Title:
Portable heating systems and methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to portable heating systems for generating heat through various exothermic reactions excluding combustion of inflammable gases and liquids and carbon-containing fossil fuels. More particularly, the present invention relates to portable air heating systems generating heat by the exothermic chemical reactions and delivering heat to a target by conduction or convection. The present invention also relates to various portable heating systems supplying reactants, air, and/or heated air into and/out of such by a driving force generated by ordinary bodily movement of an user. Thus, the present invention relates to gloves, shoes, and cloths incorporated with the portable heating systems to keeping the user warm in cold weather. The present invention also relates to methods of generating heat by the portable heating systems and methods of applying such systems to the gloves, shoes, and cloths. The present invention also relates to processes for making such portable heating systems and processes of fabricating gloves, shoes, and cloths incorporated with such systems.



Inventors:
Shim, Youngtack (Port Moody, CA)
Application Number:
11/645553
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/263.01
International Classes:
F24V30/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080156893Portable heating systems and methodsJuly, 2008Shim
20050121532System and method for district heating with intercooled gas turbine engineJune, 2005Reale et al.
20030217841Instrument thermal regulatorNovember, 2003Bussard et al.
20060102733Combustion air intake filterMay, 2006York et al.
20080210769HEATING SYSTEM, DRYING MACHINE HAVING THE HEATING SYSTEM, AND METHOD OF CONTROLLING THE HEATING SYSTEMSeptember, 2008Yoo et al.
20080034764Air conditioner for a vehicle and controlling method thereofFebruary, 2008Iwasaki
20070295825Windshield Heat and CleanDecember, 2007Mcnaughton
20080156894Heating system using a fireplaceJuly, 2008Lee
20090188985Combined chiller and boiler HVAC system in a single outdoor operating unitJuly, 2009Scharing et al.
20090218409HEATING SYSTEM FOR MOTOR VEHICLESeptember, 2009Chen
20090001186Modulating Boiler SystemJanuary, 2009Cohen



Primary Examiner:
SAVANI, AVINASH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Youngtack Shim (Port Moody, BC, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable heat generator for generating heat by an exothermic hydration of at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and delivering said heat to a target comprising: at least one portable reactor which is configured to retain therein said oxide of said metal; at least one air inlet fluidly communicating with said reactor and ambient air with water; and at least one air supplier which is configured to be in fluid communication with said ambient air and reactor and to supply said ambient air into said reactor through said air inlet; whereby said metal oxide reacts with said water inside said reactor and generates said heat at least a portion of which is then delivered to said target.

2. The generator of claim 1, wherein said generator is configured to have a shape defining a low profile than a length and a width thereof.

3. The generator of claim 1, wherein said alkali earth metal includes Be, Mg, Ca, Sr, and Ba.

4. The generator of claim 3, wherein said metal is CA and wherein said metal oxide is CaO.

5. The generator of claim 3, wherein said metal oxide is configured to define a shape of at least one of a ball, a pellet, a bar, a fiber, and a powder.

6. The generator of claim 5, wherein said metal oxide is configured to define a porous structure defining therethrough at least one of macroscopic pores and microscopic pores therealong.

7. The generator of claim 6, wherein said structure is also configured to form at least one internal lumen so as to facilitate of mass transport of said second reactant therethrough.

8. The generator of claim 1, wherein said reactor is configured to releasably receive at least one cartridge incorporating said metal oxide therein and to also dispose said cartridge along said first fluid communication so that said water travels into said cartridge and to react with said metal oxide.

9. The generator of claim 1 further comprising a control member which is configured to control said air supplier and to manipulate an amount of said air supplied to said reactor as well as an amount of said heat generated in said reactor.

10. The generator of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of air paths, wherein at least one of said air paths is configured to be disposed along said first communication, wherein at least another of said air paths is configured to be disposed off from said first communication, and wherein said air supplier is configured to manipulate said air to path through either of said air paths.

11. The generator of claim 1, wherein said portion of said heat is delivered to said target through a thermal conduction.

12. A portable hot air generator for heating ambient air by heat which is released by an exothermic hydration of at leas one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and then delivering heated ambient air to a target comprising: at least one portable reactor which is configured to retain therein said oxide of said metal; at least one air inlet fluidly communicating with said reactor and ambient air including water; at least one air outlet fluidly communicating with said reactor and target; and at least one air supplier which is configured to be in fluid communication with said ambient air, reactor, and target, to supply said ambient air into said reactor through said air inlet, and to discharge said heated ambient out therefrom, whereby said metal oxide reacts with said water inside said reactor and heats said ambient air therein and whereby said air supplier delivers said heated air to said target through said air outlet.

13. The generator of claim 12, wherein said alkali earth metal includes Be, Mg, Ca, Sr, and Ba.

14. The generator of claim 13, wherein said metal is CA and wherein said metal oxide is CaO.

15. The generator of claim 12, wherein said reactor is configured to releasably receive at least one cartridge incorporating said metal oxide therein and to also dispose said cartridge along said first fluid communication so that said water travels into said cartridge and to react with said metal oxide.

16. The generator of claim 12 further comprising a heat exchanging chamber which is configured to contain therein at least a substantial portion of said reactor, to receive said air therein, to generate said heated air by flowing said air around said reactor and heating said air by said reactor, and then to discharge said heated air to said target.

17. The generator of claim 12, wherein said metal oxide is configured to define a shape of at least one of a ball, a pellet, a bar, a fiber, and a powder.

18. A method of generating heat by a portable heating system without using electricity and without burning fuel comprising the steps of: charging a refillable reactor with at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal capable of generating heat by hydration thereof; incorporating said reactor into said system; supplying air containing therein water to said metal oxide, thereby generating said heat; removing said metal oxide from said reactor after a preset extent of said hydration; and repeating said charging with fresh metal oxide.

19. The method of claim 18 further comprising the step of: transferring said heat to said user across said reactor through thermal conduction.

20. The method of claim 18 further comprising the steps of: flowing at least a portion of said air around but not in said reactor; heating said portion of said air by said reactor; and delivering said heated air to target, thereby transferring said heat to said target by convention.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims a benefit of an earlier invention date of the Disclosure Document which is entitled “Portable Heating Systems and Methods,” deposited in the U.S. PTO on Feb. 11, 2005 by the same Applicant, and bearing the Ser. No. 570,394, an entire portion of which is to be incorporated herein by reference and will be referred to as the “co-pending Applications” herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to portable heating systems for generating heat through various exothermic reactions excluding combustion of inflammable gases and liquids and carbon-containing fossil fuels. More particularly, the present invention relates to portable air heating systems generating heat by the exothermic chemical reactions and delivering heat to a target by conduction or convection. The present invention also relates to various portable heating systems supplying reactants, air, and/or heated air into and/out of such by a driving force generated by ordinary bodily movement of an user. Thus, the present invention relates to gloves, shoes, and cloths incorporated with the portable heating systems to keeping the user warm in cold weather. The present invention also relates to methods of generating heat by the portable heating systems and methods of applying such systems to the gloves, shoes, and cloths. The present invention also relates to processes for making such portable heating systems and processes of fabricating gloves, shoes, and cloths incorporated with such systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various heating devices have been used to supply heat to various body parts of an user. The heating devices generally provide the heat or heated air to a target by thermal conduction, convection, and/or radiation, and use electricity or fossil fuels as their energy source. Such devices are generally designed as stationary articles to which electricity is supplied or fuels are refilled. Thus, modifications of such devices into portable articles have not yet been successful.

Some portable heating devices, however, are currently available on the market. For example, some electric heaters operate on batteries or portable generators, while other heaters burn kerosene or inflammable gas stored in a fuel tank. Although the portable electric heaters may be useful in some occasions, their applications are limited in that the batteries tend to be heavy and bulky, such batteries may last only several hours, and the like. It is cumbersome to carry tens of extra batteries to replace the used ones and to recharge the rechargeable batteries whenever such heaters are to be used in the future. Although the energy source of the portable burners such as the fuel tanks and canisters of inflammable gas are generally less cumbersome to carry, flame temperature of such heaters may be relatively high, and no suitable methods have been developed to control the flame temperature at a range not detrimental to a skin of an user. A mixture of charcoal and metal powder is also available so that the mixture gradually generates heat as powder particles are rubbed against each other and burn the charcoal. Although this heating device may generate heat at a low temperature, it is typically difficult to control heat generation once the powder begins to burn. In addition, this device does not have enough heating capacity to last more than a few hours.

Accordingly, there is an urgent need for a portable heating system which can provide thermal energy at a low temperature level for an extended period of time. There also exists a need for gloves, shoes, and cloths incorporating such a heating system and providing heat to hands, feet, and body of the user for an extended period of time. There is a further need for the heating system which can be incorporated into the gloves, shoes, and cloths and can be actuated by ordinary bodily movements of the user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to portable heating systems for generating heat through various exothermic chemical reactions excluding combustion of inflammable gases and/or liquids and carbon-containing fossil fuels such as, e.g., natural gas, propane gas, butane gas, gasoline, kerosene, coal, charcoal, and a mixture thereof. More particularly, the present invention relates to portable heating systems capable of generating heat by the exothermic chemical reactions and delivering such heat to a target by direct thermal conduction and/or forced convection, by indirect convection alone, and the like. Thus, the present invention relates to various reactants provided in various shapes and capable of reacting with each other and generating such heat by such reactions. The present invention also relates to various portable heating systems supplying reactants and/or heated air into and/out of the systems by driving forces which are generated by ordinary body movements of an user. Therefore, the present invention also relates to various portable heating systems which are provided as compact articles and capable of being incorporated into gloves, shoes, and cloths.

The present invention also relates to methods of generating heat and delivering the heat to an user by the above portable heating systems without generating undesirable substances such as CO, NOx, other toxic substances, and the like. More particularly, the present invention relates to methods of disposing various reactants into the portable heating systems, methods of supplying the reactants to various parts of the heating systems for the exothermic reactions, methods of controlling amounts of the reactants supplied to various parts of the system and controlling amounts of the heat generated by the systems, and methods of delivering the heat to the user by different heat transfer mechanisms. Therefore, the present invention also relates to methods of providing the reactants in various shapes and/or arrangements for maximizing and/or manipulating extents of generating such heat. In addition, the present invention relates to various methods of incorporating such portable heating systems into the gloves, shoes, and/or cloths to provide such heat to the user wearing such.

The present invention further relates to processes for making such portable heating systems capable of generating heat by the exothermic chemical reactions and delivering such heat to the user and processes of providing various parts of such systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to processes of providing heat generators for generating such heat by the chemical reactions and delivering such heat to the user by the thermal conduction and/or forced convection, processes of providing hot air generators for generating the heat by such reactions and delivering heated air to the user solely by the force convection, processes of constructing heat generators for the heating and/or hot air generators, and the like. Thus, the present invention also relates to various processes of forming various reactants for such systems. In addition, the present invention relates to various processes for making gloves, shoes, and/or cloths incorporating such heating or hot air generators, various processes for supplying the reactants into the systems with such generators, and processes for providing driving forces for transporting such reactants for the systems.

Therefore, a primary objective of the present invention is to provide a portable heating system which can generate heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction but in a safe, slow, as well as controllable mode. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide the portable heating system capable of generating the heat without burning inflammable gases and liquids, without burning fossil fuels such as, e.g., natural gas, propane gas, butane gas, gasoline, kerosene, coal, charcoal, and a mixture thereof. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the portable heating system capable of generating such heat from the exothermic reaction without producing reaction products which are not desirable because they may be toxic (e.g., SOx or NOx), because they may contribute to global warming (e.g., CO2), and the like.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide the portable heating system capable of transferring heat released by various exothermic chemical reactions to an user wearing or carrying such a system. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide such a portable heating device capable of harnessing the heat of various chemical reactions such as, e.g., a formation reaction of a metal hydroxide from water and at least one metal oxide, a formation reaction of at least one salt from at least one acid and at least one base, a reaction between at least one acid and at least one metal, a hydration of a preset substance by water, a dissolution of a preset substance into a solvent, a dilution of a preset substance by a solvent, a phase change of a preset substance, and any other exothermic reactions. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the portable heating system which may employ the exothermic chemical reaction which does not necessarily form an enormous amount of reaction products. Another related objective of this invention is to provide such a portable heating system which may employ the exothermic chemical reaction which is readily controllable so that the reaction is not too fast but easily controllable, that the reaction heat will not render the system reach dangerously high temperature, and the like. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the portable heating system which can generate such heat at least roughly in proportion to an user input and which does not run away or overshoot from a safe and controllable temperature range.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide various reactants which can generate such heat by the exothermic chemical reaction. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide at least one of such reactants in various shapes and/or arrangements in order to achieve a maximum conversion and/or to generate a maximum amount of the heat per unit mass of the reactant. Another related objective of this invention is to provide at least one of such reactants in various configurations in order to facilitate replacement of consumed reactants by fresh reactants. Another related objective of this invention is to select at least two suitable reactants to meet the other objectives of the present invention as have been described hereinabove and as will be disclosed hereinafter.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide various heat generators for the above portable heating system in order to transfer the heat from the exothermic chemical reaction to the user preferentially by thermal conduction. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide the heat generator which incorporates materials having high thermal conductivity and in which the exothermic reaction occurs, thereby facilitating the conduction of such heat to the user. Another related objective of this invention is to construct the heat generator in a configuration into which the reactant is readily charged and from which consumed reactant is replaced. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the heat generator in a compact configuration so that the user can incorporate the system with the heat generator into his or her gloves, shoes, and/or cloths.

Another objective of the present invention is to make various hot air generators for the above portable heating system capable of transferring the heat from the exothermic chemical reaction to the user preferentially by forced convection. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide such a hot air generator which employs ambient air as one of the reactants, supplies the air to a reactor in which the reaction takes place, heats the air in the reactor, and then delivers the heated air directly to the user from the reactor. Another related objective of this invention is to provide such a reactor for the hot air generator by selecting the suitable exothermic chemical reaction which does not form any reaction products which may not be desirable when delivered to the user. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the hot air generator which also includes an additional heat exchanging chamber, supplies ambient air to the chamber while supplying such reactants to the reactor in which the reaction takes place and the heat is released, transfers the heat to the ambient air disposed inside the chamber but outside the reactor, and then delivers the heated air to the user out of the chamber. Another related objective of this invention is to construct the hot air generator in a configuration into which the reactant may be readily charged and from which consumed reactant is replaced. Another objective of this invention is to also provide the hot air generator in a compact configuration so that the user can incorporate the system including the hot air generator into his or her gloves, shoes, and/or cloths.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide various heat generators for the above portable heating system which can supply the reactants of the exothermic chemical reaction based on various arrangements. Therefore, a related objective of this invention is to provide a reactor of such a heat generator in which all reactants for the exothermic reaction are fixedly or releasably charged so that the generator does not need to transport any reactant at all. Another related objective of this invention is to provide a reactor of the heat generator in which at least one but not all of the reactants is fixedly or releasably charged so that the generator does not have to transport all reactants into the reactor to generate the heat. Another related objective of this invention is to provide a reactor of the heat generator into which all reactants for the reaction are to be supplied from their external sources such that the generator needs to transport each of such reactants into the reactor. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the heat generator which can manipulate an amount of each reactant supplied into the reactor and control a rate of generation of the heat by the reactor. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the heating system which includes at least one supplier capable of supplying the ambient air and/or reactants into the heat generators based on movement of at least one body part of the user.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide various hot air generators for such a portable heating system which can also supply such reactants of the exothermic chemical reaction in various embodiments. Therefore, a related objective of this invention is to provide a reactor of such a hot air generator in which all reactants for the exothermic reaction are fixed or releasably charged so that such a generator does not need to transport any reactant at all. Another related objective of this invention is to provide a reactor of the heat generator in which at least one but not all of the reactants is fixedly or releasably charged so that the generator does not have to transport all reactants into the reactor to generate the heat. Another related objective of this invention is to provide a reactor of the heat generator into which all reactants for the reaction are to be supplied from their external sources such that the generator needs to transport each of the reactants into such a reactor. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the hot air generator which can manipulate an amount of each reactant supplied into the reactor and control a rate of generation of such heat by the reactor as well as a flow rate of the heated air delivered to the user. Another objective of this invention is to provide the heating system which includes at least one supplier capable of supplying the ambient air and/or reactants into the hot air generators based on movement of at least one body part of the user.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a glove which is incorporated with the above portable heating system which in turn includes the above heat and/or hot air generators. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide the glove which includes such a heat generator and supplies various reactants into the reactor of the generator by driving forces provided by movement of a finger, a hand, a wrist, and/or a lower arm of the user, thereby generating and transferring such heat to the user in proportion with the body movement. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the glove which includes the hot air generator and supplies various reactants into the reactor of the generator by such driving forces, thereby generating and delivering the heated or hot air to the user in proportion with such body movement. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the glove which satisfies all of the foregoing objectives.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a shoe which is incorporated with the above portable heating system which in turn includes the above heat and/or hot air generators. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide the glove which includes such a heat generator and supplies various reactants into the reactor of the generator by driving forces provided by movement of a toe, a foot, an ankle, a lower leg, and/or a knee of the user, thereby generating and transferring the heat to the user in proportion with the body movement. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the glove which includes the hot air generator and supplies various reactants into such a reactor of the generator by the driving forces. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the shoe which satisfies all of the foregoing objectives.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a cloth which is incorporated with the above portable heating system which in turn includes the above heat and/or hot air generators. Thus, a related objective of this invention is to provide the cloth which includes such a heat generator and supplies various reactants into the reactor of the generator by driving forces provided by movement of any body part of the user, thereby generating and transferring the heat to the user in proportion to the body movement. Therefore, a related objective of this invention is to also provide the cloth which includes the hot air generator and supplies various reactants into the reactor of the generator by the driving forces. Another related objective of this invention is to provide the cloth which satisfies all of the foregoing objectives.

The portable heat or hot air generating systems of the present invention may be incorporated into various articles of commerce. Such systems may generally be applied to those articles which are worn by the user and insulate his or her specific body parts from cold atmosphere. Therefore, such portable systems of this invention may be readily incorporated into gloves, shoes, helmets, caps, hats, ear masks, cloths, and the like.

