Title:
Flexible Exhaust Pipe Coupling
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for connecting pipes in a heavy truck exhaust system includes a flexible sleeve joined to both connecting pipes and a flow guide connected or formed to an upstream pipe and extending through the flexible sleeve into the downstream pipe. The flow guide may have a frustoconical shape converging toward an outlet end with an outlet rim that flares radially outward. An inlet rim of the downstream pipe converges radially inward to prevent backflow into the joint region.



Inventors:
Langervik, Dennis (Greensboro, NC, US)
Application Number:
12/086143
Publication Date:
03/26/2009
Filing Date:
12/22/2005
Assignee:
Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. (Greensboro, NC, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F01N13/18
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BOCHNA, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VOLVO GROUP INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (7900 NATIONAL SERVICE ROAD MAIL STOP, CC1/19, GREENSBORO, NC, 27409, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for connecting exhaust pipes in a truck tractor, comprising: a flexible sleeve having a first end connectable to an end of an upstream pipe and a second end connectable to an end of a downstream pipe; a guide tube having an inlet end and an outlet end, the guide tube extending from the end of the upstream pipe into and spaced radially inwardly from an inlet end of the downstream pipe; and, means for preventing backflow from the inlet of the downstream pipe.

2. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said means for preventing backflow comprises the inlet end of the downstream pipe having a rim that is shaped to converge radially inwardly.

3. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said means for preventing backflow comprises a ring secured inside the inlet end of the downstream pipe.

4. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein said means for preventing backflow comprises a trough formed in a wall of the inlet end of the downstream pipe.

5. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the guide tube has a frustoconical shape converging toward the outlet end.

6. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outlet end of the guide tube has a rim that flares radially outwardly.

7. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the guide tube is connected to the upstream pipe.

8. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the guide tube is an extended portion of the upstream pipe.

9. A device for connecting exhaust pipes in a truck tractor, comprising: a flexible sleeve having a first end connected to an end of an upstream pipe and a second end connected to an end of a downstream pipe; a guide tube having an inlet end and an outlet end, the guide tube extending from the end of the upstream pipe with the outlet end disposed within an inlet of the downstream pipe, the guide tube having a frustoconical shape converging toward the outlet end.

10. The device as claimed in claim 9, wherein the outlet end of the guide tube has a rim that flares radially outwardly.

11. The device as claimed in claim 9, wherein the guide tube is connected to the upstream pipe.

12. The device as claimed in claim 9, wherein the guide tube is an extended portion of the upstream pipe.

13. The device as claimed in claim 9, wherein the inlet end of the downstream pipe has a rim that is shaped to converge radially inwardly.

14. The device as claimed in claim 9, further comprising a ring secured inside the inlet of the downstream pipe.

15. The device as claimed in claim 1, wherein a trough is formed in a wall of the inlet of the downstream pipe.

16. A device for connecting exhaust pipes in a truck tractor, comprising: a flexible sleeve having a first end connected to an end of an upstream pipe and a second end connected to an end of a downstream pipe; a guide tube having an inlet end and an outlet end, the guide tube extending from the end of the upstream pipe with the outlet end disposed within an inlet of the downstream pipe; and, wherein the inlet end of the downstream pipe has a rim that is shaped to converge radially inwardly.

17. The device as claimed in claim 16, wherein the guide tube has a frustoconical shape converging toward the outlet end.

18. The device as claimed in claim 16, wherein the guide tube is connected to the upstream pipe.

19. The device as claimed in claim 16, wherein the guide tube is an extended portion of the upstream pipe.

20. The device as claimed in claim 16, wherein the outlet end of the guide tube has a rim that flares radially outwardly.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to exhaust systems for vehicles, in particular heavy trucks. More particularly, the invention relates to a flexible coupling for an exhaust system for a heavy truck that allows liquid to pass through the coupling without leakage.

