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System and method for isolating components in an enclosure

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20120298341 patent thumbnailZoom

System and method for isolating components in an enclosure


A system and method for isolating equipment within a cabinet. The system comprising an internal fan disposed within an internal chamber and an external fan disposed outside the internal chamber. The internal fan and the external fan are driven by a corresponding motor disposed within the internal chamber, wherein each motor independently rotates the internal fan and the external fan.

Browse recent Futurewei Technologies, Inc. patents - Plano, TX, US
Inventor: Pedro Fernandez
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120298341 - Class: 165121 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > With Impeller Or Conveyor Moving Exchange Material >Mechanical Gas Pump



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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120298341, System and method for isolating components in an enclosure.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND

Various industries commonly utilize indoor and/or outdoor cabinets for storing components. For instance, businesses in the telecommunications industry often use storage cabinets for storing components such as cable, electronic equipment, and the like. In addition to providing an enclosure for storing equipment, cabinets should generally be capable of protecting the stored equipment from elements outside the cabinet. In outdoor applications, for example, the cabinets may require additional protection due to regulations mandated by various industries. Such regulations are often imposed since the cabinets may be exposed to relatively harsh elements associated with outdoor environments. To protect cabinets from conditions such as humidity, wind-swept rain and snow, and the like, outdoor cabinets may need to be adequately sealed and configured with sufficient structural strength, while also being able to maintain a relatively high cooling efficiency. Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide a reliable cabinet that is operable to satisfy various industry needs and regulations in an effective and efficient manner.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the disclosure includes a thermal system for isolating components. The system comprises a cabinet having an internal chamber for storing a plurality of components therein. A first fan disposed outside the internal chamber is operable to direct air into an outer chamber of the cabinet. The first fan is operatively connected to a first motor operable to rotate the first fan about a first axis, wherein the first motor is disposed within the internal chamber and is substantially isolated from the first fan. A second fan disposed within the internal chamber is operable to direct air flow through the internal chamber. The second fan is operatively connected to a second motor operable to rotate the second fan about a second axis, wherein the second motor is disposed within the internal chamber. The first motor and the second motor are configured to independently rotate the first and the second fan, respectively.

In another aspect, the disclosure includes a cabinet comprising an outer chamber and an internal chamber for storing components. The internal chamber is substantially disposed within the outer chamber. An external fan is disposed outside the internal chamber and is operable to direct outside air into the outer chamber of the cabinet and across a first portion of at least one heat exchanger. The external fan is operatively connected to a first motor operable to rotate the external fan about a first axis, wherein the first motor is disposed within the internal chamber and is substantially isolated from the external fan. An internal fan is disposed within the internal chamber and is operable to direct air flow through the internal chamber and across a second portion of the at least one heat exchanger. The internal fan is operatively connected to a second motor operable to rotate the internal fan about a second axis, wherein the second motor is disposed within the internal chamber and integrally attached to the internal fan. The first motor and the second motor are configured to independently rotate the external fan and the internal fan, respectively.

In yet another aspect, the disclosure includes a method for isolating components within an internal chamber of a cabinet from an outer chamber of the cabinet. The method comprises rotating an external fan via a first motor disposed within the internal chamber and substantially isolated from the external fan, wherein the external fan is disposed outside the cabinet and is operable to direct outside air into the outer chamber. The method further comprises rotating an internal fan via a second motor disposed within the internal chamber, wherein the internal fan is operable to direct air flow through the internal chamber. The first motor and the second motor are configured to independently rotate the external fan and the internal fan, respectively.

These and other features will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of this disclosure, reference is now made to the following brief description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings and detailed description, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts.

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a thermal system according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIGS. 2-4 are cross-sectional front views of embodiments of a cabinet depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of a heat exchanger.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart corresponding to an embodiment of isolating motorized fans.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

It should be understood at the outset that although an illustrative implementation of one or more embodiments are provided below, the disclosed systems and/or methods may be implemented using any number of techniques, whether currently known or in existence. The disclosure should in no way be limited to the illustrative implementations, drawings, and techniques illustrated below, including the exemplary designs and implementations illustrated and described herein, but may be modified within the scope of the appended claims along with their full scope of equivalents.

Disclosed herein is a system and method for isolating components stored within a cabinet. In an embodiment, an internal fan is disposed within an internal chamber of the cabinet and an external fan is disposed outside the internal chamber. The internal fan is operatively connected to a first motor disposed within the internal chamber. The external fan is operatively connected to a second motor disposed within the internal chamber and substantially isolated from the external fan. During operation, the first motor and the second motor independently rotate the internal fan and the external fan, respectively.

