Title:
Fuel burner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fuel burner comprises a body including at least one burner port. Embodiments of the fuel burner can include a fluid coolant system, a mixing device adapted to mix a fuel and oxidizer and/or an apparatus adapted to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port.



Inventors:
Kuenzler, Glenn Howard (Macedonia, OH, US)
Winnen, Michael Peter (Lakewood, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/294073
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
12/05/2005
Assignee:
General Electric Company
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
431/160, 431/350, 431/354
International Classes:
F23D11/36; F23D14/12; F23D14/46; F23D14/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NDUBIZU, CHUKA CLEMENT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MOMENTIVE PERFORMANCE MATERIALS INC.-Quartz (Woodbury, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A fuel burner comprising: a body including at least one burner port, at least a portion of the body is fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK; and a fluid coolant system for removing heat from the body, wherein the fuel burner is capable of producing a flame having a temperature of at least about 2000° C.

2. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the thermal conductivity is greater than about 100 W/mK.

3. The fuel burner of claim 2, wherein the material comprises aluminum.

4. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the burner is capable of producing a flame having a laminar flow portion with a length of at least about 5 centimeters.

5. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the burner is adapted to operate at a power output of greater than about 75 KW.

6. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the burner is adapted to operate with an average flow velocity of a fuel mixture through the at least one burner port is less than about 40 m/s.

7. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the burner includes a burner face surface including an opening of the at least one burner port, a peripheral surface circumscribing the burner face surface, and a chamfer surface extending between at least a portion of the burner face surface and the peripheral surface.

8. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the fluid coolant system includes a coolant passage positioned less than about 1 centimeter from a peripheral burner port of the at least one burner port.

9. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the fluid coolant system includes a coolant passage circumscribing a substantial portion of the at least one burner port.

10. The fuel burner of claim 9, wherein the at least one burner port comprises a plurality of burner ports.

11. The fuel burner of claim 1, wherein the at least one burner port comprises a plurality of burner ports.

12. The fuel burner of claim 11, wherein the plurality of burner ports include at least a first set of burner ports and a second set of burner ports, and the fluid coolant system includes a coolant passage extending through a portion of the body that extends between the first set of burner ports and the second set of burner ports.

13. A fuel burner comprising: a body including a cavity and at least one burner port in communication with the cavity; an apparatus positioned in the cavity and adapted to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port, wherein a fuel mixture is adapted to pass through the apparatus, the cavity and the at least one burner port in use.

14. The burner of claim 13, wherein the apparatus comprises a member extending across the cavity, the member including a plurality of passages for the fuel mixture.

15. The burner of claim 14, wherein the member comprises a plate and the plurality of passages comprises through passages extending through the plate.

16. A fuel burner comprising: a body including a cavity and at least one burner port in communication with the cavity; and a mixing device positioned in the cavity and adapted to mix a fuel and oxidizer prior to flowing through the at least one burner port, wherein the mixing device defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns.

17. The fuel burner of claim 16, wherein the mixing device comprises a flow divider.

18. The fuel burner of claim 17, wherein the flow divider is adapted to divide an upstream flow into two downstream flows traveling in substantially opposite directions.

19. The fuel burner of claim 17, wherein the flow divider comprises at least a first plate and a second plate offset from the first plate in a direction towards the at least one burner port.

20. The fuel burner of claim 19, wherein the first plate has at least one aperture.

21. The fuel burner of claim 20, wherein the second plate includes a plurality of apertures greater in number than the at least one aperture of the first plate.

22. The fuel burner of claim 21, wherein the plurality of apertures of the second plate are not axially aligned with any aperture of the at least one aperture of the first plate.

23. The fuel burner of claim 16, wherein the mixing device further comprises a plate positioned within the cavity, wherein the plate includes a peripheral edge that forms a channel with the body.

24. The fuel burner of claim 23, wherein the channel defines a portion of the fluid path having at least one angular turn of at least 90 degrees.

25. A fuel burner comprising: a body including a cavity and at least one burner port in communication with the cavity, at least a portion of the body fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK; an apparatus positioned in the cavity and adapted to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port; and a fluid coolant system adapted to remove heat from the body, wherein the fluid coolant system is adapted to prevent the body from melting in use.

