Title:
Decorative Condensation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The subject of the invention is a method for condensing moisture in a room space (8) atmosphere for decorative purposes where a refrigerating medium is conducted (2, 4) through a space (3) between two plates (7, 10) where at least the outer surface of one plate (7) is used as a moisture-condensing surface (6) for producing a decorative frostwork pattern (9). The scope of the invention also includes a condensation element with two opposing plates (7, 10) at a distance from each other, and an essentially slot-like space (3) between the plates (7, 10) containing a flowing, preferably gaseous, refrigeration medium. The scope of the invention further includes the use of the method or element as a decorative humidity-reducing and refrigeration element, particularly as a window in a building.



Inventors:
Haraste, Pekka (Espoo, FI)
Application Number:
11/579943
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
05/11/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25C1/12; B44C3/02; B44C5/06; B44F1/06; E06B3/677; B44C
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LOFFREDO, JUSTIN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A method for condensing moisture in a room space (8) atmosphere, particularly for decorative purposes, where air containing the moisture is brought into contact with a mechanically (1) refrigerated condensation surface in such a way that at least part of the moisture contained in the air is condensed on the cooled surface (6), characterized in that the refrigeration medium is conducted (2, 4) through a space (3) between two plates (7, 10) where at least the outer surface of one plate (7) is used as a moisture-condensing surface (6) for producing a decorative frostwork pattern (9).

2. A method according to patent claim 1, characterized in that refrigeration medium is conducted, in gaseous form, through the space (3) between the plates (7, 10), preferably in such a way that at least one inlet (11) of the gaseous medium and similarly at least one outlet (12) are located essentially in the opposite corners of the space (3) between the plates (7, 10).

3. A method according to patent claim 1, characterized in that transparent material, preferably glass, is used for the plates (7, 10).

4. A method according to patent claim 1, characterized in that air is preferably brought into a guided flow by the condensation surface (6) of the plates (7, 10) and/or subjected to humidity control in order to induce the condensing moisture to produce decorative refrigerated formations (9) in a controlled manner on the condensation surface (6).

5. A moisture-condensation element with at least one condensation surface (6) and a fitted mechanical refrigeration equipment (1) for cooling that surface, characterized in that the condensation element has two opposing plates (7, 10) at a distance from each other, and in that the essentially slot-like space (3) between the plates (7, 10) contains a flowing, preferably gaseous, refrigeration medium.

6. An element according to patent claim 5, characterized in that the opposing plates (7,10) are transparent plates, suitably of glass, preferably in such a way that the element can be used as a window.

7. An element according to patent claim 5, characterized in that the plate (10) opposite the plate (7) acting as a condensation surface (6) has been formed into an insulating double structure, preferably into an insulating glass structure with at least two opposing glasses (IO, 16) with a partial vacuum in the space (17) between them.

8. An element according to patent claim 5., characterized in that the space (3) between the plates (7, 10) contains equipment (11, 12, 13, 14) guiding the flow of the gaseous refrigeration medium in the desired manner past the surface of the plate (7).

9. An element according to patent claim 5, characterized in that the bottom of the element has a trough (18) guarding against overflow situations and for collecting any unfrozen condensed water and for leading it away.

10. Use of the method according to patent claim 1 as a decorative humidity—reducing and refrigeration element, particularly as a window in a building or similar premises.

11. A method according to patent claim 2, characterized in that transparent material, preferably glass, is used for the plates (7, 10).

12. A method according to claim 2, characterized in that air is preferably brought into a guided flow by the condensation surface (6) of the plates (7, 10) and/or subjected to humidity control in order to induce the condensing moisture to produce decorative refrigerated formations (9) in a controlled manner on the condensation surface (6).

13. A method according to claim 3, characterized in that air is preferably brought into a guided flow by the condensation surface (6) of the plates (7, 10) and/or subjected to humidity control in order to induce the condensing moisture to produce decorative refrigerated formations (9) in a controlled manner on the condensation surface (6).

14. An element according to patent claim 6, characterized in that the plate (10) opposite the plate (7) acting as a condensation surface (6) has been formed into an insulating double structure, preferably into an insulating glass structure with at least two opposing glasses (10, 16) with a partial vacuum in the space (17) between them.

