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Publication numberUS20050200166 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/964,107
Publication dateSep 15, 2005
Filing dateOct 13, 2004
Priority dateMar 9, 2004
Publication number10964107, 964107, US 2005/0200166 A1, US 2005/200166 A1, US 20050200166 A1, US 20050200166A1, US 2005200166 A1, US 2005200166A1, US-A1-20050200166, US-A1-2005200166, US2005/0200166A1, US2005/200166A1, US20050200166 A1, US20050200166A1, US2005200166 A1, US2005200166A1
InventorsKi-Yeong Noh
Original AssigneeKi-Yeong Noh
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vehicle seat with cooling/heating device
US 20050200166 A1
Abstract
Disclosed herein is a vehicle seat with a cooling/heating device. The vehicle seat comprises electric fans respectively equipped in a lower portion of a seat cushion and a rear portion of a seat back to intake indoor air within the vehicle, cushion members respectively provided in the seat cushion and the seat back and formed with air-supply pathways to supply air induced from the seat cushion and the seat back to an upper portion of the seat cushion and to a front portion of the seat back, air-spreading layers respectively layered on an upper portion of the cushion member provided in the seat cushion and on a front portion of the cushion member provided in the seat back to spread air induced through each of the air-supply pathways, heating pads respectively layered on the air-spreading layers, with a heating line disposed therein, and with a plurality of ventilation holes punctured through each of the heating pads between serpentine sections of the heating line along the heating line, and seat covers respectively layered on the heating pads and having a plurality of air discharge openings formed on the surface of the seat cover.
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Claims(9)
1. A vehicle seat including a seat cushion and a seat back with a cooling/heating device, the vehicle seat comprising:
electric fans respectively equipped in a lower portion of the seat cushion and a rear portion of the seat back to intake indoor air within a vehicle into the seat cushion and the seat back;
cushion members respectively provided in the seat cushion and the seat back and formed with air-supply pathways to supply air induced from the seat cushion and the seat back to an upper portion of the seat cushion and to a front portion of the seat back;
air-spreading layers respectively layered on an upper portion of the cushion member provided in the seat cushion and on a front portion of the cushion member provided in the seat back to spread air induced through the air-supply pathways by an area corresponding to at least an area of the vehicle seat contacting the hip and the back of a person seated in the vehicle;
heating pads respectively layered on the air-spreading layers, with a heating line disposed therein to generate heat when electric power is applied to the heating line, and with a plurality of ventilation holes punctured through each of the heating pads between serpentine sections of the heating line along the heating line; and
seat covers respectively layered on the heating pads and having a plurality of air discharge openings formed on the surface of each of the seat covers, through which air supplied through the air-spreading layers and the ventilation holes of the heating pads is discharged.
2. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 1, wherein the electric fans are equipped at the left and right sides of the front side of the lower portion of the seat cushion and at the left and right sides of the rear side of the upper portion of the seat back, respectively, and are controlled to have at least two speeds according to variable speed control by a control switch.
3. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 1, wherein each of the air-spreading layer comprises hexagonal-shaped upper and lower nets with synthetic resin yarns connected between the upper and lower nets in a serpentine shape to provide air permeability and elasticity.
4. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 1, wherein the heating line of each of the heating pads is controlled to have at least two temperature levels according to variable temperature control by a control switch.
5. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 1, wherein a sealing pad is provided between each of the cushion members and each of the air-spreading layers, and has apertures at positions corresponding to the air-supply pathways.
6. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 1, wherein a porous spongy member is positioned between each of the heating pads and each of the seat covers.
7. A vehicle seat including a seat cushion and a seat back with a cooling/heating device, the vehicle seat comprising:
electric fans respectively equipped in a lower portion of the seat cushion and a rear portion of the seat back to intake indoor air within a vehicle into the seat cushion and the seat back;
cushion members respectively provided in the seat cushion and the seat back and formed with air-supply pathways to supply air induced from the seat cushion and the seat back to an upper portion of the seat cushion and to a front portion of the seat back;
air-spreading layers respectively layered on an upper portion of the cushion member provided in the seat cushion and on a front portion of the cushion member provided in the seat back to spread air induced through each of the air-supply pathways by an area corresponding to at least an area of the vehicle seat contacting the hip and the back of a person seated in the vehicle;
heating pads respectively layered on the air-spreading layers, with a heating line disposed therein to generate heat when electric power is applied to the heating line, and with a plurality of ventilation holes punctured through each of the heating pads between serpentine sections of the heating line along the heating line;
seat covers respectively layered on the heating pads and having a plurality of air discharge openings formed on the surface of each of the seat covers, through which air supplied through the air-spreading layers and the ventilation holes of the heating pads is discharged;
an air contamination-detecting sensor to detect a contaminated state of air within the vehicle;
an anion generator to generate anions by applying a high voltage from a high voltage generating part to an anion generating part consisting of a brush-shaped conductive bundle of fibers; and
a controller having an anion generator driving circuit to drive the high voltage generating part when signal data detected by the air contamination-detecting sensor has a value higher than that of reference data previously stored in a memory after comparing the signal data with the reference data.
8. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 7, wherein the anion generating part is equipped to the air-supply pathway.
9. The vehicle seat as set forth in claim 7, wherein the air contamination-detecting sensor is equipped in a space between the seat and a floor of the vehicle.
Description
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority of Korean Patent Application Nos. 2004-6264 filed on Mar. 9, 2004 and 2004-24400 filed on Aug. 26, 2004.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to a vehicle seat with a cooling/heating device, and more particularly to a vehicle seat, which comprises electric fans to blow air into a seat cushion and a seat back, and a heating pad with a heating line disposed in the vehicle seat to generate heat when electric power is applied to the heating line, in order that the vehicle seat can be comfortably and pleasantly employed regardless of season by allowing the vehicle seat to perform a ventilation function to cool a driver or a passenger in the summer and a heating function to warm the driver or the passenger in the winter, thereby allowing the seated driver or passenger to selectively cool (ventilate) or heat the seat, as necessary.
  • [0004]
    In addition to the cooling/heating device, the vehicle seat of the present invention is further equipped with an anion generator to purify air within the vehicle, so that, when ventilating or heating the vehicle seat, purification of air can be performed according to a contaminated state of air within the vehicle, thereby enabling the driver or the passenger to drive the vehicle in a more pleasant state.
  • [0005]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0006]
    Generally, various technologies for a seat heater, which can alleviate coldness of a vehicle seat when seated in the vehicle at an initial time of starting the vehicle in the winter while allowing a driver or a passenger to drive the vehicle or sit in the vehicle in a more comfortable and pleasant state, are well known in the prior art. Furthermore, other technologies for a ventilation seat, which can prevent eczema or inflammation occurring when seated in the vehicle for a long time in the high temperatures and humidity of the summer, are also well known in the prior art.
  • [0007]
    Additionally, a cooling (ventilating)/heating device of the vehicle seat, which can be employed regardless of season by combining the seat heater and the ventilation seat, is also currently employed.
  • [0008]
    However, the cooling/heating device of the vehicle seat according to the prior art, as described above, has problems in that mechanical malfunctions frequently occur due to its highly complicated structure, and in that it is not popularized and is equipped only in luxury vehicles, as an option, due to its high manufacturing costs.
  • [0009]
    As the ion generator, specifically, an anion generator is provided. Due to their health benefits, anion generators are equipped not only in homes but also in vehicles. Vehicular anion generators can be classified into external anion generators, which are equipped within the vehicle while being electrically connected to a lighter jack of the vehicle, and internal anion generators, which are equipped within the vehicle's air conditioner. It is well known that anion generators effectively remove odor, exhaust, cigarette smoke, fine dust, and the like, contained in contaminated air induced into the vehicle, and that, inhalation of air containing a large number of anions helps to relieve fatigue and stress.
  • [0010]
    Meanwhile, conventional anion generators produce a minute amount of ozone in the course of producing the anions, and ozone has a detrimental influence on the body due to its strong oxidizing power. For instance, inhalation of ozone can destroy pulmonary cell structure, thus decreasing respiratory function. Additionally, it can cause DNA mutation, resulting in damage to gene function, and causing cancer. As a result, the conventional anion generators must be further provided with complicated devices for preventing ozone, concomitantly generated by the anion generator, from flowing out with the purified air, thereby complicating the structure of the anion generator, and increasing manufacturing costs of the anion generator.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    The present invention has been made to solve the above problems, and it is an object of the present invention to provide a vehicle seat designed to have a smaller number of more simple components, thereby lowering a possibility of mechanical malfunctions, compared with a conventional cooling/heating device of a vehicle, to have a structure allowing easy installation, thereby allowing easy installation to any kind of vehicle, and to have a heating function in the winter while having a ventilation or cooling function in the summer.
  • [0012]
    It is another object of the present invention to provide a vehicle seat, which is equipped with an anion generator to purify air within the vehicle in addition to the cooling/heating device, so that, when ventilating or heating the vehicle seat, purification of air can be performed according to a contaminated state of air within the vehicle, thereby enabling a person seated in the vehicle, including a driver and a passenger, to drive the vehicle in a more pleasant state.
