US 3304632 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
I Feb. 21, 1967 R. J. KOTLAR ETAL 3,304,632
SNOW AND ICE MELTING APPARATUS Original Filed July 31, 1963 5 SheetSSheet 1 INVENTORS. RUDOLPH J. KOTLAR ALBERT H. RAACK cws A RUG/(EN 5mm 1967 R. J. KOTLAR ETAL SNOW AND ICE MELTING APPARATUS Original Filed July 51, 1963 5 $heetsSheet 2 V INVENTORS.
RUDOLPH J. KOTLAR A L BERT H. RAACK W @UCKEZBRODT 1957 R. J. KOTLAR ETAL SNOW AND ICE MELTING APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Original Filed July 31 1963 2 INVENTORS. RUDOLPH J. KOTL/U'? ALBERT/1', RAACK 5y CHARL s .7' c/(srvsoor q! I I v F H 3,304,632 SNOW AND ICE MELTING APPARATUS Rudolph Joseph Kotlar, 2515 S. 59th Court, Cicero, Ill.
60650; Albert Henry Raack, 1815 S. 20th Ave., Maywood, Ill. 60153; and Charles A. Truckenbrodt, 361 Fairview Ave., Elmhurst, Ill. 60126 Continuation of application Ser. No. 299,047, July 31, 1963. This application Nov. 26, 1965, Ser. No. 516,828 14 Claims. (Cl. 3712) This application is a continuation of US. patent application, Serial No. 299,047, filed July 31, 1963, now abandoned.
This invention relates to an apparatus for removal of snow and ice from roadways; more particularly, it relates to an apparatus for removing snow and ice from roadways and melting it to water.
The removal of large quantities of snow and ice and mixture thereof in the form of slush from public roadways and from other large expanses of paved surfaces is a task which must be performed by municipalities and other governmental bodies in most parts of this country many times each winter season. Due to the limited budgets normally allocated for this task, it is essential that snow and ice removal be accomplished in an economical a manner as possible. However, it is also important to accomplish the snow removal from public roadways as rapidly as possible so that the time that essential vehicular trafiic is impeded or blocked is reduced to a minimum. A common means of accomplishing this task is that of merely plowing the snow and ice to the shoulders of the road and leaving it to be melted upon the outset of warmer weather. In situations where the obvious defects and limitations of this method cannot be tolerated, the snow and ice is commonly removed by plowing it into convenient windrows, loading it into trucks and transporting it to an available dumping area. But this procedure for snow removal is expensive in terms of financial investment in required trucks, snow plows and other equipments and also in the cost of labor to accomplish the separate tasks. In addition, this procedure is relatively time consuming for clearance of snow and ice from large areas.
It has long been obvious that much of the labor, expense and time consumption inherent in the last mentioned method of snow removal could be eliminated by directly melting the snow to water rather than carting the snow to a disposal area. Many thermal-mechanical machines have been heretofore invented to directly melt the snow and ice to water as it is removed from the roadway.
The melting technique commonly used in these inventions is that of subjecting the snow and ice to heated water. However, the inventions utilizing this technique have proved to be unsuitable for large scale snow removal operations because of the limitations upon rate of melting snow and ice. Another technique which has been utilized in these heretofore invented machines for melting snow and ice is that of the direct application of torch or flame heat to the snow and ice to melt it. But this technique has not heretofore proved practical for large scale operations because of poor thermal conversion efiiciency, and hence, high operating costs, resulting from the insulating properties of the snow itself. That is, the snow and ice nearest the flame prevents or hinders the passage of heat energy from the flame to more remotely placed snow and ice and thus tends to produce incomplete melting and fuel waste. To obviate this problem, and hence, to increase the efficiency and melting capacity of devices utilizing direct application of combustion gases produced by torch burners on the snow and ice to melt it to water, there exists a need for an improved device which efficiently forces the heat carrying medium, i.e., the com- United States Fatent (Nice 3,304,632 Patented Feb. 21, 1967 bustion gases, to permeate throughout the entire quantity of snow and ice b'eing melted;
correspondingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a vehicular apparatus which harvests snow and ice from a roadway, efficiently melts the snow and ice by subjecting it to hot combustion gases and stores the resulting water.
Another object of this invention is to provide a vehicular apparatus which harvests snow and ice from a roadway, disperses it into small particles by the kinetic im pact of hot combustion gases, melts the particles by exposure to the gases and stores the resulting water.