26. The fuel burner of claim 25, further comprising a mixing device positioned in the cavity and adapted to mix an oxygen-fuel mixture prior to flowing through the apparatus and the at least one burner port, wherein the mixing device defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns.

27. A fuel burner comprising: a body including a cavity and a plurality of burner ports in communication with the cavity, wherein at least a portion of the body is fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK; a mixing device positioned in the cavity and adapted to mix a fuel and oxidizer prior to flowing through the plurality of burner ports, wherein the mixing device defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns; and a fluid coolant system for removing heat from the body, wherein the fuel burner is capable of producing a flame having a temperature of at least about 2000° C.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of U.S. Application No. 60/713533, filed on Sep. 1, 2005, which patent application is fully incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates fuel burners, for example, fuel burners for use during various material processing procedures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventional burners are frequently used to heat objects for processing materials. When carrying out the process, the burner must be effective to apply heat while maintaining sufficient clearance to avoid contamination of the material and/or burner. There is a continuing need for functional burner designs that operate to transfer heat during various material processing procedures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect, a fuel burner comprises a body including at least one burner port. The body is fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK. The fuel burner further comprises a fluid coolant system for removing heat from the body. The fuel burner is capable of producing a flame having a temperature of at least about 2000° C.

In accordance with another aspect, a fuel burner comprises a body including a cavity and at least one burner port in communication with the cavity. The fuel burner includes an apparatus positioned in the cavity and adapted to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port. The fuel mixture is adapted to pass through the apparatus, the cavity and the at least one burner port in use.

In accordance with still another aspect, a fuel burner comprises a body including a cavity and at least one burner port in communication with the cavity. The fuel burner further includes a mixing device positioned in the cavity and adapted to mix a fuel and oxidizer prior to flowing through the at least one burner port. The mixing device defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns.

In accordance with yet another aspect, a fuel burner comprises a body including a cavity and at least one burner port in communication with the cavity. The body is fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK. The fuel burner further includes an apparatus positioned in the cavity and adapted to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port. The fuel burner further comprises a fluid coolant system adapted to remove heat from the body. The fluid coolant system is adapted to prevent the body from melting in use.

In accordance with a further aspect, a fuel burner comprises a body including a cavity and a plurality of burner ports in communication with the cavity. The body is fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK. The fuel burner further includes a mixing device positioned in the cavity and adapted to mix a fuel and oxidizer prior to flowing through the plurality of burner ports. The mixing device defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns. A fluid coolant system is also provided for removing heat from the body. The fuel burner is capable of producing a flame having a temperature of at least about 2000° C.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fuel burner in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention with portions broken away to depict interior portions of the fuel burner.

FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary fluid coolant path for the burner of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the fuel burner of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4A is a sectional view along line 4A-4A of FIG. 3.

FIG. 4B is a sectional view along line 4B-4B of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view along line 5-5 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view along line 6-6 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the fuel burner of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a fuel burner in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the fuel burner of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a fuel burner in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a top view of the fuel burner of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a sectional view along line 12-12 of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a sectional view along line 13-13 of FIG. 11.

FIG. 14 is a sectional view along line 14-1 of FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS

Certain terminology is used herein for convenience only and is not to be taken as a limitation on the present invention. Further, in the drawings, the same reference numerals are employed for designating the same elements. Also as used herein, approximating language may be applied to modify any quantitative representation that may vary without resulting in a change in the basic function to which it is related. Accordingly, a value modified by a term or terms, such as “about” and “substantially,” may not to be limited to the precise value specified, in some cases. In at least some instances, the approximating language may correspond to the precision of an instrument for measuring the value.

