Title:
Fans and fan frames
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fan with a fan frame and an impeller. The fan frame includes a housing and a motor base. The housing includes a passage. The passage forms an air outlet and an air inlet on both ends of the housing. The motor base is disposed in the housing. The impeller is disposed on the motor base. When the motor base is at the air outlet or the air inlet, the bottom of the motor base locates on a plane different from that of the air outlet or the air inlet. The motor base is raised into the housing, increasing the area of air flow intake or discharge. Additionally, during the operation of the fan, noise, caused by vibrations generated by rotation of the impeller and transferred to an exterior system via the motor base, can be reduced.



Inventors:
Lu, Lobato (Taoyuan Hsien, TW)
Wang, Ke-nan (Taoyuan Hsien, TW)
Huang, Wen-shi (Taoyuan Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
11/259119
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
10/27/2005
Assignee:
DELTA ELECTRONICS, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
417/423.14
International Classes:
F04B35/04; F04B17/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LE, DANG D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fan frame, comprising: a housing having a passage which forms an air outlet and an air inlet on both ends of the housing; and a motor base disposed in the housing, wherein when the motor base is at the air outlet or the air inlet, a bottom of the motor base locates on a plane different from that of the air outlet or the air inlet.

2. The fan frame as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a plurality of ribs disposed between the housing and the motor base to support the motor base, wherein a cross section of each rib is varied along a direction from the motor base to the housing.

3. The fan frame as claimed in claim 2, wherein a width of each rib is varied along the direction from the motor base to the housing, or the width of each rib gradually increases or decreases along the direction of from the motor base to the housing.

4. The fan frame as claimed in claim 3, wherein the width of each rib connecting to the motor base and housing is relatively greater or less than that of a central part of the rib.

5. The fan frame as claimed in claim 2, wherein a thickness of each rib is varied from along the direction of the motor base to the housing, or the thickness of each rib gradually increases or decreases along the direction of from the motor base to the housing.

6. The fan frame as claimed in claim 5, wherein the thickness of each rib connecting to the motor base and housing is relatively greater or less than that of a central part of the rib.

7. The fan frame as claimed in claim 2, wherein the housing further comprises an outward expansion portion at the air outlet or the air inlet to increase an area of air flow intake or discharge.

8. The fan frame as claimed in claim 7, wherein the ribs are connected to the outward expansion portion, and the outward expansion portion is formed with a lead angle, a sloped angle, a lead and sloped angle, or a curved angle.

9. The fan frame as claimed in claim 2, wherein the motor base comprises a slope inclined radially to adjust an area of air flow intake or discharge, and the slope is linear or curved.

10. A fan, comprising: a fan frame comprising: a housing having a passage which forms an air outlet and an air inlet on both ends of the housing; and a motor base disposed in the housing; and an impeller disposed on the motor base, wherein when the motor base is at the air outlet or the air inlet, a bottom of the motor base locates on a plane different from that of the air outlet or the air inlet.

11. The fan as claimed in claim 10, wherein the fan is applied to a light source, a periphery of the passage comprises an inner surface, and when light emitted by the light source enters the passage, the light is blocked from penetrating the passage by the inner surface.

12. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein the inner surface is a concave surface depressed toward a central axis of the passage so as to block the light emitted by the light source.

13. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein the inner surface is a convex surface protruded toward a central axis of the passage, an outer edge of the impeller is formed with a concave surface opposing the curved surface so as to block the light emitted by the light source.

14. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein the outer edge of the impeller is parallel to the curved surface of the periphery of the passage.

15. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein the inner surface comprises a gradually shrinking surface and a gradually expanding surface.

16. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein the inner surface comprises a radially- and gradually shrinking curved surface and a radially and gradually expanding curved surface, both of which have different curvatures.

17. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein a maximum outer diameter of the outer edge of the impeller exceeds a minimum inner diameter of the periphery of the passage.

18. The fan as claimed in claim 11, wherein the impeller comprises blades with flat, conical, curved or stepped edges.

19. The fan as claimed in claim 10, wherein each blade of the impeller overlaps an adjacent blade in an axial direction of the passage.

20. The fan as claimed in claim 10, wherein the motor base is a part of a system having a fan assembly or the motor base forms a casing sidewall of a system.

Description:

The present invention is a continuation-in-part application of the parent application bearing Ser. No. 10/799,420 and filed on Mar. 12, 2004. Also, this Non-provisional application claims priority under U.S.C. ยง 119 (a) on Patent Application No(s). 093133821 filed in Taiwan, Republic of China on Nov. 5, 2004, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to fans and fan frames, and in particular to fans and fan frames capable of reducing noise.