15. An element according to patent claim 6, characterized in that the space (3) between the plates (7, 10) contains equipment (11, 12, 13, 14) guiding the flow of the gaseous refrigeration medium in the desired manner past the surface of the plate (7).

16. An element according to patent claim 7, characterized in that the space (3) between the plates (7, 10) contains equipment (11, 12, 13, 14) guiding the flow of the gaseous refrigeration medium in the desired manner past the surface of the plate (7).

17. An element according to patent claim 6, characterized in that the bottom of the element has a trough (18) guarding against overflow situations and for collecting any unfrozen condensed water and for leading it away.

18. An element according to patent claim 7, characterized in that the bottom of the element has a trough (18) guarding against overflow situations and for collecting any unfrozen condensed water and for leading it away.

19. An element claim 8, characterized in that the bottom of the elements as a trough (18) guarding against overflow situations and for collecting any unfrozen condensed water and for leading it away.

20. Use of the elements according to patent claim 5 as a decorative humidity_13 reducing and refrigeration element, particularly as a window in a building or similar premises.

Description:

The subject of the invention is a method according to the preamble of patent claim no. 1 for condensing the moisture contained in a room's atmosphere, particularly for decorative purposes, where the moisture-containing air is brought in contact with a mechanically refrigerated condensation surface in such a manner that at least part of the moisture contained in the air condenses on the refrigerated surface. The scope of the invention also includes a moisture-condensation element according to patent claim no. 5, containing at least one condensation surface and a mechanical refrigeration device fitted for refrigerating the said surface. The scope of the invention further includes the use of the inventive method and arrangement.

Different prior art arrangements are known where a surface is mechanically refrigerated, causing the moisture contained in ambient air to condense on the cold surface. In most cases, such condensation is primarily a technical impediment that one tries to avert in different ways.

A prior art arrangement is also known, e.g. by Finnish patent no. 88336, where the cooling of water is utilized to form decorative elements. Similarly, Finnish patent no. 104919 describes a further developed arrangement where the formation of figures thus created is controlled using electronic devices.

It has also been known since the introduction of glass windows, that in cold conditions, frost, in a multitude of shapes and with a clearly decorative appearance, forms on the windows. Such frost formations on cold surfaces are normally called “frostwork”. In most cases, even the formation of these, as such decorative formations, is considered an impediment because they are symptoms of, inter alia, heat loss and poor ventilation of window panes.

The primary objective of this invention is an arrangement where the creation of frost figures on cold surfaces is artificially promoted with the very intention of having the decorative effects of these figures as the main issue.

Another objective of the invention is an arrangement that allows enjoying frostwork at times other than just during winter.

Yet another objective of the invention is an arrangement that can be utilized for reducing air humidity irrespective of the season.

The arrangement according to the invention is characterized by the facts presented in the characterization sections of the enclosed independent patent claims. Thus the method according to the invention is characterized in that refrigeration medium is passed through the space between two plates and the outer surface of at least one of the plates is used as a condensation surface for forming a decorative frostwork pattern. The condensation element according to the invention is characterized in that it has two plates with a gap between them and that the essentially slot-like space between the plates contains refrigeration fluid preferably in gaseous form. Certain preferable embodiments of the invention are presented in non-independent patent claims.

The invention is presented below by way of example, making reference to the enclosed drawing that schematically illustrates, as a partial drawing with perspective, an arrangement according to one embodiment of the invention, consisting mainly of refrigeration equipment as such known from the prior art and an arrangement containing a condensation surface.

According to the FIGURE, refrigeration equipment 1 that normally consists of, inter alia, a compressor and a condenser (not shown separately) is suitably located outdoors and controlled by suitable equipment such as a thermostat (not shown) in such a manner that a flowing, as such known refrigeration medium is produced. The refrigeration medium is conducted through feed pipework 2 in accordance with the invention, through space 3 between two essentially planar plates to outlet pipework 4 and through it back to refrigeration equipment 1. Due to technical reasons, the pipework suitably includes pressure-balancing vessel 5.

