Title:
Refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A refrigerator shelf, capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables stored thereon, includes a shelf main body that partitions an inside of a refrigerator as specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit, disposed at both sides of the shelf main body, for emitting light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables via at least one among a top surface and a bottom surface of the shelf main body by using the shelf main body as a medium for light propagation. Alternatively, the photosynthesis promotion unit is disposed at a bottom surface of the shelf main body, and emits light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables via a top surface of the shelf main body by using the shelf main body as a medium for light propagation.



Inventors:
Jung, Jung Suk (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/715911
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
03/09/2007
Assignee:
DAEWOO ELECTRONICS Corporation (Seoul, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25C1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CRANSON JR, JAMES W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BACON & THOMAS, PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A refrigerator shelf for use in a refrigerator, capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables stored thereon, comprising: a shelf main body that partitions an inside of the refrigerator as specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit, disposed at both sides of the shelf main body, for emitting light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables via at least one among a top surface and a bottom surface of the shelf main body by using the shelf main body as a medium for light propagation.

2. The refrigerator shelf of claim 1, further comprising: a reflection part, installed on the bottom surface of the shelf main body, for reflecting the light emitted from the photosynthesis promotion unit to the top surface of the shelf main body.

3. The refrigerator shelf of claim 2, wherein the reflection part includes at least one convex mirror.

4. The refrigerator shelf of claim 1, wherein the shelf main body is made of material through which light is easily transmitted.

5. The refrigerator shelf of claim 1, wherein the photosynthesis promotion unit includes one or more light emitting units capable of emitting the light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables, and wherein each of the light emitting units has a light emitting diode.

6. The refrigerator shelf of claim 1, wherein the photosynthesis promotion unit includes one or more light emitting units capable of emitting the light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables, and wherein each of the light emitting units has a chip LED.

7. The refrigerator shelf of claim 1, wherein the photosynthesis promotion unit emits the light whose wavelength falls within a range from 450 and 700 nm.

8. A refrigerator shelf for use in a refrigerator, capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables stored thereon, comprising: a shelf main body that partitions an inside of the refrigerator into specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit, disposed at a bottom surface of the shelf main body, for emitting light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables via a top surface of the shelf main body by using the shelf main body as a medium for light propagation.

9. The refrigerator shelf of claim 8, further comprising: a lens unit, installed between the shelf main body and the photosynthesis promotion unit, for refracting the light emitted from the photosynthesis promotion unit.

10. The refrigerator shelf of claim 9, wherein the lens unit includes at least one concave lens.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables; and, more particularly, to a refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables by irradiating light to enable photosynthesis of the vegetables stored in the refrigerator shelf, thereby maintaining the freshness of the vegetables stored thereon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In general, the refrigerator includes a compressor, a condenser, an expansion device and an evaporator to perform a cooling cycle, and thus keeps the freshness of food items for a long period of time by cooled air generated through such a cooling cycle.

In such a refrigerator, a freezer compartment for preserving food items in a frozen state and a refrigerator compartment for preserving the food items in a refrigerated state are partitioned inside a main body forming external appearance thereof, so that the food items can be stored in either the refrigerator compartment or the freezer compartment according to the storage temperature of the food items.

FIG. 1 shows a configuration of a conventional refrigerator 10 whose refrigerator compartment is provided with a plurality of shelves 11 and a vegetable room 12 to separately store a large amount of food items such as vegetables or fruits thereon.

Such a refrigerator keeps the vegetables stored therein at a low temperature by simply controlling the cooled air, whereby the freshness of the vegetables can be maintained for a certain period of time. However, in case of preserving them for a long time, the freshness of the vegetables may not be maintained.

The vegetables, which belong to the plant kingdom, respire and transpire even while they are stored in a refrigerator. Therefore, in order to maintain the freshness of the vegetables stored in the refrigerator, it is necessary to suppress the respiration and the transpiration.

Accordingly, the conventional refrigerator can maintain a certain degree of freshness by keeping the vegetables at a low temperature to suppress the respiration thereof and in a high humidity to prevent the transpiration. However, since the chlorophyll contained in the vegetables cannot be prevented from being decomposed, the freshness of the vegetables cannot be maintained due to a decrease in the concentration of chlorophyll contained in the vegetables with the lapse of a certain period of time.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables to maintain the freshness of the vegetable by suppressing decomposition of the chlorophyll contained in the vegetables stored in a refrigerator.