Such portable heating systems of this invention may offer various benefits over the foregoing prior art counterparts. First of all, such portable heating systems may be constructed as compact and light units and, accordingly, may be readily incorporated into the gloves, shoes, and/or cloths, without burdening the user by their weights, sizes, and/or volumes. Secondly, such systems do not generally require any stationary, bulky or heavy energy source which has to be attached or connected thereto. Accordingly, the user may engage in activities without being restricted within a certain distance from the energy stationary source and without being hindered by the weight, size, and/or volume of such a source. In addition, such systems do not require any inflammable energy source and, accordingly, the user does not need to limit extents of his or her activity without being unnecessarily concerned about spilling liquid or solid fuels from the system. Furthermore, such systems may generate the heat or hot air without involving any combustion and flame. Therefore, such heat or hot air may be generated at a relatively low temperature level and then directly delivered to the user and/or target without physically damaging or burning a skin of the user. Various reactants or energy source of such heating systems may be provided as replaceable cartridges which may define minimal weights and volumes, because such cartridges may be made from light materials and include dry solid or powder of reactants. Thus, the user may carry a significant number of cartridges as he or she may embark on a trip. In addition, an extent of the exothermic chemical reaction may be easily manipulated by then controlling amounts of reactants fed to reactors of such systems. Thus, the user may readily control an amount of heat or hot air provided to his or her body parts.

A variety of apparatus, method, and/or process aspects of such heating systems and various embodiments thereof are now enumerated. It is appreciated, however, that following system, method, and/or process aspects of the present invention may also be embodied in many other different forms and, accordingly, should not be limited to such aspects and/or their embodiments which are to be set forth herein. Rather, various exemplary aspects and/or their embodiments described hereinafter are provided such that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and fully convey the scope of the present invention to one of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

In one aspect of the present invention, a portable heat generator may be provided to generate heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and to deliver the heat to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, at least one reactor inlet, and at least one first reactant. The reactor inlet may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor and ambient air including water, where such a reactor inlet will now be referred to as the “type A react inlet” hereinafter. The first reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the reactor and to generate heat with the water by the chemical reaction when such ambient air may be supplied to the reactor (to be referred to as the “type A first reactant” hereinafter), whereby the generator generates and delivers heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may also include at least one reactor, at least one first reactant, at least one second storage, at least one reactor inlet, and at least one second reactant. The reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the reactor, while the second storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor, where this second storage will now be referred to as the “type A second storage” hereinafter. The reactor inlet may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor and second storage, where such a reactor inlet will be referred to as the “type B reactor inlet” hereinafter. Such a second reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the second storage and to generate heat with the first reactant by the reaction when the second reactant is supplied to the reactor (to be referred to as the “type A second reactant” hereinafter), whereby the generator generates and delivers heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may also include at least one reactor, at least one first storage, at least one second storage, at least one reactor inlet, at least one first reactant, and at least one second reactant. Such a first storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor, where such a first storage will be referred to as the “type A first storage” hereinafter. The second storage may be arranged to be physically separate from both of the reactor and first storage, where this second storage will be referred to as the “type B second storage” hereinafter). The reactor inlet may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor and with both of the first and second storages, where this reactor inlet is to be referred to as the “type C reactor inlet” hereinafter. The first reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the first storage and will be referred to as the “type B first reactant” hereinafter. The second reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the second storage and to generate heat with such a first reactant by the reaction when both of such first and second reactants are supplied into the reactor (to be referred to as the “type B second reactant” hereinafter), whereby the generator generates and delivers heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the above type A reactor inlet, and at least one cartridge which may be arranged to be releasably incorporated into the reactor and to include at least one first reactant which may be arranged to generate heat with the water by the reaction when the ambient air is supplied into the reactor and then the cartridge (to be referred to as the “type A cartridge” hereinafter), whereby the generator generates and delivers the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, at least one cartridge, the type A second storage, the type B reactor inlet, the type A second reactant, and at least one cartridge, where such a cartridge may be arranged to be releasably incorporated into the reactor and to include at least one first reactant (to be referred to as the “type B cartridge” hereinafter). The type A second reactant may also be supplied to the cartridge, whereby the generator generates and delivers heat to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable hot air generator may also be provided to generate heat from at least one exothermic chemical reaction, to hear air with the heat, and to deliver hot air to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, at least one air inlet, at least one air outlet, and the type A first reactant. The air inlet may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor and ambient air which may include water (to be referred to as the “type A air inlet” hereinafter), whereas the air outlet may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor as well with the target (to be referred to as the “type A air outlet” hereinafter). Accordingly, the generator may heat the air in the reactor and then deliver the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, at least one first reactant which is arranged to be disposed in the reactor, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, the type A second storage, the type B reactor inlet, and the type A second reactant, whereby the generator may heat the air in the reactor and then deliver such heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the type A first storage, the type B first reactant, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, the type B second storage, the type C reactor inlet, and at least one type B second reactant. The reactor inlet may be also arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor as well as both of the first and second storages. Therefore, the generator may generate heat and deliver the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may have at least one reactor, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, and the type A cartridge. Thus, the generator may heat the air and deliver the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the type B cartridge, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, the type A second storage, the type B reactor inlet, and the type B second reactant which may also be supplied to the cartridge, whereby the generator may heat the air and deliver the heated air to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable hot air generator may also be provided to generate heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and to generate hot air by heat transfer.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the type A reactor inlet, the type A first reactant, at least one heat exchanging chamber including the reactor therein, at least one air inlet, and at least one air outlet. The air inlet may be in fluid communication with the chamber and ambient air, and will be referred to as the “type B air inlet” hereinafter). The air outlet may be in fluid communication with the chamber and target, and will be referred to as the “type B air outlet” hereinafter. Therefore, the generator may generate the heat, transfer the heat from the chamber to the air, and deliver the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the type B first reactant, at least one second storage, the type B reactor inlet, at least one second reactant, at least one heat exchanging chamber, the type B air inlet, and the type B air outlet. The second storage may be physically separate from the reactor, while the second reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the second storage and to generate heat with such a first reactant through the chemical reaction when the second reactant is supplied to the reactor. The heat exchanging chamber may include the reactor therein, whereby the generator may generate the heat, transfer the heat from the chamber to the air, and then deliver the heated air from the chamber to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, at least one first storage, the type B first reactant, at least one second storage, the type C reactor inlet, at least one second reactant, the type B air inlet, and the type B air outlet. Such a first storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor, whereas the second storage may be arranged to be physically separate from both of the reactor and first storage. The second reactant may be arranged to be disposed in the second storage and to generate the heat through the chemical reaction with the first reactant when the first and second reactants are supplied into the reactor through the reactor inlet. Accordingly, the generator may generate the heat, transfer the heat from the chamber to the air, and then deliver the heated air from the chamber to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the type A cartridge, at least one heat exchanging chamber including the reactor therein, the type B air inlet, and the type B air outlet. Accordingly, the generator may generate the heat, transfer the heat from the chamber to the air, and deliver the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a generator may include at least one reactor, the type B cartridge, the type A second storage, the type B reactor inlet, the type A second reactant which may be also supplied to the cartridge, at least one heat exchanging chamber including the reactor therein, the type B air inlet, and the type B air outlet. Accordingly, such a generator may generate the heat, transfer the heat from the chamber to the air, and then deliver the heated air from the chamber to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable heating system may be provided.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, such a system may have at least one cartridge, at least one reactor, at least one actuator, and at least one air supplier. Such a cartridge may be releasable and include at least one first reactant which may be arranged to generate heat with water included in an ambient air by at least one exothermic chemical reaction, where such a cartridge will be referred to as the “type C cartridge” hereinafter. The reactor may then be arranged to replaceably retain such a cartridge and will be referred to as the “type A reactor” hereinafter. The actuator may be arranged to operatively couple with at least one body part of an user and to convert at least one body movement of the user into a driving force, where this actuator will be referred to as the “type A actuator” hereinafter. The air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, and to supply air including water to the reactor by such driving force, where this air supplier will be referred to as the “type A air supplier” hereinafter. Therefore, the system is arranged to generate heat in the reactor due to the movement and to deliver at least a portion of the heat to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may include at least one reactor, the type A actuator, and the type A air supplier. The reactor includes at least one first reactant which may be arranged to generate heat with water and/or water included in ambient air by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and to be referred to as the “type B reactor” hereinafter. Thus, the system may be arranged to generate heat in the reactor due to the movement and to deliver at least a portion of the heat to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may include at least one cartridge, the type A reactor, at least one second storage, the type A actuator, and at least one reactant supplier. Such a cartridge may be arranged to be replaceable and to include at least one first reactant, where such a cartridge will be called as the “type D cartridge” hereinafter. Such a second storage may be arranged to store at least one second reactant capable of generating heat with the first reactant by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and will be referred to as the “type C second storage” hereinafter. The reactant supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, and to transport the second reactant into the reactor by such driving force, where this reactant supplier will be referred to as the “type A reactant supplier” hereinafter. Accordingly, the reactants may generate heat in the reactor by the movement, and the system may be arranged to deliver at least a portion of the heat to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may have at least one reactor, at least one first storage storing therein at least one first reactant, the type C second storage, the type A actuator, and at least one reactant supplier which may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the reactor, to be operatively coupled to the actuator, and then to transport the first and second reactants into the reactor by the driving force, where this reactant supplier will be referred to as the “type B reactant supplier” hereinafter. Thus, the reactants may generate heat due to the movement, and the system may deliver at least a portion of the heat to the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable hot air generating system may further be provided.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a system may include the type C cartridge, at least one reactor, the type A actuator, and at least one air supplier. The reactor may be arranged to include therein at least one air inlet and at least one air outlet, to releasably retain therein the cartridge, and to be referred to as the “type C reactor” hereinafter. The air supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, to supply air including water to the reactor through the air inlet by the driving force, and then to dispense the air out of the reactor, where such an air supplier is to be referred to as the “type B air supplier” hereinafter. Therefore, the system may be arranged to generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, to heat the air, and to discharge the heated air out of the reactor to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may include at least type C reactor, the type A actuator, and the type B air supplier. The reactor may also contain at least one first reactant which may be arranged to generate heat with water by at least one exothermic chemical reaction, whereby the system may be arranged to generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, to heat the air, and to discharge the heated air out of the reactor to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may include the type D cartridge, the type C reactor which may releasably retain the cartridge therein, the type C second storage, the type A actuator, and the type A reactant supplier which may be arranged to supply the air into the reactor, and to dispense the air out of the reactor, whereby the system may be arranged to generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, to heat the air, and to discharge the heated air out of the reactor to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, such a system may include the type C reactor, at least one first storage storing at least one first reactant, the type C second storage, the type A actuator, and the type B reactant supplier. Therefore, the system may be arranged to generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, to heat the air with the heat, and then to discharge the heated air out of the reactor to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may include the type C cartridge, the type A reactor, at least one heat exchanging chamber, the type A actuator, and at least one air supplier. The heat exchanging chamber may be arranged to include at least one air inlet and at least one air outlet and to retain at least a portion of the reactor therein. The air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the chamber, to operatively couple with the actuator, to supply air including water to the reactor by the driving force, to supply ambient air to the chamber, and to dispense the air out of the chamber, where this air supplier will be referred to as the “type C air supplier” hereinafter. Accordingly, the system may generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, transfer the heat to the ambient air, and discharge the heated ambient air to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, a system may include the type B reactor, at least one heat exchanging chamber, the type A actuator, and the type C air supplier, where the heat exchanging chamber may be arranged to include at least one air inlet and at least one air outlet and to retain at least a portion of the reactor therein. Therefore, such a system may generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, transfer the heat to the ambient air, and then discharge the heated air out of the chamber to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, such a system may include the type D cartridge, the type A reactor, at least one heat exchanging chamber, the type C second storage, the type A actuator, the type B reactant supplier, and at least one air supplier. The heat exchanging chamber may be arranged to include at least one air inlet and at least one air outlet and to retain at least a portion of the reactor therein. Such an air supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the chamber, to operatively couple with the actuator, to supply the air to the heat exchanging chamber, and to dispense the air out of the chamber, where this air supplier will now be referred to as the “type D air supplier” hereinafter. Accordingly, such a system may generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, transfer the heat to the air, and discharge the heated air out of the chamber to the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the present invention, such a system may include at least one reactor, at least one first storage capable of storing therein at least one first reactant, the type C second storage, at least one heat exchanging chamber, the type A actuator, the type B reactant supplier, and the type D air supplier. The heat exchanging chamber may be arranged to include at least one air inlet and at least one air outlet and to retain at least a portion of the reactor therein. Therefore, the system may generate heat in the reactor due to the movement, transfer such heat to the air, and discharge the heated air out of the chamber to the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, a heat generating shoe may be provided.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, such a shoe may include at least one shoe body, the type B reactor, at least one actuator, and the type A air supplier. Such a shoe body may be arranged to define at least one opening and an interior therein, where the opening may be arranged to receive at least a portion of a foot of an user therethrough and where the interior may be arranged to extend from the opening inwardly thereinto and to retain the portion of the foot. The reactor may also be arranged to couple with the shoe body. The actuator may be arranged to be operatively coupled to at least one body part of an user such as, e.g., a toe, a foot, an ankle, a lower leg, a knee, and an upper leg of the user, and to convert at least one movement of the body part into a driving force, where this actuator will be referred to as the “type B actuator” hereinafter. Therefore, the water may react with the first reactant in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement and transferring the heat to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a shoe may include the type A shoe body, at least one reactor which is arranged to include at least one first reactant and to be coupled to the shoe body, the type C second storage which may couple with the shoe body as well, the type B actuator, and the type A reactant supplier. Therefore, the reactants may react in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement and transferring such heat to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a shoe may include the type A shoe body, at least one reactor which may couple with the shoe body and contact such an interior, at least one first storage for storing at least one first reactant, the type C second storage, the type B actuator, and the type B reactant supplier. Accordingly, the reactants may react in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement and transferring such heat to the body part of the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, a shoe may be provided for heating its interior with hot air.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, such a shoe may include the type A shoe body, the type B reactor which may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the interior, the type B actuator, and the type A air supplier. Therefore, the water may react with the first reactant in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat to the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a shoe may include the type A shoe body, at least one reactor which is arranged to include at least one first reactant and to be coupled to the interior, the type C second storage which may also be coupled to the shoe body, the type B actuator, and at least one reactant supplier which may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, and to transport the second reactant into the reactor by a first driving force. In one example, such a shoe may also include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air to the reactor by a second driving force, whereby the reactants may react inside the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat to the air, and delivering the heated air onto the body part of the user. In another example, such a shoe may instead include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air around the reactor in response to a second driving force, whereby the reactants may react in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat onto the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a shoe may include the type A shoe body, at least one reactor which may be arranged to fluidly communicate with such an interior of the shoe body, at least one first storage capable of storing at least one first reactant; the type C second storage, the type B actuator, and at least one reactant supplier which may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, and to transport such first and second reactants into the reactor by a first driving force. In one example, such a shoe may also include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air into the reactor in response to a first driving force, whereby the reactants may react inside the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat to the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user. In another example, such a shoe may instead include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air around the reactor in response to a second driving force, whereby the reactants may react each other in the reactor while generating the heat, transferring such heat to the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, a heat generating glove may be provided.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, such a globe may include at least one globe body, the type B reactor, at least one actuator, and the type A air supplier. Such a globe body may be arranged to define at least one opening and an interior therein, where the opening may be arranged to receive at least a portion of a hand of an user therethrough and where the interior may be arranged to extend from the opening inwardly thereinto and to retain the portion of the hand, where this globe body will be referred to as the “type A globe body” hereinafter. The type B reactor may also be arranged to couple with the globe body. The actuator may be arranged to be operatively coupled to at least one body part of an user such as, e.g., a finger, a hand, a wrist, a lower arm, an elbow, and an upper arm of the user, and then to convert at least one movement of the body part into a driving force, where this actuator will be referred to as the “type C actuator” hereinafter. Thus, the water may then react with the first reactant in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement and transferring the heat to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a globe may include the type A globe body, at least one reactor which may also be arranged to include therein at least one first reactant and to be coupled to the globe body, the type C second storage which also couples with the globe body, the type C actuator, and the type A reactant supplier. Accordingly, the reactants may react in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement and transferring such heat to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a globe may include the type A globe body, at least one reactor which may be arranged to couple with the globe body and to contact the interior, at least one first storage capable of storing at least one first reactant, the type C second storage, the type C actuator, and the type B reactant supplier. Accordingly, such reactants may react in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement and transferring such heat to the body part of the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, a glove may be provided for heating its interior with hot air.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, such a globe may include the type A globe body, the type B reactor which is also arranged to be in fluid communication with the interior, the type C actuator, and the type A air supplier. Therefore, the water may react with the first reactant in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat to the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a globe may include the type A globe body, at least one reactor which is arranged to include at least one first reactant and to be coupled to the interior, the type C second storage which may also be coupled to the globe body, the type C actuator, and at least one reactant supplier which may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, and to transport the second reactant into the reactor by a first driving force. In one example, such a globe may also include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air into the reactor by a second driving force. Thus, the reactants may react inside the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat to the air, and delivering the heated air onto the body part of the user. In another example, such a globe may instead includes at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air around the reactor in response to a second driving force. Thus, the reactants may react inside the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat onto the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, a globe may include the type A globe body, at least one reactor which is arranged to fluidly communicate with the interior of the globe body, at least one first storage capable of storing at least one first reactant, the type C second storage, the type C actuator, and at least one reactant supplier which may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the reactor, to operatively couple with the actuator, and then to transport the first and second reactants to the reactor by a first driving force. In another example, a globe may also include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air into the reactor in response to a first driving force. Therefore, the reactants may react in the reactor while generating the heat in response to the movement, transferring the heat onto the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user. In another example, a globe may instead include at least one air supplier which may be arranged to supply air around the reactor in response to a second driving force. Accordingly, the reactants may react each other in the reactor while generating the heat, transferring such heat to the air, and delivering the heated air to the body part of the user.

