Title:
MODULAR THERMAL EXCHANGE SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular heat-exchange system, includes a plurality of heat exchanger modules, each of which includes a plate provided with internal conduits for the passage of a conditioning fluid. The conduits contain openings on connecting sides of the plate and locking arrangement for connecting two adjacent heat exchanger modules in an assembly. A connecting arrangement is provided for sealingly connecting the openings of the two adjacent heat exchanger modules. Each heat exchanger module includes on each connecting side a seat containing at least one of the openings and configured so as to form with a similar seat of an adjacent heat exchanger module a housing that is open and arranged for receiving the locking arrangement and the connecting arrangement.



Inventors:
Campagna, Paolo (Monte San Pietro, IT)
Application Number:
12/525360
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
02/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
165/168, 165/144
International Classes:
F24D3/16; F28F3/12; F28F9/26
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
JPS5585896A1980-06-28
JPS57179520A1982-11-05
JPS57179521A1982-11-05
JPS57188943A1982-11-20
DE3114306A11982-11-04
JPS5924126A1984-02-07
JPS5941723A1984-03-08
DE3300785A11984-07-12
JPS60229A1985-01-05
JPS60164139A1985-08-27
JPH06123442A1994-05-06
EP18431032007-10-10
Primary Examiner:
RUSSELL, DEVON L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAUBSCHER & LAUBSCHER, P.C. (ANNAPOLIS, MD, US)
Claims:
1. 1-96. (canceled)

97. Modular heat-exchange system, associable with a wall of a room to be conditioned, comprising heat exchanger modules, each of which comprises a plate internally provided with conduits for the passage of a conditioning fluid, said conduits leading via openings on connecting sides of said plate, a locking arrangement for connecting two heat exchanger modules that are adjacent and placed mutually abutting along respective connecting sides in an assembly condition, a connecting arrangement for sealingly connecting said openings of said two adjacent heat exchanger modules, wherein each heat exchanger module comprises on each connecting side at least a seat containing at least one of said openings and configured so as to form, in said assembly condition, with a similar seat of an adjacent heat exchanger module, a housing that is open and arranged for receiving said locking arrangement and said connecting arrangement.

98. System according to claim 97, wherein said housing is open on a respective external face of said plate of each heat exchanger module.

99. System according to claim 97, wherein said connecting arrangement comprises a connecting element having a shape that is complementary to, and insertible into, said housing, said connecting element being provided with at least one through opening for flowingly connecting corresponding openings of said two adjacent heat exchanger modules.

100. System according to claim 99, wherein said seat comprises end walls shaped so as to facilitate the insertion of said connecting element and to abut on and support further end walls of said connecting element.

101. System according to claim 97, wherein said locking arrangement when arranged inside said housing, is drivable so as to lock reversibly together said two adjacent heat exchanger modules.

102. System according to claim 101, wherein said connecting arrangement comprises a connecting element having a shape that is complementary to, and insertible into, said housing, said connecting element being provided with at least one through opening for flowingly connecting corresponding openings of said two adjacent heat exchanger modules and wherein said locking arrangement comprises a locking bush rotatably housed in a central recess of said connecting element and provided with an abutting arrangement arranged for engaging, in a locking position, a further abutting arrangement of said seats.

103. System according to claim 102, wherein said abutting arrangement and/or said further abutting arrangement is shaped such that by rotating said locking bush from an inserting position, wherein said abutting arrangement is disengaged from said further abutting arrangement, to said locking position, said adjacent heat exchanger modules are progressively clamped together and to said connecting element.

104. System according to claim 103, wherein said abutting arrangement comprises two open cavities, that are substantially the same as one another and angularly spaced apart, made on a lower portion of said locking bush and provided with respective external walls having a variable thickness so as to make a substantially eccentric profile.

105. System according to claim 104, wherein said further abutting arrangement comprises a protrusion made on a bottom wall of said seat and shaped so as to be inserted into, and progressively engage with, one of said cavities.

106. System according to claim 103, wherein said locking bush comprises an appendage arranged for engaging a groove of said central recess so as to constrain said locking bush to said connecting element in said inserting position.

107. System according to claim 106, wherein said seat comprises a further groove arranged for receiving said appendage in said locking position.

108. System according to claim 106, wherein said locking bush comprises two appendages protruding externally and laterally from a lower portion of said locking bush.

109. System according to claim 103, wherein said abutting arrangement comprises two shaped protrusions made on a lower portion of said locking bush.

110. System according to claim 109, wherein said further abutting arrangement comprises a notch provided at said seat and arranged for receiving a respective shaped protrusion in said locking position.

111. System according to claim 110, wherein said notch has an arched shape and is such as to make an eccentric profile.

112. System according to claim 110, wherein said notch is made on an internal face of said plate.

113. System according to claim 109, wherein said locking bush is rotatably connected to said connecting element.

114. System according to claim 113, wherein said locking bush comprises an external flange connected, by means of a central pin, to a cross plate provided at opposite ends of said shaped protrusions.