A further object of this invention is to provide a vehicular apparatus which efiiciently harvests snow and ice from a roadway by means of a snow plow as the vehicle moves along the roadway, granulates the snow and ice into particles by the operating of rotary thrower and effectively conveys the particles to a melting means wherein the particles are converted to water by the application of hot combustion gases with the resulting water being stored in the device.
Another object of this invention is to provide a snow removal apparatus which requires a minimum expenditure of labor to operate.
A further object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for efficiently, rapidly and economically removing large quantities of snow and ice from roadways and melting it to water.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a vehicular apparatus for removal and melting of snow and ice from roadways which can be safely and without objectionable noise utilized in urban and residential areas.
Another object of this invention is to provide a snow removal and melting apparatus which can store the water resulting from the melting of the snow and can dispose of the water into any conveniently located sewer main.
Other and further objects and features will be apparent from the following specifications, drawings and claims. The drawings, which disclose a preferred embodiment of the invention, are as follows:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of our invention, shown partially cut away to more readily illustrate the relationship between its component parts.
FIG. 2 is a side view of the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 1, shown partially as a sectional View taken along lines 2-2 of FIGURE 1 and also partially cut away to more readily disclose the component parts thereof.
FIG. 3 is a sectional top view of the rotary snow plow and snow thrower taken on lines 33 of FIGURE 1.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the underside of the snow chute taken between lines 44 and 5-5 of FIG- URE 1.
FIG. 5 is a sectional top view of the burner assembly taken on lines 66 of FIGURE 1, shown partially cut away.
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a burner unit taken on lines 77 of FIGURE 5.
As illustrated in FIGURES 16, inclusive, the preferred embodiment of our invention, apparatus 10, for removing snow and ice that have accumulated on roadways and for melting the snow and ice to water is a wheeled, selfpropelled device, which can be conveniently operated by a single attendant. Apparatus 10 contains a chassis frame 11 of the type conventionally used for heavy duty trucks and other similar motor vehicles. On the forward part of the chassis, but positioned to one side is enclosed cab compartment 20 for the vehicles operator and on the rear portion of frame 11 is placed tank assembly 30. An internal-combustion engine 12, either of the diesel or gasoline type, is mounted to the chassis inside of the cab compartment. This engine supplies motive torque to the rear wheels of the vehicle through an adjustable transmission gear, differential gear and rear axle, all of which are of the type conventionally used for heavy duty vehicles. These Components are not shown in the drawings. Steering of front wheels of the vehicle and suspension of all of the wheels utilized in apparatus is accomplished in a manner conventional for trucks and other vehicles.
Referring to FIGURES 1 and 3, the rotary snow plow, indicated generally by reference numeral 70, is attached to the front of apparatus 1% and extends across the width of the vehicle. The plow is contained within housing 71 which is open at its front side so as to be able to engage snow and ice as apparatus 19 travels in a forward direction. Attached to the bottom of housing 71 across its entire bottom front edge is snow scraper blade 72. Auger screws '74- and 75 are rigidly mounted to shaft, or axle 73, which extends across the width of housing 71. Auger screw 74, which consists of triple vanes, is mounted along one side of the shaft while auger screw 7 5, which likewise consists of triple vanes, is mounted along the other side of shaft 73 with a space at the midpoint of the axle separating the two auger screws. These auger screws are mounted to axle 73 with oppositely inclined pitches. The axle is rotatably mounted inside of housing 71 at one end by roller bearing 69 and at the other end by hydraulic motor 76 which rotates the shaft and the auger screws in the direction that causes the apparent lateral movement of both augers to be towards the center of the axle.
The portion of auger screw 74 closest to the midpoint of the shaft is extended towards the center of the shaft by shovel arm 79. Likewise, the portion of auger screw 75 which is closest to the midpoint of the shaft is extended towards the center of the shaft by shovel arm 78. That is, both auger screw spirals are extended at the end of their innermost vanes by shovel arms 73 and 79 which extend towards the midpoint of the shaft but away from its central axis. The ends of arms 78 and 79, respectively, are joined together by a fiat member, denoted as shovel seat 77. As axle 73 rotates, the shovel arms and seat are caused to rotate in a circular are around it.
