Title:
Heat exchanger and fitting
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a header of a heat exchanger. The header can include a tank having a tank outlet, and an integral fitting including a body extending outwardly away from the tank outlet and having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, an inlet located between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body adjacent to the inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the inlet toward the fitting outlet.



Inventors:
Vorpahl, Dustin J. (Burlington, WI, US)
Devine, Michael P. (Kenosha, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/789524
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
04/25/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F28F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FLANIGAN, ALLEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A header of a heat exchanger, the header comprising: a tank having a tank outlet; and an integral fitting including a body extending outwardly away from the tank outlet and having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, an inlet located between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body adjacent to the inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the inlet toward the fitting outlet.

2. The header of claim 1, wherein the baffle is arcuately shaped.

3. The header of claim 1, wherein the body of the fitting extends outwardly from the tank at a non-perpendicular angle.

4. The header of claim 1, wherein the inlet is a second inlet, wherein the fitting includes a first inlet in fluid flow communication with the tank outlet, and wherein the baffle is positioned between the first inlet and the second inlet.

5. The header of claim 1, wherein the inlet is a second inlet, wherein the fitting includes a first inlet in fluid flow communication with the tank outlet, and wherein the fitting defines a first flow path between the first inlet and the outlet and a second flow path between the second inlet and the outlet.

6. The header of claim 1, wherein the body is operable to join a working fluid entering the fitting from the tank with the fluid flow entering the fitting through the inlet downstream from the tank outlet.

7. The header of claim 1, wherein the baffle at least partially defines a first flow path and a second flow path.

8. The header of claim 1, wherein the baffle extends outwardly away from the tank past the inlet.

9. The header of claim 1, wherein the heat exchanger is a radiator.

10. A heat exchanger comprising: a header including a header plate and a tank having a tank outlet; a plurality substantially parallel tubes, at least one of the plurality of tubes being in fluid communication with the header; and a fitting including a body extending outwardly from the tank having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, a first inlet in fluid flow communication with the tank outlet, a second inlet located on the body between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body adjacent to the second inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the second inlet to the outlet.

11. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the header plate is a first header plate, and further comprising a second header plate, the tubes being positioned between the first and second header plates.

12. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the baffle is arcuately shaped.

13. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the body of the fitting extends outwardly from the header at a non-perpendicular angle.

14. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the baffle is positioned between the first inlet and the second inlet.

15. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the fitting defines a first flow path between the first inlet and the fitting outlet and a second flow path between the second inlet and the fitting outlet.

16. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the body is operable to join a working fluid entering the fitting from the tank with the fluid flow entering the fitting through the second inlet downstream from the tank outlet.

17. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the baffle at least partially defines a first flow path and a second flow path.

18. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the baffle extends outwardly away from the tank past the inlet.

19. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the fitting is integrally formed with the tank.

20. The heat exchanger of claim 10, wherein the heat exchanger is a radiator.

21. A fitting of a header for a heat exchanger, the header including a tank having a tank outlet, the fitting comprising: a body extending outwardly away from the tank outlet and having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, a first inlet located adjacent to the tank outlet for receiving a working fluid from the tank, and a second inlet located on the body between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, the body at least partially defining a first flow path between the first inlet and the fitting outlet and at least partially defining a second flow path between the second inlet and the fitting outlet.

22. The fitting of claim 21, further comprising a baffle located within the body adjacent to the second inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the second inlet toward the fitting outlet.

23. The fitting of claim 22, wherein the baffle is arcuately shaped.

24. The fitting of claim 22, wherein the baffle at least partially defines the first flow path and the second flow path.

25. The fitting of claim 22, wherein the baffle extends outwardly away from the tank past the second inlet.

26. The fitting of claim 22, wherein the baffle is positioned between the first inlet of the fitting and the second inlet of the fitting.

27. The fitting of claim 21, wherein the body extends outwardly from the tank at a non-perpendicular angle.

28. The fitting of claim 21, wherein the fitting is operable to join the working fluid from the tank with the fluid flow entering the fitting through the second inlet downstream from the tank outlet.

