Title:
Multi-zone heat exchangers with separated manifolds
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multi-zone heat exchanger having multiple zones created by physical means in the same heat exchanger, is described. A separation means, such as a divider or baffle, is provided across and/or along the length of a heat exchanger tank or manifold to create different circulation environments of heat exchange or circuit zones, wherein heat exchange can occur.



Inventors:
Desai, Sameer (Lake Orion, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/541026
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
09/29/2006
Assignee:
Valeo, Inc. (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F28F9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEO, LEONARD R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JULIA CHURCH DIERKER (TROY, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A heat exchanger assembly comprising a heat exchanger and having: a heat exchanger core comprised of a plurality of fins and at least two sets of tubes; at least one tank attached at one end of the core and in fluid communication with the plurality of tubes; at least two circuit zones, each circuit zone including at least one of the two sets of tubes; an attachment area for tank to core; and a baffle in the at least one tank, wherein the at least one tank is separated along its length by the baffle into at least one first and one second compartment and wherein each of the at least two sets of the plurality of tubes is in fluid communication with the tank, such that each set of tubes and tank form a separate or partially separate fluid circuit having a circuit zone.

2. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 1, having two tanks placed opposite of one another in respect to the tubes, each tank in fluid communication with the plurality of tubes.

3. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 2, wherein each tank is separated along its length by a baffle into at least one first and one second compartment.

4. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 3, wherein the at least one first and at least one second compartment are either in fluid communication with each other or isolated from each other.

5. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 4, having more than two circuit zones.

6. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 3, wherein one set of the plurality of tubes is in fluid communication with the first compartment of the tank, and the second set of the plurality of tubes is in fluid communication with the other compartment of the tank.

7. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 6, wherein the first and second compartments are in fluid communication with each other or are isolated from each other.

8. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 7, wherein at least one of the baffles along the length one of the tank has an opening to provide fluid communication between the first and the second compartments of the tank.

9. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 8, wherein at least one of the baffles has a control device regulating the opening between the first and second compartments of the tank.

10. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 7, wherein at least one first baffle is along the length of at least one tank and wherein one of the tanks has at least one second baffle in the tank in the tank width direction.

11. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 10, wherein the at least one second baffle in the tank width direction or the at least one first baffle in the tank length direction, has an opening for fluid communication between the compartments on the same tank.

12. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 11, wherein in at least one of the openings is provided at an angle compared to the tank length to allow communication between the compartments.

13. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 11, wherein the control device allows selective fluid flows between compartments of the tank.

14. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 13, wherein the control device is passive or active.

15. A heat exchanger assembly, as in claim 14, wherein the control device is active and is actuated externally or internally.

16. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 13, wherein the control device is interchangeable with another type of control device.

17. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 1, wherein the heat exchanger is a multiple variant heat exchanger and wherein the control device selectively blocks fluid flow.

18. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 7, wherein the heat exchanger is a multiple variant heat exchanger and wherein the control device selectively blocks fluid flow.

19. A heat exchanger assembly as in claim 9, wherein the heat exchanger is a multiple variant heat exchanger and wherein the control device selectively blocks fluid flow.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to heat exchanger assemblies, and, in particular, heat exchangers useful in motorized vehicles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Heat exchangers are used in motorized vehicles and in various automotive applications. They can be useful to provide engine cooling, cabin heating, oil cooler thermal management, fuel temperature thermal management, and the like.

In motorized vehicles, different areas of the vehicle may have different requirements in terms of heat exchange. For example, when different areas of the vehicle require coolant at different temperatures or provide different temperatures at the inlet or outlet of the exchanger, separate heat exchangers for each requirement are often used. For example, when multiple independent areas in the vehicle require coolant at same or different temperature, separate heat exchangers are provided either ‘stacked-up’ like a pack of cards, or in coplanar arrangement, depending on the specific heat exchange requirements.

FR 2682160, filed Oct. 7, 1991, assigned to Renault; FR 2712674, filed Nov. 11, 1993 assigned to Valeo Thermique Moteur; U.S. Pat. No. 6,124,644, issued on Sep. 26, 2000, Olson et al; U.S. Pat. No. 5,915,464 issued on Jun. 29, 1999, Kalbacher et al; and, U.S. Pat. No. 6,158,398 issued on Dec. 12, 2000, Betz, disclose a variety of heat exchangers which are coplanar and/or separate heat exchangers connected by separate parts in series or parallel, in order to satisfy thermal management requirements of specific vehicles. To achieve certain thermal management requirements, for example, radiators or heat exchangers often use simple dividers or ‘baffles’ across the width of one or more tanks of the heat exchanger, the tank or tanks of the exchanger thus being separated into separate portions or creating certain zones of heat exchange, depending upon how the coolant flows therethrough.

