US 2793509 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
2 Sheets-Sheet 'l V. l. METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR COOLING INHABITABLE AND OTHER ENCLOSURES May 28, 1957 Filed oct. 14, 1955 I I FlG. l
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 l. KEEN V. METHOD OF' AND APPARATUS FOR COOLING INHABITABLE AND OTHER ENCLOSURES IN1/ENTOR- VICTOR KEEN May 28, 1957 Filed oct. 14, 1955 United States Patentd O METHOD (BF AND APPARATUS FOR COOLING INHABITABLE AND OTHER ENCLOSURES Victor Keen, Evanston, lil.
Application October 14, 1955, Serial No. 540,389
6 Claims. (Cl. 62--139) The present invention relates to an improved method of and an apparatus for cooling and dehumidifying enclosures, particularly inhabitable enclosures as, for example, residential and oice buildings, animal shelters such as `barns and the like, and other enclosures where the comfort of human or animal life is to be considered. The invention is however capable of a wide variety of other uses and the same may, if desired, be employed, with suitable modification, for use in the cooling and dehumidifying of other types of enclosures such as warehouses and other storage spaces, garages and other forms of commercial establishments too numerous to mention. irrespective however `of: the particular use to which the present invention may be put, the essential features of the same are always preserved.
Present day conventional air cooling and dehumidfying apparatus, commonly referred to as air conditioning apparatus, depends for its effectiveness upon either the mechanical treatment of the air itself or upon the rnechanical treatment of a coolant fluid wherein alternate compression and expansion cycles are resorted to to bring the coolant uid to a low temperature, usually sub-Zero temperature, in accordance with well known vphysical principles, and thereafter the low temperature :coolant fluid and air are brought into heat exchange relationship and the thus cooled air is distributed throughout the enclosure.
Air conditioning `apparatus of the type briefly outlined above is possessed of numerous limitations, principal among which is the cost of operation thereof, utilizing as they invariably do one or more motor driven compressor units and one or more motor driven blower units, the system being essentially electrically :powered and operated. Various manual and automatic controls are provided for the proper operation of such equipment and the malfunctioning of these controls frequently leads to high maintenance costs. of such units, particularly the small household variety thereof, is relatively small and in the larger residential homes and apartments several such units must be employed, usually lone for each partitioned enclosure. Still further, even where large capacity units are employed, when the ambient temperature reaches abnormal degrees it has been found that because the thermostatic controls for the compressor motor maintain the latterin substantially constant operation overheating of the compressor and at least temporary failure thereof takes place with this occurring at a time when the expected beneficial results of the system are most to be desired.
Y et `another limitation that is attendant upon the use of such conventional air conditioning equipment, particularly those which make provision for dehumidifying the air as well as cooling the same, is that some disposition must be made of the condensed moisture extracted from the air. lh some installations this moisture is conducted n liquid form to a point of discharge and in others provision `is made for evaporating the same and t the enclosure undergoing treatment and with the air being Additionally, the capacity not available.
y 2,793,5@9 Patented May 2S, 1957 ice expelling the vaporized moisture. ln the former instance the procedure is a messy one, requiring as it does frequent cleaning of the fluid conduits. Furthermore, particularly in apartment installations, a suitable drainage region is In the latter instance the heat required to effect the evaporation further increases the cost of operation of the apparatus as well as lowering the efficiency of the same.
The present invention is designed to overcome the above noted `limitations that are attendant upon the use of so-called present day air conditioning apparatus and toward this end it contemplates the provision of a novel form otcooling and dehumidifying apparatus which does not depend for its effectiveness upon the mechanical treatment of either the air itself or a fluid coolant but which rather depends upon a principle of operation wherein heat is extracted from the air undergoing cooling and dehumidification by the principle known as surface evaporation with the evaporation taking place in an artificially prepared evaporation bed situated outside of drawn through the bed in heat exchange relationship with respect thereto. In one form of the invention, particularly where residential installations are concerned, the articia-lly prepared evaporation bed is in the form of an installation beneath the surface of the earth preferably at `aregion in close proximity to the dwelling or other enclosure undergoing treatment and, 'in another modified form thereof, useful particularly in connection with vapartment house and other instances where ground space is not readily available, the evaporation bed is in the form of a roof installation, artificially constructed to simulate It is among the principal objects of `the present invention 'to provide an air cooling and dehumdification `is substantially entirely automatic in its operation and which, except 4for the provision of a single air circulating `blower for impelling the cooled and dehumidiiied air through the system and conducting the same into the enclosure, is possessed of no moving parts and` which therefore requires no automatic or manual controls for `its proper functioning.
