a refrigerant conduit 426 which a refrigerant flows through and is bent a plurality of times, cooling fins 424 attached to the outer surface of the refrigerant conduit 426 for facilitating heat exchange of the refrigerant, and brackets 422 configured to support both sides of the refrigerant conduit 426 and form the exterior of the evaporator 420.

The frost-inducing member 500 is disposed at a lower portion of the brackets 422 of the evaporator 420 so that moisture contained in cooling air returning to the evaporation chamber 400 can be frozen on the frost-inducing member 500.

The frost-inducing member 500 is formed of a metal plate having a predetermined thickness. The frost-inducing member 500 includes a fixation portion 520 fixed to the bracket 422 and a frosting portion 510 bent from the fixation portion 520 at an obtuse angle to induce gradual frosting thereon.

The fixation portion 520 is fixed to and in contact with the bracket 422 so as to be cooled by conduction and convection. A fixation hole 522 is formed in the fixation portion 520, and a fastening member (S) such as a screw and rivet is fixed to the bracket 422 through the fixation hole 522.

The frosting portion 510 is bent from the fixation portion 520 at a predetermined obtuse angle so that the frosting portion 510 makes a predetermined angle with a lower side of the evaporator 420. The frosting portion 510 extends to a lower corner of the evaporation chamber 400.

Therefore, the frosting portion 510 makes a predetermined angle with the cooling air return duct 414 so that cooling air returning through the cooling air return duct 414 can make contact with the frosting portion 510 gradually and thus the frosting portion 510 can be gradually frosted.

In addition, since the frosting portion 510 is disposed at a predetermined oblique angle and extends to the lower corner of the evaporation chamber 400, water generated by defrosting can be easily drained because the water can flow down along the frosting portion 510.

A plurality of heater holes 512, which are approximately U-shaped, are formed in the frosting portion 510 to receive portions of the defrosting heater 430 for removing frost from the frost-inducing member 500 by heating.

The heater holes 512 have the same size as the size of the defrosting heater 430 so that the frost-inducing member 500 can be fixed to and in contact with the defrosting heater 430. Therefore, heat can be directly transferred from the defrosting heater 430 to the frost-inducing member 500, and thus defrosting can be rapidly performed.

The heater holes 512 may have a shape corresponding to the sectional shape of the defrosting heater 430 so that the defrosting heater 430 can be inserted through the heater holes 512. Alternatively, the heater holes 512 can be formed by recessing portions of the frost-inducing member 500 so that the frost-inducing member 500 can be fixed to the defrosting heater 430 by pushing the frost-inducing member 500 toward the defrosting heater 430.

Return holes 514 are formed in the frosting portion 510 between the heater holes 512 so that air returning to the evaporation chamber 400 can pass through the return holes 514. Moisture contained in cooling air returning to the evaporation chamber 400 is attached to the frosting portion 510, and then the cooling air passes through the return holes 514 to the evaporator 420 for heat exchange. In addition, owing to the return holes 514, water generated by defrosting of the defrosting heater 430 can be easily drained.

An exemplary operation of the refrigerator 10 will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 4.

When the refrigerator 10 is powered on, the inside of the main body 100 of the refrigerator 10 is cooled by continuously generated cooling air. The cooling air is continuously generated by heat exchange with a refrigerant undergoing a compression-condensation-expansion-evaporation cycle repeatedly.

In detail, cooling air is continuously generated by the heat-exchanging operation of the evaporator 420 disposed in the evaporation chamber 400, and the cooling air generated by the evaporator 420 is circulated throughout the inside of the main body 100 by the cooling fan 402.

Then, the cooling air returns to the evaporation chamber 400 through the cooling air return duct 414.

Since the frost-inducing member 500 is provided at an outlet of the cooling air return duct 414 disposed at a lower end of the evaporation chamber 400, moisture contained in the cooling air is caught on the frosting portion 510 of the frost-inducing member 500. In detail, since the frosting portion 510 is sloped and makes a predetermined angle with the lower end of the evaporation chamber 400, the frosting portion 510 is gradually frosted from a lower end to an upper end.

Thereafter, the cooling air from which moisture is removed passes through the return holes 514 toward the evaporator 420 for exchanging heat with the evaporator 420. Thus, the cooling air becomes low-humidity and cold air and is discharged to the freezer compartment 300 or the refrigerator compartment 200.

Since the evaporator 420 is not frosted but the frost-inducing member 500 is frosted, the heat exchanging efficiency of the evaporator 420 is not decreased by frosting, and thus operating time of the refrigerator 10 can be reduced.

After a predetermined time, the refrigerator 10 operates in defrosting mode. That is, power is supplied to the defrosting heater 430 making contact with one side of the frost-inducing member 500.

Then, heat is conducted from the defrosting heater 430 to the frosting portion 510 of the frost-inducing member 500.

Therefore, frost can be rapidly removed from the frosting portion 510 by heat conducted from the defrosting heater 430, and thus defrosting mode time, that is, heating time of the defrosting heater 430, can be short.

That is, the refrigerator 10 can have a short defrosting time because the defrosting heater 430 can remove frost rapidly, and thus the power consumption of the refrigerator 10 can be reduced.

Although embodiments have been described with reference to a number of illustrative embodiments thereof, it should be understood that numerous other modifications and embodiments can be devised by those skilled in the art that will fall within the spirit and scope of the principles of this disclosure. More particularly, various variations and modifications are possible in the component parts and/or arrangements of the subject combination arrangement within the scope of the disclosure, the drawings and the appended claims. In addition to variations and modifications in the component parts and/or arrangements, alternative uses will also be apparent to those skilled in the art.