Title:
SEALING SYSTEM FOR A HEAT EXCHANGER ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sealing system for sealing a heat exchanger assembly to an HVAC module. A plurality of male connecting members is disposed on one of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger and the interior surface of the channel of the HVAC module. A plurality of female connecting members is disposed on the other of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger and the interior surface of the channel of the HVAC module. The male connecting members engage the female connecting members to support the heat exchanger and to seal the heat exchanger to the HVAC module to restrict the flow of air from circumventing the heat exchanger. The male and female connecting members are tuned to give the heat exchanger a natural frequency in the range of 20 and 100 Hz for dampening vibrations between the heat exchanger and the HVAC module.



Inventors:
Coyle, Brian J. (Orchard Park, NY, US)
Leitch, Frank J. (North Tonawanda, NY, US)
Lipa, Scott B. (Snyder, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/261074
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
10/30/2008
Assignee:
DELPHI TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (Troy, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F28F9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SOULE, IAN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Aptiv Technologies Limited (Troy, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sealing system for a heat exchanger assembly in an HVAC module comprising: an HVAC module having an interior surface defining a channel for air to flow therethrough; a heat exchanger having an outer periphery disposed in said channel of said HVAC module; one of said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module defining a connector extending toward the other of said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module for supporting said heat exchanger in said channel of said HVAC module and for sealing said heat exchanger to said channel of said HVAC module to restrict the flow of air from circumventing said heat exchanger; and said connector being tuned to give said heat exchanger a natural frequency in the range of 20 and 100 Hz for dampening vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

2. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein at least one of said male and female connecting members defines a lip for catching a condensate from said heat exchanger.

3. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said connector is tuned to give said heat exchanger a natural frequency in the range of 45 and 70 Hz for dampening vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

4. The assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein said connector is tuned to give said heat exchanger a natural frequency in the range of 65 and 70 Hz for dampening vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

5. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said connector is of a resilient material.

6. The assembly as set forth in claim 5 wherein said resilient material of said connector is rubber.

7. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said connector includes a male connecting member disposed on one of the outer periphery of said heat exchanger.

8. The assembly as set forth in claim 7 wherein said connector includes a female connecting member disposed on the other of said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said channel of said HVAC module and engaging said male connecting member for supporting said heat exchanger in said channel of said HVAC module.

9. The assembly as set forth in claim 8 further comprising a plurality of male connecting members.

10. The assembly as set forth in claim 9 further comprising a plurality of female connecting members.

11. The assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein the one of said male and female connecting members disposed on said heat exchanger extends along the entirety of said outer periphery for sealing said heat exchanger to said channel of said HVAC module to restrict the flow of air from circumventing said heat exchanger.

12. The assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein each of said male connecting members is disposed on said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and each of said female connecting members is disposed on said interior surface of said HVAC module.

13. The assembly as set forth in claim 12 wherein each of said female connecting members includes an isolating member being of a resilient material for receiving and damping vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

14. The assembly as set forth in claim 13 wherein said isolating member has a tubular shape.

15. The assembly as set forth in claim 14 wherein each of said female connecting members further includes a pair of fingers extending outwardly from said isolating member in spaced and parallel relationship to one another to present a groove therebetween.

16. The assembly as set forth in claim 15 wherein each of said male connecting members is a flange extending outwardly from said outer periphery of said heat exchanger to engage said groove of one of said female connecting members.

17. The assembly as set forth in claim 12 wherein each of said female connecting members is a hinge presenting two legs rotatably connected by a pivot point with one of said legs engaging said interior surface of said HVAC module.

18. The assembly as set forth in claim 17 wherein each of said hinges includes an isolating web extending between said legs for dampening vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

19. The assembly as set forth in claim 18 wherein one of said legs presents a pair of fingers extending in spaced and parallel relationship to present a groove therebetween.

20. The assembly as set forth in claim 19 wherein each of said male connecting members is a flange extending outwardly from said outer periphery of said heat exchanger to engage said groove of said female connecting member.