Snow and ice thrower Si) is mounted immediately behind seat 77 and is spaced to cooperate with it. This unit consists of circular housing 81, to which is attached back plate 88, thrower shaft 82, which rotatably extends through the backplate, thrower blades 83, 84 and 85 which are attached to the shaft, and hydraulic motor 86. Housing 81 for the thrower unit is integrally mounted to the rear of collector housing 71. Thrower blades 83, 84 and 85, which are flat steel blades, are equiangularly mounted around thrower shaft 82 with Zero pitch. That is, the normal to the flat surface of each of these blades is in the direction of rotation of the shaft. Mechanical power to rotate shaft 82, and thrower blades 83, 84 and 85 is provided by hydraulic motor 86.
Housing 81 is constructed with a rectangular opening in its top circular member. This opening, indicated by reference number 87, is off-set from the top-center of housing 81 towards the left side of the housing when viewed from the front. Snow chute 9&1 is joined at its bottom end 91 to thrower housing $1 at the forward and side edges of opening 87. Opening 87 is so positioned as to provide a direct passage from the tips of thrower blades 83, 84 and 85 to snow chute 9% as these blades are rapidly rotated.
Snow chute 9d consists of an arcuated base plate 93 and side members 94- and 95. As shown in FIGURE 1, the surface of base plate 93 symmetrically flares outward in its width dimension from its narrow end 91, which corresponds in dimension to the size of opening 87 in thrower housing 81, to its top end 92, which is substantially equal to the width of tank 30. Base plate 93 also forms a convex are extending from snow thrower 84 located at the front of vehicle to slot 41 in the top of tank 30. Side members 2- and 95 are attached to the flared sides of the base plate. Thus, snow chute 99 forms a curved channel structure whose bottom side faces toward tank and whose width flares outward in a substantially symmetrical manner towards the top of the chute. Attached to base plate 93 in the narrow portion of snow chute 9d at approximately one-half of its length are snow deflectors 96, 97 and 98. hese deflectors, which are relatively thin, elongated strips of metal, are positioned so as to form four smaller channels in the narrow portion of chute 9b. The ends of these deflectors which are closest to opening 87 have a rounded shape.
The entire snow collecting assembly consisting of rotary snow plow 74), snow thrower 8d and snow chute is remotely raised and lowered by means of a hydraulic lift mechanism, indicated generally by reference number 119, at the control of the operator of apparatus 1h to accommodate varying conditions of snow and ice on the roadway. Lift mechanism 11% consists of two identical assemblies which are symmetrically attached to the rear of housing 71. Referring to FIGURE 2, the assembly illustrated consists of positioning arm 111 which is rigidly joined to housing 71 at one end and is attached to chassis frame 11 at the other end through a rotatable hinge. Positioning arm 111 is caused to rotate slightly about its hinged end by the action of hydraulic cylinder 11?. whose plunger 113 is rigidly joined to arm 111. The body of hydraulic cylinder 112 is attached to chassis frame 11 through a rotatable hinge. Thus, the extension of plunger 113 of cylinder 112, which is remotely controlled, causes arm 111 to rotate slightly counter-clockwise, thereby lowering snow plow 70 towards the roadway. Conversely contraction of plunger 113 causes arm 111 to rotate slightly clockwise, thereby raising plow '70 with respect to the roadway.
Referring to FIGURE 2, tank assembly 30 has a compartment at its forward end, denoted as blower chamber 192, in which are placed combustion blower 115 and an associated source of mechanical power. The power supply consists of a conventional type of small, diesel engine, indicated generally by reference number 103 which is coupled to the rotatable shaft of the combustion blower by means of belt-pulley assembly 104. Engine 103 also drives hydraulic pump to provide mechani cal power for such hydraulically operated mechanisms as snow plow motor 76, lift mechanism 110, and thrower motor 86. Engine 103 also provides mechanical power to operate fuel pump 128, which provides oil to the burner units of apparatus 10.
