US 3805492 A
A mixture of air, water vapor and droplets of fuel, such as a hydrocarbon type, is treated to assure complete combustion of the fuel to thereby minimize polluting emissions by passing the mixture between a number of oppositely charged elements in the treating chamber. Exposure to the field relaxes the surface tension of the fuel droplets to increase vaporization thereof, and physical contact of the mixture with heat exchange structure during fuel vaporization plus the effect of the field causes the wate vapor of the mixture to be drawn out of the mixture onto those elements which are positively charged. The positively charged elements are self-electrified, without the use of an outside power source, by constructing each from two separate materials in the triboelectric series and placing the same in intimate contact with one another. During passage of the mixture through the chamber, condensate which is drawn out of the mixture is caused to drain through the chamber in a course of travel separate from that of yet to be vaporized fuel droplets whereby the condensate is prevented from recombining with such droplets.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 King 5] Apr. 23, 1974 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TREATING CARBURETED MIXTURES  Inventor: Arthur Shelley King, 8021 Cherokee Ln., Leawood, Kans. 66206  Filed: July 5, 1973  Appl. No.: 376,625
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 248,699, April 28,
1972, Pat. No. 3,761,062.
'  U.S. Cl 55/8, 55/103, 55/130,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,406,669 10/1968 Edwards 55/145 3,493,109 2/1970 Carta et al. 55/103 2,974,747 3/1961 Coolidge, Jr. et a1. 55/154 2,978,066 4/1961 Nodalf 55/145 3,656,440 4/1972 Grey t 55/145 1,333,836 3/1920 Csanyi.... 123/119 E 1,637,104 7/1927 Crone 123/119 E 2,656,824 10/1953 Devaux 123/119 E 2,705,941 4/1955 Unschuld 123/119 E 1,771,626 7/1930 Hamilton 55/103 Velkoff 123/119 E FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 820,415 9/1959 Great Britain 55/103 Primary Examiner-Tim R. Miles Attorney, Agent, or FirmSchmidt, Johnson, Hovey & Williams [5 7] ABSTRACT A mixture of air, water vapor and droplets of fuel, such as a hydrocarbon type, is treated to assure complete combustion of the fuel to thereby minimize polluting emissions by passing the mixture between a number of oppositely charged elements in the treating chamber. Exposure to the field relaxes the surface tension of the fuel droplets to increase vaporization thereof, and physical contact of the mixture with heat exchange structure during fuel vaporization plus the effect of thefield causes the wate vapor of the mixture to be drawn out of the mixture onto those elementswhich are positively charged. The positively charged elements are self-electrified, without the use of an outside power source, by constructing each from two separate materials in the triboelectric series and placing the same in intimate contact with one another. During passage of the mixture through the chamber, condensate which is drawn out of the mixture is caused to drain through the chamber in a course of travel separate from that of yet to be vaporized fuel droplets whereby the condensate is prevented from recombining with such droplets.
18 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures rims ELM? M2 /20 v36 PATENT!!!) APR 2 3 m4 SHEET 1 0F 4 PATENTEUAPR 23 1974 3805492 SHEET 2 BF 4 ,PATENTEDAPRZB \974 I 13,805492 SHEET u [If 4 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR TREATING CARBURETED MIXTURES CROSS REFERENCES This is a continuation-in-part of my copending application by the same title, Ser. No. 248,699, filed Apr. 28, 1972, now US. Pat. No. 3,761,062.
This invention relates to the field of environmental pollution control and has as an important object to provide a method and apparatus for treating a mixture of air, water vapor and droplets of volatile fuel immediately before the mixture enters the intake manifold of an internal combustion engine in a manner to assure more complete combustion of the fuel to thereby eliminate or substantially reduce polluting emissions in the exhaust of the engine.
More particularly, an important object of the present invention is to provide a treater which subjects the mixture issuing from the carburetor to an electrostatic field which induces the fuel droplets to relax their surface tension and thereby more fully vaporize before entering the combustion chambers of the engine.
Another important object of the instant invention is to improve upon the teachings of my earlier application by providing a treater wherein at least certain of the electric charge-carrying elements thereof are capable of self-electrification, through implementation of the triboelectric phenomenon, whereby to eliminate the need for an outside, electrifying power source for such elements.
i A further important object of this invention is to provide a treating method and apparatus wherein water vapor, which is continuously drawn out of the mixture in the form of condensate as themixture travels through the treater, is prevented from recombining with yet to be vaporized fuel droplets moving through the treating region whereby to promote such vaporization of the droplets.
