US 3193259 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
J. M. LIEBMANN CASING FOR A GAS-LIQUID CONTACT UNIT July 6, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Dec. 2'7, 1960 INVENTOR. JOHN M. LIEB MANN ANDRUS 8a STARKE Aifoa'neys y 6, 1965 J. M. LIEBMANN 3,193,259
CASING FOR A GAS-LIQUID CONTACT UNIT Filed Dec. 27, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. JOHN M. UEBMANN d BY ANDRUS 8: STARKE Attorneys United States Pate 3,193,2ss CASING FUR A GA-HQUD CUNTAUE UNKT Eohn M. Liebmanu, Madison, Wis, assignor to Research Products Corporation, Madison, Wis, a corporation of Wisconsin Filed Dec. 27, 196i), Ser. No. 78,353 Claims. (6!. 251-24) This invention relates to a casing for a gas-liquid contact unit.
It is often desirable to humidity dry air normally occur-ring in buildings in wintertime. This may be accomplished by a free-standing humidifier or one which is attached to a window or to the plenum chamber of a hot air furnace, and wherein air is circulated through the humidifier and brought into contact with a source of moisture.
The humidifier may include, as the air moistening agent, a contact unit comprising a plurality of superposed expanded sheets of water absorbent character which are continuously wetted from a distributor disposed thereabove. Such a humidifier is disclosed in US Patent No. 2,637,- 540, assigned to the same assignee as the present invention.
According to that patent, the contact unit is disposed in a casing wherein the air passes through the housing in a single direction, and picks up moisture from a plurality of thin fiat webs having their broad surfaces disposed at an angle to the plane of the superposed sheets forming the unit. A motor fan unit within the casing draws the air through an opening in one Wall of the casing and, after humidifying it, forces the humidified air out through an opening in an opposite wall.
The present invention provides substantial improvements over that shown in Patent No. 2,637,540. Th entire casing is preferably moldedfrom a suitable plastic material which provides smooth rounded surfaces resistant to the formation or adherence of mineral or scale deposits from the Water. Access to the interior of the assembled humidifier is facilitated by providing a plurality of separable parts which are secured together along a generally horizontal parting line by suitable attaching means.
The housing of the invention is particularly suited for mounting on the wall of an air duct or a furnace plenum chamber, since it provides for return of the moistened air directly back into the duct or chamber. For this purpose, the intake and discharge openings are disposed in the same wall of the humidifier. In this connection, means are provided to prevent recirculation of the air already humidified.
It would also be possible to mount the unit for use as a room humidifier.
In addition, the circulating fan and its drive motor are mounted in a unique way which protects the motor from the effects of moisture and heat.
Further novel features and advantages will becom apparent as the description progresses.
The accompanying drawings illustrate the best mode presently contemplated by the inventor for carrying out the invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is an exploded perspective View of a casing constructed in accordance with the invention, and showing the top cover and gas-liquid contact unit raised from their normal positions;
FIG. 2 is a generally vertical section through the casing; and
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the humidifier with parts broken away and in section.
As shown in the drawings, the casing of the invention has the usual top, floor, side walls and end walls and comprises, generally, a bottom support section 1 and a top shroud section 2 which are adapted to abuttingly engage each other along a horizontal joint 3. 'These shell sectrons may be secured together by any suitable means. For example, joint 3 may be provided with several interrelated ridges or flanges 4, and a horseshoe-shaped holding clip 5 of nylon strip or the like may be slipped on or off them as desired.
Sections 1 and 2 are preferably molded from a thermosetting plastic. High strength and heat and water resistance are desirable charactenis-tics obtained with this material, which may also provide an additional safety factor by having a dry dielectric strength of about 250 volts/ mil.
The humidifier assembly is shown as having a major chamber portion 6 with greater width than depth. The long rear wall is adapted for securement to a furnace or other suitable fiat surface. The long front wall opposite the furnace connection portion is provided with an opening which connects to a small chamber 7 adapted to receive a fan motor d and any other suitable controls. Mot-or 8 may be automatically actuated by a humidistat or other controlling apparatus.
FIGURE 1 shows the casing separated, revealing that many of the major components of the humidifier are supported by bottom casing section 1.
It has been found that motor 8 and other controls will have an increased life if they are removed from a moist atmosphere. They therefore must not be within the air air. This problem is solved by mounting motor 8 and the controls to the front face of a hat vertical panel 9 by means of bolts 10 or the like.
