Title:
Mass or energy transfer cartridge
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A module is provided which includes a manifold, an elongated medium capable of effecting mass transfer or energy transfer through the medium and a bowl which houses the medium. The medium and bowl are connected to each other by a key which is secured to flat surfaces on the medium to form a unitary construction. The medium and bowl are in fluid communication with the manifold in a manner which prevents mixing of a first fluid feed and a second fluid feed to the module.



Inventors:
Stockbower, David (Woburn, MA, US)
Application Number:
10/889330
Publication Date:
12/02/2004
Filing Date:
07/12/2004
Assignee:
STOCKBOWER DAVID
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/503
International Classes:
B01D29/07; B01D27/06; B01D27/08; B01D29/11; B01D35/30; (IPC1-7): C02F1/00; B01D1/00; F25B43/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ALI, MOHAMMAD M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Entegris, Inc. (Billerica, MA, US)
Claims:
1. A mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge which comprises: an elongated medium capable of effecting mass transfer therethrough or for effecting energy transfer from a first fluid to a second fluid, said elongated medium having a first end and a second end, a first sealing plate sealed to said first end, a second sealing plate sealed to said second end, a fluid passageway sealed to said first sealing plate to provide fluid communication to an open interior within said medium, and said fluid passageway having an outside surface including two substantially parallel flat surfaces.

2. The cartridge of claim 1 wherein said medium is a pleated membrane.

3. The cartridge of claim 1 wherein said medium comprises a plurality of hollow fiber membranes.

4. The cartridge of claim 1 wherein said medium comprises a plurality of nonporous hollow fibers formed of a heat conducting material.

5. A module which comprises: a manifold, an elongated medium of claim 1 and a bowl which houses the medium, and means for locking said bowl to said manifold, a key secured to two substantially parallel surfaces on an outer surface of a fluid passageway formed with the medium, said key having at least two attachment elements attached to said bowl, said medium and bowl being in fluid communication with said manifold in a manner which prevents mixing of a first fluid feed to said medium with a second fluid directed into a space between said bowl and said medium.

6. The module of claim 5 wherein said key is attached to said bowl by prongs extending from said key which fit over a lip of said bowl.

7. The module of claim 5 wherein said key is attached to said bowl by flanges extending from said key which fit into slots on a collar, said collar being directly attached to an open end of said bowl.

8. The module of claim 7 wherein said bowl and said collar comprises a unitary construction.

9. The module of any one of claims 5, 6, 7 or 8 wherein said key includes at least one vertical extension, each of said at least one vertical extension being fit into a vertical slot in said collar.

10. The module of any one of claims 5, 6, 7 or 8 wherein said key includes at least two flanges and each of said flanges has a boss on an outside surface of each of said flanges.

11. The module of any one of claims 5, 6, 7 or 8 wherein said key includes at least two flanges and each of said flanges includes a groove on a lower surface of each of said flanges, said groove shaped to mate with an inner surface of a collar attached to said bowl.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is derived from PCT application Serial Number PCT/US03/06917, filed Mar. 6, 2003 which in turn is derived from provisional application 60/435,624 filed Dec. 20, 2002 which, in turn, is derived from provisional application Ser. No. 60/368,280 filed Mar. 28, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to mass transfer or energy transfer modules that are sanitary and are easy to replace and install. More particularly, the present invention relates to a mass transfer or energy transfer module formed from a mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge, a reusable bowl, a reusable manifold, and a reusable connecting device to connect the mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge, reusable bowl and manifold together.

[0003] A variety of modules are utilized to effect mass transfer or energy transfer between two fluids. Representative modules include a degasser where one fluid comprises a liquid containing a gas while the other fluid is a gas at subatmospheric pressure wherein the two fluids are separated by a gas permeable membrane. Another such module is a gasification device wherein one fluid is a gas at superatmospheric pressure and the second fluid is a liquid in which the gas is soluble wherein the fluids are separated by a gas permeable membrane. A third module is a heat exchanger wherein a hot fluid and a cool fluid are separated by a nonpermeable heat conducting material. The mass transfer or energy transfer module can comprise a manifold, a bowl for housing one fluid and a cartridge for housing a second fluid. Thus, when constructing the mass transfer or energy transfer module, the cartridge and the bowl are separately secured to and sealed to the manifold head. In addition, upon completion of mass transfer or energy transfer, the bowl and cartridge are separately removed from the head. This separate removal requires that the bowl be moved a distance substantially greater than the entire length of the cartridge thereby exposing the cartridge to permit its removal. Thereafter, the exposed cartridge is removed by hand or with a hand tool. Since the bowl must be moved the length of the cartridge, the space within which the bowl and cartridge are positioned must accommodate this removal step.

