Title:
FOIL FAN BLADE AND CEILING FAN
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rotary foil fan blade includes an elongated support member and at least one foil member mounted on the support member. The foil member is substantially shorter in length than the elongated support member. A ceiling fan includes a central blade hub and an array of foil fan blades mounted on the central hub.



Inventors:
Cartwright, Thomas (Stuart, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/943785
Publication Date:
06/12/2008
Filing Date:
11/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
416/244R
International Classes:
F04D29/64; F04D29/34
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
EASTMAN, AARON ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Concept Law Group, P.A. (Fort Lauderdale, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A rotary fan blade comprising: an elongated support member; and at least one foil member mounted on said support member; wherein said foil member is substantially shorter in length than said elongated support member.

2. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said foil member is mounted on the end of said support member.

3. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 including a plurality of foil members mounted on said support member at different locations along the length of said support member.

4. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said support member is a hollow rod having one of a square, circular, triangular, or air foil cross-sectional shape.

5. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said support member is a solid rod having one of a square, circular, triangular, or air foil cross-sectional shape.

6. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said support member is made of one or more of metal, plastic, wood, graphite, or composites.

7. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said foil member has an air foil shape.

8. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said foil member is tilted at an angle to the horizontal.

9. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said support member includes a first partially hollow segment, a second telescoping segment partially slidably mounted in said first segment, and fasteners for joining the blade arm sections at joint in apertures in said first segment for holding said first and second segments together.

10. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said support member includes a first partially hollow segment, a second telescoping segment partially slidably mounted in said first segment, a ball mounted near the end of said second segment, a series of apertures in said first segment, and a spring mounted on said second segment for biasing said ball into one of said apertures to hold said first and second segments together.

11. The rotary fan blade of claim 1 wherein said support member includes a first hollow segment, a second telescoping segment partially slidably mounted in said first segment, a centrifugal force tension spring connecting said first and second segments together, opposing slots in said first segment, and stabilization tabs on said second segment which project through said slots on said first segment; wherein when said rotary fan blade is rotated rapidly, said second segment extends outwardly by centrifugal force against the tension force of said spring, and said tabs ride in said slots.

12. A ceiling fan comprising: a central blade hub; and a circumferential array of fan blades mounted on said central blade hub; wherein each of said fan blades includes an elongated support member, and at least one foil member mounted on said support member, wherein said foil member is substantially shorter in length than said elongated support member.

13. The ceiling fan of claim 12 wherein said elongated support members are sinuous in shape.

14. The ceiling fan of claim 13 wherein said foil members are sinuous in shape.

15. The ceiling fan of claim 12 wherein said fan blades are fixedly mounted to said central blade hub.

16. The ceiling fan of claim 12 wherein said fan blades are adjustably mounted to said central blade hub.

17. The ceiling fan of claim 12 wherein said fan blades are mounted for axial rotation to said central blade hub and including a mechanism for rotating said fan blades in order to change the pitch of said foil members.

18. The ceiling fan of claim 12 wherein said support members each comprise two or more segments, each of the segments supporting one or more of said foils.

19. A ceiling fan comprising: a central blade hub; a circumferential array of foil blades spaced from said central blade hub; and an assembly for mounting said circumferential array of foil blades on said central blade hub.

20. The ceiling fan of claim 19 wherein said assembly includes inner and outer blade support rings for supporting said foil blades and a plurality of support members radially extending between said central blade hub and said inner blade support ring.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/866,914, filed Nov. 22, 2006, the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to ceiling fans and relates more particularly to a lightweight foil fan blade and to a ceiling fan including foil fan blades.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Ceiling fans are popular commercial and consumer items. They move air in a room to more evenly distribute the air and keep the room at a more constant temperature. Ceiling fans are often used to cool people by providing a stream of air over their bodies. The air stream enhances body cooling by evaporating any surface body moisture and by removing heat from the surface of the skin.

