US 2706346 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 19, 1955 T. R. SMITH WATER SPRAY CONDENSER FOR CLOTHES DRIERS Filed Feb. 25, 1952 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR ymrm R. miZZ April 19, 1955 T. R. SMITH 2,706,346
WATER SPRAY CONDENSER FOR CLOTHES DRIERS Filed Feb. 23, 1952 3 Sh'hS-Sh6et 2 INVENTOR. BY Wanna/.4 K Smilk AGENT April 19, 1955 T. R. SMITH 2,706,345v
WATERSPRAY CONDENSER FOR CLOTHES DRIERS Filed Feb. 25, .1952 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG. 4
INVENTOR. PM 3 Jim 5M1;
United States Patent WATER SPRAY CONDENSER FOR CLOTHES DRIERS Thomas R. Smith, Newton, Iowa, assignor to The Maytag Company, Newton, Iowa, a corporation of Delaware Application February 23, 1952, Serial No. 273,084
3 Claims. (Cl. 34-75) The invention relates to clothes driers and more particularly to tumbler type clothes driers wherein the clothes to be dried are tumbled in a heated substantially imperforate, horizontally rotatable drum.
In the usual type clothes driers using perforate drums, spaced enclosures therefor, ducts for conducting the air and circulating fans, there is a tendency for lint to collect between the drum and enclosure and in the ducts which may eventually clog the same, and should lint collect near the heating element, a fire hazard is presented. If the lint is ignited, the fire could readily spread through the entire assembly and surrounding area.
In accordance with the invention, a substantially imperforate drum defining a drying chamber has a single access opening in alignment with a similar opening in a surrounding cabinet or casing through which the fabrics to be dried are inserted and removed and the heat for drying the fabrics is radiated into the drying chamber through an imperforate wall of the drum. During the drying operation the access opening in the casing is sealed by a closure or door and the outer periphery of the access opening in the drum is sealed against the ambient atmosphere; however, the drum is in direct communication with a vertically extending condensing chamber or duct. The vapor evaporated from the fabrics and the lint leaving the drying chamber passes into the condensing chamber wherein a water spray under any suitable control condenses the vapor and wets the lint by direct contact. The water, condensed vapor and lint then pass into or through any suitable conduit for discharge to drain. Since the water spray condenses the vapor, a general flow of vapor in the direction of the spray is created; therefore, any normal leakage around the seal about the access opening in the drum will tend to be inward. Thus, this not only tends to eliminate the problem of vapor escaping into the casing with the possibility of corrosion of the parts, but at the same time restricts the movement of the lint in this direction.
A construction of this type not only eliminates the fire hazard by preventing contact of lint with the heating element, but at the same time it eliminates the use of air circulating fans, duct work therefor and lint traps that are both bothersome and awkward to handle. Also, the operator has a tendency to forget to clean the lint trap which, when clogged, tends to reduce the efficiency of the drier and increase the fire hazard.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved clothes drier which eliminates the necessity of air circulating fans, special duct work therefor requored for inducing the circulation of heated air through the tumbling apparatus and lint trap, and to provide a single chamber with a vapor condensing liquid spray therein to dispose of the vapor normally discharged into the ambient atmosphere.
It is another object of the invention to provide a horizontally mounted tumbler type clothes drier with a single access opening which directs the lint leaving the opening into the condenser and it passes along with the water and condensed vapor to drain.
It is another object of the invention to provide a tumbler type clothes drier having a single access opening with-a vented liquid contact vapor condenser which acts to aid in the control of the flow of the vapor from the drying chamber during its operation.
Other objects, features, capabilities and advantages are comprehended by the invention as will later appear and as are inherently possessed thereby.
2,706,346 Patented Apr. 19, 1955 "ice Referring to the drawings:
Figure 1 is a diagrammatic front plan view with portions in section of a tumbler type clothes drier showing the improved condensing chamber applied thereto;
Figure 2 is a partial vertical longitudinal sectional view of the clothes drier taken along the line 22 of Figure 1 and showing the improved vapor condenser;
Figure 3 is a diagrammatic partial vertical transverse sectional view similar to Figure 1 but showing a modified form of vapor condenser with venting means therefor; an
Figure 4 is a vertical longitudinal sectional view of the vapor condenser and vent taken on the line 4-4 of Figure 3.