[0004] It has been proposed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,114,572, to provide a filter assembly which cooperates with a bowl to produce a filter cartridge-bowl construction which can be demounted as a single unit from a manifold. This filter assembly is not used for mass transfer or energy transfer between two fluids. It is used to filter a fluid. The filter cartridge is connected to the bowl by bayonet connections on the cartridge which fit into grooves within the interior surface of the bowl. The bayonet connections are formed integrally with the cartridge such as by being molded as a single unit. When the cartridge is so-configured, it can only be used with a bowl configured to accept the bayonet. This is undesirable since it prevents the so-configured cartridge to be used with presently produced bowls configured to not accept this cartridge. This, in turn, severely reduces the market for the so-configured cartridge. In addition, the bayonet connections are positioned below the top surface of the cartridge so that they fit into grooves in the bowl also positioned below the top surface of the cartridge. When the bayonets are so-positioned, positioning in the grooves is made more difficult by the reduced visibility.

[0005] Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a mass transfer or energy transfer medium or cartridge which permits its use in a plurality of bowls of different configurations. In addition, it would be desirable to provide such a cartridge which includes a connection means between the cartridge and a bowl with means that are not movable relative to the cartridge during mass transfer or energy transfer utilizing two fluids. In addition, it would be desirable to provide such a cartridge having a connection means which are clearly visible so that connection of the cartridge to the bowl is facilitated. Such a cartridge would promote ease of inserting the filter cartridge into the bowl, and would reduce the space required to install the mass transfer or energy transfer module.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] In accordance with this invention, a mass transfer or energy transfer module utilizing two fluids is provided comprising a manifold, and the combination of a mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge and bowl wherein the cartridge and bowl are locked together to be installed and removed as one piece from the manifold. The mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge includes at least one fluid passageway for fluid communication between the manifold and the interior of the cartridge. The outside surface of the fluid passageway includes two flat parallel surfaces which mate with two flat surfaces of a key so that the key can be slideably mounted on the fluid passageway. In a first embodiment, the key is provided with bayonets which fit into slots in the bowl thereby to effect connections of the cartridge to the bowl. In a second embodiment, the key is provided with hook-shaped elements which are snap fit over the open lip of the bowl thereby to effect connection of the cartridge to the bowl. The key is removable from the cartridge so that the cartridge can be utilized with a conventional bowl not secured to the cartridge or with the bowl utilized in the mass transfer or energy transfer module of this invention. The key and bayonets or the key and hook-shaped elements which secure the cartridge to the bowl permit the cartridge and bowl to be removed as one piece from the manifold.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of a module of this invention.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of an alternative module of this invention including a cartridge top and mating key of this invention.

[0009] FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a collar used in conjunction with the cartridge and key of FIG. 2.

[0010] FIG. 4 is an isometric view illustrating a bowl and collar of this invention.

[0011] FIG. 5 is a top isometric view of an alternative key construction used in this invention.

[0012] FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of the key of FIG. 5, directly positioned on a bowl.

[0013] FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view of an alternate key of this invention.

[0014] FIG. 8 is a partial cross sectional view of the position of the key of FIG. 7 on the collar shown in FIG. 11.

[0015] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a collar having slots to accommodate the key of FIG. 7.

[0016] FIG. 10 is a top perspective view of an alternate key of this invention.

[0017] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the key of FIG. 10 fitting with the collar of FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

[0018] The present invention provides a mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge and a mass transfer or energy transfer module formed of a manifold, the cartridge and a bowl. The manifold provides fluid pathways for first fluid feed into the cartridge, optional first fluid removal from the cartridge and second fluid feed and second fluid removal from the bowl. Fluid removal from either the cartridge or the bowl is effected through the manifold. Fluid feed can be introduced into the cartridge through the manifold either from the outside of the cartridge or from within the interior of the cartridge. The fluid in the bowl can be removed from the bowl either through the manifold or directly from the bowl. In any event, sealing is provided to prevent admixture of the first fluid and the second fluid without energy or mass passing through the cartridge.

[0019] The mass transfer or energy transfer cartridge and bowl are constructed so that they are sealed with the manifold or removed from contact with the manifold as one piece. The cartridge is sealed with two end caps, at least one of which is provided with a fluid passageway. One fluid passageway has two opposing substantially parallel flat surfaces positioned on its outside surface. The cartridge is provided with a key that is slideably mounted on the two flat surfaces thereby to be positioned around a fluid passageway of the cartridge. The fluid passageway can function as an inlet or outlet of the cartridge. The key is configured to effect locking of the cartridge to the bowl. In one embodiment, the bowl and cartridge are joined together by bayonets on the key which fit into slots on the interior surface of the bowl. In a second embodiment, the key is joined to the bowl by being snap fit onto the open top lip of the bowl. The flat surfaces on the fluid passageway prevent the key from rotating relative to the cartridge. Subsequent to use of the mass transfer or energy transfer module, the bowl and cartridge are removed from the manifold as a single piece rather than as two separate pieces. Since the bowl and cartridge are removed together, the cartridge need not be removed from the bowl. Thus, a space substantially equal to the sum of the length of the cartridge and the bowl together need be provided to remove the cartridge. Only a space as long as substantially the length of the bowl need be provided. This permits one to install a cartridge of this invention within a smaller space as compared to the space required with present modules. In addition, since the cartridge is removed with the bowl, it need not be handled by a worker either by hand or with a hand tool. This substantially reduces the possibility of contacting fluid within the bowl with a worker. The bowl optionally can contain a drain for removing fluid from the bowl.