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of an exemplary fuel burner 20 in accordance with aspects of the present invention. FIG. 1 further depicts portions of the fuel burner 20 are shown broken away to depict interior areas of the fuel burner. The fuel burner includes a body 22 with at least one burner port. Although a single burner port may be used, the illustrated embodiments depict the at least one burner port comprising a plurality of burner ports 24. Although any number of ports may be used, exemplary embodiments include at least 100 burner ports. Burner ports of each embodiment of the present invention may comprise various shapes and may be arranged in various patterns to control the burner flame characteristics and/or heat loading within the burner body. As shown in FIG. 1, the body 22 may include a burner face surface 26 including openings of the burner ports 24. A peripheral surface 28 can circumscribe the burner face surface 26 and a chamfer surface 30 can extend between at least a portion of the burner face surface 26 and the peripheral surface 28. As shown, the chamfer surface 30 can extend about the entire periphery of the fuel burner. The optional chamfer surface 30 may facilitate air movement from a location behind the burner surface to help release the flame from the burner face surface 26.

The body of fuel burners in accordance with the various embodiments of the present invention can comprise a one-piece member or may be assembled from a plurality of body portions. As shown in FIG. 1, for example, the body 22 can include a central portion 22a, a first end portion 22b and a second end portion 22c.

In each fuel burner described throughout this application, portions of the body can comprise a wide variety of materials while incorporating aspects of the present invention. For example, the body of exemplary fuel burners may comprise a material having a thermal conductivity that is greater than about 80 W/mK. The body of further fuel burners may comprise a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 100 W/mK. Still further, the body of additional fuel burners may comprise a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 120 W/mK. Exemplary body portions of each fuel burner described herein may be formed from a variety of materials including, but not limited to, one or more of aluminum, copper, tungstein, iron, gold and/or nickel or the like. Composites, alloys, coatings and/or other various material characteristics or types may also be used to provide a body with satisfactory thermal performance. Further aspects of the invention may be practiced with a body or a portion of a body having a lower thermal conductivity. For example, further fuel burners may include a body or portions of a body formed from a material having a thermal conductivity that is less than 80 W/mK. In one embodiment, the fuel burners may include a body or portions of a body having a thermal conductivity that is less than 80 W/mK, but having a coating layer comprising a material having a thermal conductivity that is greater than about 80 W/mK.

Exemplary fuel burners of each embodiment of the present invention may include a fluid coolant system to remove heat from the fuel burner body. The fluid coolant system may allow use of materials that might otherwise degrade under temperature conditions that exceed the melting point of the material. Moreover, using materials with a higher thermal conductivity (e.g., greater than about 80 W/mK) can more efficiently conduct heat through the body for removal by the fluid circulating in the fluid coolant system, if provided.

Coolant systems may be provided as a separate component of the fuel burner or may be integrated with the fuel burner body. As shown in the figures, the coolant system 40 may be integrated with the fuel burner body 22. The fluid coolant system may also include various alternative fluid paths through the body 22 of the fuel burner. FIGS. 1, 2, 4A and 4B depict an exemplary fluid path for a fluid coolant system in accordance with exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

As shown in FIG. 4A, the central portion 22a may be provided with an inlet socket 42 configured to receive in inlet fitting (not shown) of the fluid coolant system. The central portion 22a of the body 22 is also provided with a first lower horizontal bore 44 in fluid communication with the inlet socket 42. The second end portion 22c of the body 22 is provided with a first vertical bore 46 in fluid communication with the first lower horizontal bore 44. The central portion 22a of the body 22 is also provided with a first upper horizontal bore 48. The first upper horizontal bore 48 is placed in fluid communication with the first vertical bore 46 and a transverse bore 50 formed in the first end portion 22b of the body 22.

As shown in FIG. 4B, the central portion 22a can also include a second upper horizontal bore 52 providing fluid communication between the transverse bore 50 and a second vertical bore 54 defined in the second end portion 22c. The central portion 22a can further include a second lower horizontal bore 56 providing fluid communication between the second vertical bore 54 and an outlet socket 58. The outlet socket 58 is configured to receive an outlet fitting (not shown) of the fluid coolant system. Seals, such as an O-rings 45, can be provided at interfaces between the central portion 22a and each end portion 22b, 22c to prevent fluid leakage from the bores formed in the body 22. The first and second vertical bores 46, 54 may each be provided with a respective plug 47a, 47b adapted to close the open end of the respective vertical bore.

