Air Distribution Apparatus
1. An air distribution apparatus for distributing conditioned airflow from a roof mounted air conditioner to the inside of vehicle, said apparatus including:
- an inlet port adapted to receive said conditioned airflow from said roof mounted air conditioner;
at least one outlet port disposed adjacent each longitudinal end of said apparatus for delivering conditioned airflow to said vehicle; and
an internal supply duct adapted to evenly split said conditioned airflow to each said outlet port.
The present embodiments relate to an air distribution apparatus for distributing conditioned airflow from a roof mounted air conditioner to the inside of a vehicle, which includes an inlet port adapted to receive the conditioned airflow from the roof mounted air conditioner. An outlet port, which is disposed adjacent to each longitudinal end of the apparatus, delivers conditioned airflow to the vehicle. An internal supply duct is adapted to evenly split the conditioned airflow to the outlet ports.
- 1. An air distribution apparatus for distributing conditioned airflow from a roof mounted air conditioner to the inside of vehicle, said apparatus including:
an inlet port adapted to receive said conditioned airflow from said roof mounted air conditioner; at least one outlet port disposed adjacent each longitudinal end of said apparatus for delivering conditioned airflow to said vehicle; and an internal supply duct adapted to evenly split said conditioned airflow to each said outlet port.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
This non-provisional patent application claims priority to and benefit of, under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), Australian patent application AU 2018901268, filed Apr. 16, 2018, and titled “Air Distribution Apparatus”, all of which is incorporated by reference herein.
The present embodiments relate to an air distribution apparatus and, in particular, to an air distribution apparatus for a vehicle air conditioner.
An air distribution apparatus for a rooftop air conditioner for a recreational vehicle will be described hereinafter with reference to this application. However, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to this particular field of use.
The following discussion of the prior art is intended to place the invention in an appropriate technical context and enable the associated advantages to be fully understood. However, any discussion of the prior art throughout the specification should not be considered as an admission that such art is widely known or forms part of the common general knowledge in the field.
Air conditioning systems are commonly used in order to make an environment more pleasing to occupants. This is particularly relevant when the occupants are in a confined space, such as a caravan, mobile home or other recreational vehicle.
As used herein, the term ‘recreational vehicle’ refers to motor homes, recreational vans, and other similar vehicles. Each of these has relatively confined spaces for the occupants to reside in and, as due to the nature of their use it is often that such vehicles are often used with a number of people, such as couples or families.
Conventional recreational vehicles have air conditioning systems that are built into the vehicle in some manner. For example, the air conditioning unit can be installed into the floor or roof and direct air around the interior cabin of the vehicles so that conditioned air is then provided for the occupants.
One problem with roof mounted air conditioners is the operational noise they generate. This noise is the result of airflow being delivered to the inside of the vehicle through ceiling mounted air distribution apparatuses, or boxes, containing outlet ports. Additionally, noise can come from operational noise from the roof mounted air conditioner.
One solution to this problem is to reduce the speed of the fans delivering the airflow to the vehicle. In this way the velocity and airflow noise across the outlet ports will be reduced. Reducing the fan speed will also reduce the operational noise of the air conditioner. However, the main problem with this solution is that less airflow is delivered to the vehicle, which in turn, reduces the distance the air flow can reach. Therefore, by simply reducing the fan speed, the areas of the vehicle that are away from the outlet ports will not have the same air conditioning affect.
It is an object of the present invention to overcome or ameliorate at least one of the disadvantages of the prior art, or to provide a useful alternative.
According to some embodiments, there is provided an air distribution apparatus for distributing conditioned airflow from a roof mounted air conditioner to the inside of vehicle, the apparatus including:
an inlet port adapted to receive the conditioned airflow from the roof mounted air conditioner;
at least one outlet port disposed adjacent each longitudinal end of the apparatus for delivering conditioned airflow to the vehicle; and
an internal supply duct adapted to evenly split the conditioned airflow to each the outlet port.
In one embodiment, the internal supply duct includes a raised splitter formation and two legs, each leg leading to one longitudinal end.
In one embodiment, each leg includes an upper convex surface for substantially redirecting the conditioned airflow.
In one embodiment, each leg includes a lower concave surface for substantially redirecting the conditioned airflow.
In one embodiment, each leg includes a lower convex surface downstream of the lower concave surface such that the height of each leg is relatively narrower at the centre of each leg.
In one embodiment, the height of each leg is relatively higher at the lateral sides of each leg.