Panel 9 is imperforate and is preferably made of a material similar to sections 1 and 2. The side edges of the partition panel are adapted to fit within coextensive grooves or slots 11 formed along the corresponding edges of the opening in the front wall of chamber 6 formed by sections 1 and 2. When top section 2 is removed, panel 9 may be slid into or out of the U-shaped lower slot portion in the'bottom casing section. Assembly and servicing of motor 8 and its controls is thereby facilitated. 7
When section 2 is replaced, chamber 7 is substantially sealed from the large humidifying chamber 6 by the interior partition 9 which forms an inner vertical wall of each chamber and which protects the working parts in chamber 7 from corrosion caused by excess moisture. In addition, ventilation of chamber 7 with the dry air existing in the building is provided by a series of vents 12 formed into an outside wall of the chamber 7.
Since motor 8 may be somewhat heavy, relative to the gauge of panel 9, a supplemental resilientsupport for the motor is provided. Such a support may comprise that shown in FIG. 2, wherein the floor of casing 1 at chamber 7 extends upwardly to create an integral projection 13 having .a threaded vertical opening therein. A postlike stud or bolt 14 is threaded into the opening and extends upwardly from projection 13 where a resilient cap 15 on the upper end thereof supports motor 8.
Bolt 14 has a notched lower end to receive a screw driver for adjusting the same vertically toallow for variations in motor size. The bolt 14 resiliently restrains motor 3 from vibration due to any accentricity of its operating fan 17. As shown, thisshroud forms part of an integral insert member, indicated generally at 20, and comprises 'the front wall 21 thereof which extends between the casing side walls. A fan receiving opening 22 in wall 21 is of a minimum size commensurate with the diametrical extent of the fan.
Extending rearwardly from each side edge of wall 21 is an integral wall which comprises a pair of wall portions :23 and 24 which are offset by a transverse shoulder 25.
The construction is such that the opposed wall portions 23 are spaced closer together than the opposed wall portions 24. In addition, an inwardly extending vertical rib 26 is disposed on each wall portion 24 and spaced fromthe rear edge thereof and generally parallel to shoulder 25, to provide an end lip or baffle portion 27, described more fully hereinafter. The rear end of insert 28 is generally open.
The described construction provides a channel formed by 'walls 24, shoulders 25 and ribs 26 to receive a vertical gas-liquid contact unit 28 which is on the opposite side of fan 17 from panel 9 and generally parallel to the latter. Unit 28 forms an outer vertical wall of chamber .6. With metal channels, the tenacious scale from hard waters would lock the evaporative unit to the channels. However, scale will not form so readily on the smooth substantially eliminated. V Insert 20 provides an integral fan shroud and channel support structure for the evaporative element 28. This unitary element is anchored to the floor of chamber 6,
such as by a slot or groove 29 which is molded into the floor and which conforms to the bottom edge contour of the insert. Complete and permanent securement may be assured by utilizing an epoxy resin or other suitable cementing material at the groove.
In addition, the top edge of insert 20 is adapted to fit within a slot or groove 30 molded into the top wall of upper half 2 'of the casing. To permit removal of the casing top, this upper joint is merely a mechanical fit,
'no cementing materials being employed.
As best seen in FIG. 3, insert 20 is disposed so that ribs 26 are spaced inwardly from the rear edge of bottom member 1, with baflle elements 27 extending just to the said rear edge;
When the unit iscompletely assembled, it can be seen that insert 20 provides the necessary separating'elements 4 parallel to the upward flow of air within the plen chamber of the furnace into which they are adapted to extend. This permits minimum mechanical resistance to the moving air.
Tests have shown that, with an air velocity of 230 ft./min. in the. plenum chamber and an'air volume of 200 cubic ft./min. passing through the humidifier, the rate of evaporation increased 44% when a baflie 27 of inch outward extent was utilized, compared to a structure wherein no baffie was used.
The gas-liquid contact unit 28 is adapted to receive water which Wets all of the surfaces thereof whereby the airpassing therethrough is properly humidified. For this purpose, a gravity water distribution system may be used. .Such a system is shown in US. Patent No. 2,637,540 wherein a tubular member having a plurality'of spaced holes along the bottom thereof is disposed above the upper edge of the contact unit.
An'improv ed distributor is shown in US. Patent No. 2,947,452, which is assigned to the same assignee as the present invention. In that patent, a separate distributor .trough. is provided with openings having a water in- .soluble hydrophilic composition disposed closely adjacent thereto. The coating promotes a steady and uni- .form flow of water from the trough through the openings,
.and utilizes a wicking action to produce the desired result. a
A similar principle is used in the present structure,
' wherein a water trough 31 is molded into top section 2 plastic channels, and the problem of locking is thereby as an integral part thereof. Trough 31 is disposed adjacent the rear portion of section 2 and extends downwardly into chamber 6 to directly above unit 28.
As in Patent No. 2,947,452, a plurality of spaced discharge apertures 32 are molded in trough 31 and have for air flow into and out of humidifying chamber 6. This 1 is due to the fact that walls 23 and 24 are spaced a substantial distance from the side walls of the chamberto thereby provide air discharge openings 19. The air'inlet opening 18 is the open rear side of the insert.