In another aspect of the present invention, another portable heat generator may be provided to generate heat by an exothermic hydration of at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and to deliver the heat to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may include at least one portable reactor, the type A air inlet, and at least one air supplier. Such a portable reactor may be arranged to retain therein the oxide of the metal, while the air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air and reactor and to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet. Thus, the metal oxide may react with the water inside the reactor and generate such heat at least a portion of which may then be delivered to the target through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may include at least one portable reactor, at least one first storage, at least one second storage, the type A air inlet, at least one air supplier, and at least one reactant supplier. Such a first storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor and to retain therein the oxide of the metal, while the second storage may be arranged to be physically separate from both of the reactor and first storage and to store water. The air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air and reactor and to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet, while the reactant supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the first and second storages and to supply both of the first and second reactants into the reactor. Therefore, the metal oxide may react with the water from the reactant supplier and generate the heat at least a portion of which may then be delivered to the target through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, such a generator may include at least one portable reactor, at least one cartridge, the type A air inlet, and at least one air supplier. The cartridge may be arranged to be replaceably incorporated into the reactor and to retain therein the oxide of the metal, while the air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air and reactor and to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet. Therefore, the metal oxide may react with the water and generate in the cartridge the heat at least a portion of which may be delivered to the target through the cartridge and reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may have at least one portable reactor, at least one cartridge, at least one second storage, the type A air inlet, at least one air supplier, and at least one reactant supplier. The cartridge may be arranged to be replaceably incorporated into the reactor and to retain therein the oxide of the metal, and the second storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor and to store the water. The air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air and reactor and to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet, and the reactant supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the second storage and to supply the water into the reactor. Therefore, such a metal oxide may react with the water from the reactant supplier and generate heat at least a portion of which may then be delivered to the target through the cartridge and reactor.

In another aspect of the present invention, another portable hot air generator may be provided for heating ambient air by heat which is released by an exothermic hydration of at leas one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and delivering heated ambient air onto a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, such a generator may include at least one portable reactor, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, and at least one air supplier. The reactor may be arranged to retain therein the oxide of the metal. The air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air, reactor, and target, to supply such ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet, and to discharge the heated ambient out therefrom. Therefore, the metal oxide may react with the water inside the reactor and heat the ambient air therein, and the air supplier may deliver the heated air to the target through the air outlet.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may include at least one portable reactor, at least one first storage, at least one second storage, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, at least one air supplier, and at least one reactant supplier. The first storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor and to retain therein the oxide of the metal, and the second storage may also be arranged to be physically separate from both of the reactor and first storage and to store the water. The air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air, reactor, and target, to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet, and then to discharge the air out therefrom through the air outlet. The reactant supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with such first and second storages and to supply both of the first and second reactants into the reactor. Thus, the metal oxide may react with the water from the reactant supplier and heats the ambient air in the reactor, while the air supplier may deliver the heated ambient air to the target through the air outlet.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may include at least one portable reactor, at least one cartridge, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, and at least one air supplier. The cartridge may be arranged to be replaceably incorporated into the reactor and to retain therein the oxide of the metal, while the air supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the ambient air, reactor, and target, to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet, and to discharge the heated ambient air out therefrom. Therefore, the metal oxide reacts with the water in the cartridge, the ambient air may be heated in the reactor by the heat, and the air supplier may then deliver the heated air onto the target through the outlet.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, such a generator may include at least one portable reactor, at least one cartridge, at least one second storage, the type A air inlet, the type A air outlet, and at least one air supplier. Such a cartridge may be arranged to be replaceably incorporated into the reactor and to retain therein the oxide of the metal. The second storage may be arranged to be physically separate from the reactor and to store the water, while the air supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the ambient air, reactor, and target, to supply the ambient air into the reactor through the air inlet, and then to discharge the heated ambient air out therefrom. The reactant supplier may be arranged to fluidly communicate with the second storage and to supply the water into the reactor. Therefore, the metal oxide may react with the water from the reactant supplier and heat the ambient air in the reactor, while the air supplier may deliver such heated air to the target through the air outlet.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a generator may include at least one portable reactor, at least one heat exchanging chamber, at least one air inlet, at least one exhaust outlet, at least one air outlet, and at least air supplier. Such a portable reactor may then be arranged to retain therein the oxide of the metal. The heat exchanging chamber may be arranged to form an internal space, to retain the reactor in such a space, and then to allow heat transfer from the reactor into such a space. The air inlet may fluidly communicate with the ambient air, reactor, and chamber, while the exhaust outlet may fluidly communicate with an exhaust. The air outlet may fluidly communicate with the chamber and the target, whereas the air supplier may be arranged to be in fluid communication with the ambient air, reactor, chamber, and target, to supply such ambient air into the reactor and chamber through the air inlet, and to discharge such heated ambient out of the chamber through the air outlet. Accordingly, the metal oxide may react with the water inside the reactor and transfers the heat to the ambient air in the chamber, whereas the air supplier may deliver the heated ambient air to the target through the air outlet.

Embodiments of such apparatus aspects of the present invention may include one or more of the following features, while configurational and/or operational variations and/or modifications of the foregoing systems also fall within the scope of the present invention.

The generator and/or system may generate such heat by any exothermic chemical reactions. The reaction may not include the exothermic chemical reaction which may produce a reaction product which may be CO, CO2, NOx, and other toxic compounds. The generator and/or system may generate such heat without using electricity, without relying on combustion of inflammable gases, inflammable liquids, carbon-containing fuels, and the like. The generator and/or system may generate the heat by reacting multiple first reactants, multiple second reactants, and the like, where each of such reactants may participate in the reaction. The reactions may also include a formation of a metal hydroxide from water (or moist) and a metal oxide, a formation of a salt from an acid and a base, a reaction between an acid and a metal, a hydration, a dissolution, a dilution, a phase change, and the like. The reactants may include calcium oxides and water.

The generator and/or system may discharge all reaction product formed by the reaction. The generator and/or system may transfer the heat carried by the reaction product to the air, first product, second product, and/or reactor. The generator and/or system may deliver at least a portion of such a reaction product to the target. The generator and/or system may also recycle at least a portion of the reaction product back to the reactor.

Such a generator and/or system may have at least one controller for manipulating amounts of the air and/or reactants into the reactor, thereby manipulating an amount of the heat generated by the reaction, where the amounts may range from 0.0 to a preset maximum number. The generator and/or system may define at least two paths for such air and/or reactants and manipulate amounts of the air and/or reactants flowing through the paths, thereby manipulating an amount of the heat generated by the reaction.

The first reactant may form solids, liquids, gases, and/or a mixture thereof. The solids may be bulks, matrices, particles, granules, powders, and the like, while the solids may also define a shape of spheres, rods, pellets, and the like. Such solids with the above shapes may define a preset nonzero porosity while forming macroscopic and/or microscopic pores therein and/or therethrough. The first reactant may be coated over and/or mixed with at least one inert support material which may be also define the nonzero porosity. The mixture may be sol, gel, slurry, suspension, and the like.

The reactor (or cartridge) may have various shapes and/or sizes. The reactor (or cartridge) may be made of and/or include at least one material which may be rigid, elastic, and/or deformable. The reactor (or cartridge) may define a length and/or a width which may be less than 30, 25, 20, 17.5, 15.0, 12.5, 10.0, 8.0, 6.0, 5.0, 4.0, 3.0 centimeters, and the like. The reactor (or cartridge) may define a thickness and/or a height which may be less than 10, 7.5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0.5 centimeters, and the like. Such a reactor (or cartridge) may define a weight which may be less than 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 0.75, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 0.05 kilograms, and the like. The reactor (or cartridge) may also define at least one inner partition into which at least one of the reactants may be disposed. The first and/or second reactants may be disposed in the reactor (or cartridge) and fill only a (or at least a substantial) portion thereof. The first and/or second reactants may be disposed in the reactor (or cartridge) and directly contact an inner surface thereof. The reactor (or cartridge) may also include at least one filter which may be replaceably or fixedly included therein and filter undesirable particles and/or particulates from the air and/or reactants. The reactor (or cartridge) may also include at least one insulator which may then be replaceably or fixedly incorporated into its interior and/or exterior and minimize loss of the heat out of the reactor.

The cartridge may be made of and/or include at least one rigid material, porous material, rigid material, permeable material, elastic material, porous material, elastic material, permeable material, and the like. The cartridge may be made of and/or include at least one material which may be deformable, porous, and/or permeable. The cartridge may include multiple reactants all of which may participate in the reaction. The cartridge may be fixedly incorporated into the reactor which may then be replaced by a fresh one after the reactant stored therein may be consumed to a preset extent. The cartridge may be replaceably incorporated into the reactor and replaced by a new one after the reactant stored therein may be consumed to a preset extent. Such a reactor may fixedly or replaceably retain multiple cartridges and manipulate supply of the air, water, and/or reactants thereinto in a series, parallel or hybrid mode.

The generator and/or system may include multiple reactor inlets through each of which at least one of the first and/or second reactants may be supplied to the reactor. The generator and/or system may also include at least one reactor outlet which may be in fluid communication with an exhaust and through which at least one reaction product of the reaction may be discharged to the exhaust and/or target. The ambient air may be supplied into the reactor and heated therein, may be supplied around the reactor and heated thereby, may be supplied into the chamber and heated therein, and the like. The air and reactor inlets may be separately provided or, alternatively, the air inlet may serve as the reactor inlet as well. At least a portion of the reaction product may be recirculated into the air and/or reactor inlet. The generator and/or system may include at least one air outlet which may similarly be in fluid communication with the target and through which at least one reaction product from the reaction may be discharged to the target along with the heated air. The air supplier may be disposed inside the reactor (or vice versa), may be disposed inside the reactant supplier (or vice versa), and/or may be disposed inside the chamber (or vice versa). Alternatively, the air supplier may also serve as the reactor, reactant supplier, and/or chamber. The air may flow in the chamber and reactor in the same direction, in opposite directions, in a transverse direction defining an angle therebetween which may be neither 0° nor 90°. The air may flow in the chamber and reactor in the same direction, in opposite directions, in a transverse direction defining an angle therebetween which is neither 0° nor 90°. The chamber may be disposed inside the reactant supplier (or vice versa), may be disposed inside such a reactor (or vice versa), and the like. In the alternative, the chamber may serve as reactor, air supplier, and/or reactant supplier.

The generator and/or system may have at least one air supplier for storing the air therein and supplying the air to the reactor, at least one water supplier for storing the water therein and supplying the water into the reactor, at least one reactant supplier for storing the first and/or second reactants and supplying the reactants into the reactor, and the like. The generator and/or system may include at least one water storage which may store water, fluidly communicate with the reactor, and then provide the water into the reactor.

The air and/or at least one of reactants may also be supplied into the reactor by a driving force which may be generated by the movement of at least one body part which may be a finger, a hand, a wrist, a lower arm, an elbow, and/or an upper arm of an user. The generator and/or system may also include at least one actuator capable of converting at least one movement of a finger, a hand, a wrist, a lower arm, an elbow, and/or an upper arm of the user to a driving force for supplying the air and/or reactants into the reactor. The air and/or at least one of reactants may be supplied into the reactor by a driving force which is generated by the movement of at least one body part which may be a toe, a foot, an ankle, a lower leg, a knee, and/or an upper leg of the user. The generator and/or system may include at least one actuator capable of converting at least one movement of a toe, a foot, an ankle, a lower leg, a knee, and/or an upper leg of the user into the driving force for supplying such air and/or reactants into the reactor. The air and/or at least one of reactants may be supplied into the reactor by a driving force which is generated by the movement of at least one body part which may be a head, a neck, an arm, a shoulder, an upper torso, a waist, a back, and/or a hip of the user. Alternatively, the generator and/or system may further include at least one actuator capable of converting at least one movement of a head, a neck, an arm, a shoulder, an upper torso, a waist, a back, and/or a hip of the user into the driving force for supplying the air and/or reactants into the reactor.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method may be provided for generating heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and then delivering such heat to a target using a portable heat generating system.

In on exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: forming at least one portable reactor (to be referred to as the “first forming”); filling the reactor with at least one first reactant which is capable of generating the heat by the reaction with water (which will be referred to as the “first filling”); and supplying ambient air including such water to the reactor (to be referred to as the “first supplying”), thereby generating the heat by the reaction of the first reactant and water and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; filling the reactor with at least one first reactant (which will be referred to as the “second filling”); storing independently of the first reactant at least one second reactant which is capable of reacting with the first reactant and generating such heat (to be referred to as the “first storing”); and supplying the second reactant to the reactor (which will be referred to as the “second supplying”), thereby generating the heat through the reaction of such first and second reactants and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; forming at least one cartridge filled with at least one first reactant (as will be referred to as the “first cartridge forming”); replaceably disposing the cartridge inside the reactor (to be referred to as the “first disposing”); and supplying ambient air including the water to the reactor and then into the cartridge (to be referred to as the “third supplying”), thereby generating the heat by the reaction of the first reactant and water in the cartridge and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a method may have the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming; the first disposing; the first storing; and supplying the second reactant to the reactor and then into the cartridge (to be referred to as the “fourth supplying”), thereby generating the heat by the reaction of the first and second reactants in the cartridge and then delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method may be provided for generating hot air by heating ambient air with heat of at least one exothermic chemical reaction and delivering the heated air to a target using a portable hot air generating system.

In on exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may have the steps of the first forming; the first filling; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside the chamber; the first supplying, thereby generating the heat by the reaction of the first reactant and the water; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring the heat from the reactor to an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and then delivering the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the first filling; forming at least one second storage independent of such a reactor; filling the second storage with at least one second reactant capable of reacting with the first reactant and generating the heat; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside such a chamber; the second supplying, thereby generating the heat by the reaction between the first and second reactants; and then moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring such heat from the reactor into an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and then delivering the heat air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may also have the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming; the first disposing; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside such a chamber; the third supplying, thereby generating the heat by the reaction of the first reactant and water inside such a cartridge; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring the heat from the reactor into an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and then delivering the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may also have the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming; the first disposing; the first storing; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside such a chamber; the second supplying, thereby generating the heat by the reaction between the first and second reactants; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring the heat from the reactor into an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and delivering the heated air to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method may be provided for generating heat by at least one exothermic hydration of at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and delivering the heat to a target using a portable heat generating system.

In on exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; filling the reactor with the metal oxide for generating such heat with the water; and the first supplying, thereby generating such heat by the hydration of the metal oxide and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, such a method may have the steps of: the first forming; the second filling where such a first reactant is the metal oxide; the first storing; and the second supplying, thereby generating the heat by the hydration of the metal oxide and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming where such a first reactant is the metal oxide; the first disposing; and the third supplying, thereby generating the heat from the hydration of such a metal oxide in the cartridge and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming where such a first reactant is the metal oxide; the first disposing; the first storing; and the fourth supplying, thereby generating the heat by the hydration of the metal oxide in the cartridge and delivering at least a portion of the heat to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method may be provided for generating hot air by heating ambient air by heat of hydration of at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and then delivering the heated air to a target with a portable hot air generating system.

In on exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the first filling where the first reactant is such a metal oxide; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside such a chamber; the first supplying, thereby generating the heat by the hydration of the metal oxide; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring the heat from the reactor to an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and then delivering the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, such a method may have the steps of: the first forming; the first filling where the first reactant corresponds to the metal oxide; forming at least one second storage independent of such a reactor; filling the second storage with at least one second reactant which is capable of reacting with the metal oxide and generating the heat; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside the chamber; the second supplying, thereby generating the heat by the hydration of the metal oxide; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring the heat from the reactor into an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and then delivering the heat air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming where the first reactant is such a metal oxide; the first disposing; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside the chamber; the third supplying, thereby generating the heat by the hydration of the metal oxide; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring such heat from the reactor into an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and delivering the heated air to the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the first cartridge forming where the first reactant is such a metal oxide; the first disposing; the first storing; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber; disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor inside the chamber; the second supplying, thereby generating such heat by the hydration of such a metal oxide; and moving ambient air into and out of the chamber while transferring such heat from the reactor into an interior of the chamber, thereby heating the ambient air by the heat and then delivering the heated air to the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method may be provided for generating heat by a portable heat generating system without using electricity and without burning fuel.

In on exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: charging at least one refillable reactor with at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal which is capable of generating heat by hydration of the metal oxide (to be referred to as the “first charging”); incorporating the reactor into the system (to be referred to as the “first incorporating”); supplying air containing therein water to the metal oxide, thereby generating the heat (to be referred to as the “fifth supplying”); removing such a metal oxide from the reactor after a preset extent of the hydration (to be referred to as the “first removing”); and repeating the charging with fresh metal oxide.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: charging a refillable reactor with at least one first reactant capable of generating heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction with water (as will be referred to as the “second charging”); the first incorporating; supplying air containing therein water to the first reactant, thereby generating the heat (to be referred to as the “sixth supplying”); removing the first reactant from the reactor after a preset extent of the reaction; and repeating the charging with fresh first reactant (to be referred to as the “second removing”).

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: charging at least one refillable reactor with at least one first reactant (which will be referred to as the “third charging”); the first incorporating; providing at least one second reactant capable of generating the heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction with the first reactant (to be referred to as the “first providing”); supplying the second reactant to the first reactant, thereby generating the heat (to be referred to as the “seventh supplying”); the second removing; and repeating the charging with fresh first reactant.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; filling a replaceable cartridge with at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal capable of generating heat by hydration thereof (to be referred to as the “third filling”); the first disposing; the first incorporating; the fifth supplying; removing the cartridge from the reactor after a preset extent of the hydration (as will be referred to as the “third removing”); and then reloading a new cartridge into the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, such a method may have the steps of: the first forming; filling at least one replaceable cartridge with at least one first reactant which is capable of generating heat by hydration thereof (to be referred to as the “fourth filling”); the first disposing; the first incorporating; the sixth supplying; removing such a cartridge from the reactor after a preset extent of the reaction (to be referred to as the “fourth removing”); and reloading a new cartridge into the reactor.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method may be provided for generating hot air by a portable hot air generating system without using electricity and without burning fuel.

