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Publication numberUS20060185931 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/346,719
Publication dateAug 24, 2006
Filing dateFeb 2, 2006
Priority dateFeb 4, 2005
Also published asEP1849339A2, EP1849339A4, US7549505, WO2006084274A2, WO2006084274A3
Publication number11346719, 346719, US 2006/0185931 A1, US 2006/185931 A1, US 20060185931 A1, US 20060185931A1, US 2006185931 A1, US 2006185931A1, US-A1-20060185931, US-A1-2006185931, US2006/0185931A1, US2006/185931A1, US20060185931 A1, US20060185931A1, US2006185931 A1, US2006185931A1
InventorsMaher Kawar
Original AssigneeKawar Maher S
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Acoustic noise reduction apparatus for personal computers and electronics
US 20060185931 A1
Abstract
An acoustic noise reduction accessory apparatus attachable or made integral to a personal computer or other electronics equipment. The apparatus reduces acoustic noise emitted from the rear of the computer and in particular reduces the acoustic noise from circulating fans. The apparatus comprises an acoustic barrier or shielding member. The barrier is shaped in various forms externally of the computer or integrally extending from the back of the computer around one or more fans of the computer; the acoustic barrier member allows for minimum airflow reduction. Acoustic absorbing material is layered upon the acoustic barrier and may be combined with vibration absorbing material. The barrier may be shaped from solid or flexible members to accommodate different sized electronics and formed to include baffles and structures to direct airflow while absorbing noise; and may be made adjustable by one or more slidable members. The apparatus is easily assembled and collapsible for storage.
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Claims(20)
1. An apparatus for acoustic noise reduction of noise generated by one or more fans of an electronic device comprising:
a removably adjustable acoustic barrier member externally attached to the electronic device around the one or more fans, the barrier member having an inner surface;
acoustic absorbing material attached to the inner surface of the barrier member;
a means for stabilizing the barrier member to the electronic device; wherein the barrier member is adjustable to a width of the device and attached to the device such that airflow loss from the one or more fans is negligible.
2. The apparatus according claim 1, wherein the barrier member is constructed from material selected from a group consisting of metals, plastics, composites, rubbers, ceramics, metal filled rubber, wood, processed wood, leather, vinyl, and combinations thereof.
3. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the acoustic absorbing material is selected from a group consisting of foam, fiberglass, batting material, open-cell melamine foams, polyurethanes, urethanes, thermoplastics, and combinations thereof.
4. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a vibration absorbing material attached to the inner surface of the barrier member, wherein the vibration absorbing material comprises high performance damping material.
5. The apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the vibration absorbing material comprises a high performance damping material selected from a group consisting of polyurethanes, urethanes, thermoplastics, damping foams and combinations thereof.
6. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the stabilizing means is selected from a group consisting of adhesives, tapes, Velcro, adjustable straps, magnets, weight of the barrier member and combinations thereof.
7. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the electronic device is a personal computer and the barrier is attached to a tower chassis of the personal computer.
8. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member extends around the rear of the device and continues to extend substantially along one or more of the longest sides of the device in a horizontal direction and wherein the barrier does not extend completely to a base of the device.
9. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member comprises two or more panels, wherein two of the panels overlap at a top surface of the device and continue to extend over a left and a right side of the device.
10. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member further comprises one or more door members connected to one or more edges of the barrier member for further acoustic noise reduction.
11. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member further comprises one or more horizontal or vertical baffling partitions, and wherein acoustic absorbing material is disposed on one or more surfaces of the partitions.
12. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member further comprises a baffle spaced away from the one or more fans, the baffle having a box configuration comprising a plurality of openings throughout the baffle.
13. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member comprises three integral sections for attaching to a top surface and two side surfaces of the device while extending out from the device, past the one or more fans;
wherein a middle section of the barrier member rests on the top surface of the device and a left section and right section of the barrier member is attached to the side surfaces of the device;
wherein the sections in contact with the surfaces of the device are disposed with vibration absorbing material and the sections extending out from the device are disposed with acoustic absorbing material; and
wherein the barrier member is constructed of a flexible or solid acoustic material.
14. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the barrier member comprises two or more adjustable and slidably connected sections for adjusting a width of the barrier member to a width of the device and for adjusting the barrier member to localize around the one or more fans.
15. An acoustic noise reduction apparatus for reducing noise generated by one or more fans of a computer tower comprising:
a removably adjustable acoustic barrier member externally attached to a rear of a chassis of the computer tower around the one or more fans, the barrier member having an inner surface;
acoustic absorbing material attached to the inner surface of the barrier member;
a means for attaching the barrier member to the computer tower chassis; wherein the barrier member is adjustable to a width of the computer chassis and attached to the chassis such that airflow is substantially unobstructed and airflow loss from the one or more fans is negligible.
16. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the barrier member comprises two or more adjustable and slidably connected sections for adjusting a width of the barrier member to a width of the device and for adjusting the barrier member to localize around the one or more fans.
17. The apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the barrier member further comprises one or more horizontal or vertical baffling partitions, and wherein acoustic absorbing material is disposed on one or more surfaces of the partitions.
18. An acoustic noise reduction apparatus for reducing noise generated by one or more fans of a computer tower comprising:
a removably adjustable acoustic barrier member externally attached to a rear of a chassis of the computer tower around the one or more fans, the barrier member further comprising a plurality of removable sections, including a firm cantilever section and one or more flexible side sections, wherein each section having an inner surface;
at least one pair of guide rails disposed on the cantilever section for a side section to slide into for adjusting the positioning of a side section to a width of the computer chassis;
acoustic absorbing material attached to the inner surface of the barrier member sections;
a means for attaching the barrier member sections to the computer tower chassis;
wherein the barrier member sections are attached to the chassis such that airflow from the one or more fans is redirected and airflow loss is negligible.
19. The apparatus according to claim 18, wherein the barrier member sections are collapsible and stackable for transport.
20. The apparatus according to claim 18, further comprising a vibration absorbing material attached to the inner surface of one or more of the barrier member sections, wherein the vibration absorbing material comprises high performance damping material.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Applications Nos. 60/650,431, filed Feb. 4, 2005, and 60/723,796, filed Oct. 5, 2005, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUD OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is related to acoustic noise reduction of electronic equipment. In particular, the present invention is related to acoustic noise reduction of fan noise emitted from personal computers and other electronic equipment with negligible air flow reduction from the fans.