An additional important object of this invention is the provision of atreater which is fully capable of carrying out the foregoing objects yet is of non-complex construction whereby to provide simplified and expeditious assembly and installation thereof.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, vertical cross-sectional view of a treater constructed in accordance with the present invention and coupled at its inlet and outlet respectively with a carburetor and engine intake manifold;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, horizontal cross-sectional view of the treater taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, vertical cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 1 of a second treater embodying the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, horizontal cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4' of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, vertical cross-sectional view of a third treater embodying the principles of my inventron;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, horizontal cross-sectional view thereof taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5 with the uppermost charge plate broken away;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary, vertical crosssectional view of one lower interior corner ofthe treater;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary, vertical cross-sectional view of a fourth treater embodying the principles of this invention;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary, horizontal cross-sectional view thereof taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8 with the uppermost charge plate broken away; and
FIG. 10 is an enlarged, fragmentary, vertical crosssectional view of the FIG. 8 treater similar to FIG. 7.
THE TREATERS OF FIGS. 1-4
Treater 10 in FIGS. 1 and 2 has an inlet pipe 12 coupled with a conduit 14 for receiving a combustible mixture from carburetor l6, and an outlet pipe 18 coupled with the intake manifold 20 of an internal combustion engine (not shown). An insulated insert or disc 22 (FIG. 2) clamped between inlet pipe 12 and conduit 14 has an opening 24 of smaller diameter than a corresponding opening 26 in' an insulating gasket 28 (FIG. 1), clamped between outlet pipe 18 and intake manifold 20 to create reduced pressure within treater 10 and manifold 20 during operation as will hereinafter be described in detail.
The treating chambr of treater 10 is defined primarily by a continuous electrode wall 30 which is joined tangentially by the inlet pipe 12 as shown in FIG. 2. A hemispherical cap 32 is clamped to wall 30 in an airtight manner using a gasket 34, while a hemispherical basin 36 closes the opposite end of wall 30 in a similar fashion using a gasket 38. Preferably, wall 30, cap 32 and basin 36 are of aluminum or any other suitable metal having high-heat exchange properties.
A mass 40 of epoxy or the like is bonded to the interior surface of cap 32 and carries an insulating and supporting'cylinder 42 embedded therewith, the cylinder 42, in turn, suspending a metal tubular electrode 44 concentrically within wall 30 in spaced relationship to the latter to define an annular region 45 therebetween. A metal tube 46 of smaller diameter than electrode 44 is supported coaxially Within the latter and in spaced relationship thereto by a second insulating and supporting cylinder 48, the cylinder 48, in turn, being mounted on the outlet pipe 18 which projects upwardly through the fioor 36a of basin 36. Electrode 44 thus effectively houses tube 46 and cooperates with the latter to define an annular flow passage 49 communicating with region 45 through the entrance 44a at the lower end of electrode 44 and with outlet pipe 18 through the open upper end 46a of tube 46. Entrance 44a is spaced above the floor 360 longitudinally of tube 46 as shown.
A continuous helical heat exchange vane 50 fixed to the inner surface of wall 30 encircles electrode 44 in spaced relationship thereto within region 45 and leads generally from inlet pipe 12 toward basin 36 in a counterclockwise direction viewing FIG. 2. Electrode'44 and wall 30 serve as inner and outer electrodes respectively for creating an electrostatic field within region 45 and are adapted for connection by leads 52 and- 54 across a source of electrical potential. Preferably, a positive charge is imparted to wall 30 and a negative charge to electrode 44, although such allocation of polarities is not a prerequisite to proper functioning of treater 10. A lead 56, coupled with tube 46, serves for creating a charge thereon opposite in polarity to that on electrode 44 to establish a second electrostatic treating field which is located within passage 49.