In on exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first charging; the first incorporating; the fifth supplying; generating such hot air by heating the air inside the reactor by the heat; delivering such hot air to a target (which will be referred to as the “first delivering”); the first removing; and repeating the charging with fresh metal oxide. The generating may be replaced by the steps of: supplying air to an exterior of the reactor; and generating such hot air by transferring the heat to the air through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the second charging; the first incorporating; the sixth supplying; generating such hot air by heating the air inside the reactor by the heat; the first delivering; the second removing; and repeating the charging with fresh first reactant. The generating may be replaced by the steps of: supplying air to an exterior of the reactor; and generating the hot air by transferring the heat to the air through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the third charging; the first incorporating; the first providing; the seventh supplying; supplying air into such a reactor; generating the hot air by heating the air inside the reactor by the heat; the first delivering; the second removing; and repeating the charging with fresh first reactant. Such supplying and generating may also be replaced by the steps of: supplying air to an exterior of the reactor; and generating the hot air by transferring the heat to the air through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, a method may include the steps of: the first forming; the third filling; the first disposing; the first incorporating; the fifth supplying; generating the hot air by heating the air inside the reactor by the heat; supplying air to an exterior of the reactor, the first delivering; the third removing; and repeating the charging with fresh metal oxide. The generating and supplying may be replaced by the step of: generating such hot air by transferring the heat to the air through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of the invention, such a method may also include the steps of: the first forming; the fourth filling; the first disposing; the first incorporating; the sixth supplying; generating the hot air by heating the air inside the reactor by the heat; generating the hot air by transferring the heat to the air through the reactor; the first delivering; the fourth removing; and repeating the charging with fresh first reactant. The generating may be replaced by the step of: supplying air to an exterior of the reactor.

Embodiments of such method aspects of the present invention may include one or more of the following features, while configurational and/or operational variations and/or modifications of methods also fall within the scope of the present invention.

Such forming the reactor may include at least one of the steps of: fabricating the reactor of at least one flexible, elastic, and/or rigid material; making the reactor as a solid or porous article; making the reactor as a deformable or rigid article; making the reactor of a permeable material, and so on. The forming the reactor may include the step of: arranging dimensions of the reactor to be incorporated in a globe, a shoe, and cloths. The forming such a reactor may include the step of: making the reactor to define a length and/or width which may be less than 30, 25, 20, 17.5, 15.0, 12.5, 10.0, 7.5, 5.0, or 3.0 centimeters, and the like. The forming the reactor may include the step of: making the reactor to define a height and/or thickness which may be less than 10, 7.5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0.5 centimeters, and the like. Such forming the reactor may include the step of: making the reactor to have a weight which may be less than 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 0.75, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 0.05 kilograms, and the like. The forming the reactor may include the steps of: forming at least one inner partition in the reactor; and storing the oxide of the metal and/or first reactant in the partition. Such forming the reactor may include one of the steps of: disposing multiple cartridges in the reactor while generating the heat by at least two of the cartridges simultaneously; disposing multiple cartridges in the reactor while generating the heat from each of the cartridges sequentially, and the like. The disposing the cartridges may include the step of: providing fluid communication between at least two of the cartridges in a series, parallel or hybrid mode. Such forming the reactor may include at least one the steps of: disposing at least one filter into the reactor for filtering undesirable substances from getting into and/or out of the reactor, disposing at least one insulator for minimizing loss of the heat out of the reactor, and the like.

The generating the heat may include at least one of the steps of: delivering the heat to the user by thermal conduction through (or across) walls of the reactor; and transferring the heat to the user by forced convection of the heated air. The generating the heat may include at least one of the step of: releasing the heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction between at least two compounds without producing CO, NOx, and other toxic compounds; releasing the heat from the reaction between at least two compounds while not producing CO2, and the like. The generating the heat may include the steps of: generating the heat by the chemical reaction but without using electricity; and generating the heat by the chemical reaction without relying on combustion of inflammable gases, liquids, and/or carbon-containing fuels.

Such reacting may include at least one of the steps of: forming a metal hydroxide from at least one oxide of at least one metal and water; forming a salt from at least one acid and at least one base, reacting at least one acid with at least one metal, hydrating a preset substance, dissolving in a preset solvent a preset substance, a dilution of a preset substance using another solvent, a phase change, and so on. The reacting may also include the step of: hydrating at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal.

The incorporating the reactor may include one of the steps of: fixedly attaching the reactor to the system; releasably disposing the reactor therein; replaceably disposing the reactor thereinto, and the like. The incorporating the reactor may include at least one of the steps of: making the reactor as compact as possible; keeping a profile of the reactor as low as possible; constructing the reactor to have a length and a width greater than its height, and the like.

The forming the cartridge may include at least one of the steps of: fabricating the cartridge of at least one flexible, elastic, and/or rigid material; making such a cartridge as a solid or porous article; making the reactor as a deformable or rigid article; making the cartridge of a permeable material, and the like. The forming the cartridge may include the step of: arranging dimensions of the cartridge to be incorporated into a globe, a shoe, cloths, and the like. Such forming the cartridge may include one of the steps of: arranging the cartridge to fixedly attach to the reactor; and arranging the cartridge to be replaceable. The forming the cartridge may include the step of making the cartridge to define a length or a width which may be less than 25, 20, 17.5, 15.0, 12.5, 10.0, 7.5, 5.0, 3.0 centimeters, and the like. The forming the cartridge may include the step of: making the cartridge to define a height or thickness which may be less than 10, 7.5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0.5 centimeters, and the like. The forming the cartridge may include the step of: making the cartridge to weigh less than 1.0, 0.75, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 0.05 kilograms, and the like. The forming the cartridge may include the steps of: defining at least one inner partition in the cartridge; and storing the metal oxide and/or first reactant in the partition. The forming the cartridge may have one of the steps of: disposing multiple partitions in the reactor and generating the heat from at least two of the partitions simultaneously; disposing multiple partitions in the reactor while generating the heat from each of the partitions sequentially, and so on. The forming the reactor may also include at least one the steps of: incorporating at least one filter into the cartridge for filtering undesirable substances from getting into and/or out of the cartridge; disposing at least one insulator for minimizing loss of the heat out of the cartridge, and the like. The forming the cartridge may include one of such steps of: including multiple reactants which are mixed together; storing each of multiple reactants in each of multiple partitions which may either be fluidly coupling with each other or fluidly disconnected from each other, and the like, where the storing in the partitions may include the step of: providing at least one fluid communication between at least two of the partitions in a series, parallel or hybrid mode.

Such forming the chamber may include the step of: arranging dimensions of the chamber to be incorporated into a globe, a shoe, and cloths. The forming the chamber may include one of the steps of: arranging the chamber to fixedly retain the reactor; and arranging the chamber to be replaceable. Such forming the chamber may include the step of: making the chamber to define a length or a width which may be less than 25, 20, 17.5, 15.0, 12.5, 10.0, 7.5, 5.0, or 3.0 centimeters, and the like. Such forming the chamber may include the step of: making the chamber to have a height or thickness which may be less than 10, 7.5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0.5 centimeters, and the like. The forming the chamber may include the step of: defining the chamber to weigh less than 1.0, 0.75, 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, or 0.05 kilograms, and the like. The forming the chamber may include at least one of the steps of: making the chamber out of at least one material having high thermal conductivity; defining multiple holes through the chamber; making the chamber to be porous, and the like. The forming the chamber may include at least one of the steps of: providing the chamber as compact as possible; keeping a profile of such a chamber as low as possible; constructing the chamber to have a length and a width greater than its height, and the like.

The filling and/or charging the reactor and/or cartridge may include at least one of the steps of: filling only a portion thereof; filling at least substantial portion thereof; contacting inner surfaces of the reactor and/or cartridge during the filling and/or charging, and the like. The filling the storage may also include the steps of: placing at least one container separating the reactants from the inner surfaces of the reactor and/or cartridge; and filling at least a portion of the container.

Such storing the reactant may include at least one of the steps of: providing the reactants as solids; providing the reactants as liquids; providing the reactants as gases; providing the reactants as a mixture thereof, and the like. The providing the solid reactants may include at least one of the steps of: forming the solid in bulks, matrices, particles, granules, and/or powders; providing the solids into a shape of spheres, rods, and/or pellets, and the like. The providing the solid reactants may include one of the steps of performing the forming solely by one of the reactants; performing such forming by at least two of the reactants; providing the forming by coating at least one of the reactants over an inert support, and the like. The coating may include one of the steps of: providing a porous support while coating at least one of the reactants into at least one of macroscopic and microscopic pores of the support; and providing a solid support while coating at least one of the reactants on a surface of the support. The storing the reactant may include the steps of: defining macroscopic and/or microscopic pores in at least one of the reactants; and facilitating transport of the other of the reactants into the one of the reactants. The providing the liquid reactants may also include at least one of the steps of: forming the reactants as a slurry; forming the reactants as a suspension; forming the reactants as a sol or gel, and the like.

The disposing the reactor in the chamber may include at least one of the steps of: forming the reactor to define as large an external surface area as possible; placing the reactor in a center of the chamber, and the like. The supplying the air may also include at least one of the steps of: providing a single path of the air through such a reactor; providing multiple air paths having different resistances; providing multiple air paths at least one of which bypasses the reactor, and the like. Such supplying the air may include the step of: manipulating an amount of such air supplied into the reactor, thereby controlling an amount of the heat generated in the reactor. The supplying the air may include the step of: flowing the air in the chamber and reactor in the same direction, opposite directions, a transverse direction defining an angle therebetween which is neither 0° nor 90°. Such supplying the first and/or second reactants may also include at least one of the steps of: providing a single path for each of the reactants: and providing multiple paths for at least one of the reactants defining different resistances, and the like. The supplying the first and/or second reactants may include also the step of: controlling amounts of the first and/pr second reactants supplied to the reactor, thereby manipulating an amount of the heat generated in the reactor. The method may include at least one of the steps of: discarding all reaction product from the reaction to an exhaust; transferring at least a portion of the heat of the reaction product to the air, first product, and/or second product, and the like. The method may also include at least one of the steps of delivering at least a portion of the product to the target; recycling at least a portion of the product to the reactor; recirculating at least a portion of the product into the reactor, and the like.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable heat generator may also be provided for generating heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and delivering the heat to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of portably forming at least one reactor (to be referred to as the “second forming”); filling at least a portion of such a reactor with at least one first reactant which is capable of reacting with water and generating the heat thereby (to be referred to as the “fifth filling”); providing a first fluid communication between the reactor and the ambient air with water (to be referred to as the “first communicating”); and coupling along the first communication at least one air supplier capable of supplying the air into the reactor (to be referred to as the “first coupling”), whereby generating such heat from the reaction between the first reactant and the water and delivering the heat to the target through the reactor (to be referred to as the “first generating”).

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of the second forming; filling at least a portion of the reactor with at least one first reactant (to be referred to as the “sixth filling”); forming at least one second storage to be separate from the reactor (to be referred to as the “third forming”); filling at least a portion of such a second storage with at least one second reactant capable of reacting with such a first reactant and generating the heat (to be referred to as the “seventh filling”); providing a second fluid communication between the reactor and second storage (to be referred to as the “second communicating”); and then coupling along the first communication at least one reactant supplier capable of supplying the second reactant into the reactor (to be referred to as the “second coupling”), whereby generating such heat from the reaction between the first and second reactants and delivering the heat to the target through the reactor (to be referred to as the “second generating”).

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; forming at least one first storage separate from the reactor (to be referred to as the “fourth forming”); filling at least a portion of the first storage with at least one first reactant (to be referred to as the “eighth filling”); the third forming; the seventh filling; providing a third fluid communication between the reactor and first storage (to be referred to as the “third communicating”); the second communication; and then coupling along such first and second communications at least one reactant supplier capable of supplying the first and second reactants into the reactor (to be referred to as the “third coupling”), whereby generating such heat from the reaction between the first and second reactants and delivering the heat to the target through the reactor (to be referred to as the “third communicating”).

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; filling at least a portion of a cartridge with at least one first reactant capable of reacting with the water and generating such heat; replaceably loading the cartridge into the reactor along the first communication (to be referred to as the “first loading”); and the first coupling, thereby accomplishing the first generating.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which may similarly including the steps of: the second forming; filling at least a portion of a cartridge with at least one first reactant; the first loading; the third forming; the seventh filling; the second communicating; coupling along the second communication at least one reactant supplier which is capable of supplying the second reactant to the reactor (to be referred to as the “fourth coupling”), thereby accomplishing the second generating.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable hot air generator may also be arranged to generate heat from at least one exothermic chemical reaction between at least two substance, to hear air with the heat, and to deliver heated air to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; providing a fourth fluid communication between such a reactor and target (to be referred to as the “fourth communicating”); the fifth filling; and coupling along both of the first and fourth communications at least one air supplier which is capable of moving the air into and out of the reactor (to be referred to as the “fifth coupling”), whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the first reactant and water and transferring the heat to the air in the reactor, and discharging the heated air out of the reactor toward the target (to be referred to as the “third generating”).

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which includes the steps of: the second forming; the sixth filling; the first communicating; the fourth communicating; the third forming; the seventh filling; the second communicating; the fourth coupling; and the fifth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the first and second reactants and transferring such heat to the air in the reactor, and thereafter discharging the heated air out of the reactor toward the target (to be referred to as the “fourth generating”).

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which may include the steps of: the second forming; the fourth forming; the eighth filling; the first communicating; the fourth communicating; the third forming; the seventh filling; the second communicating; the third coupling; and the fifth coupling, thereby accomplishing the fourth generating.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which may include the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; the fourth communicating; filling at least a portion of a cartridge with at least one first reactant which is capable of reacting with the water and generating such heat; the first loading; and the fifth coupling; thereby attaining the third generating.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which may include the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; the fourth communicating; the third forming; the seventh filling; the second communicating; filling at least a portion of a cartridge with at least one first reactant capable of reacting with the water and generating such heat; the first loading; the first coupling; and then the fourth coupling, thereby accomplishing the fourth generating.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable hot air generator may also be provided for generating heat by at least one exothermic chemical reaction and generating heated air through heat transfer.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which may include the steps of: the second forming; the sixth filling; forming at least one heat exchanging chamber (to be referred to as the “fifth forming”); disposing at least a substantial portion of the reactor in the chamber while allowing the heat transfer from the reactor into the chamber (to be referred to as the “second disposing”); the first communicating; providing a fifth fluid communication between the chamber and ambient air including water (to be referred to as the “fifth communicating”); providing a sixth fluid communication between the chamber and target (to be referred to as the “sixth communicating”); the first coupling; and coupling along both of such fifth and sixth communications at least one air supplier which is capable of moving the air into and out of the chamber (to be referred to as the “sixth coupling”), whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the first reactant and the water in the reactor, transferring the heat to the air in the chamber, and discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which includes the steps of: the second forming; the fourth forming; the eighth filling; the third forming; the seventh filling; the fifth forming; the second disposing; the third communicating; the second communicating; the fifth communicating; the sixth communicating; the third coupling; and then the sixth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between of such first and second reactants in the reactor, transferring the heat to the air in the chamber, and discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; filling at least a portion of a cartridge including at least one first reactant capable of reacting with the water and generating such heat; the first loading; the fifth forming; the second disposing; the fifth communicating; the sixth communicating; the first coupling; and then the sixth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the first reactant in the cartridge and the water in the reactor, transferring the heat to the air in the chamber, and discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; filling at least a portion of a cartridge with at least one first reactant which is capable of reacting with the water and generating the heat; the first loading; the third forming; the seventh filling; the second communicating; the fifth forming; the second disposing; the fifth communicating; the sixth communicating; the fourth coupling; and then the sixth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the first and second reactants in the cartridge, transferring the heat to the air in the chamber, and discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable heat generator may also be provided for generating heat by an exothermic hydration of at least one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and delivering the heat to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; filling at least a portion of such a reactor with the oxide of the metal; the first communicating; and the first coupling, whereby generating such heat from the reaction between the oxide of the metal and water and delivering the heat to the target through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; the fourth forming; filling at least a portion of such a first storage with the oxide of the metal; the third forming; filling at least a portion of the second storage including a second reactant which is capable of reacting with the metal oxide and generating the heat thereby; the third communicating; the second communicating; and the third coupling; whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the metal oxide and the second reactant and delivering the heat to the target through the reactor.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; filling at least a portion of a cartridge including the metal oxide capable of reacting with the water and generating the heat; the first loading; the first coupling; and the first coupling, whereby generating such heat from the reaction between the metal oxide in the cartridge and water from the air and delivering such heat to the target through the reactor.

In another aspect of the present invention, a portable hot air generator may also be provided for heating ambient air by heat which is released by an exothermic hydration of at leas one oxide of at least one alkali earth metal and delivering heated ambient air to a target.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; filling at least a portion of such a reactor with the metal oxide; the first communicating; the fifth forming; the second disposing; the fifth communicating; the sixth communicating; the first coupling; and the sixth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the metal oxide and the water in the reactor, transferring such heat to the air in the chamber, and discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process which includes the steps of: the second forming; the fourth forming; the eighth filling; the third forming; the fifth filling; the third communicating; the second communicating; the fifth forming; the second disposing; the fifth communicating; the sixth communicating; the third coupling; and the sixth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the metal oxide and the water in the reactor, transferring the heat to the air in the chamber, and then discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

In another exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the invention, a generator may be made by the process including the steps of: the second forming; the first communicating; filling at least a portion of a cartridge including the metal oxide capable of reacting with the water and generating the heat; the first loading; the fifth forming; the second disposing; the fifth communicating; the sixth communicating; the third forming; the seventh filling; the second communicating; the fourth coupling; and then the sixth coupling, whereby generating the heat from the reaction between the metal oxide and the water in the cartridge in the reactor, transferring the heat to the air in the chamber, and discharging the heated air out of the chamber toward the target.

Embodiments of such process aspects of the present invention may include one or more of the following features, and configurational and/or operational variations and/or modifications of the above processes also fall within the scope of the present invention.

More product-by-process claims may be constructed by modifying the foregoing preambles of the apparatus (or system) claims and/or method claims and by appending thereto such bodies of the apparatus (or system) claims and/or method claims. In addition, such process claims may include one or more of such features of the apparatus (or system) claims and/or method claims of this invention.

As used herein, the term a “chemical reaction” refers to a reaction through which one or more reactants are chemically converted to one or more products which are different from those reactants. It is appreciated that such a “chemical reaction” is to include various phase changes of the reactants examples of which may include, but not be limited to, hydration of such reactants, dissolution of such into various solvents including water, sublimation, condensation, and so on. In this context, the terms “reactant” and “product” may also refer to air, water or moist contained in the air or supplied through a separate storage therefor, and the like, each of which may be in ambient condition, may be heated by thermal energy generated by the above “chemical reaction” which is also exothermic, may change its composition or concentration while being heated by such thermal energy, and the like.

