Title:
Friction heating system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A heating system has an air intake and an air outlet. A heater is in communication with the air intake and the air outlet. The heater has a first surface and a second surface. The first surface is movable relative to the second surface to generate frictional heat between the first surface and the second surface.



Inventors:
Schooler, Paul (Fraser, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/516421
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
09/06/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24D5/02
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Primary Examiner:
OREILLY, PATRICK F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLSON, GASKEY & OLDS, P.C. (BIRMINGHAM, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A heating system, comprising: an air intake; an air outlet ; a heater in communication with said air intake and said air outlet, said heater having a first surface on a first cylinder and a second surface on a second cylinder, wherein said first cylinder is nested within said second cylinder, wherein said first surface is movable relative to said second surface to generate frictional heat between said first surface and said second surface; and wherein said first cylinder has an air passage in communication with said air intake and said air outlet.

2. The heating system of claim 1 wherein said air passage extends along an axis of rotation of one of said first cylinder and said second cylinder.

3. The heating system of claim 1 wherein said first surface comprises a solid coating on said first cylinder, said solid coating made of a different material than said first cylinder.

4. The heating system of claim 3 wherein said solid coating comprises one of a ceramic, cobalt and carbide.

5. 5-9. (canceled)

10. The heating system of claim 1 wherein said first surface is spaced from said second surface, creating a gap between said first surface and said second surface, said gap exposed to air from said air inlet.

11. The heating system of claim 1 wherein said first surface is in contact with said second surface.

12. The heating system of claim 1 including a blower for moving air between said air intake and said air outlet.

13. The heating system of claim 12 wherein said blower is activated at a predetermined temperature.

14. The heating system of claim 1 wherein at least one of said air inlet and said air outlet are in communication with a heating and ventilation ductwork of a building.

15. A heater for a heating and ventilation system, comprising: an air inlet; an air outlet; a heating element having a first curved surface and a second curved surface; said first curved surface rotatable relative to said second curved surface; said first curved surface at least partially concentric with said second curved surface; and wherein rotation of said first curved surface generates frictional heat between said first surface and said second surface; and wherein in said first surface is spaced from said second surface, creating a gap between said first surface and said second surface, said gap in communication with said air inlet and said air outlet.

16. The heater of claim 15 wherein said first curved surface comprises a cylinder, at least partially surrounded by said second surface.

17. The heater of claim 16 wherein said cylinder has an air passage for communication frictional heat out of said cylinder.

18. The heater of claim 15 wherein said first curved surface has a coupling linkable to a drive.

19. 19-20. (canceled)

21. The heating system of claim 1 wherein said first surface has a thermal conductivity lower than said second surface.

22. The heater of claim 16 wherein said second surface only partially surrounds said first surface.

23. The heater of claim 22 wherein said second surface comprises only a portion of a cylinder.

24. A heating system, comprising: an air intake; an air outlet; a heater in communication with said air intake and said air outlet, said heater having a first surface on a first cylinder and a second surface at least partially surrounding said first cylinder, at least one of said first surface and said second surface having a solid coating made of a different material than said first cylinder.

25. The heating system of claim 24 wherein said solid coating has a lower thermal conductivity than said first cylinder.

26. The heating system of claim 25 wherein said solid coating comprises one of a ceramic, cobalt and carbide.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a heating system for a building or other structure.

One common way to heat a structure, such as a building, involves combusting a fossil fuel like natural gas or oil. However, these resources are limited. It is becoming increasingly desirable to use electricity as an alternative to these high priced fuels.

A need therefore exists to replace existing combustion heaters with heaters that can use electricity to generate heat.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention uses friction to generate heat rather than a combustion process. The heating system has a heater with a first surface and a second surface. The first surface is moveable relative to the second surface to thereby generate frictional heat between the two surfaces. To distribute this heat, an air intake brings air to be warmed by the heater into the system. The heater warms the air through frictional heat. Air is then passed out of the system through an air outlet. Both the air intake and air outlet may be installed into existing ductwork of a structure, such as a building, to permit easy replacement of combustion heating systems with the inventive system. In this way, a renewable energy source, such as electricity, may be used to generate heat with existing heating and ventilation ductwork in place. Further, this system produces heat without odor or hazardous fumes.