2. Background Art

Computers and other electronic equipment which utilize air circulating or cooling fans and other devices are known to generate noise. The noise, in general, emitted from the rear of a personal computer and from such fans can be an annoying feature, bringing about a desire to minimize such noise. Previous solutions have attempted to create lower noise generating fans for installation on computers and other equipment. However, such lower noise replacement fans are inconvenient to attach, requiring tools and extra pieces such as screws or bolts. Disassembly of the computer or the equipment is also often needed for attachment of such replacement devices. Once installed, it would be inconvenient to remove as it requires further time and tools for removal. Other techniques include installing an external device, such as a “PC hood” made of a plastic part, onto the backs of PC's to cover the fans. However, such a system requires too much of a reduction in airflow rate and air pressure of the fans. In addition, such external devices require tools and do not lend themselves easily to disassembly or adaptability to different sized electronic equipment.

Therefore, there is a need for an acoustic noise reducing apparatus to reduce noise generated by fans without significantly minimizing the necessary airflow from the fans. There is also a need for a quick assembling apparatus to reduce fan acoustic noise which does not require tools or extra pieces to assemble; which can accommodate different sizes of electronic equipment and which can be easily transported.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

It is accordingly a principle object of one aspect of the present invention to reduce acoustic noise generated by fans associated with personal computers, PCs, and other electronic devices. A further object of the present invention is to provide for minimal to negligible airflow reduction along with reducing the temperature behind the electronic device. Another object of other aspects of the invention is to provide an acoustic reduction or silencer accessory apparatus that is attached to electronic equipment very quickly and easily, for instance in about 90 seconds or less; that attaches externally of the equipment in a very short amount of time without the need to power off or disassemble anything on the electronic equipment.

Other objects of other aspects of the present invention is to provide for an adjustable fitting apparatus to accommodate different widths and sizes of computers; to provide for a reusable apparatus that can accommodate different and upgraded PCs to avoid purchase of any new devices when a new PC is purchased; to provide for a apparatus that installs without other pieces or tools; to provide for a apparatus that is easily transported, and can be recyclable and environment friendly.

Still further objects will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an embodiment of the present invention, there is an acoustic noise reduction accessory apparatus which is attachable or made integral to a personal computer or other electronic equipment. The apparatus can be attached along with a low acoustic noise fan, as the apparatus will further reduce the acoustic noise emitted from the fan. The apparatus reduces acoustic noise emitted from the rear of the computer in general and in particular reduces the acoustic noise from the circulating fans.