With reference to FIG. 2, the fluid coolant system 40 can include a supply line 41a providing a conduit for fluid to travel from a fluid reservoir 49 to the inlet socket 42. The fluid coolant system 40 can further include a return line 41b providing a conduit for fluid to travel from the outlet socket 58 back to the fluid reservoir 49. The supply line and/or return line may also comprise a fluid pump 43 adapted to cause fluid to circulate through the coolant circuit. For example, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4A, the pump 43 may cause fluid to circulate along path 42a while entering the inlet socket 42. Next, the fluid circulates along path 44a while passing through the first lower horizontal bore 44. The fluid then circulates vertically along path 46a while passing through the first vertical bore 46. As shown in FIGS. 2, 4A and 4B, the fluid then circulates about the burner ports 24 along circulation paths 48a, 50a, 52a while respectively passing through bores 48, 50 and 52. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4B, the fluid then circulates vertically along path 54a while passing through the second vertical bore 54. The fluid then circulates horizontally along path 56a while passing through the second lower horizontal bore 54 prior to exiting through the outlet socket 58. The thermally loaded fluid stream then passes through the return line 41b and dumped into the fluid reservoir 49. The size of the fluid reservoir 49 may permit the reservoir to act as a heat sink. Alternatively, a refrigeration or other cooling arrangement (not shown) may remove heat from the fluid reservoir 49.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the upper paths 48a, 50a, 52a define a U-shaped coolant passage the circumscribes a substantial portion of the burner ports 24. It will be appreciated that substantially circumscribing the burner ports can facilitate heat removal from the body away from the burner face of the body. The fluid paths can also be located in close proximity to one or more burner ports to increase the rate of heat removal from the burner port area. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, the U-shaped coolant passage can be positioned a distance “d” from a peripheral burner port. In exemplary embodiments, the distance “d” can be less than about 1 centimeter although other distances may be incorporated in further embodiments of the present invention.

Forming the fuel burner with a body fabricated from a material having a thermal conductivity greater than about 80 W/mK in combination with a fluid coolant system can produce flames having enhanced flame characteristics without damaging the body of the fuel burner. For example, such fuel burners can produce a flame having a temperature of at least about 2000° C. to sufficiently heat materials during various material processing procedures. In one embodiment, the flame temperature is at least 2400° C. In a second embodiment, a flame temperature of at least 2600° C. In a third embodiment, a flame temperature of at least 2800° C.

The fuel burners of the invention can also have enhanced power output. In exemplary embodiments, fuel burners may have a power output of greater than about 75 KW although fuel burners may be designed with other power output levels. In one embodiment, the fuel burners have a controllable power output of greater than 100 KW. In a second embodiment, the fuel burners have a controllable power output of greater than 120 KW. In a third embodiment, the fuel burners have a controllable power output of greater than 150 KW. In a fourth embodiment, the fuel burners have a controllable power output of greater than 500 KW.

Still further, fuel burners of the present invention can be designed to produce a flame having a laminar flow portion with a length of at least about 5 centimeters. Increasing the length of the laminar flow portion of the flame can provide sufficient clearance between the material being processed and the fuel burner while reducing the power loss as the flame propagates toward the material being processed. Still further, fuel burners of the present invention can be designed to produce a flame adapted to operate with an average flow velocity of a fuel mixture through the at least one burner port of less than about 40 n/s. In this regard, the average flow velocity is the volume flow rate of the fuel and oxidizer mixture divided by the area of the burner ports through which the mixture is flowing. Providing an average flow velocity that is less than about 40 m/s can reduce turbulent flow that can otherwise lead to inefficiencies of heat loss to the surrounding environment.

To further enhance the flame characteristics, each embodiment of the invention described and illustrated herein may include a mixing device adapted to more thoroughly mix a fuel and an oxidizer prior to flowing through the at least one burner port of the fuel burner. If provided, the mixing device defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns. Mixing devices in accordance with the present invention can define a plurality of angular turns in a wide variety of ways. Providing angular turns in the fluid path is believed to promote further mixing of the fuel and oxidizer as the fluid mixture propagates through the fuel burner. The angular turns may be gradual; however, abrupt angular turns are believed to provide more thorough mixing of the fuel and oxidizer. The fluid path direction can change through various angles to promote mixing of the fluid. For example, the fluid path may have at least one angular turn of at least 90 degrees. In further examples, the fluid path can have at least one angular turn of from about 90 degrees to about 180 degrees. In further examples, the fluid path may have at least one angular turn of less than 90 degrees.

