Title:
DIFFUSER FOR A HEATING, VENTILATING, AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A diffuser formed in a control module for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system is disclosed, the diffuser including an air distribution apparatus disposed therein for minimizing a separation of a fluid flow therethrough.



Inventors:
Goenka, Lakhi (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/052392
Publication Date:
09/24/2009
Filing Date:
03/20/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F13/06
View Patent Images:
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20100130120AIR CONDUCTING DEVICEMay, 2010Lee et al.
20080051022Device for Ventilating a VehicleFebruary, 2008Kuhnel et al.



Primary Examiner:
MCALLISTER, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP (Toledo, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A diffuser for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system comprising: a housing having a hollow interior; a flow distribution apparatus disposed in the housing adapted to minimize a separation of a flow of fluid through the housing, wherein the apparatus is one of an article integrally formed with the housing and a plate-like device formed separately from the housing and disposed therein.

2. The diffuser according to claim 1, wherein the article includes one of a plurality of columns and a plate-like device.

3. The diffuser according to claim 1, wherein the plate-like device includes a plurality of perforations formed therein.

4. The diffuser according to claim 3, wherein the perforations are substantially uniformly spaced.

5. The diffuser according to claim 1, wherein the plate-like device includes a plurality of apertures formed therein.

6. The diffuser according to claim 1, wherein the plate-like device includes at least one tab disposed thereon.

7. A diffuser for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system comprising: a housing having a hollow interior; a flow distribution apparatus disposed in the housing adapted to minimize a separation of a flow of fluid through the housing, wherein the apparatus is one of an article integrally formed with the housing and a plate-like device formed separately from the housing and disposed therein, the plate-like device having a plurality of apertures formed therein.

8. The diffuser according to claim 7, wherein the article is one of a plurality of columns and a plate-like device.

9. The diffuser according to claim 7, wherein at least one of the apertures includes a tab disposed therein.

10. The diffuser according to claim 7, wherein each of the apertures has one of a substantially triangular, rectangular, and semi-circular shape.

11. The diffuser according to claim 7, wherein the plate-like device includes a plurality of perforations formed therein.

12. The diffuser according to claim 11, wherein the perforations are substantially uniformly spaced.

13. A control module for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system comprising: a housing having a hollow interior; a diffuser formed in the main housing; and a flow distribution apparatus disposed in the housing adapted to minimize a separation of a flow of fluid through the housing, wherein the apparatus is one of an article integrally formed with the housing and a plate-like device formed separately from the housing and disposed therein, the plate-like device having a plurality of apertures formed therein, wherein at least one of the apertures includes a tab disposed thereon.

14. The control module according to claim 13, wherein the article is one of a plurality of columns and a plate-like device.

15. The control module according to claim 13, wherein the plate-like device includes a plurality of perforations formed therein.

16. The control module according to claim 15, wherein the perforations are substantially uniformly spaced.

17. The control module according to claim 13, wherein each of the apertures has one of a substantially triangular, rectangular, and semi-circular shape.

18. The control module according to claim 13, wherein the tab has a substantially triangular shape.

19. The control module according to claim 13, wherein the tab includes at least one perforation formed therein.

20. The control module according to claim 13, wherein the tab is adapted to generate a vortex in the flow of the fluid through the plate-like device.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a climate control system for a vehicle, and more particularly to a diffuser formed in a control module for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system having an apparatus disposed therein to reduce a separation of a fluid flowing therethrough.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A vehicle typically includes a climate control system which maintains a temperature within a passenger compartment of the vehicle at a comfortable level by providing heating, cooling, and ventilation. Comfort is maintained in the passenger compartment by an integrated mechanism referred to in the art as a heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The HVAC system conditions air flowing therethrough and distributes the conditioned air throughout the passenger compartment. The flow of air through the HVAC system is controlled by a control module disposed in the HVAC system.

The control module can include a diffuser formed therein to reduce a flow velocity of the air and increase a pressure thereof entering a heat exchanger disposed adjacent thereto. An adverse pressure gradient caused by the sudden expansion at the inlet of the diffuser, however, typically causes a separation of the flow of air therethrough. The separation of the flow of air through the diffuser produces an undesired amount of noise heard by passengers in the passenger compartment of the vehicle, and causes uneven flow coverage of the heat exchanger. Accordingly, vehicle manufacturers have used a variety of devices disposed in the diffuser to reduce the noise produced by the diffuser and improve the flow coverage of the heat exchanger.

