HEAT EXCHANGER ASSEMBLY HAVING MULTIPLE HEAT EXCHANGERS

- Ford

A heat exchanger assembly having first and second heat exchangers having a tube-fin construction. The first heat exchanger is configured to cool a first fluid. The second heat exchanger has a first portion for cooling the first fluid and a second portion for cooling a second fluid. Cooling air passes through the first heat exchanger before passing through the second heat exchanger.

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Description

BACKGROUND

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a heat exchanger assembly having multiple heat exchangers.

SUMMARY

In at least one embodiment a heat exchanger assembly is provided. The heat exchanger assembly includes first and second heat exchangers having a tube-fin construction. The first heat exchanger is configured to cool a first fluid. The second heat exchanger is disposed adjacent to the first heat exchanger and has a first portion for cooling the first fluid and a second portion for cooling a second fluid. Cooling air passes through the first heat exchanger before passing through the second heat exchanger.

In at least one embodiment, a heat exchanger assembly is provided. The heat exchanger assembly includes first and second heat exchangers. The first heat exchanger has a first core having a tube-fin construction for cooling a refrigerant. The second heat exchanger has a second core having a tube-fin construction that is spaced apart from the first core. The second core has a first portion and a second portion. The first portion is fluidly coupled to the first core. The second portion is disposed below the first portion and is configured to cool a second fluid. Cooling air passes through the first core before passing through the second core. Refrigerant is cooled by the second heat exchanger before being cooled by the first heat exchanger.

In at least one embodiment, a heat exchanger assembly is provided. The heat exchanger assembly includes first and second heat exchangers disposed substantially parallel to each other. The first heat exchanger has a first core having a tube-fin construction for cooling a refrigerant. The second heat exchanger has a second core having a tube-fin construction that is spaced apart from the first core. The first and second heat exchangers are fluidly coupled such that the first heat exchanger receives refrigerant that has been cooled by the second heat exchanger. The first heat exchanger is disposed upstream of the second heat exchanger such that cooling air passes through the first core before passing through the second core. In addition, the first heat exchanger has more refrigerant cooling passes than the second heat exchanger.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a first embodiment of a heat exchanger assembly having exemplary first and second heat exchangers.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the first heat exchanger of FIG. 1 depicting fluid flow paths.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the second heat exchanger of FIG. 1 depicting a fluid flow path.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the heat exchanger assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a top view of a second embodiment of a heat exchanger assembly.

FIG. 6 is a top view of a third embodiment of a heat exchanger assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale, some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. In addition, any or all features from one embodiment may be combined with any other embodiment. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for the claims and/or as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, a first embodiment of an exemplary heat exchanger assembly 10 is shown. The heat exchanger assembly 10 may be configured for use in a vehicle, such as a motor vehicle like a car or truck. In at least one embodiment, the heat exchanger assembly 10 may be disposed at a front end of a vehicle and may be provided as part of a front end module that may include a fan, fan shroud, and/or one or more other heat exchangers.

The heat exchanger assembly 10 may include a first heat exchanger 20 and a second heat exchanger 22. In at least one embodiment, the first heat exchanger 20 may be positioned upstream from the second heat exchanger 22 such that cooling air 24 located outside the heat exchanger assembly 10 passes through openings in the first heat exchanger 20 before passing through openings in the second heat exchanger 22.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the first heat exchanger 20 may be configured to cool a first fluid. In at least one embodiment, the first heat exchanger 20 may be a condenser and the first fluid may be an air conditioning refrigerant.

The first heat exchanger 20 may have a first core 30 that may have a tube-fin construction. As such, the first core 30 may include a plurality of tubes 32 and a plurality of fins 34. The tubes 32 may be spaced apart from each other and disposed in a substantially parallel relationship. Each tube 32 may define at least one passage 36 through which fluid may pass. A fin 34 may be disposed between and may be attached to adjacent tubes 32. The fin 34 may be a louvered fin having a generally serpentine construction that may extend the length of an associated tube 32. The fin 34 may be configured to route cooling air 24 through openings in the fin 34 to facilitate heat transfer from the core 30 to the cooling air 24 and the surrounding environment.

