Title:
Cool-air supplying apparatus and refrigerator having the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cool-air supplying apparatus of a refrigerator includes a fan that has a body and a plurality of blades mounted around a circumference of the body. A motor of the cool-air supplying apparatus is mounted at least partially in a recess formed within the fan body. A rotor of the motor is coupled to the inner surface of the recess so that the fan and rotor rotate together as one body. Because the motor is mounted within a recess of the fan body, an overall height of the combined fan and motor is smaller than in conventional cool-air supplying devices. As a result, when the cool-air supplying apparatus is mounted within a cool-air supply duct of a refrigerator, more space within the refrigerator can be devoted to the storage space, which increases the internal capacity of the refrigerator. In addition, less room within the cool-air supply duct is consumed by the motor, which increases the flow of cool air through the duct.



Inventors:
Lee, Soo-kwan (Seoul, KR)
Bae, Jun-ho (Seoul, KR)
Kim, Chang-joon (Seoul, KR)
Application Number:
11/714237
Publication Date:
01/10/2008
Filing Date:
03/06/2007
Assignee:
LG Electronics Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25D17/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ROGERS, LAKIYA G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KED & ASSOCIATES, LLP (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cool-air supplying apparatus of a refrigerator, comprising: a fan comprising a body and a plurality of blades arranged around a circumference of the body, wherein a recess is formed in the body; and a motor that is at least partially mounted within the recess of the fan body, wherein a rotor of the motor is attached to the fan body such that the rotor and the fan body rotate together.

2. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the motor comprises: a stator; and a rotor positioned outside the stator, wherein the rotor is coupled to an inner surface of the recess of the fan body.

3. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 2, wherein the rotor of the motor is formed of an inner surface of the recess of the fan body and a plurality of magnets that are mounted on the inner surface of the recess

4. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one portion of the motor is coupled to an inner surface of the recess of the fan body.

5. A refrigerator comprising the cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fan and the motor are mounted in a cool-air duct formed adjacent to a storage space of the refrigerator.

6. The refrigerator of claim 5, wherein the cool-air duct is separated into a first portion and a second portion by a shroud, wherein air from a refrigerating apparatus of the refrigerator is supplied through the first portion of the cool-air duct, and wherein the fan and motor are mounted in the second portion of the cool-air duct.

7. The refrigerator of claim 6, wherein a grill is located between the second portion of the cool-air duct and a storage space of the refrigerator, and wherein the motor is mounted on the grill.

8. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 1, wherein a height of the blades is between approximately 19% and 23% of an outside diameter of the fan.

9. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fan further comprises a fan-shroud, and wherein the blades are mounted between the body and the fan-shroud.

10. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 9, wherein an inside diameter of the fan-shroud is between approximately 70% and 85% of an outside diameter of the fan.

11. The cool-air supplying apparatus of claim 1, wherein inner edges of the blades form a circle having a diameter that is between approximately 55% and 62% of an outside diameter of the fan.

12. The cool-air supplying device of claim 1, wherein an angle 01 formed between a tangent line on an inner edge of the blades and a tangent line of a circle formed by the inner edges of the blades is between approximately 33 and 35 degrees.

13. The cool-air supplying device of claim 1, wherein an angle 02 formed between a tangent line on an outer edge of the blades and a tangent line of an outer diameter of the fan is between approximately 31 and 33 degrees.

14. A refrigerator comprising: a storage space; a refrigerating apparatus configured to supply cool air; a cool-air supply duct that conducts cool air from the refrigerating apparatus to the storage space, wherein the cool-air supply duct is formed between a rear wall of the refrigerator and a grill that opens into the storage space; a shroud located in the cool-air supply duct and including an orifice; and a cool-air supplying device mounted between the grill and the shroud, wherein the cool air supplying device comprises: a fan provided with a body and a plurality of blades arranged around a circumference of the body, wherein a recess is formed in the body; and a motor that is at least partially mounted within the recess, wherein a rotor of the motor is coupled to the recess of the body.

15. The refrigerator of claim 14, wherein the cool-air supplying apparatus further comprises a fan-shroud, and wherein the blades are mounted between the fan-shroud and the body.

16. The refrigerator of claim 15, wherein an inside diameter of the fan-shroud is between approximately 70% and 85% of an outside diameter of the fan.

17. The refrigerator of claim 14, wherein the cool-air supplying apparatus is mounted adjacent the orifice formed in the shroud such that the cool-air supplying apparatus pulls cool air from a space between the rear wall of the refrigerator and the shroud and discharges the cool air into the storage space through the grill.

