US 3212274 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 19, 1965 w. EIDUS THERMOELECTRIC CONDENSER Filed July 28, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. Z
INVENTOR. WILLIAM EIDUS ATTORNE 2 United States Patent 3,212,274 THERMOELECTRIC CONDENSER William Eidus, Rockland County, N.Y. (1 Bonnie Court, Spring Valley, N.Y.) Filed July 28, 1964, Ser. No. 385,688 3 Claims. (Cl. 62-3) The present invention relates to a novel and improved method for condensing gaseous substances to liquid form. In particular the invention relates to a cooling device in which the cooling or condensing effects are produced by thermoelectricity. The invented device is specifically adapted to utilize the Peltier effect for producing thermal changes within variously shaped gaseous containers.
It is an object of the invention to provide a thermoelectric condensing device of the type described which can be placed in any area without any necessity for desirable external ambient or auxiliary cooling or condensing equipment.
The chamber temperatures can be controlled for whatever purpose necessary, and the lightweight, compactness, simplicity and strength of structure extremely simplify the engineering design and cost problems for such equipment as refrigerators and air conditioners.
For example in any form of air conditioning or refrigeration or wherever condensers are used the present methods of reducing the gaseous form to a liquid involves an elaborate, costly, and area obstructing system of metal tubing with large quantities of heat sink fins attached and if the unit is of any meaningful size circulating water systems and fan devices with all the motors and extra equipment attendant thereon become a necessity. Accurate control of condensing performance by thermal control is extremely difficult. Because of all the extra equipment necessary, cost is always increased. In some instances the lack of availability of the circulating water to cool the condensing chambers and coils, or the excessive cost and size of fan equipment bars their use impairing tremendously the refrigeration or air conditioning effect because of the time element involved in condensing the liquid. Another drawback in those systems which use the fan or blower systems is that the heat which is removed from the condensing chamber or coil is very often blown to another portion of the same work or inhabited area adding additional heat to the existing surroundings, such as in home refrigerators or deep freezers.
The invented device eliminates all of the aforementioned problems in that it is a self sufficient thermally controlled cooling device. Degree of cold and rapidity of condensation thereby do not need the assistance of circulating water, or fans. The small size of the device eliminates need for lots of room and cuts the time of recirculation of refrigerant or any gaseous or vaporized content. Importantly too, since the heat does not have to be blown or taken somewhere else, no other area or person is affected thereby. The electronic construction is simple, rugged, inexpensive and requires no attendance or maintenance. In furtherance of the usefulness of the invention more than one of this device may be used in different positions in the path of the gas or vapor for even greater detailed controlled condensation, and each of the devices may have separately designed condensing chambers, tubes, or shapes.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following specifications when taken in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view with portions shown broken away in section, of a thermoelectric condenser, made in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an upended view of one form of a thermoelectric condenser wherein the tubing is permanently attached to the exterior bottom fiat surface of a thermally conductive metallic block;
FIG. 3 is an upended view of another form of a thermoelectric condenser, with a portion shown cut away;
FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the thermocouple assembly and the electrical energizing circuit therefor;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a thermoelectric condenser with a portion of the device being broken away to reveal inner constructional details;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of another embodiment constructed according to the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view, to enlarged scale, of another embodiment of a thermoelectric condenser constructed in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view of a portion of the device illustrated in FIG. 7.
Referring in detail to the drawings, it will be seen that the thermoelectric condenser comprises in general a thermally conductive upper metal member 10 with a lower flat portion 13 and a series of upstanding fins 12 and threaded holes 14 in each corner. The fiat body portion 13 is in intimate contact with the upper portion hot side of the thermocouple mounting plates 15 and serves as a heat transfer surface dissipating the heat from the hot side of the thermocouple 19 and its mounting plate 15 and further neutralizing the heat through the upstanding fins 12. The holes 14 in each corner of the upper metal member 10 are threaded to receive bolts for more secure attachment to the thermocouple mounting plate 15 and the condensing chamber attached to the cold side of the thermocouple 21.
The thermocouple assembly 21 is composed of a series of semiconductor elements. Thermocouples of the type shown are well known and are commercially available. The semiconductor elements 17 are of the P-type alternate with semiconductor elements of the N- type, the P-type differing from the N-type in physical properties in semiconductor employed.