In operation, carburetor 16 provides an explosive airfuel mixture for intake manifold 20 by spraying the liquid fuel, such as a hydrocarbon, into the stream of ambient air drawn into carburetor 16 by operation of the engine. in most instances the fuel is not completely vaporized upon contacting the inrushing air, and instead, forms droplets which are entrained in the air and carried therewith to treater 10 without being thoroughly vaporized for combustion purposes. Moreover, depending upon environmental conditions, moisture is drawn into carburetor 16 in the form of water vapor along with the ambient air such that the mixture entering treater 10 through inlet pipe 12 actually consists of air, water vapor, and droplets of fuel.
As the mixture enters the treating chamber, it is swirled in a counterclockwise direction by vane 50 through the electrostatic field in region 45. Vane 50 progressively guides the mixture toward the lower end of the treater 10 and through the electrostatic field, during which time the mixture is treated in a number of respects. First, it is believed that exposure to the electrostatic field in region 45 relaxes the surface tension of the fuel droplets and thereby encourages the droplets to vaporize completely and thoroughly mix with the air to provide a highly combustible product. Such relaxation of surface tension is believed to occur from a combination of phenomena including the alignment with electrodes 30 and 44 of water dipoles which cluster about hydrocarbon molecules within each droplet and the creation of an induced dipole condition within each carbon atom. By exposing the water dipoles to the opposite charges, they lose their affinity for the hydrocarbon molecules, hence relaxing surface tension of the fuel droplets.
In contrast to vaporization of fuel droplets, water is simultaneously condensed from the mixture during its journey through region 45 and is subsequently separated from fuel vapor and air. This is made possible by the fact that water has a greater surface tension than the hydrocarbon fuel droplets. Therefore, an electrostatic field may be provided which is high enough in intensity to break up fuel droplets, yet not prevent water droplet formation. Because of the heat absorbed by the fuel droplets during vaporization thereof, vane 50 and wall electrode 30 are cooled which, upon their contact with water vapor in the mixture, causes the water vapor to condense and be forced to the outer extremity of the mixture as it is swirled by vane 50 through region 45.
The condensation is also drawn outwardly during swirling by the attraction of the water dipoles for the positively charged wall electrode 30, and this outward migration initiates separation of the condensation from air and fuel vapor.
After passing through region 45, condensation and air plus fuel vapor enter the area of basin 36, whereupon the heavy condensation is collected and retained against further movement with the air and fuel vapor. However, the air and fuel vapor continue to be drawn by operation of the engine and enter entrance 44a for flow through passage 49, during which time the air and fuel vapor are subjected to the effects of the second electrostatic field. This second field serves to promote further vaporization of any fuel droplets not previously reduced to their smallest size during passage through the initial field in region 45. After completing its passage through the second field, the air and fuel vapor is drawn into the open end 46a of tube 46 and thence out of treater 10 through outlet pipe 18 into manifold 20.
it is important to note that because of the constricted size of opening 24 in disc 22 as compared with opening 26 in gasket 28, the pressure throughout the interior of treater l and manifold 20 is reduced below that existing in conduit 14. This has the beneficial effect of reducing the external pressure exerted on each individual fuel droplet entering treater such that expansion thereof is promoted to increase the rate of vaporization thereof. This, coupled with the surface tension relaxing action of the electrostatic field in treater 10, assures that an extremely high percentage of the fuel droplets are completely vaporized, hence causing complete combustion when the air and fuel vapor reach the combustion chambers of the engine. Tests have proven that by using treater l0, emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides may be very drastically reduced below levels existing without use of treater 10.
It is also important that the charge imparted to electrodes 30 and 44 and tube 46 be commensurate with the type of fuel being treated. For example, in treating gasoline, it has been found that a suitable field may be produced without a potential of a magnitude which would cause corona between the uninsulated electrode components. However, where heavier oils are to be treated, it may be necessary to increase the potential to such an extent that corona would normally be produced. in this instance, the electrode 44 and tube 46 may, for example, be coated with a suitable insulation material without detracting from the effectiveness of the treater.
A drainage line 58, coupled with basin 36, serves to drain the latter of collected condensation, and a reservoir 60 may be provided at the opposite end of line 58 for the drained condensation. A conventional filter (not shown) may be associated with reservoir 60 for separating water condensation from any fuel that may have been condensed, whereupon the separated fuel may be returned to carburetor 16 for mixture with the inrushing air.
