US 3908394 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 1111 3,908,394
Jacobus Sept. 30, 1975 [541 WATER-DISPENSING SYSTEM 3.834.178 9/l974 Pink 62/338  Inventor: Dwight W. Jacobus, Louisville. Ky.
Primary E.\'ammerCarroll B. Dorlty, Jr. 1 Asslgncc: General Eleanc Company, Assistant E.\'aminerRonald C. Capossela Louisville. Ky.
 Filed: Nov. 14, 1974  ABSTRACT App]. No.: 523,694
 US. Cl. 62/339; 62/59; 62/393; 222/146 C  Int. Cl. FZSD 23/12  Field of Search 62/59, 338, 339 389, 39 B; 222/146 C  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1.489754 4/1924 Fruen 62/59 X 3,429,140 2/1969 White 62/339 3.511.4l5 5/1970 Crowc 62/339 X A water-dispensing system of a household refrigerator has a valve and an inlet connected to a pressurized water supply source for controllably passing water through and from the refrigerator. A freezing tank is positioned in the water-dispensing system downstream of the valve and at a location wherein only a middle portion of the tank is subjected to below-freezing temperatures for forming ice therein. The freezing tank has movable walls for passing water over the ice in response to opening the valve. The water is thereby chilled by the ice prior to discharge from the waterdispensing system.
6 Claims. 5 Drawing Figures US. Patent Sept. 30,1975 3,908,394
1' WATER-DISPENSING'SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A desirable feature for a household refrigerator" is a cold-water dispensing system which'permits a user to obtain a glass of cold water from a chilling tank 'within' the refrigerator without opening the refrigerator door. US. Pat. No. 3,429,l40'-'"White showsan example water-dispensing system ofa refrigerator.
'Although'th e'se wate'r d'ispensingsystems functioned satisfactorilyfit was b'e'lieved'th'at the system could be improved by in'clu'ding apparatus whieli would provide colder"waterandwhich'wotilddispense with the need for a large Chilling tank.- A
The'apparatus of this invention uniquely provides these functions. 4 I
SUMMARY OF THE lhlVEhl'IIOlfil I BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF TI-IE DRAWINGS .FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic partial view of the apparatus of this invention installed in a household refrigerator;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view in partial section of the apparatus of this invention installed in the waterdispensing system;
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic sectional view of one embodiment of the middle portion of the holding tank at the first position;
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic sectional view of another embodiment of the middle portion of the holding tank; and
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic sectional view of the embodiment of FIG. 3 with the middle portion of the holding tank at the second position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION In the embodiment of FIG. 1, a water-dispensing system of a household refrigerator 12 has a valve 14 1 and an inlet 16 connected to a pressurized water supply source 18.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a freezing tank 20 is positioned in the water-dispensing system 10 at a location downstream of the valve 14. The freezing tank 20 is also positioned at a location at which only the tank middle portion 22 is maintained at a temperature less than 32F and the first and second end portions 24, 26 are maintained at a temperature greater than 32F. For additional cooling capabilities, a plurality of freezing tanks 22 can be positioned in the system.
The preselected temperature ranges of the freezing tank portions 22, 24, 26 maintained by positioning the middle portion 22 of the tank 20 within the freezing compartment 28 and the end portions 24, 26 outside said freezing compartment 28. For example, the first and second end portions 24, 26, as shown in FIG. 1, are positioned within the insulated walls 30 of the refrigerator12 at which location the temperature remains at a value greater than about 32F'during normal operation of't'he"refrigerator 12.
The middle portion 22 of the freezing tank 20 has movable walls 32. Preferably, the tank 20 isan elongated conduit "formed of a material such as rubber or organic plastic, for example, for movement of the walls 32 between first and second positions. At the first position of the iwalls 32, the open-endedchamber 34 defined by said walls 32 has a first cross-sectional area of a'pr'esel cted size. At the second position of'the' walls 32, the chamber '34 has a second cross-sectional area that "is greater than the first cross-sectional area.
