Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050061013 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/937,017
Publication dateMar 24, 2005
Filing dateSep 9, 2004
Priority dateSep 10, 2003
Publication number10937017, 937017, US 2005/0061013 A1, US 2005/061013 A1, US 20050061013 A1, US 20050061013A1, US 2005061013 A1, US 2005061013A1, US-A1-20050061013, US-A1-2005061013, US2005/0061013A1, US2005/061013A1, US20050061013 A1, US20050061013A1, US2005061013 A1, US2005061013A1
InventorsRichard Bond
Original AssigneeBond Richard C.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for cooling devices that in use generate unwanted heat
US 20050061013 A1
Abstract
A cooler comprising coils and passageways defined by and between the coils through which ambient air moves, from the inlet of the cooler to the outlet of the cooler, is positioned with its outlet in register with an ambient air inlet for an enclosed space. A device that in use generates heat is positioned within the enclosed space. The enclosed space includes an ambient air inlet and an outlet through which ambient air from the ambient air inlet to the outlet. The cooler is used to cool the ambient air that is immediately forwardly of the ambient air inlet for the enclosed space. An air mover in the enclosed space, or thermal flow, is used for moving the cooled ambient air into the ambient air inlet, through the enclosed space, and out from the outlet of the enclosed space.
Images(5)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(12)
1. For use with an enclosed space that contains at least one device that in use generates heat, and which includes an ambient air inlet and, an outlet in which ambient air moves through the space from the ambient air inlet to the outlet, an ambient air cooler comprising:
an inlet for ambient air, an inner space, an outlet from the inner space, and a device in the inner space that is adapted for removing heat from the ambient air as the ambient air passes through the inner space from the inlet to the outlet;
wherein said cooler is adapted to be positioned with its outlet in register with the ambient air inlet for the enclosed space, so that the ambient air that is moved through the enclosed space is ambient air that has been cooled by the cooler; and
wherein the cooler is adapted to remove heat from the ambient air in an amount sufficient such that while in the enclosed space the cooled ambient air will remove a desired amount of the heat that is generated by the device in the enclosed space.
2. The ambient air cooler of claim 1 in which the cooler has flow through passage ways defined by and between cooling coils and leading from the ambient air inlet of the cooler to the outlet of the cooler.
3. The ambient air cooler of claim 1, comprising a connector for connecting the cooler to the enclosed space substantially immediately in front of the device in the enclosed space that generates heat during its use.
4. The ambient air cooler of claim 3, wherein the cooler includes wheeled base allowing it to be rolled towards and away from the inlet of the enclosed space.
5. For use with an enclosed space that includes a plurality of compartments, each said compartment containing at least one device that in use generates heat, and which includes an ambient air inlet for each compartment, an outlet for each compartment, and in which ambient air moves through the compartment from the inlet of the compartment to the outlet of the compartment, an ambient air cooler comprising:
inlet for ambient air, an inner space, an outlet from the inner space, and the device in the inner space which is adapted for removing heat from the ambient air as the ambient air passes through the inner space from the inlet to the outlet;
wherein said cooler is adapted to be positioned with its outlet in register with ambient air inlet for at least one compartment of the enclosed space, so that the ambient air that is moved through at least one compartment of the enclosed space is ambient air that has been cooled by the cooler; and
wherein the cooler is adapted to remove heat from the ambient air in an amount sufficient such that while in the at least one compartment of the enclosed space the cooled ambient air will remove a desired amount of the heat that is generated by the device in the compartment.
6. The ambient air cooler of claim 5 in which the cooler has flow through passage ways defined by cooling coils and leading from the ambient air inlet of the cooler to the outlet of the cooler.
7. The ambient air cooler of claim 5, comprising a connector for connecting the cooler to the enclosed space substantially immediately in front of the device in the enclosed space that generates heat during its use.
8. The ambient air cooler of claim 7, wherein the cooler includes wheels allowing it to be rolled towards and away from the inlet of the enclosed space.
9. A method of removing heat from a device that in use generates heat, comprising:
positioning the device that in use generates heat inside of an enclosed space that includes an ambient air inlet, an outlet and through which ambient air moves from the ambient air inlet to the outlet;
providing an ambient air cooler that comprises an inlet for ambient air, an inner space, an outlet from the inner space, and a device in the inner space that is adapted for removing heat from the ambient air as the ambient air passes through the inner space from the inlet to the outlet;
positioning the cooler with its outlet in register with the ambient air inlet for the enclosed space, so that the ambient air that is moved through the enclosed space is ambient air that has been cooled by the cooler; and
removing the heat from the ambient air in an amount sufficient so that while it is in the enclosed space the cooled ambient air will remove a desired amount of heat that is generated by the device in the enclosed space.
10. The method of claim 9, comprising providing a cooler that has flow through passageways that are defined by and between cooling coils.
11. The method of claim 9, comprising providing the cooler with a wheeled base and rolling the cooler towards the enclosed space into the position in which the outlet of the cooler is in register with the ambient air inlet of the enclosed space.
12. The method of claim 9, comprising connecting the cooler to the enclosed space after the outlet of the cooler has been put into register with the ambient air inlet of the enclosed space.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims benefit of the filing date of Provisional Application No. 60/501,906, filed Sep. 10, 2003, and entitled Cooling System For Electronic Equipment.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to devices, such as computers, that in use generate unwanted heat making it necessary to cool the devices. More particularly, it relates to a method and apparatus for providing cool ambient air directly in front of the devices that need to be cooled.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Computers are sometimes cooled by cooling the air in the room in which the computers are located. When air is used as the cooling medium, variations in airflow occur, particularly when the heat density rises in a region of the equipment room, or when the absolute heat load approaches the maximum load that the air can handle. In an effort to solve resulting problems, systems have been made in which the devices that heat up are placed inside of a closure and the air inside the enclosure is cooled. These systems have been found to be inadequate when the heat density is above about 8 Kw. None of the existing systems are able to effectively operate in an environment in which the heat density is between about 20 to about 40 Kw. Yet, manufactures are starting to make computer equipment in which that much power exists in the system. Currently, when the heat density is high, the systems are provided with greater floor space and larger air handlers and chillers. This approach has led to the creation of “hot spots” in the equipment. The known systems fail when the power level raises to about 400 watts per square foot, or when the cooling requirements vary substantially in a given space.