It is another object of the present invention is to provide a refrigerator shelf capable of evenly providing vegetables stored thereon with light required for photosynthesis.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a refrigerator shelf, capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables stored thereon, including a shelf main body that partitions an inside of a refrigerator into specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit disposed at both sides of the shelf main body for emitting light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables via at least one among a top surface and a bottom surface of the shelf main body by using the shelf main body as a medium for light propagation.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a refrigerator shelf, capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables stored thereon, including a shelf main body that partitions an inside of a refrigerator into specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit, disposed at a bottom surface of the shelf main body, for emitting light required for the photosynthesis of the vegetables via a top surface of the shelf main body by using the shelf main body as a medium for light propagation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments given in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view for showing a conventional refrigerator;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view for illustrating a refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view for showing an assembled state of the refrigerator shelf of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view taken along a line A-A for showing the refrigerator shelf of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 shows the refrigerator shelf of FIG. 4 in a state provided with a reflection part;

FIG. 6 describes an in-use state of the refrigerator shelf of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view for illustrating a refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view taken along a line B-B for showing an assembled state of the refrigerator shelf of FIG. 7; and

FIG. 9 shows the refrigerator shelf of FIG. 8 in a state provided with concave lenses.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings so that they can be readily implemented by those skilled in the art.

First Embodiment

Hereinafter, the first embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings. FIGS. 2 to 5 show a refrigerator shelf 100 capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention. Further, FIG. 6 shows an in-use state of the refrigerator shelf 100.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a refrigerator shelf 100 in accordance with the first embodiment includes a shelf main body 110 that partitions an inside of a refrigerator into specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit 120 disposed at both sides of the shelf main body 110 for emitting light required for photosynthesis of vegetables.

The shelf main body 110 is formed of transparent material such as glass, acryl or reinforced plastic capable of transmitting light. Among these materials, glass is the most preferable as the material of the shelf main body 110.

Further, insertion grooves 111 are formed at both sides of the shelf main body 110 such that light emitting units 121 installed in the photosynthesis promotion units 120 can be inserted thereto, thereby assembling the photosynthesis promotion units 120 with the shelf main body 110 as a single body.

Furthermore, a shelf connection part 112 is installed at a rear end portion of the shelf main body 110, which is electrically coupled to a refrigerator connection part 200a, 200b or 200c (shown in FIG. 6) formed inside the refrigerator 200.

More specifically, the shelf connection part 112 is inserted into the refrigerator connection part 200a, 200b or 200c in such a manner that the photosynthesis promotion unit 120 can be provided with an electric power from a power supply of the refrigerator.

The photosynthesis promotion unit 120 is powered by the power supply of the refrigerator 200 to which the photosynthesis promotion unit 120 is electrically coupled via the shelf connection part 112. It is preferable that the photosynthesis promotion unit 120 be configured with a print circuit board and the light emitting units 121 installed on the print circuit board for emitting light required for photosynthesis of vegetables.

Here, light emitting devices such as emitting diodes, chip LEDs, white fluorescent lamps, incandescent lamps or the like can be employed as the light emitting units 121. Among these light emitting devices, emitting diodes are the most preferable as the light emitting units 121.

Further, it is preferable that the light emitting units 121 emit the light whose wavelength falls within a range from 450 to 700 nm. In this range of wavelength, biological or chemical processes that cause to deteriorate the freshness of vegetables can be suppressed.

To be specific, the decomposition of chlorophyll contained in leaves of vegetables is suppressed. Thus, the decrease in the chlorophyll concentration is also suppressed to keep vegetables green in color. Further, the decrease in the amount of vitamin C contained in vegetables is also suppressed. Thus, vegetables can be kept fresh for a longer period of time, while maintaining the nutrients therein to be intact.

Meanwhile, the light emitting units 121 are inserted into the insertion grooves 111 in the shelf main body 110, and light is emitted from the light emitting units 121 toward a top and a bottom surface of the shelf main body 110, transmitting through the shelf main body 110 as a medium for light propagation (see FIG. 4).

Here, since the shelf main body 100 is formed of a transparent material such as glass, acryl, reinforced plastic or the like, it provides a moving path for the light emitted from the light emitting units 121 toward the top and the bottom surface of the shelf main body 110.

Therefore, the light required for photosynthesis of vegetables can be supplied to vegetables stored on the top surface of the shelf main body 110 together with those stored at a shelf that lies below the shelf main body 110. This is because the light is transferred to a wide area over an entire hemisphere (whose solid angle is 2π) by transmitting through the transparent material of the shelf main body 110 as a medium for light propagation. Thus, the light required for photosynthesis can be evenly supplied to the vegetables.