29. The fitting of claim 21, wherein the fitting is integrally formed with the tank.

30. The fitting of claim 21, wherein the heat exchanger is a radiator.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 to co-pending U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/794,969, filed Apr. 26, 2006, the contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to vehicle mounted heat exchangers and, more particularly, to heat exchangers and heat exchanger fittings.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many heat exchangers in use today, as, for example, radiators, evaporators, and condensers for vehicular and stationary systems, are based on a construction that includes fluid connections to external flow paths for at least one of the fluids passing through the heat exchanger, such as, for example, refrigerant. Generally, a fluid to be heated and/or cooled travels from an external source through an external flow path to the heat exchanger. Once the fluid travels through the heat exchanger, the fluid exits the heat exchanger to another external flow path.

Additionally, the fluid to be heated and/or cooled may also require fluid to be replaced in the system with fresh fluid or merely added to maintain the proper volume in the heat exchanger. However, if simple junction connections are utilized, the fluid being added may improperly combine with the existing fluid in the heat exchanger. For example, if the connection is located adjacent to the outlet from the heat exchanger, it is possible for the newly-added fluid to flow back into the heat exchanger. This problem becomes more apparent when the fluid exiting the heat exchanger is at a higher or lower temperature than the fluid entering the connection from another source.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In some embodiments, the present invention provides a fitting and a distribution receptacle for a heat exchanger. The receptacle can include a tank having an outlet and a fitting operably coupled to the tank outlet. The fitting can include an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, a body connecting the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, an inlet located on the body between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body and adjacent to the inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the inlet to the fitting outlet.

The present invention also provides a radiator. The radiator can include a pair of spaced, generally parallel headers, a plurality of spaced, generally parallel tubes extending between and in fluid communication with the interior of the headers, a tank located at at least one of the headers to receive a fluid. The tank can include a tank outlet, and an integral fitting. The fitting can be operably coupled to the tank outlet and can include an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, a body connecting the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, an inlet located on the body between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body and adjacent the fitting inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the fitting inlet to the fitting outlet.

In some embodiments, the present invention provides a header of a heat exchanger, the header including a tank having a tank outlet, and an integral fitting including a body extending outwardly away from the tank outlet and having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, an inlet located between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body adjacent to the inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the inlet toward the fitting outlet.

The present invention also provides a heat exchanger including a header including a header plate and a tank having a tank outlet. The heat exchanger can also include a number of substantially parallel tubes, at least one of the tubes being in fluid communication with the header. The fitting can include a body extending outwardly from the tank having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, a first inlet in fluid flow communication with the tank outlet, a second inlet located on the body between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, and a baffle located within the body adjacent to the second inlet to direct at least a portion of a fluid flow from the second inlet to the outlet.

In some embodiments, the present invention provides a fitting of a header for a heat exchanger. The header can include a tank having a tank outlet. The fitting can include a body extending outwardly away from the tank outlet and having an outlet located remotely from the tank outlet, a first inlet located adjacent to the tank outlet for receiving a working fluid from the tank, and a second inlet located on the body between the tank outlet and the fitting outlet, the body at least partially defining a first flow path between the first inlet and the fitting outlet and at least partially defining a second flow path between the second inlet and the fitting outlet.

Other aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a heat exchanger and fitting according to some embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged front view of a tank and the fitting shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the tank and the fitting shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3 showing the direction of fluid flowing through the fitting.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items.

Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms “mounted,” “connected,” “supported,” and “coupled” and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, “connected” and “coupled” are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings. In addition, terms such as “first” and “second” are used herein for purposes of description and are not intended to indicate or imply relative importance or significance.

The present invention will be described hereinafter as a radiator for use in vehicular applications. However, it should be understood that the invention may find use in heat exchangers or radiators in other contexts, for example, a radiator, evaporator or condenser for stationary applications. The invention is also useful in any of the many other types of heat exchangers that utilize coolant fill ports located downstream from the heat exchanger. Accordingly, no limitation to any particular use is intended except insofar as expressed in the appended claims.

FIG. 1 illustrates a heat exchanger 8 according to some embodiments of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, the heat exchanger 8 can include spaced, parallel header plates 10, 12 and a number of tubes 14 supported between the header plates 10, 12. In other embodiments, the heat exchanger 8 can include a single header plate.