When airflow in a single rack approaches about 3,000 cubic feet per minute, and an aisle of about 20 racks approaches 52,000 cubic feet per minute, the conventional systems cannot handle the airflow in a computer room of conventional size. The use of larger rooms is expensive and they are still subject to the airflow problems that are created. These problems include the creation of “hot spots” which are regions in the room that are not sufficiently cooled and in which the devices that generate the heat are adversely affected by the heat. There is a need for a cooling system that avoids the problems of the prior art systems and which eliminates the “hot spots”. A principal object of the present invention is to fulfill this need.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an ambient air cooler for use to cool an enclosed space cabinet that contains at least one device that in use generates heat. The enclosed space has an ambient air inlet, an outlet and a device for moving ambient air through the space from the inlet to the outlet. The cooler has an inlet for ambient air, an inner space, an outlet from the inner space, and a device in the inner space that is adapted for removing heat from the ambient air as the ambient air passes through the inner space from the inlet to the outlet. The cooler is adapted to be positioned with its outlet in register with the ambient air inlet for the enclosed space. As a result, the ambient air that is moved through the enclosed space is ambient air that has been cooled by the cooler. The cooler is adapted to remove heat from the ambient air in an amount sufficient that while in the enclosed space the cooled ambient air will remove a desired amount of the heat that it generated by the device in the enclosed space.

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a cooler is connected to an enclosed space or cabinet substantially immediately in front of the device that generates heat during use. The cooler is preferably a unit that is on wheels so that can be rolled towards and away from the inlet of the enclosed space.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, the enclosed space has a plurality of compartments and each compartment contains at least one device that in use generates heat. Each compartment has an ambient air inlet, an outlet and an air mover for moving ambient air through the compartment from the inlet of the compartment to the outlet of the compartment. By way of example, the air mover can be a fan or pump positioned in the compartment and adapted for moving the air from the inlet to the outlet of the compartment. In this embodiment, the air cooler is smaller than the entire enclosed space. It has an inlet, an inner space, an outlet and a device in the inner space that is adapted for removing heat from the ambient air as the ambient air passes through the inner space from the inlet to the outlet. This cooler is adapted to be positioned with its outlet in register with the ambient air inlet for at least one compartment of the enclosed space. The ambient air that is moved through the at least one compartment of the enclosed space is ambient air that has been cooled by the cooler. The coolers used with compartments in which substantial heat is generated can be provided with a greater cooling capacity than the coolers associated with other compartments in which less heat is generated. By placing the cooler immediately in front of the compartment which requires the most cooling, “hot spots” in the room are avoided. Also, extreme density cooling (about 20 about 50 Kw. per rack or compartment, or more) may be efficiently and effectively performed.