Referring now more in detail to the drawings for one form of clothes drier embodying the features of the present invention, there is shown an outer cabinet 10 secured to a base or frame structure 11 for completely enclosing the operating parts of the clothes drier. The base 11 further provides a support for a hollow clothes receiving rotatable tumbler or drum 12 mounted for ro tation about a horizontal axis within a cradle formed by four spaced hard rubber rollers 14, and rotated by means of a pivotally mounted electric drive motor 16 in a manner to be hereinafter more fully described.- Suitable control mechanism 17, the details of which are not shown, may be included in the assembly for automatically con trolling the operation of the drying cycle.
The cabinet 10 has its main body portion formed with side panels 18, a louvered back panel 19 for permitting flow of cooling air about the drive motor 16, a front panel 21, having a substantially centrally located square access opening 22 therein with an inwardly directed flange or skirt portion 23 disposed about the horizontal axis of the drum 12 whereby the operator may gain access to the interior of the drum, and a top panel 24 to provide a substantially rectangular unitary structure. The top panel 24 is preferably formed with an opening adjacent one of the front corners through which an upwardly projecting control shaft having a control knob 26 thereon is adapted to be grasped by the operator for manipulation to effect automatic operation of the drier.
The horizontally mounted drum or tumbler 12 within the casing 10 includes an imperforate cylindrical wall 27 disposed between a vertical front wall or header 28, having a single centrally located axis opening 29 with an outwardly directed cylindrical flange 31 facing the opening 22 in the front panel 21, and a vertical imperforate rear wall or header 32 spaced in parallel relation to the front wall. All three elements are welded or secured together, in any suitable manner, to form a unitary rigid structure to define a drying chamber 33 therein. A plurality of parallel, horizontal and radially inwardly directed clothes lifting ribs or elevating vanes 34 are secured to the inner periphery of the cylindrical wall 27 in any suitable manner. Each wall has identical flange portions 35 extending radially outward beyond the outer periphery of the cylindrical wall 27 which are rolled or formed with fiat horizontal cylindrical supporting surfaces or ribs 36, adapted to rest on the rollers 14 to provide the sole supporting means for holding the drum in its horizontal position.
In order to evaporate the moisture in the clothing within the drum, heat must be supplied thereto. One such means for heating the drum is shown in the form of an electrical heating element 37 formed by a single, flat, long, thin and relatively wide strip-of stainless steel tightly wound in an open spiral over a thin layer of electrical insulation 38 to cover substantially the entire outer periphery of the imperforate cylindrical wall 27, and the opposite or free ends 39 of the heating element are secured to suitable terminal posts 41 disposed in the recess provided in one of the vanes 34. A heating element of this type uniformly heats the entire periphery of the drum, which, of course, heats the clothing in the drying chamber 33 to drive off the moisutre or a high percentage thereof, and the overall temperature of the entire heating element is reduced considerably.
The means for energizing the heating element includes a collector ring assembly 42, having the usual brushes and slip rings, mounted on the rear wall 32 of the drum in any suitable manner and it is connected to a source of electrical energy and to conductors 43 leading to the terminal ends of the heating element 37. One of the conductors 43 may be connected in series with a temperature responsive thermostat or limit switch 44 secured to the rear wall 32 of the drum which acts to deenergize the heating element whenever the temperature within the drying chamber 33 reaches or tends to exceed a predetermined safe value.
To improve the efficiency of the drier, insulating pads 46 are attached to the outer surface of the front and rear walls 28 and 32, and a layer of thermal insulation 47 of any suitable dielectric type is wrapped about the outer periphery of the heating element 37 to totally enclose the same. Therefore, any lint shaken off the clothing during the drying operation which may enter the interior of the casing cannot accumulate on the heating element; thus an additional fire hazard is eliminated.
In order to support the rotatable drum in its horizontal position, a pair of parallel horizontally spaced tubular I bridging members 48 are disposed parallel with the drum and rigidly secured to the upper outer ends of oppositely disposed webs 49 to provide a relatively simple rigid supporting structure, and each tubular member 48 journals a horizontal shaft 51 with outwardly projecting ends to which the supporting rollers 14 are secured in any suitable manner. In addition, each supporting roller 14 has its outermost end provided with a radial projecting flange 52 to constitute a thrust collar or surface extending inwardly adjacent the rims 36 on both of the end walls and are relatively closely spaced thereto in such manner as to limit axially shifting movement of the drum when it is rotated about its horizontal axis.