The mixing device, if provided, may include various features adapted to promote mixing of the fuel and oxidizer within the fuel burner. For example, the mixing device can include one or more flow dividers. The flow divider, if provided, is adapted to divide an upstream flow into at least two downstream flows. Although not required, the two downstream flows can each take an angular turn of approximately 90 degrees such that the two downstream flows travel in substantially opposite directions. The divided fuel flow streams can be subsequently recombined to provide a shuffling effect for more thorough mixing of the fuel and oxidizer.

Flow dividers, if provided, can comprise a variety of shapes and configurations to selectively divide an upstream fluid flow into at least two downstream fluid flows. For example, the flow divider can divide the flow as it passes through and/or around the flow divider. In the illustrated embodiment, the fuel burner 20 includes a first flow divider comprising a first plate 62 and a second flow divider comprising a second plate 64. The second plate 64 is offset from the first plate 62 in a direction toward the burner ports 24. The first plate 62 can comprise at least one aperture to selectively allow fluid communication through the first plate 62. To facilitate flow division, the second plate 64 can include a plurality of apertures greater in number than the aperture(s) of the first plate 62. For example, as shown, the first plate 62 comprises first and second apertures 62a, 62b while the second plate 64 comprises four apertures 64a, 64b, 64c, 64d. As illustrated, the apertures of the second plate 64 are not aligned with any aperture of the first plate 62 to encourage a desired flow division between the downstream apertures.

As shown in FIG. 5, the an upstream flow path 72 enters through an inlet socket 69. The upstream flow path 72 then divides into two downstream flow paths 74, 76 traveling in substantially opposite directions toward respective apertures 62a, 62b in the first flow divider 62. The fuel and oxidizer mixture flowing along path 74 is then further divided into two additional downstream flow paths 78, 80 traveling in substantially opposite directions toward respective apertures 64a, 64b in the second flow divider 64. Likewise, the fuel and oxidizer mixture flowing along path 76 is further divided into two additional downstream flow paths 82, 84 traveling in substantially opposite directions toward respective apertures 64c, 64d in the second flow divider 64.

As further shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the mixing device 60 can include a third flow divider 66. The third flow divider 66 is adapted to divide a flow of fuel into two paths that travel about a peripheral edge of the flow divider. For example, the third flow divider 66 can comprise a plate having opposed peripheral edges 68 (see FIG. 7). As shown in FIG. 6, each edge 68 is adapted to cooperate with the body 22 to define a pair of flow channels 70 that permit each of the downstream flows 78, 80, 82, 84 to be further divided into two additional flow paths 86, 88 that travel about the periphery of the third flow divider 66.

Fuel burners in accordance with aspects of the present invention can also include an optional apparatus 90 positioned within a cavity 91 of the fuel burner and adapted to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port 24. Once installed, the fuel mixture is adapted to pass through the apparatus 90, the cavity 91 and the at least one burner port 24 in use. In conventional burners, flashback might result from uneven flow through the burner ports. A relatively low fuel/oxygen flow through one burner port may allow the flame to propagate back through the corresponding burner port. As a result, the fuel and oxidizer mixture within the cavity may combust. Combustion of the fuel and oxidizer mixture within the cavity can interfere with the burner performance and can potentially lead to a dangerous explosion. The optional apparatus 90 may function to more evenly distribute the fuel and oxidizer mixture to travel at substantially the same velocity through each of the plurality of burner ports. With equal velocity passage through the burner ports, the probability of flashback through one of the burner ports may be reduced.

Apparatus adapted to prevent flashback can comprise a wide range of structures within the cavity of the fuel burner. For example, the apparatus can comprise a member extending across the cavity wherein the member includes a plurality of passages to allow passage of the fuel and oxidizer mixture. The member can comprise a mesh, fabric or other member adapted to provide a uniform fluid flow.