When used with a furnace or air duct, air to be drawn through the air-liquidcontact unit 28 enters chamber 6 as shown by the arrows in FIG. 3, and is discharged in the opposite but a parallel direction. Other uses for the humidifier might require a change in direction of discharge.
It is important to minimize any recirculation 'of humidified air with dry air caused by intermingling of the two types of air adjacent openings 18 and 19. This shortcircuiting of the air has been found to limit the rate of evaporation of moisture. By providing bafiles 27 which extend outwardly beyond ribs 26 this undesirable phenomenon is substantially reduced and humidified air is directed away from the intake.
a The casing extensionbaifles 27 are disposed between the intake and discharge flows and are disposed parallel to both. In addition, being vertical in extent, they are V-notch weirs formed by cylindrical risers 33. A ring or snout 34 surrounds each aperture 32 on the underside of the trough to facilitate'dripping of water directly down from the' aperture. of unit 28.
Since trough 31 is integral with top section 2, it cannot rattle or get out of place; nor can it permit air to by-pass its perimeter. In. addition, it is automatically aligned with the vertical channel guides for unit 28, and
Snout 34 normally touches the top thus with the unit itself. The fact that the trough is open to the outside of'the top casing makes it easily accessible for cleaning, and observation of its proper functioning is facilitated. For example, the levelness of the distributor can be easily checked by observing the surface of waterin the trough. If .the trough gets too limed up for proper functioning, it is easily replaced without'dis- 'turbing the rest of the apparatus by replacing top member 2.
It is important to prevent any water in chamber 6 from 'being blown through discharge openings 19 into the furnace plenum chamber. If fan 17 is too close to unit 28, entrained water will be sucked out ofthe unit and blown through openings 19. This problem can be eliminated by properly spacing the fan from the inner wall of the gas-liquid contact unit. With the present assembly it has been found that a spacing of not less than about /2 inchwill avoid the difliculty.
There is normally a space of about inch between snouts' 34 and the top of unit 28. Since water collects on snouts 34 in droplet form, fan 17 may tend to suck some "of the droplets through this space and hence to openings 19; The present construction eliminates this problem by providing a horizontal bafiieor skirt 35 which is ent construction the downward extent to the lower edge of. the skirt is about inch, so that the skirt overlaps and contacts the inner face of unit 28.
Skirt 35 serves to stop removal of the water droplets by the fan, and instead direct them down onto the humiditying unit. In addition, the skirt compels air to move through the contact unit, since it cannot bypass above the unit.
Water which is not collected by the dry air passing through the humidifier will, in time, tend to flow down unit 28. In this connection, it is necessary to provide means for removal of this excess water. The structure of the invention provides an improved drain technique. As best seen in FIG. 2, gas-liquid contact unit 28 rests directly on the floor of chamber 6. The entire floor area of the chamber bounded by raised groove 29 and by an upwardly curved bottom rear edge or lip 36 of section 1, serves as a sump into which the water drains. Any water running down unit 28 or its supporting channels will be collected in this large sump area. This will prevent water from seeping, often by a process of scale deposition, to undesired areas.
' If desired, a plurality of ribs 37 may be molded in fanlike array across the bottom of the sump area to beneath unit 28 to help direct the water to a depressed floor section 38 at the forward part of the sump and close to fan wall 21. A drain opening 39 in section 33 removes water from the humidifier for recirculation of other disposal.
The entire assembly may be secured to the wall 40 of a furnace plenum chamber, as by a flange 41 which extends around the rearedge portion of the casing. At the top of the casing, this flange forms a part of the rear wall of trough 31.
It has been found that the entire humidifier runs at a substantially lower noise level than those of prior construction. It is believed that the use of an all-plastic casing, which has a high coefficient of sound absorption, greatly assists in this regard. The noise level has been found to be approximately 25% less than that of prior metal units. Locating the motor in an isolating chamber of this plastic material and utilization of the plastic fan shroud also have an important bearing on the quiet operation obtained.
Various modes of carrying out the invention are contemplated as being within the scope of the following claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention.
1. In a humidifying apparatus,
(a) top and bottom casing sections,
(b) means to separably join said sections at a generally horizontal parting line to form a humidifier casing having a top, a floor, side walls, and end walls,
(c) one of said end walls having an opening for passage of gas therethrough,
(d) a gas flow fan disposed within said casing inwardly of said end wall opening,
(e) means to rotate said fan,
(f) an integral member vertically disposed within said casing and comprising:
(1) an inner vertical shroud wall extending between the casing side walls and with said shroud wall having a central opening within which said fan is disposed,
(2) a side wall separate from the casing side walls and extending from each vertical edge of said shroud wall to adjacent but spaced slightly inwardly of said end wall opening,
(3) each of said last-named side walls having an offset shoulder therein,
(4) and a rib disposed adjacentthe outer end of each of said last-named side walls and extending inwardly and generally parallel to said offset shoulders;
(g) a vertical gas-liquid contact unit supported by said floor and supportingly disposed between the said offset shoulders and the said ribs,
(h) a groove disposed in said floor and receiving the bottom edge of said integral member,
(i) a groove disposed in said top and receiving the 6. top edge of said integral member when said top and bottom casing sections are joined,
(j) and means disposed above said integral member to supply liquid to the upper portion of said unit.