If light required for photosynthesis of vegetables is transferred to vegetables only through air as a medium for light propagation, the light is likely not to be transferred to the vegetables located far from the light source or hidden by other vegetables. In accordance with the present embodiment, this problem can be overcome by using the shelf main body 110 as a medium for light propagation.

Furthermore, in order to efficiently transfer the light from the light emitting units 121 to the vegetables, a reflection part 130 is provided to be installed on either the top or bottom surface of the shelf main body 110 as shown in FIG. 5.

In the present embodiment, the reflection part 130 is installed on the bottom surface of the shelf main body 110 in such a way that the light emitted from the light emitting units 121 is reflected to the top surface of the shelf main body 110.

Here, it is preferable to use at least one convex mirror as the reflection part 130, so that the light emitted from the light emitting units 121 can be dispersed over a wide range of space.

In this manner, the light required for photosynthesis can be sufficiently supplied to the vegetables stored in the refrigerator 200.

Meanwhile, the refrigerator 200 may be provided with more than one shelf 100 installed therein. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, a plurality of refrigerator connection parts 200a, 200b and 200c may be installed in the refrigerator 200, thereby providing electric powers to a plurality of shelves 10a, 100b and 100c.

Furthermore, by installing a shelf on a top portion of the vegetable room 210 disposed at a lower part of the refrigerator 200, vegetables stored in a vegetable room 210 can be irradiated with light required for photosynthesis.

Second Embodiment

FIGS. 7 to 9 show a refrigerator shelf capable of promoting photosynthesis of vegetables in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

As shown therein, a refrigerator shelf 300 includes a shelf main body 310 that partitions an inside of a refrigerator into specified spaces; and a photosynthesis promotion unit 320 disposed at a bottom surface of the shelf main body 310 for emitting light required for photosynthesis of vegetables.

In addition, the refrigerator shelf 300 may further include a lens unit 330 for refracting the light emitted from the photosynthesis promotion unit 320, the lens unit 330 being disposed between the shelf main body 310 and the photosynthesis promotion unit 320.

Hereinafter, descriptions of like parts in the first embodiment will be omitted, and the distinctive configuration of the second embodiment will be described.

Formed at a bottom surface of the shelf main body 310 are insertion grooves 312, into which the light emitting units 321 of the photosynthesis promotion unit 320 is inserted so that the bottom surface of the shelf main body 310 is in contact with a top surface of the photosynthesis promotion unit 320.

The photosynthesis promotion unit 320 is powered by a power supply of the refrigerator, to which the photosynthesis promotion unit 320 is electrically coupled via the shelf connection part 311. It is preferably that the photosynthesis promotion unit 320 be formed of a print circuit board and the light emitting units 321 installed on the print circuit board for emitting light required for photosynthesis of vegetables.

The print circuit board, on which the light emitting units 312 are disposed, has such shape and size to fit to those of the shelf main body 310. Further, the light emitting units 312 irradiate the light toward a top surface of the shelf main body 310. Specifically, light emitting devices such as emitting diodes, chip LEDs, white fluorescent lamps, incandescent lamps or the like can be employed as the light emitting unit 321. Among these light emitting devices, it is preferable to use chip LEDs capable of emitting light whose wavelength falls within a range from 450 to 700 nm.

The reason why chip LEDs are preferable as the light emitting unit 321 is that the manufacturing time and cost can be efficiently saved by employing surface mount technology, and the shelf 300 can be made slimmer.

The lens unit 330, which is configured to refract and disperse the light, is installed on the top surface of the photosynthesis promotion unit 320, thereby making the light dispersed from the light emitting units 321 to the shelf main body 310.

To this end, the lens unit 330 has at least one concave lens 331 at locations corresponding to the light emitting units 321 of the photosynthesis promotion unit 320, such that the light can be dispersed from the light emitting units 321 to the top surface of the shelf main body 310.

In this manner, the light required for photosynthesis can be sufficiently supplied to the vegetables stored in the shelf 300.

As described above, the light required for photosynthesis can be sufficiently supplied to the vegetables stored in the refrigerator shelf in accordance with the present invention. Accordingly, the decomposition of chlorophyll in the vegetables can be prevented, so that the vegetables can be kept fresh in the refrigerator shelf.

While the invention has been shown and described with respect to the embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.