An apparatus for transferring heat from a heat source to a heat sink using a vaporizable liquid wherein the vaporizable liquid is heated in an evaporator so that some of the liquid vaporizes to propel the remaining heated liquid to a condenser, where heat is transferred from the heated liquid to the condenser predominantly by forced convection, and wherein the cooled liquid and condensed vapor are returned to the evaporator for reheating, and further wherein a restriction is disposed in the liquid/condensate return path to prevent vapor from the evaporator from flowing to the condenser through the return path.
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1. Apparatus for transferring heat from a heat source to a heat sink via a vaporizable liquid when the apparatus is operating, the apparatus comprising
- evaporator means at the heat source for heating the vaporizable liquid so that a portion of the liquid is vaporized to produce a moving stream of a heated liquid-vapor mixture;
- condenser means at the heat sink, the condenser means having a inlet and an outlet, the inlet being communicatively coupled to the evaporator means for receiving the heated mixture, and wherein the condenser means extracts both sensible and latent heat from the heated mixture and condenses the vapor portion of the mixture back into liquid form, and wherein the outlet is communicatively coupled to the evaporator means for returning the cooled liquid and condensed vapor to the evaporator for reheating;
- supply means for communicatively coupling the inlet of the condenser means to the evaporator means; and
- return means for communicatively coupling the outlet of the condenser means to the evaporator means, the return means further including restriction means for passing the cooled liquid and condensed vapor from the outlet of the condenser means to the evaporator means while impeding the flow of vapor from the evaporator means to the condenser means through the outlet of the condenser means by way of the return means when the apparatus is operating.
2. The heat transfer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the condenser means are positioned at a higher elevation than the evaporator means.
3. The heat transfer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the heat source is a gas burner and the heat sink is a fluid storage and supply tank.
4. The heat transfer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the heat source is a an electric heating coil and the heat sink is a fluid storage and supply tank.
5. The heat transfer apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the vaporizable liquid mixture further includes a gas whose condensation temperature is below the operating temperatures of the system.
6. The heat transfer apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein the evaporator means comprise
- a plurality of finned tubes, each tube having an opened first end and second end, which are spaced apart and parallel to each other in a common plane, the plane being generally parallel to the heat source;
- a first header having an inlet port and a plurality of coupling ports for communicatively coupling the inlet port to the first end of each tube; and
- a second header having an outlet port and a plurality of coupling ports for communicatively coupling the second end of each tube with the outlet port.
7. The heat transfer apparatus, as recited in claim 1, wherein the condenser means comprise a hair-pin shaped, finned, tubular member, having an upper leg and a lower leg, the end of each leg being open, the tubular member being disposed within the heat sink so that a free standing liquid will flow from the upper leg opening, through the upper leg, into the lower leg, and finally out of the lower leg opening.
8. The heat transfer apparatus, as recited in claim 1, including a return means for coupling the outlet of the condenser means to the evaporator means, the return means having a predetermined inner diameter, wherein the restriction means include a structure shaped for insertion into the return means and having an orifice, the orifice having a predetermined diameter, so that fluid flow through the return means is determined by the orifice diameter.
9. The heat transfer apparatus, as recited in claim 1, including a return means for coupling the outlet of the condenser to the evaporator, the return means having a predetermined cross-sectional area and wherein the restriction means are coupled within the return means and comprise a tube having a cross-sectional area which is smaller than the cross-sectional area of the return means.
10. Apparatus for heat transfer between a heat source and a water storage tank by way of a vaporizable liquid, comprising,
- a finned hair-pin shaped, tubular condenser having an upper leg and a lower leg, the condenser mounted within the storage tank with the upper leg disposed above the lower leg and so that both legs protrude through the storage tank wall to the exterior of the tank, the condenser being mounted to the storage tank so that both legs are sloped to permit liquid flow from the upper leg through the lower leg;
- a multiple-tube evaporator suspended above the heat source and below the condenser;
- a supply pipe communicatively coupled to the multiple-tube evaporator so that the supply pipe rises vertically from the evaporator and then slopes upward toward the condenser before communicatively coupling with the upper leg of the condenser;
- a return pipe communicatively coupled to the lower leg of the condenser and to the evaporator; and
- a restriction disposed within the return pipe for regulating the flow of liquid and restricting the flow of vapor through the return pipe;
- wherein the vaporizable liquid is heated in the multiple tube evaporator so that a portion of the liquid is vaporized to generate a high velocity vapor and further wherein the remaining unvaporized liquid is entrained by the vapor to form a heated liquid-vapor mixture which exits from the evaporator and is propelled by the vapor pressure through the supply pipe into the tubular condenser where the vapor is condensed to liquid and the mixture is cooled, the cooled liquid then flowing out of the lower leg of the condenser and into the return pipe for return to the multiple-type evaporator.
11. The heat transfer apparatus, as recited in claim 1, further wherein the evaporator means and the heat source are disposed in a well-insulated combustion chamber.
12. A method of transferring heat from a heat source to a heat sink, comprising the steps of
- heating a vaporizable liquid in an evaporator with the heat source so that some of the liquid is vaporized to generate high velocity vapor which entrains the remaining unvaporized liquid and provides vapor pressure to propel the heated mixture of vapor and liquid from the evaporator to a condenser;
- cooling the heated liquid and vapor in the condenser by transferring heat from the liquid and vapor to the heat sink;
- returning the cooled liquid and condensed vapor through a return pipe for further heating by the heat source; and
- providing a restriction means for creating a back-pressure in the return pipe to restrict the flow of vapor from the evaporator through the return pipe to the condenser.