CEILING FAN APPARATUS AND METHOD OF OPERATION THEREFOR

The invention comprises a ceiling fan method and apparatus configured to aid in distribution of air within a space. Optional ceiling fan elements include one or more of: coupling the ceiling fan to a cool air line from an air conditioner, curvature of fan blades on the ceiling fan, cuts and/or apertures leading through the fan blades, cool air distribution lines within the fan blades, and air flow boosters incorporated in the fan blades.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application no. 61/450,428 filed Mar. 8, 2011 all of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by this reference thereto.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of ceiling fans.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Ceiling fans are used to move air in a space.

Patents related to the current invention are described, infra.

Integrated Ceiling Fan and Air Conditioner

A. Doring, et. al., “Air Conditioning Fan”, U.S. Pat. No. 7,367,201 (May 6, 2008) describe an air conditioning fan including a ceiling fan unit, an air conditioning unit, and a motor unit, all suspended as an integrated device, where the air conditioning unit cools Freon gas that circulates through the fan blades.

Room Air Conditioner

K. Yum, et. al., “Air Conditioning System”, U.S. Pat. No. 7,121,110 (Oct. 17, 2006) describe an air conditioning system, including an outdoor unit, an indoor unit in a ceiling having an indoor heat exchanger in a space, a fan in the space for drawing and discharging heat through the indoor heat exchanger, and a fresh air supplier for supplying fresh air to an inlet side of the fan.

Problem

What is needed is a ceiling fan that more efficiently moves air and/or more efficiently conditions air in a space.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention comprises a ceiling fan method and apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention is derived by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the Figures, wherein like reference numbers refer to similar items throughout the Figures.

FIG. 1 shows a flow chart of a process of cool air delivery;

FIG. 2 illustrates cool air delivery to a ceiling fan;

FIG. 3 shows a top view of a ceiling fan blade;

FIG. 4 provides a cross-sectional view of an air flow path through a fan blade;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section of an air flow booster;

FIG. 6 illustrates a leading edge fan blade booster line; and

FIG. 7 illustrates booster lines and a flow through path in a fan blade.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention comprises a ceiling fan method and apparatus. More particularly, the ceiling fan includes at lease one blade including an opening for airflow therethrough.

In various embodiments, a ceiling fan method and apparatus is described as configured to aid in distribution of air within a space. Optional ceiling fan elements include one or more of: a coupler for coupling the ceiling fan to a cool air line from an air conditioner, curved fan blades on the ceiling fan, cuts and/or apertures leading through the fan blades, cool air distribution lines within the fan blades, and air flow boosters incorporated in the fan blades, each of which are described infra. The ceiling fan operates by rotating the fan blade to distribute air in a space.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a flow chart of a process 100 for delivery of cooled air to a ceiling fan is provided. Process 110 describes the operation of an air conditioner 210 to produce cooled air. In a task 120, the cooled air is transported or moved 120 through a cool air line and/or duct work 220 to the ceiling fan 300. In a task 130, the ceiling fan 300 distributes the cooled air. The air conditioner 210 and ceiling fan 300 are further described, infra. The air conditioning system 200 includes production and/or distribution or use of the cooled air to condition a space.

Air Conditioner

An air conditioner 210 is a system or mechanism designed to dehumidify and/or extract heat from a space. Cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle. A complete system of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is referred to as “HVAC”, usable for both heating and cooling. Types of air conditioners include: a heat pump and an evaporative cooler, described infra.

Heat Pump

The most common type of air conditioner 210 uses a heat pump. In the refrigeration cycle, a heat pump transfers heat from a lower-temperature heat source into a higher-temperature heat sink, which is opposite to the natural flow of heat. The refrigeration cycle takes advantage of the way phase changes work, where latent heat is released at a constant temperature during a liquid/gas phase change, and where varying the pressure of a pure substance also varies its condensation/boiling point.

The refrigeration cycle uses:

    • a condensing coil;
    • an expansion valve;
    • an evaporator coil; and
    • a compressor.

The most common refrigeration cycle uses an electric motor to drive the compressor. Since evaporation occurs when heat is absorbed, and condensation occurs when heat is released, air conditioners use a compressor to cause pressure changes between two compartments, and actively condense and pump a refrigerant around the refrigeration cycle. A refrigerant is pumped into the evaporator coil, the cooled compartment, where the low pressure causes the refrigerant to evaporate into a vapor, taking heat with it. In the condenser the refrigerant vapor is compressed and forced through another heat exchange coil, condensing into a liquid, rejecting the heat previously absorbed from the cooled space.

