US 3553976 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 12,1971 1 r E'IAL 3 3,553,91 cou'rAium REFRIGERATOR I Filed July 29. 1968 INVENTORS ERIC cummz CHARLES 11.0mm
39 L 3432 BYMWM ATTORNEYS 3,553,976 CONTAINER REFRIGERATOR Eric Cumine, Lee Gardens, 33 Hysan Ave., Hong Kong,
and Charles H. Graham, Palo Alto, Calif.; said Graham assignor to said Cumine Filed July 29, 1968, Ser. No. 748,287 Int. Cl. FZSd 3/10 U.S. Cl. 62294 16 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A container refrigerator is described wherein a refrigerating member is attached to the outside surface of an existing container. The refrigerating member is shown as a tubular member either in the form of a C-shaped ring member that can be expanded and snapped onto a cylinder or a helically coiled tube that can be expanded and slid onto the container and released to be held in place. The refrigerating member holds a refrigerating medium which can be vented for reduction of temperature and the medium can be expanded between portions of the refrigerating member.
The present invention is directed to a container refrigerator and more particularly to a refrigerator for existing containers to be refrigerated, typically cylindrical containers.
Often, refrigeration for materials is desired in a remote location where refrigeration is unavailable. In the past, specifically designed dual chamber containers have been constructed wherein a medium to be refrigerated is contained within one of the chambers and a refrigerating medium in the other. However, these structures are not only diflicult and expensive to produce, but are not adapted to refrigerate existing containers.
Broadly stated, the present invention is directed to a container refrigerator for a hollow container including a refrigerating member containing a refrigerating medium and means for attaching the refrigerating member to the outside surface of an existing container.
In one embodiment of the present invention, the re frigerating member is a substantially circular tubular member which is originally formed to a radius less than that of the container to be refrigerated and the member is expandable to fit onto and hold itself onto the outside surface of the member to be refrigerated. Vent means are provided for venting the refrigerating medium from the tubular member to refrigerate the surrounded container and thus the material contained therein.
The container refrigerator in accordance with this invention is easily manufactured and easily assembled onto an existing container of a variety of configurations. The most common configuration and one to which the refrigerating member is most readily formed is a cylinder. Cylindrical containers are used for holding various types of material and, in particular, fluids such as water, cola and beer and these fluids are particularly well adapted for refrigeration utilizing the present invention.
In accordance with a particular embodiment of the present invention, the tubular member is formed into a C-shaped ring member at least semi-circular in shape but less than a complete 360 so that for expansion onto a cylindrical container of radius larger than the original formed radius of the tubular member, the tubular member can be expanded to enlarge the gap between the ends thereof and snapped onto and retained on the container by the spring action of the tubular member. The tubular member is provided with means for venting a refrigeration medium such as Freon 12 therefrom to refrigerate the tubular member, the surrounded container and the United States Patent ice Patented Jan. 12, 1971 fluids within the container. This container refrigerator is extremely simple to fabricate for application to containers of various sizes and is easily attached to the container and operated. The tubular member can be formed merely by pinching off ends of a tube of desired crosssectional configuration and bending the tube to a radius slightly less than that of the smallest cylindrical container to which the container refrigerator is to be applied. Then by simply expanding the tubular member slightly larger than the diameter of a given cylindrical container, the member can be slid over the flanged ends of the container and the expanding force released so that the tubular member is held onto the outside surface of the container.
In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, the tubular member is formed in the shape of a helical coil which can be expanded radially outwardly to fit over the end of a cylindrical container. The tubular coil can be formed in generally the same manner as the tubular C-shaped member and wound in coil form. For expansion, the turns of the coil can be expanded sliding against one another as the coil is enlarged and then contracting on the container. Alternatively, the coil can be wound with sufiicient space between turns such that axial compression of the coil causing adjacent turns to come into contact with one another provides sufficient enlargement of the radius of the coil so that a cylindrical container can be slidably inserted axially within the coil and the axial compression force released to snap the coil onto the cylindrical container.
In accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention, the refrigerating member is formed in two separate tubular portions, one for containing the refrigerating medium and one to serve as an expansion chamber for the medium. In accordance with this aspect of the present invention, both the C-shaped and helical members described above can include dual chambers. In accordance with this aspect of the present invention, the helical refrigerating member can take the form of a dual helix structure with the expansion chamber in the form of a helically coiled tubular member provided at one end with means for venting the refrigerating medium expanded therewithin and connected at the opposite end to a larger diameter helically coiled tubular member containing the refrigerating medium. These coiled helices can be expanded to fit over a fluid container in the same manner as the other embodiments of this invention.
In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, the refrigerating members are formed or secured to the container being refrigerated in such a way that during operation a temperature gradient is estab lished within the container so that convection currents are established therewithin for optimum heat transfer between the medium being refrigerated and the refrigerating member.
In the case of the C-shaped ring member, the temperature gradient can be established by proper positioning of the refrigerating member on the container being refrigerated. Also, the C-shaped member and the helically coiled refrigerating member can be constructed such that the refrigerating medium is vented to a greater extent at one portion of the member so that the temperature gradient is established along the length of the helix. In the case of the double coiled helical refrigerating structure, lower temperatures will be estabished in the region of the expansion chamber tubing wherein the refrigerating medium expands into the tubing from the medium reservoir in the outer of the two coiled helices.
Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent when reading the following description and referring to the accompanying drawing in which similar characters of reference represent corresponding parts in each of the several views.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a refrigerating assembly in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the structure shown in FIG. 1 taken along line 22 in the direction of the arrows;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged elevational sectional view of an alternative construction of the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the structure shown in FIG. 3 with the venting assembly for the refrigerating medium partially open; and
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view, partially broken away, of still another embodiment of the present invention.
Referring now to the drawing, with particular reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a container refrigerating assembly for refrigeration of a container 6 in the form of a hollow cylinder 7 with a closed top and bottom 8 and 9, respectively. While the present invention is directed to a refrigerating assembly for refrigerating various different materials in various different shaped containers, the most practical application of the invention to the greatest number of existing containers is for the refrigeration of materials within hollow cylinders such as cans, bottles and the like. The widest practical application is for the refrigeration of fluids such as water, cola and/ or beer. However, the material can be any of a variety of fluids, either liquid or gaseous, or solids.
Other shapes for the container to be refrigerated include, for example, conical cup-shaped members and containers of rectangular cross-section or the like. While the containers to be described and illustrated are closed, they can be open topped or in a variety of open or closed conditions. Additionally, while the container can be made of any material, the present invention operates best with containers made of materials with good heat conductivity so that most efficient use of the refrigerating medium available can be made.
In the refrigerating assembly illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, a tubular refrigerating member 11, typically metallic, such as aluminum, is provided with the tubular portion formed to a substantially circular configuration. The member 11 can be formed of rectangular or oval crosssection or circular cross-section preferably squeezed to oval cross-section to provide maximum contact between the inside wall surface of the member 11 and the cylindrical surface 7 of the container 6. A chamber to contain a refrigerating medium such as Freon 12 is established by closing the ends 12 and 13 of the tubular member 11 such as by pinching off the tubing with a sealing tool after the refrigerating medium has been charged therein.
In order to conveniently secure the refrigerating member 11 of FIGS. 1 and 2 to the container 6, the member 11 is formed at least semi-circular but less than a complete circle to provide a gap between the ends 12 and 13 of the tubular member 11.
The tubular refrigerating member 11 is formed to a radius less than the radius of the containers to which it will be applied so that by expanding the member 11 from its original C-shaped configuration to enlarge the radius of the C-shaped configuration, the member 11 can be slidably passed over the end of the container 16 to a central portion of the container and there the expanding forces relieved so that the tubular member snaps into place on the sidewalls 7 of the container 6 and is held there by the spring action of the tubular member.