The apparatus allows for the airflow rate to be maintained, avoiding a 90-degree turn of airflow and therefore providing for virtually no reduced airflow rate. For some embodiments of the invention there are provided configurations of the apparatus where the airflow will need to be either turned or restricted to some minimal amount but resulting in only minimal airflow reduction. The apparatus installs in short amount of time, for example 90 seconds or less, without tools, bolts or screws and is adjustable to different sizes.

In an embodiment of the present invention, the apparatus comprises an acoustic barrier or shield member. The barrier is shaped in various forms externally of the computer or integrally extending from the back portion of the computer around the one or more fans of the computer; the acoustic barrier member allows for minimum to negligible airflow reduction by leaving air pathways from the fans. In addition, in the present embodiment, there is acoustic absorbing material layered upon the acoustic barrier and may be combined with vibration absorbing material in various forms and shapes. The barrier may be shaped to accommodate different sized electronics and formed to include baffles and structures to direct airflow while absorbing noise. Temperatures in the back of the PC can also be reduced using baffles.

In further embodiments, the apparatus may be made adjustable by one or more slidable members. In yet another embodiment, the apparatus is adjustable by the material and shape used for the acoustic barrier. The apparatus is adjustable for different widths of the tower chassis of personal computers and/or the positioning of the fans.

The apparatus installs without the need for disassembly and reassembly of a PC system nor does it require disconnection of any equipment cables. The apparatus simply attaches to the external part of existing personal computer or electronics without tools or extra pieces. Furthermore, the apparatus may be removed from the equipment easily and minimized or collapsed for transporting or storing the apparatus, thus saving on space and costs. In addition, components of the apparatus may be manufactured from recyclable materials.

These and other embodiments of the present invention are further made apparent, in the remainder of the present document, to those of ordinary skill in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to more fully describe embodiments of the present invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings. These drawings are not to be considered limitations in the scope of the invention, but are merely illustrative.

Figures

FIG. A1 shows an isometric view of the apparatus separate from a computer prior to attachment, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. A2 is an isometric view of FIG. A1 with the apparatus assembled to the back of the computer, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer illustrating an extension from the rear of the computer, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer illustrating a semi-circular structure, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer illustrating a semi-circular structure and extending along the sides of the computer, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer illustrating a semi-circular structure according to another embodiment of the present invention

FIG. 6 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 shows the apparatus of FIG. 6 fully opened, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer illustrating the apparatus extending to the bottom of the computer, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 shows a back view of the apparatus of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus assembled onto a computer, extending to the bottom of the computer, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus assembled onto a computer, illustrating noise absorbing plates, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 b shows a back view of the apparatus of FIG. 11 a.

FIG. 12 a shows an isometric view a configuration of the apparatus assembled onto a computer, illustrating a reflector partially covering the end opening of the apparatus, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 b shows an isometric back view of the apparatus of FIG. 12 a.

FIG. 13 shows an isometric view of the apparatus made integral to a computer, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 b shows an exploded isometric view of the apparatus of FIG. 14 a.

FIG. 14 c shows a back view of the apparatus of FIG. 14 a.

FIG. 15 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 b shows a partial top cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 15 a, taken at the 15 b line.

FIG. 15 c shows an exploded isometric view of the apparatus of FIG. 15 a.

FIG. 16 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer, illustrating a slide rail structure, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 b shows a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 16 a.

FIG. 17 a shows an isometric exploded view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer, illustrating a slide rail structure, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 17 b shows a detail side view of the detail 17 b of FIG. 17 a.

FIG. 17 c shows a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 17 a, through the cantilevered piece.

FIG. 18 shows an isometric view of the apparatus made integral to a computer, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 19 b shows a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 19 a.

FIG. 20 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 20 b shows a side view of the apparatus of FIG. 20 a.

FIG. 21 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 21 b shows a top view of the apparatus of FIG. 20 b.

FIG. 21 c shows a front view of the apparatus of FIG. 20 a with the apparatus open and extended.

FIG. 21 d shows a partial top view of the apparatus in FIG. 21 c with the apparatus open and extended.

FIG. 22 a shows an isometric view of a configuration of the apparatus as it is assembled onto a computer according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 22 b shows a back view of the apparatus of FIG. 22 a.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

The description above and below and the drawings of the present document focus on one or more currently preferred embodiments of the present invention and also describe some exemplary optional features and/or alternative embodiments. The description and drawings are for the purpose of illustration and not limitation. Those of ordinary skill in the art would recognize variations, modifications, and alternatives. Such variations, modifications, and alternatives are also within the scope of the present invention. Section titles are terse and are for convenience only.

REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 5 acoustic noise reduction apparatus
  • 10 acoustic barrier (shield)
  • 20 acoustic absorbing material
  • 30 vibration absorbing material
  • 40 Velcro
  • 50 double sided tape
  • 60 acoustic absorbing material plates
  • 70 hard base material
  • 80 straps
  • 90 high friction vibration absorption material
  • 95 wall
  • 100 PC or any electronic device
  • 110 fans
  • 120 door—barrier
  • 130 hinges
  • 140 slide or guide rails
  • 160 side panel Velcro
  • 200 solid cantilever piece
  • 210 flexible composite piece
  • 220 composite piece

There are different types of attachments which can be used in the various embodiments of the apparatus 5 for attachment to an electronic device or personal computer (PC) which comprise: double sided tape 50; Velcro 40, stretch straps or adjustable straps 80 which wrap around the PC; magnets; the weight of the apparatus 5 itself; and other appropriate attachment means.

In a preferred embodiment, the Acoustic Noise Reduction (ANR) apparatus 5 comprises acoustic reflecting material 10 having an inner surface upon which acoustic absorbing material 20 is placed. Acoustic reflecting material 10 will also be referred to as acoustic (noise) barrier, reflector or shielding interchangeably. Acoustic (sound) absorbing material 20 will also be referred to as acoustic noise reduction material interchangeably.

In addition, vibration absorbing material 30 may be placed on the inside surface of the acoustic reflecting material 10. The materials may be attached to each other by double sided adhesive tape 50 or bonding material. The sound or acoustic absorption material 20 may be attached to the apparatus by any known method such as sewing, adhesive, bonding, clipping or any other of several commonly known methods.

Reflecting material 10 or other parts of the apparatus which are positioned on the sides of the PC may include vibration absorbing materials 30 or acoustic absorbing materials 20. Acoustic absorbing materials 20 are placed on the back, fans side, of the PC. Where there are acoustic absorbing materials 20 there will be acoustic reflecting material 10 (also referred to as shielding). Such acoustic reflectors or shielding 10 may be commonly referred to as acoustic barriers 10. Naturally, the more the acoustic reflecting material 10 weighs per square unit area, the better a barrier it can be. Other possible acoustic reflecting (or shielding) materials 10 comprise: sheet metal or other metal types; plastics; rubber; copper or metal filled rubber; wood; processed wood; leather; vinyl; and any other acoustic reflecting (shielding) material or combination of the above mentioned materials.

The acoustic absorbing material 20, may be selected from materials comprising: foam, fiberglass, rubber, batting material, open-cell melamine foams, polyurethanes, urethanes, thermoplastics, and any other type of acoustic absorbing material or combination of the above mentioned materials. This absorbing material 20 may have a variety of surface textures and contours. The absorbing material 20 may have a shape other than a flat surface on the inside of the shielding 10 where the absorption takes place. Such surfaces may be in the form of triangular wedges (horizontal or vertical or a combination of this), pyramids, semi-dome and valley shapes; which may be in a repetitive geometric shape. Such a surface may also be in the shape of totally random hills and valleys such as those similar to landscape or iceberg hills and valleys.

Vibration absorbing material 30 is a material with high performance damping characteristics. The vibration absorbing material 30 may comprise polyurethanes, urethanes, thermoplastics and other damping materials such as damping foams and combinations thereof.

The acoustic absorbing material 20 reduces the acoustic noise by absorbing it as a sponge absorbs a liquid. It reduces the noise by transforming the air pressure waves of the noise into vibration energy and in turn transforming this energy into heat energy thus dissipating part of the sound (noise level). The acoustic reflector 10 functions to reflect the sound back to the acoustic absorbing materials 20 for further noise reduction by absorption in the acoustic absorption material 20. Some acoustic noise will escape this second absorption process, back into the atmosphere, and will be reflected to the wall on the other side of the acoustic reflector 10 and the same process will take place again. This acoustic noise energy will continue to be reflected back and forth, losing energy with each reflection, until it leaves the apparatus through the openings at a reduced acoustic noise level.