In one embodiment, each leg includes a pair of opposed side walls, the side walls substantially diverging as each leg approaches each longitudinal end.
In one embodiment, each side wall is substantially curved.
In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a pair of outlet ports disposed at each longitudinal end.
In one embodiment, the supply duct includes a divider formation extending along a portion of each leg for evenly separating the conditioned airflow between each outlet port.
In one embodiment, the divider formation extends between the lower convex surface and a top surface of each leg.
In one embodiment, the raised splitter formation is substantially aligned with the centre axis of the inlet port.
In one embodiment, the air distribution apparatus includes a flexible inlet supply duct for fluidly connecting the inlet port to the roof mounted vehicle air conditioner.
In one embodiment, each leg includes a cross sectional area which increases as each leg respectively approaches each longitudinal end such that the velocity of the conditioned airflow reduces thereby reducing the airflow noise generated at each longitudinal end.
In one embodiment, the flexible inlet supply duct includes large radiused corners for minimising the flow disturbance of the conditioned airflow into the inlet port.
In one embodiment, each outlet port includes at least one movable louver for directing the conditioned airflow leaving each outlet port.
In one embodiment, the air distribution apparatus includes a pair of laterally disposed return air entry ports adapted to return air from the vehicle to the roof mounted vehicle air conditioner.
Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment”, “some embodiments” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment”, “in some embodiments” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, but may. Furthermore, the particular features, structures or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner, as would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art from this disclosure, in one or more embodiments.
Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
Exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, the same elements are denoted by the same reference numerals throughout. In the following description, detailed descriptions of known functions and configurations incorporated herein have been omitted for conciseness and clarity.
Referring to the accompanying drawings and initially to
Typical to the application, the roof mounted air conditioner 12 is of the type known as a packaged air conditioner, whereby the evaporator components are housed on the same base and within the same housing as the condenser components. This is contrary to a split type air conditioner, where the condenser components are housed remotely from the evaporator components. For this reason, the air conditioner 12 has an outer cover 16 having openings 20 and 18 to respectively allow for the ingress and egress of outside air to the condenser heat exchange area of the air conditioner.
As is commonly known in the art, air drawn in from the outside is forced across the condenser coil 28 to cool the contained refrigerant. The cooled refrigerant then passes through an expansion valve and into the evaporator coil 30 to absorb heat from the indoor air that passes over it. Therefore, air leaving the evaporator coil becomes conditioned. The conditioned air is then delivered to the air distribution apparatus 10 by way of an evaporator fan 32 which also draws in the return air from the inside of the vehicle over the evaporator coil 30. The refrigerant is then compressed and returns to the condenser coil 28 to once again be cooled. As should be apparent to those skilled in the art, this process can be reversed such that the conditioned air is heated rather than cooled.
As best shown in
With reference to
Looking more closely at the inside of the internal supply duct 48, each leg 52 is defined by an upper convex surface 54 and a lower concave surface 56, relative to the inside of the internal supply duct. An upper straight surface 58 and a lower convex surface 60 are respectively provided downstream of the upper convex and lower concave surfaces. By having both the upper convex surface 54, lower concave surface 56 and lower convex surface 60, a smooth redirection of the conditioned airflow 36 from the air conditioner is established resulting in minimal pressure drop of the conditioned airflow between the inlet port 34 and each outlet port 40.
With reference to
As mentioned earlier, each leg includes a lower convex surface 60, which transitions from the lower concave surface 56. As can be seen, the lower convex surface 60 extends between the opposed side walls 62 and rises at its centre where it is separated by a divider formation 64. As discussed in more detail below, a divider formation 64 has been provided at each longitudinal end 42 to assist in evenly separating the conditioned airflow between each outlet port 40. Whilst not clearly apparent from this view, each divider formation 64 extends between upper straight surface 58 and lower convex surface 60 to completely separate the conditioned airflow between the outlet ports. Divider formation 64 also acts to support one end of each pivotally moveable louver 44.
Lower convex surface 60 has a convex profile from the perspective of each end of the apparatus. This is contrary to the upper convex surface, which has convex profile when looking at the side of the apparatus 10. Because of the lower convex surface 60, the height of each leg 52 is relatively narrower at its centre, and relatively higher at the sides of each leg. More specifically, lower convex surface 60 provides a reduced cross-sectional area in the centre portion of each leg 52, proximate the divider formation 64, and an increased cross-sectional area at the sides of each leg. As should be therefore appreciate it, the airflow will be promoted to the sides of each leg proximate the sidewalls 62, where a larger cross-sectional area provides less resistance. By separating the airflow in this way, a more even velocity distribution across the outlet ports is provided with minimal pressure drop loss. This, in turn, minimises the possibility of one outlet port 40 having a greater share of the airflow than any of the others. Lower convex surface 60 terminates with a step 61 leading to each outlet port 40.
