US 3146600 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 1, 1964 E, F. COX 3,146,600
THERMOELECTRIC IMMERSION COOLER Filed May 28, 1962 INVENTOR.
ggg www United States Patent() 3,146,600 THERMUELECTRIC IMMERSION COOLER Everett F. Cox, Benton Harbor, Mich., assignor to Whirlpool Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed May 28, 1962, Ser. No. 198,117 7 Claims. (Cl. 62-3) This invention relates to refrigeration apparatus, and in particular, to portable refrigeration .apparatus for refrigerating a body such as a body of liquid.
At times it is desirable to refrigerate a small quantity of liquid such as water or beverage without resorting to use of conventional refrigeration apparatus such as a refrigerator or the like. Thus, for example, it is desirable at times to refrigerate quickly and etiiciently a quantity of beverage in a portable receptacle, such as a pitcher or cup. The present invention comprehends a novel refrigerating device -rn-anipulatable for ready selective immersion in the body of liquid, thereby to produce the desired refrigerating eifect in the liquid carried in the receptacle.
A principal feature of the present invention is, therefore, the provision of a new and improved refrigeration apparatus.
Another feature of the invention is the provision of such `apparatus arranged for facilitated eflicient refrigeration of a body of liquid or the like as by immersing the refrigeration apparatus within the body of liquid.
A further feature of the invention is the provision of such apparatus arranged for facilitated hand-held utilization.
Still another feature of the invention is the provision of such refrigeration apparatus including a novel arrangement of thermoelectric modules within an enclosure for cooling a liquid within which the enclosure is immersed, and means for conducting heat from the hot portions of the thermoelectric modules away from the refrigerating apparatus for improved eflicient refrigeration of the liquid. Still another feature of the invention lis the provision of such a refrigeration apparatus having an improved handle structure through which the conductors for energizing the thermoelectric modules extend and through which suitable conduit means for delivering heat transfer fluid into and from thermal transfer -association with the thermoelectric modules extends.
Other features'and advantages lof the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is an elevation of a refrigeration apparatus embodying the invention in association with a receptacle containing a body of liquid to be refrigerated by the apparatus;
`FIGURE 2 is an enlarged diametric section of the refrigeration apparatus;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged end view thereof, looking toward the handle end of the apparatus; and
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged transverse section taken substantially along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 2.
In the exemplary embodiment of the invention as disclosed -in the drawing, a refrigeration apparatus generally designated is shown to comprise an elongated device having an immersible portion 11 4adapted to be remov- -ably inserted into a body of liquid 12 c-arried by a suitable receptacle 13. The refrigeration apparatus 10 further includes 4a handle portion 14 adapted to be grasped by the hand H of a person for facilitated manipulation to effect the desired immersion of the portion 11 in the liquid. The immersible portion 11 is arranged to house a plurality of conventional thermoelectric modules 15 which are energized by a suitable wire cable 16 extending longitudinally through the handle 14. The im- ICS mersible portion 11 further includes a heat transfer means in the form of a hollow metal member 17 through which heat transfer iiuid m-ay be circulated by means of a pair of conduits 18 and 19 also extending longitudinally through the handle 14. The electrical cable 16 is adapted to be connected to a suitable conventional D.C. power source (not shown) and the conduits 18 and 19 are adapted to be connected by means of suitable flexible hoses 20 to a suitable conventional source of heat transfer uid such as a household water supply (not shown) and to a dra-in.
More specifically, the immersible portion 11 of the refrigeration apparatus comprises lan outer enclosure 21 formed of a suitable conductive material such as steel and, as best seen in FIGURE 4, may be arranged to dene an octagonal transverse cross section. The distal end of the enclosure 21 is preferably closed by means of a plug 22 formed of Ia suitable sealing materi-al such as foam` insulation, and -a metal cap 23 preferably welded in the end 24 of the enclosure. The opposite end 25 of the enclosure is similarly fitted with a sealing plug 26 through which the individual conductors 27 and 28 of cable 16 and tubes 18 and 19 extend. The hollow metal member 17 extends between plugs 22 and 26 axially through the .space 29 within the enclosure 21. It will be apparent that insulation plugs 22 and 26 may be provided by insulation foamed-in-place after the modules 15 and hollow metal members 17 are inserted within the outer enclosure 21.
As best seen in FIGURES 2 and 4, the hollow metal member deiines a pair of longitudinal passages 30 and 31 on opposite sides of a central dividing wall 32 for circulating coolant fluid therethrough, the dividing wall 32 terminating short of the distal end W-all 33 of the member 17 to provide la connection between the passages 30 and 31 at the distal end of the member. As shown in FIGURE 2, conduit 18 is connected through a closure 34 at the opposite end of the member 17 to the passage 30, and conduit 19 is connected through the closure 34 to the passage 31 whereby the coolant iiuid such as water m-ay be passed from conduit 18 through passage 30 around the distal end of the dividing wall 32 into passage 31, and from passage 31 to conduit 19 to complete the circulatory path through the device 10.