In some embodiments, the heat exchanger 8 can include headers 13 at least partially formed by the header plates 10, 12 and a tank 16. In other embodiments, one or both of the headers 13 can be formed from or at least partially defined by the header plates 10, 12 without tanks secured thereon. In still other embodiments, the headers 13 can be formed by tubes or various laminating procedures. As shown in FIG. 2, the headers 13 at least partially define an interior space 17 for containing, receiving, and/or distributing working fluid(s).

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the tubes 14 have generally oval shaped or elongated cross sections. In other embodiments the tubes 14 can have a triangular, circular, square or other polygonal, or irregular cross-sectional shape. As shown in FIG. 1, the tubes 14 are spaced apart and their ends can be connected to the header plates 10, 12 (e.g., by brazing, welding, soldering, using adhesive or cohesive bonding materials, and/or using mechanical or non-mechanical fasteners). In some embodiments, the ends of the tubes 14 can extend through slots formed in the header plates 10, 12 so as to be in fluid communication with the interior spaces 17 of the headers 13. In other embodiments, the tubes 14 can be secured to exterior surfaces of the header plates 10, 12.

The heat exchanger 8 can also or alternatively include side pieces 18, 20, which can flank respective sides of the heat exchanger 8 and can extend between the header plates 10, 12. In some embodiments, the side pieces 18, 20 can be mechanically connected and/or metallurgically bonded to the header plates 10, 12 and/or other elements of the heat exchanger 8.

In some embodiments, such as the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, the heat exchanger 8 can have a cross-flow configuration, with working fluid traveling from left to right or from right to left through the tubes 14. In some such embodiments, the side pieces 18, 20 can be positioned on top and bottom sides of the heat exchanger 8. In other embodiments, the heat exchanger 8 can have a down-flow configuration, with working fluid traveling from a top of the heater exchanger 8 toward a bottom of the heat exchanger 8. In some such embodiments, the side pieces 18, 20 can be positioned on left and/or right sides of the heat exchanger 8.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the heat exchanger 8 includes fins 22 positioned between the spaced tubes 14, and between the endmost tubes 14 and the side plates 18, 20. As shown in FIG. 1, the fins 22 can have a serpentine configuration. In other embodiments, the fins 22 can have other shapes and configurations, such as, for example, a plate-type configuration. The fins 22 can be formed of a variety of materials including but not limited to aluminum, copper, brass, and/or metal alloys and composites. However, other materials can be used as well depending upon the desired strength and heat exchange efficiency requirements of a particular application.

In some embodiments, the header plates, 10, 12, the tubes 14, the fins 22, and the side pieces 18, 20 can be formed of aluminum or an aluminum alloy and can be braze clad at appropriate locations so that an assembly can be placed in a brazing oven and the components can all be brazed together in a single operation or in a series of operations. In some such embodiments, prior to brazing, an appropriate fixture can be employed to build up the assembly made up of the tubes 14 alternating with the serpentine fins 22 and capped at each end by the side plates 18, 20. The header plates 10, 12 can be fitted to the ends of the tubes 14 and the side plates 18, 20 can be mechanically coupled to the header plates 10, 12 typically by bending tabs on the side plates 18, 20 over the corresponding ends of the header plates 10, 12.

In some embodiments, the tanks 16 can be secured to the header plates 10, 12 after the header plates 10, 12 have been secured to one or more other elements of the heat exchanger 8. In some such embodiments, the tanks 16 can be formed from plastic or other materials having lower melting temperatures than one or more other elements of the heat exchanger 8.

In some embodiments, the heat exchanger 8 can include fittings or fluid connections 30, 32 secured to the tanks 16. In other embodiments, the fittings 30, 32 can be secured to other portions of the headers 13. In some embodiments, a first fitting 30 can be secured to one tank 16 (e.g., the left tank 16 in FIG. 1) and can provide an inlet to the heat exchanger 8 and a second fitting 32 can be secured to another tank 16 (e.g., the right tank 16 in FIG. 1) and can provide an outlet for the heat exchanger 8. In some such embodiments, the first and second fittings 30, 32 can have different configurations and flow paths. For example, in the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, the first fitting 30 can define a single fluid flow path (represented by arrow 35 in FIG. 1) and the second fitting 32 can define first and second flow paths (represented by arrows 36, 38, respectively in FIG. 5). In other embodiments, two or more fittings 30, 32 can be secured to a single tank 16.