AS performance of electronic devices is promoted, heat dissipation apparatus or systems are indispensable and are thus provided in the electronic devices. If heat generated by an electronic device cannot be efficiently dissipated, performance of the electronic device may deteriorate or the electronic device may be damaged. A heat dissipation apparatus thus plays an important role in removing heat generated by electronic devices such as integrated circuits (ICs). With promotion of package techniques, the area of integrated circuits decreases. Heat accumulated in the integrated circuit per unit area increases accordingly. Therefore, a heat dissipation apparatus with high heat-dissipating efficiency is required on the integrated circuit.

Fans are widely used in various heat-generating systems. FIG. 1A is a schematic cross section of a conventional fan, and FIG. 1B is a schematic view showing the fan of FIG. 1A applied to an exterior system 1. A conventional fan 10 includes a frame 11, an impeller 14, and a motor (not shown). The impeller 14 further includes a hub 15 and multiple blades 16 radially connected to the hub 15. The motor is disposed inside of the hub 15.

The impeller 14 and motor are in the frame 11, and the impeller 14 is driven by the motor to rotate. The motor base 12 is connected to the frame 11 by a plurality of ribs 13 and the ribs support the motor base 12.

As shown in FIG. 1B, when the fan 10 is applied to a heat-generating exterior system 1, the motor base 12 locates on the same plane as the frame 11 such that space required by outtake airflow is limited, the amount of airflow cannot be increased and noise generated by the fan 10 cannot be reduced. Moreover, the fan 10 is fixed on and combined to a heat-generating device 2 in the exterior system 1 by screws penetrating the frame 11. During the operation of the fan 10, vibrations generated by the motor and rotation of the impeller 14 are transferred to the heat-generating device 2 and the exterior system 1 via the motor base 12 and ribs 13, thereby generating noise. Also, vibrations generated by the motor may damage the heat-generating device-2 or other components in the exterior system 1.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, the invention provides an improved fan and fan frame to overcome the aforementioned problems. A motor base of the fan is raised into the housing of the fan, whereby increasing the area of air flow intake or discharge and providing a stable airflow. Additionally, noise and vibrations, generated by rotation of an impeller and transferred to an exterior system via the motor base during the operation of the fan, can be reduced.

An exemplary embodiment of the invention provides a fan frame including a housing and a motor base. The housing has a passage, and the passage forms an air outlet and an air inlet on both ends of the housing. The motor base is disposed in the housing. When the motor base is at the air outlet or the air inlet, the bottom of the motor base locates on a plane different from that of the air outlet or the air inlet. The fan frame further includes a plurality of ribs connected between the housing and the motor base to support the motor base. The cross section, width or thickness of each rib is varied along the direction from the motor base to the housing. The housing further includes an outward expansion portion at the air outlet or the air inlet to increase the area of air flow intake or discharge. The motor base has a slope inclined radially to adjust the area of air flow intake or discharge, and the slope is linear or curved. Moreover, the motor base is a part of a system having a fan assembly. The system is preferably a power supply, a server, or a computer. The motor base forms a casing sidewall of a system, such as a fan guard.

Another exemplary embodiment of the invention provides a fan, such as an axial flow fan, including a fan frame and an impeller. The fan frame has a housing and a motor base. The housing has a passage, and the passage forms an air outlet and an air inlet on both ends of the housing. The motor base is disposed in the housing, and the impeller is disposed on the motor base. When the motor base is at the air outlet or the air inlet, the bottom of the motor base locates on a plane different from that of the air outlet or the air inlet. The fan frame further includes a plurality of ribs disposed between the housing and the motor base to support the motor base. The cross section, width or thickness of each rib is varied along the direction from the motor base to the housing. The housing further includes an outward expansion portion at the air outlet or the air inlet to increase the area through which the air flows into and out of the housing. The outward expansion portion is formed with a lead angle, a sloped angle, a lead and sloped angle, or a curved angle. The motor base has a slope inclined radially to adjust the area of air flow intake or discharge, and the slope is linear or curved.

Moreover, the fan frame is applied to a light source. The periphery of the passage is an inner surface, and the light is blocked from penetrating the passage by the inner surface when light emitted by the light source enters the passage. The outer edge of the impeller is parallel to the curved surface of the periphery of the passage. The inner surface includes one or multiple gradually shrinking surfaces and gradually expanding surfaces so as to block the light emitted by the light source. Alternatively, the inner surface includes a radially and gradually shrinking curved surface and a radially and gradually expanding curved surface, both of which have different curvatures. In addition, each blade of the impeller overlaps an adjacent blade in an axial direction of the passage. The housing is substantially rectangular, circular, elliptical, or rhombic. The motor base may be a part of a system having a fan assembly. The system is preferably a power supply, a server, or a computer. Additionally, the motor base forms a casing sidewall of a system, such as a fan guard.