18. The refrigerator of claim 14, wherein the motor is mounted to the grill.

19. The refrigerator of claim 14, wherein a rotor of the motor is integrally formed with an inner surface of the recess of the fan body.

20. The refrigerator of claim 19, wherein the rotor of the motor is formed by mounting a plurality of magnets on an inner surface of the recess of the fan body.

Description:
The application claims priority to Korean Application No. 10-2006-0064113, filed on Jul. 7, 2006, which is herein expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present invention relates to a cool-air supplying apparatus for a refrigerator which is capable of increasing an amount of cool air supplied to a storage chamber of the refrigerator. The device also increases an internal volume of storage chamber by minimizing a space occupied by a driving motor of the cool-air supplying apparatus.

2. Background

Generally, a refrigerator is provided with a cooling system which supplies cool air to a refrigerating chamber and a freezing chamber which are separated by a partition wall. A cool-air supplying apparatus, in the form of a fan, is typically used to move the cool air from the refrigerating apparatus into the storage chambers.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a conventional art cool-air supplying apparatus of a refrigerator. FIG. 1 is a perspective view of illustrating a connection structure between a fan and a motor. FIG. 2 is a lateral cross section view illustrating the cool-air supplying apparatus of FIG. 1 installed in a refrigerator.

As shown in FIG. 1, a conventional art cool-air supplying apparatus of a refrigerator is provided with a fan 220 comprising a body 223, a plurality of blades 221 and a fan-shroud 222. The body 223 has a motor-axis insertion hole 224 of a protruding shape which is coupled with a shaft 251 of a motor 250. The plurality of blades 221 are provided around the circumference of the body 223. The fan-shroud 222 is connected with the upper side of the blades 221 so as to support the upper sides of the blades 221.

The motor-axis insertion hole 224 is provided in the center of the body 223 of the fan 220. Once the shaft 251 of the motor 250 is inserted into the motor-axis insertion hole 224, a driving force of the motor 250 is transmitted to the fan 220, which allows the fan assembly to blow cool air.

As shown in FIG. 2, the fan 220 is provided between a shroud 260 and a grill 270 located adjacent a storage space of a refrigerator. The motor 250 is mounted on a rear wall 110 of the refrigerator. The shroud 260 is provided with an orifice 261 to guide the cool air to an inlet of the fan 220. Also, the grill 270 is provided with cool-air discharge holes 280 to discharge the cool air into the storage space. The motor 250 is positioned within the cool air duct 112 opposite to the fan 220. As a result, the motor 250 partially obstructs the flow of cool air through the cool air duct 112. Also, because the motor 250 and the fan 220 occupy a relatively large space, the internal cooling space of refrigerator is decreased by a height (L1) of the motor 250 and fan 220.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The embodiments will be described in detail with reference to the following drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like elements, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of illustrating a connection structure between a fan and a motor provided in a conventional art cool-air supplying apparatus;

FIG. 2 is a lateral cross section view illustrating a conventional art refrigerator having the cool-air supplying apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross section view illustrating an inner structure of a refrigerator having a cool-air supplying apparatus;

FIG. 4 is a cross section view taken along line IV-IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5A is a perspective view illustrating a connection structure between a fan and a motor;

FIG. 5B is a cross section view taken along line V-V of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6 is a plan view illustrating a shape of a fan provided in a cool-air supplying apparatus;

FIG. 7 is a side view illustrating a shape of a fan provided in a cool-air supplying apparatus;

FIG. 8A is a graph illustrating a power consumption based on a blade height of a fan as shown in FIG. 7, and FIG. 8B is a graph illustrating a noise change based on a blade height of a fan as shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9A is a graph illustrating a power consumption based on an inside diameter of a fan-shroud as shown in FIG. 7, and FIG. 9B is a graph of illustrating a noise change based on an inside diameter of a fan-shroud as shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 10A is a graph illustrating a power consumption based on an inside diameter formed by a blade, and FIG. 10B is a graph illustrating a noise change based on an inside diameter formed by a blade;

FIG. 11A is a graph illustrating a power consumption based on an inlet angle of a blade of a fan as shown in FIG. 6, and FIG. 11B is a graph illustrating a noise change based on an inlet angle of a blade of a fan as shown in FIG. 6; and

FIG. 12A is a graph illustrating a power consumption based on an outlet angle of a blade of a fan as shown in FIG. 6, and FIG. 11B is a graph of illustrating a noise change based on an outlet angle of a blade of a fan as shown in FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 3, a refrigerator 100 including fans 500 and 700 is provided with cool-air inlets 240 and 340 and a cooling system. The refrigerator 100 has an inner space including a freezing chamber 200 and a refrigerating chamber 300 divided by a partition wall 400. In this embodiment, separate refrigerator systems are provided for the refrigerating chamber 300 and the freezing chamber 200. In other embodiments, a single refrigerating system would supply cool air to both chambers. In still other embodiments, only a freezing chamber, or only a refrigerating chamber would be provided.