Combustion blower is a conventional squirrel-cage fan designed to operate at high speed so as to impel large volumes of air at high velocity. The fan blades of this blower are radially positioned around the circumference of its rotor which is rotated at high velocity by belt-pulley assembly 11M. An air intake orifice is concentrically located with respect to the rotor in the housing of the blower. Output air duct 108 from blower 115 is oined to wall member 113 which forms the ceiling of blower compartment 102 as well as the fioor for plenum chamber 116. Rectangular passageway 117 is provided in member 118 to permit the flow of air directly from out-' put duct 108 into the plenum chamber. Multiple louvered slots, indicated generally by reference number 109, are provided in the two sides of blower chamber 102 to permit the entry of large quantities of fresh air into this chamber. Referring to FIGURE 5, plenum chamber 116, which 18 a substantially rectangular compartment of air-tight construction positioned in the top forward portion of tank assembly 3% is connected along one side to elongated parallel tubes 3.1414, respectively. These elongated tubes, which are cylindrical in shape, form the housings for burners 35-33, respectively, and are evenly spaced across the width of tank assembly 30. Air blown into the plenum chamber by blower 115 at high velocity creates a positive static air pressure in the chamber and then flows into the respective burner housings at substantially equal pressure.
Oil burners 35-38, respectively are identical units which of high pressure oil pump.
provide the heat energy required to melt the snow and ice particles. Referring to FIGURE 6, the oil burners utilized in our embodiment consist of spring-loaded oil nozzle 130, telescoping tubular combustion air sleeves 122, 123 and 124 respectively, concave end sleeve 131, atomizing bafile 132, ignition electrode 133, and flame-out sensor 134. Oil nozzle 13%, which extends through the concaved end sleeve 131, is a conventional type of oil nozzle for high capacity burners. At a predetermined oil pressure in fuel line 135, the nozzle sprays the oil at high pressure through a small orifice in its tip into the combustion chamber of the burner. Ignition electrode 133 is electrically connected to a source of extremely high potential voltage, not shown, for providing an initial ignition spark in the burner combustion chamber to cause the oil to start burning. Small apertures 136 are pro vided in concaved sleeve 131 surrounding the nozzle as it protrudes through this concaved sleeve to permit the fiow of air at high velocity into the burner combustion chamber. Atomizing baffie 132, which is symmetrically positioned in front of the tip of the nozzle, has a number of small slots through which the air stream from small apertures 136 passes. This air flow through the bafile causes the oil spray from the nozzle to be further atomized and propelled into the combustion chamber of the burner. It is designed to respond to the presence of a combustion flame in the burner combustion chamber. In the event that the flame should be extinguished, sensor 134 automatically provides an electrical signal to solenoid cut-out valve 129 to shut the flow of oil to the oil nozzle.
Multiple circular apertures are provided through the walls of the tubular combustion air sleeves 31-34, respectively. These circular openings, indicated by reference number 127, are of appropriate size and number to achieve most efiicient combustion of the fuel oil. In addition, these openings provide the escape means for the air blown into plenum chamber 116. Th t is, air in the plenum chamber flows at high velocity into burner housing 31, through multiple apertures 127 in the tubular combustion sleeves and out the exhaust port of the burner. This high velocity air flow continuously expels the very hot combustion exhaust gases from the burner at high velocity into melting chamber 40 where it interacts with the snow and ice particles to melt them to water.
Fuel oil for the burner units is pumped from fuel tank '28 by fuel pump 128 through fuel line 125 to the respec- Fuel pump 128 is a conventional type Mechanical power to operate the pump is derived from diesel engine iii?) by means of a belt-pulley assembly. The fuel lines to each of the burner units are each provided with a separate solenoid cut-off valve which actuates as described before to shut off the flow of oil in the event of extinguishment of combustion in the burner.
Melting chamber 40 is an enclosed compartment extending along the top of tank 3% from the exhaust ports of the burner units to the back of tank 30. Its bottom member 43 extends to the rear at a slightly depressed angle from the horizontal so that the chamber has a progressively greater height as it extends to the back of tank 30. Bottom member 43 is not extended completely to the back of the tank; rather, it is terminated so that a rectangular aperture, passageway 42, is formed between the bottom of melting chamber at and the top of water tank 60 through which the melted snow water can pass. Also positioned at the rear of chamber 41 but extending through the roof of tank 30 is exhaust stack 49 through which exhaust gases arising from the burner units and diesel engine 103 can escape. Another opening is provided in the roof of tank 30. This opening, aperture 41, which is positioned slightly behind the burner exhaust ports, is a rectangular slot which extends across the width of the roof of tank 3t). Since end 92 of snow chute 90 extends slightly through this opening, it is necessary that slot 41 be made sufficiently wide to accommodate the tive burner units.
travel in snow chute 90 when it is lowered or raised by hydraulic lift mechanism 110.