There is a need to provide systems, including fluid circulating systems, employing heat exchangers and/or heat exchange elements that perform thermal management functions, which are capable of providing, for example, cooling to multiple sections of the vehicle such as engine cooling, cabin heating, oil cooler thermal management, fuel temperature thermal management, refrigerant thermal management, EGR thermal management, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Aspects of the present invention provide for a system and method for providing thermal management in motorized vehicle applications for multiple sections of the motor vehicle. Aspects of the invention, therefore, provide for flows of fluids at the same or different temperatures in a heat exchanger assembly comprising at least one heat exchanger; these same or different flows directed and/or created through the use of at least two tanks or manifolds (herein collectively referred to as (tanks) with dividers or baffles (baffles) which follow either the length or go across the width of a tank or a combination of such orientations. At least one fluid inlet or outlet port exits in the tank or tanks of the heat exchanger, allowing fluid to flow through at least two paths or zones (hereinafter referred to as “circuits”), prior to outlet from the heat exchanger. The at least one baffle isolates or diverts fluid to the desired circuit or circuits and, as needed, further directs or controls fluid flow with so called fluid control devices. The arrangement of baffles, inlets/outlets and fluid flow control devices create different circuits in the same heat exchanger, to allow independent fluid flow or partial fluid flow circuits. The different circuits have similar or different fluid flows and/or the same or different fluid characteristics, such as the same or different temperatures, compared to other areas of the heat exchanger.

In various aspects of the present invention, multiple zones exist in the same heat exchanger, thus forming a ‘multi-zone’ or ‘multi-circuit zone’ heat exchanger’, and are created by physical or other means. A separation means, such as a divider or baffle, is provided across and/or along the length of a heat exchanger tank or manifold (hereinafter collectively referred to as ‘tank’) to create different circulation environments of heat exchange or circuit zones, wherein heat exchange can occur. In various aspects of the present invention, a divider or baffle is provided across and along the length of a tank, and is manufactured in a single process step. For example, for tanks comprising plastic or plastic like parts or elements, parts or elements including baffles, can be manufactured by, for example, injection molding. Many other processes such as compression molding, casting process, reaction, Injection molding etc., can also be used.

Aspects of the present invention also provide for others materials use in forming the heat exchanger. For example, for heat exchangers having tanks comprising metal or metal alloys, or the like, parts or elements can be made out of metal, metal alloys or the like, or metal and plastic, depending upon the functional requirement of the part.

In another aspect of the present invention, inlet or outlet port or ports are formed or provided or otherwise positioned in such a manner that entry of fluid or exit of fluid to or from the heat exchanger is controlled, i.e. fluid will jump or skip to desired zones or flow areas, or in other words, enters or exists specific circuits, as desired. In other aspects of the present invention, a separation means is provided to divide the heat exchanger into exchange areas, and, in particular, the tank of the heat exchanger, into at least two circuit zones, the two circuit zones being either in fluid communication with one another or isolated from (not in fluid communication with) one another.

In methods of the present invention, current manufacturing processes can be used to produce multi-zone heat exchangers, such as multi-zone radiators. In various multi-zone exchangers, such as radiators, the fluid circulation path is either “separate”, i.e. inlet/outlet ports and baffle arrangement provide fluid flow which is completely isolated from other parts of heat exchanger allowing basically all the fluid entering a desired zone to leave out of the outlet port without undesired bleeding or bypass; the fluid in a such a separate circuit therefore, goes basically through only one circuit zone. In “partially separate” circuits, the fluid, such as coolant, circulates partially through more than one circuit, and, therefore, through more than one circuit or circuit zone (e.g. some of the fluid entering inlet port and passing through the desired circuit, and some of the fluid is directed to a first bleed or bypass the first circuit zone to another circuit zone) for further heat exchange. Thereby another flow of fluid is formed at a different temperature and/or flow rate, for example, than that of the first circuit zone. In aspects of the present invention, a multi-circuit zone heat exchanger forms part of a fluid flow circuit for a motorized vehicle; essentially the multi-zone heat exchanger has multiple circuit zones to allow for higher efficiency cooling by providing the appropriate thermal exchange properties at the areas of the vehicle desired, in accordance with the vehicle specification.

