|Publication number||US3752350 A|
|Publication date||Aug 14, 1973|
|Filing date||Sep 28, 1971|
|Priority date||Sep 28, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3752350 A, US 3752350A, US-A-3752350, US3752350 A, US3752350A|
|Original Assignee||Philco Ford Corp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (5), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [1 1 Franck [451 Aug. 14, 1973 REFRIGERATOR CABINET CONSTRUCTION  Inventor: Howard S. Franck, Oxford, Ohio  Filed: Sept. 28, 1971  Appl. No.: 184,466
Primary Examiner-Samuel B. Rothberg Assistant Examiner-Allan N. Shoap Attorney-Robert D. Sanbom [5 7] ABSTRACT A refrigerator cabinet having a metallic outer shell, a plastic inner liner spaced therefrom, and foamed-inplace insulation filling the space between the shell and liner. The outer shell includes a forwardly positioned, inwardly facing channel that receives a flanged forward portion of the liner to provide an access opening for the compartment defined by the liner. One leg portion of the channel is spaced inwardly of the access opening and has a section that is divergent from the liner flange and extends into the insulation. A strip of pliant sealing material is received within the wedge-shaped recess formed by the divergent section and the liner flange, and is urged into tight sealing engagement by the expansion of the foamed insulation.
1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figures Patented Aug. 14, 1973 3,752,350
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to refrigeration, and especially to refrigerator cabinet structure.
Temperature differences between the inside and the outside of a refrigerator cabinet create differences in water vapor pressures, making it necessary to seal exposed seams, joints, and the like against vapor penetration. Vapors entering in this manner condense on colder surfaces, and tend to impair the efficiency of the cabinet insulation. Sealing against vapor penetration is especially difficult in the art of foamed-in-place refrigerator cabinet structure, since most of the seams and joints become inaccessible once the insulation has been foamed.
It is an objective of this invention to provide an improved vapor seal whose sealing action is enhanced by the very act of foaming the insulation.
It is a further objective of the invention to achieve an improved sea] by means of a sealing strip of simple form, in novel combination with adjoining elements of a cabinet outer shell and inner liner.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In achievement of the foregoing as well as other general objectives and advantages, the invention contemplates provision of a refrigerator cabinet comprising an outer metal shell and an inner thermally nonconductive liner disposed within and spaced from the outer shell. Foamed-in-place thermal insulation is disposed within the space separating the shell from the liner, and said shell and liner each have edge portions defining a cabinet access opening over which a door may be mounted. A flange is disposed along the periphery of the liner and is presented toward the edge portion of the outer shell. An inwardly facing channel extends along the edge portion of the shell, and the open portion of the channel receives the liner flange. In especial accordance with the invention, one leg portion of the channel includes a section divergent from the liner flange and extending into the foamed insulation, and a sealing strip is disposed within the wedge-shaped recess formed by the divergent channel section and the liner flange. The sealing strip is urged by the foamed-inplace insulation toward the convergent region of said wedge-shaped recess and into tight sealing engagement with the divergent section and the liner flange, effectivly sealing the insulation-filled space against vapor penetration.
The manner in which the foregoing objectives and advantages may best be achieved will be more fully understood from a consideration of the following description, taken in light of the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a perspective showing of a twocompartment refrigerator cabinet embodying the invention, with upper and lower doors in closed and opened positions, respectively;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view, with parts broken away and taken generally along the line 2-2 applied to the cabinet seen in FIG. 1, but with the lower door in closed position; and
FIG. 3 is a showing similar to that of FIG. 2, but illustrating the front edge portion of the cabinet wall as it would appear just prior to the insulation foaming operation.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Referring first to FIG. 1, a refrigerator cabinet 10 includes a metallic outer shell 11 and a non-metallic inner liner 12 that defines an above-freezing food storage compartment 13 and a frozen food storage compartment (not shown) above the former. Doors 14 and 15 are hingedly mounted for pivotation about their vertical edge portions, and provide access to the food storage compartments. Suitable latching means of known type is provided for each of the doors.