In the system in which the cooler is sized to cool fewer than all of the compartments in the enclosed space, the cooler may be connected to the housing structure that defines the compartment in the enclosed space. The cooler may be connected to the housing in a variety of ways, including by a hinged connection between the cooler and the housing. Suitable seals may be provided where the outlet of the cooler mates with the inlet of the housing in which the device to be cooled is located.

The method and apparatus of the invention can be applied to any environment which includes equipment that needs to be cooled, but it is particularly suited for cooling electrical and electronic devices in hot environments, or where a uniformly cold environment is not possible or desirable. The cooled air is supplied at the required temperature and it is released into the room in which the enclosed space is located so that it can be recirculated through the cooler and reused. Uniform distribution of the cooling air is accomplished without the creation of “hot spots” and separate air moving equipment is not necessary. Each computer or other device that needs to be cooled has its own fan, or the like, for moving air into and through it, from its inlet to its outlet. Additional fans can be used to boost airflow, but the system does not require additional fans when the equipment to be cooled is adapted itself to provide airflow through it.

Other objects, advantages and features of the invention will become apparent from the description of the Best Mode set forth below, from the drawings, from the claim and from the principles that are embodied in the specific structures that are illustrated and described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Like reference numerals are used to designate like parts throughout the several views of the drawing, and:

FIG. 1 is an exploded pictorial view of a cooler spaced from the inlet of an enclosed space that contains a device which in use generates heat;

FIG. 2 is a view like FIG. 1, but showing the cooler attached to the front of the enclosed space that contains the heat generating device or devices;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the assembly shown by FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged scale top plan view of the assembly shown by FIGS. 2 and 3;

FIG. 5 is a view of a modified embodiment in which the enclosed space is composed of a plurality of compartments and the cooler is selectively alignable with each of the compartments; and

FIG. 6 is a diagram of a basic refrigeration system, such view being presented for an understanding of a type of cooler that can be used in the system of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-4 show an enclosed space 10 that is within a housing or cabinet 12. The enclosed space 10 and the housing 12 have an inlet 14, an outlet 16 and an air mover 18 for moving ambient air through the space 10 from the inlet 14 to the outlet 16. The enclosed space 10 also includes at least one device 20 that in use generates heat. In FIG. 1, the housing or cabinet 12 may be a standard computer housing or may be a rack of computer components, or similar equipment. At least some of the computer components generate heat when they are in use.

A cooler 22 is provided for cooling ambient air at a location immediately forwardly of the inlet 14. Any device that can cool a fluid can be used forwardly of the inlet 14. In the embodiments shown by FIGS. 1-4, the cooler 22 is located within a housing 24 that is connectable to the housing 12, in the manner shown by FIGS. 2-4. By way of example, one or more hinges 26 may be provided along one rear corner boundary of the cooler 22, for connecting it to the adjacent front corner boundary 28 of the housing 12. The second rear corner boundary 30 on the cooler 24 may be connected by a latch mechanism to the second forward corner boundary 32 on the housing 12. In some embodiments, the housing 12 includes wheels 34 and the cooler 22 includes wheels 36. This allows the cooler 22 to be easily moved towards and away from the inlet end 14 of housing 12.

When the cooler 22 is positioned immediately in front of the enclosed space 10, with its outlet in register with the inlet of the housing 12, “hot spots” are avoided and extreme density cooling (e.g. about 20 to about 50 Kw. per rack, or more) may be efficiently and effectively performed. Heat in the ambient air is removed from ambient air by an evaporator E, lowering the temperature of the air that flows through the cooler 22. Flexible or tubing in the cooler 22 with a condenser C that is associated with the cooler 22. A seal may be provided by connect these peripheries of the cooler outlet 38 and the housing inlet 14. The peripheries are generally aligned and the cooler 22 is moved against the housing 12 and then the cooler 22 and the housing 12 are connected together. FIG. 1 shows the cooler 22 spaced from the inlet 14 of the housing 12. FIG. 2 shows the cooler 22 coupled to the housing 12. The ambient air outwardly of the cooler 22 must pass through the cooler 22 in order to reach the inlet 14 of the housing 12. While inside the cooler 22, in the passageways that are defined by and between the evaporator tubing T in the cooler 22, heat is extracted from the ambient air, lowering its temperature. It is this cooled air that is drawn into the housing 12 by the fan or other air mover 18 (FIG. 4). By way of typical example, the rear wall of the housing 12 may include opening 16 that together define an outlet for the interior of the housing 12. The air exhausting through the outlet 16 may be released into the room in which the enclosure 12 is located.