Another important object of the invention is to provide an air conditioning apparatus suitable for domestic or industrial uses which when `set into operation is automatic in its function and which, without the use of thermostatic controls, will automatically adjust itself to the ambient temperature surrounding the enclosure undergoing treatment, thus increasing its cooling effect when the demand for cool air increases and, conversely, decreasing its cooling effect when such demand is no longer present.
Another object of the invention is tot provide an air conditioning apparatus of this sort having associated therewith ellicient means for filtering and purifying the air introduced into the enclosure both by a mechanical filtering operation and an automatic physical settling out operation wherein any objectionable ambient gases or fumes are condensed and conducted from the system.
Yet another object, in a system of this sort, is to provide an air conditioning apparatus wherein substantially all ofthe cooling and dehumidifying :instrumentalities employed in the system are arranged externally of the enclosure undergoing treatment thereby rendering space that otherwise would be consumed for housing such instrumentalities available for other purposes.
rAnother object of the invention in .a heating `system of the character described above, is to provide 'a novel form of heat exchange unit adapted to be embedded Within an artificial evaporation bed and which unit employs a Yand durable and which therefore is possessed of a long and useful life; one which requires little or no maintenance operation or attention on the part of the occupants of the enclosure; one which requires for its operation no coolant fluid or other chemical preparations; one which is silent `and efficient in its operation; one which may be operated at `an extremely low cost; and one which `otherwise is well Iadapted to perform the services required of it are further desirable features that have been borne in mind in the production and development of the present invention.
Other objects Aand advantages of the invention, not 'at this time enumerated, will become more readily apparent as the nature of the invention is better understood.
`In the accompanying two sheets of drawings forming a part of this specification, two embodiments `of the invention have been shown.
11n these drawings:
iFig. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of an air cooling `and dehumidifying `apparatus constructed in ac- -cordance with the principles of the present invention showing the same operatively associated with a typical dwelling house for air conditioning purposes.
Fig. 2 is a plan view of a heat exchange unit employed in connection with the installation shown in Fig.
Fig. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along the line 3-3 of Fig. l in the direction indicated by the arrows.
fFig. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to Fig. 1 showing a modified form of the apparatus showing the same yoperatively associated ywith an office building.
iFig. 4a is fragmentary detail perspective view of al1-air inlet employed in connection with the form of the invention shown in Fig. 4.
Fig. 5 is a plan view of the heat exchange unit ernployed in connection with the installation of Fig. 4, 'and Fig. 6 is a vertical sectional view taken substantially along the line 6-6 of Fig. 4.
In Vall of the above described views, similar characters of reference are employed to designate similar parts throughout.
'Referring now to the drawings in detail and in particular to Figs. 1 to 3 inclusive wherein one form of the present invention is shown as being applied to the lair conditioning of a typical residential dwelling house, the building is designated in its `entirety at 10 and comprises the usual outer walls 11 defining an inner enclosure 12 which may be partitioned in any suitable manner to accommodate the yoccupants thereof. The building 10 is shown as having installed therein the usual heating unit 13 Afrom which suita-ble conventional ducts 14 may extend to the partitioned compartments or rooms of the enclosure 12. The surrounding terrain 15 has its ground level or line designated at 16 with the sub-terrain or basement portion of the building 10 being shown in dotted lines at 17. T he ground floor 18 `of the building may be provided with suitable registers 20 in communication with the ducts 14 respectively. The above described arrangement of the building 10 is purely conventional and no claim is made herein to any novelty associated with the same, `the novelty of the present invention residing rather in the construction and arrangement of the air conditioning apparatus whereby a supply of cooled `and dehumidied air may be conducted to the enclosure 12 and which will now be described in detail.