The blades of ceiling fans are typically elongated members of one and a half to two feet or more in length. The fan blade can be a solid member of wood, metal or plastic. The solid blades are heavy and require a more powerful, energy consuming motor to rotate them. The fan blade can be a more lightweight structure including a rigid frame covered with a lightweight material, such as fabric or plastic. (See: U.S. Pat. No. 5,110,261, issued May 5, 1992, inventor Junkin, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,419,451 B1, issued Jul. 16, 2002, inventors Moody et al.). These blades use a more lightweight and less energy consuming motor. The blades are typically set at an angle to the horizontal to facilitate air flow. The fan blades are often decorative in nature, assuming different shapes and having different decorations on them. Because fan blades are generally fixed, they can only produce a fixed flow of air in one direction.

There exists a need for a ceiling fan having blades that are light in weight, that are aesthetically pleasing and that can be configured to give various air patterns in a room.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a feature of the present invention, there is provided a rotary fan blade including an elongated support member and at least one foil member mounted on the support member, wherein the foil member is substantially shorter than the elongated support member.

According to another feature of the present invention, there is provided a ceiling fan including a plurality of fan blades, wherein each of the fan blades includes an elongated support member and at least one foil member mounted on said support member, wherein the foil member is substantially shorter in length than the elongated support member.

An advantage of the present invention is that the foil fan blade is lightweight and can be designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Further, a ceiling fan having a plurality of foil fan blades can be powered with an energy efficient motor and configured to give various air patterns in a room. Even further, the invention provides a sectional blade arm for breakdown to reduce shipping and storage space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is disclosed with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 are respective top plan, side elevational and front elevational views showing a fan blade according to the present invention.

FIGS. 4A-4H are respective cross-sectional views showing shapes that the support member of the invention of FIGS. 1-3 can take.

FIGS. 5 and 6 are respective elevational and plan views showing an embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is an elevational view showing the foil of the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6 taken at line 7-7 of FIG. 6.

FIGS. 8 and 9 are respective elevational and plan views showing another embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention.

FIG. 10 is an elevational view of the foil showing the embodiment of FIGS. 8 and 9 taken at line 10-10 of FIG. 9.

FIGS. 11 and 12 are respective elevational and plan views showing still another embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention.

FIGS. 13 and 14 are respective elevational and plan views showing yet another embodiment of the ceiling fan according to the present invention.

FIGS. 15 and 16 are respective elevational and plan views showing another embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention.

FIG. 16A is an elevation view showing a joint between two segments useful with the present invention.

FIGS. 17 and 18 are respective partially sectional plan and elevational views showing one attachment assembly useful with the present invention, with FIG. 18 taken at line 18-18 of FIG. 17.

FIGS. 19, 20, and 21 are respective partially sectional plan, plan, and elevational views showing another attachment assembly useful with the present invention.

FIGS. 22, 23, and 24 are respective partially sectional, plan, elevational, and elevational views show still another attachment assembly useful with the present invention, with FIG. 23 taken at line 23-23 of FIG. 22 and FIG. 24 taken at line 24-24 of FIG. 22.

FIG. 25 is a partially sectional plan view showing another attachment assembly useful with the present invention.

FIGS. 26 and 27 are respective partially sectional plan and elevational views showing another attachment assembly useful with the present invention, with FIG. 27 taken at line 27-27 of FIG. 26.

FIGS. 28, 29, and 30 are partially sectional plan, elevational and elevational views of a variable pitch assembly useful with the present invention, with FIG. 30 taken at line 30-30 of FIG. 28.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The examples set out herein illustrate several embodiments of the invention but should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, there is shown an embodiment of the foil fan blade of the present invention. As shown, foil fan blade 10 includes an elongated support member 12 supporting a foil blade 14 at the end thereof by means of screws 16.