FIG. 5 shows a larger enclosed space 10 divided into compartments 40, 42, 44, 46, 48. In this embodiment, the cooler 22 is sized to connect to one or more but not all of the compartments 40, 42, 44,46, 48. In FIG. 5, the cooler 22 is shown sized to match up with a single compartment. The cooler 22 is moved into a position in front of the compartment that requires its service in cooling the ambient air that will be drawn into and through the compartment, over the device in the compartment that needs to be cooled.

Referring to FIG. 3, the dimension a may typically be about 4 inches to about 8 inches. The dimension b may typically be about 30 inches to about 38 inches. The dimension c may typically be about 70 inches to about 120 inches. Referring to FIG. 4, the dimension d may typically be about 14 inches to about 24 inches. However, these dimensions are all variable.

FIG. 6 is a diagram of the basic components of one type of cooler 22. Tubing T in the cooler 22 defines the evaporator E through which the coolant flows. As shown by FIG. 6, in a typical system, an endless path 50 includes an evaporator E, a compressor CP, a condenser C and an expansion valve EV. A liquid coolant under low pressure enters into the evaporator E at low pressure. Heat is removed from the ambient air in the evaporator E. The liquid becomes a vapor at low pressure. The compressor CP compresses the vapor to make it a vapor at high pressure. The high pressure vapor enters the condenser C and expels heat at high pressure. The fluid becomes a liquid under high pressure. This liquid flows through the expansion valve EV where it again becomes a low pressure liquid. Coolers of this basic construction are quite well known and therefore further details of the cooler are not disclosed.

The illustrated embodiments are only examples of the present invention and, therefore, are non-limitive. It is to be understood that many changes in the particular structure, materials and features of the invention may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, it is my intention that my patent rights not be limited by the particular embodiments that are illustrated and described herein, but rather are to be determined by the following claims, interpreted according to excepted doctrines of claim interpretation, including use of the Doctrine of Equivalents.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7457116 *Dec 27, 2006Nov 25, 2008Intel CorporationMethod and system to cool memory
US7477514 *May 4, 2007Jan 13, 2009International Business Machines CorporationMethod of facilitating cooling of electronics racks of a data center employing multiple cooling stations
US7660117Aug 7, 2008Feb 9, 2010Cooligy Inc.Deformable duct guides that accommodate electronic connection lines
US7660121 *Nov 20, 2008Feb 9, 2010International Business Machines CorporationSystem of facilitating cooling of electronics racks of a data center employing multiple cooling stations
US7746634 *Aug 7, 2008Jun 29, 2010Cooligy Inc.Internal access mechanism for a server rack
US8425287 *Jan 23, 2008Apr 23, 2013Schneider Electric It CorporationIn-row air containment and cooling system and method
US8587941 *May 28, 2009Nov 19, 2013Bull SasComputer bay cooling device and computer equipment comprising same
US8701746Mar 13, 2008Apr 22, 2014Schneider Electric It CorporationOptically detected liquid depth information in a climate control unit
US8947879 *Dec 16, 2011Feb 3, 2015Smartcube, LlcPortable computer server enclosure
US8953316 *Dec 1, 2011Feb 10, 2015Lenovo Enterprise Solutions (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.Container-based data center having greater rack density
US20080180908 *Jan 23, 2008Jul 31, 2008Peter WexlerIn-row air containment and cooling system and method
US20110103009 *May 28, 2009May 5, 2011Audrey Julien-RouxComputer bay cooling device and computer equipment comprising same
US20120075806 *Dec 1, 2011Mar 29, 2012Wormsbecher Paul AContainer-based data center having greater rack density
US20120155027 *Dec 16, 2011Jun 21, 2012Broome John PPortable computer server enclosure
EP1662851A2 *Nov 7, 2005May 31, 2006Liebert Hiross S.p.A.Conditioning apparatus particularly for racks for electrical, electronic, telecommunications instruments or the like
Classifications
U.S. Classification62/259.2
International ClassificationH05K7/20, G06F1/20, G06F1/18, F25D11/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06F1/183, H05K7/20827, F25D11/003, G06F1/20, F25D2400/38
European ClassificationG06F1/18S, G06F1/20, H05K7/20S30D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 10, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WASHINGTON, UNIVERSITY OF, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BOND, RICHARD C.;REEL/FRAME:017548/0283
Effective date: 20041209