Acoustic noise is generated in all directions from the fans. Some of the embodiments of the present invention are structured to 1) encompass the fan(s) with noise absorption materials, but yet allowing enough air passage ways for minimal air flow loss; and 2) encompass the fan(s) in the form of a “cylinder”, “box”, or the like with both ends open to minimize air flow loss, with acoustic absorbing materials surrounding the air flow, thus minimizing the air flow loss. As the acoustic noise is generated from the fans 110 in all possible directions it will be absorbed by the acoustic absorbing materials 20 in its pathway to the sides of the airflow. This process is illustrated in FIG. A1 and FIG. A2. This acoustic absorption process occurs by first the noise penetrating the acoustic absorption material 20 and losing some of its energy. The remaining acoustic noise energy is reflected back to the acoustic noise absorption material 20 and more acoustic energy is lost. This acoustic noise energy will continue to be reflected back and forth, losing energy with each reflection, until it leaves the apparatus 5 through the openings at a more reduced acoustic noise level. The embodiments of the present invention are configured for assembly on the back of PCs, or other electronic devices, where the fans are located.

FIG. 1 shows the apparatus covering the majority of the sides of the PC 100 and extends (cantilevers over) beyond the back of the PC 100. This configuration has a cross sectional shape of an upside down U. There is acoustic noise reduction material 20 on the inside of the apparatus 5 in the section beyond the back (not shown). There may either be vibration reduction 30 or acoustic noise reduction material 20 between the sides of the PC and the apparatus. This configuration is attached to the PC from the top and sides and sits off the ground.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of the apparatus 5, extending beyond the back of the PC 100. This configuration of the apparatus does not cover the sides of the PC as in FIG. 1 above. This configuration has a cross sectional shape of an upside down U. There is an acoustic noise reduction material 20 on the inside of the apparatus in the section beyond the back (not shown). This configuration is attached to the PC from the top and sides and sits off the ground.

FIG. 3 shows a configuration of the apparatus 5 as a semicircular shape attached to the sides and cantilevers over the back. It extends higher than the top of the PC 100. The top and bottom of the apparatus are open for airflow. This embodiment does not cover the sides of the PC. The apparatus is made of all flexible materials or substantially all flexible materials to be bent to a shape by the user. This configuration is attached to the PC from the top and sides and sits off the ground.

FIG. 4 shows a configuration of an apparatus 5 similar to the one in FIG. 3. The configuration of FIG. 4 illustrates the apparatus 5 wherein the sides of the PC 100 are covered with either sound or vibration absorbing materials 20, 30, for more acoustic reduction. The apparatus is made of all flexible materials or substantially all flexible materials to be bent to shape by the user. This configuration is attached to the PC from the top and sides and sits off the ground.

In FIG. 5, high friction vibration absorption material 90 is fixed to the inside bottom of the sheet metal and it holds the apparatus onto the PC by interference fit and friction. Material 90 is fixed to the apparatus by bonding, double sided tape or sheet metal bending. This configuration is manufactured of a flexible hard material for the outside noise reflecting material 10. Examples of such flexible hard material is steel or plastic. The apparatus of this embodiment is configured as a one piece that will wrap around the PC for an interference fit. The ends will be some type of high friction vibration absorption material 90 with friction to help hold the apparatus onto the PC. Material 90 is flexible enough to fit different standard widths but yet has enough force caused by the interference fit and friction to hold it to the PC and preferably without any other type of attachment devices. Acoustic noise reduction material 20 will be on the inside of this apparatus. This configuration is attached to the PC from the top and sides and sits off the ground.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of the apparatus 5 engaged with a PC 100, in which the apparatus covers the majority of the sides and extends (cantilevers over) beyond the back of the PC. This configuration has a cross sectional shape of an upside down U. This embodiment shows three panels of the barrier 10 which may be integrally a part of the barrier 10 or connected to each other by attachments means. This configuration is made of all 10 flexible material for adjusting to different PC widths and also for folding for cheaper shipping costs. There is an acoustic noise reduction material on the inside of the apparatus in the section beyond the back. There may either be vibration reduction or acoustic noise reduction between the sides of the PC and the apparatus. This configuration is attached to the PC from the top and sides and sits off the ground.

The apparatus of FIG. 6 is shown in FIG. 7 which illustrates the apparatus 5 unfolded and laying flat on its outside, with the inner surface exposed. Sections of the apparatus 5 are made of a flexible material to bend around the edges of the PC or device. In one embodiment, the entire outside barrier 10 is made of a flexible material such as rubber. In another embodiment, only the sections which need to bend are made of a flexible material. These sections of flexible material are shown in FIG. 7 in between the segments with the vibration absorption material 30. Hard material 70 provides structural strength and helps maintain the shape of the flexible apparatus. Material 70 is placed on the top area of the PC and is affixed to the PC. It holds the weight and maintains the shape of the back, behind the fans, cantilevered end of the apparatus.

FIG. 8 shows a configuration of the apparatus 5 similar to the configuration in FIG. 2. FIG. 8 illustrates how the weight of the apparatus 5 sits on the floor. The apparatus 5 has a slot at the bottom for cables and is made of two separate pieces of acoustic barrier 10, making it adjustable for different PC widths.