Foil blade 14 is substantially shorter in length than the length of elongated support member 12. As shown in FIG. 3, foil blade 14 is set at an angle to the horizontal to move air in an air pattern as it is rotated. Foil blade 14 is preferably of an aerodynamic shape but can be of any shape that is effective in moving air. Foil blade 14 can be located anywhere along the length of support member 12.

FIGS. 4A-4H show various shapes that support member 12 can take. FIGS. 4A-4D respectively show square, triangular, circular and airfoil shapes for a hollow support member. FIGS. 4E-4H respectively show square, triangular, circular, and airfoil shapes for a solid support member. Support member 12 can be of other shapes and dimensions of a practical or decorative nature. Support member 12 can be fabricated from any rigid material such as metal, plastic, wood, graphite, composites, or the like.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show an embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention. As shown, ceiling fan 20 includes a plurality of foil fan blades 10, having support members 12 and foil blades 14 supported at the ends of support members 12. Foil fan blades 10 are attached to a blade hub 22 and are arrayed circumferentially around blade hub 22. As shown, ceiling fan 20 has five foil fan blades 10 angularly spaced about 72 degrees apart. It will be understood that ceiling fan 20 can have more or less foil fan blades 10 as desired. Ceiling fan 20 also includes a canopy 26, a down rod 32, a motor housing assembly 28, and a globe or shade 30. As shown in FIG. 7, foil blade 14 has an airfoil shape and is tilted at an angle to the horizontal.

FIGS. 8-10 show another embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention. As shown, ceiling fan 40 includes a plurality of foil fan blades 42 having sinuous support members 44 and sinuous foil blades 46 supported at the ends of support members 44. Ceiling fan 40 also has a blade hub 22 to which fan blades 42 are attached, a canopy 26, a down rod 32, a motor housing assembly 28, and a globe or shade 30. FIG. 10 shows the airfoil shape of foil blade 46.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show yet another embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention. As shown, ceiling fan 50 includes a circumferential array of foil blades 52 supported by interior blade support ring 54 and exterior blade support ring 56. Radially extending support members 58 are attached at one end to interior blade support ring 54 and at the other end to blade hub 22. Ceiling fan 50 also has a canopy 26, a down rod 32, a motor housing assembly 28, and a globe or shade 30. Ceiling fan 50 is shown having 25 foil blades, but it will be understood that any number more or less than 25 can be used as desired. Foil blades 52 can be of any desired configuration or material.

FIGS. 13 and 14 show a modification of the ceiling fan of FIGS. 11 and 12 including means for adjusting the tilt angle of the circumferential array of foil blades. As shown, ceiling fan 60 includes a circumferential array of foil blades 62 supported by interior blade support ring 64 and exterior blade support ring 66. Radially extending support members 68 are attached at one end to interior blade support ring 64 and at the other end to blade hub 22. Ceiling fan 60 also has a canopy 26, a down rod 32, a motor housing assembly 28, and a globe or shade 30. Foil blades 62 are mounted for rotation on blade pivot arms 70 extending between interior blade support ring 64 and exterior blade support ring 66. A blade angle adjustment ring 72 is attached to blade angle adjustment arms 74 at the upper ends of arms 74, while the lower ends of arms 74 are attached to blade pivot arms 70. Rotation of ring 72 in one direction will cause blades 62 to tilt in one direction, while rotation of ring 72 in the opposite direction will cause blades 62 to tilt in the opposite direction.

FIGS. 15 and 16 show another embodiment of ceiling fan according to the present invention. As shown, ceiling fan 80 includes a plurality of foil fan blades 82 each having a plurality (three) of foil blades 84 supported by elongated support members 86. The blades are arranged in three concentric circles. Each blade in a given circle is identical. The three blades are radially spaced from each other along the support member 86. Foil fan blades 82 are attached to a blade hub 22 and are arrayed circumferentially around blade hub 22. Foil blades 84 can be of different configurations or tilted at different angles along the length of support members 86 in order to present different aesthetic effects or give various air patterns to the surrounding environment. Ceiling fan 80 also has a canopy 26, a down rod 32, a motor housing assembly 28, and a globe or shade 30.

