US 3731053 A
In a railway car, such as a closed hopper car, conditioned by circulated air, condensation may occur near the roof, which is difficult to insulate effectively. The conditioning air, which may be heated air, is fed into the bottom of the hoppers and exhausted at one end of the car. A shielding stream of electrically heated air admitted at the other end of the car near the roof flows along the roof and prevents moisture laden circulated air from striking the cold roof directly, and thus prevents condensation. A portion of the circulated air is exhausted to atmosphere to facilitate the inflow of fresh air, and thus increase the oxygen content and reduce the humidity when the car contains oxygen consuming, moisture emitting lading.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unite States Coyle et a1.
aten 1 RAILWAY CAR HAVING A HEATED FRESH AIR INTAKE  Inventors: Edward L. Coyle; Dennis J. Schipper, both of Saint Charles, Mo.
 Assignee: ACF Industries, Incorporated, New
22 Filed: Dec. 27, 1971 '21 Appl.No.: 212,415
52 U.S.Cl. ..'.....219/202,98/6,98/l0, 105/247,l05/451,l65/41,219/366 51 Int. Cl. ..H05b 1/00  FieldofSearch ..98/6,8,9,l0,14;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 624,358 5/1899 Maule ..2l9/203 2,200,098 5/1940 Pilley 165/42 X 2,260,999 10/1941 Mann ..98/9
3,092,007 6/1963 Boyd ..98/6
3,200,705 8/1965 Voelker et al. ..2l9/203 UX 3,486,241 12/1969 Coyle et al 105/247 X 3,570,592 3/1971 Rollins 3,584,564 6/1971 Rollins Coyle et a1 ...98/6 X Primary ExaminerA. Bartis Att0meyEugene N. Riddle et a1.
 ABSTRACT In a railway car, such as a closed hopper car, conditioned by circulated air, condensation may occur near the roof, which is difficult to insulate effectively. The conditioning air, which may be heated air, is fed into the bottom of the hoppers and exhausted at one end of the car. A shielding stream of electrically heated air admitted at the other end of the car near the roof flows along the roof and prevents moisture laden circulated air from striking the cold roof directly, and
thus prevents condensation. A portion of the circulated air is exhausted to atmosphere to facilitate the inflow of fresh air, and thus increase the oxygen content and reduce the humidity when the car contains oxygen consuming, moisture emitting lading.
7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 RAILWAY CAR HAVING A HEATED FRESH AIR INTAKE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention pertains particularly to railway hopper cars hauling fruits and vegatables. Such cars are heated, when necessary, by circulated air. Fruits and vegetables, being living organisms, take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. During this respiratory, moisture is sometimes emitted which needs to be removed from the car to eliminate any excess moisture content from the fruits and vegetables. The moisture content varies with the type of fruit or vegetable and with the temperature of the commodity.
Excessive moisture content may be in certain commodities, such as fresh fruits or vegetables, due to storage conditions or to a partially deteriorated condition. For example, potatoes in a partially deteriorated condition may emit an excess amount of moisture when placed within the car. Further, depending on ambient temperatures, excessive condensation may occur within the car such as the roof areas of the car during cold weather and this condensation maybe partially absorbed by the commodity.
The quality of fruits and vegetables is affected by the amount of moisture in the air surrounding them in transit. A high relative humidity of around 90 percent is desirable in most commodities to minimize any deterioration and to have the commodity in top quality upon unloading. An excess of moisture in the commodity might require an excessive drying time after the commodity is unloaded and before it is processed. Thus, in addition to a specific temperature range for the commodity during transit, the moisture content of the commodity should be maintained within a specific range for maintaining the top quality of the commodity.