115. System according to claim 114, wherein said central pin of said locking bush is rotatably inserted into a central through opening of said connecting element.

116. System according to claim 97, wherein said plate of each heat exchanger module comprises a perimetrical edge defining on an internal face a gap suitable for containing thermal insulating material, said internal face being intended to abut on said wall of a room.

117. System according to claim 97, wherein said conduits are integrally formed with said plate.

118. System according to claim 117, wherein said plate of each heat exchanger module comprises a perimetrical edge defining on an internal face a gap suitable for containing thermal insulating material, said internal face being intended to abut on said wall of a room and wherein said conduits comprise longitudinal walls obtained in relief on said internal face of said plate.

119. System according to claim 118, comprising a closing element fixed to said longitudinal walls so as to form said conduits.

120. System according to claim 97, wherein said connecting sides are opposite sides and/or consecutive sides of said plate.

121. System according to claim 97, wherein said plate of each heat exchanger module comprises a plurality of cavities.

122. System according to claim 121, wherein said heat exchanger modules are fixable to said wall of a room by a fixing arrangement inserted into at least one of said cavities provided with a bottom hole.

123. System according to claim 97, wherein a coating arrangement is provided that is applicable to an external face of said plate of each heat exchanger module.

124. System according to claim 97, comprising a radiant arrangement that is applicable to said heat exchanger modules and arranged for increasing a heat exchange by convection between said heat exchanger modules and said room.

125. System according to claim 124, wherein said radiant arrangement includes at least a radiant panel comprising a slab provided on an internal surface, which is opposite an external radiant surface, with a plurality of elongated baffles.

126. System according to claim 125, wherein said baffles are substantially parallel to one another and to a side edge of said slab.

127. System according to claim 125, wherein said baffles are spaced apart from one another and have a corrugated and/or rectilinear shape.

128. System according to claim 125, wherein said at least a radiant panel comprises hooking elements provided on said internal surface for fixing said radiant panel to at least an heat exchanger module.

129. System according to claim 128, wherein said plate of each heat exchanger module comprises a plurality of cavities and wherein said hooking elements comprise a plurality of pegs that are insertible into said cavities of said heat exchanger modules.

130. System according to claim 124, wherein said heat exchanger modules and/or said radiant arrangement are made of metallic material with high heat conductivity, in particular of aluminium alloy.

Description:

The invention relates to a heat-exchange system of sectional, modular type with limited overall dimensions, which is particularly suitable for room air conditioning.

Modular heating systems are known, so-called radiant floor heating, formed of flat and thermally insulated modules facing towards the floor, provided with means for quick and removable reciprocal connection, so as to form a coating or panel with the required dimensions and shape. Such modules have an upper face made of a material with a good heat conductivity, usually metallic material, and is such as to be coated with a material which has good heat dissipating properties, providing a surface that can be walked on and has suitable Mechanical resistance and aesthetic features.

The radiant floor heating manufactured in this way has modules arranged for producing heat by exploiting incorporated electrical resistances, supplied at low voltage for reasons of safety.

Alternatively, the modules comprise internally channels or conduits provided on an upper metallic coating that are then covered by the walk-on surface, pipes of the type used for indoor floor heating, in which a fluid, for example glycolated water, is circulated at low pressure and at a temperature no higher than 40° C., coming, for example, from a heat exchanger and a heat pump which in the summer can be used also for cooling the room via fan coil and/or dehumidifying systems.

The aforesaid radiant floor heating systems are, for example, intended for conference halls, trade-fair stands or open-air events or for places of particular artistic, cultural and monumental interest, for example churches, museums, historic buildings, art galleries and other places, where the spaces to be conditioned often involve extensive horizontal and vertical areas and in which there is the need to limit to a few metres the height of thermoconvective movements which could convey aerial pollutants upwards.

Radiant floor heating systems with electrical resistances, involve high electrical energy consumption, inasmuch as the heat is produced by the Joule effect. In addition to this, electrical transformers are necessary that are intended to produce low voltage and very high electrical currents in order to be able to deliver the power necessary for supplying even very large surfaces.

With this solution it is difficult to reconcile walkability of the floor with good heat conduction, and electromagnetic pollution is inevitably produced due to the alternating current power supply.

Further, the system requires the scrupulous use of costly fireproof materials to avoid fire being started by the electric heating resistances, which as a result of localised damage could give rise to overheating and electric arcs.

Such drawbacks are overcome by radiant floor heating systems with pipes for circulating liquid, which pipes can also be used for cooling environments.

However, such systems are not suitable for also being supplied by the gas boilers that are normally installed in buildings, which boilers are generally devoid of a stage in which liquid is supplied at low pressure.