Exhaust systems in truck tractors conduct exhaust gases along a relatively long path from the engine rearward of the cab to a stack or tail pipe. The pipes are subject to vibrations from the flowing gases and vibrations and bending movements imparted by the moving vehicle. To accommodate vibration and flexing, the pipe joints are joined with resilient, movable couplings.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,145,215 to Udell shows one such resilient coupling. The device includes two sleeve members 16, 17 that join in an overlapping manner. The end edges of the sleeves are turned outward and inward, respectively, to retain a spacer member 48 between the sleeves. The sleeves are surrounded by a bellows 10, which is, in turn surrounded by a braided wire fabric 23. The ends of the assembly are received in end caps. The end caps are mounted to the adjacent pipe ends to provide the coupling.

With the increasing use of exhaust after-treatment devices and with stricter controls on exhaust products, truck exhaust systems may in the future be called on to carry liquid material to treat the combustion products or to clean or regenerate exhaust after-treatment devices, such as diesel particulate filters, oxidizers, or catalyzers. The liquid material may be as a condensate or atomized form, and may include automotive or diesel fuel, urea, ammonia, or some other combustive, oxidizing or catalyzing agent.

The present invention provides a flexible pipe coupling system that eliminates components and associated cost and complexity of known devices, while providing a coupling allowing liquid to pass without leakage.

According to the invention a flexible sleeve joins an upstream pipe to a downstream pipe. A guide tube extends from an outlet end of the upstream pipe through the flexible sleeve into an inlet end of the downstream pipe. The guide tube carries flow through the flexible sleeve area and allows the flow to exit into the downstream pipe. An outlet of the guide tube is disposed within the downstream pipe of the coupling, and is spaced from the internal walls of the downstream pipe. This ensures that all flow passes the joint area into the downstream pipe and isolates the guide tube from the downstream pipe to prevent the transmission of vibration.

According to an aspect of the invention, the guide tube may be shaped as a straight cylinder. Alternatively, the guide tube has a frustoconical shape that converges at an outlet end. This second embodiment allows the upstream pipe and the downstream pipe to have the same diameter, the convergence of the guide tube providing the spacing between the guide tube and downstream pipe inlet.

According to another aspect of the invention, an outlet of the guide tube may include a radially outwardly flaring mouth to improve the pressure loss at the outlet of the guide tube.

According to another aspect of the invention, an inlet end of the downstream pipe may be shaped with a rim that converges radially inwardly. The rim of the downstream pipe helps prevent backflow of liquid into the flexible sleeve area.

According to one embodiment, the guide tube is a separate component fastened to the outlet end of the upstream exhaust pipe. According to an alternative embodiment, the guide tube is a formed extension of the upstream pipe.

The invention provides a low cost, reliable device. The flexible sleeve allows the upstream exhaust pipe and downstream exhaust pipe to move relative to one another, but the sleeve does not need to be liquid tight. The internal guide tube carries liquid and exhaust gas flow through the coupling joint without leakage.

The invention is particularly applicable to newer exhaust systems which may carry liquids for regenerating exhaust after-treatment devices, such as particulate filters, oxidizers, and catalyzers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood by reference to the following detailed description read in conjunction with the appended figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is sectional view of an exhaust pipe coupling in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of an exhaust pipe coupling according to an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of an alternative embodiment of a guide tube of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of an alternative embodiment for an inlet to a downstream exhaust pipe; and,

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of another alternative embodiment for an inlet to a downstream exhaust pipe.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a longitudinal sectional view of an exhaust pipe coupling device in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention. The device connects an upstream exhaust pipe 10 with a downstream exhaust pipe 20. The normal flow direction of exhaust gas is shown by arrow A. In addition to carrying gas combustion products, truck exhaust systems are or may in the future be called on to carry liquid material to treat the combustion products or to clean or regenerate exhaust after-treatment devices, such as diesel particulate filters, oxidizers, or catalyzers. The liquid material may be as a condensate or atomized form, and may include automotive or diesel fuel, urea, ammonia, or some other combustive, oxidizing or catalyzing agent. The device according to invention assures that liquid material passes the joint areas in the exhaust piping without leakage.