A detailed description is given in the following embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be more fully understood by reading the subsequent detailed description and examples with references made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1A is a schematic cross section of a conventional fan;

FIG. 1B is a schematic view showing the fan of FIG. 1A applied to an exterior system;

FIGS. 2A-2C are schematic views of fans of the first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3A is a schematic view of a fan of the second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3B is a schematic view showing the fan of FIG. 3A applied to an exterior system;

FIGS. 4A-4D are schematic views of fans of the third embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 5A-5D are schematic views of fans of the fourth embodiment of the invention;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are schematic views of fans of the fifth embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 6C is a schematic top view of an impeller of an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 2A-2C are schematic views of fans 20 of the first embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 2A, the fan 20, a preferred axial flow fan, includes a fan frame 21 and an impeller 24. The fan frame 21 is a housing 21 having a passage 27, and the shape of the fan frame 21 is substantially rectangular, circular, elliptical, or rhombic. The housing 21 includes a motor base 22 and a plurality of ribs 23. The impeller 24 includes a hub 25 and multiple blades 26 connected to the hub 25, and there is a motor (not shown) disposed inside of the hub 25 for driving the impeller 24 to rotate. The impeller 24, motor base 22, and motor are disposed in the housing 21. The impeller 24 is disposed on the motor base 22 and is rotated by the motor. The ribs 23 are disposed between the periphery 271 of the passage 27 and the motor base 22, for supporting the motor base 22. The passage 27 forms an air outlet 211 and an air inlet 212 on both ends of the housing 21, and the air outlet 211 and air inlet 212 are on a first hypothetical plane 221 and a second hypothetical plane 222, respectively.

To overcome the drawbacks in which the bottom of the conventional motor base 12 is coplanar with the fan frame, the motor base 22 is raised into the housing 21 to form a displacement depth so as to provide a stable airflow. As shown in FIG. 2A, the motor base 22 is preferably disposed at the air outlet 211, and the bottom of the motor base 22 locates on a plane different from that of the air outlet 211 (first hypothetical plane 221). Alternatively, the motor base 22 can be disposed at the air inlet 212, and the bottom of the motor base 22 locates on a plane different from that of the air inlet 212 (second hypothetical plane 222).

When the motor base 22 is raised into the housing 21, the top of the hub 25 disposed on the motor base 22 protrudes the second hypothetical plane 222, as shown in FIG. 2B. However, operation and performance of the fan 20 is not adversely affected. Further, considering of the situation that the fan 20 must be disposed coordinately with other components in an exterior system when the fan 20 is applied to the exterior system, the size of the hub 25 is correspondingly adjusted. Thus, the top of the hub 25 can just align the second hypothetical plane 222 (as shown in FIG. 2A) or be slightly lower than the second hypothetical plane 222 (as shown in FIG. 2C) so that the hub 25 does not adversely affect operation of other components in the exterior system.

FIG. 3A is a schematic view of a fan 30 of the second embodiment of the invention. Not only the motor base 32 is raised into the housing 31 to form a displacement depth, but also there is preferably an outward expansion portion 39 formed at the air outlet 311 or the air inlet 312 to increase an area of air flow intake or discharge, thereby enhancing air pressure and airflow of the fan 30. Additionally, when the outward expansion portion 39 is disposed at the air outlet 311, deceleration and rectification of the airflow can be obtained. The outward expansion portion 39 can be formed with a lead angle, a sloped angle, a lead and sloped angle, or a curved angle. The ribs 33 can be directly connected to the outward expansion portion 39 and motor base 32, for supporting the motor base 32. Alternatively, the ribs 33 can be connected to other portions, except the outward expansion portion 39, of the housing 31.

FIG. 3B is a schematic view showing the fan 30 of FIG. 3A applied to an exterior system 3. The fan 30 is applied to the exterior system 3 having a heat-generating device 4 such as integrated circuits (ICs). Since a displacement depth exists between the bottoms of the motor base 32 and the outlet of the housing 31, a space for outtake airflow is enlarged, thereby enhancing the amount of airflow of the fan 30. Additionally, the outward expansion portion 39 achieves deceleration and rectification of the airflow, thereby reducing the noise caused by turbulent flow field. Furthermore, since the bottom of the motor base 32 is higher than the outlet of the housing 31, vibrations generated by the motor and rotation of the impeller 34 won't not be transferred to the heat-generating device 4 or the exterior system 3 via the motor base 32 and ribs 33. Thus, the noise problem is solved and damage to components caused by the aforementioned vibrations can be prevented.

