Title:
Multi-flow condenser for air conditioning systems
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multi-flow heat exchanger for an air conditioning system includes two rows of fluid carrying tubes coupled between a pair of manifolds. Each of the manifolds includes at least one partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least a first chamber and a second chamber. Each of the chambers in fluid communication with at least one of the first row of tubes and at least one of second row of tubes. The two rows of fluid carrying tubes are separated by heat dissipative fins disposed between the tubes.



Inventors:
Khazani, Simon M. (Tarzana, CA, US)
Stewart, Scott E. (Lakewood, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/136594
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/24/2005
Assignee:
SAMAN INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
165/173, 165/174
International Classes:
F28F9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ABDUR RAHIM, AZIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WALTER T. KIM (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A condenser for an air conditioning system, comprising: a first manifold having at least one partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least a first chamber and a second chamber; a second manifold having at least one partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least a first chamber and a second chamber; a first set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the first chamber of the first manifold to the first chamber of the second manifold; a second set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the first chamber of the second manifold to the second chamber of the first manifold; and a third set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the second chamber of the first manifold to the second chamber of the second manifold.

2. The condenser of claim 1, wherein each of the fluid carrying tubes has a round cross section from 3/16 to 7/16 inch in diameter.

3. The condenser of claim 1, wherein each of the fluid carrying tubes has a round cross section from 4/16 to 6/16 inch in diameter.

4. The condenser of claim 1, wherein each of the fluid carrying tubes is separated by at least 3/16 inch.

5. The condenser of claim 1, wherein the at least two rows of tubes coupled between the first manifold and the second manifold are separated by heat dissipative fins disposed therebetween.

6. The condenser of claim 1, wherein the air conditioning system is adapted for use with R-134A type refrigerant.

7. The condenser of claim 1, wherein the first manifold comprises at least two partitions to divide the inner space thereof into the first chamber, the second chamber and a third chamber.

8. The condenser of claim 7, further comprising: a fourth set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the second chamber of the second manifold to the third chamber of the first manifold.

9. The condenser of claim 8, further comprising: an inlet provided in the first manifold to enable fluid to enter the first chamber of the first manifold; and an outlet provided in the first manifold to enable fluid to leave the third chamber of the first manifold.

10. The condenser of claim 1, wherein the first chamber and the second chamber of the first manifold are undivided in a longitudinal axis; and the first chamber and the second chamber of the second manifold are undivided in a longitudinal axis.

11. The condenser of claim 1, wherein the first row of tubes is disposed in a plane parallel to the second row of tubes, and the first row of tubes is positioned with respect to the second row of tubes such that the tubes of the first row are staggered with respect the tubes of the second row.

12. A manifold for a heat exchanger, comprising: an elongated member having a longitudinal axis and a first end and a second end; and at least one partition transverse to the longitudinal axis provided in the elongated member to divide an inner space of the elongated member into at least a first chamber and a second chamber, wherein the first chamber is capable of establishing fluid communication with at least two rows of heat exchange tubes and the second chamber is capable of establishing fluid communication with at least two rows of heat exchange tubes.

13. The manifold of claim 12, wherein the elongated member includes rows of holes are sized and shaped to receive heat exchange tubes having a round cross section from 3/16 to 7/16 inch in diameter.

14. The manifold of claim 12, wherein the elongated member includes rows of holes are sized and shaped to receive heat exchange tubes having a round cross section from 4/16 to 6/16 inch in diameter.

15. The manifold of claim 12, wherein each of the rows of holes is at least 3/16 inch apart from adjacent holes.

16. The manifold of claim 12, wherein the first chamber and the second chamber are undivided in a longitudinal axis.

17. The manifold of claim 12, wherein the elongated member comprises: a half-cylindrical shaped section; a plane shaped section fixed to the half-cylindrical shaped section to form the elongated member, the plane shaped section having first and second rows of holes configured to receive round heat exchange tubes; a first end plate fixed to the first end of the elongated member; and a second end plate fixed to the second end of the elongated member.