Another drawback of fluid circulation heat-exchange systems consists of the fact that, due to the connection between the pipes, the modules are very complicated and laborious to assemble and dismantle. In particular, said modules cannot be dismantled separately, for example in the event of a fault, but in groups, thus requiring time and an increase in costs. Further, the aforesaid modules integrating a supporting structure, liquid circulation pipes and walkable coating, are very complex and costly to produce.

In order to limit the thickness of the modules, the liquid circulation pipes generally have a reduced diameter, thus determining modest conditioning liquid flow values, and, vice versa, great load losses.

Further, both the known radiant floor heating systems are not suitable for being located other than on the floor, for example on vertical walls or on ceilings.

An object of the present invention is to improve the modular heat-exchange systems for conditioning buildings, in particular by increasing the versatility and flexibility of use thereof.

Another object is to obtain a modular heat-exchange system the heat exchanger modules of which can be assembled together and be subsequently dismantled in a rapid, simple and easy manner, separately and independently of one another.

A further object is to make a modular heat-exchange system that ensures an effective and durable seal between the conduits of the various heat exchanger modules even with conditioning fluid supplied at high pressures and temperatures.

Still another object is to obtain a modular heat-exchange system that permits high flow values of a conditioning fluid inside the heat exchanger modules and reduces load losses. Still another object is to devise a modular heat-exchange system provided with heat exchanger modules having a simple, tough and cheap construction.

A still further object is to obtain a modular heat-exchange system that can be assembled so as to form modular panels of a desired shape and dimension that is applicable to any wall of an environment to be conditioned.

Another object is to devise a modular and composable liquid circulation heat-exchange system that has great technological reliability, can be equally mounted on the floor, wall or ceiling, and can be reliably coated with traditional coatings, for example plasterboard panels, ceramic tiles.

In a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a modular heat-exchange system, which is associable with a wall of a room to be conditioned, comprising heat exchanger modules each of which comprising a plate internally provided with conduits for the passage of a conditioning fluid, said conduits (C) leading via openings on connecting sides of said plate, locking means for connecting two heat exchanger modules that are adjacent and placed mutually abutting along respective connecting sides in an assembly condition, connecting means for sealingly connecting said openings of said two adjacent heat exchanger modules, characterised in that each heat exchanger module comprises on each connecting side at least a seat containing at least one of said openings and configured so as to form, in said assembly condition, with a similar seat of an adjacent heat exchanger module, a housing that is open and arranged for receiving said locking means and said connecting means.

The connecting means comprises a connecting element having a shape that is complementary to and is insertible into, said housing and is provided with through openings for flowingly connecting corresponding openings of said two adjacent heat exchanger modules.

When the locking means is arranged inside the housing it is drivable so as to reversibly lock together said two heat exchanger modules. The lacking means comprises, in particular, a locking bush that is rotatably housed in a central recess of the connecting element and is provided with abutting means arranged for engaging, in a locking position, further abutting means of said seats.

The abutting means and/or the further abutting means are shaped in such a manner that as said locking bush rotates from an inserting position, in which said abutting means is disengaged from said further abutting means, to the locking position, the adjacent heat exchanger modules are progressively clamped together and to said connecting element.

In this manner it is possible to connect-together a plurality of heat exchanger modules 1 and to make modular panels having various shapes and dimensions.

The modular heat-exchange system of the invention, by virtue of the conformation of the heat exchanger modules and of the corresponding connecting means and of the locking means, enables the heat exchanger modules to be assembled in a rapid and easy manner, it being possible for the heat exchanger modules to be fixed independently on the wall of the room and then to be connected and locked together. Once the heat-exchange system has been assembled so as to form a modular panel of desired shape and dimensions, it is possible to dismantle separately an heat exchanger module equally rapidly and easily, for example by replacement thereof, without the need to dismantle the heat exchanger modules adjacent thereto.

The heat-exchange system thus ensures easy, fast and cheap assembly/dismantling procedures.

In addition thereto, the connecting means and the locking means ensure an effective and durable seal between the conduits of the different heat exchanger modules, also with conditioning fluid supplied at high pressure and temperatures.

The modular heat-exchange system of the invention has great technological reliability, can be arranged indifferently on the floor, on the wall or on the ceiling, and be coated with traditional coating, for example with plasterboard panels or with any other suitable material, with ceramic tiles or with tiles of another type.

In a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a modular heat-exchange system, which is associable with a wall of a room to be conditioned, comprising heat exchanger modules, each of which comprising a plate internally provided with conduits for the passage of a conditioning fluid, said conduits (C) leading via openings on connecting sides of said plate, characterised in that said conduits are made as a integrally formed in said plate.

The conduits comprise, in particular, longitudinal walls obtained in relief on a rear face of said plate. Closing means are fixed to the longitudinal walls so as to close and form the conduits.