FIG. 9 shows the cross section of the apparatus 5 shown in FIG. 8. It shows the acoustic absorption material as well as the acoustic reflecting material on its outside. These materials overlap so that they can be adjusted for different PC widths.

FIG. 10 shows a configuration of an apparatus the 5 which is similar to the one of FIG. 1. The apparatus 5 of FIG. 10 is turned 90 degrees and sits on its end on the same surface the PC 100 sits on. The apparatus 5 has a slot at the bottom for cable outlet. Although not shown to be adjustable, the apparatus 5 can be made from two pieces of acoustic barrier 10 and made adjustable as in the apparatus 5 of FIG. 8 above.

FIG. 11 a shows a configuration of an apparatus 5 similar to the one in FIG. 1. The apparatus of FIG. 11 a illustrates two added horizontal acoustic absorption plates 60 placed in the back. These plates further enhance the acoustic absorption of the apparatus 5. In FIG. 11 b, acoustic absorbing material plates 60 comprise acoustic absorbing material 20 located in a horizontal position in the back of the apparatus. Plates 60 may or may not have reflecting material 10 incorporated. Plates 60 are fixed to the vertical sides of the apparatus 5 by either Velcro 40, sewed on, bonded onto the sides or other equivalent attachment means.

FIG. 12 a shows an apparatus 5 similar to the one in FIG. 1. The apparatus of FIG. 12 a comprises an added vertical acoustic absorption plate 60 placed at the end opening of the apparatus. The plate may be attached by means described above in relation to the plates 60 in FIG. 11, or can be made integral to the acoustic barrier 10.

FIG. 12 b shows an isometric view of the apparatus 5 of FIG. 12 a, with acoustic noise reduction material 20 and also the vertical plate 60 placed at the end of the apparatus 5.

FIG. 13 shows a configuration of an apparatus 5 similar to the one in FIG. 2. The apparatus shown in FIG. 13 is built into the sheet metal of the chassis of the PC 100. The acoustic noise reduction material 20 is placed on the inside of the apparatus 5.

FIG. 14 a shows an apparatus 5 which covers some of the sides of the PC 100 and extends (cantilevers over) beyond the back of the PC 100. This configuration has a cross sectional shape of an upside down U. There is an acoustic noise reduction material 20 on the inside of the apparatus 5 in the section beyond the back of the PC 100. There may either be vibration reduction 30 or acoustic noise reduction material 20 between the sides of the PC 100 and the acoustic barrier 10. The apparatus 5 is attached to the PC from the top and both sides and sits off the ground. The apparatus 5 has the features of:

  • 1) adjusting for different widths of a personal computer chassis as the apparatus slides through slide or guide rails 140 as shown in FIG. 14 b where the acoustic barriers 10 are adjustable for fitting atop a personal computer chassis;
  • 2) collapsible by the hinges 130 for compact storage and shipping;
  • 3) comprising a door 120 providing further acoustic reduction and may be opened or closed during use as shown in FIG. 14 c.

The apparatus 5 may be assembled using components made of plastic material, acrylic material, combinations thereof, or other suitable material along with an adhesive to attach the different components. These components include the hinges 130, the sides, the top, the rails 140, and the back door 120. The components may also be manufactured using injection molded or thermoformed plastic. The acoustic absorption materials 20 may be attached using a double sided tape 50, special adhesive, or the acoustic absorption material 20 may be manufactured with double sided adhesive already attached to it. As shown in the back view of the apparatus 5 of FIG. 14 c, the door 120 may include acoustic absorbing material 20 on the inside surface of the door 120. The apparatus may be attached to the personal computer chassis using Velcro 40 or other similar attachment means.

FIG. 15 a shows an apparatus 5 which is similar to the one of FIG. 14 a with the exception of the configuration of the back doors 120. The apparatus 5 has two or more overlapping doors 120 but yet with a gap between the doors 120 for an air passage from the fans 110, as shown in the top cross sectional view of FIG. 15 b. These doors 120 pivot on hinges 130 and facilitate the reduction of acoustic noise. Doors 120 may have acoustic absorbing material 20 on the surfaces facing the fans. These doors 120 may be positioned as shown or moved to hang on the opposite sides such that the airflow path is first straight out then turns in the right hand direction thereby leaving a larger space from the fans to the outermost door 120. This apparatus is adjustable for different personal computer widths and is also collapsible. The acoustic barriers 10 are made adjustable along slide rails 140 and collapsible by hinges 130 as shown in FIG. 15 c. The doors 120 can bend all the way back, 270 degrees to become flush and parallel to the side walls of the acoustic barrier 10. The top parts or top panels of the acoustic barrier 10 which are hinged 130 to the side parts of the acoustic barrier 10 and which slide over one another at the top, are also bendable 90 degrees downward when collapsed for disassembly allowing for ease of storage or shipping at lower costs.