As shown in FIGS. 2-5, the second fitting 32 is an integral fitting which is a unitary part of the header 13 and is operably coupled to a tank outlet 34. The second fitting 32 of the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 2-5 includes a first inlet 39 located adjacent to the tank outlet 34 and an outlet connection 40 located remotely from the tank outlet 34. The second fitting 32 also includes a body 42 connecting the tank outlet 34 and the outlet connection 40, a fill port or second inlet connection 44 located on the body 42 between the tank outlet 34 and the outlet connection 40, and a baffle 50 located within the body 42 and adjacent to the second inlet connection 44.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 2-5, the baffle 50 is located and shaped to block the inlet flow from flowing directly into, or back-flowing into, the outlet 34 or the tank 16. As shown in FIG. 2, the second fitting 32 is oriented at a non-perpendicular angle with respect to the tank 16. The second fitting 32 can be angled to minimize the length of tubing (not shown) used to connect the second fitting 32 to other external devices. Furthermore, the angled fitting can provide better access to the second inlet connection 44. By utilizing an angled second fitting 32, the overall size of the second fitting 32 can be minimized as the second inlet connection 44 can be located closer to the tank 16 because of the easier access to the second inlet connection 44. The second fitting 32 can extend from the tank 16 at any number of angles, including a non-perpendicular angle or a perpendicular angle.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 4, the baffle 50 is arcuately-shaped to provide an adequate flow passage which minimizes flow restrictions and pressure gradients. In other embodiments, the baffle 50 can have other shapes and configurations, such as for example, squared, flat, generally linear, sloped or angled, and the like. As shown in FIG. 5, the baffle 50 can at least partially define each of the first and second flow paths 36, 38.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 5, the baffle 50 extends outwardly from the tank outlet 34 past the inlet connection 44. In other embodiments, the baffle 50 can extend outwardly from an interior surface of the second fitting 32 adjacent to the second inlet connection 44. As shown in FIG. 5 the baffle 50 does not extend all the way to the end of the outlet connection 40. This allows internal plungers and other devices to be utilized for limiting fluid flow, preventing leaks, and/or sealing the outlet connection 40 to downstream elements. In other embodiments, the baffle 50 can extend toward or outwardly past the outlet connection 40.

In some embodiments, the tank 16 and the second fitting 32 are integrally molded from a plastic material. In other embodiments, the tank 16 and/or the second fitting 32 can be formed from other materials, such as, for example, rubber, nylon, elastomeric materials, metal, composites, ceramics, and the like.

In operation, a working fluid enters the heat exchanger 8 through the fitting 30 and travels through a first tank 16, one or more of the tubes 14, and toward the second tank 16. The working fluid then exits the second tank 16 via the tank outlet 34 along the first flow path 36. The working fluid then travels through the body 42 of the fitting 32 toward the outlet connection 40. Additional fluid can be added via the inlet connection 44. Specifically, the additional fluid can enter the second inlet connection 44, as illustrated by arrow 64, and encounters the baffle 50 which directs the additional fluid flow towards the outlet connection 40, as indicated by arrow 66.

The additional fluid flow can be combined with the working fluid from the tank 16 at a location downstream from the tank inlet connection 44 and downstream from an outermost end of the baffle 50. In some embodiments, the fluid flows can be combined within the fitting 32, as illustrated in FIG. 5, or alternatively, the fluid flows can be combined after exiting the connection 32.

In some embodiments, the baffle 50 is operable to prevent the additional fluid flow from back-flowing into the tank 16. This effect can be particularly important when there is a temperature gradient between the fluid flow exiting the tank 16 and the additional fluid flow that is entering from the inlet connection 44. For example, in the case of a vehicular radiator, the fluid exiting the tank 16 is generally at a different temperature than the fluid entering from the inlet connection 44, depending on, among other things, the operating conditions of the heat exchanger 8 and/or the vehicle engine in fluid flow communication with the heat exchanger 8. Therefore, in such a design, it can be desirable to prevent the additional fluid from back-flowing into the tank 16.

While the above embodiments are described with respect to a single fitting, the heat exchanger 10 may utilize any number of fittings incorporating the novel features of the present invention.

One or more of the above-identified and other independent features and independent advantages are set forth in the following claims.