An example of a home air conditioner is provided. A basic refrigeration cycle includes four major elements: the compressor, the condenser, the expansion valve, which is a metering device, and the evaporator. As a refrigerant passes through these four elements, air conditioning occurs. The cycle starts when refrigerant enters the compressor in a low pressure, low temperature, gaseous form. The refrigerant is compressed by the compressor to a high pressure and temperature gaseous state. The high pressure and temperature gas then enters the condenser. The condenser condenses the high pressure and temperature gas to a high temperature liquid by transferring heat to a lower temperature medium, usually ambient air. The high temperature liquid then enters the expansion valve where it undergoes an adiabatic expansion, resulting in a low pressure and temperature liquid. The low pressure and temperature liquid is now suitable for cooling. The low temperature and pressure liquid enters an evaporator where heat is transferred from the air or another fluid to the refrigerant, causing the liquid to boil and change state to a low temperature gas. The low pressure gas enters the compressor and the cycle repeats. Optionally, a fan pushes or pulls air across the evaporator coil, the cooled space, to transfer cooled air through duct work.

Evaporative Cooler

Evaporative coolers, sometimes referred to as a swamp cooler, a desert cooler, or a Persian cooler are typically used in dry climates. An evaporative cooler is a device that draws outside air through a wet pad or region soaked with water. Sensible heat of the incoming air, as measured by a dry bulb thermometer, is reduced. The total heat, sensible heat plus latent heat, of the entering air is unchanged. Some of the sensible heat of the entering air is converted to latent heat by the evaporation of water in the wet cooler pads. Unlike air conditioners, evaporative coolers rely on the outside air to be channeled through cooler pads that cool the air before it reaches the inside of a house through its air duct system. This cooled outside air must be allowed to push the warmer air within the house out through an exhaust opening such as a open door or window.

These coolers cost less and are mechanically simple to understand and maintain. Evaporative coolers function best in warm, dry air. Optionally, a fan pushes or pulls the air through duct work.

Herein, the cooled air generated by the air conditioner 210, such as via use of a heat pump or evaporative cooler, is moved through the duct work to the ceiling fan. The air conditioner, heat pump, and/or evaporative cooler is preferably located in an attic, an outdoor space, and/or in a separate room from at least one element of the ceiling fan 300. The ceiling fans includes a motor 305 for turning at least one ceiling fan blade 310 about a rotation path 308, which is either clockwise or counterclockwise.

Ceiling Fan Blade

The ceiling fan blade 310 includes several optional features including any of: a curved upper surface, a curved lower surface, a curved tunnel air flow path, and air flow apertures, each described infra.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the fan blade 310 of the ceiling fan 300 is illustrated from a top perspective, as observed looking down the z-axis. The ceiling fan blade 310 includes a leading edge 312 and a trailing edge 314 relative to the rotation path 308. Herein, the ceiling fan 300 and the ceiling fan components, such as the blades 310 and the blade components are illustrated as rotating in a counterclockwise direction. However, the description applies equally to a ceiling fan rotating clockwise with the blades 310 and blade components inverted about a vertical axis.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the fan blade 310 of the ceiling fan 300 is illustrated from a side perspective. For clarity, only a portion of fan blade 310 proximate the leading edge 312 of the fan blade 310 is illustrated. The ceiling fan blade 310 includes an upper surface 316, which is optionally curved, and a lower surface 318, which is optionally curved.

Fan Blade Axes

For fan blade 310 description, an x-, y-, z-axis system is used, where the x-axis runs horizontally from the leading edge 312 of the fan blade 310 through the fan blade 310, the y-axis runs horizontally from the motor 305 along the length of the fan blade 310, and where the z-axis running through the thickness of the fan blade 310 is both perpendicular to a plane formed by the x-,y-axes and is aligned with gravity. The axis system is separately defined for each blade 310 of the ceiling fan 300 and the axis system moves with rotation of the fan blade 310 about the rotor 305.