Owing to this aspect of the invention it is possible to obtain a modular heat-exchange system, the heat exchanger modules of which are easily and rapidly devisable, for example, by means of a die-casting procedure, from a metal material with great heat conductivity, in particular aluminium alloy, thus considerably reducing production costs. It is also possible to obtain, in this manner, conduits with a rectangular section of large dimensions, thus enabling high conditioning fluid flow values to be obtained with reduced load losses. A greater fluid flow determines higher heat-exchange values and thus greater performance of the heat-exchange system.

In a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a radiant panel that is applicable to an heat exchanger module of a modular heat-exchange system, associable with a wall of a room to be conditioned, comprising a slab provided with an internal surface, which is opposite a radiant external surface, of a plurality of elongated baffles.

Hooking means is provided on the internal surface to enable the radiant panel to be fixed to one or more heat exchanger modules.

The radiant panel is made of metal material, in particular of aluminium alloy.

Once the radiant panel has been mounted on a respective heat exchanger module, owing to the heat conductivity of the metal, the radiant panel heats rapidly. The baffles form a plurality of channels inside which the air heats or cools and is dispersed into the surrounding environment through convective motion, ensuring a great and efficient heat exchange of the heat exchanger module.

The external radiant surface of the panel also enables heat to be dispersed through irradiation.

The invention can be better understood and implemented with reference to the attached drawings, which illustrate an embodiment thereof by way of non-limiting example, in which:

FIG. 1 is a frontally schematic view of the modular heat-exchange system of the invention mounted on a wall of a room;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an heat exchanger module of the heat-exchange system of the invention;

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate details of the heat exchanger module of FIG. 2, sectioned respectively along the line III-III and the line IV-IV of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of an internal face of the heat exchanger module with a conduit closed by a corresponding closing element;

FIG. 6 is a section along the line VI-VI of a detail of the module in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of an heat exchanger module, in which connecting means and locking means are shown in a dismantled condition;

FIG. 8 is a partial plan view and partially sectioned view of an external face of two adjacent heat exchanger modules that are mutually joined and connected to the connecting means and the locking means in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged and bottom perspective view of a locking bush for locking the locking means in FIG. 7;

FIGS. 10 and 11 are partial sections enlarged respectively along the line X-X and the line XI-XI of FIG. 8;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged section along the line III-III in FIG. 2;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a version of the heat exchanger module, of the connecting means and of the locking means of the modular heat-exchange system in FIG. 1;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged partial view of a detail in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an enlarged partial bottom perspective view of the heat exchanger module, of the connecting means and of the locking means in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is partial plan view and partially sectioned view of two adjacent heat exchanger modules that are mutually joined and connected by the connecting means and by the locking means;

FIG. 17 is an enlarged partial section according to line XVIII-XVIII in FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of radiant means applied to the heat exchanger module in FIG. 13;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the radiant means in FIG. 18.

In FIG. 1 there is illustrated the heat-exchange system of the invention comprising a plurality of heat exchanger modules 1, which are joined and connected to form a modular panel, i.e. a chain or mosaic, which can be positioned on a wall S of, a room, for example a colder wall facing the exterior, to thermally condition the room, taking account of the volume of the building and of the intended use thereof, also with reference to the presence of doors, windows and the possible equipment that may be arranged against said wall S. The modularity of the heat-exchange system 100 enables a heat-exchange panel to be made that is customised and suitable for the needs of the room to be conditioned. The heat-exchange system 100 is applicable not only to surfaces S of walls, floors or ceilings of a building but also to any supporting surface intended for positioning in any room to be thermally conditioned.

The heat exchanger modules 1 are arranged individually for fixing to the wall S, or to the ceiling or floor of the building or of prefabricated parts of the same building, as explained in detail below in the description.

The heat exchanger modules 1 can for example have a square or rectangular shape or other shape suitable for the chain or mosaic composition and are internally provided with channels or conduits C for circulation of a thermal conditioning fluid, positioned or leading onto opposite and/or consecutive sides of said modules.

Locking means is provided for connecting and fixing in a reversible manner two heat exchanger modules 1 that are adjacent in an assembly condition.

Connecting means is provided for sealingly connecting the ends of the conduits C of the two adjacent heat exchanger modules 1 so that, once the heat-exchange system 100 in the form of a modular panel has been assembled, a circuit C′ is made, for the circulation of the conditioning fluid.

The circuit C′ can be supplied by any suitable source and be connected, for example, to suitable manifolds D, of known type and not illustrated in detail in the Figures, provided as a single piece or fitted on one or more of the heat exchanger modules 1 for connecting to liquid circulation means, which is also of known type and is not illustrated in the Figures.

Depending on the intended use of the modular panel 100 to be formed, the heat exchanger modules 1 may have conduits C that are shaped according to different methods: rectilinear conduits open on two opposite sides of the same module, cross conduits, open on four sides of the module, “T”-shaped conduits, open on three sides, for example, consecutive sides of the module, “L”-shaped conduits open on two consecutive sides of the same module.