Referring to FIG. 1, a thermal system embodying the principles of the present disclosure is illustrated therein and designated as 100. The system 100 comprises one or more enclosures such as an indoor or outdoor cabinet 102. As used herein, the term “cabinet” is intended in its broadest sense, and may refer to any suitable structure operable to maintain or store a plurality of components in an infrastructure. The cabinet 102 and parts thereof may be constructed from one or more suitable metals or materials, such as, but not limited to, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, plastic, etc. As skilled artisans will readily appreciate, such materials may be selected based on various factors, such as thermal characteristics, strength, durability, etc.

While the cabinet 102 is shown as being generally hollow and rectangular, the cabinet 102 may comprise any variety of suitable configurations, which may be based on the application or purpose for which the cabinet 102 is to be employed. Briefly, for example, the cabinet 102 may be configured as a housing for a terminal block, a panel, a protector block, a chassis, a digital cross-connect, a switch, a hub, a rack, a frame, a bay, a module, an enclosure, an aisle, or other structure for receiving and holding a plurality of components.

In an embodiment, a plurality of cabinets 102 may be disposed throughout an infrastructure at a plurality of sites. For instance, one or more cabinets 102 may be disposed inside a building. Additionally or alternatively, one or more cabinets 102 may be configured as outdoor cabinets (e.g., outside plant cabinets) and disposed outside a building. As discussed further below, one or more cabinets 102 may be configured to protect components from environmental influences. Such components may include, but are not limited to, cross-connect panels, modules, terminal blocks, protector blocks, chassis, backplanes, switches, digital radios repeaters, or any combination thereof.

A cabinet 102 may generally comprise multiple panels or walls having various shapes and/or sizes. In an embodiment, the cabinet 102 may include a cover or door 104 for providing access to the interior of the cabinet 102. While only a single door 104 is shown in FIG. 1, it is to be understood that the cabinet 102 may include additional doors or covers. In one aspect, the door 104 may comprise a double-walled construction including an outer wall 106 and an inner wall 108. The inner wall 108 may be spaced from the outer wall 106 by any suitable mechanism or device, such as, but not limited to, “I”-shaped spacers, “Z”-shaped spacers, spacer-bolt assemblies, spacer columns, or the like.

In an embodiment, the outer wall 106 and the inner wall 108 of the door 104 may be thermally independent of each other. For instance, the outer and inner walls 106 and 108 may be configured such that there is no or a substantially insignificant amount of thermal transfer between the surfaces of each wall 106 and 108. As such, heating of the cabinet 102 (e.g., via solar heating) may not result in a substantial transfer of heat from the outer wall 106 to the inner wall 108.

In an embodiment, the cabinet 102 may include one or more openings formed into the walls or panels of the cabinet 102. As shown in FIG. 1, for example, the cabinet 102 may include a sidewall 107 having a plurality of ports or vents 110. Of course, a plurality of similar ports or vents may be disposed on the opposing sidewall of the cabinet 102. Additionally or alternatively, the cabinet 102 may include a plurality of vents formed at a bottom wall 111 and/or at one or more other corresponding walls or panels. The vents 110 may comprise any suitable size and/or shape for allowing air to flow into and/or out of the cabinet 102. Moreover, the vents 110 may be shaped or otherwise configured to minimize the entry of debris or other particles resulting from environmental conditions (e.g., humidity, wind, rain, snow, dust, etc.) into the cabinet 102. Furthermore, the cabinet 102 may comprise filter media, screening, and/or any suitable filtering elements for minimizing and/or preventing the entry of moisture and debris into the cabinet 102.

The cabinet 102 may comprise a cabinet top 109 covering a top wall of the cabinet 102 and extending over the door 104 when the door 104 is closed. As such, the entry and possible accumulation of outdoor particles at the top section where the closed door 104 and the cabinet 102 meet may be minimized. In addition, the cabinet 102 may comprise one or more gaskets, seals, or any suitable sealing elements known to those of ordinary skill in the art. Accordingly, the cabinet 102 may be substantially sealed when the door 104 is closed.