Fan Blade Tilt

A first optional feature of the fan blade 310 is a blade 310 having two mean slopes along the x-axis describing the width of the fan blade. Particularly, the fan blade 310 optionally contains a first slope of the mean, median, or edges of the fan blade 310 in terms of the z-axis relative to the x-axis. For example, the width of the fan blade has a first tilt or slope defined by illustrated angle theta, delta z/delta x. The angle theta is preferably about 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 degrees. Toward the leading edge 312 of the fan blade, the fan blade 310 optionally contains a second slope of the mean, median, or edges of the fan blade 310 in terms of the z-axis relative to the x-axis. For example, the width of the fan blade has a second tilt or slope defined by illustrated angle alpha, delta z/delta x. The angle alpha is preferably about 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50 degrees. Preferably, angle alpha is greater than angle theta.

Curved Upper Surface

A second optional feature is a curved upper surface 317 region of the upper surface 316 of the fan blade 310 proximate the leading side 312 of the ceiling fan blade 310. Optionally, the curved upper surface 317 extends further from a first reference horizontal plane 420 above the fan blade 310 as a function of x-axis position relative to the motor 305. For instance, at a first x-axis position, x1, there is a first distance, d1, between the curved upper surface 317 of the fan blade 310 and the first reference horizontal plane 420, such as where air enters the fan blade 310. At a second position, x2, further from the motor 305, there is a second distance, d2, between the curved upper surface 317 of the fan blade 310 and the first reference horizontal plane 420 and the second distance, d2, is greater than the first distance, d1. Preferably, there are positions on the curved upper surface 317 where the second distance, d2, is about 1, 2, 3, 4 or more times as large as the first distance, d1, where the first reference horizontal plane 420 intersects an entrance port 412 of the blade 310. The entrance port 412 is described, infra.

Curved Lower Surface

A third optional feature is a curved lower surface 319 region of the lower surface 318 of the fan blade 310 proximate the leading side 312 of the ceiling fan blade 310. Optionally, the curved lower surface 319 extends further from a second reference horizontal plane 422, such as where air exits the fan blade, below the fan blade 310 as a function of x-axis position relative to the motor 305. For instance, at a third x-axis position, x3, there is a third distance, d3, between the curved lower surface 319 of the fan blade 310 and a second reference horizontal plane 422. At a fourth position, x4, further from the motor 305, there is a fourth distance, d4, between the curved lower surface 319 of the fan blade 310 and the second reference horizontal plane 422 and the fourth distance, d4, is greater than the third distance, d3. Preferably, there are positions on the curved lower surface 319 where the fourth distance, d4, is about 1, 2, 3, 4 or more times as large as the third distance, d3, where the second reference horizontal plane 422 intersects an exit port 414 of the blade 310. The exit port 414 is described, infra.

Cool Air Distribution

Referring still to FIG. 3, as a fourth optional feature cool air from duct work 220 is fed into the fan blade 310, where the cool air is distributed by a manifold or a fan blade conduit 340. Optionally, the fan blade conduit continuously or as a step function decreases in cross-sectional area to equalize air distribution to a plurality of cool air distribution lines, referred to herein as second fan blade conduits 345. The cool air is distributed through holes 330 in the bottom of the fan blade 318.

Curved Air Flow Path

A fifth optional feature is a curved air flow path 410 running through the fan blade 310, where the air flow path is optionally described as blowing or running through a hole, aperture, and/or tunnel 320. The curved air flow path 410 includes an entrance opening 412 and an exit opening 414 of the air flow path 410 in the fan blade 310. The edges of the air flow path are preferably curved, such as with a curvature approximating an aircraft wing. A distance from the blade leading edge 312 through the air flow path 410 to the inner surface at the exit port 414 of the fan blade 310 is longer than a distance from the blade leading edge 312 to the exit port 414 along the curved lower surface 319 of the fan blade 310. Hence, the flow rate of the air through the air flow path 410 maintains a higher velocity compared to the air flow velocity along lower curved surface 319 of the fan blade 310. The increased velocity of the air flow through the air flow path 410 results in a negative pressure above the blade, which stabilizes the blade and results in quieter rotation of the fan blade 310 around the motor 305 and/or results in decreased vertical, z-axis, movement of the fan blade 310 reducing blade 310 chatter and wear on the ceiling fan 300.