With reference to FIGS. 2 to 6 there is illustrated an heat exchanger module 1 of the heat-exchange system 100 of the invention provided with rectilinear conduits, the constructional features of which also apply to the other types of heat exchanger modules provided with conduits having different configurations.

The heat exchanger module 1 comprises a plate 101, for example made of metal material, in particular of aluminium alloy, for example made by a die-casting process. The plate 101 is provided with a protruding and continuous perimetrical edge 201 which gives an internal or rear face 101b of the module 1 a box-like shape, suitable for containing an insulating layer 2 of a thermal insulating material with good resistance to compression. The insulating layer 2 combines raised parts provided on said rear face of the heat exchanger module 1 and protrudes from the edge 201 for a defined portion, for example by overhanging it.

The heat exchanger module 1 is positioned in contact with the wall or surface S of the building with the internal face 101b bearing the insulating layer 2, so that a radiant front external face 101a, which is opposite said internal face 101b, faces the room to be conditioned and the conditioning heat is not released to/removed from the wall S of the room. On the internal face 101b of the heat exchanger module 1, longitudinal walls 3 of the conditioning fluid circulation conduits C are made monobloc, which may, for example, be at least two or more in number and thus not necessarily four in number as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 5.

The ends of the conduits C lead onto corresponding apertures or openings B on the edges 201 of the module 1.

The conduits C are arranged for being closed in the lower part of the module 1 and the tubular shape thereof is thus defined by closing elements or bottom 4 sealingly applied by means of appropriate glue or adhesive.

The closing elements 4 are provided longitudinally with edges with a grooved profile 104 which are coupled on the edges of the walls 3 of the conduits C (FIG. 6). The ends of the closing elements 4 comprise flat parts 204 which rest on, and are fixed to, steps 5 provided at the bottom on the perimetrical area of the heat exchanger module 1 in which the openings B of said conduits C are made.

Using monobloc longitudinal walls made on the plate 101 enables conduits C to be made, with a large, for example almost rectangular, section, in order to have high flow values of the conditioning fluid with reduced load losses. A greater flow of the fluid entails higher heat-exchange values and thus higher performance of the heat-exchange system.

With particular reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, the closing elements 4 are mechanically stiffened by external ribs 6, for example in the form of a lattice or other suitable shape. Similarly, further ribs 106, of any suitable form, are provided on the internal face 101b of the plate 101. Said further ribs 106 are connected to the perimetrical edge 201 and also to the longitudinal walls 3 of the conduits C, and comprise a plurality of conical projections 7, each of which forms, on the front face 101a of the plate 101 facing the room, a respective seat or cavity 8.

The aforesaid cavities 8 have, for example, a round section, form a projection 7 and are preferably open by means of a respective bottom hole 108. The bottom holes 108 enable coating means P and/or radiant means 60 to be fixed to the external face of the heat exchanger module 1.

In the cavities 8 doses of glue 9, for example with a silicone base, can be applied that are anchored to the bottom hole 108 and fixed to the mosaic of the plates 101 of the modules 1, coating means P comprising tiles P or other suitable coating material.

Some of the cavities 8 can be used differently to fix the heat exchanger modules 1 of the heat-exchanger system 100 to the wall S of the room by means of suitable screw anchors 10. Such screw anchors 10 have a first part 110 that is mushroom-shaped and made of suitable stiff plastics, which is housed in the cavity 8, reaches as far as the wall S and is crossed by a fastening screw 210. Further, the screw anchors have a protruding part 310, which is deformable as said screw 210 expands and which engages a hole 11 made on the wall S with a drill inserted through the bottom hole 108 of the cavity 8. The mushroom 110 acts as a spacer inasmuch as it is arranged not to enter the hole 11 and limit the compressing action exerted on the thermal insulating layer 2 by the axial stress of the fastening screw 210 (FIG. 4).

Spacers 12 can be applied to the bottom of the projections 7 of the cavities 8, inserted, for example by snap-fitting, into the hole 108 and arranged for resting on the wall S of the room without forming heat bridges towards the outside (FIG. 12). When the heat exchanger modules 1 are located on a floor, the spacers 12 prevent the load exerted on the heat exchanger modules by walking and by objects subjecting the insulating layer 2 to excessive and non-distributed pressure that could subject the modular panel formed by the heat exchanger modules 1 to uneven stress, especially on the connecting means.

The spacers 12, which are, for example, made of suitable stiff plastics, can be provided with a through axial cavity 112 so as to be effectively engaged by the fixing glue 9. The spacers 12 can further be of the type that is axially adjustable, for example comprising screw and nut, to be able to be made to touch the wall S of the room selectively also when the wall S is not sufficiently flat, for example comprising rough surfaces.

In the case of the heat exchanger module 1 illustrated in the Figures, the openings B of the ends of the conduits C lead onto side walls 113 of recessed seats 13 provided on two connecting sides 202 that are parallel to and opposite the heat exchanger module 1. Such seats 113 are, for example, two in number for each connecting side 202, and with each one thereof two openings B are associated.