In an embodiment, the cabinet 102 may comprise one or more compartments for enclosing components such as electronic equipment. As depicted in FIG. 1, for example, the cabinet 102 may include a main compartment 112 defining an inner chamber. The main compartment 112 may be configured to provide a watertight and/or airtight environment when the cabinet door 104 is closed. The main compartment 112 may be formed from separate walls and/or from one or more walls of the cabinet 102. For instance, a portion of the door 104 such as the inner wall 108 may define a front wall 113 of the main compartment 112. Furthermore, the main compartment 112 may be spaced from other walls and/or compartments within the cabinet 102 by any suitable spacers. Analogous to the door 104, the main compartment 112 may be completely or substantially thermally independent from other compartments and/or walls of the cabinet 102.

In an embodiment, one or more walls of the main compartment 112 may be defined by a single-walled door (e.g., door 104), which may also define a wall to other compartments of the housing. Additionally, the walls of the main compartment 112 may include one or more openings fitted with suitable attachments such as one or more cable connectors, strain relief cable connectors, etc. Such attachments may facilitate the passage of cables into the main compartment 112, as well as provide a seal or barrier between the main compartment 112 and other compartments of the cabinet 102. For instance, the cabinet 102 may comprise at least one auxiliary compartment 114 for enclosing additional components (e.g., batteries), which may or may not be related to other components within the cabinet 102.

In an embodiment, the cabinet 102 may comprise an entrance compartment 116. The entrance compartment 116 may include one or more walls having openings through which power cables, telecommunications cables, and the like may be routed into the cabinet 102 (e.g., via conduits or a trench). Of course, other cabinet walls or panels may include similar opening for routing cables and/or interconnecting other compartments within the cabinet 102. Additionally or alternatively, the cabinet 120 may comprise a temperature compartment 120 defining an outer chamber surrounding or adjacent to one or more compartments. For instance, the temperature compartment 120 may be configured to circulate air around the walls or panels of the main compartment 112 to facilitate cooling or heating of components within the main compartment 112.

In an embodiment, the cabinet 102 may comprise a vent compartment 118. The vent compartment generally includes at least one wall having one or more ports (e.g., vents 110) through which air may flow into and/or out of the vent compartment 118. As discussed further below, additional walls within the cabinet 102 may include similar openings to facilitate the flow of air through the cabinet 102. In alternative embodiments, the cabinet 102 may not include a vent compartment 118. Instead, for example, various walls of the cabinet 102 may include a plurality of ports defining multiple openings through which air may directly and/or indirectly flow into the temperature compartment 120.

Of course, numerous other elements and/or features associated with the cabinet 102 may be similarly employed, and therefore, necessarily fall within the purview of the present disclosure. In addition, since the construction of cabinets of the sort depicted in FIG. 1 is well known and understood, discussion of the cabinet 102 will herein be limited to the extent necessary for enabling a proper understanding of the present disclosure. Furthermore, unless otherwise indicated, each cabinet 102 disclosed herein may be viewed as being substantially similar to one another (i.e., to the extent a cabinet 102 may comprise similar elements and features).

Referring now to FIG. 2, a cross-section of the cabinet 102 is illustrated according to an embodiment of the present disclosure. The cabinet 102 generally includes a main compartment 112 defining an inner main chamber 112A, an auxiliary compartment 114 defining an auxiliary chamber 114A, and a temperature compartment 120 (FIG. 1) defining an outer temperature chamber 120A. The temperature chamber may be arranged to fully or partially surround the main chamber 112A and/or the auxiliary chamber 114. In other implementations, the cabinet 102 may include additional compartments (e.g., compartments 112, 114, and/or 116), including one or more entrance compartments 116 and/or vent compartments 118. Additionally, the cabinet 102 may include a cover and/or either a single-walled or double-walled door (e.g., door 104). As discussed above, the main compartment 112 may be configured to provide an airtight and/or watertight environment such that the main chamber 112A is substantially sealed from the outer temperature chamber 120A when a cabinet cover/door is closed.

As previously mentioned, the main compartment 112 may enclose one or more components 122, which may not necessarily be related to each other. While only three components are shown in FIG. 2, skilled artisans will appreciate that any suitable number of components may be disposed within the main chamber 112A. Furthermore, one or more auxiliary components 124 may be disposed within the auxiliary chamber 114, which may be insulated to protect components 124 therein. The auxiliary components 124 may or may not relate to one or more of the components 122. In a non-limiting example, the auxiliary components 124 may include one or more batteries.