FIGS. 3 and 4 relate to a second treater of modified construction but having many of the same basic principles of operation as treater l0. Treater 70 has a top plate 72 integral with a normally vertically extending inlet pipe 74 which is clamped to carburetor 16 for receiving combustible mixtures therefrom. Similar to the first embodiment, a disc-like, insulated insert 76 having a central opening 78, is clamped between carburetor l6 and inlet pipe 74.
The treating chamber of treater 70 is defined primarily by three superimposed, plastic or metal insulated rings 80 which are clamped between two plate 72 and a basin 82 forming the lower section of treater 70. Three normally horizontally extending, vertically spaced-apart electrode plates 84 are sandwiched between rings 80, each plate 84 being provided with a central opening 86. Three additional vertically spacedapart, horizontally extending electrode plates 88 are alternately disposed between the three electrodes 84 and are supported by circumferentially spaced, insulated mounting blocks 90, each electrode 88 having an outermost peripheral edge 92 spaced from rings 80 to present an annular passage to the next adjacent plate 84.
An upstanding out-let pipe or tube 94 projects through the floor 82a of basin 82 and has an uppermost end 96 spaced substantially above floor 82a. A baffle 95 is supported by three additional mounting blocks 97 in overlying, protective relationship to tube end 96, and pipe 94 is clamped to intake manifold with a gasket 98 therebetween having an opening 100 larger than opening 78 in disc 76. .A drainage line 102 and reservoir 104 are coupled to basin 82 for functioning in a manner similar to that of line 58 and reservoir 60 of treater 10.
Electrode sets 84.and 88 are adapted for connection via lines 106 and 108 respectively, across sources of electrical potential to establish charges of opposite polarity on adjacent electrodes 84 and 88. Preferably, electrodes 84 have a negative charge imparted thereto, while electrodes 88 have a positive charge imparted thereto, although it is to be understood that the polarity of such charges may be reversed without effecting the operation of treater 70. Moreover, the uppermost electrode pair 88 and 86 may be charged, for example, positively and negatively respectively, while the next pair may be reversely charged negatively and positively, the remaining pair then being reversely charged positively and negatively. By placing opposing charges on adjacent electrodes 84 and 88, an electrostatic field is established in the region existing therebetween which functions in a manner identical to the fields created within treater 10. As mentioned with regard to treater 10, one electrode of each adjacent pair may be provided with an insulating coating if required because of the nature of the fuel being treated.
As a mixture of air, water vapor and fuel droplets (which may be a hydrocarbon fuel) is drawn into treater 70 from carburetor 16, the mixture is forced to follow a tortuous course successively around the edges 92 of electrodes 88 and through openings 86 in elec trodes 84 forreceiving the effects of the successive electrostatic fields. Such fields break up the hydrocarbon droplets by reducingthe surface tension thereof and, moreover, breakup is promoted by a shock wave effect created by the tortuous movement of the droplets. As vaporization of the droplets thus occurs, electrodes 84 and 88 become cooled, whereupon the water vapor in the mixture is condensed and gravitates toward basin 82 for collection therein. Because of the strategic location of baffle 95 relative to the-upper end 96 ,of outlet pipe 94, water condensation flowing over the edge of baffle 88 is diverted away from open end 96 into basin 82. However, the air, and fuel vapor are earlier described. Moreover, water vapor is still drawn out of the mixture during its travel so that vaporization of the fuel droplets can occur at a much greater rate than would otherwise be the case.
However, the treater l 10 differs from treaters l0 and in that treater 110 requires no outside power source once it has been installed on an automobile engine, the latter normally carrying a negative charge. Moreover, the treater 110 differs from those previously described in that the water vapor which is drawn out of the mixture during treating thereof is maintained separate and apart from the yet to be vaporized fuel droplets moving through treater 110 so that such vaporization of the latter is not inhibited by the condensate formed from the withdrawn water vapor. By directing the condensate away from the yet to be vaporized fuel droplets as early as possible in the treating procedure, the condensate is prevented from reforming or recombining with the fuel droplets which would substantially impair their ability to vaporize. It has been found that the need for maintaining the condensate separated from the fuel droplets is substantially greater than the need for maintaining the condensate separated from the gas or vapors of fuel because once gasified or vaporized, the fuel does not appreciably recombine with the condensate.