By heat exchanger assembly, it is meant an assembly, particularly useful in motorized or automotive applications, having at least one heat exchanger. Examples of heat exchangers of the present invention include radiators, condensers, oil coolers or the like. In radiator applications, for example, a heat exchange core comprising tubes (either separate rows of tubes or tubes formed to allow to have more than one row) and fins (which are common between the tubes or are in separate rows associated with a specific row of tubes) is provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a and 1b show a schematic view of a heat exchanger as part of a thermal exchange circuit, having at least two circuit zones for exchange and two tanks, both tanks separated by a baffle, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a cross sectional schematic view of a heat exchanger tanks, separated into compartments by a dividing wall, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 3a and 3b are cross section and split views of FIG. 1a, Section A-A of a heat exchanger, having core, header and tanks with tubes in fluid contact with tanks through headers, used as part of a thermal exchange circuit. Separate fluid flow compartments and a heat exchanger (HEX) providing independent circuits and with higher heat exchange capacity is provided, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are cross section and split views of FIG. 1a, Section B-B of a heat exchanger as part of a thermal exchange circuit having a core, header and tanks with tubes in fluid communication with tanks, and a wall splitting the tank into two, tank compartments, the HEX providing independent or increased heat transfer capacity in different configurations, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 5a and 5b are cross section and split views of FIG. 1a, Section C-C of a heat exchanger as part of a thermal exchange circuit having a core, header and tanks with tubes in fluid communication with tanks, and a wall splitting the tanks into two, non-symmetrical compartments, wherein one tank has a side wall, continuous with the tank wall, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 6a-c are schematic face-on views of heat exchanger and cross sectional tank views of a heat exchanger with multiple fluid circuits, having an opening in a lengthwise dividing wall, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 7a-c are schematic face-on views of a heat exchanger and cross-sectional tank views of a heat exchanger with multiple fluid circuits, having a flow control device, fixed into an opening in a lengthwise dividing wall, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIGS. 8a-d are schematic face-on views of a heat exchanger and cross-sectional tank views of a heat exchanger with multiple fluid circuits, having a multiple rows of baffles or walls; positioned with openings or bleeds at various areas of the walls as desired to create flow circuits or circuit zones, in accordance with an aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 9a is a schematic view of a multi-circuit zone radiator having one inlet and three outlets, and, thus, three fluid circuits for heat exchange, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 9b is schematic view of a multi-circuit zone radiator having four inlets and four outlets, and, thus, four fluid circuits for heat exchange, in accordance with and aspect of the present invention.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Various aspects of the present invention provide for a heat exchanger assembly comprising a heat exchanger and having: a heat exchanger core comprised of a plurality of fins and tubes, and having at least two sets of tubes; at least one tank attached at one end of the core and in fluid communication with the plurality of tubes; at least two circuit zones, each circuit zone including at least one of the two sets of tubes. In various aspects of the present invention, an attachment area for tank to core is provided; and at least one header is present at the attachment area. In various aspects, each at least of the two sets of the plurality of tubes is in fluid communication with a tank, such that each set of tubes, or a portion of each set of tubes, and the tank form a separate or partially separate fluid circuit having a circuit zone. The sets of tubes, or portion of each set of tubes, in terms of physical characteristics, can be the same, or different from one another. In various aspects of the present invention, the first and second sets of tubes are the same, in terms of physical characteristics, with one another. In aspects of the present invention, each set of tubes is associated with at least one circuit zone. In other aspects of the present invention, each set of tubes is associated with only one circuit zone.

Various aspects of the present invention allow multiple vehicle areas to be thermally managed through independent circuits or partially independent circuits in one assembly, in particular, one heat exchanger assembly. For example, heat exchangers with more than two rows of tubes can be envisioned to support ‘ultimate cooling’, i.e. simultaneous cooling needs for various elements of the automobile, and not only for one element, (such as a motor or HVAC unit, needs). In addition, since the use of multiple circuit zones is accomplished in the same heat exchanger assembly, lower cost and/or lower package space is a benefit, as various embodiments of heat exchanger assemblies, including header/side plates and/or other parts, do not need to be modified or variable.

Circuit zones in the same exchanger means a lower weight of the part as compared to non-multi zone parts and lower cost of the finished part or assembly.

In aspects of the present invention, a heat exchanger assembly has two tanks placed opposite of one another in respect to the tubes, each tank in fluid communication with the plurality of tubes. In various aspects of the present invention, the tubes forming a set of tubes are basically parallel with one another. Also, in various aspects, the tubes forming two or more sets of tubes are basically in parallel with one another. By parallel with one another, it is meant that when the set of tubes shares a tank, the tubes, relative to each other, are parallel to one another. For example, when a set of tubes shares two tanks, the first ends of a first set of tubes goes into one first tank and the second ends of the first set of tubes goes into one second tank, such that the tubes are basically parallel to one another and share tanks basically opposite to one another. In various aspects of the present invention, one or more of the tanks present is separated along its length by a baffle, divider or a wall (collectively called “baffle”) into at least one first and one second compartment.

In other aspects of the present invention, two or more of the tanks are thus separated. In other aspects, all tanks are thus separated. Where baffles separate the tanks or tanks into at least two compartments, the at least one first and at least one second compartment are either in fluid communication with each other or isolated from each other.

In various aspects of the present invention, a first dividing wall also referred to as (“baffle”) is present along the length of the tank (lengthwise wall). Also, in various aspects, the dividing wall intersects with a second dividing wall which is across (widthwise wall) the width of the tank. The walls allow for the presence of tank compartments, with the compartment forming part of independent fluid circuits (i.e., the compartments essentially are not in fluid communication with one another, or their heat exchange capacities are different due to the fact that the fluid flows through different circuit zones), depending on which compartment and fluid circuit they flow through.