The drive motor 16 has a driving pulley 53 secured thereto and is flexibly mounted for rotation on an axis parallel to the drum axis, and is' connected by means of a belt 54 to a driven pulley 56 rigidly secured to a projecting end of one of the horizontal supporting shafts 51 adjacent one of the rollers 14. When the motor is energized, the driven pulley 56 rotates one of the shafts 51 and the friction between the engaging portions of the rollers 14 and rims 36 causes the drum 12 to rotate about its horizontal axis at a considerable speed reduction; i. e., 34 and r. p. m., while the opposite shaft carrying its pair of rollers merely acts as a rolling support.
Referring now more particularly to Figure 2, it can be seen that the front header or wall 28 on the drum 12 is spaced from the front wall or panel 21 of the cabinet 10 to provide room for receiving a vertically extending substantially rectangular box-shaped duct or condenser construction 57. This condenser construction comprises front and rear walls 58 and 59, respectively, a pair of side walls 60 and a lower end wall 61 having a discharge opening 62 which is directly connected to a conduit 63 leading to a liquid pump 64 for conducting the liquid to any suitable drain opening. The condenser 57 may be secured to the casing by an upward extension of the front wall 58 through lateral bracket or wing means 61 formed on the inturned flange 23 about the access opening 22. In addition, the upper portion of the condenser construction is formed with a relatively short horizontal cylindrical passage 65 of approximately the same size as the access opening 31 in the drum, and is in alignment therewith and the opening 22 in the front wall 21 of the cabinet.
The horizontal cylindrical passage 65 may be formed in any suitable manner, such as, for example, by cutting an opening 66 in an upwardly extending portion of the back or rear wall 59 of the condenser 57 and punching or pressing a similar opening in its front wall 58, with a drawn cylindrical portion or collar 67 extending toward and overlapping a portion of the outwardly directed flange 31 about the access opening 29 in the front wall 28 of the rotatable drum. The lower sector of the cylindrical collar 67 provides the upper end wall of the condenser and the side walls 60 are directed inwardly below the axis of the drum to engage the outer periphery of the collar to define the enclosed condensing chamber 68. It is to be understood, of course, that the above is given by way of example and any suitable condenser and collar construction may be incorporated at this point.
The collar 67 defining the horizontal cylindrical passage 65 prevents articles of clothing from falling into the condensing chamber when they are being inserted or removed from the drying chamber 33, and when the clothing is being tumbled during the drying operation. Also, the
upper imperforate sector of the collar 67 prevents the escape of vapor and lint upwardly into the interior of the casing 10. An annular ring of sealing material 69 is preferably clamped about the outer periphery of the outwardly projecting flange 31 with a forwardly projecting edge for engaging the rear wall 59 of the condenser 57 to provide a rotating seal to restrict the flow of vapor and lint into the interior of the cabinet 10.
The lower portion or sector of the cylindrical collar 67 has a series of relatively large perforations or openings 70 which provide the means for permitting direct communication between the drying chamber 33 and the condensing chamber 68. As the vapor and lint discharged from the drum pass through these perforations and enter the condensing chamber, they encounter a liquid contact spray 71, whereat the vapor is condensed and the lint saturated by direct contact, to thus eliminate the possibility of having the vapor and lint discharged into the room or interior of the casing.
The liquid spray is provided by any suitable liquid atomizing means, and in the modification shown a nozzle 72 is located at the upper portion of the duct below the collar 67 and it preferably fans or spreads a constant volume of atomized water to cover the entire horizontal cross-sectional area of the condensing chamber 68 in a generally downwardly direction. In this manner, the possibility of having a portion of the spray splash into the drum 12 through the perforations 70 is eliminated. This downward direction of the spray 71 along with the condensing of the vapor tends to create a slight pressure drop in the condensing chamber with respect to the drying chamber, thus the circulation of the vapor discharged from the drum will be in the direction of the condensing chamber 68. The nozzle 72 is supplied with water by means of a suitable conduit 73 connected to the usual cold water supply and the water flowing to the spray nozzle may be under the control of a solenoid controlled valve 74 which is responsive to the actuation of the control knob 26. Suitable safety means (not shown) may be incorporated to shut off the supply of condensing liquid should the drive motor 16 fail and the pump 64 become inoperative for any reason.