According to one aspect, the components 122 may comprise telecommunications equipment that may be stored or maintained in an enclosure such as the cabinet 102, which may be disposed within an infrastructure. In a non-limiting example, the components 122 may include devices utilized for processing and distributing signals in an infrastructure. For instance, the components 122 may be utilized to distribute telecommunications signals sent to and from an infrastructure by one or more end-users using client devices (e.g., computers, personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, mobile phones, etc). As skilled artisans will readily appreciate, the components 122 may terminate, interconnect, and/or cross-connect a plurality of network elements within an infrastructure. Such interconnections between telecommunications equipment (e.g., cabinets, components, network elements, etc.) may be configured to provide signal pathways for telecommunications signals.

Those skilled in the art will understand that the temperature of one or more areas within the main chamber 112A may need to be regulated. If, for example, the temperature in an area outside the cabinet 102 is relatively hot, the main chamber 112A may need to be cooled in order to protect the components 122 therein. Furthermore, the main chamber 112A may need to be cooled due to heat generated by the components 122 in the main chamber 112A. Components 122 such as electrical equipment, for example, may generate a considerable amount of heat, which may result in damage to one or more components 122 if the chamber 112A is not sufficiently cooled. Conversely, if the temperature in the area outside the cabinet 102 is too cold, areas within the cabinet 102 may be heated.

In view of the above, the cabinet 102 may comprise at least one device 126 for regulating temperature within the cabinet 102. Temperature-regulating devices 126 may be configured to cool, heat, or otherwise regulate the temperature or other conditions within the cabinet 102. Non-limiting examples of such devices include fans, heaters, heat exchangers, thermoelectric coolers, air conditioning units, etc. The temperature-regulating device 126 may be disposed within the cabinet 102 along a path in communication with the temperature chamber 120A. While the temperature-regulating device 126 is shown as being disposed between the cabinet top 109 and the main compartment 112, it is to be understood that the temperature-regulating device 126 may be disposed within any suitable area of the temperature chamber 120A. Additionally, the cabinet 102 may not necessarily include a cabinet top 109. In this case, the temperature-regulating device 126 may be disposed within the cabinet 102 along a top wall 115 extending between each sidewall 107A and 107B of the cabinet 102.

The temperature-regulating device 126 may be configured to regulate the temperature within the temperature chamber 120A, which may in turn regulate the temperature within the main chamber 112A and the auxiliary chamber 114A. For instance, the temperature-regulating device 126 may regulate temperature by heating or cooling the external surface of the main compartment 112 and/or the auxiliary compartment 114. Additionally or alternatively, the main compartment 112 may include one or more openings through which air may flow between the temperature chamber 120A and the main chamber 112A. Similarly, the auxiliary compartment 114 may include one or more openings to allow air or other gasses (e.g., hydrogen produced by batteries) to flow through the auxiliary compartment 114.

In an embodiment, the temperature-regulating device 126 may be operable to push or pull outside air into the cabinet 102 in order to aid with heating or cooling areas therein. The arrows in FIG. 2 depict an example as to how the temperature-regulating device 126 may direct the flow of air within and through the cabinet 102. For instance, each end of the cabinet top 109 (or top wall of the cabinet) may include an inlet 128A and 128B through which the temperature-regulating device 26 may draw outside air into the cabinet 102, as indicated by arrows 200A and 200B. In turn, the temperature-regulating equipment 126 may direct air flowing into the cabinet 102 through the temperature chamber 120A to help heat or cool areas within the cabinet 102, as indicated by arrows 202A and 202B. Moreover, both sides of the cabinet 102 may include a lower outlet or vents 110A and 110B through which air, gases, and/or other media (e.g., byproducts generated by components and equipment held in the compartments 112 and/or 114) may flow out of the cabinet 102, as indicated by arrows 204A and 204B.

In an embodiment, a temperature-regulating device may include a fan 126 having a blade portion such as one or more rotatable blades. The fan 126 may be operatively connected to a power source such as, but not limited to, an engine or an electric motor 130. In FIG. 2, the motor 130 is disposed within the main compartment 112, whereas the fan 126 is disposed along the top wall 115 of the cabinet 102. In other words, the motor 130 and the fan 126 are not integrally connected or otherwise embodied as a single unit. Unlike common fan arrangements, the body of the motor 130 (e.g., the stator and/or rotor portions) is separated from the blade portion of the fan 126. While the fan 126 may be indirectly exposed to outdoor elements through inlets 128A and 128B formed at the cabinet top 109, the electrical elements associated with the motor 130 may be protectively sealed from such elements, which may otherwise add wear and/or damage the motor 130.