The motor base 32 can be considered as a part of a system having a fan assembly, or the motor base 32 forms a casing sidewall of a system, such as a fan guard. The system 3 is a power supply, a server, or a computer.

The invention is not limited to the aforementioned structure. For example, in addition to the structural design of the motor base 32 and outward expansion portion 39, the thickness, width, or cross section of the ribs can be designed to various requirements. Referring to FIGS. 4A-4D, which are schematic views of fans 40 of the third embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 4A, the housing 41 of fan 40 has an outward expansion portion 49, and the multiple ribs 43, connected to the outward expansion portion 49 and motor base 42, can be arranged in radial manner. The shape of ribs 43 can be, for example, columnar, curved, or streamlined.

Specifically, if the ribs 43 are connected to the motor base 42 and fan frame 41 in nonlinear manner, the cross section of the ribs 43 will not be continuous. For ease of description, the cross sections of the ribs of all embodiments of the invention are completely shown and the blades are shown in a clearer manner.

The thickness of each rib 43 is varied along the direction from the motor base 42 to the housing 41. As shown in FIG. 4A, the thickness of each rib 43 at the motor base 42 is smaller than that at the housing 41. Further, the thickness of each rib 43 gradually increases from the motor base 42 to the housing 41. The change in the thickness of each rib 43 can be linear slope gradual reduction or curve slope gradual reduction.

Alternatively, the thickness of each rib 43 at the motor base 42 is greater than that at the housing 41. Further, the thickness of each rib 43 gradually decreases from the motor base 42 to the housing 41, as shown in FIG. 4B. The change in the thickness of each rib 43 can be linear slope gradual reduction (as shown in FIG. 4B) or curve slope gradual reduction (as shown in FIG. 4C) Further, the thickness of each rib 43 connecting to the motor base 42 and housing 41 is relatively greater than that of a central part of the rib 43 and the thickness of each rib 43 is relatively less than that of the central part of the rib 43, as shown in FIG. 4D. Furthermore, the thickness of each rib 43 connecting to the motor base 42 and housing 41 is least.

When the impeller 44 rotates, airflow speed increases outwardly from the blades 46. Namely, the flow speed near the housing 41 is faster than the speed near the motor base 42. Additionally, varied thickness design is applied to each rib 43 so that the distances between each rib 43 and the lower edges of the blades 46 are different. In view of the direction of the airflow, the distances between the blades 46 and each rib 43 are different. Accordingly, when the impeller 44 rotates, adverse interaction between the blades 46 and the ribs 43 can be reduced. The resistance of airflow and noise can thus be reduced.

The width of each rib 43 is designed according to the rotational direction of the blades 46. The width of each rib 43 is varied along the direction from the motor base 42 to the housing 41. For example, each rib 43 at the motor base 42 is thinner than at the housing 41. Further, the width of each rib 43 gradually increases from the motor base 42 to the housing 41. The change in the width of each rib 43 can be linear slope gradual reduction or curve slope gradual reduction. In addition, the width of each rib 43 at the motor base 42 exceeds that at the housing 41. Further, the width of each rib 43 gradually decreases from the motor base 42 to the housing 41. Similarly, the change in the width of each rib 43 can be linear slope gradual reduction or curve slope gradual reduction. Alternatively, the width of each rib 43 connecting to the motor base 42 and housing 41 is relatively greater than that of a central part of the rib 43 while the central part of the rib 43 is thinnest through the rib 43. Furthermore, the width of each rib 43 connecting to the motor base 42 and housing 41 is relatively less than that of the central part of the rib 43.

When the impeller 44 rotates, airflow speed increases outwardly from the blades 46. Namely, the flow speed near the housing 41 is faster than the speed near the motor base 42. Additionally, the width of each rib 43 is varied along the direction from the motor base 42 to the housing 41. In view of the rotating direction of the blades 46, the width of each rib 43 is varied. Accordingly, the influence caused by faster airflow at the ribs 43 and housing 41 can be reduced by the aforementioned structural design. The resistance of airflow and noise can thus be reduced.