18. The manifold of claim 17, wherein the second row of holes are staggered with respect to the first row of holes.

19. The manifold of claim 12, further comprising: an inlet provided in the elongated member and in fluid communication with one of the chambers; and an outlet provided in the elongated member and in fluid communication with another one of the chambers.

20. A heat exchanger comprising: a first row of heat exchange tubes; a second row of heat exchange tubes; a plurality of heat dissipative fins disposed between the tubes; a first manifold including at least one partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least a first chamber and a second chamber, the first chamber of the first manifold in fluid communication with at least one of the first row of tubes and at least one of second row of tubes, the second chamber of the first manifold in fluid communication with at least another one of the first row of and at least another one of second row of tubes; a second manifold including at least one partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least a first chamber and a second chamber, the first chamber of the second manifold in fluid communication with at least one of the first row of tubes and at least one of second row of tubes, the second chamber of the second manifold in fluid communication with at least another one of the first row of and at least another one of second row of tubes; an inlet provided in one of the manifolds; and an outlet provided in one of the manifolds.

21. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein the heat exchanger adapted for use with an air conditioning system using R-134A type refrigerant.

22. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein each of the tubes has a round cross section from 3/16 to 7/16 inch in diameter.

23. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein each of the tubes has a round cross section from 4/16 to 6/16 inch in diameter.

24. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein the first row of heat exchange tubes and the second row of heat exchange tubes are separated by the heat dissipative fins disposed between the tubes.

25. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein the first chamber and the second chamber of the first manifold are undivided in a longitudinal axis; and the first chamber and the second chamber of the second manifold are undivided in a longitudinal axis.

26. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein the first row of tubes is disposed in a plane parallel to the second row of tubes, and the first row of tubes is positioned with respect to the second row of tubes such that the tubes of the first row are staggered with the tubes of the second row.

27. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein at least one of the manifolds comprises: an elongated half-cylindrical shaped section; and a plane section fixed to the elongated half-cylindrical shaped section to form a hollow member having semi-cylindrical cross-section.

28. The heat exchanger of claim 27, wherein the plane section includes a first row of holes and a second row of holes to receive the first row of tubes and the second row of tubes, respectively.

29. The heat exchanger of claim 20, wherein the heat exchange tubes have round cross-section, and the first row of holes and the second row of holes are configured to receive round heat exchange tubes.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to heat exchangers, and in particular, to heat exchangers for vehicle air conditioning systems.

2. Description of the Related Art

Vehicles may employ a heat exchanger to cool fluid, such as refrigerant for air conditioning systems. The heat exchanger may comprise a plurality of parallel tubes to carry refrigerant fluid between manifolds and corrugated fins disposed between the tubes. The manifolds may include an inlet to allow refrigerant fluid to enter the heat exchanger and an outlet to allow the cooled fluid to exit the heat exchanger and supplied to other components in the air conditioning system. Air passing between the corrugated fins serves to extract heat from the tubes and the refrigerant fluid flowing within the tubes.

Some of the conventional heat exchangers for vehicle air conditioning systems utilize a longitudinal partition to divide a manifold chamber into at least two longitudinal compartments. These types of conventional heat exchangers may suffer from various disadvantages. For example, because the longitudinal partition blocks the flow of fluid from two or more of rows of tubes from entering the same chamber in the manifold, the refrigerant fluid is forced to travel through each row of tubes in separate successive passes. Consequentially, such heat exchangers may be subjected to overly high internal refrigerant pressure and may exert overly high back pressure on the remainder of the air conditioning system. Another disadvantage is that the construction of the longitudinal partitions in the manifolds may excessively increase difficulties and cost associated with manufacturing such heat exchangers.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a heat exchanger which is easy to manufacture and overcomes the disadvantages associated with conventional heat exchangers that can cause undesirable level of pressure to build up within air conditioning systems.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF EMBODIMENTS THE INVENTION