The form of air conditioning apparatus shown in Figs. l to 3 inclusive involves in its general organization a heat exchange unit or assembly designated in its entirety at 21, the latter being substantially 'completely disposed below the level 16 of the ground 15 and being disposed within a prepared evaporation -bed 22 (Fig. 3) :adjacent the building 10 and disposed wholly exteriorly of the latter. The bed `22 may be prepared Iby excavating the soil to provide a shallow pit having an overall area of a size and shape to -accommodate the assembly 21 and having a depth slightly greater than the vertical dimension of the heat exchange assembly. The excavation is then partially lled with a layer 23 of loose gravel of relatively small size, commercial path gravel lbeing suitable for the purpose, and the heat exchange assembly 21 is then positioned or installed upon `the surface of the thus laid layer 22 of gravel. Thereafter a second layer 24 of similar gravel is superimposed over the layer 23 so as to completely embed the unit 21 within the bed and, finally the original layer of grassy sod 2S removed in the excavation process is replaced over the layer 23 or a llayer of new sod and grass is placed or cultivated on the layer 24.
The heat exchange unit thus embedded in the artificial bed 22 is comprised of a series of elongated tubular members 30 arranged in substantial parallelism and in =a generally horizontal direction ibut with a slight deviation from the horizontal for purposes that will be set forth presently. The members 30 `are preferably in the form of plastic pipes or conduits which may be on the `order of approximately two inches in diameter, and each of the conduits 30 communicates at itsforward end with a common manifold or header conduit ror pipe 31 having one `end 29 closed and of larger diameter, preferably on the order of `approximately six inches in diameter. It will be understood ofcourse that the particular `size of the conduits 30 and 31 may be varied to suit differing installati-ons and likewise the specific number of the conduits 30 employed may be varied. For illustrative purposes only, thirty of these latter conduits have been shown in the drawings.
Each of the conduits 30 is formed with an elongated section or portion 32 which extends substantially parallel to the header conduit 31 with the various sections 30 being arranged in number equally on opposite sides of the axis of the conduit 31. The forward regions of the various sections 30 are turned inwardly as at 33 so that these sections of the conduits on opposite sides of the conduit 31 converge toward each other in parallelism and the extreme forward ends of the sections 33 communicate with the interior of the conduit 31 through preformed openings 34 (Fig. 2) in the latter section which are a1'- ranged uniformly in spaced relationship on opposite sides of the section. The conduit 31 is likewise formed of a suitable plastic material and the openings 34 therein are formed to have a diameter slightly smaller than the overall diameter of the tubular conduits 33 so that in the installation or assembly of the heat exchange unit 21 the forward ends of the conduits 30 are inserted into the openings 34 with a forced fit, the union being a permanent one with good sealing characteristics.
Referring now to Fig. 3, it will be noted that the common plane of the various conduits 30 deviates slightly .from the horizontal as represented by the broken line yH-H. The slope of the conduits may be on the order of 4 which is sufficient to allow for drainage of condensation liquid from the conduits whenever such liquid is present. Although the plastic conduits 30 are illustrated herein as being perfectly linear or straight, it will be understood that since these members are somewhat flexible, they may deviate slightly from their straight line relationship of parallelism and follow yshallow undulations in the surface of the gravel bed 22 on which they lie as well as deviating slightly from their exact positions of parallelism as shown in the drawings. In other words E the relationship illustrated in Fig. 2 is an ideal? arrangement of the conduits 30 and one which the workman making the installation may strive, even if imperfectly, to attain.
Still referring to Fig. 2, the rear and lowermost ends of the conduits 30 have their ends press fitted into open ings 4t) which are provided adjacent the lower ends of a plurality of riser pipes 41, the latter similarly being formed of plastic material. The riser pipes 41 have their upper ends flush with or protruding slightly above the ground level 16 and a filter unit 42 which preferably is in the form of a preformed glass wool material is fitted Within the upper end of each pipe. Mesh screens or `caps 43 may, if desired, be received over the upper end of the various pipes 41. The lower ends of the riser pipes 41 are open in order that any condensation of moisture within the sloping conduits 30 with which these pipes communicate may be drained therefrom.
Referring now to Figs. 1 and 2, the forward end of the manifold conduit 31 extends through a suitable opening (not shown) in one wall 11 of the building 10 and communicates with the intake side of a conventional blower 44. The exhaust side of the blower communicafes with an air duct 45 which may lead to and communicate with the interior of the heating unit 13 so that air introduced into the unit from the duct 45 at such times as the unit 13 is not in service will be distributed through the ducts 14 to the registers 20. It will be understood of course that the particular disposition of the air issuing from the manifold conduit 31 throughout the building l0 will Vary according to different installations. For example, where enclosures which are not heated or which have no duct distribution system are concerned, the manifold header may simply communicate directly with the interior of the enclosure through a suitable opening in one of the Walls of the enclosure at a point which is deemed best for most ecient air distribution throughout the enclosure.