Referring to FIGURE 2, baffles 44-48, inclusive, are mounted within melting chamber 40. These baffles extend completely across the width of the chamber and are joined along one edge to either the chambers top or bottom members 39 and 43, respectively, at an acute angle when viewed from the rear of the chamber. The widths of these bafiies, except for narrow baffle 44, extend to approximately one-half of the height of the chamber at their relative locations along the tapered chamber. These baffles are constructed of a heat resistant material.
Water tank 69, which is constructed to be water tight, is positioned beneath melting chamber 46. Mounted across the width of tank 60 are baflles 61, 62 and 63, respectively. These bafiies, which minimize water circulation and splash in the tank as apparatus 19 is driven along a road or street, are spaced slightly above the bottom of the tank.
Mounted to the rear member of tank 30 on insulating spacers is heat bafile 50. This baffle, which is positioned to extend through passageway 42 into both melting chamoer 4i) and water tank 66, is smaller in width than the width of the tank, thereby providing a second passageway between tank 66 and chamber 40. The spacers on which bafiie 50 is mounted, spacers 51 and 52 shown in FIG- URE 2, are relatively thin pillars and are constructed of a heat insulating material to minimize the transfer of heat between baffle 50 and the rear member of tank 30, thus preventing the outside portions of tank 30 from becoming a safety hazard to operating personnel or other persons who might come in contact with it.
Sump 64 is also attached to the rear of water tank 60. This compartment is positioned beneath opening 42. so as to permit most foreign material, such as stones, cinders, etc., to drop directly into it. It also provides a means of disposing of the water contained in tank 60 through the opening of its trap door 65 which can be remotely operated by hydraulic valve 66.
In operation snow removal and melting apparatus 10 is designed to remove and melt snow and ice from streets and other roadways while it is in motion. That is, snow plow 7i) is lowered or raised by hydraulic lift mechanism lit to an appropriate operating position which depends upon the particular conditions existing at the time. The snow and ice on the roadway are scooped into the housing 71 by the forward movement of vehicle 1%: and the influence of scraper 72. When forced inside housing 71, the snow is progressively and continuously moved towards the center of the housing by the lateral force exerted on it by auger screws 74 and 75. The snow accumulating at the center of collector housing 71 is hurled rearward to the blades of snow thrower Si) by the rotational motion of shovel seat 77. This seat and auger screws '74 and 75 must be rotated by hydraulic motor 86 at a speed commensurate with the forward speed of apparatus 10 so as to prevent clogging of snow plow 70 by excess amounts of snow and ice. Appropriate speed control of this motor can either be accomplished manually by the operator of the vehicle or by automatic controls which are responsive to the forward speed of the vehicle.
The quantities of snow and ice which are hurled into the circular aperture of snow thrower are granulated into individual flakes or particles of relatively small size by the rotational motion of thrower blades 83, 84 and 85. To facilitate this chopping action, these blades are rotated at a high speed by hydraulic motor 86. The high rotational speed also causes the snow and ice particles to be thrown at high velocity through opening 87 in the top of circular housing 81. As indicated previously, this opening is offset from the top-center of the housing so as to impart maximum upward velocity on the snow particles from the thrower for a given rotational speed of the blades. The snow particles blown upward through opening 87 are constrained to are into melting chamber 40 through slot 41 by the centripetal force exerted on them by the curved surface of snow chute 99. It is, of course, essential snow thrower St) impart sulflcient velocity to the snow particles that they follow the contour of snow chute 99 into the melting chamber.
Snow deflectors as, 97 and 98, which are positioned in the neck of snow chute 91 provide means for obtaining a uniform distribution in the density of the snow across the width of snow chute 9t? at entrance slot These snow deflectors also serve another purpose. That is, large stones or rocks that are thrown upward by the blades of thrower 8d strike the rounded, lower ends of the deflectors and are thereby diverted into a lower trajectory than the snow particles. Large rocks and stones, which otherwise might damage the baffles in snow melting chamber 4 0, are thus caused to fall against the forward wall of tank 39 or drop directly to collecting platform 25, which is located to the side of cab compartment 2% at the front of apparatus 10, from where they may be conveniently disposed.