  • [0013]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the above and other objects can be accomplished by the provision of a vehicle seat including a seat cushion and a seat back with a cooling/heating device, the vehicle seat comprising: electric fans respectively equipped in a lower portion of the seat cushion and a rear portion of the seat back to intake indoor air within a vehicle into the seat cushion and the seat back; cushion members respectively provided in the seat cushion and the seat back and formed with air-supply pathways to supply air induced from the seat cushion and the seat back to an upper portion of the seat cushion and to a front portion of the seat back; air-spreading layers respectively layered on an upper portion of the cushion member provided in the seat cushion and on a front portion of the cushion member provided in the seat back to spread air induced through the air-supply pathways by an area corresponding to at least an area of the vehicle seat contacting the hip and the back of a driver or a passenger seated in the vehicle; heating pads respectively layered on the air-spreading layers, with a heating line disposed therein to generate heat when electric power is applied to the heating line, and with a plurality of ventilation holes punctured through each of the heating pads between serpentine sections of the heating line along the heating line; and seat covers respectively layered on the heating pads and having a plurality of air discharge openings formed on the surface of each of the seat covers, through which air supplied through the air-spreading layers and the ventilation holes of the heating pads is discharged.
  • [0014]
    The electric fans may be equipped at the left and right sides of the front side of the lower portion of the seat cushion and at the left and right sides of the rear side of the upper portion of the seat back, respectively, and may be controlled to have at least two speeds according to variable speed control by a control switch. The heating line of each of the heating pads may be controlled to have at least two temperature levels according to variable temperature control by the control switch.
  • [0015]
    The air-spreading layer may comprise hexagonal-shaped upper and lower nets with synthetic resin yarns connected between the upper and lower nets in a serpentine shape to provide air permeability and elasticity.
  • [0016]
    In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a vehicle seat with a cooling/heating device, further comprising anion generators equipped in the air-supply pathways formed in the cushion member of the seat cushion and of the seat back to produce anions, and an air contamination-detecting sensor to detect a contaminated state of indoor air within the vehicle, such that driving of the anion generator can be automatically controlled by comparing an actual contamination degree detected by the air contamination-detecting sensor with a reference value previously determined in a controller. Accordingly, concurrently with cooling or heating the seat, a large number of anions are contained in the air discharged to the upper portion of the seat cushion and to the front portion of the seat back, thereby purifying indoor air and relieving fatigue of the person seated in the vehicle.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    The foregoing and other objects and features of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a vehicle seat with a cooling/heating device according to the present invention;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2 is a partially cut-away perspective view illustrating the vehicle seat with the cooling/heating device according to the present invention;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the vehicle seat with the cooling/heating device according to the present invention;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 4 is an enlarged view illustrating an air-spreading layer;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram of the cooling/heating device according to the present invention; and
  • [0023]
    FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view illustrating operation of the cooling/heating device according to the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0024]
    Preferred embodiments will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • [0025]
    Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, a vehicle seat including a seat cushion C and a seat back B with a cooling/heating device according to the present invention comprises: electric fans 10 respectively equipped in a lower portion of the seat cushion C and a rear portion of the seat back B to intake indoor air within the vehicle into the seat cushion and the seat back; cushion members 20 respectively provided in the seat cushion C and in the seat back B and formed with air-supply pathways 22 to supply air induced from the seat cushion C and the seat back B to an upper portion of the seat cushion C and to a front portion of the seat back B; air-spreading layers 30 respectively layered on an upper portion of the cushion member 20 provided in the seat cushion C and on a front portion of the cushion member 20 provided in the seat back B to spread air induced through each of the air-supply pathways 22 by an area corresponding to at least an area of the vehicle seat contacting the hip and the back of a person, including a driver and a passenger, seated in a vehicle; heating pads 40 respectively layered on the air-spreading layer 30, with a heating line 42 disposed therein to generate heat when electric power is applied to the heating line 42, and with ventilation holes 44 between serpentine sections of the heating line 42 along the heating line 42 formed on the heating pads 40; and seat covers 50 respectively layered on the heating pads 40 and having a plurality of air discharge openings 52 formed on the surface of the seat cover 50, through which the air supplied through air-spreading layer 30 and the ventilation holes 44 of the heating pads 40 is discharged to the outside.
  • [0026]
    Reference numerals 26 and 28 indicate a net-shaped cover and a sealing pad sequentially provided on the air-supply pathway 22 of the cushion member 20, respectively. Reference numeral 29 indicates apertures penetrating the sealing pad 28, and reference numeral 48 indicates a porous spongy member provided on each of the heating pads 40.