As used herein, various reactants of an exothermic chemical reaction are distinguished as at least one first reactant and at least one second reactant. Such a distinction is generally made herein such that a reactant disposed inside a reactor of a system is to be referred to as the “first reactant” heretofore and hereinafter, while another reactant to be supplied into the reactor is to be referred as the “second reactant” heretofore and hereinafter. When the reactor is to not contain any reactant a priori therein, the distinction may not generally apply thereto, for both of the reactants have to be fed into the reactor anyway.

Unless otherwise defined in the following specification, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which the present invention belongs. Although the methods or materials equivalent or similar to those described herein can be used in the practice or in the testing of the present invention, the suitable methods and materials are described below. All publications, patent applications, patents, and/or other references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. In case of any conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1A is a schematic cross-sectional diagram of an exemplary reactor charged with at least one reactant therein and including a single inlet according to the present invention;

FIGS. 1B and 1C are schematic cross-sectional diagrams of other exemplary reactors similar to that of FIG. 1A but each including a single inlet and a single outlet according to the present invention;

FIGS. 1D to 1F are schematic perspective views and cross-sectional diagrams of exemplary cylindrical reactors charged with reactants therein and each including at least one inlet and at least one outlet according to the present invention;

FIGS. 1G to 1K are schematic perspective views and cross-sectional diagrams of exemplary rectangular reactors charged with reactants therein and each including at least one inlet and at least one outlet according to the present invention;

FIG. 1L includes a schematic perspective view and a cross-sectional diagram of an exemplary tubular reactor charged with at least one reactant, bent at various locations, and defining an inlet and an outlet according to the present invention;

FIGS. 2A to 2F are schematic perspective views and cross-sectional diagrams of the reactors of FIGS. 1A to 1F, respectively, and each including at least one cartridge charged with such reactants according to the present invention;

FIGS. 2G to 2L are schematic perspective views and cross-sectional diagrams of the reactors similar to those of the FIGS. 1G to 1K but each including at least one inlet and/or outlet disposed along different locations according to the present invention;

FIGS. 3A to 3F are schematic cross-sectional diagrams of other exemplary cylindrical reactors filled with reactants and enclosed by heat exchanging chambers according to the present invention;

FIG. 4A is a schematic diagram of an exemplary heating system including a reactor as well as an air supplier according to the present invention;

FIG. 4B is a schematic diagram of an exemplary heating system which is incorporated into a shoe according to the present invention; and

FIG. 4C is a schematic diagram of an exemplary heating system which is incorporated into a glove according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to portable heating systems for generating heat through various exothermic chemical reactions excluding combustion of inflammable gases and/or liquids and carbon-containing fossil fuels such as, e.g., natural gas, propane gas, butane gas, gasoline, kerosene, coal, charcoal, and a mixture thereof. More particularly, the present invention relates to portable heating systems capable of generating heat by the exothermic chemical reactions and delivering such heat to a target by direct thermal conduction and/or forced convection, by indirect convection alone, and the like. Thus, the present invention relates to various reactants provided in various shapes and capable of reacting with each other and generating such heat by such reactions. The present invention also relates to various portable heating systems supplying reactants and/or heated air into and/out of the systems by driving forces which are generated by ordinary body movements of an user. Therefore, the present invention also relates to various portable heating systems which are provided as compact articles and capable of being incorporated into gloves, shoes, and cloths.

The present invention also relates to methods of generating heat and delivering the heat to an user by the above portable heating systems without generating undesirable substances such as CO, NOx, other toxic substances, and the like. More particularly, the present invention relates to methods of disposing various reactants into the portable heating systems, methods of supplying the reactants to various parts of the heating systems for the exothermic reactions, methods of controlling amounts of the reactants supplied to various parts of the system and controlling amounts of the heat generated by the systems, and methods of delivering the heat to the user by different heat transfer mechanisms. Therefore, the present invention also relates to methods of providing the reactants in various shapes and/or arrangements for maximizing and/or manipulating extents of generating such heat. In addition, the present invention relates to various methods of incorporating such portable heating systems into the gloves, shoes, and/or cloths to provide such heat to the user wearing such.

The present invention further relates to processes for making such portable heating systems capable of generating heat by the exothermic chemical reactions and delivering such heat to the user and processes of providing various parts of such systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to processes of providing heat generators for generating such heat by the chemical reactions and delivering such heat to the user by the thermal conduction and/or forced convection, processes of providing hot air generators for generating the heat by such reactions and delivering heated air to the user solely by the force convection, processes of constructing heat generators for the heating and/or hot air generators, and the like. Thus, the present invention also relates to various processes of forming various reactants for such systems. In addition, the present invention relates to various processes for making gloves, shoes, and/or cloths incorporating such heating or hot air generators, various processes for supplying the reactants into the systems with such generators, and processes for providing driving forces for transporting such reactants for the systems.

Various aspects and/or embodiments of various systems, methods, and/or processes of this invention will now be described more particularly with reference to the accompanying drawings and text, where such aspects and/or embodiments thereof only represent different forms. Such systems, methods, and/or processes of this invention, however, may also be embodied in many other different forms and, accordingly, should not be limited to such aspects and/or embodiments which are set forth herein. Rather, various exemplary aspects and/or embodiments described herein are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and fully convey the scope of the present invention to one of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

Unless otherwise specified, it is to be understood that various members, units, elements, and parts of various systems of the present invention are not typically drawn to scales and/or proportions for ease of illustration. It is also to be understood that such members, units, elements, and/or parts of various systems of this invention designated by the same numerals may typically represent the same, similar, and/or functionally equivalent members, units, elements, and/or parts thereof, respectively.

Unless otherwise specified, various features of one embodiment of one aspect of the present invention may apply interchangeably to other embodiments of the same aspect of this invention and/or embodiments of one or more of other aspects of this invention.

In one aspect of the present invention, various reactants may be selected to generate heat by various exothermic reactions. Although many exothermic reactions may be adopted in this invention, it is preferred, however, that such reactions neither generate toxic products nor involve flame. It is also preferred that the reactants for such reactions not include any inflammable gas and fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane gas, butane gas, gasoline, kerosene, other organic solvents, coal, charcoal, cokes, and the like.

In one exemplary embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, an exothermic chemical reaction may include reactions between water and various oxides of alkali metals and alkali rare earth elements which typically correspond to those elements of the first and second columns of the Periodic Table, respectively. In general, such reactions may be generalized as one of the following reactions:


Met2-O+H2O−>2Met-OH+Q (1a)


Met-O+H2O−>Met-(OH)2+Q (1 b)

where “Met” means such a metal and “Q” means heat released by such a reaction, where the metals of the first column of the Table conforms to the reaction (1a), while those of the second column of the table follows the reaction (1b). More specifically, when the metal is selected from the alkali rare earth elements such as, e.g., Ca, the reaction between calcium oxide (or lime) and water yields heat, while forming calcium hydroxide as a reaction product:


CaO+H2O−>Ca(OH)2+Q (1c)

Other oxides of the above elements and/or a mixture of two or more of such oxides may be selected as the exothermic chemical reaction for various heating systems of this invention, where examples of the metals may include, but not be limited to, Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, Fr, Be, MG, Sr, Ba, Ra, and so on, while oxides of the above metals may respectively include, but not be limited to, Li2O, Na2O, KO, Rb2O, Cs2O, Fr2O, BeO, MgO, SrO, BaO, RaO, and the like.

In addition to the above elements, various inorganic and/or organic chemical compounds which may react with water and release heat may be employed in the heat or hot air generating systems as well. Such compounds may be readily found in various chemistry textbooks and/or references such as, e.g., Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, CRC Handbook for Physics and Chemistry, and so on. Thus, choice of suitable metals and/or compounds other than the hydration of the alkali metals and alkali earth metals and those reactions described hereinafter is a matter of selection of one of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

In another exemplary embodiment of such an aspect of this invention, an exothermic chemical reaction may include reactions between various acids and various bases, where such reactions may be generalized as the following reaction:


acid+base−>salt+Q (2a)


acid+base−>salt+H2O+Q (2b)


acid+compound with a base-derivative−>product+Q (2c)


compound with an acid-derivative+base−>product+Q (2d)

Such reactants may be almost any strong or weak acids and/or bases, may produce products which may be solids, liquids, and/or gases, and may be readily found in various chemistry textbooks and/or references such as, e.g., Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, CRC Handbook for Physics and Chemistry, and so on and, thus, selecting suitable acids and/or bases may also be a matter of choice for one of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

In further exemplary embodiments of this aspect of the present invention, exothermic chemical reactions may include reactions between various acids and metals (and/or their compounds), dilution reactions, reactions for phase changes, and the like. Details of such acids, metals, compounds of the metals, hydration, and/or phase changes may be readily found in various chemistry textbooks and/or references such as, e.g., Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, CRC Handbook for Physics and Chemistry, and so on and, therefore, choice of suitable acids and/or metal or metal compounds may be a matter of selection of one of ordinary skill in the relevant art.

As described above, other exothermic reactions may also be employed to generate heat or hot air as far as they may not produce toxic products and may not involve flames and/or excessively high temperature. It is appreciated that such reactions may be easily selected from the above references by examining enthalpy of formation of various compounds, reactivity between such compounds, and so on. It is specifically appreciated that, unless otherwise specified, exothermic reactions which may produce toxic compounds such as, e.g., NOx and SOx, are not preferred as such exothermic reactions for the heating systems of this invention. In addition, those reactions which may produce CO2 as their reaction products may be given less deference when other comparable reactions without employing CO2 may be available, for carbon dioxides have been identified as a main culprit of the global warming

Various reactants for the exothermic reaction may be provided in various states such as, e.g., gases or vapors, liquids, solids, and/or mixture thereof, where such reactants in their liquid state may be a sol, a gel, a slurry, a suspension, and the like, while such reactants in their solid state may be a bulk of a material, a matrix of a material, particles, granules, powders, and so on. It is appreciated that at least one reactant may preferably be provided in its solid state for easy of storage and preparation. When in its solid state, such a reactant may be formed to have individual shapes of a sphere, a rod, a cylinder, a pellet, and/or other suitable shapes. In order to maintain a least reaction between the solid reactant and the rest of such reactants, it is preferred that the solid-state reactant define a maximum surface area. To this end, the solid reactant may be provided in a porous structure which may define macroscopic and/or microscopic pores therein and/or therethrough, where a porosity as well as pore distribution determines diffusion characteristics of other reactants into the solid reactant. Such a solid reactant may instead be formed by incorporating at least one support therein. For example, a binding agent may be added to shape the reactant into a desirable shape, an inert support may be mixed into the reactant to improve physical properties of the reactant, and the like. Such a reactant may also be coated over the support, impregnated thereinto, absorbed thereinto, and/or adsorbed thereonto such that a minimum amount of the reactant may be distributed on a maximum surface area of the support. When desirable, the support itself may define a porous structure, and the reactant may be distributed along macropores and/or micropores of the support.

It is to be understood that exact shapes and/or sizes of such solid reactants may be at least in part determined by various diffusion characteristics of the exothermic chemical reaction employed by the heating system of this invention so that the reaction between multiple reactants may proceed and the heat is released without being hindered or detrimentally controlled by diffusion of gaseous or liquid reactants into the solid reactants. The aforementioned porous structure may alleviate some diffusion-limitations. However, properties of various reaction products may also determine conversion of such exothermic reactions, for formation of a diffusion barrier by the reaction products on a surface of the solid reactant may block further reaction. Thus, in-depth information of such diffusion characteristics and reaction kinetics may also be considered in selecting the exothermic chemical reactions and their reactants, which may be readily found in various textbooks on chemical reaction engineering.

As exemplified in the hydration reactions, one of its reactants is an oxide of the alkali metal or alkali earth metal, while the other of its reactants is water. In such an embodiment, the water may be provided to the metal oxide in various modes such as, e.g., liquid water, water vaporized into a stream of air, and the like. In the alternative, ambient air may also be supplied to the metal oxide, where moist contained in the ambient air may then serve the role as the reactant. In another alternative, perspired air may instead be supplied to the metal oxide, where moist carried by the perspired air may the serve as the reactant.

In another aspect of the present invention, a heating system may include at least one reactor, where various reactants are supplied to such a reactor, react each other in the reactor, and generate heat by at least one exothermic reaction therebetween. Following FIGS. 1A to 1L describe exemplary reactors defining different shapes and/or operating on different mechanisms.

FIG. 1A describes a schematic diagram of an exemplary reactor which is charged with at least one (first) reactant and includes a single inlet according to the present invention. A reactor 20 defines an inner chamber and is open to its exterior through a single reactant inlet 21. Thus, the reactor 20 is in “fluid communication” with, “fluidly connected” to, or “fluidly coupled” to the inner chamber of such a reactor 20. One or more of the above reactants 30 is charged into the inner chamber of the reactor 20, where such reactants 30 may fill an entire portion or at least a substantial portion of the reactor 20 or, in the alternative, only a portion thereof.

In operation, the inner chamber of the reactor 20 is at least partially filled with the reactant 30 which will be referred to as the “first reactant.” Another gas or liquid reactant which will be referred to as the “second reactant” is fed into the inner chamber, reacts with the first reactant, and generates heat by the exothermic chemical reaction. Such heat is typically transferred to walls of the reactor 20 by thermal conduction and delivered to an user, a target or surroundings of the reactor 20 by thermal conduction. It is appreciated that this reactor 20 does not include any outlet at all and, accordingly, is suitable for the reaction with a particular stoichiometry where a volume of reaction products may be identical to that of the reactants participating in such a reaction.

FIG. 1B is a schematic diagram of another exemplary reactor which is charged with at least one (first) reactant and includes a single inlet and a single outlet, and FIG. 1C is a schematic diagram of yet another exemplary reactor which is similar to that of FIG. 1B but orients its outlet in a different direction according to the present invention. A reactor 20 defines an inner chamber charged with a first reactant 30 and includes a single inlet 21 as well as a single outlet 22 both of which are to be in fluid communication with the inner chamber of the reactor 20. More particularly, the inlet 21 may be used to transport a second reactant (including, e.g., ambient air or moist contained therein) into such a reactor 20. In contrary, the outlet 22 may be used to transport at least one reaction products, excess second reactant, and/or air out of the reactor 20. It is appreciated that the outlet 22 shown in FIG. 1B is fluidly coupled to ambient air (or atmosphere) and discharges the reaction products and/or excess second reactant thereto, while the outlet 22 of FIG. 1C is fluidly connected to a target and delivers hot reaction product, excess second reactant, and/or air thereto.

In operation, the inner chamber of the reactor 20 is at least partially filled with the first reactant 30. A second gas or liquid reactant is thereafter supplied to the inner chamber, reacts with the first reactant, and generates heat through the exothermic chemical reaction. In the embodiment of FIG. 1B, such heat is transferred to walls of the reactor 20 by thermal conduction and delivered to the target solely by the thermal conduction. In the embodiment of FIG. 1C, however, the reaction heat released by such reactants through the exothermic reaction is not only delivered to the walls of such a reactor 20 and to the target by thermal conduction but also delivered to the target along with heated air and/or heated second reactant through the outlet 22. When the water is required as the second reactant of the reaction, the ambient air may be supplied into the chamber of the reactor so as to supply thereto the second reactant. Even when the water is not required for the exothermic reaction, the ambient air may be delivered into the reactor, heated by the reaction heat, and discharged out of the reactor 20 to the user in order to deliver the heat by the forced convection.

Embodiments of FIGS. 1D to 1L provide more examples of various reactors of various heating systems of the present invention. It is appreciated, however, that such embodiments may correspond to variations and/or modifications of those of FIGS. 1B and 1C and, therefore, that their outlets may be fluidly coupled to atmosphere for disposal (or exhaust) or fluidly connected to the user to deliver such heat contained in the reaction products, excess second reactants, and/or heated air to the user. It is also appreciated that various reactors of these embodiments may include multiple inlets and/or outlets, where some of such inlets and/or outlets may be for the reactants and others thereof may be for the reaction products, excess reactants, and/or air. In the alternative, the reactors of such embodiments may be constructed without any outlet as exemplified in FIG. 1A. In addition, the inlets of the reactors may be arranged to supply the reactants and/or air into the inner chamber of the reactor, where the water or moist contained in ambient air may participate in the chemical reaction or where such air may simply be heated to generate “hot air” (or “heated air” hereinafter) which may then be delivered to the target or user. Each of FIGS. 1D to 1L includes two panels, where a top panel is a perspective view of an exemplary reactor, while a lower panel describes a cross-sectional view thereof.

FIG. 1D shows a schematic diagram of an exemplary cylindrical reactor which is charged with a (first) reactant and includes an inlet and an outlet according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is shaped as a hollow cylinder and includes an inlet 21 and an outlet 22. More particularly, such a reactor 20 defines a curvilinear side, a proximal end (closer to the inlet 21), and a distal end (closer to the outlet 22), such that the inlet 21 and outlet 22 are disposed on opposing ends of such a reactor 20 and also aligned with each other along a longitudinal axis of the reactor 20. An inner chamber of the reactor 20 may be at least substantially or partially filled with a first reactant 30 in radial, axial, angular or other arrangements which will be provided in greater detail below.

In operation, a second reactant and/or air is supplied to the inner chamber through the inlet 21, reacts with the first reactant 30, and generates heat by the exothermic chemical reaction. The air or any reaction products may be discharged out of the reactor 20 through the outlet 22 and dispensed to atmosphere or delivered to the user. As the first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, the user may remove the (first) reactant 30 from the reactor 30 and recharge or refill fresh reactant 30 thereto. To this end, at least one movable cover may be incorporated to the reactor 20 as will be discussed in greater detail below. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor of FIG. 1D are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1C.

FIG. 1E is a schematic diagram of another exemplary cylindrical reactor which is charged with a (first) reactant while defining a center channel according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is typically similar to that of FIG. 1D, except that the reactor 20 includes two inlets 21 on its proximal end and that a first reactant 30 may preferentially be charged angularly around a side of the reactor 20 while defining an annular center channel 23 along a longitudinal axis of the reactor 20. The outlet 22 is provided on a distal end of the reactor 20 and in fluid communication with the center channel 23. A porous or permeable annular divider (represented by dotted lines) may then be disposed inside the reactor 20 in order to physically separate the center channel 23 from the first reactant 30, in order to prevent the first reactant 30 from entering the center channel 23, and the like.