As is seen further in FIGS. 2 and 3, each of doors 14 and 15 includes an outer shell and inner liner, of the general type shown at 16 and 17, respectively, for the lower door. Adjacent edges of the doors and the door liners are cooperably arranged to support a sealing gasket of conventional type as is designated generally by the numeral 18.
Cabinet liner 12 includes an integral, forwardly facing, outwardly extending peripheral flange 19 that forms a cabinet access throat section, and is received within an inwardly facing channel 20 formed on the front edge region of cabinet outer shell 11. One leg portion of channel 20 comprises a reversely bent section of frontally facing flange 21 on outer shell 11. Door gasket 18 seals against liner flange 19, which leaves the seam between flanges 19 and 21 exposed to the ambient atmosphere, and subject to entry of moisture and vapors therethrough.
In especial accordance with general objectives of the invention, to prevent such entry of vapors and moisture, the other leg portion of channel 20 includes a section 24 that is divergent from flange 19, at an angle of about 45, and, as is seen in FIG. 2, extends into thermal insulation 25 of the foamed-in-place type filling the space between shell 11 and liner 12. A fluid seal is then effected by a strip of pliant sealing material 26a tightly confined by insulation 25 in the wedge-shaped region formed by section 24 and flange l9.
Divergent section 24 conveniently terminates in a flange 24a that extends generally parallel to liner flange l9, and in accordance with the showing in FIG. 3, sealing material 26 is laid along this flange 24a, prior to insertion of liner flange 19 and the insultion foaming operation. In preferred practice, sealing material 26 initially is of generally circular cross section as is shown in FIG. 3, and comprises either a preformed pliant and resilient gasket strip, or a strip of pliant sealing mastic. Both the strip and the mastic are available in a number of known forms. For example, rubber or polyvinyl chloride, on the one hand, or a mastic available under the trade name MORTITE from the Mortell Co., on the other hand, have been found suitable. A prime requisite of the material of the sealing strip 26 is that it is capable of retaining its shape upon its initial application, and upon subsequent insertion of flange 19. The material of strip 26 further should be capable of flow into sealing engagement under the urging of the actively foaming insulation, which exerts a pressure of about 5 psi against its confining structure.
There are a number of foam-expanding procedures known in the art which are satisfactoryfor purposes of insulating a cabinet in accordance with the present invention. One such foam-expanding procedure is dis-- closed in my U. S. Pat. No. 3,516,566, assigned to the assignee of the present invention.
Upon subassembly of the outer shell, the liner, and the sealing strip, as seen in FIG. 3, the ingredients for insulation 25 are introduced into the space to be filled, and are caused to foam, in manner now well known in the art, so that the rising surface of the insulation moves toward the front edge of the cabinet. As the foaming insulation expands, a portion of the rising surface enters the wedge-shaped region (as indicated generally by the directional arrows applied to FIG. 2), contacts the strip of sealing material 26 and urges it into the form shown at 26a, as is defined by the wedgeshaped region, effectively urging material 26 toward and sealing the seam formed by the juncture of shell section 24 and liner flange 19. It will be appreciated that strip 24 and its flange 240 are of sufficient rigidity not to collapse under the forces exerted by foaming insulation on the surfaces of the strip and flange opposite those surfaces against which sealing strip 26 is urged. It will be appreciated further that strip 26 serves also as an effective foam-stop, preventing leakage flow of the foaming insulation through the seam.
1. A refrigerator cabinet comprising: an outer shell; an inner liner of low thermal conductivity disposed within and spaced from said outer shell; foamed-inplace thermal insulation disposed within the space separating said shell from said liner, said shell and said liner having edge portions adjacent one another and defining an access opening over which a door may be mounted; means defining a flange extending in the plane of said opening along the edge portion of said liner and presented toward the corresponding edge portion of said shell; means defining a channel extending along the edge portion of said shell, the open portion of said channel being presented toward and receiving said liner flange, one leg portion of said channel including a section divergent at an acute angle from said liner flange and extending into said foamed-in-place insulation; and a sealing strip disposed entirely within the wedge-shaped recess formed by said divergent channel section and said flange, and forcibly retained by portions of said insulation in said recess, thereby affording a fluid-tight seal between said liner and said shell.
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