The tubular member is charged with the refrigerating medium in a manner conventional for charging of aerosol containers and is provided with means for venting the pressurized refrigerating medium. The manner of venting the refrigerating medium can take a number of different forms either primarily for cooling of the refrigerating member 11 and then cooling of the container 6 by conduction or such cooling in combination with direction of the vented refrigerating medium against the surfaces of the container 6 or into an expansion chamber in contact with the container.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, tubular refrigerating member 11 is provided with a vent tab 15 which incorporates a pull ring to enable the user to grasp the tab and a scored portion 16 of the tubing which is removed as the vent tab 15 is pulled to provide an opening along the tubular member for escape of the refrigerating medium. As the refrigerating medium expands and escapes from the tubular member 11, the member 11 is cooled and the contents of container 6 cooled by conduction.
By positioning the tubular member centrally of the container, temperature gradients are established along the cylindrical surface 7 of the container 6 and when the materials being refrigerated is a fluid conduction currents are thereby established within the container for heat exchange between the container walls and the medium and thus cooling of the medium.
A modification of the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. '1 and 2 is shown in FIG. 3 which illustrates a portion of a tubular member 11' and the cylindrical wall 7 of the container. In this embodiment, the top surface 17 of the tubular member 11 is inclined at an angle from the perpendicular toward the cylindrical surface 7 of the container 6. The vent structure includes a plurality of apertures 18 provided in this top surface 17 and with their axes intersecting the cylindrical surface 7 of the container 6. A cover sealing strip 19 is provided on the top surface 17 over the apertures 18 and sealing the apertures 18 against escape of the pressurized refrigerating medium. This cover sealing strip 19 is removable from the tubular member 11 by a pull tab (not shown) so that the refrigerating medium can escape through apertures 18. Due to the direction of the apertures 18, the refrigerating medium is directed along the cylindrical wall 7 of the container 6 as the medium escapes from the tubular member 11. In this manner, the refrigerating medium not only cools the tubular member 11 during venting for conduction cooling of the cylindrical surface 7 and the medium to be refrigerated, but also the expanded and cooled refrigerating medium is directed against the wall 7 for cooling thereof and the medium contained therein by heat exchange.
The size of the vent for the escape of the refrigerating medium from the tubular members 11 and 11' is selected in accordance with the size of the refrigerating member 11, the typical fluid container 6 to which it will be applied and the normal environmental conditions under which the invention will be utilized. Thus, in tropical climates greater refrigeration will be required for a given material to be refrigerated in a specific container than in more temperate climates or environments. In any event, the apertures and vent assembly for the refrigerating member should be designed for a controlled release of the refrigerating medium over a period of time so that the container is not cooled too fast. It has been found that gradual heat exchange between the refrigerating member and the material being refrigerated and associated production of convection currents in fluid materials for eflicient heat exchange will produce the desired results. If the release of the refrigerating medium is too rapid, it is possible to freeze a fluid material being refrigerated with the attendant loss of eflicient heat exchange as well as possible undesired effects on the material being refrigerated. Thus, where cylindrical cans of beer have been refrigerated with this invention, too rapid release of refrigerating medium can result in freezing a portion of the beer at the container surface immediately adjacent the refrigerating member with attendant undesired taste effects on the beer.
Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, there is shown another embodiment of the present invention and wherein the refrigerating assembly includes a helically coiled tubular member 21 as the refrigerating member with, the coiled member closed at its ends, pressurized with a refrigerating medium and provided with a venting assembly for releasing the refrigerating medium. The venting assembly illustrated includes a plurality of'minute apertures 22 which are initially closed by sealing tips 23 such as rubber which are attached to a removal strip 24. Removal of strip 24 pulls the closure tips 23 from the apertures 22 and allows venting of the refrigerating medium. The refrigerating medium can be directed onto the'container or into an auxiliary cooling chamber where most efiicient use can be made of the refrigerating characteristics of the medium.
The helical tubing 21 can be made, by forming the helical coil 21 initially to a radius less than the radius of the typical container to which. the coil is to be applied. Thus, for expansion, the turns of the coil can be expanded, sliding against one another as the coil is enlarged, and then contracted upon the container. Alternatively. if the coil is formed with sufficient space between turns, the coil can be axially compressed causing adjacent turns to come into contact with one another and providing sufiicient enlargement of the radius of the coil so that a cylindrical container can be slidably inserted axially within the coil and the axial compression released to snap the coil onto the cylindrical container.