[0020] Referring to FIG. 1, a mass transfer module 10 comprises a manifold 12, a bowl 14 having an inlet 9 and a mass transfer cartridge 16. Mass transfer cartridge 16 can be a membrane such as a pleated membrane 23 which is gas permeable. Such a mass transfer cartridge can be used as a degasser for liquids or as a gas contactor for effecting dissolution of a gas in a liquid. Suitable membranes are formed from poly (tetrafluoroethylene-co-perfluoro (alkylvinyl ether)) (PFA) or poly (tetrafluoralethylene-co-hexafluoropropylene (FEP) such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,990,294 which is incorporated herein by reference. Such membranes are useful to remove dissolved gases from liquids, “degassing” or to add a gaseous substance to a liquid. For example, ozone is added to very pure water used to wash semiconductor wafers. A threaded ring 18 is positioned on the outside surface 20 of bowl 14 and is retained thereon by bead 22 which extends around the circumference of the bowl 14 and lip 24. By controlling the size and flexibility of bead 22, the ring 18 can be slipped over the bead 22 to position the ring 18 or the bead 22 can be formed on the bowl 14 after the ring 18 is positioned as shown.

[0021] The ring 18 is substantially fixed in its position relative to the bowl 14, i.e., it cannot move any substantial distance along the length of the bowl 14. When its threads 26 and 28 are drawn together, the ring 18 carries or drives the cartridge 16 into affirmative contact with manifold 12 to effect sealing with O-rings 11 and 13. Conversely, when the ring 18 is rotated so as to drive the threads 26 and 28 apart, the cartridge 16 is positively carried or driven away from the manifold 12. Sealing of the bowl 14 to the abutting manifold 12 is affected by O-ring 17a. The bowl is moved into contact with the manifold 12 vertically without rotating the bowl 14.

[0022] The cartridge 16 is connected to bowl 14 by flanges 15 on key 30 which mate with slots 32 in collar 34. The collar 34 is threaded into bowl 14 by threads 36. The collar 34 extends about the entire inner circumference of bowl 14. Alternatively, the bowl and collar can be formed of one piece in the shape of bowl 14 and the collar 34 such as by molding. The key 30 fits onto two flat surfaces 38 and 40 positioned on the outside surface of fluid passageway 42 of cartridge 16. Fluid passageway 42 includes sealing O-rings 11 and 13. Since flanges 15 do not extend about the entire circumference of the key 30, fluid is capable of by-passing the key 30 to flow into the manifold 12. When module 10 is utilized as a degasser, a vacuum is drawn at inlet 44 and the liquid to be degassed in introduced through inlet 9 and is removed through passageways 8 and outlet 46. When module 10 is used to introduce gas into a liquid, superatmospheric gas enters inlet 44 and liquid enters inlet 9 and is removed though outlet 46. The structure of the key 30 will be more fully described with reference to FIG. 2. The structure of the collar 34 will be more fully described with reference to FIG. 3.

[0023] Referring to FIG. 2, module 17 includes a manifold 19, a cartridge 21 and a bowl 25. The cartridge 21 is connected to bowl 25 by flanges 27 on key 31 with slots 29 on bowl 25. Key 31 is fit around fluid passageway 33 to provide a strong connection between the key 31 and the fluid passageway 33 while avoiding significant blockage of the passageway 33. Passageway 33 is connected to inlet 35. Passageway 33 is connected to the lumens of a plurality of hollow fibers 37 made from a nonporous heat conductive material such as stainless steel. A first fluid can be introduced through inlet 35 into hollow fibers 37 through passageway 33 and then out of cartridge 21, through outlet 39. A second fluid can be introduced through inlet 41 onto the outside surfaces of hollow fibers 37 and then through outlet 43. The module 17 of FIG. 2 can be utilized to effect heat exchange between two fluids. The thread 26 and lip 24 function to interact with a rotatable ring (FIG. 1) in the same manner as described above for FIG. 1. An optional gas vent 44 can be provided.