The object of the invention is to improve the environment of the lading in all these respects by the use of only very simple means.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In a heated covered hopper car hot air is supplied to the bottom of the hoppers and is exhausted at one end near the top of the car. At the top of the other end of the car an inlet is provided with a door which can be positively held open to any degree, or closed. Round the opening is a hood or housing, in which is mounted an electric heater and a thermal switch controlling the heater. In winter, when condensation may occur in the roof area, the door is opened to allow cold air to sweep in over the thermal switch and the heater and then through an opening in the housing into the car. The heated fresh air thus supplied flows along the roof of the car to the exhaust end thereof. This heated air prevents the circulated air, which may have a very high humidity, from striking the roof, which is generally not as well insulated as other portions of the car. Thus condensation from the circulated air in contact with the cold roof is avoided. A part of the circulated air is preferably bled off to atmosphere.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is an end elevation of the body of a covered hopper car to which the invention is applied.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of one end of the car, partly broken away.
FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of the car body illustrating the air flow pattern. I
FIG. 4 is a front elevation of the auxiliary air intake and heating apparatus.
FIG. 5 is a section taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT bottom outlets 16. A suitable heater l8 and blower 19 supply the heated air to the side sills 20, 22 which feed air to the bottom of hoppers 12. Heated air flows through the car generally as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 3 and is exhausted at the top of end 24 of the car. The particular manner in which the air is conveyed to the bottom of the hoppers is not important so far as this invention is concerned. It is noted, also, that air conditioned cars for hauling perishable commodities are generally insulated and include cooling means as well as heating means, although for simplicity the cooling means are not shown in this application. Air conditioned cars of the type here concerned are shown in US. Pat. Nos. 3,486,241; 3,570,592 and 3,584,564, and may contain the heating and cooling equipment of these patents. I
Covered hopper car 10, as shown in FIG. 5, has exterior insulation 26, and is indicated in FIG. 2 as being loaded with potatoes, as an exemplary commodity. At end 28 of the car is air intake apparatus 30. It consists of door 32 pivoted at 34, and provided with insulation 36. Door 32 can be locked closed or adjustably opened by pivoted screw 38 and wing nut 40. Nut 40 has a slot 42 adapted to fit an upwardly opening cutout 43 of U- shaped plate 44, which is held by bolts and nuts 46, 48 on plate 50. Plate 50 has a slot 47 which receives screw 38 and nut 40 as in FIG. 5. Plate 50 is fixed to door 32. Stop member 52 pivoted at 49 receives handle 41 within slot 51 and prevents nut 40 from being rotated after door 32 has been positioned at the desired location by rotation of nut 40. FIG. 4 shows stop member 52 pivoted to an upward disengaged position with respect to handle 41 and FIG. 5 shows stop member 52 in an engaged position with respect to handle 41 and preventing rotation of nut 40. To fully open door 32 as shown in broken lines, plate 44 must be removed to permit the downward pivoting of screw 38 as shown in broken lines. Door 32 forms the outer side of a housing 53 including sides 54, 55 and a hood 56 provided with opening 58. A flange 57 extends about hood 56 and a gasket 59 is inserted between door 32 and flange 57.
Heater 60, having fins 62, is supported on hood 56 by plates 63,64. Thermal switch 66 is connected in series with heater 60 and a suitable current source 68, such as a generator or batteries, by cable 70. Baffle 72 on the back of the door prevents direct radiation of heat from the heater to thermal switch 66. Cable 70 enters housing 54 through connector 74.
As shownin FIG. 5, door 32 is shown in a fully closed position and ambient air is not being taken into covered hopper car 10. Wing nut 40 includes handles 41 and when backed off from the position shown in FIG. 5 will provide spacing between door 32 and the lower flange '57 of hood 56 providing a fresh air inlet and permitting ambient air to enter. The amount of spacing between door 32 and lower flange 57 may be varied by the amount of backing off" of wing nut 40. The arrows indicated at opening 58 indicate the flow of air when ambient air is provided from the spacing between door 32 and hood 56.