Flow Booster

Referring now to FIG. 5, an optional flow booster 500 or amplifier accelerates movement of the air in and/or through the fan blade. Cool air from duct work 220 is fed into the fan blade 310, where the cool air is distributed by a manifold or a fan blade conduit 340. Optionally, the fan blade conduit continuously or as a step function decreases in cross-sectional area to equalize air distribution to a plurality of cool air distribution lines, referred to herein as second fan blade conduits 345. In this description, the flow booster is located at the junction of the first fan blade conduit 330 and a second fan blade conduit 610, described infra. However, the description applies equally to flow boosters located at one or more exit ports of the air path exiting the fan blade. In this example, air in the first fan blade conduit 330 optionally flows from a region having a first cross-sectional distance, d1, through a conduit restriction region having a second cross-sectional distance, d2, where d1>d2. At the same time, air and/or warmer air flows sequentially through the second fan blade conduit 610 into a chamber optionally circumferentially encompassing an about cylindrical barrier 532 separating the first fan blade conduit 330 from the second fan blade conduit 610. The air in the second fan blade conduit 610 sequentially passes through chamber 530 and an exit port 535 and mixes and/or forms a vortex with the air exiting out from within the cylindrical barrier in the first fan blade conduit, which accelerates the air traveling through the first fan blade conduit 330. Optionally, an insert 350, which contains the elements of the chamber 530 and cylindrical barrier 532, is inserted into the first blade conduit 330 to form the booster 500.

Referring now to FIG. 6, in another optional embodiment, a leading edge booster path 612 flow is an example of the second fan blade conduit 610 from either the curved air flow path 410 or from an area proximate the leading edge 312 of the fan blade 310 to the first fan blade conduit. In this first configuration, the leading edge booster path 612 substitutes for the second fan blade conduit 610 to form a booster, as described supra. In a second configuration, the leading edge booster path 612 compliments the second fan blade conduit 610 as a second booster line in the formation of the booster 500, as described supra.

Referring now to FIG. 7, in yet another optional embodiment the leading edge booster path interfaces with the first fan blade conduit 330 to form a booster 500 where the first fan blade conduit 330 in located on the leading half of fan blade 310 to form the cold air line 510 in the booster. The second fan blade conduit providing warmer air 610 provides air flow in region 530 of the booster.

In still yet another embodiment, cool air flowing through duct work 220 is delivered to manifold 340, which distributes the cool air through outlet ports in the bottom side and/or edges of fan blade 310, which aids in generating uniform distribution of cold air into a room.

In still yet another embodiment, the blade of the ceiling fan is optional used with a floor fan and/or is used as a reaction turbine blade.

In still yet another embodiment, the cool air line from the air conditioner is replaced with a hot air line, such as from a parabolic solar heater.

Still yet another embodiment includes any combination and/or permutation of any of the ceiling fan elements described herein.

The particular implementations shown and described are illustrative of the invention and its best mode and are not intended to otherwise limit the scope of the present invention in any way. Indeed, for the sake of brevity, conventional manufacturing, connection, preparation, and other functional aspects of the system may not be described in detail. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. Many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical system.

In the foregoing description, the invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments; however, it will be appreciated that various modifications and changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth herein. The description and figures are to be regarded in an illustrative manner, rather than a restrictive one and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined by the generic embodiments described herein and their legal equivalents rather than by merely the specific examples described above. For example, the steps recited in any method or process embodiment may be executed in any order and are not limited to the explicit order presented in the specific examples. Additionally, the components and/or elements recited in any apparatus embodiment may be assembled or otherwise operationally configured in a variety of permutations to produce substantially the same result as the present invention and are accordingly not limited to the specific configuration recited in the specific examples.

Benefits, other advantages and solutions to problems have been described above with regard to particular embodiments; however, any benefit, advantage, solution to problems or any element that may cause any particular benefit, advantage or solution to occur or to become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required or essential features or components.

As used herein, the terms “comprises”, “comprising”, or any variation thereof, are intended to reference a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, composition or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements recited, but may also include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, composition or apparatus. Other combinations and/or modifications of the above-described structures, arrangements, applications, proportions, elements, materials or components used in the practice of the present invention, in addition to those not specifically recited, may be varied or otherwise particularly adapted to specific environments, manufacturing specifications, design parameters or other operating requirements without departing from the general principles of the same.