Each rectilinear seat 13 is open upwards and on an opposite side to that of the side wall 113, whilst it is closed below by a bottom wall 213.

In an assembly configuration AS, in which two heat exchanger modules 1 are arranged adjacent and are correctly aligned for mutual fixing, the seat 13 of an heat exchanger module 1 is opposite the seat 13′ of the adjacent heat exchanger module 1 (FIG. 8) so as to form a seat or housing 130 that is open on only one side, perpendicular to the modules, at the external faces 101a of said heat exchanger modules 1.

Connecting means 14 is inserted into said housing 130 to sealingly connect openings B facing and opposite the conduits C of the aforesaid heat exchanger modules 1.

The connecting means 14 comprises an insert or connecting element that rests on the bottom walls 213 of the seats 13, 13′ and which has through openings 15, having the shape and dimensions of the openings B of the conduits C. Said through openings 15 are, further, suitably spaced so as to bridge, when said connecting element 14 is correctly inserted, the openings B of the conduits C. Sealing gaskets 16 are provided frontally around said through openings 15 to ensure a sealing connection with the openings B (FIG. 10).

The connecting element 14 is provided with an intermediate part of a central recess 17 suitable for housing a respective locking bush 19 of the locking means.

The central recess 17 has an enlarged upper portion 117 and a bottom wall in which, in a central position, a projection 18 with a substantially circular shape is provided in which a lower cylindrical hub 119 of a tank or locking bush 19 with a circular plane can be housed and rotate, the body of the tank or locking bush 19 rotatably engaging said central recess 17. Said locking bush 19 comprises a flange or upper wing 219 that engages the widened upper portion 117 of the central recess 17, and two appendages 319, 319′ protruding laterally from a lower part of the body of said locking bush 19. Said appendages 319, 319′ are the same as one another, opposite at 180° and provided with a respective through hole 20. During the mounting step, when the connecting element 14 is inserted into the housing 130, i.e. into the seats 13, 13′ of two adjacent and abutting heat exchanger modules 1, the appendages 319, 319′ of the locking bush 19 are housed in slits or lateral grooves 21, 21′ of said connecting element 14, open on opposite sides of the connecting element 14 (FIGS. 7 and 8), the locking bush 19 being arranged in an inserting position M.

In this position, during the assembly step it is possible to insert inside opposite seats 13, 13′ of two adjacent heat exchanger modules 1 the connecting element 14 and the corresponding connecting bush 19, joined as if they were a single piece.

A lateral and central recess 22, 22′ having a circular sector plan shape is provided on each respective seat 13, 13′. In the assembly condition AS the lateral recesses 22, 22′ of two adjacent seats 13, 13′, form with the central recess 17 of the connecting element 14 a complete seat, with a circular shape, for the locking bush 19.

Each lateral recess 22, 22′ comprises a respective upper widening 122, 122′ that is substantially aligned and coplanar with the widened upper portion 117 of the central recess 17 of the connecting element 14, in the assembly condition AS, and arranged for receiving the upper flange 219 of the locking bush 19.

Each upper widening 122, 122′ also has a respective lateral intermediate extension 222, 222′ provided with a respective vertical through hole 23.

Each lateral recess 22, 22′ has a respective side wall provided with a further slit or groove 24, 24′, which is also of circular shape, that extends for a preset angle and faces a respective groove 21, 21′ of the connecting element 14. The further grooves 24, 24′ of the adjacent seats 13, 13′ are shaped so as to enable the connecting element 14, once it has been inserted into the housing 130, i.e. into said seats 13, 13′, to rotate the locking bush 19 by 90°, from the inserting position M to a locking position L. In this way, the appendages 319, 319′ are disengaged from the grooves 21, 21′ of the connecting element 14 and are inserted into the further grooves 24, 24′ of the recesses 22, 22′ as far as the locking or closing position L, in which the through holes 20 of the appendages 319, 319′ are substantially aligned on the through holes 23 of the heat exchanger modules 1.

In this locking position L the locking bush 19 is constrained to the heat exchanger modules 1 by means of the appendages 319, 319′ and, at the same time, locks the connecting element 14 in the seats 13, 13′, firmly connecting together the heat exchanger modules 1, which remain joined on a single plane. It is further possible to firmly fix the locking bush 19 in the locking position L, by inserting rivets or screws 27 in the aligned holes 20, 23, as indicated schematically by the dot and dash lines in FIG. 11.

With reference to FIG. 9, the locking bush 19 is provided with abutting means comprising two lower cavities 25, 25′, which are symmetrically the same, the respective external walls 125, 125′ of which have an eccentric shape, i.e. a variable thickness so as to make an eccentric or cam profile. When the connecting element 14 and the locking bush 19 in the inserting position M are inserted into the housing 130 formed by the two opposite seats 13, 13′ of respective heat exchanger modules 1, the lower cavities 25, 25′ are engaged by further abutting means comprising projections or protrusions 26, 26′ provided on the bottom of the lateral recesses 22, 22′ of the seats 13, 13′ and having a bolt function.