Snow particles entering into snow melting chamber 40 through slot 41 are immediately subjected to the hot blast of exhaust gases from oil burners 35-38, inclusive. These exhaust gases are impelled t transverse through melting chamber at) at high velocity by the positive air pressure created by combustion blower 115. That is, air blown by combustion blower 115 through its output duct 161$ enters plenum chamber 116 through passageway 117 where it forms a positive pressure, air reservoir. Air is then distributed at substantially equal pressure to the intake apertures of burner housings 31, 32, 33 and 34, respectively. The ositive air pressure forces air to flow through multiple apertures, or holes, 127 .provided in the telescoping, tubular burner sleeves of oil burners 38, respectively. The forced draft through the burners causes complete combustion of the oil whch is sprayed from the respective fuel nozzles and expels the exhaust or combustion gases at high velocity from the discharge openings of the burners into melting chamber 41. The construction in the air flow between plenum chamber 116 and melting chamber 4 0 through the oil burners produces an increase in air velocity as it enters into melting chamber t'll. The effective temperature of the exhaust gases at this point in the flow are extremely high, i.e., in the order of 1000 E, due to the eflicient operation of the high capacity burners.
Immediately upon entering melting chamber the flow of exhaust gases from the discharge opening of each burner is partially deflected by balfle 44 and then intersects the downward flow of snow and ice particles through slot 41 in the roof of the chamber. The high velocity flow of exhaust gases past this slot aperture produces a venturi effect which accelerate the snow and ice particles into the melting chamber. That is, the air pressure differential created through slot 41 by the venturi effect of the gas flow, in conjunction with the constraint of chute 91 upon the flow of snow and ice particles along it, forces these particles to enter the melting chamber and tends to prevent divergence of the snow and ice away from the slot.
The initial kinetic impact of the high velocity flow of exhaust gases on the snow and ice particles tends to disintegrate these particles into individual flakes and crystals. It also violently dispurses them rearwardly throughout most of the volume of the melting chamber. Both of these effects enhance the melting efliciency of apparatus 10. That is, the disintegration of the snow and ice particles into much smaller flakes and individual crystals greatly increases the surface area of the snow which is exposed to the hot exhaust gases and thus increases the rate of melting. The divergence of the snow particles, flakes and ice crystals throughout most of the melting chamber promotes the passage of these particles, as well as water droplets resulting from the melting action, through chamber 46 into tank 6t). Moreover, it tends to prevent shielding of particles and flakes from the hot exhaust gases by the snow and ice particles which are closer to the burner exhaust outlets.
The snow and ice particles that are not instantly melted and then vaporized by the initial impact of the very hot exhaust gases are usually melted by the time that they arrive at the end of the melting chamber. This subsequent melting is produced by their continual exposure to the heated exhaust gases for the entire time period they require to traverse through the chamber. To promote complete melting of the snow and ice Within melting chamber 4t baffles 4-5-43, respectively, are placed across the chamber to cause multiple deflections in the flow of the exhaust gases and the flow of snow particles and flakes. The deflections in the flow increase its path length, thereby increasing the time period that the snow remains in the chamber. In addition, these baflles introduce a considerable degree of turbulence in the flow which causes many snow particles to circulate within the chamber, thereby increasing their exposure time to the hot gases. This battle induced turbulence also causes the hot exhaust gases to remain in the melting chamber for a longer period of time, thereby obtaining a greater utilization of its thermal energy for melting of the snow and ice and hence increases the efficiency of apparatus 10.
Of course, these flat baffles which extend across the width of melting chamber 41 must be appropriately positioned and spaced and of appropriate siZe so as not to interfere with the eflicient propagation of snow and ice particles and melted snow water through the chamber by the pressure of the exhaust gases from the burner units. We have found that for most full-size, practical embodiments of our invention, baffle 45 should be positioned at an acute angle of between 22% degrees and 30 degrees to bottom member 43 of the melting chamber. For best results, the battles positioned further to the rear of the chamber should be selectively joined to its top and bottom members 39 and 43, respectively, in an alternating pattern at a slightly larger acute angle than that of baffle 45. The width of baflles 45-48, respectively, i.e., as indicated in FIGURE 2, should extend so that their unconnected ends are at approximately the midpoints of the height of the chamber. The distances between baflles 45 th, respectively, are not critical; the battles should be spaced so that the deflection in the exhaust gas flow from the forward baflle intersects the adjacent rear baffle.