FIG. 16 a shows an apparatus 5 which is adjustable in width from both sides. There are two members of acoustic barrier material 10 of both sides which are placed on slide rails 140 and slide to the outside for width adjustment. The two members of acoustic barrier 10 comprise slides at the top surface of a hard base material 70 connected to the barrier 10, which hang on the slide rails 140 provided on the inside surface of the top cantilevered piece 200. Hard base material 70 may be made of plastic, or any other solid material. The two members of acoustic barrier 10 comprise flexible composite side pieces 210. The air escapes through the gap opening between the two flexible side pieces 210 which curve. Flexible piece 210 is a flexible barrier 10 and acoustic noise absorption 20 composite. The back piece 220 serves to further absorb acoustic noise coming out of the gap and comprises a composite of the solid barrier 10 and acoustic noise absorption material 20. Piece 210 and piece 220 are a combination of the acoustic noise barriers and the acoustic absorption materials. A variation of this embodiment may incorporate the sliding mechanism and overlapping barriers as described in FIG. 14 above.

FIG. 17 a shows an apparatus 5 which is adjustable in width in a similar fashion as the apparatus of FIG. 16 a. The apparatus shown in FIG. 17 a illustrates one side of the acoustic barrier slides while the other side stays fixed. Hard slide material 70 slides on the slide rails 140. Cantilevered piece 200 is attached to the personal computer using Velcro 40. It is further positioned in place by two side solid wall pieces 95. Each of these walls 95 is approximately a one inch high solid wall 95 which stretches along the bottom outer edge of cantilevered piece 200 and along the upper outer edge of flexible piece 210. Wall 95, stretches beyond the slide material 70 and cantilevered piece 200 to further position this apparatus. Wall 95 is attached to the side of the PC by an attachment means such as Velcro 160. An acoustic shield and acoustic absorption material, item numbers 10 and 20, is attached to wall 95 using Velcro 40. Materials 10 and 20 may extend downward for more than 12 inches. In this configuration, materials 10 and 20 may come as a single piece from the manufacturer as a flexible composite piece 210. A variation of this embodiment may incorporate the sliding mechanism and overlapping barriers as described in FIG. 14 above.

FIG. 17 b is the detail view taken from FIG. 17 a showing the detail of the flexible composite piece 210 with the wall 95, cantilevered piece 200 and wherein the connection is shown by Velcro 40. Flexible composite piece comprises acoustic shield 10 and acoustic absorbing material 20. FIG. 17 c shows a partial top view of the apparatus of FIG. 17 a, through the cantilevered piece and illustrates the positions of the adjustable acoustic barriers and the path of airflow.

FIG. 18 shows an apparatus 5 configured as an integral part of the personal computer chassis 100. The walls of the apparatus 5 comprise acoustic shields 10. The inside of the acoustic shields 10 are lined with acoustic noise absorption material 20. These walls may not extend all the way to the floor as far as the rest of the chassis. At the end of one of these walls there is a first door 120 on hinges 130 with acoustic noise absorption material 20 on the inside of this first door 120. There is also a second door 120 on the other side closer to the fans 110 than the first door 120, which also has acoustic noise absorption material 20 on the inside. These doors 120 allow for an air passage between the two doors 120. There may be a-gap between the two doors 120.

FIG. 19 a shows an apparatus 5 which comprises a cantilevered solid piece 200 that sits on top of the PC 100. It is similar to the apparatus of in FIG. 17. In this embodiment of FIG. 19 a, the apparatus does not cover the connectors of the PC but is adjusted to focus on the fan side. The acoustic barrier 10 is adjustable to fit different sized personal computers and it is also adjustable to locate the best position next to the fan location for the inner side of the acoustic barrier/absorption material composite 220. Side panel Velcro 160 may be used to engage wall 95 of first barrier 10 against the PC sides. First barrier 10 slides along a first set of slide rails 140 which are connected to the underside of the cantilevered piece 200. Below first barrier 10 is second barrier 10 of composite 220 extending vertically downward and having a hard material 70 at the top surface. The second barrier 10 is adjustable along a second set of slide rails 140 connected to the underside of first barrier 10. By sliding hard material 70 into the second set of slide rails 140, the second barrier 10 is adjusted to the position of the fans.