Turning to the specific construction of the treater I 10, an open-top container 1 12 of generally cylindrical configuration has a circular, normally upright, continuous sidewall 114 and a bottom'wall 116 that cooperate to define an inner treating chamber 118. An outlet 120 is provided in bottom wall 116 centrally of the latter, and an inlet 122 to chamber 118 is provided at the top of treater 110 within a cover 124 that closes chamber 118. A continuous, outwardly projecting rim 126 about the top margin of sidewall 114 provides a seat for cover 124 and an area within which a series of screws 128 may be located for clamping cover 124 against rim 126. A gasket 130 may be interposed between cover 124 and rim 126.
The treater 110 is mounted in place by a series of screws 132 that interconnect a conduit 134 from the carburetor (not shown) and the cover 124. Additionfree to enter pipe 94 for conveyance into intake manifold 20 and subsequent combustion within the engine. Note that throughout the treatment process, reduced pressure is provided within treater 70 by virtue of the small size of disc opening 78 compared to disc opening 100 and the drawing action of the operating engine. This promotes hydrocarbon droplet vaporization as described with regard to treater 10.
THE TREATERS OF FIGS. 5-10 ally, a series of flat-head screws 136 through the bottom wall 116 are threaded into the intake manifold 138. Preferably, a gasket 140 is clamped between conduit 134 and cover 124, and similarly, a gasket 142 is preferably clamped between the bottom wall 116 and intake manifold 138.
Loosely stacked within chamber 118 is a vertical series of generally horizontally extending, electric charge-carrying plate elements 144 and 146, the plates 146 being larger in diameter than the plates 144 and being alternately dispersed therebetween. The smaller diameter plates 144 are provided with three supporting and insulating blocks 148 about their outer peripheries that serve to space such peripheries inwardly from sidewall 114, and also serve to support the plates 144 in vertically spaced relationship from the adjacent plates 146 above and below the same. Preferably, for reasons which will hereinafter be made clear, the blocks 148 are constructed from tetrafluorethylene resin, sold under the trademark TEFLON, by E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Inc. of Wilmington, Del. Through the use of such blocks 148, the-plates 144 and 146 may simply be stacked within chamber 118 as earlier mentioned, there being no supporting ledges or the like for the plates 144 and 146. Once the lowermost plate 144 is within chamber 118; therefore, all of the plates 146 in the series are maintained in electrical contact with the container 112 which itself carries a negative charge imparted thereto from the engine which is normally connected to the negative side of the battery in an automobile.
Each of the larger lates 146 is bare but, as shown most clearly in FIG. 7, each of the smaller plates 144 is of composite construction having an aluminum base 150 and an outer jacket 152 ofa suitable insulative material such as tetrafluoroethylene resin. The significance of this construction for the plates 144 is substantial because, by virtue thereof, the plates 144 are selfelectrifying in nature, which eliminates the need for the use of an outside power source to electrify the plates 144.
Specifically, such self-electrification is obtained by virtue of the fact that the aluminum base 150 and its outer jacket 152 of tetrafluoroethylene resin are intimately contacting one another and are disposed in different positions in the triboelectric series of materials. This series is derived from the scientific phenomenon that certain materials occupying different positions in the series will electrify one another when rubbed against each other or when placed in intimate contact with one another. Thus, for example, when a glass rod is rubbed with silk, the rod takes on a positive charge while the silk cloth takes on a negative charge as electrons travel from the rod to the cloth. Other materials in the series include, but are not limited to, asbestos, mica, wool, cats fur, cotton, sealing wax, hard rubber and sulfur. Generally speaking, those materials which occupy a higher position in the list than others take on a positive charge when intimately contacted with the lower position materials, while the latter take on a negative charge.
In addition to the above recited materials it has been found that metal and plastics of various kinds also behave in accordance with the theory of triboelectrics when such materials are brought into intimate contact. Tetrafluoroethylene resin is thought to be higher in the series than aluminum metal and, therefore, the outer surface of the jacket 152 on each plate 144 carries a positive charge so that each plate 144 effectively becomes an electrode for treating the mixture as it passes through treater 110. It is to be noted that the use of tetrafluoroethylene resin for blocks 148 retains the integrity of the positive charge on the jackets 152 inasmuch as a triboelectric effect is also obtained by contact between the blocks 148 and sidewall 114, as well as between blocks 148 and the plates 146.