  • [0027]
    The sealing pad 28 is made of a thermally insulating and airtight synthetic rubber material. Accordingly, the sealing pad 28 can prevent air induced by the electric fans 10 from flowing towards the cushion member 20 under the sealing pad 28, and can act as an insulating material for preventing heat generated from the heating pad 40 above the sealing pad 28 from being consumed.
  • [0028]
    The porous spongy member 48 does not prevent the air, having flown through the air-spreading layer 30 and the heating pad 40, from being discharged towards the seat cover 50, while preventing the seat cover 50 and the air-spreading layer 30 from directly contacting each other, thereby preventing damage to the seat cover 50. Additionally, the porous spongy member 48 provides appropriate cushioning to the hip and the back when a person is seated in the vehicle.
  • [0029]
    Each of the electric fans 10 employs a DC motor, which is driven by DC power and does not generate driving noise. The electric fans 10 are preferably provided in pair in the seat cushion C and the seat back B, respectively. Each of the electric fans 10 is provided with a net 12 at a contact portion between the electric fan 10 and the cushion member 20 or the air-spreading layer 30 in order to prevent rotation of the fan from being hindered by the cushion member 20.
  • [0030]
    The cushion member 20 is a typical vehicular cushion. The cushion member 20 is formed with the air-supply pathways 22 at both sides of the front portion of the seat cushion C in the vertical direction, and at both sides of the upper portion of the seat back B in the horizontal direction, such that each of the electric fans 10 corresponds to each of the air-supply pathways 22. Accordingly, air can be supplied from the lower portion of the seat cushion C to the upper portion thereof, and from the rear portion of the seat back B to the front portion thereof.
  • [0031]
    As shown in FIG. 4, each of the air-spreading layers 30 comprises hexagonal-shaped upper and lower nets 32 and 34 with synthetic resin yarns 36 connecting the upper and lower nets 32 and 34 in a serpentine shape, providing air permeability in every direction and an appropriate elasticity so as not to be deformed by the weight of the driver (a weight of a person seated in the vehicle) in the vertical direction.
  • [0032]
    Each of the heating pads 40 is made of non-woven fabrics having a high thermal resistance, and has the heating line 42 laid in a serpentine shape on the non-woven fabrics. As many of the ventilation holes 44 as possible are punctured between serpentine sections of the heating line 42 along the heating line 42 through the heating pad 40 such that air broadly spread in each of the air-spreading layer 30 passes through the heating pad 40 and is then discharged to the outside through each of the seat covers 50 thereon.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating the cooling/heating device according to the present invention. Referring to FIG. 5, when cooling/heating the vehicle seat, electric power is supplied from a power supplier to the heating pads 40 and the electric fans 10, and at this time, a person seated in the vehicle can selectively operate the heating pads 40 or the electric fans 10 by operating a toggle-switch type cooling/heating selection switch 62 provided to a switch box 60. Furthermore, the person seated in the vehicle can control a cooling (ventilating) or heating degree to a desired state by operating a temperature/blowing velocity control switch 64 provided to the switch box 60. A controller 70 is provided with a heating pad output-control circuit 72 and an electric fan velocity-control circuit 74 in order to control the heating pad 40 and the electric fans 10 according to the operation and operating conditions of the switches 62 and 64.
  • [0034]
    Furthermore, the vehicle seat of the present invention further comprises an anion generator 90, and an air contamination-detecting sensor 80 to detect a contaminated state of indoor air within the vehicle. The air contamination-detecting sensor 80 is equipped at an appropriate location within the vehicle, for example, at a space between the seat and the floor of the vehicle as shown in FIG. 3, to detect the contaminated state of indoor air within the vehicle. Signal data generated from the air contamination-detecting sensor 80 is sent to an anion generator driving circuit 76, and is then compared with reference data previously determined in a memory of the driving circuit 76. When the signal data detected by the sensor 80 has a value higher than that of the reference data, that is, when a contamination degree is higher than a reference concentration, a high voltage generating part 92 of the anion generator 90 is operated, causing anions to be emitted from an anion generating part 94. Meanwhile, when the signal data detected by the sensor 80 has a value lower than that of the reference data, that is, when the contamination degree is lower than the reference concentration, the high voltage generating part 92 of the anion generator 90 is stopped.
  • [0035]
    The anion generator driving circuit 76 is primarily controlled with an anion generator behavior-establishing switch 66 in the switch box 60 so that the anion generator driving circuit 76 can be driven, as necessary, thereby allowing energy conservation.