[0024] Referring to FIG. 3, the collar 34 includes two cutouts 41 and two vertical extensions 43. Each vertical extension 43 includes a slot 32 (one not shown). The slots 32 fit with and accommodate flanges 15 (FIG. 1). The angle subtended by slots 32 depend upon the flexibility of the material used to make key 30 and collar 34. The slots 32 subtend an angle of at least about 15 degrees, preferably between about 30 and about 45 degrees when the key 30 and collar 34 are made of relatively flexible polymer of perfluoro(alkylvinyl ether) (PFA). When the key 30 and collar 34 are made of relatively rigid material such as is high density polypropylene, these angles can be about one-half that for PFA. This angle size with these exemplary materials provides a desired contact surface between the flanges 15 and the slots 32 so that the key 30 is not separated from the collar 34 during use of the module 10. The collar 34 optionally includes detents 45 which fit with and accommodate optional vertical extension on the outside surface of flanges 15. The collar 34 also includes optional vertical slots 17 which permit drainage of fluid between the collar 34 and the manifold 12.

[0025] Referring to FIG. 4, a bowl and collar construction of this invention is shown. The collar 34 is threaded into the bowl 14. The collar and bowl 14 can be molded as one piece.

[0026] The bowl 14 includes a plurality of stops 50 which support a locking ring 18 (FIG. 1). The bowl 14 includes an inlet 17.

[0027] In one aspect of this invention, the key is provided with an outside surface configuration which mates with an inside surface configuration of the collar attached to the bowl in order to center the cartridge to which it is attached within the bowl. Centering the cartridge within the bowl allows for a smooth mating of the key and collar when the key is rotated into the collar. The outside surface configuration of the key includes a small groove. While this outside surface configuration is not required in this invention, in its absence, the key will slide from side to side within the collar thereby increasing difficulty of engaging the key and collar.

[0028] Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, an alternative construction is shown for joining a cartridge to a bowl. The key 60 is provided with two prongs 62 which are slideably connected to fluid passageway 42 in contact with two flat surfaces 64 which are substantially parallel to each other in the same manner described above with reference to FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 6, the hook-shaped prongs 66 fit over lip 68 of bowl 14. The key 60 also is provided with levers 67 which are pivoted so that hand pressure on the levers 67 permits movement of prongs 66 into contact with or away from contact with the bowl 14.

[0029] While the key of this invention has been described with reference to two opposing attachment elements (flanges or prongs), it is to be understood that the key can be provided with more than two attachment elements. At least two attachment elements are required in order to maintain the axial alignment of the cartridge with the bowl.

[0030] Since the key of this invention is removable from the cartridge, the cartridge of this invention can be utilized with the bowl of this invention described above or with a conventionally sized bowl. The removable key permits the cartridge without the key to be inserted into a conventional bowl having no slots on its inner surface otherwise the flanges on the key would render the footprint of the overall cartridge and key to be larger than the conventional bowl diameter. This, in turn, allows for a reduction in required inventory of cartridges needed to accommodate a conventional bowl and the bowl of this invention.

[0031] In use, the levers 67 of the cartridge of FIG. 5 are subject to hand pressure thereby to move the prongs 66 away from the prongs 62. The cartridge 16 is dropped into the bowl 14, hand pressure on the levers 67 is released and the prongs 66 thereby are secured to the top lip 68 of the bowl to secure the key 60 to the bowl 14.

[0032] The embodiment of FIG. 2 is inserted into the collar of FIG. 3 by first aligning the flanges 15 with cutouts 41. The key 30 is then rotated so that flanges 15 fit into slots 32 thereby securing the cartridge 16 to the collar 34.

[0033] Referring to FIGS. 7 and 8, the key 70 includes a groove 72 on each key leg 74 and 76 which mates with a surface 78 of collar 80. While the key 70 include bosses 82, they are not necessary to the groove's 72 function. The purpose of the bosses 82 are described below.

[0034] Referring to FIGS. 9, 10, and 11, the collar 84 includes two opposing slots 86 and 88 into which fit the bosses 82 when the key 90 is rotated into position into collar 84. Expansion of the slots away from each other is caused by contacting the bosses 82 with the inside surfaces of the collar 84. The distance between the outside surfaces of the bosses 82 is slightly larger than the distance between opposing inside surfaces of the collar 84. The slots 86 and 88 extend through the thickness of the collar 84. The slots 86 and 88 mate with bosses 82 on the key 90 to provide an improved fit between the collar 84 and the key 90. The bosses 82 are configured to cause the mating slots 86 and 88 on the collar 84 to expand outwardly when the key is rotated into position until the bosses 82 fit into the open slots 86 and 88. At the point of fitting, the slots 86 and 88 contract toward each other and thus overlap the bosses 82 thereby to render it more difficult for the key 90 to become detached from the collar 84 during use.