The potential difference between the jacket 152 and base 150 of each plate 144 can range from a tiny fraction of a volt to several volts but is most likely to be relatively small. However, surprisingly, it has been ound that such potential difference is great enough to have an appreciable effect upon the mixture of fuel droplets, air and water vapor as the mixture moves through the treating chamber 118. Although it was originally thought necessary to provide substantial charges on electrodes that treat the mixture, such as in treaters 10 and 70, it has now been discovered that such is not necessarily the caseand that the relatively small charges carried by plates 144 and 146 of treater are sufficient to promote vaporization of the fuel droplets and draw the water vapor out of the mixture. Hence, the same highly desirable result is obtained with significantly less charge and with a substantially simplified construction.
In addition to the electrical distinctions between treater 110 and treaters 10, 70, structural changes are presented in treater 110 that concern the management of the water vapor as it is withdrawn from the mixture. To this end, all of the plates 144 and 146 are coned upwardly presenting a convex upper surface to the substances passing through chamber 118. Further, each of the large diameter plates 146 is provided with a relatively large aperture 154 located at the apex thereof in vertical registration with the inlet 122 and outlet 120. A plurality of drain notches 156 are formed in each large plate 146 about the periphery thereof and are preferably disposed in vertical registration with one another. The bottom wall 116 is also coned upwardly to the same extent as plates 144 and 146, thus presenting a condensate collecting zone- 158 at the junction of sidewall 114 and bottom wall 116. A suitable drain hose 160 may be connected to the bottom wall 116 for drawing off collected condensate if such is desired.
When the mixture enters inlet 122 it is immediately divided by the uppermost plate 144 and directed into at least two major serpentine paths of travel as indicated by the arrows at inlet 122. The mixture spreads over the top surface of the uppermost plate 144, passes around the outermost periphery 144a thereof toward the next plate 146 therebelow, and then is drawn back toward the center of chamber 118 for passage between the proximal pair of plates 144 and 146. The mixture then passes downwardly through the aperture 154 of plate 146 whereupon it spreads outwardly once again toward the next periphery 144a along the top surface of the corresponding plate 144. This tortuous travel continues until the remaining mixture, including the vaporized fuel and air, exits chamber 118 through outlet 120 into the manifold 138. As illustrated, the mixture actually flows in a pair of side-by-side serpentine paths of travel through the chamber 118 as each branch of the flowing mixture moves along one-half of the top surface of a plate 144, around the periphery 144a, back up one-half of the next plate 146 therebelow, and then downwardly to the next plate 144 through aperture 154.
During the time that the fuel droplets are being vaporized, the water vapor is being drawn out of the mixture onto the top surfaces of plates 144. While some amount of moisture forms on the bare plates 146, the majority of the moisture forms on the plates 144 because of their positive charges which attract the dominantly negative water dipoles that are clustered about the fuel droplets. Some of the moisture which forms is, of course, due to condensation of the water vapor as a result of the absorption of heat by the fuel droplets during their vaporization.
The moisture or condensate thus forming on the plates 144 gravitates toward the peripheries 144a thereof and then drains therefrom onto the next plate 146 therebelow, whereupon the condensate is directed downwardly to the collecting zone 158 through the drain notches 156. Hence, the condensate withdrawn during vaporization of the fuel droplets is immediately directed away from the effective treating area of the remaining fuel droplets to prevent any impairment of vaporization of the latter. It will be appreciated that while the vaporized fuel and remaining mixture can flow uphill between the plates 144 and 146 toward the apertures 154, the condensate cannot follow this course and instead, must gravitate downwardly toward zone 158. Therefore, the fuel that is still in droplet form is effectively separated from condensate that has previously been withdrawn from the mixture throughout the treating process, hence significantly promoting vaporization of the remaining droplets. It will be seen that the course of travel for the streams of condensate flowing through notches 156 is disposed at the periphery of the two serpentine paths of travel which the mixture is forced to follow.