  • [0036]
    The high voltage generating part 92 of the anion generator 90 is preferably constituted together with the controller 70. The anion generating part 94 for discharging the anions may be separately equipped in any of the air-supplying pathways 22 formed in the cushion member 20 of the seat cushion C or of the seat back B, and emits the anions to air intaken from the electric fans 10, so that the air containing a great number of anions can be discharged above the seat cushion C or to the front of the seat back B.
  • [0037]
    The anion generator 90 according to the present invention has the anion generating part 94 consisting of a brush-shaped conductive bundle of fibers, and employs a high voltage supply system of the high voltage generating part 92, which does not generate ozone at all, thereby solving the problem of the conventional anion generator using a spark discharge. The principle and structure of such a non-ozone cluster anion generator is disclosed in detail in Korean Utility Model Registration No. 308262, and the description thereof will be omitted here.
  • [0038]
    Meanwhile, each of the heating pad 40 is equipped with an overload protector 46 comprising a thermistor, not only preventing the heating line from being damaged, but also maintaining the temperature within an appropriate range.
  • [0039]
    With the cooling/heating device according to the present invention constructed as described above, when heating the seat in the winter, first, the toggle-switch type cooling/heating selection switch 62 equipped in the switch box 60 is operated to drive the heating pad 40. Then, as a desired heating temperature is selected by operating the temperature/blowing velocity control switch 64, the heating line 42 of the heating pads 40 generates heat by virtue of electrical resistance, and heats the seat, thereby preventing the person seated in the vehicle from feeling a cold not only at starting but also during driving the vehicle.
  • [0040]
    Furthermore, in the case of high temperatures and humidity in the summer, the cooling/heating selection switch 62 provided to the switch box 60 is operated to drive the electric fans 10. Then, as a desired blowing velocity of the electric fans 10 is selected by operating the temperature/blowing velocity control switch 64, air is taken from the lower portion of the seat cushion C and from the rear portion of the seat back B, and passes through the air-spreading layers 30 while spreading therein. Thereafter, the air passes through the ventilation holes 44 of the heating pad 40, and is blown to the hip and to the back of the person seated in the vehicle, contacting the seat cushion C and the seat back B, respectively, through the air discharge openings 52 of the seat cover 50, thereby cooling the person. As a result, the cooling/heating device allows the person seated in the vehicle to comfortably travel in a pleasant state, and can avoid a cabdriver usually driving the vehicle for a long time from suffering from eczema or inflammation.
  • [0041]
    In addition to the ventilation (cooling)/heating function of the vehicle seat according to the present invention as described above, when the contamination degree of air within the vehicle detected by the air contamination-detecting sensor 80 is higher than the reference degree previously stored in the memory of the anion generator driving circuit 76 in the controller 70, the anion generator automatically produces the anions. At this time, the anions are emitted into the vehicle through the seat cushion C and the seat back B by virtue of the blowing force of the electric fans 10, thereby removing odor, cigarette smoke, exhaust, and the like contained in the contaminated air induced into the vehicle, and helping to relieve fatigue and stress during driving by supplying fresh air to the person seated in the vehicle.
  • [0042]
    As apparent from the description, the vehicle seat with the cooling/heating device according to the present invention comprises the electric fans, the air-spreading layers, the heating pads, and the seat covers having the air discharge openings, so that the person seated in the vehicle can drive the vehicle in a pleasant state in the high temperatures and humidity of the summer or in the low temperatures of the winter by selecting the cooling (ventilating) or the heating function through the selection switch. Furthermore, the small number of components and the simple structure of the vehicle seat with the cooling/heating device according to the present invention reduce manufacturing costs thereof, thereby allowing the vehicle seat with the cooling/heating device to be equipped in any kind of vehicle without economical burden. Additionally, the vehicle seat with the cooling/heating device according to the present invention further comprises the non-ozone cluster anion generator, so that various odors and contaminates, such as cigarette smoke, exhaust, and the like, within the vehicle, can be removed while cooling or heating the seat, and so that fresh air containing a large number of anions can be supplied to the person seated in the vehicle, relieving fatigue and stress during driving.
  • [0043]
    It should be understood that the embodiments and the accompanying drawings as described above have been described for illustrative purposes and the present invention is limited by the following claims. Further, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are allowed without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth in the accompanying claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/180.14
International ClassificationA47C7/72
Cooperative ClassificationB60N2/5678, B60N2/5685, B60N2/5657, B60N2/5642
European ClassificationB60N2/56E, B60N2/56C4T, B60N2/56E2, B60N2/56C4L