In the embodiments illustrated above wherein a single chamber is illustrated and the refrigerating medium vented directly to atmosphere therefrom, the refrigerating medium can boil off relatively rap-idly from the container with consequent low efficient use of the refrigerating characteristics of the medium. As mentioned above, a dual chamber can be utilized for more efficient operation and such a'dual chamber is illustrated in FIG. 6.
Referring now to FIG. 6, there is illustrated another embodiment of the present invention and wherein a dual chamber construction is utilized with the refrigerating medium contained substantially in a first container and expanded into the second container which is in contact with the surface of the container being refrigerated for efficient use of the refrigerating characteristics of the refrigerating medium.
As shown in FIG. 6, the refrigerating assembly 30 includes a first or inner helical wound tubular heat exchanger coil or chamber 31 sealed at its lower end 32,
such as with a crimp seal 33, and provided with a score 34 adjacent the seal 33 so that the tubular member 31 can be opened by snapping the sealed end of the tube off at the score 34. The helical coil is wound and assembled onto the container 6 in a manner similar to the coil described above with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. The upper end 34 of coil 31 is connected to one end of an outer helically wound, tubular, coolant storage coil or chamber 35, such as by a wage seal 36, and with a press fit orifice 37 contained in the end of the outside chamber 35 immediately adjacent the connection into inside chamber 3-1. The other end of the outer chamber 35 is sealed such as with a crimped seal 38 to contain a charge of refrigerating medium such as Freon 12 under pressure. Outer chamber 35 is provided with a safety rupture score 39 such that the tubing 35 will rupture at the score in the event that dangerously high pressures should build up within the tubing.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, the refrigerating assembly 30 is charged with refrigerating medium by connecting of the end of the outer tubing or coolant storage vessel 35 to a source of a refrigerating medium with the outer chamber 35 sealably connected to the inner chamber 31 and the lower end of the inner chamber open. The outer chamber 35 is then filled with refrigerant until refrigerant begins to escape through the end 32. Then the end 32 is sealed, such as with a crimp seal 33, and the source of refrigerant subsequently valved off and the outer chamber 35 sealed off such as with the crimp seal 38. The pressure in the inside and outside chambers 31 and 35 will equalize and during normal handling of the refrigerating assembly, until use, the refrigerating medium will remain in the outside storage chamber 35.
The refrigerating assembly 30 can be mounted onto the container 6 in much the same manner as described for the assembly 20 in FIG. 4.
When the refrigerating assembly illustrated in FIG. 6 is used, the lower end of the inside tubular member 31 is broken off along the score 33 and with the reduction in pressure in the inside chamber, the refrigerating medium will boil off from the outside chamber 35 into the inside chamber 33 through the press fit orifice 37. The inside chamber 31 'will then be cooled by the refrigerating medium and the container 6' cooled by conduction. The construction of this embodiment of the present invention not only is more efiicient than the other constructions due to the use of the expansion chamber 31 into which the refrigerating medium is initially expanded, but also by reason of the fact that the storage chamber surrounds the expansion chamber and is cooled by contact with the otuside surface of the storage chamber for more efiicient utilization of the cooling capabilities of the inside chamber.
A normal sized can of beer can be satisfactorily cooled by this invention utilizing 3-5 ounces of Freon 12. By Way of example, a container refrigerator for a 12 ounce beer can constructed in the manner as illustrated in FIG. 6 with inch diameter aluminum tubing and 3 ounces of Freon cools a beer can 20 F. from normal room temperature. This operation will take place with the pressure in the outside chamber that will reach about 160 p.s.i. at F. and during operation with pressure downstream of the orifice 37 approximately 4 to 10 p.s.i. due to the orifice 37 and the slight constriction at the outlet of coil 31. Much lower temperatures can be achieved by reducing the downstream pressure such as by reducing the size of the orifice but under certain conditions this can result in an undesirably long cooling period. The present invention is designed to provide a relatively rapid cooling such as a fraction of a minute up to several minutes depending upon existing conditions.