The first surface of the heater can be a different material than the second surface. The first surface may also have a lower thermal conductivity than the second surface. A drive, such as a motor, is used to move one surface relative to the other surface. The two surfaces may be curved and concentric and, in fact, form nested cylinders, which may be rotated by the drive. A third surface may be formed within the nested cylinders to define an air passage that extends through the cylinders so as to permit air to be passed through the interior of the cylinders. This air passage helps distribute heat generated by the two surfaces.

The first surface and the second surface, which generate the frictional heat, may be spaced from each other to create a gap. Alternatively, the surfaces may be in contact with each other. Frictional heat is generated in both instances.

A blower may be used to drive air from the heater between the air intake and the air outlet. The blower may be activated when a predetermined temperature is reached so as to conserve energy. The air inlet and air outlet may be incorporated into existing heating and ventilation ductwork on a structure, such as a building.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The various features and advantages of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the currently preferred embodiment. The drawings that accompany the detailed description can be briefly described as follows:

FIG. 1 illustrates a view of the inventive heating system, illustrating heater, drive and blower.

FIG. 2 illustrates a coupling of the drive for the heater of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the heater of FIGS. 1 and 2, illustrating a first surface and a second surface of a heating element.

FIG. 4 illustrates a close up view of the cross-section of FIG. 3, illustrating the first surface and the second surface as well as a gap between surfaces.

FIG. 5 illustrates another version of the heater according to the invention, illustrating an air passage.

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the heater of FIG. 5, illustrating a first surface, second surface and a third surface, the third surface forming the air passage.

FIG. 7 illustrates another coupling for a heater.

FIG. 8 illustrates another version of a heater, illustrating a first surface and a second surface.

FIG. 9 illustrates another version of the invention, showing a heating element with a first surface and a second surface in contact.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 illustrates the inventive heating system 10. Heating system 10 has air intake 14 and air outlet 18. Air intake 14 may be part of or connectable to building ductwork 20 that is commonly found in a structure, such as a residential or commercial building. Air outlet 18 is also likewise part of or connectable to building ductwork 20. In contrast to existing heating systems, heating system 10 has heater 24 that generates heat through friction. In this way, fossil fuels, such as oil or natural gas, need not be consumed to generate heat to be supplied to a structure, such as a building.

Heater 24 is driven by drive 42, which is powered by power source 26, such as an electrical outlet. Drive 42 may be a high speed electrical motor. In addition, heating system 10 may also have blower 58 driven by motor 60, such as another electrical motor powered by power source 26.

According to the invention, heating system 10 receives air through air intake 14, which may have air filter 15, as shown. Air passes over heater 24 because it is driven by blower 58, which draws air through air intake 14 and then expels the heated air out of air outlet 18 into building ductwork 20. FIG. 1 illustrates heating system 10 as a portable self-contained unit, which could also be sized to be a space heater. One of ordinary skill can adjust the scale of the system to accommodate the heating needs of any structure. Heating system 10 may be easily integrated into existing building ductwork 20.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, heater 24 may comprise multiple heating elements 22. Here, three heating elements 22 are shown. More or less may also be employed. Heating element 22 comprises first surface 26 of first material 34 forming a large cylinder 28, which is nested within second surface 30 that forms another cylinder 32. First surface 26 is preferably comprised of a material having a low thermal conductivity so that heat generated may be retained to some degree so that heating element 22 may stay warm for an extended period of time. In this way, heating element 22 need not be active at all times for heat to be available. The retention of heat also reduces time and energy required to warm air as heating element 22 retains heat from when system 10 was previously active. First surface 26 is also preferably hard for durability. First surface 26 may comprise a ceramic, a cobalt, carbide or other material that is hard and thermally low in conductivity. First surface 26 may be formed as a coating on top of copper core 29, such as a solid copper cylinder.