In operation, the first reactant 30 is charged between the divider and inner walls of the reactor 20 while forming the center channel 23 as described above. A second reactant and/or air may then be supplied to the reactor through a pair of inlets 21 both of which are in fluid communication with the first reactant 30. As the exothermic reaction proceeds inside the reactor 20, such reactants begin to generate heat. The reaction products, excess second reactants, and/or air may move through a layer of the first reactant 30, seep into the center channel 23 through the divider, and then be discharged from the reactor 20 through the outlet 22 and delivered to the atmosphere or target. The heat may be transferred to the user through the wall of the reactor 20 by the thermal conduction and/or to the user along with the heated reactants or air by the forced convection. Other configurational and operational characteristics of the reactor of FIG. 1E are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1D.

FIG. 1F is a schematic diagram of another exemplary cylindrical reactor which is charged with a (first) reactant while defining a peripheral channel according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is also similar to that of FIG. 1D, except that such a reactor 20 includes two outlets 22 on its distal end and that a first reactant 30 is preferentially charged in a center portion of the reactor 30 while forming an annular peripheral channel 23 angularly along a side of the reactor 30. The outlets 22 are provided on the distal end of the reactor 20 and in fluid communication with the peripheral channel 23. Another porous or permeable divider (denoted by dotted lines) is also disposed to physically separate the first reactant 30 from the channel 23, to prevent the first reactant 30 from seeping into the channel 23, and the like.

In operation, the first reactant 30 is charged in the divider while forming the annular channel 23 as described above. A second reactant and/or air is then supplied to the reactor through the inlet 21 which is in fluid communication with the first reactant 30. As the exothermic reaction proceeds, such reactants release reaction heat, and the reaction products, excess second reactants, and/or air may then move through the first reactant 30, seep through the divider into the annular channel 23, and then be discharged from the reactor 20 through the outlet 22 and delivered to the atmosphere and/or target. The heat may be transferred to the user through the wall of the reactor 20 by the thermal conduction and/or to the user with the heated reactants or air by the forced convection. Other configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor of FIG. 1F may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1E.

It is appreciated in FIGS. 1E and 1F that the second reactant may be arranged to move through a layer of the first reactant 30 in various arrangements. As is well known to chemical engineers, the conversion of the reactants into the reaction products and release of the reaction heat depend upon a residence time of a moving reactant (i.e., the second reactant) in a stationary reactant (i.e., the first reactant). Care should be taken, accordingly, to maximize the residence time of the second reactant. One way of achieving this is to regulate a flow rate of the second reactant through the layer or bed of the first reactant, although this modality may suffer when the second reactant has to flow beyond a certain rate. Another way of maximizing the residence time is to minimize a channeling of the second reactant through shortcuts which may be formed along the divider. Details modes for increasing the residence time distribution and minimizing the channeling are well known in the art and readily obtained in many textbooks and/or references in chemical engineering or, more specifically, chemical reaction engineering.

FIG. 1G is a schematic diagram of an exemplary rectangular reactor which is charged with a (first) reactant and includes an inlet and an outlet according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is shaped as a flat and hollow rectangular box and includes a single inlet 21 and a single outlet 22. More specifically, the reactor 20 defines a top, a bottom, sides, a proximal end to which the inlet 21 is fluidly coupled, and a distal end to which the outlet 22 is fluidly coupled. An inner chamber of the reactor 20 is charged with a first reactant 30. Therefore, this reactor 20 is generally identical to that of FIG. 1D, except that the former has a rectangular cross-section, while the latter defines a circular one.

In operation, a second reactant and/or air may be supplied to an inner chamber of the reactor 20 through its inlet 21, react with the first reactant 30, and generate heat by the exothermic chemical reaction. The air, reaction products, and/or excess second reactants may then be dispensed out of the reactor 20 through the outlet 22 and to atmosphere or user. As the first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, the user may dispense the reactant 30 from the reactor 20 and refill fresh reactant 30 thereto through a movable cover as disclosed hereinabove. Other configurational and operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 1G may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1F.

FIG. 1H is a schematic diagram of another exemplary rectangular reactor which is charged by a (first) a reactant only in its proximal half according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is typically similar to that of FIG. 1G and includes an inlet 21 and outlet 22, except that a first reactant 30 fills only a proximal half of the inner chamber of the reactor 30, where a distal half serves as a gap. Thus, the second reactant or air may first react with the first reactant 30 as they enter the proximal half of the reactor 20, and then may be collected in the distal half before they are discharged out of the reactor 20. Other configurational and operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 1H may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1G.

FIG. 1I is a schematic diagram of an exemplary rectangular reactor which is also charged with a (first) reactant but bent at about 180° in its middle according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is generally similarly to that of FIG. 1G and includes a single inlet 21 and a single outlet 22. However, the reactor 30 is bent at about 180° in its middle enough to form a U-shape cross-section. Therefore, the inlet 21 fluidly coupled to a proximal end of the reactor 20 and the outlet 22 fluidly coupling with a distal end thereof are disposed on the same side as described in the figure. Such a reactor 20 may offer a benefit of heating the user who may be situated between two halves thereof, thereby increasing an area through which the reaction heat may be transferred through conduction. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 1I are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A through 1H.

FIG. 1J is a schematic diagram of another exemplary rectangular reactor which is filled with a (first) reactant, includes an inlet, and forms multiple outlets on a top thereof according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is generally similar to that of FIG. 1G, except that the reactor 20 forms multiple outlets 22 on its top (or bottom). Accordingly, some portions of the outlets 22 may be disposed closer to the inlet 21 than the rest thereof and special design considerations may have to be provided so as to prevent the channeling. In addition, such a reactor 20 may also be deemed similar to that of FIG. 1A which form multiple outlets therethrough. Other configurational and operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 1J may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A through 1I.

FIG. 1K is a schematic diagram of another exemplary rectangular reactor which is filled with a (first) reactant and defining an inlet and multiple outlets having different sizes according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is similar to that of FIG. 1G, except that the reactor 20 includes multiple outlets 22 of different sizes on its distal end. Thus, such different outlets 22 may deliver different amounts of the reaction products, excess second reactants, and/or air to different regions of the target, thereby supplying different amounts of heat thereto. Further configurational and operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 1K may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A through 1J.

FIG. 1L is a schematic diagram of an exemplary tubular reactor which is charged with a (first) reactant while defining a curvilinear path according to the present invention. A reactor 20 is generally shaped as a curved tube into which a first reactant 30 is charged. A single inlet 21 and a single outlet 22 are then defined on opposing ends thereof. In this context, this reactor 20 resembles a plug-flow reactor as commonly referred to in chemical reaction engineering.

In operation, the tubular reactor 20 is charged with the first reactant and disposed to cover as large a portion of the user as possible. A second reactant and/or air may be supplied through the inlet 21, react with the first reactant, and generate heat by the chemical reaction therewith. When the first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, the user flushes the tube and recharges its chamber with fresh first reactant 30 for a next round of heat generation. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 1L may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A through 1K

In another aspect of the present invention, another heating system may be provided to include at least one reactor in which at least one reactant is disposed in a replaceable cartridge and to which at least one another reactant may be supplied. Such reactants may then react with each other inside or near the cartridge and generate heat through at least one exothermic chemical reaction. Following FIGS. 2A to 2L exemplify several reactors including such cartridges which have different shapes and operate on different mechanisms.

FIG. 2A is a schematic diagram of an exemplary reactor which releasably retains at least one cartridge therein and forms a single inlet according to the present invention. Similar to that of FIG. 1A, a reactor 20 forms an inner chamber and includes a single reactant inlet 21 which fluidly couples with the chamber. One or more of the foregoing reactants 30 may be charged into a replaceable cartridge 40 which is releasably disposed inside the chamber of the reactor 20 or, more specifically, in a middle of the reactor 20.

In operation, the cartridge 40 is filled with a first reactant and releasably disposed inside such a chamber of the reactor 20. A second gas or liquid reactant is fed into the chamber and reacts with the first reactant. As the exothermic reaction proceeds, the reactants generates heat which is then transferred to walls of the reactor 20 by thermal conduction and delivered to the user. Alternatively, the reaction heat may heat air, reaction products, and/or excess second reactants which may then transfer such thermal energy to the walls of the reactor 20 by the conduction. It is to be understood, similar to that of FIG. 1A, that the reactor 20 does not include any outlet at all. Thus, such a reactor 20 is suitable for the reaction with a particular stoichiometry where a volume of reaction products may be at least substantially identical to that of the reactants participating in such a reaction. As such a first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, the user may access the inner chamber and replace the consumed cartridge 40 by another cartridge charged with fresh first reactant 30, thereby generating the heat for an extended period of time.

FIG. 2B is a schematic diagram of another exemplary reactor retaining a reactant cartridge and having a single inlet and a single outlet, whereas FIG. 2C is a schematic diagram of another exemplary reactor which is similar to that of FIG. 2B but its outlet is oriented in an opposite direction according to the present invention. A reactor 20 similarly forms an inner chamber and includes a single inlet 21 and a single outlet 22 both of which are in fluid communication with the inner chamber of the reactor 20. One or more of the above reactants 30 is charged into a replaceable cartridge 40 which is releasably loaded into the inner chamber. The inlet 21 may be used to transport a second reactant and/or air into the reactor 20, whereas the outlet 22 may be used to transport the reaction products, excess second reactants, and/or air out of the reactor 20. It is noted that the outlet 22 of FIG. 2B is fluidly coupled to atmosphere and discharges the reaction product and/or air thereto, whereas the outlet 22 of FIG. 2C is fluidly connected to the user and delivers such heated air, reaction product, and/or excess second reactant thereto.

In operation, the cartridge 40 is filled with a first reactant and releasably disposed inside such a chamber of the reactor 20. A second gas or liquid reactant is fed into the chamber, reacts with the first reactant, and generates heat by the exothermic chemical reaction. Such heat is then transferred to walls of the reactor 20 by conduction and delivered to a target such as surroundings of the reactor 20 in this example. In the alternative, the reaction heat may heat air, reaction product, and/or excess second reactant which may transfer thermal energy to the walls of the reactor 20 by heat conduction. When desirable, ambient air may be supplied to the inner chamber so as to supply thereto the second reactant such as water or moist contained in the air. In the alternative, such air may be delivered into the reactor, heated by the reaction heat, and dispensed out of the reactor 20, although the air may not serve as the second reactant. In this embodiment, such heated air is used as a medium for the forced convective heat transfer. As the first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, the user accesses the inner chamber and replace the consumed cartridge 40 with another cartridge charged with fresh first reactant, thereby generating the heat for an extended period of time.

Embodiments of FIGS. 2D to 2L provide more examples of various reactors of various heating systems of the present invention. It is appreciated, however, that such embodiments may correspond to variations and/or modifications of those of FIGS. 2B and 2C and, therefore, that their outlets may be fluidly coupled to atmosphere for disposal (or exhaust) or fluidly connected to the user to deliver such heat contained in the reaction products, excess second reactants, and/or heated air to the user. It is also appreciated that various reactors of these embodiments may include multiple inlets and/or outlets, where some of such inlets and/or outlets may be for the reactants and others thereof may be for the reaction products, excess reactants, and/or air. In the alternative, the reactors of such embodiments may be constructed without any outlet as exemplified in FIG. 2A. In addition, the inlets of the reactors may be arranged to supply the reactants and/or air into the inner chamber of the reactor, where the water or moist contained in ambient air may participate in the chemical reaction or where such air may simply be heated to generate “hot air” (or “heated air” hereinafter) which may then be delivered to the target or user. Each of FIGS. 2D to 2L includes two panels, where a top panel is a perspective view of an exemplary reactor, while a lower panel describes a cross-sectional view thereof.

FIG. 2D is a schematic diagram of an exemplary cylindrical reactor including a circular cartridge in its middle and defining an inlet and an outlet according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is generally shaped as a hollow cylinder similar to that of FIG. 1D, and includes an inlet 21 and an outlet 22 in its proximal and distal ends, respectively. A circular cartridge 40 is then replaceably disposed in a center of the reactor 20 in an orientation to divide an inner chamber of the reactor 20 into a proximal chamber and a distal chamber. A second reactant is supplied to the proximal chamber of the reactor 20 through the inlet 21, permeates through the cartridge 40 while reacting with the first reactant 30 of the cartridge 40 and releasing reaction heat, proceeds to the distal chamber of the reactor 20, and is then discharged to the atmosphere and/or target through the outlet 22. When such a first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, an user may access the inner chamber of the reactor 20 and replace the used cartridge 40 by a new cartridge 40, thereby getting ready for a next round of heating. It is to be understood that the cartridge 40 is disposed in the middle of the reactor 20 so that the proximal and distal chambers define approximately identical lengths and volume, although asymmetrical disposition may also be feasible. Other configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 2D are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A to 2C.

FIG. 2E is a schematic diagram of another exemplary cylindrical reactor including two circular cartridges and having an inlet and a pair of outlets according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is generally similar to that of FIG. 2D, except that multiple replaceable cartridges 40 are disposed in multiple locations inside the reactor 20 and that multiple outlets 22M, 22D fluidly couple with the reactor 20 in different locations along a longitudinal axis of the reactor 20. More specifically, such cartridges 40 are incorporated along the long axis of the reactor 20 in an arrangement to form multiple chambers such as, e.g., a proximal chamber, a middle chamber, and a distal chamber, where each chamber has an approximately identical length and volume. In addition, a middle outlet 22M is fluidly coupled to such a middle chamber, while a distal outlet 22D fluidly couples with the distal chamber. It then follows that heated air, reaction product, and/or excess second reactant discharged out of the middle outlet 22M may more likely than not reside in the reactor 20 for a shorter period of time than those discharged out of the distal outlet 22D. By the same token, the heated air, reaction product, and/or excess secondary reactant discharged through the middle outlet 22M may more likely than not have a lower temperature than those dispensed through the distal outlet 22D. Therefore, such a reactor 20 may deliver different amounts of heat to different regions of the target, where the amounts, flow rates, and/or temperature of the heated air, reaction product, and/or excess secondary reactant may vary according to detailed locations and configurations of such middle and distal outlets 22M, 22D. Other configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 2E may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A to 2D.

FIG. 2F is a schematic diagram of another exemplary cylindrical reactor containing an annular cartridge and including a pair of inlets and an outlet according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is similar to that shown in FIG. 2D, except that a replaceable cartridge 40 is shaped as an annular cylinder and disposed in a center portion of the reactor 20 along its length. Thus, an inner cylindrical channel 23N is formed inside the cartridge 40, while an outer annular channel 23U is defined between the cartridge 40 and a wall of the reactor 20. In addition, two inlets 21 are fluidly coupled to a proximal end of the reactor 20 to supply a second reactant and/or air to an upper portion and/or a lower portion of the reactor 20, while a single outlet 22 is fluidly coupled to the inner channel 23N. Thus, the second reactant and/or air may be supplied into the outer channel 23U of the reactor 20 through the inlets 21, seep through the cartridge 40 and into the inner channel 23N while reacting with the first reactant 30 and generating heat by the reaction. The heated air, reaction product, and/or excess second reactant may then be discharged out of the reactor 20 to the atmosphere or user through the outlet 22. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 2F are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A and 2E.

FIG. 2G is a schematic diagram of another exemplary cylindrical reactor which is similar to that of FIG. 2F but forming an inlet and multiple outlets on its side according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is similar to that of FIG. 2F in that an annular cartridge 40 is aligned with a longitudinal axis of the reactor 20 and divides an inner chamber of the reactor 20 into an inner channel 23N as well as an outer channel 23U. However, an inlet 21 fluidly couples to the inner channel 23N in a proximal end of the reactor, while multiple outlets 22 are defined through a side of the reactor 20. Thus, the second reactant and/or air may be supplied into the inner channel 23N of the reactor 20 through the inlet 21, seep through the cartridge 40 and into the outer channel 23U while reacting with the first reactant 30 of the cartridge 40 and generating heat by the exothermic reaction. The heated air, reaction product, and/or excess second reactant may then be discharged out of the reactor 20 to the atmosphere or to the user through the outlets 22. It is appreciated in FIGS. 2F and 2G that the annular cartridge 40 may define any shapes and/or sizes as long as such a cartridge 40 may divide the inner chamber into two different channels concentrically disposed with respect to each other. For example, the cartridge 40 may extend along a axial direction from the proximal end to the distal end, may only extend a portion of the inner chamber, and the like. Such a cartridge 40 may also be disposed in various locations along a radial direction from the longitudinal axis to the side wall of the reactor 20 so that the cartridge 40 may be disposed at an equal distance from the axis and wall, may be placed closer to one than the other, and/or may even be misaligned with the longitudinal axis of the reactor 20. Any number of outlets 22 may also be formed in various locations of the side wall of the reactor 20, extend parallel, vertical or transverse to the longitudinal axis of such a reactor 20, and the like. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 2G are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A and 2F.

FIG. 2H is a schematic diagram of an exemplary rectangular reactor releasably incorporating a rectangular and upright cartridge and defining an inlet and an outlet, FIG. 21 is a schematic diagram of another exemplary rectangular reactor including a rectangular and horizontal cartridge and defining an inlet and an outlet, and FIG. 2J shows a schematic diagram of another exemplary rectangular reactor incorporating a rectangular and slanted cartridge and defining an inlet and an outlet according to the present invention. A reactor 20 of each of these embodiments has a shape of a hollow box or cube and includes a cartridge 40 which is charged with a first reactant and divides an inner chamber of the reactor 20 into two sections. More particularly, the cartridge 40 of FIG. 2H is disposed vertically so as to divide the chamber into a proximal section and a distal section to which an inlet 21 and an outlet 22 are fluidly coupled, respectively. The cartridge 40 of FIG. 21 is disposed horizontally and defines an upper section and a lower section to which the inlet 21 and outlet 22 are fluidly coupled, respectively. In addition, the cartridge 40 of FIG. 2J is disposed at an angle which is neither 0° or 90° with respect to a longitudinal axis of the reactor 20, and defines an upper proximal section and a lower distal section to which the inlet 21 and outlet 22 are fluidly coupled respectively. Thus, the second reactant and/or air may be supplied into the proximal section of the reactor 20 through the inlet 21, seep through such a cartridge 40 and into the distal section while reacting with the first reactant 30 of such a cartridge 40 and generating heat by the exothermic reaction. The heated air, reaction product, and/or excess second reactant may be discharged out of the reactor 20 to the atmosphere or to the user through the outlets 22. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the reactors 20 of FIGS. 2H to 2J are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A to 2G.