With an arrangement of this type, the flow of water to the condensing chamber 68 will not occur until the drying operation is initiated and the solenoid valve 74 is energized to permit a constant flow of water to the nozzle 72 and the supply of water will continue as long as the drying operation lasts or the drum is rotated. As an additional feature, if desired, and in order to conserve the amount of water sprayed through the nozzle 72 during the warming-up period of the drum, when the heating element 37 is first energized, a thermostatically controlled valve 76, under the control of a temperature responsive bulb 77 mounted in the passage 65, may be placed in the conduit 73 to interrupt flow of liquid to the nozzle until the temperature of the interior of the drum reaches some predetermined high value equivalent to that where vaporization of the liquid in the clothing begins to take place. When this occurs the bulb 77 causes the thermostat to act to open the valve 76 to spray liquid into the condensing chamber and condense the vapor generated. As long as the temperature remains relatively high, the thermostat will hold the valve 76 open, and after the drying cycle is completed and the drum cools down, the thermostat will act to cut off the supply of liquid, even though the drum is still being rotated during the cooling down period. It is to be understood that either or both of the valves may be utilized.
In order to insure the proper direction of flow of the vapor and lint discharged from the drum, and to prevent the tumbling clothing from being thrown out of the aligned openings, the access opening 22 in the front panel 21 has mounted therein an imperforate closure or door 78. This door is generally square in front plan and hinged at 79 to pivot about a vertical axis and is provided with the usual handle or grip device 81 to permit the operator to grasp the same to open or close the door at will. The door 78 is preferably constructed with inner and outer panels 82 and 83, respectively, having their major portions separated to provide an insulating space and to enclose insulating material 84 on the inner portion of the inner panel 81, and a rubber or other suitable gasket 86 is disposed adjacent the outer periphery of the inner panel 82 to contact the front wall 58 about the cylindrical passage 65. In this manner, the inner panel 82 will heat up at a relatively rapid rate and any vapor initially condensing thereon is restrained from flowing out of the front access opening 22 by means of the gasket 86. At the same time, the front or outer panel 83 is shielded from direct contact with the heated vapor and is therefore maintained at a much lower temperature, thus the danger of injury or annoyance to the operator is reduced considerably.
The operation of a tumbler type clothes drier of the type hereinabove described incorporating liquid spraying, vapor condensing and lint disposing features made in accordance with the present invention is as follows:
The operator opens the door 78 and inserts the damp clothing to be dried into the drying chamber 33 defined by the imperforate drum 12 and the door is closed. Next, the operator manipulates the control knob 26 to the setting corresponding to the desired condition of dryness. This manipulation energizes the drive motor 16 to rotate the drum 12 about its horiozntal axis and energizes the heating element 37 until the major portion of the moisture is removed from the clothing. At the same time, in the modification shown, the solenoid valve 74 is energized to condition the spray nozzle 72 for operation.
As the interior or drying chamber 33 in the drum is heated by means of the heating element 37, a portion of the moisture in the clothing is evaporated and, due to the rotation of the drum, the clothing is agitated or tumbled by the elevating vanes 34 in such manner as to uniformly heat the same.
When the temperature of the heated air and vapor reaches a predetermined high value, the thermostatically controlled valve 76 is energized to permit the flow of cold water under pressure to the nozzle 72. The nozzle discharges the water downwardly in a finely divided spray and covers the entire interior of the lower portion of the condensing chamber 68. As the vapor leaves the drum it passes through the access opening 29 into the passage 65 through the perforations 70 and enters the condensing chamber 68, comes in direct contact with the finely divided spray 71 and is condensed. This condensing of the vapor creates a slight pressure drop at this point and because the drying chamber 33 is irnperforate elsewhere, the vapor must fiow toward the spray. Since this action is continuous and the water spray condenses all of the vapor generated, there is little tendency for the vapor to escape around the seal 69 about the access opening 29 and if the condensing of the vapor is elficient the chamber 33 should be under a very slight subatmospheric pressure so that any tendency for leakage around the zeal would be from the exterior to the interior of the rum.