As best seen in FIGURE 4, the thermoelectric modules 15 comprise elongated assemblies having rectangular cross-sections adapted to extend respectively between planar portions 35 of the enclosure 21 and confronting planar portions 36 of the metal member 17 in intimate heat transfer contact therewith. Thus, by suitably electrically energizing the thermoelectric modules, the outer portion thereof, as seen in FIGURE 4, may function as a heat absorbing device for receiving heat from the liquid 12 through the enclosure 21. The inner portion of the modules may comprise heat passing means for passing heat energy from the thermoelectric modules through the metal member 17 to the coolant fluid circulated through the passages 30 and 31. In the illustrated ernbodiment four such modules are provided, the metal member 17 being generally square in cross section and the modules having a width substantially equal to the planar portions 35 of the octagonal-section enclosure 21. Obviously, other cross-sectional configurations of the enclosure and member 17 may be employed including cylindrical configurations and polygonal configurations lother than the octagonal Iillustrated coniiguration. As shown in FIGURE 4, the thermoelectric modules 15 may be suitably interconnected within the enclosure 21 by suitable interconnecting wires 37 to complete the electrical circuit between conductors 27 and 28.
Handle 14 may comprise a tubular plastic member having an end 38 secured to the end 25 of enclosure 21 by means of a threaded connector 39 fixed to enclosure end 25. Handle end 38 may be suitably threaded to the connector 39 and provided with an O-ring 40 for sealing the handle to the connector. The opposite end 41 of the handle is closed by a suitable cap 42 through which the conduits 18 and 19 and cable 16 extend.
In operation, the refrigeration apparatus 1) is utilized as indicated in FIGURE 1 by immersion of the portion 11 within the body of fluid to be refrigerated, the user effecting the immersion by grasping the handle portion 14 as shown. The cable 16 is connected to a suitable power source (not shown) for energizing the thermoelectric modules and the conduits 18 and 19 are connected to suitable hoses for circulating coolant such as water through the metal member 17. Heat is absorbed by the thermoelectric modules from the water 12 and passed into the coolant water circulated through the member 17 for removal from the apparatus 10. Refrigeration of the liquid 12 may be facilitated by utilization of the portion 11 to effect a stirring of the liquid concurrently with the cooling thereof.
Thus, apparatus provides an economical, simple structure affording facilitated refrigeration of liquids and the like being particularly advantageously employed in connection with refrigerating small quantities of liquids Isuch as cups of beverage and the like.
While I have shown and described lone embodiment of my invention, it is to be understood that it is capable of many modifications. Changes, therefore, in the construction and arrangement may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are dened as follows:
1. Apparatus for withdrawing heat from a body to be cooled, comprising: an enclosure having la thermally conductive wall portion and a handle portion spaced from said wall portion; thermoelectric means in said enclosure having heat absorbing means in thermal transfer association with said wall portion and heat passing means spaced from said wall portion; and heat transfer means having an inner portion in thermal transfer association with said heat passing means to withdraw heat energy from said thermoelectric means, said heat transfer means iniluding an outer portion extending through said handle portion of said enclosure to without said enclosure.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said heat transfer means includes a conduit for circulating a fluid therethrough to receive the heat energy from said heat passing means, and said conduit passing through said handle portion.
3. Apparatus for withdrawing heat from a body to be cooled, comprising: an enclosure having a thermally conductive wall portion and a handle portion spaced from said wall portion; thermoelectric means in said enclosure having heat absorbing means in thermal transfer association with said wall portion and heat passing means spaced from said wall portion; heat transfer means having an inner portion in thermal transfer association with said heat passing means to Withdraw heat energy from said thermoelectric means, said heat transfer means including an youter portion extending through said handle portion of said enclosure to without said enclosure; and electrical conductor means extending through said handle into said enclosure for energizing said thermoelectric means.
4. Apparatus for withdrawing heat from a body to be cooled, comprising: an enclosure having a thermally conductive wall portion and defining a chamber; a handle extending from said enclosure; thermoelectric means in said enclosure having heat absorbing means in thermal transfer association With said Wall portion and heat passing means spaced from said Wall portion; heat transfer means including an inner portion extending axially through said chamber and in thermal transfer association with said heat passing means to Withdraw heat energy from said thermoelectric means, said inner portion of the heat transfer means comprising a hollow metal member dening a fluid fiow passage, said heat transfer means further including an outer portion comprising a duct means extending through said handle for conducting a heat transfer fluid to and from said metal member; and electrical conductor means extending through said handle into said enclosure for energizing said thermoelectric means.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 further including a body of sealing insulat-ion disposed between said thermoelectric means and said handle portion.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 further including a plug formed of sealing insulation material at the end of the enclosure remote from the handle portion.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 including an annular connector carrying the thermally conductive wall portion of the enclosure and threadedly secured to the handle portion.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,804,072 Turrettini May 5, 1931 2,672,032 Towse Mar. 16, 1954 2,957,315 Wood Oct. 25, 1960 3,008,299 Sheckler Nov. 14, 1961 FOREIGN PATENTS 832,422 Great Britain Apr. 13, 1960