Each individual pair of semiconductor elements 17 are connected at their upper ends by thin plates 19 of electrically conductive metal while adjacent pairs of elements are connected at their lower ends by similar plates 18. The plates are thus arranged to connect the elements in a series as best shown in FIG. 4. When electrical current is passed through the thermocouple series in one direction the lower plates 18 will serve as cold junctions and the upper plates 19 as hot junctions. If the direction of the electrical current is then reversed the lower plates 18 become hot and the upper plates become cold.
The thermocouple units are embedded in a filler 36 of polyurethane or other synthetic which acts as insula tion to help prevent the heat generated at the hot junctions from affecting the cold prevailing at the cold junctions. The outer surfaces of the junction plates 18 and 1? are, however, exposed at the respective top and bottom edges of the filler 36 as shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 5 in order to be intimate with the upper and lower thermocouple heat conductive mounting members 15 and 16 to which the thermocouple assembly is attached. The thermocouple assembly 21 is mounted flat against the surfaces of the thermocouple mounting members 15 and 16 by soldering or by any permanently affixing means which will not affect thermal conductivity.
The upper and lower thermocouple mounting members 15 and 16 are the members to which the heat dissipator 10 and the condensing chambers 20, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 6, are respectively attached by screw or other means; the flat upper surfaces 48 of the condensing chambers 20,
3 FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 6, being mounted flush tightly against the thermocouple mounting members and 16.
The upper and lower thermocouple mounting members 15 and 16 have internally threaded bores in each corner to receive threaded studs therein thereby permitting the member surfaces to be held tightly together. The member surfaces 13, 15, 16, and 48 may be permanently affixed by soldering or other means.
The condensing chambers 20, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 6 illustrate different embodiments for possible alternative needs and purposes. For example FIG. 1 illustrates a prismatic hollow chamber type with inlet and outlet connections 22 and 23 whereby the outer thermally conductive shell cools the hollow chamber by transmitting the cold from the cold plate of the thermocouple to the gas or vapor contained within. FIG. 2 shows a form of condensing chamber taking the shape of a multi-curved thermally conductive hollow tube 29 afiixed to a fiat thermally conductive plate.
FIG. 3 illustrates another type of condensing chamber in which a straight thermally conductive tube exists within a thermally conductive block to which inlet connection 33 and outlet connection 34 are attached.
FIG. 6 shows still another embodiment of a condensing chamber in the form of a hollow liquid reservoir. A multi-curved thermally conductive tube 29A having an inlet 30A and an outlet 33A is suspended inside the hollow liquid reservoir. The hollow liquid reservoir contains water 52 or any other thermally conductive liquid, which is cooled by the walls of the reservoir, thereby causing the substance within the tubing to condense. A valve on the side 51 is used for refilling or replacing the liquid. Each of these condensing members 20 shown in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 6, is mounted flush by its top fiat surface against the thermocouple mounting member 16 and held in place by screws received in the threaded screw holes 14 or permanently attached by soldering or by other means which do not impair thermal conductivity.
As best shown in FIG. 4, the thermocouple leads 39 and are connected to terminal strips 37 and 38 at the ends of the thermocouple series. When direct current is fed to the thermocouple assembly 21 through. the leads in one direction, the upper thermocouple plates 19 will be heated, such heat being dissipated by the heat sink 10. At the same time the lower thermocouple plates 18 will be cooled, such cold being transferred to the thermocouple mounting members 16 and to the condensing members 20, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 6, respectively, attached thereto.
FIG. 4 shows schematically a power source unit 41 which may be employed for supplying electrical current to the leads 39 and 40. The unit 41 may be adapted to be connected to a source of DC. current or may be self contained, such as a battery pack, rechargeable or otherwise. In either event the terminals of the power source 43 and 44 are connected by leads 47A, 47B through a switch 42, a variable resistor 45, and a polarity reversing switch 46 to the leads 39 and 40 and which are respectively connected to the thermocouple assembly 21. The switch 42 may be manually operated to open and close the circuit, or may be associated with a timer (not shown) to automatically open the circuit after a designated heating or cooling period. The polarity reversing switch 46 may be employed to change the polarity of potential applied to the terminals 37, 38 so that either heating or cooling will be produced at the condensing chamber contact surface. The variable resistor may be employed to regulate the amount of power supplied and therefore the degree of heating or cooling produced.