First and second headers 40, 42 may be disposed at opposite ends of the first core 30. The first and second headers 40, 42 may include a plurality of openings that each receive a tube 32. As such, the first and second headers 40, 42 may receive and/or direct the first fluid through the tubes 32 of the first core 30. In at least one embodiment, the first and second headers 40, 42 may include one or more baffles 44 for directing the first fluid on multiple passes through the core 30.

Referring to FIG. 2, an embodiment of the first heat exchanger 20 is shown with an exemplary three pass configuration that includes a first pass 50, a second pass 52, and a third pass 54. Successive passes may comprise smaller areas of the core 30 since the density of the fluid may increase as the fluid is cooled.

The first pass 50 may be disposed at the top of the first heat exchanger 20. The first fluid may enter the second header 42 through an inlet 56 and may be distributed by the second header 42 to a plurality of tubes 32 associated with the first pass 50. The first fluid may flow through the tubes 32 of the first pass 50 in a first direction from the second header 42 to the first header 40. A baffle 44 in the second header 42 may prevent the first fluid from flowing through the second header 42 to tubes 32 associated with the second pass 52. In at least one embodiment, the number of tubes 32 and fins 34 or height of the first pass 50 may be less than that of a portion of the second heat exchanger 22 that may be upstream from or supply the first fluid to the first pass 50.

The second pass 52 may be disposed directly below and adjacent to the first pass 50. The first fluid may flow downwardly through the first header 40 from the first pass 50 and may be distributed by the first header 40 to a plurality of tubes 32 associated with the second pass 52. The first fluid may flow through the tubes 32 of the second pass 52 in a second direction from the first header 40 to the second header 42. A baffle 44 in the first header 40 may prevent the first fluid from flowing through the first header 40 to tubes 32 associated with the third pass 54. In at least one embodiment, the number of tubes 32 and fins 34 or height of the second pass 52 may be less than that of the first pass 50.

The third pass 54 may be disposed directly below and adjacent to the second pass 52. The first fluid may flow downwardly through the second header 42 from the second pass 52 and may be distributed by the second header 42 to a plurality of tubes 32 associated with the third pass 54. The first fluid may flow through the tubes 32 of the third pass 54 from the second header 42 to the first header 40 in the same direction as the first pass 50. The first fluid may then exit the first header 40 through an outlet 58. In at least one embodiment, the number of tubes 32 and fins 34 or height of the third pass 54 may be less than that of the second pass 52.

A receiver-dryer 60 may be provided with the first heat exchanger 20. The receiver-dryer 60 may store fluid and may include a desiccant that absorbs small amounts of water moisture from the fluid. The receiver-dryer 60 may be disposed in a header, such as the second header 42 proximate the second and/or third passes 52, 54. Alternatively, the receiver-dryer 60 may be provided outside of a header 40, 42 and may be fluidly connected to the first heat exchanger 20 via additional tubes.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, an embodiment of a second heat exchanger 22 is shown. The second heat exchanger 22 may be configured to cool one or more fluids, such as a first fluid and a second fluid. In a single fluid embodiment, the second heat exchanger 22 may be a condenser that cools an air conditioning refrigerant. In a multiple fluid embodiment, the first fluid may be an air conditioning refrigerant and the second fluid may be a different fluid like transmission oil or a power steering fluid.

The second heat exchanger 22 may have a second core 30′ that may have a tube-fin construction similar to the first core 30 of the first heat exchanger 20. As such, the second core 30′ may include a plurality of tubes 32 and a plurality of fins 34 having similar characteristics as the first core 30. The second heat exchanger 22 may also include first and second headers 40′, 42′ similar to the first and second headers 40, 42 of the first heat exchanger 20. The second core 30′ may be spaced apart from the first core 30 by a gap 62 (as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 4) and the first headers 40, 40′ and second headers 42, 42′ may be spaced apart from each other to help inhibit heat transfer between the cores 30, 30′.

Referring to FIG. 3, an embodiment of the second heat exchanger 22 configured to cool multiple fluids is shown. The second heat exchanger 22 may include a first portion 70 and a second portion 72. The first and second portions 70, 72 may be configured to cool first and second fluids, respectively. In addition, the first portion 70 may be disposed directly above and adjacent to the second portion 72.