In the illustrated embodiment, the member comprises a plate 92 with a plurality of passages extending through the plate. FIGS. 1 and 7 depict the plate 92 including several exemplary apertures 94. It is understood that the entire plate 92 can include the aperture pattern illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 7. The apertures can be substantially evenly distributed along the entire surface area of the plate to encourage uniform flow through substantially the entire surface area of the plate. Although the apparatus may also comprise a single plate, further exemplary apparatus can include two or more plates that are offset from one another in a direction toward the burner ports.

For example, as shown, the apparatus 90 comprises three plates 92 that are offset from one another in a direction toward the burner ports 24. The plates 92 are shown as identical however it is contemplated that the plates may have different aperture patterns. For example, the density of the apertures may increase from one plate to the next in a direction toward the burner ports.

Assembly of the burner is now described with reference to FIG. 7. As shown, the first plate 62 and the second plate 64 are inserted within slots 32 formed along the length of the central portion 22a of the body 22. The third plate 66 is then inserted within slots 34 also formed along the length of the central portion 22a. Enlarged ends 66b of the third plate 66 are dimensioned to substantially match the slots 34 such that the reduced central portion 66a of the third plate 66 forms the channel 70 as previously described. The three plates 92 of the apparatus 90 are then inserted within the slots 36 formed along the length of the central portion 22a. Threaded inserts 96 are positioned within bores 98 to facilitate threaded engagement with bolts 99. The lower seals 45 are positioned within seats 38 defined in the central portion 22a of the body 22 while upper seals are positioned within seats 25 defined in the first and second end portions 22b, 22c of the body 22. The bolts 99 are then inserted through respective bores 23 defined in the end portions and threaded with a respective threaded insert 96 to fasten the end portions 22b, 22c with respect to the central portion 22a.

FIGS. 8 and 9 depict a fuel burner 120 in accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the fuel burner 120 includes a body 122 with at least one burner port 124. The body can be constructed from the same materials as the body 22 of the fuel burner 20 discussed above. Moreover, the fuel burner 120 can cooperate with a fluid coolant system 140 to provide desirable flame characteristics as also described with respect to the fuel burner 20 above. The body 122 includes a front portion 122a and a rear portion 122b. The rear portion 122b is provided with a supply line 141a and a return line 141b. The front portion 122a is provided with a peripheral groove 129 that may be sealed by a shroud 127 to define a circumferential fluid path 146 in communication with the supply line 141a and the return line 141b. As shown, the circumferential fluid path 146 forms a substantial C-shaped coolant passage that circumscribes a substantial portion of the at least one burner port 124. The C-shaped coolant passage can be positioned such that it is positioned less than about 1 centimeter from a peripheral burner port of the plurality of burner ports 124.

The shroud 127 also includes a peripheral surface 128 that circumscribes a burner face surface 126. A chamfer surface 130 can extend between at least a portion of the burner face surface 126 and the peripheral surface 128. The chamfer surface 130 can facilitate air movement from a location behind the burner surface to help release the flame from the burner face surface 126.

The rear portion 122b is further provided with a fuel line 132 adapted to provide the burner with a fuel and oxidizer mixture. The fuel burner 120 may also be provided with a supplemental line 134 defining an internal conduit 135. The internal conduit 135 is adapted to communicate with a central aperture 125 by way of a funnel 138. Additives may be introduced through internal conduit 135 to pass through an aperture 139 of the funnel 138 and out the central aperture 125 in the burner face surface 126. Various additives may pass through the central aperture 125 to impact flame characteristics and/or to provide a coating to the material being processed.

Examples of additives that can be added to the fuel included detergents, stabilizers, metal-deactivators, (ashless) dispersants, anti-oxidants, cold flow improvers, anti-corrosion, biocides, lubricity enhancers, dehazers, antistatic agents, foam reducers, etc.