Baflle 44, which is joined to the top of the chamber adjacent to the discharge openings of the burners, is narrower than the other balfles in the chamber. It is so positioned as to prevent the snow and ice particles from interfering with the flame and exhaust gas flow from each burner immediately adjacent to its discharge opening. Interference in this region would materially affect the combustion efliciency of the burners. This batfle is also appropriately oriented so as to partially deflect the exhaust gases towards baffle 45 as well as to diverge laterally the gas flow from each of the burner discharge openings so that at the intersection with the stream of snow and ice particles into the chamber the flow of CK- haust gases tends to be uniform across the width of the chamber. However, its length and orientation must be adjusted so as not to impair the venturi effect at slot ill.
As mentioned previously, the melted snow water is forced to flow from the end of chamber 40 through opening 42 into water tank 60 by the propulsion of the exhaust gases. The slope of bottom member 43 aids the flow of water through this opening. Most of the spent exhaust gases likewise pass into this water tank compartment and then escape around the sides of and up the back of heat shield 50. These gases warm the surface of the water stored in the tank and thereby prevent its subsequent freezing under the influence of extremely cold external air. Moreover, the heated gases melt any ice particles that have not been completely melted in passing through chamber 40. That is, any ice particles existing at the end of the melting chamber 40 drop through opening 42 to the water contained below and of course, subsequently float on the surface where they are melted by the still warm exhaust gases. The water collected in tank 60 by the melting operation of apparatus 10 is emptied by opening trap door 65 at the bottom of sump 64 and permitting the water to flow into any conveniently located sewer or drainage outlet on the street being cleared by apparatus 10. This gravitational flow of water through the sump clears it of any debris which may have collected there during the snow melting operation. The trip door is remotely opened by actuation of hydraulic valve 66.
Fresh air for combustion blower 115 and diesel engine 103 is supplied to blower compartment 102 from the outside of tank 30 through the multiple louvered slots 109 out in both sides of the compartment. The exhaust gases from the diesel engine are discharged directly into blower compartment 102 and are impelled through the burner units into melting chamber 40. While the passage of the diesel exhaust gases through the burner units slightly reduces the maximum available heat energy output of these burners, the overall efficiency of snow disposal apparatus 10 is enhanced because the heat energy in the diesel exhaust is also utilized to transform snow and ice into water. The exhaust gases from both the oil burners and the diesel engine are permitted to escape from melting tank 30 through exhaust stack 49 which is located at the rear of melting chamber 40 and extends across most of the width of tank 30. To prevent water from being blown through this exhaust stack, its internal aperture is placed directly behind baffle 48.
While the particular embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawings utilizes four oil burners to provide the heat energy for melting the snow and ice deposited in melting chamber 40, other embodiments containing a larger or fewer number of burners can also be designed. Other types of high capacity forced draft burners can also be utilized. The number of burners which are used in any given embodiment is not critical provided that the amount of combined heat output from all of the burners is sufiicient to melt the quantity of snow and ice deposited in the melting chamber per unit time. An important consideration on the selection of the number of burners is that the exhaust gas flow at the intersection with the stream of ice and snow particles should be nearly uniform across the width of the melting chamber. This condition is, of course, best satisfied by utilizing multiple burner units which are spaced close together across the width of tank 30. We have found that for vehicles of about eight feet in width, this condition can be satisfied by the use of from four to eight burners if the diameters of the burner exhaust outlets are appropriately changed.
In order to achieve successful snow melting operation, the maximum rate of combined heat energy produced by all of the burners must be commensurate with the capacity of the particular snow thrower which is utilized on vehicle 10. That is, for average snow density conditions the burners must provide a combined heat output of approximately 1000 B.t.u. for every cubic foot of snow deposited into the melting chamber. If denser snow and ice is encountered, the forward speed of the vehicle must be reduced to lessen the quantity of snow placed in the chamber. On the other hand, if less dense snow is encountered, the forward speed of the vehicle can be increased or the amount of fuel oil pumped into each burner, within limits, can be reduced. But to achieve most efficient combustion at reduced fuel consumption rates, it is also necessary to reduce the static air pressure in plenum chamber 116 by reducing the rotational speed of blower 115. We have found that for all variations of air pressure in the plenum chamber to obtain optimum burner efliciency, the velocity of the exhaust gases were 10 more than sufficient to propel the snow and ice particles through melting chamber 40.