One such device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,712,611, hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The device disclosed is a grid disposed between a diffuser and a heat exchanger. The grid has a profile adapted to distribute a flow of air to the heat exchanger and peripheral portions thereof. The grid extends over approximately 60% to 80% of a face of the heat exchanger.

While the prior art HVAC systems perform adequately, it is desirable to produce a diffuser for an HVAC system having an apparatus disposed therein, wherein the apparatus reduces a separation of a fluid flow therethrough, and wherein an effectiveness thereof is maximized and a cost thereof is minimized.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In concordance and agreement with the present invention, a diffuser for a HVAC system having an apparatus disposed therein, wherein the apparatus reduces a separation of a fluid flow therethrough, and wherein an effectiveness thereof is maximized and a cost thereof is minimized, has surprisingly been discovered.

In one embodiment, the diffuser for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system comprises a housing having a hollow interior; a flow distribution apparatus disposed in the housing adapted to minimize a separation of a flow of fluid through the housing, wherein the apparatus is one of an article integrally formed with the housing and a plate-like device formed separately from the housing and disposed therein.

In another embodiment, the diffuser for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system comprises a housing having a hollow interior; a flow distribution apparatus disposed in the housing adapted to minimize a separation of a flow of fluid through the housing, wherein the apparatus is one of an article integrally formed with the housing and a plate-like device formed separately from the housing and disposed therein, the plate-like device having a plurality of apertures formed therein.

In another embodiment, the control module for a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system comprises a housing having a hollow interior; a diffuser formed in the main housing; and a flow distribution apparatus disposed in the housing adapted to minimize a separation of a flow of fluid through the housing, wherein the apparatus is one of an article integrally formed with the housing and a plate-like device formed separately from the housing and disposed therein, the plate-like device having a plurality of apertures formed therein, wherein at least one of the apertures includes a tab disposed thereon.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above, as well as other objects and advantages of the invention, will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from reading the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an HVAC module including a diffuser having an apparatus disposed therein according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an HVAC module including a diffuser having an apparatus disposed therein according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of an HVAC module including a diffuser having an apparatus disposed therein according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 5 according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 8 according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 according to another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following detailed description and appended drawings describe and illustrate an exemplary embodiment of the invention. The description and drawings serve to enable one skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention in any manner.

FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 show a control module 10 of a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system or climate control system according to an embodiment of the invention. As used herein, the term air refers to a fluid in a gaseous state. The control module 10 typically provides heating, ventilation, and air conditioning for a passenger compartment of a vehicle (not shown). In the embodiment shown, the control module 10 controls at least a temperature of the passenger compartment.

The control module 10 illustrated includes a hollow main housing 14 with an air flow conduit 15 formed therein. The housing 14 includes an inlet section 16, a mixing and conditioning section 18 adapted to receive at least one of a heat exchanger 20 and a heater core (not shown) therein, and an outlet and distribution section (not shown). In the embodiment shown, an air inlet 22 is formed in the inlet section 16. The air inlet 22 is in fluid communication with a supply of air (not shown). The supply of air can be provided from outside of the vehicle, recirculated from the passenger compartment of the vehicle, or a mixture of the two, for example. The inlet section 16 is adapted to receive a blower wheel (not shown) therein to cause air to flow through the control module 10.

The inlet section 16 also includes a diffuser 24 formed therein. A wall 26 of the housing 14 slopes laterally outwardly from the air inlet 22 to the mixing and conditioning section 18 to form the diffuser 24. An inlet 27 of the diffuser 24 has a substantially smaller cross-sectional size than the outlet 28 of the diffuser 24. The diffuser 24 is provided with an apparatus 30 to control a separation of the air flowing therethrough. The apparatus 30 is adapted to reduce aero-acoustic noise, improve a flow coverage of the heat exchanger 20 disposed in the mixing and conditioning section 18, and minimize a pressure loss of the HVAC system. In the embodiment shown, a pressure loss coefficient of the apparatus 30 is less than two. The apparatus 30 can be an article integrally formed with the diffuser 24 or an article separately formed from the diffuser 24 and disposed therein. The apparatus 30 can be produced from any conventional material such as a plastic and metal, for example.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the apparatus 30 includes a plurality of columns 32. The columns 32 have a generally circular cross-sectional shape. It is understood that the columns 32 can have other shapes as desired. The columns 32 are spaced apart to form a plurality of air flow paths 33 therebetween. In the embodiment shown, the columns 32 extend horizontally across a diameter of the diffuser 24, although it is understood that the columns 32 can extend across the diameter of the diffuser 24 in any direction such as vertically and diagonally, for example.