A heat exchanger is also provided wherein one of the compartments is in fluid communication with another compartment to meet particular specifications for increased cooling capacity as needed.

In other aspects, a heat exchanger, such as a radiator, is provided, with more than one zone and controlled by a control device.

The aspects of the present invention provide for a heat exchanger assembly having a heat exchanger having more than two circuit zones, with a tank with compartments, one set of the plurality of tubes in fluid communication with a first compartment of a first tank, and, if there is second tank, the desired compartment of the second tank, and a second set of the plurality of tubes in fluid communication with a second compartment of the first tank, and, if there is second tank in the desired compartment of the second tank. The first and second compartments can be in fluid communication with each other, or, are isolated from each other.

As various aspects of the present invention show, heat exchangers such as dual-row radiators, where two rows or sets of tubes are arranged in parallel, can be converted to multi-circuit zone radiators by use of appropriately oriented separation means in, in particular, baffles, in the tank designs. Gaskets can also be designed to provide sealing means between the areas providing circuit zones, as needed. Gaskets can be used to isolate one fluid circuit from another in desired areas. By basically “leak-tight” or “isolated”, it is understood that though a limited, or small quantity leakage can be permitted, based on functional requirements of the heat exchanger, between compartment of a tank, the goal, if defined as basically leak-tight or separated, is to limit the amount of such a leakage such as not to create a secondary circuit or circuit zone as part of the heat exchange specification of heat exchanger assembly.

In various aspects of the present invention, a first tank and a second tank have at least one first baffles and/or at least one second baffles, respectfully, that essentially extends the entire length of at least one of the first or second tanks and form circuit flow areas for at least two fluid circuits and, therefore, allowing for fluid flow in at least two circuit zones within the heat exchanger. In various aspects, the first and the second tanks have baffles or walls that essentially extend the entire length of each to form flow areas for at least two circuits.

The walls or baffles (collectively called baffles) can be solid (essentially preventing fluid passage through it) or comprising at least one, or more than one, opening somewhere in the baffle. Aspects include at least one tank having an opening to provide fluid communication between compartments of at least one tank. Where one tank has more than one baffle, one baffle can be lengthwise, and the other baffle, width or cross-wise. For example, aspects of the present invention include wherein the at least one baffle in the tank has an opening for fluid communication between compartments of the same tank.

In various aspects of the present invention, a heat exchanger assembly is provided having a heat exchanger core, tanks attached to the core, and at least one baffle in at least one of the tanks. At least one baffle, in various aspects has at least one opening. The tank has at least one baffle with at least one opening, the orientation of the opening is a length wise, or widthwise or angled with respect to the length, to allow for connection between different channels. In other aspects of the present invention, the at least one baffle has at least one control device to allow selective fluid flows between compartments of the tank. A control device, for example, may allow the rate of fluid flow through the opening and between compartments through the opening by controlling, for example, the size of the opening and/or the number of openings of various sizes if multiple openings between compartments exist. Also the control device can shut the opening to create an isolated circuit.

By multiple variant heat exchanger, it is meant a heat exchanger capable of providing multiple fluid circuits of same or different heat exchange capacity.

The control device, in various aspects of the present invention, is an integral baffle part, or a separate part or parts; which when added to the tank changes or otherwise diverts the fluid flow path in a certain area. The control device can be an electronic type one linked to some type of input such as temperature sensor sensing the temperature of the fluid in the desired area or a similar such device or a device that allows electronic control to open or close an opening or openings in a baffle at a desired rate or in a desired sequence to change the flow of the fluid as it bleeds or bypasses (controllably ‘leaks’) from one compartment to another of a baffle divided tank.

As noted above, the control device can, in various aspects, be actuated externally or internally. One type of control device can be interchangeable with another type of control device. A control device, for example, can provide the HEX with either two or more independent fluid cooling circuit or provide the HEX with two or more independent fluid circuits with increased heat transfer capacity and allows one to convert heat exchanger which is of independent circuits to HEX with shared circuits and thus reducing investment cost of the product, and provide design flexibility.

The embodiment of FIG. 1 presents a multi-circuit zone exchanger with baffles in both tanks which are formed along the length of the tank and inlet and outlets ports, which provides two independent fluid circuits for cooling or heating purpose of other vehicular areas or components.