FIG. 19 b is a side view of the apparatus 5 of FIG. 19 a, and shows the configuration of the barriers 10. As shown, an air gap between the cantilevered piece 200 and the first barrier 10 is provided for airflow. Airflow may also flow through a gap between the first and second barriers 10. The barriers 10 may comprise composite 220 or a flexible composite piece.

FIG. 20 a illustrates an embodiment of the apparatus 5 which focuses on the fans but not the connectors area of the PC 100. This embodiment is similar to the apparatus of FIG. 19 and FIG. 17. The apparatus of FIG. 20 a is adjustable to different PC widths and it is able to adjust for a best location of the inner acoustic noise barrier/absorption material composite 220. The apparatus works by taking the airflow on a 90 degree laminar air flow turn, for minimum airflow loss. Depending on the configuration, the airflow may turn in other directions such as down or up. This reduces the air noise because there is no single line for the noise to leave the apparatus, except at the bottom. At the exhaust section, far end, there are one or more acoustic baffles 60 to further reduce the noise. These baffles 60 are made of acoustic noise absorption materials 20 or composites 220 of the acoustic barrier 10 and acoustic absorption material 20. FIG. 20 b illustrates a side view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 20 a. The barrier 10 of composite 220 is slidably engaged with the cantilevered piece 200 by slide rails 140 to adjusting to the location of the fans.

FIG. 21 a shows an embodiment of the apparatus made of a flexible material and is similar to the apparatus shown in FIG. 3. In the apparatus of FIG. 21 a, there is a flexible cover 210 and the sides are made of a solid material for a small portion of both ends. These solid ends are used to hold the apparatus to the rear sides of the PC 100 using an attachment means such as Velcro 40. The flexible cover 210 comprises mostly of a flexible material which can be shaped to fit almost any size width personal computer. The flexible cover 210 includes fold over parts which may be used to cover the top area behind the PC to reduce the acoustic noise. The fold over parts comprise an acoustic barrier type material 10 and may comprise some acoustic absorption materials 20 on the inside surface. These fold over pieces are designed as many different pieces in order to allow this apparatus to fit over different width sized personal computers and still cover the top without leaving any openings from the top. The flexibility of the apparatus allows it to be wrapped around itself or folded for reduced cost of shipment, delivery and storage. FIG. 21 b shows the apparatus from a top view and the fold over pieces of flexible cover 210 folded over. FIG. 21 c is a front view of the apparatus in an open position with the flexible cover 210 pieces extended upward. FIG. 21 d is a partial top view of part of the apparatus of FIG. 21 c, which shows the top view of the flexible cover 210 pieces extended, and further showing the barrier material 10 and acoustic absorption material 20 attached to the inner surface.

FIG. 22 a illustrates an embodiment of the apparatus 5 which focuses on the area of the fans. The acoustic side wall barriers 10 of the apparatus also include acoustic reduction materials 20. The apparatus comprises one or more baffles or baffling partitions 60 between the side wall barriers 10 for reducing acoustic noise. In this embodiment, the baffles 60 are placed vertically and have acoustic absorbing material 20 on the surfaces. Baffles may also be placed horizontally or at other angles or in any type of grid shape. Other examples of configurations for the baffles may be in the form of square, honeycomb, triangular, vertical, or horizontal or any combination thereof. FIG. 22 b is a back view of the apparatus 5 engaged upon the PC 100 and illustrates the acoustic absorption material 20 on the side wall barriers 10 and baffle 60.

Any one of the embodiments as described above may have small breather air release openings with baffles to reduce the acoustic noise escaping from the openings. In addition, such baffles may comprise a box baffle structure of small elongated, tube like shaped holes or other shaped openings for further noise absorption. As an example, the ratio of the length to diameter of these elongated holes is greater than three for better absorption.

Throughout the description and drawings, example embodiments are given with reference to specific configurations. It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the present invention can be embodied in other specific forms. As discussed, many variations are possible. Those of ordinary skill in the art would be able to practice such other embodiments without undue experimentation. The scope of the present invention, for the purpose of the present patent document, is not limited merely to the specific example embodiments of the foregoing description, but rather is indicated by the appended claims. All changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalents within the claims are intended to be considered as being embraced within the spirit and scope of the claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification181/202, 181/205
International ClassificationH02K5/24, G10K11/00
Cooperative ClassificationG06F1/18
European ClassificationG06F1/18