Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3525386 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 25, 1970
Filing dateJan 22, 1969
Priority dateJan 22, 1969
Publication numberUS 3525386 A, US 3525386A, US-A-3525386, US3525386 A, US3525386A
InventorsGeorge M Grover
Original AssigneeAtomic Energy Commission
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Thermal control chamber
US 3525386 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aug. 25, 1970 G. M. GROVER THERMAL CONTROL CHAMBER Filed Jan. 22 1969- v (NVENTOR. George M. Grover United States Patent Ofiice 3,525,386 Patented Aug. 25, 1970 US. Cl. 16532 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A device for maintaining an enclosure containing a heat generating body at a constant temperature even though the quantity of heat generated by said body varies. A first heat pipe transfers heat to a second heat pipe through a surface common to both heat pipes and the heat is radiated away by the second heat pipe.

The invention described herein was made in the course of, or under, a contract with the US. Atomic Energy Commission.

This invention relates to temperature control in a chamber housing a heat source which generates variable quantities of heat. This invention may be employed in conjunction with a battery or fuel cell which generates a variable quantity of heat depending upon the electrical power being withdrawn. During periods of heavy power requirements heat must be radiated away to keep the unit from overheating and during light power loads little or no heat needs t be radiated away.

To control the heat dissipation prior art devices have employed radiators including mechanical shutters for covering the radiators during periods of low, power requirement. However, this solution has drawbacks because the shutter system is complex and unreliable.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a reliable and yet relatively uncomplicated device for controlling the heat exchange between a heat generating body and the outside.

Heat pipes of the type described by Grover, Cotter and Erickson in Structures of Very High Thermal Conductance, Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 35, 1900 (June 1964) have established themselves as efficient and reliable heat transfer devices. This invention employs two heat pipes with a common section of wall between them. The first heat pipe transports heat to the common wall and it is transported and radiated to the outside by the second heat pipe.

The first heat pipe contains an inert gas as well as a condensable working fluid. The inert gas is pumped to the condenser end of the pipe (the end farthest from the heat source) and compressed until the pressure of the inert gas equals the pressure of the vapor of the working fluid. If the heat supplied t the evaporator end of the pipe (the end nearest the heat source) chcanges, two effects are noticed. First, the temperature of the pipe increases slightly. Second, the inert gas is compressed further because the vapor pressure of the working fluid is increased. This causes an increase in the active volume of recirculating heat pipe working fluid and, consequently, an increase in the radiating area. Thus an additional heat input causes both an increase in radiating area and a small increase in pipe temperature. When the volume of inert gas is relatively large, only a small change of temperature would cause a relatively large change of radiating area. Hence, the temperature change ccan be relatively small for large change in the heat input to the pipe.

If the first heat pipe could only get rid of its heat by radiation then the change in the size of the radiating area would represent the limit of control. By coupling the first heat pipe to a second heat pipe by conduction through the thin common wall, much greater quantities of heat can be controlled. When the first heat pipes active area does not reach the common wall, very little heat is removed from the system. With a small increase in area so that the second heat pipe is brought int the system, very much larger quantities of heat can be dissipated. This change is accomplished with only a small movement of the vapor-gas interface and consequently requires only a small increase in inert gas pressure in the first heat pipe. This means that the temperature change in the first heat pipe is very small between the two extreme cases of very little heat input to very large heat input. The double heat pipe arrangement acts something like a radiating area amplifier, thus providing closer control of the input temperature.

The above and other objeects and advantages will be made apparent from a consideration of the accompanying drawing wherein the single figure shows a side view of applicants invention operably connected to a heat generating source such as a fuel cell.

When heat is generated in fuel cell 1, the heat is transferred to the heat pipe 2 which will be designated the 'primary heat pipe. This heat pipe consists of an enclosed container lined with capillary wicking, partially filled with a working fluid and partially filled with an inert gas. The heat absorbed causes evaporation of the working fluid and pumps the inert gas into the attached stem 4 of the primary heat pipe. Until the temperature of the primary heat pipe reaches the design value, heat is lost only by conduction through the insulation 3. As the temperature approaches the design value, the vapor pressure forces the inert gas further into the stem 4 and the vapor-gas interface 9 moves toward surface 6. This action exposes the common wall 10 between the primary heat pipe 2 and the secondary heat pipe 5 to the working area of the primary heat pipe. Condensation occurs on the common wall 10 transferring the latent heat of condensation to the secondary heat pipe which sets the secondary heat pipe into operation. The secondary heat pipe transfers the heat from the evaporator section near the common wall 10 to the condenser section and the heat is radiated to the outside at surface 7.

The exact quantity of inert gas necessary for proper operation of the primary heat pipe depends on the desired temperature to be maintained in the battery compartment. For instance, if it is desired to hold the temperature at C., and if water is the working fluid, a quantity of gas is initially admitted such that the pressure of the compressed gas in the stem is 760 torr when the common wall 10 is exposed to the circulating working fluid of the primary heat pipe. Since the volume of the stem under the common wall 10 can be made small relative to the total volume of the stem, the pressure in the stem and hence in the working fluid will remain approximately at 760 torr.

The secondary heat pipe 5 is shown in the form of a circular container. The secondary heat pipe may be filled with an inert gas which will be compressed radially outward with an increased heat input through the common surface 10, thus causing the interface 8 to move radially outward exposing more radiating surface 7. In addition, other heat pipes may be connected to the second heat pipe in the same manner the second heat pipe was connected to the first in order to further increase the radiating area.

Various Working fluids may be employed with this invention. For instance, using 1,1,1,2-tetrachloroethane, the working presure would be about 350 torr at 100 C., but since the freezing point is 68.7 C., the risk of freezing the working fluid is much less than when using water.