The foregoing arrangement may be similarly useful in implementations in which a cabinet top 109 is not included. In such cases, for example, at least one inlet (e.g., inlet 128A and 128B) may be disposed along the inner top wall 115 and/or along a sidewall 107A and/or 107B, such that the inlet(s) may be aligned with or proximate to the fan 126. Consequently, the fan 126 may be arranged along a “wet side” of the cabinet 102 in which wind-swept rain, snow, and the like may directly contact the fan 126. Nonetheless, since the motor 130 and the corresponding components that operate the fan 126 remain fully or substantially isolated from the wet side, the overall lifespan of the fan 126 may be enhanced.

According to one aspect, the motor 130 may include a rotatable shaft 132 movably attached to the blade portion of the fan 126. In operation, the motor 130 may rotate or otherwise drive the shaft 132, which induces rotation of the blade portion of the fan 126. In other aspects, the motor 130 may rotate the blade portion using a mechanism other than a shaft 132. These aspects are described below in connection with FIG. 4. As skilled artisans will readily appreciate, one or more seals (e.g., “O-ring” seals) may be circumferentially arranged around the shaft 132 to isolate the motor 130 from the fan 126. In addition, the shaft 132 may be an elongated shaft having a sufficient length to extend through a cabinet wall or plate in order to connect to the blade portion of the fan 126. Moreover, the shaft 132 may take the form of a flexible shaft, which may be arranged within a flexible sleeve. As such, the angle between the motor 132 and the fan 126 (or blade portion thereof) may be varied. For instance, the motor 130 may be disposed parallel to the fan 126, perpendicular to the fan 126, or angularly offset from the fan 126 by a predetermine degree.

In some embodiments, the fan 126 may comprise a non-rotary type of fan such as a piezo-electronic fan. As shown in FIG. 3, for example, a piezo-electric fan 126 may include an oscillating element such as a blade 133. The blade 133 may be flexible or otherwise configured to oscillate in a flapping motion as indicated by the lines and arrow. Analogous to the motor 130 that drives the fan 126 in FIG. 2, the circuitry 136 for operating the piezo-electric 126 may be maintained within the main compartment 112 so as to isolate the associated electronics from the “wet side” of the cabinet 102. For instance, a sealing element such as a boot 137 may be arranged at or about a base portion of the blade 133. The boot 137 may be composed from any suitable material(s) capable of providing sufficient isolation between the electronic circuitry 136 and the wet side such as the cabinet top 109. In some aspects, the boot 137 may comprise a relatively flexible composition including rubber and the like.

In an embodiment, the cabinet 102 may include a minimum of two temperature-regulating devices driven by separate motors. Briefly, for example, the cabinet 102 may include at least one external temperature-regulating device such an external fan and at least one internal temperature-regulating device such as an internal fan. An isolated motor disposed within the cabinet 102 may drive the external fan, whereas a separate motor integrated with internal fan may drive the internal fan. Since the cabinet 102 includes at least two motors driving at least two fans, the cabinet 102 includes a form of redundancy that may enhance reliability. For instance, the two motors may operate independently such that if the motor of one fan becomes damaged, temporarily disabled, or otherwise inoperable, the second motorized fan may continue operating. Accordingly, total cooling efficiency within the cabinet 102 will not be lost if only one of the two motors shuts down.

Referring to FIG. 4, the foregoing embodiment will now be described in greater detail. As shown in FIG. 4, the cabinet 102 includes a first pair of temperature-regulating devices 126A and 126B disposed within the cabinet 102 along the inner top wall 115, and a second pair of temperature-regulating devices 134A and 134B disposed along the inner sidewalls of the main chamber 112A. Skilled artisans will appreciate that each temperature-regulating device 126A, 126B, 134A, and 134B may comprise any suitable device or combination of devices (e.g., fans, heaters, heat exchangers, thermoelectric coolers, air conditioning units, etc.). Further, the temperature-regulating devices 126A, 126B, 134A, and 134B do not necessarily need to be identical to each other.

In an embodiment, each temperature-regulating device 126A, 126B 134A, and 134B comprises a fan. The first pair of fans 126A and 126B include external fans having motors 130A and 130B, respectively, and one or more fan blades. The external fans 126A and 126B may be mounted at or near an opening in a top cabinet wall 115 between inlets 128A and 128B via any suitable fasteners known in the art, e.g., bolts, studs, etc. As shown in FIG. 4, the motors 130A and 130B are disposed within the main chamber 112A and isolated from the external fans 126A and 126B, respectively. Additionally, each motor 130A and 130B may include an elongated shaft 132A and 132B, which may be rigid or flexible.