The cooled refrigeration medium is suitably conducted in gaseous form behind the first plate 7, containing condensation surface 6, past the plate in such a manner that plate 7, and with that, also the outside 6 of the plate cools down. The water vapours in the room S touching the cold surface 6 are then condensed on the cold surface 6 in such a manner that decorative patterns are formed on the surface, a schematic example of which is in the attached drawing marked with reference 9. The formation of these patterns follows the general rules of ice crystal formation, i.e. in addition to the crystalline structure, other factors, such as the quality of the surface, particularly scratches, roughness or other crystallization centres on it, the temperature of the surface, the humidity of the adjoining space and changes in these two parameters, as well as other micro-local parameters cause the condensing water to create formations known as “frostwork”. The shape of such frostwork patterns depends on the said parameters, resulting in the decorative pattern 9 on condensation surface 6 in practice being each time different compared to the patterns formed on earlier occasions.

In practice, the formation and, in particular, the shape and size of frostwork patterns can be influenced by changing the humidity of space 8 and in particular the air flows passing condensation surface 6. For example, playing children could have an impact on the frostwork patterns by blowing on the surface of the glass, causing an existing frostwork 9 to partly thaw in the middle while new patterns are created on the sides. Similarly, different wiping and cleaning techniques can be utilized for influencing the shape of frostwork patterns 9. Using suitable illumination and control of air flows (not shown), the decorative effects of frostwork patterns can be guided in the desired direction while their absolute shape still remains rather random within the constraints of the said rules.

A particularly decorative arrangement is one where plate 7 containing condensation surface 6 is made of glass. In this case, a light source placed behind the plate is a particularly good way of further enhancing the decorative impression created by frostwork patterns 9.

Particularly preferable is an embodiment of the invention where the refrigeration medium in gaseous form is conducted through space 3 between two panes of glass 7 and 10. In this respect, the FIGURE schematically illustrates how the gaseous refrigeration medium is preferably conducted through space 3 in such a way that the outlet points 11 and 12 are located diagonally opposite each other in space 3. In one embodiment (not shown), the flow of refrigeration medium in space 3 is controlled using a different location for inlet and outlet pipes in relation to each other and/or by using separate flow guides in such a way that the direction of gas flow in space 3 is other than diagonal.

If according to the preferable embodiment of the invention, clear glass panes are used for plates 7 and 10 and transparent gas for the refrigeration medium, the arrangement according to the invention can be utilized as a decorative window of a building or a building element. If refrigeration equipment 1 according to the invention is not switched on, such a window will look like any other window, but when the refrigeration is on, the window turns into a particularly decorative element where the impediments to forming frostwork patterns 9 have, however, been effectively eliminated. For the sake of clarity regarding the operation, the FIGURE shows inlet pipe 13 and outlet pipe 14 connected to space 3, but in practice, these are preferably conducted in such a manner that they are not necessarily visible through the window.

If such a decorative window construction is an external window in a building, it is expedient to use an as such known insulation glass as the outermost window construction, where there preferably is a certain partial vacuum in space 17 between two glass panes 15 and 16 that are sealed 17 against the structure. If, on the other hand, the construction is used as a partition window between two rooms, it may be desirable to have frostwork patterns 9 forming on both sides of space 3 between glass panes 7 and 10; in this case, both external surfaces of glass panes 7 and 10 act as separate condensation surfaces 6.

When moisture contained in space 8 is condensed on a cold surface, space 8 will, as such, become drier at the same time. In order to prevent any potential damp problems, there preferably is an overflow trough 18 under the construction for collecting and conducting away any water possibly leaking from condensation surfaces 6; this is only allusively illustrated in the FIGURE by arrow 19. In this case, the construction according to the invention also acts as a means of drying the room space 8, when required. On the other hand, maintaining the decorative frostwork pattern 9 may require artificially increasing the humidity of the room space, for example by conducting the water coming from overflow trough 18 back to the room atmosphere using an evaporator (not shown).

An arrangement according to the invention produces a steady, step-less cooling process of condensation surface 6, allowing the formation of frostwork patterns 9 to be influenced as desired. By using intermittent cooling, frostwork pattern 9 on the plate can periodically be allowed to thaw, after which new frostwork 9 having a different pattern can be formed. Such an arrangement acts as a decorative element as such, and in addition to the use in windows discussed above, it can also be placed as a decorative element in an open room space.

Certain preferable embodiments of the invention have been presented above by way of example, but to a person skilled in the art, it is obvious that the invention can also be implemented in many other ways within the framework of the enclosed patent claims.