Although the invention has been described herein with reference to certain preferred embodiments, one skilled in the art will readily appreciate that other applications may be substituted for those set forth herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the invention should only be limited by the Claims included below.

Claims

1. An apparatus, comprising:

a ceiling fan, comprising: a motor; and at least one fan blade indirectly coupled to said motor, said fan blade comprising an air pathway therethrough.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, said air pathway comprising a cool air line, said cool air line configured at a first end to deliver cold air to a room, said cool air line configured at a second end for connection to at least one of:

an air conditioner located in a separate room from location of said fan blade;
a heat pump; and
an evaporative cooler.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein said cool air line runs longitudinally through at least one-half of said fan blade to a lower opening on said lower side of said fan blade.

4. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein, within said fan blade, said cool air line comprises a plurality of differing vertical cross-sectional areas as a function of distance along the longitudinal axis of said fan blade.

5. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising:

a manifold, said manifold configured to receive cool air from said cool air line, said manifold configured to distribute the cool air through at least two openings in said fan blade.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, further comprising:

a plurality of blade conduits, wherein said plurality of fan blade conduits each connect to said manifold, each of said plurality of fan blade conduits configured to deliver cold air from said manifold to a room.

7. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising:

a plurality of blade conduits, wherein said plurality of fan blade conduits each connect to said cool air line, each of said plurality of fan blade conduits configured to deliver cold air from said manifold to a room.

8. The apparatus of claim 5, further comprising:

a blade stabilization path in said fan blade, said blade stabilization path configured as a tunnel from an upper surface of said fan blade to a lower surface of said fan blade, said blade stabilization path separate from said cool air line.

9. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising:

a flow booster, said flow booster connected to both: said cool air line; and an ambient air line, said ambient air line configured to run from ambient air through said fan blade to said booster, said booster configured to boost flow of airflow through said cool air line using said ambient air.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein a first vertical cross-sectional area of said cool air line before said booster is at least fifty percent greater than a second vertical cross-sectional area of said cool air line within said booster.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said air pathway in said fan blade comprises:

a first opening at a top surface of said fan blade;
a second opening at a bottom surface of said fan blade; and
a leading edge of said fan blade relative to direction of rotation of said fan blade during use.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said fan blade comprises a curved upper surface along said top surface of said fan blade from said leading edge of said fan blade to said first opening of said fan blade.

13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein said fan blade comprises a curved lower surface along said bottom surface of said fan blade from said leading edge of said fan blade to said second opening of said fan blade.

14. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said opening comprises at least one curved outer wall through said fan blade.

15. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein a first distance from said leading edge of said fan blade through said first opening to said second opening is greater than a second distance from said leading edge of said fan blade along said bottom surface of said fan blade to said second opening.

16. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein no portion of said first opening vertically aligns with any portion of said second opening.

17. The apparatus of claim 11, further comprising:

an air line configured for delivery of cold air, wherein said air line provides cold air to said air pathway, said air pathway connecting said first opening at said top surface of said fan blade to said second opening at said bottom surface of said fan blade.

18. A method, comprising the steps of:

providing a ceiling fan, said ceiling fan comprising: a motor; and at least one fan blade indirectly coupled to said motor, said fan blade comprising an air pathway therethrough; and
moving air in a room using said ceiling fan.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising the step of:

moving cool air to the room using a cool air line, said cool air line configured for connection at a first end to said air pathway in said ceiling fan, said cool air line configured for connection at a second end to at least one of: an air conditioner located in a separate room from location of said fan blade; a heat pump; and an evaporative cooler.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein said air pathway in said fan blade comprises:

a first opening at a top surface of said fan blade;
a second opening at a bottom surface of said fan blade; and
a leading edge of said fan blade relative to direction of rotation of said fan blade during use,
wherein a first distance from said leading edge of said fan blade through said first opening to said second opening is greater than a second distance from said leading edge of said fan blade along said bottom surface of said fan blade to said second opening.

Patent History

Publication number: 20120230822
Type: Application
Filed: Mar 7, 2012
Publication Date: Sep 13, 2012
Applicant: Fibonacci International, Inc. (Mesa, AZ)
Inventor: Merton W. Pekrul (Mesa, AZ)
Application Number: 13/414,571

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Method Of Operation (416/1); 416/90.00R
International Classification: F01D 5/18 (20060101);