It is understood that suitable modifications may be made in the structure as disclosed, without violating the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For instance, other types of snow and ice plows and conveying means for lifting the snow and ice into the melting chamber can be substituted for that disclosed in this application without changing the scope of this invention.
Having now, therefore, illustrated and described our invention, what we claim to be new and useful and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. Apparatus for removing snow and ice from roadways and the like comprising: a wheeled vehicle; a snow plow mounted to said vehicle and positioned to harvest snow and ice from a roadway and the like as said vehicle moves forward, a tank for collecting melted snow and ice mounted on said vehicle having a top member with a first and a second aperture therein, snow conveying means for conveying snow and ice harvested by said plow into said tank through said first aperture, combustion means for forced draft burning of fuel mounted on said vehicle, said combustion means having discharge sleeves, a venturi throat communicating with said discharge sleeves, said first aperture positioned adjacent said venturi throat whereby hot combustion gases are exhausted at a high velocity into said tank to create a venturi effect at said first aperture for accelerating the movement of snow and ice into said tank and to disperse and melt said snow and ice which collects in said tank; the spent gases from said combustion means being vented through said second aperture.
2. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first aperture comprises a transversely extending slot, and wherein said snow conveying means is adapted to distribute said harvested snow and ice across substantially the entire width of said slot, to provide improved operational efiiciency of said combustion means.
3. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 2, wherein said discharge sleeves are positioned in said tank in substantially transverse alignment below and forward of said slot.
4. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 3, wherein said snow conveying means includes a chute which has one of its ends coupled to said snow plow and its opposite end extending into said slot in said top wall, said chute being symmetrically flared outwardly in its width from one end thereof to the other and the end extending into said slot substantially corresponding to the transverse length of said slot.
5. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said chute is in the form of a convex are extending from said snow plow to said slot.
6. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 4 wherein said snow plow and said snow conveying means are positionably adjustable with respect to said roadway and the like and wherein said one end of said snow conveying means is retractably received within said slot as said snow plow and snow conveying means are raised and lowered.
7. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said chute has a top wall and a pair of side walls, defining a channel, the bottom thereof being open, a plurality of deflectors affixed to said top wall within said channel, dividing said channel into a plurality of smaller channels.
8. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 7, wherein said deflectors comprise a plurality of relatively thin, elongated strips of metal in spaced relationship.
9. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 3, wherein said tank includes a partition dividing said tank into an upper compartment and a lower compartment, an opening in said partition, said upper compartment comprising a heating chamber for melting said snow and ice and said lower compartment comprising a storage tank for the melted snow and ice.
10. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 9, wherein said upper compartment has a plurality of spaced apart bafilestherein affixed to and extending angul-arly outward from the underside of said top wall and the upper side of said partition, respectively, so as to deflect said snow and ice in a manner to disintegrate said snow and ice and to effectively increase the path length through said upper compartment, whereby virtually all of said snow and ice is melted.
11. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 10, wherein one of said plurality of bafiles is positioned adjacent said discharge sleeves to deflect the flow of hot combustion gas therefrom and wherein the remaining ones of the plurality of baflles extend into said upper compartment approximately one-half the height thereof at their respective locations.
12. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 11, wherein one of said plurality of baffies is positioned adjacent said second aperture to prevent snow and ice from being blown out of said second aperture and to deflect said hot combustion gases through said opening in said partition into said lower compartment to eifectively heat said lower compartment to cause melting of snow and ice collected therein and to prevent the water collected therein from freezing.
13. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 12, wherein there is further included a heat shield in said lower compartment which is fixed in spaced relationship to a back wall of said tank.
14. Apparatus, as claimed in claim 4, wherein said snow plow includes a snow thrower centrally disposed thereto and conveyor means for conveying snow and ice to said snow thrower, said snow conveying means being coupled to said snow thrower and said snow thrower propelling said snow and ice through said snow conveying means by centripetal force.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,681,104 8/1928 Earnhardt 3712 1,806,069 5/1931 Lloyd 37l2 X 2,471,733 5/1949 Fiduccia.
2,893,377 7/1959 Janousek 37-12 X 3,098,478 7/1963 Philbrook.
ABRAHAM G. STONE, Primary Examiner.
R. L. HOLLISTER, Assistant Examiner.