2. The combination of claim 1 in which:
(a) the side walls of said integral member are spaced inwardly from the side walls of said casing to separate said end wall opening into gas inlet and discharge passages,
(b) and each said rib on said integral member being disposed inwardly of the outer vertical edge portion of the respective side wall thereof, so that each said vertical edge portion forms a bafiie parallel to and separating the gas inlet and discharge fiows at said end wall opening.
3. In a humidifying apparatus:
(a) a pair of casing sections,
(b) means to separably join said sections to form a casinghaving a top, a floor, side walls and end walls,
(c) one of said end walls having an opening for passage of gas therethrough,
(d) a gas flow fan disposed within said casing inwardly of said end wall opening,
(e) an integral member vertically disposed within said casing and comprising:
(1) an inner vertical shroud Wall extending between the casing side walls and with said shroud wall having a central opening within which said fan is disposed,
(2) and a side wall separate from the casing side walls and extending from each vertical edge of said shroud wall to adjacent but spaced slightly inwardly of said end wall opening, the side walls of said integral member being spaced from the side walls of said casing to form air passages therebetween.
(f) a vertical gasdiquid contact unit supported by said floor and extending between the side walls of said integral member,
(g) means on said integral member to support the vertical edge portions of said unit,
(b) means disposed above said integral member to supply liquid to the upper portion of said unit, (i) and a sump disposed beneath said unit to receive excess liquid therefrom, the boundaries of said sump comprising:
(1) a raised groove disposed in said casing floor and receiving the bottom edges of the shroud wall and side walls of said vertical member,
(2) an upwardly curved lip extending along the outer edge of said casing floor adjacent said end wall opening,
(3) and the said floor.
4. The combination of claim 3 in which the liquid supply means comprises:
(a) a distributor trough molded integrally with the top casing section and disposed above and in aligned relationship with the said contact unit when the top and bottom casing sections are assembled,
(b) and a transverse skirt integral with and extending downwardly from the inner wall of the trough and terminating at a horizontal edge disposed below the top of the contact unit so that liquid between the trough and the contact unit will be protected from air flow.
5. In a humidifying apparatus:
(a) top and bottom casing sections of molded synthetic plastic material,
(b) means to separably join said sections at a generally horizontal parting line to form a humidifier casing,
(c) coextensive vertical inner grooves disposed in opposite side walls of said sections,
(d) a fiat imperforate vertical panel of molded plastic material having its side edges disposed in said grooves,
*(f) a motor disposed within said first chamber and secured to said panel,
(g) a fan disposed in said second chamber and connected to said motor through said panel for rotation by the motor,
(h) and a vertical gas-liquid contact unit disposed on the opposite side of said fan from said panel and generally parallel to the latter,
(i) said contact unit forming an outer vertical wall of said second chamber so that gas will be drawn through the unitwhen said motor rotates said fan,
(j) outlet means in said casing for discharge of humidified air, I
'(k) said panel, together with said motor and fan, being freely slideable vertically out of the grooves in said lower casing section when said upper casing section is removed,
(1) a vertical post disposed in said first chamber and centrally beneath said motor and secured to the floor of said bottom casing section,
(m) a resilient vibration absorbing member disposed on the upper end of said post and engaging said motor,
(n) and means for adjusting 8 i I s'ai'd p ost vertically's'o that it will support said motor. I
' References Cited by theExaininer UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,189,021 7 2/40 Schury 261-91 XR 2,561,592 7/51 Palmer 261-24 2,628,083 2/53 7 Rense 261-28 X 2,637,540 5/53 Rowe 261-94 2,668,038 2/54 Dry' 261-119 XR 2,705,623 4/55 Glassenhart et a1. a 26 1-29 1 2,751,760 6/56 Williams 62-429 XR 2,766,027 10/56 Herr 26 1-91 2,838,130 6/58 Lemmon 261-26 X 2,849,020 8/58 Goff. 2,860,228 11/58 Boyle et al. I 1 2,947,452 V 8/60 Frohmader et a1. j 222-478 XR 2,984,464 5/61" ,Herr 261-91 XR 2,998,714 9/61 Bonzer. r 3,023,837 3/62 Weills. a r 3,131,236 4/64 Beehler et a1. 261-28 HARRY VB. THORNTON, Primary Examiner. HERBERT -L. MARTIN, Examiner,