FIG. 1 shows a multi-circuit zone heat exchanger (100) with separate fluid circulation path as part of a heat exchanger assembly which includes a first fluid box or tank (105) (herein called ‘tank”) divided into at least two compartments by a dividing wall or baffle (‘baffle’). The wall (106) extends along the complete length of the first fluid tank, therefore providing for formation of basically leak-tight compartments of the tank. (no communication—can have small leakage between them but no intentional or designed in leakage but a small leakage is ok to manage). The multi-circuit zone heat exchanger has a first tank, and comprises a core having a network or ‘bank’ of tubes carrying heat transfer fluid. The bank of tubes has a plurality of tubes arranged essentially parallel to one another (set of tubes) (not shown). The tubes are spaced in a regular pattern from one another.

Referring further to FIG. 1 in general, the heat exchanger (100) is shown with two independent fluid circuits. Tank (105) is separated into two zones or flow areas (circuits) created by baffle (106) Tank (104) is separated into two zones or flow areas by baffle (107). Heat exchange is designed to occur in the core (101) of the heat exchanger.

FIG. 1a illustrates heat exchanger (100), having inlet 1 (108) and inlet 2 (110) for fluid 1 and fluid 2. Fluid 1 flows through a compartment of tank (105) and section or set or row of tubes which are part of core (101), enters in the compartment of tank (104) and exits at outlet 1 (109). Section C-C (114) is shown in FIG. 5 for clarity. Baffles (106, 107) extend inside the tanks essentially along the entire length of their separate tanks (105, 104). Fluid 2 flows through a compartment of tank (105) and section or set or row of tubes which are part (not shown) of the core (101) enters into the compartment of tank (107), and exits at outlet 2 (111). This is shown at section B-B (113) in FIG. 4.

FIG. 1b shows tank (200) has wall or baffle or a divider (208) essentially separating tank along its entire length into two compartments, compartment (210) and compartment (207). Inlet 1 (201) for fluid 1 entering neck (204) to passes through closed of region (205) of the connector (the region (205) is formed such that fluid 1 essentially does not enter into compartment (210)). Fluid enters in to the compartment (207) prior to entering into section of the core (101). Fluid from inlet 2 (202) enters through neck (203) and passes into compartment (210) prior to entering into core (101). Two independent fluid circuits are thus formed. Tanks and baffles can be made of plastic or plastic like material or metal or metal type material or a combination of material.

Each tank compartment (207, 210) communicates with its at least one set of tubes which are a sub-set of the plurality of tubes of the heat exchanger. The tubes and tube sets are basically parallel to one another.

The multi-zone heat exchanger further includes a second fluid box or tank (second tank) (104) divided in to at least two compartments by a dividing wall or baffle (baffle 107) along essentially the length of the tank.

In FIG. 1b, a connector, such as an integrated connector (204, 205) can be used to provide fluid to desired compartments.

Circuit 1 illustrates a circuit having a heat exchange fluid. As fluid enters into the first compartment of the first tank (IN 1), part of it flows through a first set of tubes (tube set one) and communicates with one of the compartments of the second tank. Fluid eventually exits the heat exchanger (OUT 1) (exits the heat exchanger assembly system).

Circuit 2 illustrates a circuit comprising a heat exchange fluid, wherein the fluid enters into the second compartment of the first tank (IN 2), passes through a second set of tubes (tube set 2 as shown in figure) and communicates with a second (different) compartment of the second tank than that of tube set 1. The fluid later exits to the heat exchanger (OUT 2) and exits the heat exchanger assembly system.

A multi-circuit zone heat exchanger assembly, therefore, can be developed, wherein the multi-circuit zone heat exchanger provides fluid with appropriate thermal properties for at least two separate and/or separate and independent vehicle areas provide for appropriate thermal management in various parts in the system.

FIG. 2 is close up view of tank (200) in the area where ports are located. This detail view shows how the fluid enters or exits the tank.

FIG. 2 illustrates the tank area (200) of FIG. 1 for a multi zone heat exchanger for use in a heat exchange assembly. The multi-circuit zone heat exchanger has a first fluid box (first tank) (305) divided into at least two compartments by a dividing wall or walls (306) along the length of the first tank. The core of the heat exchanger has a network or ‘bank’ of tubes for carrying heat transfer fluid (not shown). The bank of includes a plurality of tubes arranged in an essentially parallel arrangement to each other and regularly spaced from one another (not shown). Each compartment communicates with a sub-set of the plurality of tubes.

FIG. 2 shows fluid or fluid flow (302) entering neck (304) of compartment (308) of tank (305). Wall or baffle (baffle 306) separates tank (305) into two compartments (308) (309). Fluid 2 (301) flows through neck (303) and through tube or connector isolated/separate from the compartments and allows entering of fluid at area (310). Flow (311) continues in compartment (309) to go through a set of tubes (not shown). In a similar manner fluid flows are reversed when the tank has ports for the exit of the fluid in the appropriate area.

FIG. 3 shows the cross section of heat exchanger at section A-A (115 of FIG. 1). This section details the tank and flow through the heat exchanger at the locations where ports are not located on the tank.

In FIG. 2, an integrated connector (303), provides a means for allowing fluid to enter compartment (309) and flowing isolated from compartment (308).