The apparatus of the present embodiments is formed primary from moulded plastics material as is commonly known in the art. However, other materials may be used without departing from the scope of the invention.
Referring again to
It should be appreciated that due to the configuration of the internal supply duct 48, an even airflow split is provided between the two legs 52. In addition to this, the shape of the side walls 62, the lower convex surface 60 and the provision of the divider formation 64, result in equal flow to each outlet port 40 at each longitudinal end 42. In a practical sense, this means that each outlet port 40 equally accommodates the airflow distribution load, resulting in equal exit velocity leaving the outlet ports and consequently equal noise emissions from each outlet port. This is turn, results in lower overall air distribution noise level compared to prior art devices where non-even airflow distribution across the outlet ports create a higher noise from the outlet port accommodating the greatest airflow velocity.
Moreover, in a further aspect of the invention, the cross-sectional area of each of leg 52 increases as it transitions towards each longitudinal end and each lateral side of each leg, due to the diverging sidewalls 62 and lower convex surfaces 60 of the internal supply duct 48. In this way, the velocity of conditioned airflow 36 reduces as it approaches each longitudinal end 42 but is still evenly split between each outlet port 40. This reduction of velocity will, in turn, reduce the noise generated by the airflow exiting each outlet port 40.
Additionally, due to the smooth surfaces and gradual redirection provided by the configuration of internal supply duct 48 and large radius corners of the flexible supply duct and inlet port 34, the apparatus of the present invention provides a smooth non-restrictive path for the conditioned airflow with minimal interruptions for pressure loss. As a result, the speed of the fan providing the conditioned airflow can be slowed to supply a given airflow rate relative to prior art devices. In other words, using the air distribution apparatus of the present embodiments, increased airflow will be provided for a given supply fan rotational speed. Using the apparatus of the present embodiments compared to prior art devices results in a reduction of operational noise from the air conditioner and reduced energy use.
Advantageously, the apparatus of the present embodiments reduces the overall noise generated inside a recreational vehicle due the operation of a roof top air conditioner. Initially, this is due to providing an equal airflow distribution to each of the outlet ports, minimising the possibility of a high velocity noisy airflow from any one of the outlet ports. Secondly, by having an airflow path defined by the internal supply duct, a minimal pressure loss is provided between the exit of the evaporator fan 32 and each outlet port, resulting in low airflow distribution noise through the apparatus and relatively lower evaporator fan rotation speed. And thirdly, by the reducing the velocity of the airflow as it travels towards each outlet port, the noise of the airflow exiting each outlet ports is generally reduced.
It should be appreciated that in the above description of exemplary embodiments, various features are sometimes grouped together in a single embodiment, Figure, or description thereof for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure and aiding in the understanding of one or more of the various inventive aspects. This method of disclosure, however, is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed invention requires more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in less than all features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment. Thus, the claims following the Detailed Description are hereby expressly incorporated into this Detailed Description, with each claim standing on its own as a separate embodiment of this invention.
In the description provided herein, numerous specific details are set forth. However, it is understood that embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, structures and techniques have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure an understanding of this description.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that other and further modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention, and it is intended to claim all such changes and modifications as falling within the scope of the invention. For example, any formulas given above are merely representative of procedures that may be used. Functionality may be added or deleted from the block diagrams and operations may be interchanged among functional blocks. Steps may be added or deleted to methods described within the scope of the present invention.
- air distribution apparatus 10
- roof mounted air conditioner 12
- vehicle 14
- outer cover 16
- openings 18 and 20
- condenser fan 22
- compressor 24
- condenser coil 28
- evaporator coil 30
- evaporator fan 32
- main body 33
- inlet port 34
- conditioned airflow 36
- flexible supply duct 38
- outlet port 40
- longitudinal end 42
- moveable louvers 44
- large radiused corners 46
- internal supply duct 48
- raised splitter formation 50
- upper convex surface 54
- lower concave surface 56
- upper straight surface 58
- lower convex surface 60
- step 61
- opposed curved side walls 62
- divider formation 64
- return air entry ports 66