The second pair of fans 134A and 134B include internal fans disposed within the main chamber 112A and operatively connected to motors embedded therewith (denoted schematically by a rectangular box surrounding each fan 134A and 134B). The internal fans 134A and 134B may comprise axial fans, centrifugal fans, or any other suitable types of fan known in the art. In other implementations of the present embodiment, the cabinet 102 may include a single external fan (e.g., fan 126A or 126B) driven by an isolated motor and a single internal fan (e.g., fan 134A or 134B) driven by an integrated motor.

In an embodiment, the transfer of heat from the components 122 to the temperature chamber 120A may be facilitated by at least one heat exchanger such as, but not limited to, at least one reverse- and/or cross-flow plate heat exchanger(s), pipe-type heat exchanger(s), etc. The heat exchanger(s) may comprise one or more heat-exchanging elements 140A and/or 140B defining a heat exchanger core. The heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B may include one or more extended or convoluted surfaces (e.g., fins), heat pipes, thermoelectric devices, thermally conductive plates, and/or any other suitable elements for transferring heat from one medium to another, e.g., via conduction, convection, thermal radiation, etc. Each heat-exchanging element 140A and 140B may be disposed within the temperature chamber 120A and extend vertically along a length of the main compartment 112. To facilitate airflow across the heat-exchanging elements 640A and 640B, the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B may each define a passageway in communication with the external fans 126A and 126B, respectively, and a separate passageway in communication with the internal fans 134A and 134B, respectively.

As indicated by arrows 202A and 202B, the external fans 126A and 126B are operable to direct outside air into the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B, respectively. As indicated by arrows 206A and 206B, the internal fans 134A and 134B are operable to direct air within the main chamber 112A into the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B, respectively. According to one aspect, the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B may comprise thermally conductive fins or plates, which may be arranged so as to provide orthogonal airflows. In another aspect, the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B—and/or one or more of the fans 126A, 126B, 134A, and 134B—may be arranged to provide parallel airflows in similar or opposite directions.

In operation, heat is transferred from the components 122 to the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B by an internal airflow (indicated by arrows 206A, 206B and arrows 208A, 208B) circulated by the internal fans 134A and 134B, respectively. The heat may then be transferred out of the cabinet 102 by an external airflow (indicated by arrows 202A, 202B and arrows 204A, 204B) across the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B circulated by the external fans 126A and 126B, respectively. In addition, the flow of outside air over the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B reduces the temperature thereof. Consequently, as the hot air from the main chamber 112A flows over the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B, the temperature of the inside air decreases, thereby cooling the main chamber 112A and components 122 thereof as the inside air returns to the main chamber 112A. Similarly, heat from the hot air within the main chamber 112A transfers to the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B, and heat from the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B transfers to the outside air flowing over the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B. Therefore, the overall heat within the cabinet 102 decreases as the outside air transfers heat from the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B and through the cabinet 102 via vents 110A and 110B, respectively.

In an embodiment, the isolated motors 130A and 130B may be operatively connected to the corresponding external fans 126A and 126B by way of magnetic coupling. In this manner, each motor and external fan may be connected without any physical contact. Instead, each motor 130A and 130B may include a magnetic shaft 132A and 132B and each corresponding fan 126A and 126B may comprise a magnetic blade portion (e.g., a magnet mounted to a fan hub). Additionally, a composite wall may separate each motor 130A and 130B and corresponding fan 126A and 126B. In FIG. 4, for example, the top wall 115 may comprise a non-ferrous composition or other suitable composition in which no penetration through the wall 115 is necessary. In operation, a magnetic force induces rotation of the blade portions as the corresponding magnetic shafts 132A and 132B rotate. Accordingly, the motors 130A and 130B and the fans 126A and 126B may be sealed from each other by a single wall or plate such that no additional seals are necessary.

In an embodiment, magnetic liquid may be employed for sealing or isolating the motors 130A and 130B from the external fans 126A and 126B, respectively. According to one aspect, the cabinet 102 may include a pair of magnetic bearings having magnetic liquid. For instance, bearings may be employed to support each shaft 132A and 132B during operation (e.g., when a rotor rotates around a stator). Additionally or alternatively, the cabinet 102 may comprise a magnetic bearing assembly having a magnetic portion for generating axially and/or radially magnetic forces and a bearing portion for supporting each shaft 132A and 132B. As skilled artisans will understand, such as a magnetic bearing assembly may be utilized in each motor 130A and 130B to provide substantially frictionless rotation of the shafts 132A and 132B, respectively.