Referring to FIG. 3a and FIG. 3b is a multi zone heat exchanger (400) including both tanks (401 and 402) divided in to at least two compartments. The two compartments are formed by a dividing wall (403 and 409) along the length of the box and not allowing fluid communication between the compartments.

FIG. 3 illustrates a schematic view of tank header and core or heat exchanger assembly (400) having tank (401) and dividing wall (403) forming compartments (405, 406). Header (411) and tank foot (419) are illustrated with gaskets (412, 417,418) between tank and header. Flows (425, 428) flow respectively in compartments (405, 406) and into out of tubes (421, 422) respectively. The area (410) is where gasket (417) is trapped between header and baffle (403) which isolates fluid of two compartments and thus allowing two independent fluid circuits or circuit zones in the heat exchanger. Second tank (402) opposite tank (401) show tube portion of 421, 422 (423, 425) inserted into header (429) and fluid flows (426, 427) respectively leading into second tank (402) compartments (408, 407) respectively. Tank foot (420) and gaskets (415, 413) are shown at tank to header interface, and dividing wall or baffle (404) also has gasket (409) and area of header (414) that forms the two compartments.

FIG. 4 shows the cross section of heat exchanger at section C-C (114 of FIG. 1). This section details the tank and flow through the heat exchanger at the locations where one set of port is located on the tanks.

FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate heat exchanger (500) having tanks (501, 502) connected together by parallel tubes sections (513, 514), and (516, 515) respectively. Flow of fluid 1 (527) goes through tube (514) and header (503) (see arrows 517) as well as through tube portion (515) and header (504) and into compartment (525) of tank (501) and compartment (526) of tank (502). Dividing wall (521) separates tank (501) into compartments (525, 524). Fluid 2 flows (518, 519), likewise flow through tubes (513,516) and headers (503, 504) into compartment (524) of tank (501) and compartment (523) into tank (502). Dividing wall (512) separates tank (502) into compartments (523, 526).

Header gaskets (505, 507, 506, 508, 509, 510) are trapped between header and tank; providing joint seal, especially at the tank to header joint or junction. Gaskets (507) and (509) allow sealing or isolation of fluid flows at the locations between compartments and thus allow for two independent circuits to exist and flow through compartments (524, 525, 523, 526) which are not in communication with each other.

FIG. 5 shows the cross section of heat exchanger at section B-B (113 of FIG. 1). This section details the tank and flow through the heat exchanger at locations where one set of ports are located on the tank. FIG. 5 also illustrates tanks (601, 602) connected by tubes sets (614, 615) and (613, 616).

Tubes (614, 615) are in fluid communication with compartments (625) and (626). Flows are illustrated by arrows (617, 620). Baffles (622, 621) extend along length of tanks. In this cross section, arrows (627, 628) show fluid entry or exit in to the ports and compartments (623, 624) of the tanks showing how fluid streams are isolated from other compartments or fluid streams.

The embodiment of FIG. 6 presents a multi-circuit zone exchanger with baffles in both tanks, where baffles are formed partially or completely along the length of the tanks, and across the partial width of the tank, with at least one tank having inlet and outlets ports. Two independent circuits for cooling or heating purpose of other vehicular areas or components are provided. FIG. 6 has one of the tanks with a bleed hole or bypass section or sections (openings) allowing communication between two compartments of the tank and thus allowing fluid in the circuit to increase its residence time or length of the flow, thus providing larger heat transfer capacity.

FIG. 6a illustrates heat exchanger (700) with inlets 1 and 2 (712, 714) and outlets (713, 715) respectively and baffles (707, 706) in each of tanks (704, 705). Further baffles (710, 718) are placed partially across the width of tanks (704, 705) to form additional fluid circuits or circuit zones.

FIGS. 6b and 6c likewise show baffles (810, 918) identical to (710, 718) in that view.

FIGS. 6b and 6c illustrate 6a tanks (704) and (705) respectively from an interior view. Tank (800) has lengthwise baffle portions (807, 830) due to opening or bleed-off (811) through baffle. Widthwise partial baffle (810) provides for compartment (831), while lengthwise baffles separate tank (800) into compartments (803, 814). Flow through opening (811) is possible between compartments. Connector (832) allows fluid communication for the zone (831) through opening (812) in the compartment (831) or zone or region (831) into the heat exchanger section of tubes and corresponding opposite zone or region (921) or compartment of the tank.

FIG. 6c illustrates second baffle (900) equivalent to (705) of 6a, wherein lengthwise baffle (906) is provided with no through hole or opening, thereby preventing unwanted fluid passage for fluid to pass between compartment (913) and (914). Connector (916) communicates with compartment or zone (913) through opening (920). Connector (909) communicates with compartment (914) through opening (919). Connector (917) communicates with compartment or zone (921) through opening (912).