In one commercial embodiment of the invention, 20 thermocouple units, each consisting of a pair of barium telluride rods of 5 mm. diameter and one quarter inch length were assembled in series and operated at 1% volts at six amps. The thermocouple module produced a steady temperature of 33.5 C. at the hot side in an ambient of 24 C. The cold side, with thecondenser heat transfer surface in good contact had a temperature varying between 10 C. and 15 C. This temperature may be varied of course, by adjustment of the variable resistor 45.
It is to be understood that the instrument is particularly intended to be used to produce cooling for condensing purposes on the condensing units 20, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, and FIG. 6, but use of the polarity reversing switch 45 can instantly convert the same surface to provide controlled heat.
FIG. 7 illustrates a hollow upper member reservoir made of a heat conductive material such as aluminum or copper, its peripheral upper wall 54 being provided with spaced radial ribs or vanes 12 for the dissipation of internal heat, the hollow upper member reservoir of FIG. 7 is closed off at each end by walls 55 and at the bottom by a fiat wall 56, the walls completely enclose the hollow interior of the upper member reservoir FIG. 7, providing a liquid type reservoir for a supply of water or other type liquid 57.
The top of the peripheral upper member wall 54 has a fluid inlet opening 53 bordered by a threaded neck. The inlet opening is closed off by an internally threaded closure valve cap 53 removably mounted on the threaded neck.
The bottom wall 56 of the upper hollow member reservoir is flat so as to permit the thermocouple assembly 21 to be mounted flush against said bottom wall 57 in heat exchanging relationship therewith. In each corner there are round threaded holes 14 to permit mounting on the thermocouple mounting members 15 and 16 by screw means or the thermocouple mounting members may be permanently afiixed to the flat bottom by soldering or other means.
While preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described herein, it is obvious that numerous additions, changes and omissions may be made in such embodiment without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What I claim is:
1. Thermoelectric condensing apparatus comprising in combination a condensing chamber, a thermocouple assembly comprising a plurality of serially connected thermocouple elements each having a respective hot and a cold junction, a first thermally conductive heat dissipating plate in heat exchanging relation between said condensing chamber and the cold junctions of said thermocouple assembly, a second thermally conductive heat dissipating plate in heat exchanging relation with the hot junctions of said thermocouple assembly, a plurality of outwardly extending fins in heat exchanging relation with said second thermally conductive heat dissipating plate for air cooling said condensing apparatus, said condensing chamber comprising a reservoir and a tube spaced from said first thermally conductive heat dissipating plate, said tube having inlet means for the introduction of the vapor to be condensed and outlet means for the exit of the condensate, and a liquid filling said reservoir and surrounding said tube, whereby said liquid is cooled by said thermocouple assembly to cause the vapor within the tube to condense.
2. Thermoelectric condensing apparatus as defined in claim 1, and a chamber between said second thermally conductive heat dissipating plate and said plurality of outwardly extending fins, a liquid filling said chamber for conducting heat away from said thermocouple assembly to the plurality of outwardly extending fins.
3. Thermoelectric condensing apparatus comprising in combination a condensing chamber having inlet and outlet means for the respective introduction of the vapor to be condensed and the exit of the condensate, a thermocouple assembly comprising a plurality of serially connected thermocouple elements each having a respective hot and a cold junction, a first thermally conductive heat dissipating plate positioned in heat exchanging relation between and in contact with said condensing chamber and the cold junctions of said thermocouple assembly for cooling said condensing chamber, a second thermally conductive heat dissipating plate in heat exchanging relation with the hot junctions of said thermocouple assembly, a plurality of outwardly extending fins in heat exchanging relation with said second thermally conductive heat dis sipating plate for air cooling said condensing apparatus, a chamber between said second thermally conductive heat dissipating plate and said plurality of outwardly extending fins, and a liquid filling said chamber for conducting heat away from the thermocouple assembly to the plurality of outwardly extending fins.
6 References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,932,953 4/60 Becket 62-3 5 2,947,150 8/60 Roeder 623 3,109,290 11/63 Kolenko 62-3 3, 1 3 6,577 6/ 64 Richard 623 3,137,141 6/ 64 Kistler 62-3 10 WILLIAM J. WYE, Primary Examiner.