FIG. 2K is a schematic diagram of another exemplary rectangular reactor which may be similar to that of FIG. 21 but includes multiple supports according to the present invention. In contrary to that of FIG. 21, such a reactor 20 includes multiple supports 25 in its upper and lower sections. In general, such supports 25 may be arranged to abut a cartridge 40 so as to retain the cartridge 40 in a specific position inside the reactor 20. This embodiment may be preferable when at least a portion of such a reactor 20 is arranged to be elastic or deformable and to change its configuration in response to user input forces. Any number of such supports 25 may also be incorporated in any other reactors which have been described heretofore and which will be described hereinafter. Further configurational and operational characteristics of the reactor 20 of FIG. 2K may be similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A to 2J.

FIG. 2L shows a schematic diagram of an exemplary rectangular reactor which is bent at 180° in its middle, incorporates two upright and rectangular cartridges, and includes an inlet and an outlet according to the present invention. Such a reactor 20 is generally similar to that of FIG. 1I, except that multiple cartridges 40 are filled with the first reactant and incorporated in different positions along the longitudinal axis of the reactor 20, thereby defining multiple sections therealong. Such cartridges 40 may be disposed at an uniform interval to define multiple identical or similar sections or, alternatively, may be disposed in a non-uniform and/or asymmetric arrangement to define multiple different sections. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of such a reactor 20 of FIG. 2L are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L and FIGS. 2A to 2K.

In another aspect of the present invention, a hot air generators may be provided for the above heating system, where such a generator may include at least one heat exchanging chamber in which various reactants may react each other, release the reaction heat by at least one exothermic reaction therebetween, and transfer such heat by thermal conduction to an air flowing over an exterior of one or more of such reactors. Following FIGS. 3A to 3C exemplify heat exchanging chambers defining different shapes and operating on different mechanisms, where such chambers may include any of such reactors described in conjunction with FIGS. 1A to 1L and 2A to 2L. For simplicity of illustration, each exemplary hot air generator of FIGS. 3A to 3C employs a reactor filled with the first reactant and including a single inlet and a single outlet. It is appreciated, however, that any other reactors may also be readily applied to any of following hot air generators.

FIG. 3A is a schematic diagram of an exemplary hot air generator including a heat exchanging chamber enclosing therein a reactor charged with a first reactant, while FIG. 3B shows a schematic diagram of another exemplary hot air generator including another heat exchanging chamber enclosing therein another reactor charged with a first reactant according to the present invention. Each hot air generator includes a heat exchanging chamber 50 which forms an inner chamber into which one of the above reactors 20 may be fixedly and/or releasably disposed. The heat exchanging chamber 50 may include a single inlet 51 and a single outlet 52 both fluidly coupling with the inner chamber thereof, while the reactor 20 may define a single inlet 21 and a single outlet 22 each of which fluidly couples with an inner chamber of the reactor 20. In addition, the inlet 21 and outlet 22 of the reactor 20 may be arranged to extend through walls of the heat exchanging chamber 50, while the inner 51 and outlet 52 of the chamber 50 does not penetrate the reactor 20. Accordingly, any substance flowing into the reactor 20 must be discharged out of the reactor 20 without getting into and/or passing through such an interior of the chamber 50. Similarly, any substance flowing into the heat exchanging chamber 50 must be discharged out of the chamber 50 without getting into and/or passing through the reactor 20. It is also appreciated in the embodiment of FIG. 3A that the inlets 21, 51 of the reactor 20 and chamber 50 are disposed in proximal ends thereof, whereas the outlets 22, 52 of the reactor 20 and chamber 50 are disposed in distal ends thereof. Accordingly, reactants and/or air may flow through such inlets 21, 51 and outlets 22, 52 along the same direction similar to conventional co-current heat exchangers. To the contrary and in the embodiment shown in FIG. 3B, the inlet 21 of the reactor 20 and outlet 52 of the chamber 50 are disposed in proximal ends thereof, while the outlet 22 of the reactor 20 and inlet 21 of the chamber 50 are disposed in distal ends thereof. Accordingly, reactants and/or air may flow through such inlets 21, 51 and outlets 22, 52 along opposite directions similar to conventional counter-current heat exchangers.

In operation, the reactor 20 is charged with the first reactant and releasably disposed inside the inner chamber of the reactor 20. A second gas or liquid reactant is fed to the reactor 20 through the inlet 21, reacts with the first reactant, and generates heat by the exothermic reaction. Such heat is then transferred to walls of the reactor 20 by conduction. At the same time, ambient air is supplied into the inner chamber of the heat exchanging chamber 50 through the inlet 51 and passes through a surface of the reactor 20. Due to temperature gradient, the reaction heat is transferred to the ambient air. Accordingly, the room-temperature ambient air is heated by the reactor 20 and converted into the heated air, and discharged out of the chamber 50 through the outlet 52 to the user, thereby generating a stream of heated air. When the first reactant 30 is consumed to a preset extent, the user accesses the inner chamber of the reactor 20 through the heat exchanging chamber 50, replace the consumed first reactant 30 with fresh first reactant, and closes the access through the reactor 20 and chamber 50, thereby generating the heat for an extended period of time.

FIG. 3C describes a schematic diagram of another exemplary hot air generator including a heat exchanging chamber enclosing therein another reactor charged with a first reactant according to the present invention. A hot air generator includes a heat exchanging chamber 50 and a reactor 20 both of which are generally similar to those of FIGS. 3A and 3B and, therefore, the hot air generator itself is similar to that of FIGS. 3A and 3B. However, an inlet 51 and an outlet 52 of such a heat exchanging chamber 50 are disposed normal or transverse to an inlet 21 and an outlet 22 of the reactor 20. Thus, reactants and ambient air may flow through such inlets 21, 51 and outlets 22, 52 at least substantially perpendicular to each other similar to conventional mixed-current heat exchangers.

In general, such co-current embodiment of FIG. 3C and counter-current embodiments of FIGS. 3A and 3B have their own pros and cons details of which are readily found in various references or texts regarding heat transfer mechanisms, whereas the mixed-current embodiment may supplement advantages of such opposite embodiments. Therefore, selection of a specific heat exchanging mode is generally a matter of choice of one skilled in the relevant art.

In another aspect of the present invention, a hot air generators may be provided for the above heating system, where such a generator may include at least one heat exchanging chamber in which various reactants may react each other, release the reaction heat by at least one exothermic reaction therebetween, and transfer such heat by thermal conduction to an air flowing over an exterior of one or more of such reactors. Following FIGS. 3D to 3F exemplify heat exchanging chambers defining different shapes and operating on different mechanisms, where such chambers may include any of such reactors described in conjunction with FIGS. 1A to 1L and 2A to 2L and where such reactors may include any of the above cartridges described in conjunction with FIGS. 2A to 2L. For simplicity of illustration, each exemplary hot air generator of FIGS. 3D to 3F uses a reactor releasably including a cartridge filled with the first reactant and including a single inlet and a single outlet. It is appreciated, however, that any other reactors may also be readily applied to any of following hot air generators.

FIGS. 3D to 3F represent schematic diagrams of exemplary hot air generators each of which includes a heat exchanging chamber which in turn encloses therein a cartridge charged with a first reactant, where such hot air generators are generally similar to those of FIGS. 3A to 3C, respectively. Accordingly, each hot air generator includes a reactor 20 and a heat exchanging chamber 50, where the former defines a reactor inner chamber and includes a single reactor inlet 21 and a single reactor outlet 22 both fluidly coupling with the reactor inner chamber, while the latter defines an exchanging inner chamber and includes a single exchanging inlet 51 and a single exchanging outlet 52. Therefore, the heat exchanging chamber 50 provides a path for the ambient air which is not fluidly connected to another path for various reactants provided by the reactor 20. In contrary to those of FIGS. 3A to 3C, however, each reactors 20 of the generators of FIGS. 3D to 3F releasably or fixedly retains therein a cartridge 40 which is charged with the first reactant and disposed in a preset location inside the inner chamber of the reactor 20. Therefore, by supplying a second reactant into the reactor 20 through the inlet 21, the first and second reactants react with each other in or near the cartridge 40 and releases the reaction heat which heats the reactor 20. The ambient air flowing in the heat exchanging chamber 50 picks up the heat and gets heated while flowing over an exterior wall of the reactor 20, whereby the hot air generator generates a stream of heated or hot air and delivers such to the user. Further configurational and/or operational characteristics of the hot air generators of FIGS. 3D to 3F are similar or identical to those of FIGS. 1A to 1L, FIGS. 2A to 2L, and FIGS. 3A to 3C.

Configurational and/or operational variations and/or modifications of the above embodiments of the exemplary heating systems and various generators, reactors, and/or chambers thereof described in FIGS. 1A through 3F also fall within the scope of this invention.

First of all and as depicted in various figures, the above reactors are arranged to have various shapes and sizes, where selection of the shapes and/or sizes of the reactors generally depends on various factors such as, e.g., a shape and/or a size of the target, a location of the user, an amount of the first and/or second reactants to be contained therein, types of heat delivering mechanism such as providing the reaction heat to the user by thermal conduction or forced convection, and the like. Such reactors are further constructed as conventional mixed reactors, conventional plug flow reactors or their hybrids, where selection of the reactor type primarily depends on various factors such as, e.g., reaction kinetics of the exothermic reaction between the reactants, flow rates of such reactants, and the like, where details of design criteria of such reactors are readily available in various textbooks and references of chemical reaction engineering.

It is appreciated, however, that such heating systems of the present invention are preferably constructed in portable configurations. Accordingly, the systems are preferably made to be compact and light so that the user may carry various articles incorporating such heating systems without any additional physical burden and without being bothered in his or her ordinary activities. For example, the heating system, its reactor, and/or its heat exchanging chamber preferably defines a length and/or a width which is less than about 30 cm (centimeters), 25 cm, 20 cm, 17.5 cm, 15.0 cm, 12.5 cm, 10.0 cm, 7.5 cm, 5.0 cm, 3.0 cm, and so on. The heating system, reactor, and/or heat exchanging chamber may alternatively have a thickness which may be less than about 15 cm, 12.5 cm, 10 cm, 8 cm, 7 cm, 6 cm, 5 cm, 4 cm, 3 cm, 2 cm, 1 cm, and the like. The heating system, reactor, and/or heat exchanging chamber may further have a weight which may be less than about 2,000 g (grams), 1,500 g, 1,000 g, 750 g, 500 g, 400 g, 300 g, 200 g, 100 g, 50 g, and the like.

Various reactors of the heating systems are also preferably arranged to minimize formation of dead spaces in which the chemical reaction may not occur or, alternatively, may occur only minimally due to poor supply of the second reactant caused by channeling of the second reactant through the reactor. To this end, various techniques commonly employed in designing various chemical reactors may be adopted to minimize such channeling, where examples of such techniques may include, but not be limited to, incorporating the inlet and outlet of such a reactor generally on opposite sides of the reactor, contouring the reactor not to form stagnant regions, and so on. When desirable, conventional residence time distribution analysis may be applied to analyze performance of such a reactor. Further details of those techniques for minimizing formation of dead spaces and channeling and details of the residence time analysis may also be found in various textbooks and references in chemical reaction engineering.

Various reactors of the heating systems of this invention may also be arranged to be made of and/or include at least one rigid material so as to hold a preset shape and/or size. When desirable, the reactors may be made of and/or include at least one elastic and/or deformable material so that at least portions of such reactors may also change their shapes and/or sizes in response to external forces and/or that such reactors may be bent to fit into and/or to contact as much a portion of the target or user. As discussed above, the elastic or deformable reactor may also include one or more supports in order to dispose the first reactant and/or cartridge in a preset geometric relation with respect to the walls of the reactor. As also disclosed above, the heating system may include various suppliers for transporting the reactants and/or ambient air into and out of various parts thereof. In this respect, the deformable or elastic reactor may also be used as the supplier for transporting the reactants thereinto or discharging such therefrom.

Similar to such reactors, the foregoing heat exchanging chambers may similarly be arranged to have various shapes and/or sizes. Selection of the shapes and/or sizes of such a chamber generally depends upon various factors such as, e.g., a shape and/or size of the target or user, a shape and/or size of the reactor, an amount of such heat to be delivered to the target, a flow rate of the ambient air, a rate of heat generation, types of heat exchanging mechanism such as providing the heat by thermal conduction and/or forced convection, and the like. Such a chamber may further be constructed as a conventional co-current, counter-current or mixed current heat exchanger with respect to the reactor, primarily depending upon reaction kinetics of the exothermic chemical reaction and a range of heating temperature inside and/or outside the reactor. Details of such heat exchangers and design criteria of such heat exchanging chambers may also be found in various textbooks and references of chemical reaction engineering, heat transfer, and the like.

The heat exchanging chamber is preferably constructed to minimize formation of a dead space in which the heat transfer may not occur or may only occur in a minimum extent due to the channeling of air therein or therethrough. Various conventional techniques employed in designing various heat exchanger may also be used to minimize such channeling, where examples of such techniques may include, but not be limited to, disposing the inlet and outlet of the chamber generally on opposite sides thereof, contouring the chamber not to form stagnant regions, and so on. More details of channeling suppressing techniques may also be found in various textbooks and references in heat transfer and transport phenomena.

The heat exchanging chamber may be arranged to be made of and/or include at least one rigid material to hold a preset shape and/or size. When desirable, the chamber may also be made of and/or include at least one elastic and/or deformable material so that at least a portion of the chamber may be able to change its shape and/or size in response to external forces and/or that the chamber may also be bent to fit into and/or to contact as much a portion of the target. Similar to those reactors, a elastic or deformable chamber may further include one or more supports in order to dispose the reactor and various inlets and/or outlets in preset geometric relations with respect to the walls of the reactor. As disclosed above, such a heating system may include various suppliers for transporting the reactants and ambient air into and out of various parts thereof. In this respect, such deformable or elastic heat exchanging chambers may further be used as the supplier for transporting the reactants thereinto or discharging such therefrom.

As described herein, the first reactant may be contained inside the reactor and fill an entire or at least a substantial portion thereof. Alternatively, the first reactant may also be arranged to fill only a portion of the reactor, e.g., its proximal section, distal section or center section or multiple sections. In such an embodiment, the reactor may define one or more channels or voids between such sections through which the reactants and/or air may flow. Such channels may extend along a longitudinal axis of the reactor, in a direction perpendicular to such an axis, angularly with respect to the axis, and the like. The first reactant may be directly filled inside the reactor and, therefore, directly touch the walls of the reactor in order to increase an efficiency of heat transfer by conduction. In the alternative, the first reactant may be filed into a container which is disposed over the walls of the reactor. In such an embodiment, the first reactant may not be able to directly touch such walls of the reactor. In addition, the reactor may define one or more partitions so that the first reactant is only disposed in the partitions but not in the rest of the reactor. When the reactor is to retain multiple first reactants, each reactant may be disposed in a separate section, void, and/or partition. In the alternative, multiple first reactants may be disposed inside the reactor as a mixture, as long as such a mixture does not start the reaction spontaneously. The reactor may preferably include a movable cover through which a consumed first reactant may be replaced by a fresh first reactant.

In general, such a reactor may contain a single reactant therein, although it is also possible that the reactor may contain multiple first reactants each participating in the chemical reaction. In the latter embodiment, the reactor may include therein a mixture of multiple first reactants into which the second reactant is supplied to initiate the reaction. When desirable, the reactor may contain a mixture of such a first reactant and an inert support material which may not participate in the reaction but contribute to the reaction indirectly, e.g., by providing diffusion path to the second reactant, suppressing formation of aggregates due to reaction which may degrade diffusion and mixing of the reactants, and the like.

Alternatively, the first reactant may be contained in a cartridge which may be disposed inside the reactor. As described herein, such a cartridge is preferably arranged to be releasably disposed into the reactor such that the user may replace the used cartridge with the new one. In general, such a cartridge may be made of and/or include at least one porous and/or permeable material or structure in order to allow the second reactant to permeate into the cartridge and to react with the first reactant contained therein. The cartridge may also be made of and/or include at least one rigid material so that the cartridge may hold a preset shape and size inside the reactor. When desirable, such a cartridge may also be made of and/or include at least one elastic or deformable material or structure so that at least a portion of the cartridge may change its shape and/or size in response to external force. Such an embodiment may be useful when the reactor itself is arranged to change its shape and/or size in response to such external force. The cartridge is generally arranged to include a single first reactant, although it is also possible that the cartridge may contain a mixture of multiple first reactants, that such a cartridge may have each of multiple first reactants in each segregated regions thereof, and that the cartridge may also contain the same or different first reactants in different concentrations in different regions thereof. Depending on the reaction stoichiometry, the reactor may include multiple cartridges which may be releasably incorporated into different parts of the reactor and include therein different first reactants. Alternatively, the reactor may instead include multiple identical cartridges in such an arrangement that the first reactant contained in each cartridge is to react with the second reactant in a sequential manner. The latter arrangement allows the user to obtain the reaction heat for a longer period of time without having to replace the consumed cartridge. Regardless of the actual number of cartridges used therein, such a reactor forms multiple sections segregated by the cartridges. In such an embodiment, the identical or different second reactants may also be supplied to at least two of the sections.

In another alternative, the reactor may be arranged to define an empty inner chamber without including therein any reactant at all. In this embodiment, both of the first and second reactants may be stored away from the reactor and supplied into the reactor only when they are required to react each other and to generate the reaction heat. As will be described in detail below, such first and/or second reactants may be stored in different storages, may instead be stored in different partitions or regions of a single storage, and the like. Similarly, such first and second reactants may also be supplied to the reactor by different suppliers, by a common supplier, and the like.