This invention has special utility in connection with space craft. Heat pipes have been shown to work successfully in space. The durability and reliability of the invention are of major importance when used in conditions making repair and servicing impossible.

What I claim is:

1. A device for maintaining a heat generating body at a constant temperature comprising a first enclosed container partially surrounding the heat generating body and a second enclosed container connected to the first container by a common wall at a point remote from the heat generating body, said first container having a portion extending beyond said common wall, both of the containers being lined with a capillary material and partially filled with a condensable working fluid and partially filled with an inert gas, the ratio of the quantity of said working fluid to the quantity of said inert gas being selected so that said working fluid is in contact with at least a portion of said common wall only at a predetermined operating temperature and higher temperatures.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the second container is circular.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein the condensable Working fluid is water. 7

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the condensable working fluid is 1,l,1,2-tetrachloroethane.

5. The device of claim 3 wherein one or more enclosed containers, each lined with a capillary material and filled with a condensable working fluid and an inert gas, are connected to the second container and to the next succeeding container by a common wall in chain fashion.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,378,449 4/1968 Roberts et a1. l65l05 X 2,581,347 1/1952 Backstrom 165-105 X 1,754,314 4/1930 Gay 165-105 X ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner A. W. DAVIS, JR., Assistant Examiner US. Cl. .XR.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1754314 *Apr 28, 1928Apr 15, 1930Frazer W GayCooling system for underground electric transmission lines
US2581347 *Aug 5, 1944Jan 8, 1952Electrolux AbAbsorption refrigeration apparatus and heating arrangement therefor
US3378449 *Jul 27, 1967Apr 16, 1968Atomic Energy Commission UsaNuclear reactor adapted for use in space
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3675711 *Apr 8, 1970Jul 11, 1972Singer CoThermal shield
US3724215 *May 19, 1971Apr 3, 1973Atomic Energy CommissionDecomposed ammonia radioisotope thruster
US3782449 *Nov 24, 1969Jan 1, 1974EuratomTemperature stabilization system
US3827480 *Apr 20, 1972Aug 6, 1974Bbc Brown Boveri & CieElectrically insulated double tube heat pipe arrangement
US3838668 *Dec 26, 1972Oct 1, 1974L HaysCombustion engine heat removal and temperature control
US3866424 *May 3, 1974Feb 18, 1975Atomic Energy CommissionHeat source containing radioactive nuclear waste
US3924674 *Nov 7, 1972Dec 9, 1975Hughes Aircraft CoHeat valve device
US3958627 *Oct 15, 1974May 25, 1976Grumman Aerospace CorporationTransverse variable conductance heat pipe
US3985182 *Aug 14, 1974Oct 12, 1976Hitachi, Ltd.Heat transfer device
US4067237 *Aug 10, 1976Jan 10, 1978Westinghouse Electric CorporationNovel heat pipe combination
US4162701 *Nov 21, 1977Jul 31, 1979The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationThermal control canister
US4189527 *Jan 17, 1979Feb 19, 1980The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air ForceSpherical heat pipe metal-hydrogen cell
US4314008 *Aug 22, 1980Feb 2, 1982General Electric CompanyThermoelectric temperature stabilized battery system
US4324845 *Jun 30, 1980Apr 13, 1982Communications Satellite Corp.Metal-oxide-hydrogen cell with variable conductant heat pipe
US4329407 *Jun 25, 1980May 11, 1982Brown, Boveri & Cie AgElectrochemical storage battery
US4383013 *Jul 14, 1981May 10, 1983Chloride Silent Power LimitedHigh temperature multicell electrochemical storage batteries
US4413671 *May 3, 1982Nov 8, 1983Hughes Aircraft CompanySwitchable on-off heat pipe
US4420035 *Oct 15, 1982Dec 13, 1983The United States Of America As Represented By The Administrator Of The National Aeronautics And Space AdministrationThermal control system
US4523636 *Sep 20, 1982Jun 18, 1985Stirling Thermal Motors, Inc.Heat pipe
US4597675 *Apr 4, 1983Jul 1, 1986The Garrett CorporationMean temperature sensor
US4617985 *Aug 27, 1985Oct 21, 1986United Kingdom Atomic Energy AuthorityHeat pipe stabilized specimen container
US5064732 *Feb 9, 1990Nov 12, 1991International Fuel Cells CorporationSolid polymer fuel cell system: high current density operation
US5358799 *Jun 28, 1993Oct 25, 1994Rolls-Royce And Associates LimitedFuel cell
US5443926 *Nov 1, 1993Aug 22, 1995Compagnie Europeenne D'accumulateursThermoregulated battery of accumulators, especially for an electric vehicle
US6260333Oct 19, 1999Jul 17, 2001Sharon Manufacturing Co., Inc.Pressure pad for a container bottom sealing device
US6946216 *Oct 30, 2001Sep 20, 2005Acer IncorporatedMethod for enhancing battery performance and apparatus using the same
US20020090546 *Oct 30, 2001Jul 11, 2002Chunghwa Telecom Co., Ltd.Method for enhancing battery performance and apparatus using the same
EP0000217A1 *Jun 12, 1978Jan 10, 1979Philips Electronics N.V.Refrigerator
EP0198126A1 *Apr 17, 1985Oct 22, 1986Stirling Thermal Motors Inc.Heat pipe
U.S. Classification165/272, 165/104.26, 165/274, 165/104.14, 429/120, 165/273, 429/442
International ClassificationF28D15/04
Cooperative ClassificationF28D15/0233, F28D15/0275, H01M8/04067, F28D15/0266, H01M10/5048, F28D15/04
European ClassificationH01M8/04B14, H01M10/50K10D, F28D15/02E, F28D15/04