The cooling systems are provided with evaporators 230 and 330, cool-air ducts 210 and 310, and fans 500 and 700. The fans 550, 700 draw air from the storage chambers via the cool air inlets 240, 350. The cool air is drawn across the evaporators 230, 330, which cools the air. The fans then blow the cooled air into the cool air ducts 210 and 310, which supply the cool air to the storage spaces. The fans 500 and 700 are located in the cool-air ducts 210 and 310, to thereby supply the cool air to the storage spaces.

A cool-air supplying apparatus of the freezing chamber 200 is basically identical to that of the refrigerating chamber 300. Hereinafter, the cool-air supplying apparatus of the freezing chamber 200 will be explained in detail.

As shown in FIG. 4, the cool-air duct 210 is divided into two areas ‘A’ and ‘B’ with respect to an orifice 261. An inlet of the fan 500, or an upper portion of a fan-shroud 520, is in communication with the orifice 261. The cool air is drawn into the ‘A’ area after passing across the evaporator 230. The cool air is then supplied to the inside of the storage space through the orifice 261 and the ‘B’ area by the rotation of the fan 500 provided in the ‘B’ area.

The fan 500 is provided with a plurality of blades 510, a body 530, the fan-shroud 520, and a motor 600. The plurality of blades 510 are arranged around the circumference of the fan 500. The body 530 is rotated together with the blades 510 since the body 530 is connected with the blades 510. The body 530 has a recessed part 531 provided in a height direction of the fan 500. The fan-shroud 520 is provided so as to fix and support the plurality of blades 510. Also, at least one portion of the motor 600 is inserted into the recessed part 531 of the body 530, and the motor 600 drives the fan 500.

Preferably, the fan 500 and the rotor of the motor 600 are attached to each other so that the fan 500 and the rotor of the motor 600 are rotated together. By locating the motor inside the recessed part 531 of the fan, it is possible to decrease the space occupied by the fan 500 and the motor 600, thereby increasing the internal volume available in the refrigerator.

As shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, the motor 600 includes a stator 620, a rotor 630 positioned at a predetermined interval from the stator 620 and provided outside the stator 620, and magnets 631 provided on an inner surface of the rotor 630. The outer surface of the rotor 630 is coupled to the inner surface 532 of the recessed part 531, so that the fan 500 and the rotor of the motor 600 are rotated together. That is, because the inner surface 532 of the recessed part 531 is coupled to the outer surface of the rotor 630, it is possible to decrease the length of the rotation axis 632 which connects the motor 600 and the fan 500 with each other. As a result, the total height of the fan 500 and the motor 600 is decreased.

In some embodiments, the rotor 630 may be formed as one body with the inner surface 532 of the recessed part 531. In this instance, the magnets would simply be directly attached to the inner surface 532 of the recessed part 531 of the fan.

Each blade 510 has a predetermined height and width. Also, the blades 510 are slantways provided with a predetermined angle relative to the circumference of the fan 500. The fan-shroud 520 is provided at one end of each of the blades 510 such that the blades 510 are stably combined with the fan-shroud 520. The body 530 is combined with the lower end of each of the blades 510. Thus, the blades 510 are held between the body 530 and the shroud 520.

In the central portion of the body 530, there is the inner space into which the motor 600 is inserted. Also, the body 530 has the recessed part 531 which is coupled with the motor 600 through an opening thereof. At least one portion of the motor 600 is combined with the inner surface 532 of the recessed part 531 so that the fan 500 and the rotor of the motor 600 are coupled together. As a result, it is possible to decrease the total height (L2) of the motor 600 and the fan 500.

The cool-air duct 210 of the refrigerator is divided into two areas ‘A’ and ‘B’ by the shroud 260. The orifice 261 allows cool air to pass from the ‘A’ side to the ‘B’ side. The inlet of the fan 500 or the fan-shroud 520 is provided in the circumference of the orifice 261.

The fan 500 is provided between the orifice 261 and a grill 270. The motor 600 is provided in the ‘B’ area adjacent to the grill and the storage space. That is, the fan 500 and the motor 600 are provided in the ‘B’ area, which is adjacent to the storage space. Thus, the inlet of the fan 500 or the fan-shroud 520 is in communication with the orifice 261, so the motor 600 doesn't obstruct the passage of cool air through the cool-air duct 210. As a result, the cool air flows smoothly through the cool-air duct.