It will be further understood that the blower 44 may be of any conventional construction and that -a suitable motor and electric circuit therefor, either manually or thermostatically controlled, may be provided for seasonal or periodic operation of the system.
In the operation of the system described above, it is merely necessary that a certain amount of moisture be present in the artificial bed 22 so that upon normal evaporatlon of this moisture the desired cooling effect on the embedded conduits 32 and to a lesser extent on the conduit 31 will take place. Regardless of the temperature `at which evaporation of `a liquid takes place, a given amount of heat is required to produce the evaporation 4and thus, at any seasonal outdoor temperature which is above 32 F. a certain amount of evaporation will take place and heat will be extracted from the embedded con duits 30 to supply the necessary heat of evaporation. At relatively low temperatures approaching 32 F. a very slight amount of evaporation will take place and the cooling effect on the conduits will be correspondingly small. However as outdoor ambient temperaturesV rise, the extent of evaporation of the moisture in the bed 22 will increase, thus automatically increasing the cooling effect as the demand for the same arises. Where relatively high and uncomfortable summer temperatures are concerned, a high rate of evaporation of moisture from the bed 22 will take place and a correspondingly greater cooling effect on the embedded conduits 30 will obtain. Any cooling effect, however slight, on the artificial bed 22 will, of course, be refiected in the temperature of the streams of air being drawn through the various conduits 3l? by direct heat exchange through the walls of the plastic tubular members.
During Winter operation and at such times as the ambient temperature is uncomfortably cool, a certain amount of heating effect will take place by the use of the present system. Although, as set forth above, a certain amount of'evaporation of moisture in the articial bed 22 will take place at temperatures above 32 F., `at tern iperatures which are only slightly elevated above the freez" ing temperature this amount of evaporation will be small and will contribute but little cooling effect to the embedded conduits. Far outweighing this small amount of ,cooling that takes place at relatively low ambient temper- 4atures is the fact that the subsurface soil :is generally slow to yield up its latent heat so that sub-surface temperatures throughout the winter months are usually far above surface soil temperatures. inasmuch as the various conduits 3l) are disposed an appreciable distance below the ground level 16, it is obvious that when relatively cool `passing through the conduits 30.
In the form of the invention shown in Figs. 4 to 6 inclusive the same principles of operation remain but the character `of the artificial bed and of the heat exchange unit have been somewhat modified to accommodate vari- -ous industrial installations. To avoid needless repetition of description similar reference numerals of a higher order have been employed to designate the corresponding parts of the system in comparison with the system shown in Figs. l to 3 inclusive.
The building may be of any industrial type such as an ofiice or factory building and the artificial heat exchange bed 122 may be constructed on the roof 119 of the building and may occupy a portion or all of the available roof space. The bed preferably is comprised of a lower layer 123 of a porous and relatively light substance such as infusorial or diatornaceous earth or a similar substance which is light and has high porosity and high heat insulating qualities. The heat exchange unit or device 121 is placed on the lower layer 123 and an upper layer 124 of diatomaceous earth is placed over the unit 121 so as to completely embed the same within the porous material. If desired, a burlap or other fabric screen-like covering material 125 may be placed above the layer 124 to protect the same from the accumulation of and consequent contamination by dirt, dust or other settling foreign particles and to prevent weathering or scattering `of the material of the bed 122.
The heat exchange unit 121 may assume the form of a series of four separate sub-units or conduit sections arranged in quadrature and each of which is in the form of a generally sinuous length of plastic tubing one end of which communicates through an opening 134 with the interior of a vertical plastic header 131. The header 131 extends through an opening 150 provided in the roof 119 of the building 11i) and communicates with a vent 151 in which there is suitably mounted on brackets 152 a blower assembly 144 which may be in the form of a conventional electric fan.
The free end of each conduit section 130 communicates with an elbow 141 which also may be formed of plastic material and each elbow, in turn, communicates v/ith a filter capy 142 of suitable construction which projects through the fabric covering material 125.
In order to maintain the necessary degree of moisture Within the artificial bed 122, during dry weather for example, a suitable sprinkler system designated in its entirety at 153 may extend along one edge of the unit 121 above the artificial bed 122 and receive its source of water from the building main.