The ambient air may also be supplied to the reactor when the water or moist contained therein serves as the second reactor and/or when the air serves as the heating medium to be heated by the reaction heat and supplied to the user. In either embodiment, such a reactor may have a separate air inlet or, in the alternative, may use the reactant inlet as the air inlet as well (or vice versa). In another alternative, the ambient air may be supplied to the exterior walls of the reactor when such air is to be heated by the reaction heat and then supplied to the user. In this embodiment, a separate air inlet may be incorporated outside the reactor.

In general, such a reactor may contain a single reactant therein, although it is also possible that the reactor may contain multiple first reactants each participating in the chemical reaction. In the latter embodiment, the reactor may include therein a mixture of multiple first reactants into which the second reactant is supplied to initiate the reaction. When desirable, the reactor may contain a mixture of such a first reactant and an inert support material which may not participate in the reaction but contribute to the reaction indirectly, e.g., by providing diffusion path to the second reactant, suppressing formation of aggregates due to reaction which may degrade diffusion and mixing of the reactants, and the like.

Similar to the first reactant, a single second reactant may be supplied to the reactor for such a reaction or, alternatively, multiple second reactants may be supplied thereto separately or as a mixture thereof. Such a second reactant may also be a mixture with at least one inert support.

The reactor may include multiple reactor inlets, and at least one of multiple first and/or second reactants may be supplied into the reactor. When desirable, at least two of multiple reactor inlets may supply the same first reactant to different regions of the reactor or, alternatively, may supply different first reactants to the same or different regions inside the reactor. When the reactor defines multiple sections by the first reactant segregated therein and/or by at least one cartridge, the identical second reactant or different second reactants may be supplied to different sections thereof. Similarly, such a reactor may include multiple reactor outlets which may be fluidly connected to the user or exhaust so as to discharge the air, reaction products, and/or excess second reactant thereto. The reactor outlet may also be arranged to recirculate at least a portion of the reaction product and/or air to the air inlet or the reactant inlet, to the heat exchanging chamber, and so on. This embodiment may prove useful in increasing energy efficiency of the reactor and/or heat exchanging chamber.

The reactor may include at least one catalyst which may catalyze the exothermic reaction and increase the conversion of the reactants into the products and/or an overall efficiency of the reactor. Such a catalyst may be mixed with the first and/or second reactants. In the alternatively, the catalyst may be separately provided in a segregated region of the reactor and/or as a cartridge which may be releasably or fixedly disposed into the reactor. Selecting a proper catalyst may typically depend upon the first and second reactants and the exothermic chemical reaction therebetween and is generally a matter of choice of one of ordinary skill in the art.

Various heating systems of the present invention preferably incorporates at least one supplier which is capable of supplying the ambient air, heated air, water, first reactant, and/or second reactant into and/or out of the reactor and/or heat exchanging chamber. Any conventional mass and/or volume transporting devices may then be employed to transport such air, water, and/or reactants into and out of the reactor and/or chamber. It is appreciated herein that the heating systems of this invention is to be provided in portable configurations and, therefore, that such air, water, and/or reactant suppliers preferably work without relying on electric energy. For example, various mechanical pumps defining deformable configurations may be employed to pump such gaseous or liquid reactants into and out of various positions of the heating system, where such pumps may be arranged to transport the ambient air, water, and/or reactants by developing positive (or negative) pressure gradient with respect to the reactor, heat exchanging chamber, and the like.

In general, the heating systems may include as many suppliers as a total number of reactants required for the exothermic chemical reaction. Unless otherwise specified, a specific supplier which is employed for supplying one of the air, water, and reactants into the reactor and/or heat exchanging chamber may also be used for discharging such air, water or reactants out of the reactor and/or heat exchanging chamber. When such heating systems adopt the convective heat transfer, they may also require at least one additional supplier for transporting the ambient into and out of the heat exchanging chamber. It is, however, almost always feasible to greatly reduce the total number of such gas, fluid or solid suppliers. For example, at least one first reactant may be incorporated into the reactor (or its cartridge), thereby obviating a need to transport the first reactant into the reactor. In addition, a single supplier may be employed to move two or more of such ambient air, water, first reactant, and second reactant when such may be in the same state. Accordingly, a common supplier may transport the air and at least one gaseous reactant into the reactor, move the water and at least one liquid reactant to the reactor, and so on.

It is appreciated that various suppliers may be constructed to convert ordinary or normal body movements of at least one body part of the user into such driving forces for transporting the ambient air, water, and/or reactants, where examples of such body parts may include, but not be limited to, a finger, a hand, a wrist, a lower or upper arm, an elbow, a toe, a foot, an ankle, a lower or upper leg, a knee, and the like. Details of such actuator-type suppliers have been provided in a co-pending Utility Patent Application entitled “Ventilating Gloves and Methods,” which was filed on Oct. 27, 2004 by the same applicant, which bears the Serial Number of U.S. Ser. No. 10/974,035, and which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

Various heating systems of this invention may include at least one storage capable of storing air, water, first reactant, and/or second reactant therein. In general, such a storage is spaced away from the reactor, although disposition of the storage inside the reactor may also be feasible as long as the storage is fluidly arranged to prevent undesirable contact between a substance stored in such a storage with another substance which is disposed inside the reactor but outside the storage. When such a system includes the storage external to the reactor, the heating system may have to include at least one supply unit capable of transporting such air, water, first reactant, and/or second reactant to and/or out of the storage, reactor, and/or heat exchanging chamber through various inlets and outlets defined in various locations of the system. Similar to the reactor, the storage may also be arranged to fixedly or releasably retain such air, water, and/or reactants. In addition, the storage may releasably retain at least one cartridge which is similarly filled with water and/or reactants, where the consumed cartridge may later be replaced by a fresh cartridge.

The system may include at least one filter which may remove solid or vapor substances from a stream of air or liquid flowing therethrough by filtration, absorption, and/or adsorption. In one example, a mesh or screen type filter may be incorporated into the inlet and/or outlet of the reactor and/or heat exchanging chamber and remove particles and/or particulates from the stream of air, reactant, and/or product. In another example, various adsorbents may be filled into the cartridge which is incorporated into the inlet and/or outlet of the reactor and/or chamber and remove certain substances by chemical adsorption. In yet another example, the cartridge may include a hydrating or dehydrating substance therein in order to add or to remove water or moist from the air, reactant, and/or product, respectively. It is appreciated that various dividers of the reactor may also serve as the filter.

Such a system may also include at least one insulator capable of insulating conduction of heat therethrough. The insulator may be disposed at a preset location in the interior and/or exterior of the reactor and/or heat exchanging chamber in order to minimize heat conduction along such a direction. Any conventional insulating materials may be incorporated into such an insulator. Accordingly and in one example, the insulator may be disposed on at least one surface of the reactor through which the conductive heat transport is not intended. In another example, the insulator may be disposed around the heat exchanging chamber when the system is primarily intended to supply the heat by the stream of the heated or hot air. Conversely, the system may also include at least one thermal conductor for promoting the thermal conduction therethrough. Therefore and in one example, the conductor may be placed on at least one surface of the reactor through which the conductive heat transfer is desired. In another example, the conductor may be disposed around the reactor which is disposed inside the heat exchanging chamber so as to improve the conductive heat transfer from the reactor to the air in such a chamber. Various conventional techniques may also be adopted to increase the conductive heat transfer between the reactor and heat exchanging chamber, where examples of the techniques may include, not be limited to, increasing the surface area of the reactor, corrugating the surface of the reactor, installing fins on the reactor, and the like.

It is appreciated that the reactants may be shaped and/or sized to facilitate and/or maximize the extent of the exothermic chemical reaction, for immature termination of such a reaction results in a waste of potential heat-generating capability of the system. In particular, the solid reactant such as the first reactant is preferably shaped to ensure proper diffusion of the second reactant therein or therethrough. To this end, the solid first reactant is arranged to define macropores and/or micropores through which the second reactant may freely diffuse and react with the unconverted first reactant, thereby maximizing the reaction conversion and yield. Accordingly, such a solid first reactant may be shaped as a porous particle, a pellet, an annular pellet, and the like.

As described hereinabove, the system includes a variety of paths each of which is designed to transport the ambient air, water, first reactant, and/or second reactant therethrough. Similar to the case of various suppliers, at least one of such paths may be used for at least two of such air, water, first reactant, and second reactant in order to reduce a total number and/or a total length of the paths. One example is a single inlet to the reactor and heat exchanging chamber when the water contained in the ambient air is not only used as the second reactant but also employed as the heating medium of the convective heat transfer. Conversely, multiple paths may also be defined to and/or out of a single portion of the heating system, where this embodiment offers the benefit of supplying the user with the reaction heat in different amounts or in different flow rates, at the cost of additional paths. Various conventional flow valves may also be incorporated into various locations of the paths for controlling a flow rate of the air, water, and/or reactants flowing therein.

The system may also be arranged to provide the user with various means to control an extent and/or rate of the chemical reaction, thereby allowing the user to control an amount of heat generated by the system and/or a rate thereof. It is generally preferred that such control may be accomplished by controlling an amount of the second reactant and/or air supplied to the reactor. To this end, such a system may include various valves along the air inlet and/or reactant inlet with which the user may be able to control the amount and/or rate of the second reactant and/or air supplied to the reactor. In the alternative, such a system may also include various valves along the inlets and/or outlets of the heat exchanging chamber in order to adjust the amount and/or rate of air supplied to and//or dispensed out of such a chamber. The system may also include at least one bypass which is arranged to bypass the reactor so that the user may, e.g., continue to deliver the ambient air to himself or herself without heating such air.

In another aspect of the present invention, various heating systems may also be provided for heating ambient air by reaction heat released from at least one exothermic chemical reaction between various reactants and delivering such heated air to the user.

FIG. 4A is a schematic diagram of an exemplary heating system including a reactor and an air supplier according to the present invention. An exemplary system 10 includes a reactor 20 and an air supplier 60, where the former 20 is fluidly coupled to the latter through an inlet 21. More specifically, the reactor 20 includes a body 26 with two chambers 28A, 28B which are in fluid communication with each other and which include individual covers 27 each of which covers and uncovers the chambers 28A, 28B. A cartridge 40 charged with the first reactant is releasably disposed into the first chamber 28A of the body 26, whereas another cartridge which has been exemplified hereinabove may also be releasably incorporated into the second chamber 28B. The body 26 has three outlets 22 on its distal end which is disposed opposite to a proximal end in which the inlet 21 is disposed. The air supplier 60 is generally shapes as a conventional bellow which forms a top 61, a bottom 62, and multiple bellows 63 on its side. The air supplier 60 also defines an intake 64 which is to be in fluid communication with the atmosphere and then fluidly couples to the inlet 21 of the reactor 20 on its opposite end.

In operation, the user prepares the cartridge 40 which is charged with the first reactant. The user then opens the cover 27 of the first chamber 28A, releasably loads the cartridge 40 therein, and closes the cover 27. When desirable, the user may open the other cover 27 and releasably disposes another cartridge into the other chamber 28B as well. The inlet 21 of the reactor 20 is fluidly coupled to the air supplier 60. As the user pushes or presses the top 61 of the air supplier 60, the bellows 63 are deformed in response to the force applied thereto by the user. By incorporating various one-way valves (not included in the figure), such air trapped in the air supplier 60 begins to be pumped out and delivered to the reactor 20 through the inlet 21. As the air is delivered into the first chamber 28A, the water or moist contained in the air begins to react with the first reactant contained in the cartridge 40 and to release the reaction heat by the exothermic chemical reaction between the first reactant and water or moist of the air. As the reaction proceeds, temperature inside the reactor 20 increases, and the air is also heated. The pressure gradient across the reactor 20 then pushes the heated or hot air out of the first chamber 28A to the second chamber 28B, Such heated air may be filtered, hydrated or dehydrated by another cartridge disposed in the second chamber 28B and may be discharged out of the reactor 20 through the outlets 22. As the user ceases to presses the top 61 of the air supplier 60, the elastic bellows 63 gradually return to their unstressed state while increasing the volume of the air supplier and lowering the pressure thereinside. The one-way valve then allows fresh ambient air to seep into an interior of the air supplier 60 through its intake 64, thereby getting ready for a next round of compression.

In another aspect of the present invention, various heating systems may be incorporated into a conventional shoe to heat ambient air by a reaction heat released from at least one chemical reaction between various reactants and to supply the heated air into an interior of the shoe, thereby keeping a foot of an user warm. It is appreciated that a target in this aspect of the invention corresponds to an interior of such a shoe or a foot of the user.

FIG. 4B is a schematic diagram of an exemplary shoe incorporated with the heating system of FIG. 4A according to the present invention. A shoe defines an opening and an interior for receiving a foot of an user through the opening and to retain the portion of the foot inside such an interior. Such a shoe also incorporates a heating system so that a reactor 20 is disposed in an upper part thereof and that an air supplier 60 is disposed in a heel thereof. More particularly, such an air supplier 60 includes an intake 64 which is provided on a rear of the shoe and a bellow-type pump hidden inside the heel of the shoe. An inlet 21 then extends between the air supplier 60 and reactor 20 in order to provide fluid communication therebetween. The reactor 20 includes the first reactant or a cartridge charged with the first reactant and defines multiple outlets 22 extending to various locations of the interior of such a shoe. It is appreciated that the bellow-type pump of the air supplier 60 may be arranged to serve as an actuator which converts movement of the shoe into driving forces of supplying air to the reactor.

In operation, the reactor 20 and air supplier 60 are incorporated to the shoe and fluidly coupled to each other. The first reactant or cartridge charged therewith is releasably loaded into the reactor 20. As the user begins to walk or run, an actuator of the system is actuated (or bellows of the pump are pushed or compressed) in response to the external force applied thereonto by the user and also increases air pressure therein. By incorporating various one-way valves (not included in the figure), air may be pumped out from the bellows and delivered to the reactor 20 through the inlet 21. Such air is then delivered to the reactor 20, where the water or moist contained in such air reacts with the first reactant contained in the cartridge 40, while generating heat by the exothermic reaction between the first reactant and water or moist of the air. As the reaction proceeds, temperature inside the reactor 20 increases, and the air is also heated. The pressure gradient across the reactor 20 pushes such heated or hot air out of the reactor 20 through the outlets 22 and to the interior of such a shoe which corresponds to the target. When the user stops to walk or to run, the actuator (or elastic bellows) gradually return to their unstressed state while increasing an internal volume of the air supplier 60 and lowering pressure therein. The one-way valves allows the ambient air to be sucked into the interior of the air supplier 60 through its intake 64, thereby getting ready for a next round of compression.

Various actuators may be constructed for converting ordinary and/or normal movements of at least one bodily part of an user into such driving forces. More details of such actuators may be found in a co-pending Utility Patent Application entitled “Ventilating Gloves and Methods,” which was filed on Oct. 27, 2004 by the same applicant, which bears the Serial Number of U.S. Ser. No. 10/974,035, and which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

In another aspect of the present invention, various heating systems may be incorporated into a conventional glove to heat ambient air by a reaction heat released from at least one chemical reaction between various reactants and to supply the heated air into an interior of the glove, thereby keeping a hand of an user warm. It is appreciated that a target in this aspect of the invention corresponds to an interior of such a glove or a hand of the user.

FIG. 4C is a schematic diagram of an exemplary glove incorporated with the hot air generating system of FIG. 4A according to the present invention. Such a glove defines an opening and an interior for receiving a hand of an user through the opening and retain the portion of the hand inside such an interior. The glove also incorporates a heating system such that a reactor 20 is disposed in an upper part thereof and that an air supplier 60 is disposed in its proximal part. In particular, the air supplier 60 includes an intake 64 provided on a top of the glove and a ball or bulb-type pump hidden inside the top of the glove. An inlet 21 extends between the air supplier 60 and the reactor 20 so as to provide fluid communication therebetween. The reactor 20 also includes the first reactant or a cartridge charged therewith and defines multiple outlets 22 extending to various locations of the interior of such a shoe. It is appreciated that the ball or bulb-type pump of the air supplier 60 may also be arranged to serve as an actuator which converts movement of the glove into driving forces of supplying air to the reactor.

In operation, the reactor 20 and air supplier 60 are incorporated to the glove and fluidly coupled to each other, and the first reactant or cartridge charged therewith is loaded into the reactor. As the user begins to fold, stretch, twist or release his or her finger and/or wrist, an actuator is actuated (or bellows of the pump are pushed or compressed) in response to the force applied thereto by the user and also increases air pressure therein. By incorporating various one-way valves (not shown in the figure), air may be pumped out from such bellows and delivered to the reactor 20 through the inlet 21. Such air is delivered to the reactor 20, where the water or moist contained in such air reacts with the first reactant contained in the cartridge 40, while generating heat by the exothermic chemical reaction between the first reactant and water or moist of the air. As the reaction proceeds, temperature inside the reactor 20 increases, and the air is heated. The pressure gradient across the reactor 20 pushes the heated or hot air out of the reactor 20 through the outlets 22 and to the interior of the glove which corresponds to the target. As the user stops make such movement, the actuator (or elastic bellows) gradually return to their unstressed state while increasing the volume of the air supplier and lowering pressure therein. The one-way valves allows the ambient air to be sucked into the interior of the air supplier 60 through its intake 64, thereby getting ready for a next round of compression.

Configurational and/or operational variations and/or modifications of the above embodiments of the exemplary systems and various modules thereof described in FIGS. 1A through 4C also fall within the scope of this invention.

The heating system may also incorporate one of the above heat exchanging chambers so that the ambient air is supplied into and out of the heat exchanging chamber while being heated by the heat from the chemical reaction. In this embodiment, the second reactants other than such water or moist may be used. The foregoing hot air generating heating system may be modified into one of the above heating systems in order to transfer heat by conduction.

The above systems, methods, and/or processes of the present invention may be applied to or utilized for other purposes as well. For example, the heating systems may be incorporated into cloths or suits including space suits and diving suits so that movement of at least one body part may cause various reactants of the systems to be mixed with each other, to begin to react, and then to release the reaction heat, thereby delivering the heated or hot air to the user by the forced convention and/or transferring such heat itself to the user.

It is to be understood that, while various aspects and embodiments of the present invention have been described in conjunction with the detailed description thereof, the foregoing description is intended to illustrate and not to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the scope of the appended claims. Other embodiments, aspects, advantages, and modifications are within the scope of the following claims.