The apparatus 30 can also be a plate-like device 34 disposed in the diffuser 24, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The device 34 shown is generally rectangular in shape and extends across a width and a height of the diffuser 24. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the device 34 is substantially planar, although it is understood that the device 34 can have a substantially arcuate shape as shown in FIG. 3, if desired. The device 34 includes a plurality of perforations 36 formed therein to define a plurality of flow paths 37. The perforations 36 cause a redistribution of the flow of air therethrough. The perforations 36 can be formed in the device 34 in a pattern having a number of the perforations 36 increase in a direction radially outwardly from the center of the device 34, as illustrated in FIG. 4, or can be substantially uniformly spaced, as illustrated in FIGS. 5 thru 12. It is understood that the perforations 36 can be formed in the device 34 in other patterns as desired.

As shown in FIGS. 4 thru 12, the device 34 includes an upper edge 40, a lower edge 42, and opposing side edges 44, 46. A plurality of apertures 48 may be formed in the device 34. The apertures 48 can have any shape such as triangular, as shown in FIG. 5, rectangular, as shown in FIG. 6, and semi-circular, as shown in FIG. 7, for example. The apertures 48 increase the flow of air along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24, reduce the separation of the flow of air therethrough, and minimize a pressure loss thereof.

As shown in FIGS. 8 thru 12, the device 34 can further include a tab 54 disposed in at least one of the apertures 48. In the embodiment shown, the tab 54 is formed from a portion of the device 34 used to produce the apertures 48. It is understood that the tab 54 can be formed separately from the device 34 and attached thereto, if desired. The tab 54 extends laterally from the device 34, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 12, to generate a vortex in the flow of air therethrough. The vortex further increases the flow of air along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24, reduces the separation of the flow of air through the device 34, and minimizes a pressure loss thereof. The tab 54 has a substantially triangular shape, although it is understood that the tab 54 can have any shape and size as desired. Corners 56, 58 of a base 60 of the tab 54 can be disposed on respective sides 62, 64 of at least one of the apertures 48, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Alternatively, the corners 56, 58 and the base 60 can be disposed on one of the sides 62, 64 of at least one of the apertures 48, as shown in FIG. 11. It is understood that the tab 54 can be disposed in the apertures 48 as desired. As illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 11, the tab 54 can include at least one perforation 68 formed therein.

In operation, the HVAC system conditions air by heating or cooling the air, and providing the conditioned air to the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Air from the supply of air is received in the housing 14 through the air inlet 22 by the blower wheel. During rotation of the blower wheel, air is caused to flow into the air flow conduit 15 of the inlet section 16. From the air flow conduit 15, the air flows into the diffuser 24 formed therein. The diffuser 24 reduces a flow velocity of the air flowing therethough and increases a pressure thereof. In the diffuser 24, the air flows through the apparatus 30 to reduce the flow separation caused by the adverse pressure gradient produced by the sudden expansion at the inlet of the diffuser 24.

When the apparatus 30 is the plurality of columns 32 as shown in FIG. 1, or the plate-like device 34 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the stream of air is caused to flow through the respective flow paths 33, 37 and along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24. The flow of air through the flow paths 33, 37 and along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24 causes a substantially even air flow distribution. Accordingly, the flow velocity and the pressure of the air flowing through the diffuser 24 is stabilized and controlled, minimizing the separation of air flow therethrough. Thus, noise and a loss of pressure thereof are minimized, and coverage of the heat exchanger 20 is maximized.

Additionally, when the device 34 includes the apertures 48 formed therein, air flow along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24 is increased. Moreover, when at least one of the apertures 48 includes the tab 54 disposed therein, a vortex is generated in the air stream flowing through the device 34. The vortex also causes the air to flow along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24. The increased air flow along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24 increases the flow velocity of the air along the wall 26 of the diffuser 24 further reducing the adverse pressure gradient and, thereby, the separation of air flow through the diffuser 24. Accordingly, noise and the loss of pressure thereof are further minimized, and the coverage of the heat exchanger 20 is further maximized.

The air from the diffuser 24 then flows from the inlet section 16 into the mixing and conditioning section 18 of the housing 14. In the mixing and conditioning section 18, the air is conditioned to a desired temperature by at least one of the heat exchanger 20 and the heater core. The conditioned air stream then exits the mixing and conditioning section 18 and flows into and through the outlet and distribution section of the control module 10 to the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

From the foregoing description, one ordinarily skilled in the art can easily ascertain the essential characteristics of this invention and, without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, can make various changes and modifications to the invention to adapt it to various usages and conditions.