When the locking bush 19 is rotated by ninety degrees in the locking position L to fix the connecting element 14 to the two adjacent heat exchanger modules 1, the protrusions 26, 26′ are engaged progressively by the eccentric external walls 125, 125′ of the lower cavities 25, 25′ of the locking bush (FIG. 11), this causing the twisting or clamping torque applied to said locking bush 19 to be transformed into traction force that pushes the heat exchanger modules 1 against the connecting element 14 and against one another. This compression force ensures an effective and sealing connection between the openings B of the conduits C and the through openings 15 of the connecting element 14, with appropriate compressing of the sealing gaskets 16 (FIG. 10).

This connection has proved to be very reliable and capable of also resisting very high circulating pressure of the conditioning fluid.

In order to rotate the locking bush 19, the locking bush 19 is provided, opposite the lower hub 119, with a hexagonal seat 28 in which a corresponding hexagonal wrench can be inserted.

With reference to FIG. 7, in order to facilitate the insertion and removal of the connecting element 14 into and from the housing 130, i.e. the opposite seats 13, 13′ of the two adjacent heat exchanger modules, end walls 114 of said connecting element 14 can be slightly countersunk or convergent downwards. Similarly, further end walls 313 of each seat 13 can be slightly countersunk or divergent from the bottom wall 213.

With the procedure disclosed above, it is possible to connect together a plurality of heat exchanger modules 1 and to make modular panels having various shapes and dimensions.

The heat-exchange system 100 of the invention, owing to the conformation of the heat exchanger modules 1 and of the corresponding connecting means 14 and of the locking means 19 enables the heat exchanger modules 1 to be assembled in a rapid and easy manner that can be fixed independently to the wall S of the room and then be connected and locked together by the connecting means 14 and the locking means 19. Similarly, once the heat-exchange system 100 has been assembled to form a modular panel of desired shape and size, it is possible in an equally rapid and easy manner to separately dismantle an heat exchanger module 1, for example in order to replace it, without the need to dismantle heat exchanger modules adjacent thereto.

The heat-exchange system 100 thus ensures extremely easy, fast and cheap assembly/dismantling procedures.

In addition thereto, the connecting means 14 and locking means 19 ensure an effective and durable seal between the conduits C of the various heat exchanger modules 1, also with the conditioning fluid supplied at great pressure and temperatures, for example if the modular heat-exchange system is associated with a heating boiler operating at high pressure.

The modular heat-exchange system disclosed can be supplied by means, of known type that is not illustrated in the Figures, that provides forced or natural circulation in the conduits C of a heating or cooling fluid.

Such means comprises boilers, heat pumps, heat exchangers and the like.

The heat-exchange system 100 of the invention can further be used as a simple radiator, or heater, visibly applied to a wall of a room, or as a solar panel to produce hot water by means of solar radiation, the coating means P being suitable for absorbing solar rays in such a case.

With reference to FIGS. 13 to 17 there is illustrated a version of the heat-exchange system 100 of the invention that differs from the previously disclosed embodiment through the different configuration of the locking means 419, of the connecting means 414 and of the seats 413, 413′ of the heat exchanger modules 1.

The connecting means 414 comprises a insert or joint element that is substantially similar to the previously disclosed one, provided with through holes 415 and shaped so as to be inserted inside a housing 430 formed by two opposite seats 413, 413′ of two abutting heat exchanger modules 2.

These seats 413, 413′ are made, for example, on two parallel and opposite connecting sides 202 of each heat exchanger module 1, and are two per side in number.

Each seat 413 comprises a through notch provided with a lateral wall 513, in which, for example, two openings B of the conduits C open, and provided with two facing and opposite end walls 520, shaped to form respective steps. The end walls 520 are arranged for being engaged in the assembly condition AS by the further end walls 420 of the connecting element 414 so as to support the connecting element 414. The further end walls 420 are shaped in a complementary manner to the end walls 520.

The connecting element 414 further comprises a central through opening 425 in which the locking bush 419 of the locking means is rotatably inserted.

The locking bush 419 comprises a flange or external wing 519 that is connected, by a central pin 525, to a transverse plate 526 with an almost rectangular elongated shape.

The flange 519 is provided below with a circular crown 527, whilst the transverse plate 526 has abutting means 528 on opposite ends comprising respective protrusions.

The locking bush 419 consists of two couplable parts, so as to be able to be mounted/dismantled on the connecting element 414, the central pin 525 being rotatably inserted in the central through opening 425. In particular, the flange 519 and the pin 525 are a single body and are coupled to the transverse plate 526, for example, by a screw.

Alternatively, the central pin 525 can be formed by two parts, each of which is made of a single body, respectively with the external flange 519 and with the transverse plate 526.