21. The assembly as set forth in claim 12 wherein each of said female connecting members is a flexible seal member being of a resilient material and extending to a distal end from said interior surface of said HVAC module toward said heat exchanger.

22. The assembly as set forth in claim 21 wherein each of said flexible seal members defines a pair of fingers extending outwardly from said distal end in spaced and parallel relationship to one another to define a groove therebetween.

23. The assembly as set forth in claim 22 wherein each of said male connecting members is a flange extending outwardly from said outer periphery of said heat exchanger to engage said groove of said flexible seal member of said female connecting member.

24. The assembly as set forth in claim 23 further including a plurality of seals extending from said fingers of each of said female connecting members into said groove to engage said flange of said male connecting member.

25. The assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein each of said male connecting members is a flange disposed on said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module and extends toward said heat exchanger and said outer periphery of said heat exchanger presents a groove to define said female connecting member for engaging said flange.

26. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said inner periphery of said interior surface of said HVAC module has a rectangular shape.

27. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said heat exchanger includes a first manifold and a second manifold extending in spaced and parallel relationship to one another.

28. The assembly as set forth in claim 27 wherein each of said first and second manifolds defines an outer manifold surface with said outer manifold surfaces facing opposite to one another to define said heat exchanger height being the distance between said outer manifold surfaces.

29. The assembly as set forth in claim 27 wherein each of said first and second manifolds defines an inner manifold surface with said inner manifold surfaces facing towards one another.

30. The assembly as set forth in claim 29 wherein said heat exchanger further includes a plurality of tubes extending in spaced and parallel relationship to one another transversely between said inner manifold surfaces of said first and second manifolds for establishing fluid communication between said first and second manifolds.

31. The assembly as set forth in claim 30 wherein each of said tubes has a cross-section presenting flat sides interconnected by a round front and a round back.

32. The assembly as set forth in claim 31 wherein said plurality of tubes includes a first tube disposed on one side of said heat exchanger and having a first outer tube surface and a last tube disposed on the other side of said heat exchanger and having a last outer tube surface.

33. The assembly as set forth in claim 30 further including a plurality of air fins disposed between adjacent ones of said tubes for transferring heat from said tubes to the flow of air.

34. The assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said channel of said HVAC module has a module width and a module height.

35. The assembly as set forth in claim 34 wherein said outer periphery of said heat exchanger has a heat exchanger width being less than said module width and a heat exchanger height being less than said module height.

36. A sealing system for a heat exchanger assembly in an HVAC module comprising: an HVAC module including an interior surface having a rectangular periphery to define a channel for air to flow therethrough; said rectangular periphery having a module width and a module height; a heat exchanger disposed in said rectangular channel and having a first manifold and a second manifold extending in spaced and parallel relationship to one another; each of said first and second manifolds having a heat exchanger width being less than said module width; each of said first and second manifolds defining outer manifold surfaces facing opposite of one another and defining a heat exchanger height being the distance between said outer manifold surfaces and each of said first and second manifolds defining inner manifold surfaces facing towards each other; said heat exchanger height being less than said module height; a plurality of tubes extending in spaced and parallel relationship to one another transversely between said inner manifold surfaces of said first and second manifolds of said heat exchanger for establishing fluid communication between said first and second manifolds; each of said tubes having a cross-section presenting flat sides interconnected by a round front and a round back; said plurality of tubes including a first tube disposed on one side of said heat exchanger and having a first outer tube surface and a last tube disposed on the other side of said heat exchanger and having a last outer tube surface; said opposing outer manifold surfaces of said first and second manifolds and said first and last outer tube surfaces of said heat exchanger defining an outer periphery having a rectangular shape to complement said rectangular shape of said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module; a plurality of air fins disposed between adjacent tubes for transferring heat from said tubes to the flow of air; one of said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module defining a plurality of male connecting members being of rubber and extending toward the other of said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module; the other of said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said channel of said HVAC module defining a plurality of female connecting members engaging said male connecting members for supporting said heat exchanger in said channel of said HVAC module and for sealing said heat exchanger to said channel of said HVAC module to restrict the flow of air from circumventing said heat exchanger; and said male and female connecting members being tuned to give said heat exchanger a natural frequency in the range of 45 and 70 Hz for dampening vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