Described herein are various embodiments of a heat exchanger and manifolds incorporated in the heat exchanger. In one embodiment, the heat exchanger is a multi-flow heat exchanger for vehicle air conditioning systems. The heat exchanger includes two rows of fluid carrying tubes coupled between a pair of manifolds. Each of the manifolds includes at least one partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least a first chamber and a second chamber. In accordance with one embodiment, the flow pass through the heat exchanger is multi-flow because each of the chambers is in fluid communication with at least two rows of fluid carrying tubes which are separated by heat dissipative fins.

According to an embodiment, the two rows of fluid carrying tubes included in the core section of the heat exchanger are disposed in a plane parallel to each other. In one embodiment, the first row of tubes is positioned with respect to the second row of tubes such that the tubes of the first row are staggered with respect to the tubes of the second row. In operation, the fluid enters the heat exchanger via the inlet into one of the manifolds and flows through a series of fluid carrying tubes between the pair of manifolds. In one embodiment, the heat exchanger includes a first set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the first chamber of the first manifold to the first chamber of the second manifold, a second set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the first chamber of the second manifold to the second chamber of the first manifold, and a third set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the second chamber of the first manifold to the second chamber of the second manifold. The heat exchanger may further include a fourth set of fluid carrying tubes comprising at least two rows of tubes coupled between the manifolds to carry fluid from the second chamber of the second manifold to the third chamber of the first manifold.

According to an embodiment, a manifold for use with a heat exchanger is provided. In one embodiment, the manifold may comprise an elongated member having a half-cylindrical shaped section fixed to a plane shaped section and at least one traverse partition to divide an inner space thereof into at least two chambers. The plane shaped section of the manifold may include two rows of holes which are shaped and sized to receive the fluid carrying tubes. In accordance with one embodiment, one row of holes is staggered with respect to the other row of holes formed in the plane shaped section of the manifold. In one embodiment, the manifold may include two traverse partitions to divide an inner space thereof into three chambers. In another embodiment, the manifold may include only one traverse partition to divide an inner space thereof into two chambers. In accordance with an embodiment, the chambers of the manifold are undivided in a longitudinal axis so as to enable fluid from multiple rows of tubes, which are separated by heat dissipative fins, to flow into the each respective chamber.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example and not by way of limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements. It should be noted that the references to “an embodiment” or “one embodiment” of this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references mean at least one.

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a heat exchanger for an air conditioning system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of an embodiment of a heat exchanger with manifolds detached from a heat-exchange core section.

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a manifold for a heat exchanger according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a diagrammatic perspective view of the heat exchanger, with parts broken away, illustrating the fluid carrying tubes inserted and fixed to the holes formed in the manifold.

FIG. 4B is a diagrammatic perspective view of the portion of the heat exchanger shown in FIG. 4A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that embodiments of the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and techniques have not been shown in detail in order to avoid obscuring embodiments of the present invention. It should be noted that, as used in the description herein and the claims, the meaning of “in” includes “in” and “on”.

FIG. 1 shows a heat exchanger 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. The heat exchanger 100 described herein may be used in a condenser assembly for cooling refrigerant for a vehicle air conditioning system. It should be appreciated that the heat exchanger 100 and manifolds 110 descried herein may be adapted for cooling other fluid. The heat exchanger 100 generally includes a pair of manifolds 110-1, 110-2 and a core section, generally indicated at 120, disposed between the manifolds. The core section 120 includes rows of fluid carrying tubes 130 to carry refrigerant between the manifolds 110 and heat dissipative fins 140 disposed between the tubes 130 to dissipate heat therefrom. In one embodiment, the heat dissipative fins 140 are corrugated fins formed by thin metal strips, such as aluminum or copper. The core section 120 may further include support plates 150-1, 150-2 to provide support for the tubes 130.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the manifolds 110-1 and 110-2 may be spaced in parallel relationship. FIG. 3 shows an example of a manifold for use with a heat exchanger according to an embodiment of the present invention. The manifold 110 is formed with an elongated member 112 having closed ends 114, 116 by fixing end plates to ends thereof. In the illustrated embodiment, the elongated member 112 includes an elongated semi-cylindrical shaped section and a plane section extending throughout the length of the manifold. The elongated member 112 may be formed in a one-piece construction from one continues piece of material, such as aluminum or copper. Alternatively, the elongated member 112 may be formed of two or more sections joined by any suitable attachment means, such as brazing, welding or the like. Although the illustrated elongated member 112 has a semi-cylindrical cross-section, it should be appreciated that the elongated member may have any other suitable cross-sectional shape, such as, for example, cylindrical shaped elongated member having circular cross-section.