In an embodiment, each motor 130A and 130B may include a magnetic shaft 132A and 132B. As the shafts 132A and 132B rotate during operation, magnetic bearings may levitate the shafts 132A and 132B such that a frictionless seal is provided between the shafts 132A and 132B and the rotating fans 126A and 126B, respectively. Additionally or alternatively each motor 130A and 130B may include a permanent magnet in which the motors 130A and 130B may rotate the shafts 132A and 132B by applying current or communicating an electrical signal to the corresponding permanent magnet. Furthermore, a labyrinth seal may be arranged on the rotatable shafts 132A and 132B. For instance, a labyrinth seal may include a first set of concentric rings aligned with a second set of concentric rings in a contactless arrangement.

In an embodiment, the external fans 126A and 126B may each be driven by a single motor (e.g., motor 130A or 130B). For instance, the motor may be operatively connected to each external fan 126A and 126B by way of a cable and pulley arrangement, a chain drive system, or any suitable arrangement for driving multiple rotary devices such as fans. Accordingly, the cabinet 102 may include one or more external fans in addition to fans 126A and 126B, all drivable by a single isolated motor disposed within the cabinet 102. Similarly, two or more isolated motors may independently drive multiple fans.

Referring now to FIG. 5, an embodiment of the cabinet 102 is shown in which a heat exchanger is mounted to a cabinet door 104 (FIG. 1). The heat exchanger comprises a heat exchanger core 140, which may include at least one heat-exchanging element substantially similar to the heat-exchanging elements 140A and 140B discussed above. The heat exchanger core 140 is disposed between at least one external fan 126 (e.g., fan 126A and/or 126B) and at least one internal fan 134 (e.g., fan 134A and/or 134B). As indicated by arrows at 300, the external fan 126 is operable to draw outside air into an internal chamber 102A of the cabinet 102. As indicated by arrows 302, the internal fan 134 is operable to draw internal air into the door 104. Furthermore, the external fan 126 and the internal fan 134 may be configured to direct air into the heat exchanger core 140 such that air flows through the heat-exchanging element(s) in similar or opposite directions.

In an embodiment, the external fan 126 is disposed along a “wet side” 104A of the door 104 that may not be completely sealed. For instance, as the external fan 126 draws in outside air, wind-swept rain, snow, and the like may contact the fan 126. Analogous to the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, however, the motor 130 (e.g., 130A or 130B) that drives the external fan 126 is isolated therefrom. The isolated motor 130 may be operatively connected to the fan 126 according to any suitable arrangement, e.g., physically and/or magnetically. Unlike the external fan 126, the internal fan 134 is disposed within a sealed chamber 150 formed within the door 104. Moreover, the internal fan 134 is driven by a motor 135 embedded therewith.

In operation, the external fan 126 draws outside air into the cabinet 102, while the internal fan 134 draws air within the internal chamber 102A into the heat exchanger core 140. Air flowing within the internal chamber 102A may be heated by the components 122 and/or 124 therein. Heat may be transferred from the components 122 and/or 124 to the heat exchanger core 140 through a wall or plate 160 disposed therebetween and/or by an internal air flow circulated by the external fan 132 and/or the internal fan 134. For instance, the internal fan 134 may direct heated air into the heat exchanger core 140 such that the heated air is subsequently cooled by outside air flowing into the exchanger core 140 from the wet side 104A. Heated air within the heat exchanger core 140 may also be cooled by outside air flowing along an external surface of the door 104. As indicated by arrow 304, air exiting the heat exchanger core 140 may flow into the internal chamber 102A to cool the air therein. Air within the internal chamber 102A may also be cooled by outside air flowing into the cabinet 102 (e.g., through at least one passageway in communication with the external fan 126). Air within the heat exchanger core 140 may be expelled through one or more outlets or vents 170 formed into the cabinet door 104, as indicated by arrow 306.

Skilled artisans will readily appreciate that the heat exchanger core 140 may define several passageways for communicating air into the internal chamber 102A and/or out of the cabinet door 103. Depending on the configuration of the heat exchanger core 140, the external fan 126 and/or the internal fan 134 may direct one volume of air through the heat exchanger core 140 and into the internal chamber 102A. Similarly, the external fan 126 and/or the internal fan 134 may direct another volume of air through the heat exchanger core 140 and out of the cabinet door 104.