As earlier mentioned, it has now been found that so long as the condensate is maintained separated from the yet to be vaporized fuel droplets as they move through the treating chamber 1 18, the condensate may be introduced intothe intake manifold 138 through outlet 120 in limited amounts without substantially adversely affecting the efficiency of combustion. Once gasified or vaporized, the fuel does not readily accept recombination with the condensate and hence, strict control of the condensate at outlet 120 is not critical. It is important, however, that large rushes of condensate be prevented from entering the intake manifold 138 along with the fuel vapor because such rushes would smother the combustion attempting to take place in the combustion chamber of the engine. Therefore, while the use of the drain hose 160 is not absolutely essential, it is desirable in those instances where the condensate would otherwise rush directly into the manifold 138. I
FIGS. 8-10 show another form of treater denoted generally by the numeral 162 which is identical in many respects to treater 110, particularly the selfelectrification aspects thereof. The container 164 is similar to container 112, having a sidewall 166 and a bottom wall 168 that is coned downwardly rather than upwardly. A chamber 170 is defined within container 164 and has an inlet 172 in a cover'174 and an outlet 176 in bottom wall 168 that leadsto the intake manifold 178. A conduit 180 leads to the carburetor (not shown) as before. The usual gaskets and mounting screws are also provided and need not be further described.
As stated above, the electrification aspects of treater 162 are precisely the same as treater 110, there being a vertical series of generally horizontally extending plates 182 and 184 stacked within chamber 170, the larger diameter plates 184 being alternately interspersed between the smaller diameter plates 182 and electrically contacting the sidewall 166. The plates 182 have an aluminum base 186 and an outer jacket 188 of tetrafluoroethylene resin and are carried by insulating and supporting blocks 190 of tetrafluoroethylene resin. As before, the plates 182 thus carry a positive charge, while the plates 184 carry a negative charge to treat the mixture as it flows through chamber 170 from inlet 172 toward outlet 176.
The major distinction between treater 162 and treater l is the manipulation of the water condensate in treater 162 as compared to treater 110. In treater 162 the plates 182 and 184 are coned downwardly so as to present concave upper surfaces. The plates 182 have small drain holes 192 therein at their apexes in vertical registration with the inlet 172 and outlet 176.
Additionally, the plates 184 have relatively large apertures 194 at their apexes also disposed in vertical registration with inlet 172 and outlet 176.
Accordingly, as the mixture weaves its way between the plates 182 and 184 the condensate which is drawn out of the mixture gravitates to the center of the plates 182 and attempts to exit through the drain holes 192 thereof. Preferably, the drain holes 192 are of such diameter that the condensate is caused to stand in a pool across each hole 192 so that the condensate gravitates from holes 192 in drops rather than in steady streams. It is important, however, that the entire upper surface of the plates 182 not be covered by standing condensate inasmuch as this would reduce the ability of the positively charged plates 182 to treat the flowing mixture.
The drops of condensate emanating from the holes 192 pass through the aperture 194 in the next plate 184 therebelow and fall into the existing pool on the next plate 182. Such continues until the drops leave chamber 170 through either outlet 176 into manifold 178, or through drain hose 196 stationed below the hole 192 in the lowermost plate 182.
If the holes 192 are sufficiently small that they produce only periodic drops of condensate, it has been found that there is little need for the drain hose 196 because the gasified fuel 'does not recombine with the condensate at this late point. However, if the holes 192 are incapable of limiting the condensate to only periodic drops and instead introduce periodic rushes or steady streams of .condensate, then the drain hose 196 should be utilized so as to prevent the condensate from smothering the explosion in the combustion chamber.
As in treater 110, the mixture is divided into two major serpentine paths of travel as it enters chamber 170 through inlet 172. Each branch of the flowing mixture moves across the top surfaces of the plates 182, around their peripheries 182a, and then along the top surfaces of the plates 184 for movement downwardly through apertures 194 tothe next plate 182 therebelow.
In contrast, the condensate moves in a linear path of travel centrally of chamber 170, through holes 192 and apertures 194. Thus, the condensate course of travel is disposed between the two separate serpentine paths of travel of the mixture.