The vapor passing through the perforations 70 carries with it a major portion of the light and fine airborne lint which is immediately saturated with water and falls to the bottom of the condenser while the heavier lint is thrown out of the access opening by the clothing onto the cylindrical collar 67. During the tumbling operation, from time to time, articles of clothing are momentarily partially thrown out of the access opening 29 and contact the collar 67 and this movement creates a wiping action which tends to work the heavier lint through the perforations.
It'can be seen that any vapor contacting the inner panel 82 of the door 78 and condensing thereon will eventually pass or flow into the condensing chamber through the perforations because of the gasket seal 86 around the passage 65.
The water from the spray nozzle 72, the condensed vapor and the now water saturated lint all flow through the outlet 62 in the bottom of the condensing chamber 68 to the conduit 63 leading to the inlet of the pump 64 for discharge to a suitable drain opening.
When the major portion of the vapor is evaporated from the clothing, the temperature of the interior of the drum begins to rise and when it approaches a predetermined high value, the thermostat 44 in the drum is actuated to deenergize the heating element 37; however, the rotation of the drum is preferably continued for a predetermined length of time in order to reduce the temperature of the drum and the fabrics being dried. During this interval the liquid spray 71 is continued to condense any residual vapor and to aid in the cooling of the drum, and when the temperature of the drum reaches a predetermined low value, the thermostatically controlled valve 76 is actuated to cut off the supply of cold water to the nozzle 72. After the drying operation has been completed, rotation of the drum is stopped and the operator need but open the door 78 and remove the dried articles from the chamber 33. If the temperature in the drum has not been reduced to a sufiiciently low value, the stopping of the drier or the opening of the door will automatically cut off the supply of water to the nozzle.
Referring now to Figures 3 and 4, there is shown a tumbler type clothes drier substantially identical in construction and operation to the previously described drier, with the exception that the condensing chamber 68 has been modified to provide a vapor vent. Since like parts are given like reference characters, detailed description of the general drier construction is not deemed necessary.
In this construction the access opening 29 in the front wall or header 28 of the drum encompasses the horizontal passage 65 with the enlarged perforations 70 in the lower portion thereof, and the double walled closure or door 78 carrying its gasket 86 seals about the outer end of the horizontal passage 65 in the usual manner. The perforations in the collar 67 provide for direct communication from the drying chamber 33 to a condensing chamber 90. This condensing chamber 90 comprises a vertical duct construction generally rectangular in horizontal cross section and includes vertical front and rear walls 91 and 92, respectively, end walls 93, a bottom Wall 94, having a liquid discharge opening 95 therein, and an open top 96 in direct communication with the ambient atmosphere. The spray nozzle 72 is disposed in the condensing chamber below the perforated portion of the collar 65 to direct the atomized condensing water downwardly in the usual manner. Vertical members or bafiies 97 are mounted in the condensing chamber adjacent each end wall 93 which extends across the width of the chamber and they have their upper ends joined to the outer periphery of the cylindrical collar 67 to provide a pair of relatively narrow open ended passages 98. The lower open ends of the passages 98 defined by the batfies 97 are disposed adjacent the lower end of the condensing chamber below the normal spray pattern and within the angle of spray to insure that the liquid spray covers the entire horizontal cross sectional area of the duct. The upper portion of the vertical passages 98 terminates in a common passage 99 at the upper portion of the duct which in turn is open to the ambient atmosphere at the opening 96.
With a construction of this type, it can be seen that the condensing chamber is vented to atmosphere at all times. Thus, during the drying operation, if for any reason the water spray is incapable of condensing all of the vapor being generated in the drying chamber, the excess vapor will enter at the lower ends of the passages 98, pass upwardly through the duct and be discharged directly into the ambient atmosphere. This arrangement obviates the possibility of having the vapor pressure increase to a value where it forces vapor past the rotating seal 69 into the interior of the cabinet wherein it will condense and may eventually corrode and damage portions of the drier. This vent is particularly important under conditions should the water supply fail or should there be times when it is necessary to operate the drier without the condensing water. While under the latter condition, the length of time required to dry the clothing may be increased somewhat, the vapor pressure generated will force the vapor out of the vent without endangering the interior of the cabinet.