The shroud 260, including the orifice 261, is provided at a predetermined interval from the rear wall 110 of the refrigerator, to thereby form the “A” side of the cool-air duct 210. The grill 270 is provided at a predetermined interval from the shroud 260. The motor 600 can be attached to the grill 270, and more particularly, is positioned between the shroud 260 and the grill 270.

It is possible to optimize the design of the fan 500 to thereby maximize the flow of cool air blown into storage space, to minimize power consumption, and to minimize the amount of noise generated when the fan 500 and the motor 600 are rotated together. Hereinafter, the power consumption and the noise generated in the refrigerator 100 based on the detailed shape of the fan and the optimal design will be explained with reference to FIGS. 6 to 12.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, each blade 510 provided in the fan 500 has a predetermined height (H) and a predetermined width. The plurality of blades 510 are provided between the fan-shroud 520 and body 530 along the circumference of the fan 500. The blades 510 are formed so that the inner edges of the blades form an angle ‘θ1’ with respect to a tangential surface of a circle formed along an inner diameter Di formed by the blades. The outer edges of the blades also form an angle ‘θ2’ with respect to a tangential surface of the fan-shroud 520.

Preferably, the inside diameter (Di) of the circle formed by the inner edges of the plurality of blades 510 is 55% to 62% of the outside diameter (Do) of the fan 500.

Preferably, the inlet angle ‘θ1’ between the inner edges of the blades 510 and a tangent line of the above-mentioned circle has an angle of 31 to 33 degrees.

Preferably, the outlet angle ‘θ2’ between the outer edges of the blades 510 and a tangent line of the outside diameter of the fan 500 has an angle of 33 to 35 degrees.

The values of the inside diameter (Di), the inlet angle ‘θ1’, and the outlet angle ‘θ2’ according to the shape of the blades 510 are determined based on the optimal design of the fan 500, which will be explained with reference to graphs shown in FIGS. 8 to 12.

First, as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the power consumption and the noise generated by the fan 500 are the lowest when the height (H) of the blade is about 19% to 23% of the outside diameter (Do) of the fan.

Referring to FIGS. 9A and 9B, the power consumption and the noise are the lowest when the inside diameter (Ds) of the fan-shroud 520 is about 70% to 85% of the outside diameter (Do) of the fan.

As shown in FIGS. 10A and 10B, the power consumption and the noise are the lowest when the inside diameter (Di) is about 55% to 62% of the outside diameter (Do) of the fan.

As shown in FIGS. 11A and 11B, the power consumption and the noise are the lowest when the inlet angle ‘θ2’ has an angle of 31 to 33 degrees with respect to the outside of the fan 500.

As shown in FIGS. 12A and 12B, the power consumption and the noise are the lowest when the outlet angle ‘θ1’ has an angle of 33 to 35 degrees with respect to the inside of the fan 500.

By forming the fan so that it has dimensions that fall within the above-listed optimal parameters, it is possible to minimize the noise generated by the fan. In addition, the optical design ensures a good flow of cool air.

A cool-air supplying apparatus as described above has several advantages. Because the fan and the motor are formed as one body, and are rotated together, the space occupied by the fan and the motor is decreased. This allows the internal volume of the refrigerator to be increased. Furthermore, it also improves the flow of cool air because the motor does not impede the flow of cool air. Also, by optimizing certain characteristics of the fan, as explained above, the noise and power consumption can be reduced.

As the present invention may be embodied in several forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof, it should also be understood that the above-described embodiments are not limited by any of the details of the foregoing description, unless otherwise specified, but rather should be construed broadly within its spirit and scope as defined in the appended claims. All changes and modifications that fall within the metes and bounds of the claims, or equivalents of such metes and bounds, are therefore intended to be embraced by the appended claims.

Any reference in this specification to “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” “example embodiment,” etc., means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of such phrases in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with any embodiment, it is submitted that it is within the purview of one skilled in the art to effect such feature, structure, or characteristic in connection with other embodiments.

Although a number of illustrative embodiments have been described, it should be understood that numerous other modifications and embodiments can be devised by those skilled in the art that will fall within the spirit and scope of the principles of this disclosure. More particularly, variations and modifications are possible in the component parts and/or arrangements of the subject combination arrangement within the scope of the disclosure, the drawings and the appended claims. In addition to variations and modifications in the component parts and/or arrangements, alternative uses will also be apparent to those skilled in the art.