Both of the treaters and 162 are equally effective in promoting vaporization of the fuel droplets in order to maximize combustion efficiency. In many instances, however, the treater 110 is to be preferred because of the ease with which condensate can be collected in zone 158 and removed therefrom. Both of the treaters 110 and 162 provide highly non-complex, yet effective means of treating the fuel to totally vaporize or gasify the same, and both can be very quickly assembled and installed. It will be appreciated that the elimination of an outside power source for electrifying the positive charge carrying element in each instance is a significant advantage obtainable with the treaters 110 and 162. Moreover, the ability of such treaters to maintain the condensate totally separated from yet to be vaporized fuel during the treating process greatly enhances the ability of such fuel to be completely vaporized.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. In combination with means for supplying a mixture of air, water vapor and droplets of volatile fuel, a mixture treater comprising:
means defining a treating chamber provided with an inlet and an outlet; and
at least one pair of spaced-apart, electric chargecarrying elements located within said chamber for receiving said mixture therebetween as the mixture flows from said inlet toward said outlet,
one of said elements carrying a charge of one polarity and the other carrying a charge of the opposite polarity whereby to promote vaporization of said fuel droplets by relaxing the surface tension thereof and by drawing said water vapor out of the mixture as the latter passes through said chamber,
said one element having a base member constructed of material located at one position in the triboelectric series and an outer jacket on said member in intimate contact therewith constructed of a substance located at a second position in the triboelectric series whereby said one element is electrified without the use of an outside power source.
2. In a treater as claimed in claim 1, wherein said one element is positively charged and said other element is negatively charged;
3. In a treater as claimed in claim 1, wherein said material is metal, said substance being tetrafluoroethylene resin.
4. In a treater as claimed in claim 3, wherein said metal is aluminum.
5. In a treater as claimed in claim 1, wherein said chamber-defining means includes electrically'conductive wall structure, each said other element being in electrical contact with said structure, and each said one element being electrically insulated from said structure.
6. In a treater as claimed in claim 5, wherein said elements are stacked within said chamber in an upright series, there being insulating and supporting blocks between the elements.
7. In a treater as claimed in laim 1, wherein said elements are provided with means for causing condensate formed during the treating process to drain through the chamber in a separate course of travel from fuel droplets yet to be vaporized.
8. In a treater as claimed in claim 7, wherein said elements are plate-like and disposed horizontally in an upright series, said elements having convex upper surfaces for gravitation of condensate toward the outer peripheries thereof.
9. In a treater as claimed in claim 8, wherein each said other element has a drain at its periphery for condensate from the said one element thereabove and has an aperture for the remainder of the mixture and vaporized fuel spaced inwardly and upwardly from said drain.
10. In a treater as claimed in claim 9, wherein each said one element has its periphery spaced inwardly from said chamber-defining means for passing condensate, fuel vapor, and the remainder of the mixture to the next said other element therebelow.
11. In a treater as claimed in claim 7, wherein said elements are plate-like and disposed horizontally in an upright series, said elements having concave upper surfaces for gravitation of condensate inwardly of the elements away from the outer peripheries thereof.
12. In a treater as claimed in claim 11, wherein each said one element is provided with means at its periphery allowing passage of fuel vapor and the remaining mixture downwardly to the next said other element therebelow, each said one element further having a condensate drain spaced inwardly and downwardly from its periphery.
13. In a treater as claimed in claim 12, wherein said drain is of such a size as to cause condensate to stand in a pool overlying the drain while moving therethrough.
14. In a treater as claimed in claim 12, wherein each said other element is provided with an aperture spaced inwardly from its periphery for movement therethrough of condensate, fuel vapor, and the remaining mixture.
15. In a method of electrically treating a mixture of air, water vapor, and droplets of a volatile fuel to promote vaporization of said droplets, the steps of:
moving said mixture in at least one serpentine path of travel between spaced-apart, electrically charged elements in a series thereof; I
drawing said water vapor out of the mixture onto at least certain of said elements in the form of condensate while vaporizing the fuel droplets to produce a gas; and
maintaining said condensate separated from the yetto-be vaporized fuel droplets during passage between said elements whereby to prevent recombination of said condensate with the droplets.
16. In a method as claimed in claim 15, wherein said condensate is caused to drain from the elements on which it has collected in a course of travel separate from said serpentinelpath of the yet-to-be vaporized fuel droplets.
17. In a method as claimed in claim 16, wherein said mixture is divided into a pair of adjacent serpentine paths for movement in opposite directions between said elements, said drain course being disposed at the periphery of said two paths.
18. In a method as claimed in claim 16, wherein said mixture is divided into a pair of adjacent serpentine paths for movement in opposite directions between said elements, said drain course being disposed between said two paths extending longitudinally thereof.