Although the foregoing invention has been described in some detail by way of illustration and example for purposes of clarity of understanding, it is understood that certain changes and modifications may be practiced within the spirit of the invention as limited only by the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A container refrigerating assembly comprising a container adapted to contain a material to be refrigerated, a refrigerating member, a refrigerating medium contained solely with said member for refrigerating the material to be refrigerated, means for venting said refrigerating me- .dium to atmosphere, and means for securing said refrigerating member to the outside surface of said container whereby as said refrigerating medium is released from said refrigerating member the refrigerating member, container and material are cooled.
2. The refrigerating assembly in accordance with claim 1 wherein said container is a hollow cylinder and said refrigerating member is tubular encircling more than half the circumference of said container.
3. The refrigerating assembly in accordance with claim 2 wherein the walls of said tubular member are formed to a circular configuration of a diameter less than the diameter of said container and springably expanded to fit onto the cylindrical surface of said container and hold in place there.
4. The assembly of claim 3 wherein said tubular member extends less than 360 around said cylindrical container and the member can be expanded to enlarge the gap between the ends thereof to fit over the ends of the container.
5. The assembly of claim 3 wherein said tubular member is wound in the shape of a helical coil with said coil expandable radially outwardly to fit onto said container.
6. The assembly in accordance with claim wherein said tubular member includes a first helically coiled portion adjacent the surface of said container and a second helically coiled portion surrounding said first portion and connected to one end of said first portion and means for venting said refrigerating medium from the other end of said first portion.
7. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said refrigerating member includes means for venting said refrigerating medium therefrom and establishment of a temperature gradient along the surface of said container to establish convection currents in the material to be refrigerated.
8. A refrigerated container assembly comprising, in combination: a hollow cylindrical container adapted to contain a fluid to be refrigerated, a substantially circular tubular refrigerating member substantially encircling said container, a refrigerating medium solely in said member for refrigerating fluid in said container, and means for venting said refrigerating medium to atmosphere.
9. The assembly of claim 7 wherein said tubular refrigeration member is formed to a diameter less than the diameter of said container and springable to a diameter greater than the diameter of said container for slidable insertion onto said container over an end thereof.
10. The assembly of claim 9 wherein said refrigeration member is C-shaped and extends around said container less than 360.
11. The assembly of claim 10 wherein said refrigeration member is helically coiled around said container.
12. The assembly of claim 8 wherein said medium is an expandable refrigerating gas and said refrigeration member includes means for venting said gas to atmosphere.
13. A refrigeration assembly comprising a tubular refrigeration member coiled at least into a semi-circle of given radius and springable to a position of greater radius, a refrigeration medium contained solely within said member and means for venting said refrigerating medium to atmosphere whereby said member can be springably 8 expanded and fitted onto the outside surface of a container and held there by contraction forces for refrigeration of the container and the contents thereof upon release of said medium.
14. A container refrigerating assembly adapted to refrigerate a material in an existing container comprising a refrigerating member including means defining a first heat exchange chamber and means defining a second refrigerant storage chamber and means defining an orifice connecting said chambers, a refrigerating medium contained within said chambers substantially within said storage chamber means for venting said refrigerating medium to atmosphere and means for securing said refrigerating chamber means to the member with the first chamber means in contact with the surface of the container for refrigeration of the material.
15. The container refrigerating assembly in accordance with claim 14 wherein said first and second chamber means are tubular members with the second storage chamber means connected to one end of said first chamber means with said orifice located substantially at the connection between said chambers and means for venting the refrigeration medium from said chamber means through the other end of said first chamber means.
16. The container refrigerating assembly in accordance with claim 15 wherein said tubular chambers are formed in the shape of helices with said second chamber means surrounding said first chamber means.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,059,297 11/1936 Widman l46 2,625,804- 1/ 1953 Patch --46 3,335,789 8/1967 Raskin 165-169 3,452,555 7/1969 Thurman l6546 WILLIAM J. WYE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.