A biasing means 36'is associated with the middle portion 22 of'the freezing tank 20 for urging the tank walls 32 toward the first position at about atmospheric pressure ,Within the chamber 34. The biasing means 36 also controls the'wall ino'vement toward thesecond position in response to opening the valve 14';
Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the biasing means 36 can be an elongated, deflectable element of a general C" crosssectional configuration. As shown in FIG. 4, there can be a plurality of the deflectable elements 36, 36. These elements can be formed of metal or plastic and are co'nstructed to provide aforce' sufficient to move the walls 32 to the first position at about atmo spheric pressure and permit movement of the walls to the second position in response to water'pressure from the pressurized water source 18 being subjected thereupm; I
Once the size and properties of the holding tank 20 have been determined and the pressure of the water supply source 18 is' known, one skilled in the art can easily construct the biasing means 36 for operation, as more fully described hereinafter. It should be understood, however, that the biasing means 36, as shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 are for example purposes, and other biasing means such as a spring and plunger can be utilized. The biasing function can also be provided by forming the tank walls of an elastomeric material such as rubber.
In order to provide for expansion during freezing of the water within the middle portion 22, a sump 38 is connected to the outlet 40 of the dispensing system 10 and the second end of the holding tank 20. The sump 38 is in communication with the chamber 34 through opening 35.
An example apparatus of this invention is as follows:
Number of freezing tanks 2 parallel Middle Portion Material Rubber Total Length Cm Inside diameter 1.5 Cm Cross'sectional area first position I.76Cm Cross-sectional area second position 7.64 Cm Total Volume First position l40.8 Cm Second position 61 1.2 Cm Outlet Inside diameter 3 Cm Length 6 Cm In the operation of the system, the water in the chamber 34 at the middle portion 22 of the freezing tank 20 freezes to ice during periods when the system is not in use. Since the chamber 34 is at about atmospheric pressure after the valve 14 is closed, the walls 32 of the holding tank 20 are biased inwardly to their first position during the freezing process (See FIG. 3). During the freezing process, the water in the first and second end portions of the tank is maintained at a temperature greater than 32F.
Subsequently, the valve 14 is opened to remove a volume of chilled water from the dispensing system. As the valve opens, the pressure of the water-supply source is subjected onto the walls 32 of the freezing tank 20. This water pressure overcomes the biasing force of the biasing means 36 and causes the walls 32 to move outwardly to their second position as shown in FIG. 5. At this second position, water 42 from the water-supply source 18 flows between the walls 32 and the ice 44 and in direct contact with the ice, thereby chilling the water.
When the users glass is filled, for example, the valve is closed, the pressure within the middle portion 22 of the holding tank 20 returns to atmospheric pressure, the biasing means 36 moves the walls 32 to the first position, and another freezing cycle is initiated.
Where a sump 38 is utilized, water in the outlet 40 and a portion of the water in the second end portion 26 passes into the sump 38 during expansion of the freezing water. A subsequent flow of water through the system causes the water in the sump 38 to be pulled intothe outlet and discharged. By providing the sump 38, water will not be discharged from the outlet 40 during freezing of the ice. If the outlet 40 and second end portion 26 are of desirable small volume and the dispensing system is associated with a drain trap to catch overflows or drippings, the sump 38 can be eliminated Other modifications and alternations of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing discussion, and it should be understood that this invention is not to be unduly limited thereto.
What is claimed is:
1. In a waterdispensing system of a household refrigerator having a valve and an inlet connected to a pressurized water-supply source for controllably passing chilled water through and from the refrigerator, the improvement comprising:
a freezing tank having movable walls defining a chamber open at the ends and being positioned in the water-dispensing system downstream of the valve and at a location within the refrigerator at which only a middle portion of the tank is maintained at a temperature less than 32F for forming ice in said chamber with said walls being movable in response to opening the valve for passing water over the ice.
2. Apparatus, as set forth in claim 1, including means for urging the tank walls inwardly at about atmospheric pressure within the chamber and controlling the wall movement outwardly in response to opening the valve.
3. Apparatus, as set forth in claim 2, wherein the means is a deflectable element of a general C crosssectional configuration.
4. Apparatus, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the freezing tank is an elongated, flexible conduit.
5. Apparatus, as set forth in claim 1, including a sump positioned in the dispensing system between the outlet and the freezing tank.
6. Apparatus, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the movable tank walls are formed of elastomeric material.