In at least one embodiment, the first portion 70 may be configured as a single pass. The first fluid may enter the first header 42′ through an inlet 56′ and may be distributed by the first header 42′ to a plurality of tubes 32. The first fluid may flow through the tubes 32 from the first header 40′ to the second header 42′ and then exit the second header 42′ via an outlet 58′. The outlet 58′ may be fluidly connected to the first heat exchanger 20 as will be described in more detail below. Baffles 44 in the first and second headers 40′, 42′ may prevent the first fluid from flowing through the first and second headers 40′, 42′ to tubes 32 associated with the second portion 72.

The second portion 72 may have a single pass or a multiple pass configuration. In the embodiment shown, the second portion 72 is shown with first and second passes 80, 82. In one or more embodiments, the tubes of the second portion 72 may have a larger hydraulic diameter than tubes of the first portion 70.

The first pass 80 may be disposed at the top of the second portion 72 adjacent to the first portion 70. The first fluid may enter the second header 42′ through a second portion inlet 84 and may be distributed by the second header 42′ to a plurality of tubes 32 associated with the first pass 80. The first fluid may flow through the tubes 32 of the first pass 80 in a first direction from the second header 42′ to the first header 40′. A baffle 44 in the second header 42′ may prevent the second fluid from flowing through the second header 42′ to one or more tubes 32 associated with the second pass 80.

The second pass 82 may be disposed directly below and adjacent to the first pass 80. The second fluid may flow downwardly through the first header 40′ from the first pass 80 and may be distributed by the first header 80 to one or more tubes associated with the second pass 82. The second fluid may flow in a second direction from the first header 40′ to the second header 42′ through one or more enlarged tubes 86 that may have a larger hydraulic diameter than individual tubes associated with the first pass 80. In at least one embodiment, the number of tubes 32 and fins 34 or height of the second pass 82 may be less than that of the first pass 80. The second fluid may then exit the second header 42′ through an outlet 88.

Referring to FIG. 4, the first and second heat exchangers 20, 22 may be coupled to each other with brackets 90 that may extend between the first headers 40, 40′ and the second headers 42, 42′. The brackets 90 may be adapted to facilitate mounting of the heat exchanger assembly 10 to a mounting surface, such as a body of a vehicle. One or more seals 92 may extend from the first heat exchanger 20 to the second heat exchanger 22 to help direct cooling air 24 that passes through the first core 30 of the first heat exchanger 20 to the second core 30′ of the second heat exchanger 22. A connection tube 94 may be provided that fluidly connects the first and second heat exchangers 20, 22. For instance, the first fluid exiting the outlet 58′ of the second heat exchanger 22 may flow through the connection tube 94 to the inlet 56 of the first heat exchanger 20.

Referring to FIG. 5, a second embodiment of a heat exchanger assembly 10″ is shown. The heat exchanger assembly 10″ may have a similar configuration as heat exchanger assembly 10 of FIG. 4 and may be configured to cool one or more fluids. In this embodiment, the first and second heat exchangers 20, 22 may have a common second header 32″. The second header 32″ may include a plurality of openings that receive ends of tubes of the first and second cores 30, 30′. The second header 32″ may fluidly connect the second heat exchanger 22 to the first heat exchanger 20 without a connection tube 94. For instance, the second header 32″ may direct the first fluid exiting the second heat exchanger 22 to the first pass 50 of the first heat exchanger 20. The first headers 40, 40′ of the first and second heat exchangers 20, 22 may have the same configuration as the embodiment in FIG. 4.

Referring to FIG. 6, a third embodiment of a heat exchanger assembly 10′″ is shown. In this embodiment, the first and second heat exchangers 20, 22 have common first headers 30′″ and common second headers 32′″. The first and second headers 30′″, 32′″ may include a plurality of openings that receive ends of tubes of the first and second cores 30, 30′, respectively. The second header 32′″ may fluidly connect the second heat exchanger 22 to the first heat exchanger 20 without a connection tube 94 as in the embodiment in FIG. 5. The first header 30′″ may include a core separation baffle 98 that separates fluid in the first and second cores 30, 30′. The core separation baffle 98 may be substantially vertical and may intersect one or more baffles 54 that may be disposed substantially perpendicular to the core separation baffle 98.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims

1. A heat exchanger assembly comprising:

a first heat exchanger having a tube-fin construction that is configured to cool a first fluid; and
a second heat exchanger disposed adjacent to the first heat exchanger, the second heat exchanger having tube-fin construction that includes a first portion for cooling the first fluid and a second portion for cooling a second fluid;
wherein cooling air passes through the first heat exchanger before passing through the second heat exchanger.

2. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 1 wherein the first fluid is cooled by the first heat exchanger after being cooled by the second heat exchanger.

3. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 1 wherein the second portion of the second heat exchanger is spaced apart from the first heat exchanger.

4. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 1 wherein the first fluid is a refrigerant and the first heat exchanger and the first portion of the second heat exchanger is a condenser.

5. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 1 wherein the second heat exchanger is a transmission oil cooler.

6. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 1 further comprising a header disposed at an end of the first heat exchanger and at an end of the second heat exchanger for fluidly connecting the first heat exchanger and the first portion of the second heat exchanger.

7. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 1 wherein the second heat exchanger includes first and second headers disposed at first and second ends of the second heat exchanger, wherein the first fluid flows from the first header to the second header and the second fluid flows from the second header to the first header.

8. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 7 wherein the second portion includes an enlarged return tube that permits the second fluid to flow from the first header to the second header after the second fluid flows from the second header to the first header.

9. A heat exchanger assembly comprising:

a first heat exchanger having a first core having a tube-fin construction for cooling a refrigerant; and
a second heat exchanger having a second core having a tube-fin construction, the second core including a first portion fluidly coupled to the first core and a second portion disposed below the first portion for cooling a second fluid;
wherein the first core is spaced apart from the second core, cooling air passes through the first core before passing through the second core, and the refrigerant is cooled by the second heat exchanger before being cooled by the first heat exchanger.

10. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 9 further comprising first and second headers disposed at opposite ends of the first heat exchanger that are configured to direct the refrigerant along a flow path that includes a plurality of passes between the first and second headers.

11. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 10 wherein the second heat exchanger includes first and second headers disposed at opposite ends of the second heat exchanger, wherein the first header includes an inlet for receiving the refrigerant and the second header includes an outlet that is fluidly coupled to the second header of the first heat exchanger.

12. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 11 wherein the first header of the first heat exchanger is spaced apart from the first header of the second heat exchanger.

13. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 11 wherein the second header of the second heat exchanger includes an inlet for receiving the second fluid and an outlet for expelling the second fluid.

14. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 10 wherein the second header engages a second end of the first core and a second end of the second core and routes refrigerant from the first portion of the second heat exchanger to the first heat exchanger.

15. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 14 wherein the second header includes a receiver-dryer.

16. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 14 wherein the first header engages but does not fluidly connect the first and second cores.

17. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 9 wherein tubes in the second portion have a larger hydraulic diameter that tubes of the first portion.

18. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 9 wherein the first portion includes a first tube, the second portion includes a second tube, wherein the first and second tubes engage a common fin, wherein refrigerant in the first tube flows in the opposite direction as the second fluid flows through the second tube.

19. A heat exchanger assembly comprising:

a first heat exchanger having a first core having a tube-fin construction for cooling a refrigerant; and
a second heat exchanger disposed substantially parallel to the first heat exchanger, the second heat exchanger having a second core having a tube-fin construction that is spaced apart from the first core;
wherein the first and second heat exchangers are fluidly coupled such that the first heat exchanger receives refrigerant that has been cooled by the second heat exchanger and the first heat exchanger is disposed upstream of the second heat exchanger such that cooling air passes through the first core before passing through the second core;
wherein the first heat exchanger has more refrigerant cooling passes than the second heat exchanger.

20. The heat exchanger assembly of claim 19 wherein the second heat exchanger includes a single cooling pass in which refrigerant travels in a first direction through the first core, and the first heat exchanger includes a plurality of cooling passes in which refrigerant travels in a second direction disposed opposite the first direction through the second core.

Patent History

Publication number: 20120080173
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 4, 2010
Publication Date: Apr 5, 2012
Applicant: FORD GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES, LLC (Dearborn, MI)
Inventors: Manfred Koberstein (Troy, MI), Noori Pandit (Canton, MI), Mitali Chakrabarti (Canton, MI), James Matthew Chisholm (White Lake, MI), Michael Steven Wallis (Belleville, MI), Kevin Williamson (Ypsilanti, MI)
Application Number: 12/897,000

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: With Manifold Type Header Or Header Plate (165/173); With Means Spacing Fins On Structure (165/182)
International Classification: F28F 9/02 (20060101); F28F 1/24 (20060101);