The apparatus herein described is intended to operate in cold weather when heated air will be circulated upward through the hoppers and will absorb moisture from such ladings as fruits and vegetables. Although the car is insulated, the roof is generally not as well insulated as other portions of the car, because of structural difficulties, and hence the roof may be cold enough to cause a considerable amount of condensation, resulting in an undesirable wetting of the lading. However, in winter door 32 will be opened and allow cold air to strike thermal switch 66. When the temperature of the switch drops to about 35 F, it closes and causes energizing of heater 60. The air heated by the heater 60 passes through opening 58 and flows along the roof of the car to the exhaust end 24 of the car and thus provides a layer of warm air adjacent the roof. The flow of the air from apparatus 30 along the roof is produced by the pressures and flow of the circulated air and does not require auxiliary propulsion means. The intake and flow of fresh air through heating apparatus 30 is facilitated by exhausting circulated air through suitable ports or openings 80 in the air circulating ducts. The stream of warm air from apparatus 30 shields the circulated moisture laden air from direct contact with the roof and thus reduces condensation and obviates excessive wetting of portions of the lading. The intake of fresh air in place of exhausted circulated air is also helpful in reducing excess carbon dioxide, where the lading produces carbon dioxide. Should the door be closed accidentally or by inadvertence, thermal switch 66 will be heated above threshold temperature and open the circuit to prevent burning out of the heater. In the warm parts of the year door 32 will be closed, for then apparatus 30 is not needed.
While air intake apparatus 30 has been illustrated as positioned adjacent the roof of a railway car to remove condensation, it will be understood that apparatus 30 may be positioned, if desired, adjacent other portions of the railway car to minimize condensation. For example, apparatus 30 could be positioned adjacent the floor of a box type refrigerator railway car.
' It is thus apparent that the problem of condensation in cold weather is solved, and other advantages are obtained with very simple inexpensive apparatus.
What is claimed is:
1. In a railway car having a closed body adapted to carry moisture containing lading and having means for circulating conditioned air about the lading in the body, the improvement comprising apparatus for minimizing condensation on a surface of said body, said apparatus including an electric heater energized from a power source on the car and located generally adjacent said surface at end of the car, a fresh air inlet at said end of the car for providing a stream of ambient air past the heater, a thermal switch located in the stream of air ahead of the heater and connected in circuit with the heater for closing the circuit when the temperature of the ambient air is below a given value, said means for circulatin conditioned air bein so arran ed relative to said air 111 et that during opera ionof san air circulat ing means a shielding stream of fresh air is caused to flow within the car across said surface to prevent condensation thereon of moisture from the humid air being circulated about the lading by said air circulating means.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, including an adjustable closure means for closing said fresh air inlet or opening it a selected amount.
3. Apparatus according to claim wherein said air circulating means includes means for continuously exhausting a portion of the circulated air, thereby permitting fresh air to be supplied to said car body through said air inlet.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said car is a closed hopper car having a plurality of hoppers, the conditioned airis introduced into the body at the bottom of each hopper and withdrawn at the other end of the car near the top thereof, whereby the pressures in the car body cause the fresh air from said inlet to flow adjacent the roof across the length of the car to prevent condensation on the inner surface of the roof.
5. Apparatus according to claim 1, including a housing for said heater and thermal switch, said housing including a pivoted door forming an outer wall of said housing and providing the fresh air inlet when opened, whereby the heater heats the thermal switch and causes it to turn off the heater unless cold air is flowing over the switch and heater.
6. In a railway car having a closed body adapted to carry moisture containing lading and having separate means for circulating heated air through the body from the lower portion of the body to the upper portion thereof, the improvement comprising apparatus for minimizing condensation on the upper surfaces of said body, said apparatus including an electric heater at one end of the car adjacent the roof thereof said heater being energized from a power source on the car, a fresh air inlet at said end of the car for providing a stream of ambient air past the heater, a thermal switch located in the stream of air ahead of the heater and connected in circuit with the heater for closing the circuit when the temperature of the ambient air is below a given value, said means for circulating conditioned air being so arranged relative to said air inlet that during operation of said air circulating means a shielding stream of heated fresh air is caused to flow within the car over said upper surfaces to prevent condensation thereon in cold weather of moisture from the humid air being circulated about the lading by said air circulating means, a housing for said heater and thermal switch, said housing including a pivoted door forming the fresh air inlet and adjustable between open and closed positions, and means to adjust the spacing between the door and housing to permit the entry of a predetermined amount I