One of the manifolds 110 includes one or more inlets 170-1, 170-2 to allow refrigerant fluid to enter the heat exchanger 100 and one or more outlets 190-1, 190-2 to allow the refrigerant fluid to exit the heat exchanger and supplied to other components in the air conditioning system. The inlets 170 and the outlets 190 may be provided in the same manifold, as shown in FIGS. 1-3. Alternatively, the heat exchanger 100 may be configured such that the inlets and the outlets are provided in different manifolds. Each of the manifolds 110 also includes at least one partition 160 transverse to the longitudinal axis provided in the elongated member to divide an inner space of the elongated member into multiple chambers 162. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the first manifold 110-1 has at least two partitions 160-1, 160-2 to divide the member into at least three chambers 162-1 through 162-3 and the second manifold 110-2 has one partition 160-4 to divide the member into two chambers 164-1, 164-2. The number and spacing of the partitions 160 of the manifolds 110 depend on the configuration of the heat exchangers and in some application, additional partitions may be used to divide the elongated member into four or more chambers.

As seen by referring to FIGS. 3, 4A and 4B, holes 180 are formed in the plane section of the manifold 110 to receive free ends of the fluid carrying tubes 130. The holes 180 are configured to engage the fluid carrying tubes 130 by having the same shape and size as the cross-section of the tubes 130. In the illustrated embodiment, the holes 180 are of a round shape to accept the round fluid carrying tubes 130. It should be appreciated that the holes 180 formed in the manifolds 110 can also be sized and shaped to receive other heat-exchange tube shapes. Each of the holes 180 formed in the manifold 110 may have identical or differing diameter. In one embodiment, each of the holes 180 has a round cross section from 3/16 to 7/16 inch in diameter, preferably from 4/16 to 6/16 inch in diameter, and in the most preferred embodiment about 5/16 inch in diameter. In one embodiment, each of the holes 180 is at least 3/16 inch apart from the adjacent holes, preferably at least 4/16 inch apart, and in the most preferred embodiment about 5/16 inch apart from the adjacent holes.

It should be noted that two rows of holes 180 are formed on the manifolds 110 such that one row of holes is offset from the other row of holes. This allows the two rows of fluid carrying tubes 130 connected between the manifold 110 to be staggered or offset with respect to each other. Heat from the refrigerant fluid is extracted by air flowing between the fluid carrying tubes as well as air flowing through spaces between the corrugated fins between the tubes. Accordingly, the staggered arrangement of the first and second rows of tubes 130 may facilitate better distribution of air through the fluid carrying tubes 130 and the corrugated fins 140 included in the core section 120 of the heat exchanger 110. In an alternative embodiment, the two rows of fluid carrying tubes 130 may be aligned with respect to each other instead of the staggered arrangement.