In other implementations of the present embodiment, the external fan 126 and/or the internal fan 134 may be disposed at any suitable location within the cabinet 102, which may or may not include an area within the door 104. Additionally, the cabinet 102 and/or the door 104 may include multiple external fans 126 and/or multiple internal fans 134 arranged according to any suitable configuration. In any case, the cabinet 102 may still include independent motors (e.g., motors 130 and 135) for running the external fan(s) and the internal fan(s). Furthermore, it is to be understood that the cabinet 102 may include any of the compartments disclosed herein.

Referring to FIG. 6, an embodiment of a method 400 for isolating components within in an internal chamber of a cabinet will now be described. The method 400 may be performed in accordance with any of the teachings disclosed herein. The method 400 begins at block 402. At block 404, a first motor disposed within an internal chamber rotates an external fan disposed outside the internal chamber to draw outside air into an outer chamber. At block 406, a second motor disposed within the internal chamber independently rotates an internal fan disposed within the internal chamber to direct an airflow therethrough. The rotation of the external and internal fans results in a circulation of air within the cabinet such that heat transfers from the internal chamber to the outer chamber via one or more heat-exchanging elements, as indicated by block 408. At block 410, heated air is directed out of the cabinet. The method 400 ends at block 412.

At least one embodiment is disclosed and variations, combinations, and/or modifications of the embodiment(s) and/or features of the embodiment(s) made by a person having ordinary skill in the art are within the scope of the disclosure. Alternative embodiments that result from combining, integrating, and/or omitting features of the embodiment(s) are also within the scope of the disclosure. Where numerical ranges or limitations are expressly stated, such express ranges or limitations should be understood to include iterative ranges or limitations of like magnitude falling within the expressly stated ranges or limitations (e.g., from about 1 to about 10 includes, 2, 3, 4, etc.; greater than 0.10 includes 0.11, 0.12, 0.13, etc.). For example, whenever a numerical range with a lower limit, R1, and an upper limit, Ru, is disclosed, any number falling within the range is specifically disclosed. In particular, the following numbers within the range are specifically disclosed: R=R1+k*(Ru−R1), wherein k is a variable ranging from 1 percent to 100 percent with a 1 percent increment, i.e., k is 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent, . . . , 50 percent, 51 percent, 52 percent, . . . , 95 percent, 96 percent, 97 percent, 98 percent, 99 percent, or 100 percent. Moreover, any numerical range defined by two R numbers as defined in the above is also specifically disclosed. Use of the term “optionally” with respect to any element of a claim means that the element is required, or alternatively, the element is not required, both alternatives being within the scope of the claim. Use of broader terms such as comprises, includes, and having should be understood to provide support for narrower terms such as consisting of, consisting essentially of, and comprised substantially of. Accordingly, the scope of protection is not limited by the description set out above but is defined by the claims that follow, that scope including all equivalents of the subject matter of the claims. Each and every claim is incorporated as further disclosure into the specification and the claims are embodiment(s) of the present disclosure. The discussion of a reference in the disclosure is not an admission that it is prior art, especially any reference that has a publication date after the priority date of this application. The disclosure of all patents, patent applications, and publications cited in the disclosure are hereby incorporated by reference, to the extent that they provide exemplary, procedural, or other details supplementary to the disclosure.

While several embodiments have been provided in the present disclosure, it should be understood that the disclosed systems and methods might be embodied in many other specific forms without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure. The present examples are to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive, and the intention is not to be limited to the details given herein. For example, the various elements or components may be combined or integrated in another system or certain features may be omitted, or not implemented.

In addition, techniques, systems, subsystems, and methods described and illustrated in the various embodiments as discrete or separate may be combined or integrated with other systems, modules, techniques, or methods without departing from the scope of the present disclosure. Other items shown or discussed as coupled or directly coupled or communicating with each other may be indirectly coupled or communicating through some interface, device, or intermediate component whether electrically, mechanically, or otherwise. Other examples of changes, substitutions, and alterations are ascertainable by one skilled in the art and could be made without departing from the spirit and scope disclosed herein.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120298341 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13117302
File Date
05/27/2011
USPTO Class
165121
Other USPTO Classes
22059201
International Class
/
Drawings
7


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