In order to assemble the fuel burner 120, the supplemental line 134 is attached to the rear portion 122b of the body 122 such that the internal conduit 135 is in communication with an interior area of the funnel 138. Seals 145 are then placed within seats (not shown) in the back of the front portion 122a and then the rear portion, together with the supplemental line 134, is positioned with respect to the front portion 122a of the housing 122. Once appropriately positioned, bolts 199 are passed through respective bores 123 in the rear portion 122b and screwed into threaded inserts (not shown) provided in bores (not shown) in the back of the front portion 122a. The shroud 127 is then attached with respect to the front portion 122a of the housing 122. Once attached, the shroud 127 cooperates with the peripheral groove 129 to define the circumferential fluid path 146. Although not shown, the fuel burner may comprise an apparatus positioned within a cavity of the body 122 to prevent flashback through the at least one burner port 124 such that the fuel mixture is adapted to pass through the apparatus, the cavity and the at least one burner port in use. Furthermore, although not shown, the fuel burner may comprise a mixing device positioned within the cavity and adapted to mix a fuel and oxidizer prior to flowing through the at least one burner port 124. The mixing device, if provided, defines a fluid path having a plurality of angular turns.

In use, the supply line 141a and the return line 141b may be placed in communication with a reservoir and a pump in a similar manner as described with respect to the fluid coolant system 40 discussed above. Once activated, fluid coolant travels along a fluid supply path 148, about the circumferential fluid path 146, and then along a fluid return path 150. While activated, the fluid coolant system can provide a cooling function for the body 122 of the fuel burner 120 A fuel and oxidizer mixture may also be provided by way of the fuel line 132. The fuel and oxidizer mixture passes through a cavity within the housing 122 and then out through the burner ports 124. Although not shown, the fuel and oxidizer mixture may pass through a mixing device and/or an apparatus to prevent flashback located within the cavity prior to exiting through the at least one burner port 124. Still further, additive may also pass through the internal conduit 135, the funnel 138 and the aperture 125 in the burner face surface 126 of the fuel burner 120.

FIGS. 10-14 depict a fuel burner 220 in accordance with a further exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As shown, the fuel burner 220 includes a body 222 with at least one burner port 224. The body can be constructed from the same materials as the body 22 of the fuel burner 20 discussed above. Moreover, the fuel burner 220 can cooperate with a fluid coolant system 240 to provide desirable flame characteristics as also described with respect to the fuel burner 20 above.

The body 222 can include a burner face 226 including openings of the burner ports 224. A peripheral surface 228 can circumscribe the burner face surface 226 and a chamfer surface 230 can extend between at least a portion of the burner face surface 226 and the peripheral surface 228. The optional chamfer surface 230 may facilitate air movement from a location behind the burner face surface to help release the flame from the surface 226.

The body 222 can comprise a one-piece member or may be assembled from a plurality of body portions. As shown in FIG. 10, for example, the body 222 can include a central portion 222a, a first end portion 222b and a second end portion 222c. As shown, the first and second end portions 222b, 222c can be attached to the central portion 222a by way of bolts 229.

The fuel burner 220 can also comprise a fluid coolant system 240. As shown in FIG. 12, portions of the fluid coolant system extend through the second end portion 222c of the body 222. For example, the second end portion 222c can be provided with an inlet socket 242 in communication with an first inlet bore 244. The second end portion 222c can further include a second inlet bore 246 in fluid communication with the first inlet bore 244.

Likewise, portions of the fluid coolant system 240 extend through the first end portion 222b of the body 222. For example, with reference to FIG. 14, the first end portion 222b can be provided with an outlet socket 258 in communication with a first outlet bore 260. The first end portion 222b can further include a second outlet bore 262 in fluid communication with the first outlet bore 260. The second outlet bore 262 and the second inlet bore 246 are substantially parallel with respect to one another and extend along respective outer peripheral portions of the fuel burner 220.

As further shown in FIG. 13, portions of the fluid coolant system 240 can also extend through the central portion 222a. For example, the central portion 222a can include a first transverse bore 248a, a second transverse bore 248b, a third transverse bore 248c, and a fourth transverse bore 248d. Each transverse bore is in fluid communication with the second inlet bore 246 defined in the second end portion 222c and the second outlet bore 262 defined in the first end portion 222b. The transverse bores 248a-d are substantially parallel with respect to one another and offset from one another to allow the fluid coolant system 240 to circumscribe sets of burner ports. For example, the first and second transverse bores 248a, 248b extend substantially parallel with respect to one another between the second inlet and outlet bores 246, 262 to circumscribe a first set of burner ports 224a. The second and third transverse bores 248b, 248c also extend substantially parallel with respect to one another between the second inlet and outlet bores 246, 262 to circumscribe a second set of burner ports 224b. Further, the third and fourth transverse bores 248c, 248d extend substantially parallel with respect to one another between the second inlet and outlet bores 246, 262 to circumscribe a third set of burner ports 224c. As shown in FIG. 13, the second transverse bore 248b extends through a portion 223a of the body that extends between the first and second sets of burner ports 224a, 224b. Likewise, the third transverse bore 248c extends through another portion 223b of the body that extends between the second and third sets of burner ports 224b, 224c.