Surrounding first surface 26 is second surface 30, here both curved and concentric with first surface 26 and forming cylinder 32. As shown, cylinder 28 is nested within cylinder 32. Second surface 30 is comprised of second material 38, preferably having a higher level of thermal conductivity than first material 34.

As shown in FIG. 1, cylinder 28 rests on bearing surface 78, such as provided by a ball bearing collar, and is rotatable about axis X as shown. In essence, cylinder 28 is like a roller which is driven by drive 42 by coupling 74. As shown in FIG. 2, each of the three heating elements 22 has its own coupling 74, which is driven by belt 76, which is coupled to rotor 86 of drive 42. In this way, multiple cylinders 28 may be rotated about axis X by a single drive 42.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate how frictional heat is generated by heating element 22. FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-section of cylinder 28, which is shown nested within cylinder 32. Cylinder 28 has a first surface 26 made of a hard but thermally low conductivity material, such as ceramic, cobalt or carbide or other like material. Underlying this surface may be copper core 29. In addition, cylinder 32, which may also be made of copper has second surface 30. As explained previously, cylinder 32 may be made of second material 38, having a higher thermal conductivity than first surface 26.

As shown in FIG. 4, first surface 26 is spaced by gap 54 away from second surface 30. Gap 54 allows cylinder 28 to rotate more freely within cylinder 32 in the direction of arrow A. Movement of cylinder 28 in the direction of arrow A causes first surface 26 to move relative to second surface 30. Preferably, first surface 26 moves at a high velocity, such as 3,450 RPM or higher. Movement of first surface 26 relative to second surface 30 creates friction in air located in gap 54. Accordingly, friction is generated between first surface 26 and second surface 30 as air is jumbled by relative movement of the two surfaces.

Alternatively, the two surfaces 26 and 30 may actually be in contact with one another to generate greater heat but at a slower rate of rotation. FIG. 9 illustrates such an embodiment where first surface 26 is in contact with second surface 30. In this instance, friction is generated by rubbing first surface 26 relative to second surface 30.

FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate another version of the invention. Here, heating element 90 is shown. The only difference between this version and the version shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 is the provision of a third surface 46 formed in the interior of cylinder 28. As explained above, as first surface 26 is driven relative to second surface 30, heat is generated between first surface 26 and second surface 30. Heat is transmitted through cylinder 32 outwardly as shown by arrow B from cylinder 32 and inwardly in the direction of arrow C from cylinder 28. First surface 26 may have the effect of reducing heat transmission from cylinder 28 in the direction of arrow D because of its low thermal conductivity. Accordingly, air passage 50 allows air driven through air passage 50 along axis X in direction of arrow D to capture this heat so that it may be expelled out air outlet 18 such as by blower 58 as shown in FIG. 1. In this way, radiating heat in the direction of arrow B and in the direction of arrow C may be transmitted more easily to the air to be warmed.

FIG. 7 illustrates another version of the invention. Here, rather than employ belt 76 and coupling 74, drive 42 may be directly connected by coupling 82 to cylinder 28.

FIG. 8 illustrates another version of the invention. Here, heating element 94 is formed of cylinder 28 having first surface 26 and half cylinder 96 having second surface 30. Air passage 50 is also shown. By having half cylinder 96, cylinder 28 may be rotated more quickly to generate greater frictional heat. Furthermore, heat generated by first surface 26 is passed directly into ambient air rather than being transmitted through a surrounding cylinder, as shown in FIG. 8.

The aforementioned description is exemplary rather that limiting. Many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The preferred embodiments of this invention have been disclosed. However, one of ordinary skill in the art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. Hence, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described. For this reason the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.