The invention is not to be limited to the exact arrangement of parts shown in the accompanying drawings or described in this specification as various changes in the details of construction may be resorted to without departing fromthe spirit of the invention. For example,
precise installation of the plastic conduits 30 or- 130 as `the case Vmay b e in parallelism within the artificial -evaporation beds need not be resorted to nor is it necessary that the degree of slope thereof be exact or uniform.
VThe various conduits 3i) should have a general and gradual slope away from the building construction with which the unit 21 is associated so that proper drainage as set forth previously may take place. Where an 1n- 'stallation is made on undulatory'land, as for example skilled in the art and thus the invention is to be construed only insofar as it has been defined in the accompanying claims.
What I claim is:
1. In a cooling and dehumidifying system for inhabitable enclosures such as buildings and the like, in combination, means in the vicinity of said building providing an artificial evaporation bed consisting of an expanse of porous material capable of absorbing moisture, a heat exchange device substantially completely embedded in said evaporation bed, said heat exchange device comprising a manifold conduit having one end closed and having its other end in communication with said enclosure, a plurality of elongated open-ended conduits each having one end thereof in communication with said manifold conduit and having its other end in communication with the ambient atmosphere, and a blower operatively connected to said manifold conduit for creating a partial vacuum within the latter to draw a stream of air through eachof said open-ended conduits and deposit the same lwithin the enclosure, said open-ended conduits being arranged in substantial parallelism within the bed and sloping generally and uniformly outwardly and downwardly away from said manifold conduit whereby any liquid products of condensation may be drained from said conduits.
2. In a cooling and dehumidifying system for inhabitable enclosures such as buildings and the like, the combination set forth in claim l wherein said evaporation bed is comprised of diatomaceous earth within which the 'heat exchange device including the manifold conduit and 'open-ended conduits are substantially completely embedded, and a fabric covering overlying said diatomaceous earth.
3. In a cooling and dehumidifying system for inhabita ble enclosures such as buildings and the like, the combination set forth in claim l wherein said manifold conduits and said open-ended conduits are formed of plastic tubing, there being a series of openings formed in said manifold conduit, the forward end of each of said openended conduits being press fitted within one of the openings in said manifold conduit.
4. In a cooling system of the character described, a
and variations of the described system will occur to those s heat exchange unit designed for placement in an articial evaporation'bed beneath the surfaceA of the ground adjacent an inhabitable-building, said unit comprising `an elongated tubular manifold conduit closed atone end and having a series of longitudinally spaced openings formed therein onopposite sides thereof, and a series of openended elongated tubular conduit sections each providing an air passage therethrough and each havingione end in communication with said manifold conduit and its other end open tothe atmosphere, and means for creating a partial vacuum within said manifold conduit to draw air through said tubular conduit sections.
5. In a cooling system of the character described, a heat exchange unit designed for placement in an artificial evaporation bed vbeneath the surface of the ground adjacent an inhabitable building, said unit comprising anelongated tubular cylindrical manifold conduit closed at one end and having a series ofV longitudinally spaced openings formed therein on opposite sides thereof, and a series of open-ended elongated tubular conduit sections each providing an air passage therethrough, said series of conduit sections being arranged in two groups, one on each side of the axis of said manifold conduit, each of said conduit sections having a substantially straight linear rear portion with said portions of the various sections being arranged in substantial parallelism and in the direction of the axis of said manifold section, each of said conduit sections also having a substantially straight front portion with the front portions of the two groups converging toward each other and extending into the spaced openings formed in said manifold conduit.
6. In a cooling system of the character described, a heat exchange unit designed for placement in an artificial evaporation bed beneath the surface of the ground adjacent an inhabitable building, said unit comprising an elongated tubular cylindrical manifold conduit closed at one end and having a series of longitudinally spaced openings formed therein on opposite sides thereof, and a series of open-ended elongated tubular conduit sections each providing an air passage therethrough, said series of conduit sections being arranged in two groups, one on each side of the axis of said manifold conduit, each of said conduit sections having a substantially straight linear rear portion with said portions of the various sections being arranged in substantial parallelism and in the direction of the axis of said manifold section, the forward portions of said conduit sections of the two groups converging inwardly toward each other and extending into the spaced openings formed in said manifold conduit.
References Cited in the tile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS t Rouart Sept. 14, 1886