The width and thickness of each rib 43 can be changed and better designed. For example, In view of the rotating direction of the blades 46 and for each rib 43, the portion with a smaller width can have a larger thickness. Thus, the strength of the housing 41 is not adversely affected due to thin ribs 43. For example, each rib 43 at the motor base 42 is thinner than at the housing 41, and each rib 43 at the motor base 42 is thicker than at the housing 41. Alternatively, the width of each rib 43 at the motor base 42 exceeds that at the housing 41, and the thickness of each rib 43 at the motor base 42 is less than that at the housing 41. The change in the width and thickness of each rib 43 can simultaneously be linear or curved. Accordingly, the cross section of each rib 43 is varied along the direction from the motor base 42 to the housing 41, whereby preventing noise caused by the resistance of airflow between the lower edges of the blades and the ribs.

FIGS. 5A-5D are schematic views of fans of the fourth embodiment of the invention. The fan includes a raised motor base 52 and an outward expansion portion 59. Also, the motor base 52 includes a slope inclined radially to adjust the area of air flow intake or discharge, whereby optimizing the flow field distributed in the fan. Therefore, the noise of the fan can be further reduced and performance of the fan is enhanced. The motor base 52 expands outwardly from the bottom thereof, and the slope is linear (as shown in FIG. 5A) or curved (as shown in FIG. 5B). Alternatively, the motor base 52 inward shrinks from the bottom thereof, and the slope is linear (as shown in FIG. 5C) or curved (as shown in FIG. 5D).

Moreover, the fan can be applied to an external system with a light source L, such as a projector. Referring to FIGS. 6A and 6B, which are schematic views of fans of the fifth embodiment of the invention. Similarly, the fan includes a raised motor base 62 and an outward expansion portion 69. Additionally, in the housing 61, the periphery 671 of the passage 67 includes an inner surface. When light emitted by the light source L enters the passage 67, the light is blocked from penetrating the passage 67 by the inner surface. The inner surface can be a concave surface depressed toward a central axis of the passage 67 so as to block the light emitted by the light source L. Or, the inner surface can be a convex surface protruded toward a central axis of the passage 67, an outer edge of the impeller 64 is formed with a concave surface opposing the curved surface so as to block the light emitted by the light source L.

In addition, the inner surface may include one or multiple gradually shrinking surfaces and gradually expanding surfaces, as shown in FIG. 6A. Alternatively, the inner surface may include a radially and gradually shrinking curved surface and a radially and gradually expanding curved surface, both of which have different curvatures, as shown in FIG. 6B. As long as the inner periphery of the fan frame can match the curved blades, light emitted from the light source L can be blocked from penetrating the passage by the inner surface. Namely, the outer edge of the impeller 64 is parallel to the inner surface of the periphery 671 of the passage 67. The gap between the blades 66 and the housing 61 can be effectively sheltered. Thus, the fan can obstruct light from the light source L. Additionally, the curved outer edges of the blades 66 can increase the area of the blades 66, enhancing unity of the fan. Moreover, the displacement depth between the motor base 62 and the bottom of the housing 61 can be adjusted by changing the inner surface of the periphery 671 of the passage 67. Thus, the flow field of the airflow between the impeller 64 and the housing 61 can be adjusted and the noise caused by a turbulent flow field effectively reduced.

FIG. 6C is a schematic top view of an impeller of an embodiment of the invention. To effectively shelter the gap between the blades and the housing, each blade 66a of the impeller 64 overlaps an adjacent blade 66b in an axial direction of the passage. Also, each of the blades 66a and 66b has a flat, conical, curved or stepped edge.

In conclusion, the invention can overcome the drawbacks of the conventional fan in which the bottom of the motor base is coplanar with that of the fan frame. In the present fan, the motor base is raised into the housing of the fan frame to form a displacement depth, whereby providing a stable airflow. Additionally, the outward expansion portion can increase the area of air flow intake or discharge. Thus, deceleration and rectification of the airflow can be obtained, and air pressure and air flow of the fan can be increased. Furthermore, ribs with a design of varied thickness, width or cross section not only enhance the strength of the fan. The distances between the lower edges of the blades, but also reduce noise caused by adverse interaction between the ribs and the rotating blades. Moreover, the motor base can include a slope inclined radially, and the slope is linear or curved. Thus, the noise of the fan can be reduced and performance of the fan enhanced. Additionally, the housing with gradually shrinking surfaces can match the curved outer edges of the blades to shelter the gap between the housing and the blades. When the fan is applied to a light-emitting device to dissipate heat generated thereby, light leakage as in the conventional fan can be prevented.

While the invention has been described by way of example and in terms of preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited thereto. To the contrary, it is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements (as would be apparent to those skilled in the art). Therefore, the scope of the appended claims should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar arrangements.