One or more of the second inlet and outlet bores and/or transverse bores may be positioned less than about 1 centimeter from a peripheral burner port of one or more of the sets of burner ports 224a, 224b, 224c. It will be appreciated that the arrangement of bores can enhance heat transfer from central portions of a bank of burner ports. Therefore, material within the center portion of the burner face surface may be sufficiently protected from excessive temperature conditions that might otherwise occur with a large, unsegregated bank of burner ports. Although three sets of burner ports are illustrated, it is understood that one set or any number of sets of burner ports may be provided depending on the size of the burner port area.

In use, the fuel burner 220 may be provided with a supply line in communication with the inlet socket 242 and a return line in communication with the outlet socket 258. The supply and return lines may also be placed in communication with a reservoir and a pump in a similar manner as described with respect to the fluid coolant system 40 above. As shown in FIG. 12, fluid coolant can be pumped through the first inlet bore 244 along a supply fluid path 245. Next, the fluid circulates along path 247 defined by the second inlet bore 246 towards one of the transverse bores 248a-d. The fluid then travels through one of the transverse bores 248a-d and into the second outlet bore 262 (see FIG. 14). Next, the fluid travels along path 263 defined by the second outlet bore 262 towards the first outlet bore 260. The fluid then travels through the first outlet bore 260 along fluid path 261. The return line then carries the heated coolant fluid back to the reservoir as described with respect to the fluid coolant system 40 above.

The fuel burner 220 also includes fuel inlet fitting 270 defining a conduit 272 adapted to provide a path for a fuel and oxidizer mixture. The fuel burner 220 can also be provided with various mixing devices adapted to promote more thorough mixing of the fuel and oxidizer within the fuel burner. For example, as shown in FIG. 13, the fuel burner 220 can comprise a mixing device 280 comprising a flow divider 282 adapted to divide an upstream flow 284 into at least two downstream flows 286a, 286b. In the illustrated embodiment, the flow divider 282 divides the upstream flow 284 into four downstream flows radially offset equal distances from one another. As shown, the downstream flows (e.g., 286a, 286b) each take an angular turn of approximately 90 degrees with respect to the upstream flow such that each pair of downstream flows travel in substantially opposite directions. The angular turn can also be from about 90 degrees to about 180 degrees. In further examples, the angular turn may be less than 90 degrees.

The fuel burner 220 can also be provided with an apparatus adapted to prevent flashback 290. The apparatus 290 can be constructed in a similar manner and operates in a similar fashion as the apparatus 90 described above. As shown, the apparatus 290 can include plates 292 with apertures that can be substantially identical to the plates 92 described above.

The fuel burners described above are designed to be supplied with a fuel and oxidizer mixture. Various fuels may be used for the present invention to obtain a sufficiently high flame temperature. For example, the fuel may comprise natural gas, hydrogen, methane, ethane, propane, butane, or other fuel and combinations thereof. The oxidizer can a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen (e.g., air), a mixture of oxygen and another gas, pure oxygen, oxygen enriched air, or other gases containing sufficient amounts of oxygen as the oxidizer, or the like. The proportion of fuel to oxidizer may also vary to provide desirable flame characteristics, from fuel rich to one that is oxygen rich.

Various coolant fluids may be incorporated in the fluid coolant systems discussed above. In one example, the fluid comprises water or a water-based mixture to change the boiling point.

From the above description of the invention, those skilled in the art will perceive improvements, changes and modifications. Such improvements, changes and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be covered by the appended claims. All citations referred herein are incorporated by reference.