The two rows of fluid carrying tubes 130 included in the heat exchanger 100 are disposed in a plane parallel to each other. As mentioned above, the first row of tubes is positioned with respect to the second row of tubes such that the two rows of tubes are staggered with respect each other. Each of the fluid carrying tubes 130 may have identical or differing diameter. In one embodiment, each of the tubes 130 has a round cross section from 3/16 to 7/16 inch in diameter, preferably from 4/16 to 6/16 inch in diameter, and in the most preferred embodiment about 5/16 inch in diameter. In accordance with one embodiment, the flow pass through the heat exchanger 100 is multi-flow because each of the chambers is in fluid communication with at least two rows of fluid carrying tubes, in which the fluid carrying tubes are separated by heat dissipative fins. Using multiple rows of fluid carrying tubes 130 having diameters as mentioned above may be useful in applications where refrigerants, such as, for example, R-134A, are used since R-134A operates at higher pressure than previously used R-12 refrigerant. The multiple tube flow configuration provided by the embodiments of the heat exchanger 100 described herein may be useful in preventing overly high pressure from building up within the heat exchanger and exerting overly high back pressure on the remainder of the air conditioning.

The fluid entering the heat exchanger 100 will flow through a series of tube sets 210 through 240 between the pair of manifold 110. As seen by referring to FIG. 2, the core section 120 of the heat exchanger 110 includes a first set of fluid carrying tubes 210 to carry fluid from the first chamber 162-3 of the first manifold 110-1 to the first chamber 164-1 of the second manifold 110-2. The core section further includes a second set of fluid carrying tubes 220 to carry fluid from the first chamber 164-2 of the second manifold 110-2 to the second chamber 162-2 of the first manifold 110-1, and a third set of fluid carrying tubes 230 to carry fluid from the second chamber 162-2 of the first manifold 110-1 to the second chamber 164-1 of the second manifold 110-2. The core section 120 may further include a fourth set of fluid carrying tubes 240 to carry fluid from the second chamber 164-1 of the second manifold 110-2 to the third chamber 162-1 of the first manifold 110-1. According to one embodiment, each set of tube sets 210 through 240 comprises two or more rows of tubes 130 to enable fluid flow in multiple rows of tubes between respective chambers of the first and second manifold 110. The elimination of the longitudinal partition within the manifold 110 decreases the length of flow path within the core section 120, which helps to reduce the relatively high pressure of the refrigerant that can build up within the heat exchanger 100.

In vehicle air conditioning system applications, the heat exchanger 100 may be mounted in a region of a vehicle, such as, for example, in front of the vehicle engine, so that it can receive better air flow as the vehicle is traveling. In operation, a compressor of the air conditioning system may be used to provide high pressure gas refrigerant to the heat exchanger 100. The refrigerant discharged from a compressor enters the heat exchanger 100 and flow through a series of tubes 130 provided therein. As the fluid flows through the series of tubes between the pair of manifolds 110, the refrigerant is cooled as a result of heat extracted by air flowing between the heat dissipative fins 140 and the fluid carrying tubes 130. As described above, the flow paths within the illustrated heat exchanger 100 is as follows: the refrigerant fluid from the first chamber 162-3 of the first manifold 110-1 flows through the first set of tubes 210 to the first chamber 164-2 of the second manifold 110-2; flows through the second set of tubes 220 to the second chamber 162-2 of the first manifold 110-1; flows through the third set of tubes 230 to the second chamber 164-1 of the second manifold 110-2; flows through the fourth set of tubes 240 to the third chamber 162-1 of first manifold 110-1 and leaves the heat exchanger 110 through the outlet 190. The outlet 190 may be coupled to an evaporator to discharge cooled refrigerant thereto. It should be appreciated that the size and shape of illustrated heat exchanger 100 may be modified to fit each particular make and model of automobile. Although not shown, brackets for supporting the heat exchanger 100 and tubes which carry the refrigerant to and from the heat exchanger may be specifically built as required for each particular make and model of automobile.

While the foregoing embodiments of the heat exchanger and manifolds for use with the heat exchanger have been described and shown, it is understood that variations and modifications, such as those suggested and others within the spirit and scope of the invention, may occur to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains. The scope of the present invention accordingly is to be defined as set forth in the appended claims.