37. The assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein said male connecting members are disposed on said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said female connecting members are disposed on said interior surface of said HVAC module; each of said female connecting members includes an isolating member having a tubular shape and is of a resilient material for receiving and damping vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module; each of said female connecting members further includes a pair of fingers extending outwardly from said tubular isolating member in spaced and parallel relationship to one another to present a groove therebetween; and each of said male connecting members is a flange extending outwardly from said outer periphery of said heat exchanger to engage said groove of said female connecting member.

38. The assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein said male connecting members are disposed on said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said female connecting members are disposed on said interior surface of said HVAC module; each of said female connecting members is a hinge being of a polypropylene and presenting two legs rotatably connected at a pivot point with one of said legs engaging said interior surface of said HVAC module and the other of said legs presenting a pair of fingers extending in spaced and parallel relationship to present a groove therebetween; each of said male connecting members is a flange extending outwardly from said outer periphery of said heat exchanger to engage said groove of said female connecting member; and each of said female connecting members includes an isolating rubber web extending between said legs of said hinge for dampening vibrations between said heat exchanger and said HVAC module.

39. The assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein each of said male connecting members is a flange disposed on said interior surface of said channel of said HVAC module and extends toward said heat exchanger and said outer periphery of said heat exchanger presents a groove to define said female connecting member for engaging said flange.

40. The assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein said male connecting members are disposed on said outer periphery of said heat exchanger and said female connecting members are disposed on said interior surface of said HVAC module; each of said male connecting members is a flange extending outwardly from said outer periphery of said heat exchanger toward said interior surface of said HVAC module; each of said female connecting members is a flexible seal member being of a resilient material and extending outwardly to a distal end from said interior surface of said HVAC module toward said flange of said heat exchanger and presents a pair of fingers extending outwardly from said distal end in spaced and parallel relationship to one another and on either side of said flange of said heat exchanger; and a plurality of seals extending from said fingers of each of said female connecting members into said groove to engage said flange of said male connecting member.

41. The assembly as set forth in claim 36 wherein at least one of said male and female connecting members defines a lip for catching a condensate from said heat exchanger.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

A sealing system for sealing a heat exchanger assembly to an HVAC module.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Heat exchangers are used in automotive systems to either add heat to a flow of air to warm the cabin of a vehicle or to remove heat from the flow of air to cool the cabin. Generally, the heat exchanger is manufactured separately from the vehicle and inserted into the vehicle's HVAC module during the assembly process. The heat exchanger must then be sealed to the HVAC module to restrict air from circumventing the heat exchanger.

One sealing system is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,219,017, issued to Halstead et al. (hereinafter referred to as Halstead '017). The sealing system of the Halstead '017 patent includes an HVAC module having an interior surface to define a channel for air to flow therethrough. A heat exchanger having an outer periphery is disposed in the channel of the HVAC module. The outer periphery of the heat exchanger defines a connector for supporting the heat exchanger in the channel of the HVAC module to restrict the flow of air from circumventing the heat exchanger.

Although the Halstead '017 system restricts a portion of the flow of air from circumventing the heat exchanger, there is still a need to add additional seals to further restrict the flow of air after the heat exchanger is inserted into the HVAC module.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides for such a sealing system and wherein the connector is tuned to give the heat exchanger a natural frequency in the range of 20 Hz and 100 Hz for dampening vibrations between the heat exchanger and the HVAC module.