With the exception of venting the condensing chamber, the operation and function of the vapor condensing clothes drier in this modification is identical to the previously described construction in all phases; therefore, a further description is not deemed necessary. While both modifications contemplate a water pump to dispose of the water, it is to be understood that if a suitable floor drain is available, the pump may be dispensed with and the outlet in the condenser may be directly connected to it.
From the foregoing it can be seen that a tumbler type clothes drier has been provided which provides a rela tively simple means for disposing of the lint and condensing the vapor discharged from the drying chamber, and that with a construction of this type the possibility of having large lint accumulations about the drying chamber and the duct work is substantially eliminated,
f lpng with the necessity of air motivating fans and the While I have herein described and upon the drawings shown illustrative embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may comprehend other constructions, arrangements of parts, details and features without departing from the spirit of the invention.
It is claimed:
1. In a drier for moist clothing the combination of a substantially imperforate drum for receiving the moist clothing, said drum being mounted for rotation about its horizontal axis and having a single access opening therein about said axis, means for rotating said drum, means for heating said drum to evaporate the moisture in said clothing, a condensing chamber below said access opening and in direct communication therewith for receiving the vapor and lint discharged from said drum through said opening, a liquid contact spray mounted in said chamber to condense the vapor and saturate the lint discharged from said drum by direct contact, means for conducting the liquid, condensed vapor and lint to drain, and an upwardly directed duct providing a vent for said condensing chamber, said duct having a lower inlet in communication with a lower portion of said condensing chamber and an upper externally opening outlet in direct communication with the ambient atmosphere to permit the escape of non-condensed media from the lower portion of said condensing chamber after said media passes through the liquid spray out of contact with the remainder of the drying apparatus.
2. In a drier for moist fabrics, the combination of a horizontally mounted rotatable drum having a single access opening therein and being irnperforate elsewhere, means for rotating said drum, means for supplying heat to said drum to evaporate the moisture in said fabrics, a casing surrounding said drum and having an access opening in alignment with the access opening in said drum, a closure for'the access opening in said casing, a horizontal passage between said access openings and in alignment therewith, said passage having an imperforate upper sector and a perforate lower sector, means for sealing the access opening in said drum about said passage, a condensing chamber disposed below said passage and in direct communication with the interior of said drum through said perforate sector, a nozzle for spraying liquid in the interior of said condensing chamber to condense the vapor and saturate the lint discharged from said drum into said condensing chamber by direct contact, and vent means including an upwardly extending duct encompasing said horizontal passage for connecting a lower portion of said condensing chamber to the ambient atmosphere to permit the escape of uncondensed vagtzilr after it passes through the liquid spray from said no e.
3. In a dryer for moist fabrics, the combination of a rotatable drum for receiving the fabrics and having a single access opening therein and being imperforate elsewhere, means for rotating said drum, means for heating the fabrics to evaporate the moisture therefrom, a casing surrounding said drum and having an access opening in alignment with the access opening in said drum, a closure for the access opening in said casing, a horizontal passage between said access openings and in alignment therewith, said passage having a perforate sector, means for sealing the access opening in said drum about said passage, a condensing chamber disposed below said passage and in direct communication with the interior of said drum through the perforate sector in said passage, a nozzle for spraying liquid in the interior of said condensing chamber to condense the vapor and saturate the lint discharged from said drum into said condensing chamber by direct contact, and an upwardly directed duct disposed between said casing and drum providing a vent for said condensing chamber, said duct having a lower inlet end disposed at a lower portion of said condensing chamber and an upper outlet end communicating with the ambient atmosphere through an opening in said casing to permit the escape of uncondensed media after it passes through the liquid spray from said nozzle out of contact with the remainder of the drying apparatus.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,032,404 Fisher Mar. 3, 1936 2,398,880 Broglie Apr. 23, 1946 2,495,535 Morrison Jan. 24, 1950 2,589,284 ONeil Mar. 18, 1952 2,590,295 Constantine Mar. 25, 1952 2,608,769 ONeil Sept. 2, 1952 2,633,646 Smith Apr. 7, 1953