The support members 86 may be segmented to allow the fan blades 82 to be packaged in smaller boxes and to provide some flexibility in the length of the fan blades 82 and number of foil blades 84 included in each fan blade 82. Each of the segments may include one or more foil blades 84. The segments are connected at a joint 88, such as the one shown in FIG. 16A. The segments are assembled by sliding segment 86b into segment 86a and fastening them together with screws 90. It is preferred that the segments 86a and 86b include pre-drilled holes for engaging screws 90 such that the segments are assembled with the foil blades 84 having the proper angle from horizontal and spacing.

FIGS. 17 and 18 show an attachment assembly 100 for fixedly attaching foil fan blade 10 to blade hub 22. As shown, attachment assembly 100 includes generally T-shaped blade iron 102 attached to blade hub 22 by assembly screws 104. The end of support member 12 is fixedly mounted in a closed hole 101 in blade iron 102 and fixed by set screws 106. Foil bade 14 is mounted on the other end of support member 12 by assembly screws 108. Fan motor shaft 34 is also shown.

While it is preferred that the orientation and the distance from the hub 22 of the foil blades 14 are determined when the fan is designed and are not adjustable, the following embodiments describe alternative fans with adjustable foils or support members.

FIGS. 19 and 20 show an attachment assembly 110 for adjustably attaching foil fan blade 10 to blade hub 22. As shown, attachment assembly 110 includes a generally T-shaped blade iron 112 attached to blade hub 22 by assembly screws 114. The end of support member 12 is adjustably mounted in through hole 116 in blade iron 112 and fixed by set screws 118

FIG. 21 shows another adjustable attachment assembly, where the blade hub directly mounts the foil fan blade. As shown, blade hub 130 includes side walls 132 having through holes 134 in which support member 12 is adjustably mounted. Set screws 136 fix support member 12 to blade hub 130.

FIGS. 22-24 show a foil fan blade 140 with a telescoping support member 142 and foil blade 14. Support member 142 includes a partially hollow segment 144 attached to blade hub 22 by blade iron 102 and a telescoping segment 146 partially slidably mounted in segment 144. Segment 146 has, mounted on the end inserted into segment 144, a ball 148 biased upwardly by spring 150. Segment 144 has a series of apertures 152 into which ball 148 is biased to hold segments 144 and 146 together.

FIG. 25 shows a foil fan blade 160 with a telescoping support member 162 and foil blade 14. Support member 162 includes a partially hollow segment 164 and a telescoping segment 166 partially slidably mounted in segment 164. Set screws 168 in apertures 170 of segment 164 hold segments 164 and 166 together.

FIGS. 26 and 27 show a foil fan blade 180 with a telescoping support member 182 and a foil blade 14. Support member 182 includes a hollow segment 184 attached to blade hub 22 by means of blade iron 102 and a telescoping segment 186 partially slidably mounted in segment 184. Segment 186 is attached to segment 184 by a centrifugal force tension spring 188. Stabilization tabs 190 mounted on segment 186 project through slots 192 in segment 184. When foil fan blade 180 is rotated rapidly, segment 186 extends outwardly by centrifugal force against the tension force of spring 188.

FIGS. 28-30 show an attachment assembly for varying the pitch of the foil blade of a foil fan blade. Foil fan blade 200 includes a rotatable support member 202 and a foil blade 14 attached at one end by screws 108. The other end of support member 202 passes through blade hub 22 and has a conical pinion 204 which engages curved rack 206. A rack adjustment control shaft 208 connected to rack 206 adjusts the tilt or pitch of foil blade 14 in directions 210 (FIG. 30).

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof to adapt to particular situations without departing from the scope of the invention. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope and spirit of the appended claims.