The invention provides for a system that is easier and cheaper to install in the HVAC module of a vehicle than the prior art systems because it locates, secures, locks and seals the heat exchanger to the HVAC module without any additional pieces or manufacturing steps. Further, it can be used with a wide variety of heat exchanger designs, preferably those that have continuously extruded manifolds. It is impervious to air, and decreases the amount of labor required to install the heat exchanger into the HVAC module because seals do not have to be added after the heat exchanger is inserted into the HVAC module to adequately restrict the flow of air from circumventing the heat exchanger. The system also is quieter than the prior art systems by dampening vibrations between the HVAC module and the heat exchanger by substantially reducing the chance that the heat exchanger reaches resonance while the vehicle is in operation. Lastly, it provides for a tighter package that can fit within the constraints on the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated, as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the subject invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the first embodiment of the subject invention;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the first embodiment of the subject invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of the subject invention;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a third embodiment of the subject invention;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional and exploded view of a fourth embodiment of the subject invention; and

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a fifth embodiment of the heat exchanger and the male connecting members.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the Figures, wherein like numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views, the invention is a sealing system for a heat exchanger 20 assembly in an HVAC module 22.

As shown in FIG. 3, the HVAC module 22, generally indicated, has an interior surface 24 with a rectangular periphery to define a channel for air to flow therethrough, and the rectangular periphery has a module width Wm and a module height Hm.

A heat exchanger 20, generally indicated, is disposed in the rectangular channel. The heat exchanger 20 has a first manifold 26 and a second manifold 28 extending in spaced and parallel relationship to one another, and each of the first and second manifolds 26, 28 has a heat exchanger width Whe. Each of the first and second manifolds 26, 28 defines an outer manifold surface 30 and an inner manifold surface 32. The outer manifold surfaces 30 face opposite of one another to define a heat exchanger height Hhe being the distance between the outer manifold surfaces 30. The inner manifold surfaces 32 face towards each other.

The heat exchanger width Whe is less than the module width Wm, and the heat exchanger height Hhe is less than the module height Hm for the heat exchanger 20 to fit into the channel of the HVAC module 22.

A plurality of tubes 34 extend in spaced and parallel relationship to one another transversely between the inner manifold surfaces 32 of the first and second manifolds 26, 28 of the heat exchanger 20 for establishing fluid communication between the first and second manifolds 26, 28. Each of the tubes 34 has a cross-section presenting flat sides interconnected by a round front and a round back. A plurality of air fins 35 are disposed between adjacent tubes 34 for transferring heat from the tubes 34 to the flow of air.

As best shown in FIG. 1, the plurality of tubes 34 includes a first tube 36 disposed on one side of the heat exchanger 20 and having a first outer tube surface 38 and a last tube 40 disposed on the other side of the heat exchanger 20 and having a last outer tube surface 42.

The opposing outer manifold surfaces 30 of the first and second manifolds 26, 28 and the first and last outer tube surfaces 38, 42 of the heat exchanger 20 combine to define an outer periphery having a rectangular shape to complement the rectangular shape of the interior surface 24 of the channel of the HVAC module 22.

One of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the interior surface 24 of the channel of the HVAC module 22 defines a connector 44, 46 extending toward the other of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the interior surface 24 of the channel of the HVAC module 22 for supporting the heat exchanger 20 in the channel of the HVAC module 22 and for sealing the heat exchanger 20 to the channel of the HVAC module 22 to restrict the flow of air from circumventing the heat exchanger 20. The connector 44, 46 is tuned to give the heat exchanger 20 a natural frequency of between 20 and 100 Hz for dampening vibrations between the heat exchanger 20 and the HVAC module 22. More preferably, the connector 44, 46 is tuned to give the heat exchanger 20 a natural frequency of between 45 and 70 Hz, and most preferably, the connector 44, 46 is tuned to give the heat exchanger 20 a natural frequency of between 65 and 70 Hz. The connector 44, 46 may be tuned in a number of ways, e.g. adjusting the material, size, and/or shape of the connector 44, 46. In the exemplary embodiments, the connector 44, 46 includes a plurality of male connecting members 44 and a plurality of female connecting members 46 engaging the male connecting members 44. However, the connector 44, 46 could be any other means of supporting the heat exchanger 20 in the HVAC module 22.