Aspects of the present invention can use control devices at the opening or bypass or bleed-off (opening 811) to actively control fluid flows or passively let the thermal natures of the fluids themselves determine the flows. In one aspect of the present invention, a first dividing wall is provided with a length approximating that of the tank. The dividing wall is intersected with a second dividing wall found across the length of the tank, a so-called is partial width cross baffle. A control device, e.g. a temperature or pressure control device such as a spring loaded and/or thermally sensitive element, etc., is placed at a location where fluid communication between the compartments is needed; thus providing control of bleed-off quantity, depending on desired vehicular operating points. Baffle openings can be closed off, for example, with a simple section of material of construction of the tank, or a tool or die inserting or controlling device can be configured to mechanically or electronically or otherwise shut the opening with a separate part section and thus one has tank which can be used on other heat exchanger which can provide different configuration of the flow. Therefore, a tank having a wall with a control device can be used in multiple variants of heat exchangers, providing multiple circuits zones, having as a base, an identical heat exchanger core.

The embodiment of FIG. 7 presents a multi-circuit zone heat exchanger with baffles in both tanks which are formed partially or completely along the length of the tanks, across the partial width of the tank and inlet and outlets ports. 3 independent circuits or zones are created in the heat exchanger where one of the tank (could be common for other heat exchanger where bleed off section or control device in an opening is used) when the bleed-off section (or opening) is, closed a heat exchanger thus providing completely independent 3 zones or circuits is created.

FIGS. 7a-c illustrate heat exchanger assembly with 3 circuits zones made by adding a flow control device in the HEX between the compartments created by the lengthwise baffle. FIGS. 7a to 7c describe a multi-circuit zone heat exchanger where 3 separate circuits or zones are created, thus allowing 3 separate sources of fluid streams which can be independently provided to conduct heat exchange with other vehicular components.

FIG. 7a illustrates heat exchanger (1000) with inlets 1, 2 and 3 (1020, 1021, 1013) and outlets (1012, 1015, 1022) respectively and baffles (1006, 1007) in each of tanks (1004, 1005). The baffle (1007) is converted to continuous section or isolating baffle from partially isolating baffle through addition of control device (1011), (equivalent to 2010 in FIG. 7b), which, in this case, completely blocks the flow. Further baffles (1010, 1018) are placed partially across the width of tanks (1004,1005) to form additional fluid circuits or zones.

FIGS. 7b and 7c illustrate 7a tanks (1004) and (1005) respectively from an interior view. Tank (2000) has lengthwise baffle or wall portions (2007, 2030) which are joined or closed off using section (2010) which is a control device shown here as a flow restrictor between two circuit zones (2008) and (2009). Widthwise partial baffle (3031) provides for compartment (2011), while lengthwise baffles (2007, 2030, 2010) separate tank (2000) into compartments (2008, 2009). Baffle can be made out of one section, i.e. without control device (2010). Connector (2032) allows fluid communication for the zone (2011) through opening (2016) in compartment or zone (2011) to rest of the heat exchanger such as tubes and corresponding opposite zone or compartment (3011) of tank (1005).

FIG. 7c illustrates second baffle (3007) equivalent to (1006) of 7a, wherein lengthwise baffle (3007) is provided with no through hole or opening, thus preventing undesired amounts of fluid from passing between compartment (3008) and (3009). Also, baffle (3007) prevents communication between compartment (3009) and (3011). Connector (3035) communicates with compartment or zone (3011) through opening (3016). Connector (3036) communicates with compartment 3008 through opening (3017). Connector (3034) communicates with compartment or zone (3009) through opening (3015).

Various aspects of the present invention allow multiple vehicle areas to be thermally managed through Independent circuits or partially independent circuits, through one assembly or heat exchanger assembly.

FIGS. 8a to 8d show heat exchanger (1200) having first inlet (1210) and first outlet (1220). Fluid entering inlet 1 (1210) formed on tank (1221); flows through set of tubes (1291) of the core 1290 to enter the tank (1222) where first opening (1270) in the baffle (1271) allows for part of fluid to communicate (bleed-off or bypass) with the adjacent compartment and some of the fluid exit through outlet 1 (1220). The fluid which passes through opening (1270) continue to flow into set of tubes (1292) or section of the core (1290) to enter in to the compartment of the opposite tank (1221). A second outlet (1230) outlets part of the fluid flow from inlet (1210). Opening (1240) in wall (1250) allow fluid to enter adjacent compartment space to flow through the set of tubes (1293) to enter in to the compartment on opposite tank (1222) to exit through outlet 3 (1260).

FIGS. 8a to 8d show that with one arrangement of baffles and inlet and outlets a heat exchanger is provided such that a single stream of heat exchanger fluid for a vehicle can be allowed to enter the heat exchanger, and multiple streams exit the heat exchanger at either the same or different temperatures and/or flow rates. An opening or openings in the baffles can be of any size or shape; they can be adjusted to get desired flow or temperature of the fluid streams.