The connecting element 414 is provided, on an outer side of an intermediate part thereof, with a central recess 417 arranged for housing the locking bush 419.

The central recess 417 has peripheral grooves 517, 518 arranged for receiving respectively the flange 519 and the circular crown 527 of the locking bush 419.

On an opposite internal side of said intermediate portion of the connecting element 414 there is provided a gap 530 that is suitable for completely receiving the transverse plate 526 so as to enable the connecting element 414 and the locking bush 419, mounted thereupon in the inserting position M, to be inserted inside the housing 430.

On the bottom of the gap 530 two arched grooves 531, 532 are made that are angularly opposite one another, arranged for receiving respective shaped protrusions 528 of the transverse plate 526.

A lateral recess 522, 522′ is provided on each respective seat 413, 413′ of the heat exchanger modules 1 at the external face 101a of the heat exchanger module. The lateral recess 522, 522′ has respective peripheral grooves, similar to those of the central recess 417 and arranged for receiving respectively the upper flange 519 and the circular crown 527 of the locking bush 419.

In the assembly condition AS the lateral recesses 522, 522′ of two adjacent seats 13, 13′ form with the central recess 417 of the connecting element 14 a complete seat, that is circular in shape, for the locking bush 419.

A notch 426, 426′ is made in the respective seat 413, 413′ at the internal face 101b of the respective heat exchanger module 1.

As illustrated in detail in FIG. 15, each notch 426, 426′ has an arched shape with, an eccentric profile acting as a cam. The notches 426, 426′ act as further abutting means for the abutting means 528 of the locking bush 419.

When the connecting element 414 and the locking bush 419 are inserted into the housing 530 formed by the adjacent seats 413, 413′ of two heat exchanger modules 1 and the locking bush 419 is rotated by ninety degrees, from the inserting position M to the locking position L, the shaped protrusions 528 of the transverse plate 526 are disengaged from the respective arched grooves 531, 532 and are progressively inserted into the respective notches 426, 426′.

Due to the arched shape with an eccentric profile of said notches 426, 426′, the progressive insertion into the notches 426, 426′ of the shaped protrusions 528 causes the two heat exchanger modules 1′ to move towards one another. In this way twisting or clamping torque applied to the locking bush 19 is transformed into traction force that pushes and maintains the heat exchanger modules 1 against one another. Such compression force ensures an effective and sealing connection between the openings B of the conduits C and the through openings 415 of the connecting element 414, with an appropriate compacting of the sealing gaskets 416.

The operation of this version of the modular heat-exchange system 100 of the invention is substantially similar to that of the previously disclosed embodiment.

With reference to FIGS. 18, 19, there is illustrated radiant means 60 of the heat-exchange system 100 of the invention.

These radiant means comprise a radiant panel 60 comprising a slab 61 with, for example, a rectangular or square shape, provided on an internal surface 61b, opposite a radiant external surface 61b, of a plurality of elongated ribs or baffles 62 substantially parallel to one another and to a side edge 61c of said plate. The baffles 62 are regularly spaced apart to one another and have, for example, a corrugated and/or rectilinear shape.

Hooking means 63 is provided on said internal surface 61a to enable said radiant panel 60 to be fixed to one or more heat exchanger modules 1.

The hooking means 63 comprises, for example, a plurality of pegs arranged for engaging the cavities 8 provided on the external face 101a of the heat exchangers module 1. The pegs 63 are inserted into respective cavities 8 and are fixed by pressure thereto or by means of interposed glue or another mechanical means.

Alternatively, the hooking means may comprise one or more through holes provided on said plate 61 for the passage of respective fixing screws for fixing to the heat exchanger modules 1.

Further baffles 64 are provided for connecting together a series of aligned pegs 63. The further baffles 64 are parallel to, and are interposed between, the baffles 62. The radiant panel is made of a metal material, in particular the same material used for the heat exchanger modules 1, for example aluminium alloy.

Once fitted on a respective heat exchanger module (FIG. 18), the radiant panel 60, owing to the heat conductivity of the metal, heats rapidly. The baffles 62 and the further baffles 64 form a plurality of channels inside which the air is heated or is cold and through convective motion it is dispersed into the surrounding environment, ensuring a high and efficient heat exchange.

The radiant external surface 61a of the panel also enables heat to be dispersed through radiation.

For this reason, using radiant panels 60 is particularly suitable for applications of the heat-exchange system 100 of the invention that provide for the mounting of a plurality of heat exchanger modules on a substantially vertical walls of rooms. The radiant panels are mounted on the heat exchanger modules so that the baffles 62, 64 are vertical. Each radiant panel 60 is applicable to a respective heat exchanger module or to two or more adjacent and interconnected heat exchanger modules 1.

The external surface 61a of the radiant panel 60 can be decorated at will to match the décor of the room in which the heat-exchange system is inserted.