In the exemplary embodiments, the male connecting members 44 are disposed on one of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the interior surface 24 of the channel of the HVAC module 22 and extend toward the other of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the interior surface 24 of the channel of the HVAC module 22. The other of the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the channel of the HVAC module 22 defines a plurality of female connecting members 46, generally indicated, engaging the male connecting members 44 for supporting the heat exchanger 20 in the channel of the HVAC module 22 and for sealing the heat exchanger 20 to the channel of the HVAC module 22 to restrict the flow of air from circumventing the heat exchanger 20.

Preferably, one or both of the male and female connecting members 44, 46 is made of a resilient material, e.g. rubber. The material could be moldable and/or extrudable and is typically made of a polymer and an overmolded elastomer. The resilient material acts to seal 48 the heat exchanger 20 to the HVAC module 22 and to dampen vibrations between the heat exchanger 20 and the HVAC module 22 to protect the heat exchanger 20 and to reduce the noise and vibration transmission.

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a first embodiment of the subject invention. In the first embodiment, the male connecting members 44 are disposed on the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the female connecting members 46 are disposed on the interior surface 24 of the HVAC module 22. Each of the female connecting members 46 includes an isolating member 50 having a tubular shape. The isolating member 50 is preferably of rubber for receiving and damping vibrations between the heat exchanger 20 and the HVAC module 22. A pair of fingers 52 extending outwardly from the tubular isolating member 50 in spaced and parallel relationship to one another to present a groove 54 therebetween. Each of the male connecting members 44 disposed on the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 is a flange 56 extending outwardly from the heat exchanger 20 to engage the groove 54 of the female connecting member 46.

FIG. 4 shows a second embodiment of the invention. In the second embodiment, the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 presents a groove 54 to define the female connecting member 46. The male connecting member 44 is a flange 56 disposed on the interior surface 24 of the channel of the HVAC module 22. The flange 56 extends into and engages the groove 54 of the heat exchanger 20 to support the heat exchanger 20 in the HVAC module 22. Preferably, the flange 56 is of a resilient material to dampen vibrations between the heat exchanger 20 and the HVAC module 22.

FIG. 5 shows a third embodiment of the invention. Each of the female connecting members 46 of the third embodiment is a hinge 58 presenting two legs 60 rotatably connected at a pivot point 62. One of the legs 60 engages the interior surface 24 of the HVAC module 22 and the other of the legs 60 presents a pair of fingers 52 extending in spaced and parallel relationship to present a groove 54 therebetween. Each of the male connecting members 44 disposed on the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 is a flange 56 extending outwardly from the heat exchanger 20 to engage the groove 54 of one of the female connecting members 46. Each of the female connecting members 46 includes an isolating web 64 extending between the legs 60 of the hinge 58 for dampening vibrations between the heat exchanger 20 and the HVAC module 22. Preferably, the legs 60 of the hinge 58 are made of polypropylene, or a similar polymeric material, and the isolating web 64 is made of a resilient material, e.g. rubber.

FIG. 6 shows a fourth embodiment of the invention. In the fourth embodiment, the male connecting members 44 are disposed on the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 and the female connecting members 46 are disposed on the interior surface 24 of the HVAC module 22. Each of the male connecting members 44 is a flange 56 extending outwardly from the outer periphery of the heat exchanger 20 toward the interior surface 24 of the HVAC module 22. Each of the female connecting members 46 is a flexible seal member 66 and extending outwardly to a distal end from the interior surface 24 of the HVAC module 22 toward the flange 56 of the heat exchanger 20 and presents a pair of fingers 52 extending outwardly from the distal end in spaced and parallel relationship to one another and on either side of the flange 56 of the heat exchanger 20. A plurality of seals 48 are disposed on the fingers 52 and extend into the groove 54 to engage the flange 56 of the male connecting member 44. Preferably, the flexible seal member 66 is made of a resilient material.

At least one of the male and female connecting members 44, 46 may also define a lip 68 for collecting a condensate from the heat exchanger 20 and draining that condensate. Such a system prevents the buildup of standing water, which could result in bacteria growth, e.g. mold. FIG. 7 shows a fifth embodiment of the invention, wherein the male connecting member 44 presents such a lip 68.

While the invention has been described with reference to an exemplary embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.