FIG. 9a shows heat exchanger, for illustration, without tanks. The core section of heat exchanger comprising tube is split in terms of heat exchanger capability through tank baffle arrangement and thus providing for a multi-circuit zone heat exchanger, wherein one inlet stream is split in to 3 outlet streams in a specific flow configuration (see different flow configurations that of FIG. 8).

A fluid stream (4001) enters compartment A (4002) at location 1 (4003); compartment A (4002) is isolated to compartment H (4022) by baffle (4030) which is formed along the length of tank (not shown). Compartment A (4002) is isolated from compartments D (4019) and E (4020) by cross baffle (4026). Fluid stream (4001) flows through the set of tubes which are part of the core 4023 and communicates with compartment B (4006). Part of the stream (4001) exits (out 1 4005) of the heat exchanger from compartment B at location 2 (4007) and part crosses over to compartment C (4015) through cross baffle (4026) opening location 3(4010). The fluid entering in compartment C (4015) from compartment B (4027) enters the set of tubes of the core (4023) at location 4 (4016). Compartment C (4015) is in fluid communication with compartment D (4019) of the opposite tank through the set of tubes, which are part of the core (4023). The fluid enters compartment D (4019) at location 5 (4018). Compartment D (4019) is in fluid communication with compartment E (4020) either by an opening in the baffle at location 11 (4025) or by the absence of a complete baffle (no baffle) between the compartments (not shown here). The fluid stream enters compartment E (4020) at location 6 (4017) and flows through set of tubes of the core (4023) to enter_compartment F (4014) at location 7 (4013). Compartment F (4014) is in fluid communication with compartment G (4009) through cross baffle (4028) with an opening at location 8 (4011). The fluid stream entering compartment F (4014) at location 7 (4013); partially exits the heat exchanger (4000) as out 2 (4012) and remaining fluid enters compartment G (4009) through cross baffle with opening (4028) at location 8 (4011). The fluid entering compartment G (4009) at location 8 (4011); enters set of tubes of the core (4023) at location 9 (4008). Compartment G (4009) is in fluid communication with compartment H (4022). Compartment H (4022) is isolated from surrounding compartments (A,D,E) by baffles (4026, 4030). The fluid from compartment G (4009) entering at location 9 (4008) flows through set of tubes which are part of core (4023) to enter compartment H at location 10 (4021). Fluid stream entering compartment H (4022) at location (4021) exits heat exchanger (4000) at Out 3 (4031). One stream (4001), entering in to heat exchanger (4000), provides three separate fluid streams (4005, 4012 and 4031) which could be at different temperature and flow rates.

Also one can envision different flow configurations where baffles are formed in a manner where cross compartments can be in communication, (e.g. for example, in FIG. 9a, compartment H (4022) can communicate with compartment D (4019)) through an opening between those two compartments and with different flow paths (not shown).

FIG. 9b shows a heat exchanger without tanks. Core section view of heat exchanger (or tube sections in the core) are split through tank baffle arrangement and providing another multi-circuit zone heat exchanger where four inlet stream are split in to four (4) outlet streams, in a specific configuration.

Fluid stream (5001) enters in the heat exchanger 5000 in the compartment A (5002). Compartment A (5002) is isolated from surrounding compartments (H (5010), D (5006), E (5011)) of the tank (not shown here) by baffle (5003, 5009) (baffle along the length) and (5004, 5012) (baffle along the width). The fluid stream (5001) flows through set of tubes which are part of the core (5023), enters compartment B (5016) and exits at out 1 (5025). Compartment B (5016) is isolated from surrounding compartments (G (5015), C (502.1), F (5022)) by baffle 5013/5014 (baffle along the length) and (5017/5018) (baffle along the width).

In a similar manner as described above, fluid stream 2 (5005) enters heat exchanger in compartment H (5010) and exits heat exchanger at OUT 2 (5024) after flowing through the set of tubes and entering compartment G (5015). In a similar manner, fluid streams (5007) and (5008) enter heat exchanger (5000) and exit at (5019) and (5020) respectively. Since each of the four (4) compartments of each tank is isolated from each other, four separate inlets and outlets are formed.

Unless stated otherwise, dimensions and geometries of the various structures depicted herein are not intended to be restrictive of the invention, and other dimensions or geometries are possible. Plural structural components can be provided by a single integrated structure. Alternatively, a single integrated structure might be divided into separate plural components. In addition, while a feature of the present invention may have been described in the context of only one of the illustrated embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of other embodiments, for any given application. It will also be appreciated from the above that the fabrication of the unique structures herein and the operation thereof also constitute methods in accordance with the present invention.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed. A person of ordinary skill in the art would realize however, that certain modifications would come within the teachings of this invention. Therefore, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of the invention.