A flexible sleeve 30 receives the outlet end 12 of the upstream pipe 10 and the inlet end 22 of the downstream pipe 20. Clamps 40, 42 secure the flexible sleeve 30 to the outer surfaces of the upstream pipe 10 and downstream pipe 20. The flexible sleeve 30 in a preferred embodiment is a metal spiral wound tube that provides resilient bending in a plane perpendicular to the gas flow direction A, and accommodates compression and tension in the flow direction. The spiral forms rings that are interlocked to provide a closed surface. The sleeve is preferably stainless steel. A flexible sleeve as described is available, for, example, from Federal Hose, Inc. of Painesville, Ohio, Riker Products of Toledo, Ohio and Tru-flex Metal Hose Corp. of West Lebanon, Ind. Other similarly functional flexible sleeves could be substituted.

A guide tube 50 extends from the outlet end 12 of the upstream pipe 10 into the inlet 22 of the downstream pipe 20. The guide tube 50 is spaced radially from the downstream tube 20 to prevent the transmission of vibration therebetween. The guide tube 50 may be formed a cylinder, which is illustrated and described in connection with FIG. 2. In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1, the downstream tube 20 is formed with a larger diameter to accommodate the end of the guide tube. The upstream tube 10 may be formed with the same diameter as the guide tube 50. Alternatively and preferably, the guide tube 50 has a frustoconical shape that converges in the flow direction A, that is, narrows from an upstream end 52 to a downstream end 54. This shape allows the guide tube 50 to be fitted to an upstream pipe 10 having the same diameter as the downstream pipe 20 and provide spacing between the outlet 54 of the guide tube 50 and the inlet 22 of the downstream pipe 20.

Preferably, the downstream end 54 of the flow guide 50 is shaped with a radially outward flaring rim 56 that aids flow in exiting from the flow guide.

Preferably also, the inlet end 22 of the downstream pipe 20 is shaped with a radially inwardly converging rim 24 to help prevent liquid backflow into the flexible sleeve 30 area. The bend in the rim should be enough to act as a catch to prevent liquid backflow, but not interfere with the free movement of the outlet of the guide tube.

Other means for preventing backflow into the sleeve area may be substituted. For example, a ring 26 may be secured inside the inlet of the downstream pipe as shown in FIG. 4. Alternatively, the inlet of the downstream pipe may be provided with a trough 28 to collect liquid before it reaches the sleeve area as shown in FIG. 5. Other means as will occur to those skilled in the art may be used.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the guide tube 51 may be formed as a cylinder, in the view shown, being an extended portion of the upstream pipe 11. Of course, the guide tube 51 may also be formed as a separate component attached to the upstream pipe 11. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the upstream pipe 11 and guide tube 51 have a diameter smaller than the diameter of the downstream pipe 20, which provides the spacing between the outlet 55 of the guide tube and the inlet 22 of the downstream pipe. An adapter 60 is mounted on the upstream pipe 11 to accommodate the difference in diameter with the downstream pipe 20 for mounting the flexible sleeve 30. As in the embodiment of FIG. 1, the flexible sleeve 30 is secured to the upstream pipe 11 and downstream pipe 20 by clamps 40, 41 or other suitable devices.

The downstream pipe 20 is also formed with the preferred inlet rim 24 converging radially inward. The guide tube 51 shown in FIG. 2 has a straight outlet, but may be formed with the flared outlet rim shown in FIG. 1.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the flow guide 50 is a separate component attached to the upstream pipe 10, which can be done by any convenient method, including welding. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 2, a flow guide 50′ may be an extension of an upstream pipe 10′, and drawn down in diameter if a frustoconical section is desired.

The invention has been described in terms of principles and preferred embodiments and components. Those skilled in the art will understand that the invention may be practiced with substitutions for preferred components without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.