US20050022538A1 - Temperature regulation apparatus of magnetic thermal storage medium type and vehicle air-conditioning system - Google Patents

Temperature regulation apparatus of magnetic thermal storage medium type and vehicle air-conditioning system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20050022538A1
US20050022538A1 US10/899,730 US89973004A US2005022538A1 US 20050022538 A1 US20050022538 A1 US 20050022538A1 US 89973004 A US89973004 A US 89973004A US 2005022538 A1 US2005022538 A1 US 2005022538A1
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Prior art keywords
thermal storage
air
magnetic thermal
storage unit
magnetic
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Abandoned
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US10/899,730
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Masashi Takagi
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Denso Corp
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Denso Corp
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Priority to JP2003280825A priority Critical patent/JP2005049005A/en
Priority to JP2003-280825 priority
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Assigned to DENSO CORPORATION reassignment DENSO CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: TAKAGI, MASASHI
Publication of US20050022538A1 publication Critical patent/US20050022538A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B21/00Machines, plant, or systems, using electric or magnetic effects
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating devices
    • B60H1/00321Heat exchangers for air-conditioning devices
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating devices
    • B60H1/00492Heating, cooling or ventilating devices characterised by comprising regenerative heating or cooling means, e.g. heat accumulators
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D20/00Heat storage plants or apparatus in general; Regenerative heat-exchange apparatus not covered by groups F28D17/00 or F28D19/00
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2321/00Details of machines, plants, or systems, using electric or magnetic effects
    • F25B2321/002Details of machines, plants, or systems, using electric or magnetic effects by using magneto-caloric effects
    • F25B2321/0021Details of machines, plants, or systems, using electric or magnetic effects by using magneto-caloric effects with a static fixed magnet
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2700/00Sensing or detecting of parameters; Sensors therefor
    • F25B2700/21Temperatures
    • F25B2700/2104Temperatures of an indoor room or compartment
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/60Other technologies for heating or cooling
    • Y02B30/66Magnetic cooling
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E60/00Enabling technologies or technologies with a potential or indirect contribution to GHG emissions mitigation
    • Y02E60/10Energy storage
    • Y02E60/14Thermal storage
    • Y02E60/142Sensible heat storage

Abstract

A temperature regulation apparatus comprises an air path, a heat exchange path for a heat exchanging fluid, a magnetic thermal storage unit having a magnetic thermal storage medium which increases in temperature upon magnetization and decreases in temperature upon demagnetization, and a magnetic field generating unit for generating a magnetic field in the air path or the heat exchange path. The medium of the unit assumes one of a high temperature state and a low temperature state with the movement of the unit into the air path, and the other state with the movement of the unit into the heat exchange path. When the unit moves to the air path so the medium assumes the high temperature state, heat is radiated to the air, while when the unit moves to the air path so the medium assumes the low temperature state, heat is absorbed from the air.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type having a magnetic thermal storage medium which increases in temperature, due to the magneto-caloric effect, upon magnetization and decreases in temperature upon demagnetization and a vehicle air-conditioning system using the temperature regulation apparatus for vehicles.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • A conventional temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type is available which can be used even at normal temperature. This temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type comprises a heat exchange circuit with a heat exchanging fluid flowing therethrough, a radiator for discharging the heat of the heat exchanging fluid, a cooler reduced in temperature by the heat absorbed by the heat exchanging fluid, a circulator for circulating the heat exchanging fluid in the heat exchange circuit, a magnetic thermal storage unit for accommodating the magnetic thermal storage medium in a container and a magnetic field generating means for generating a magnetic field. This temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type can assume a high temperature state in which the magnetic thermal storage medium is magnetized by the magnetic field and a low temperature state in which the magnetic thermal storage medium is demagnetized. In these two states, heat is exchanged with the heat exchanging fluid. The heat exchanging fluid in the radiator discharges heat to an object of heat radiation, while the heat exchanging fluid in the cooler absorbs heat from an object of cooling. Specifically, as the magnetic thermal storage medium is magnetized, heat is radiated to the heat exchanging fluid. The heat exchanging fluid which has absorbed heat from the magnetic thermal storage medium flows to the radiator and radiates heat to the object of heating. The heat exchanging fluid that has radiated heat to the object of heating in the radiator flows toward the magnetic thermal storage medium that has been demagnetized and reduced in temperature. Next, the heat exchanging fluid, from which heat is absorbed into the magnetic thermal storage medium, flows to the cooler thereby to absorb heat from the object of cooling.
  • In the prior art described above, heat is exchanged between the heat exchanging fluid and the magnetic thermal storage medium at high or low temperature, and then heat is radiated by the radiator to the object of heating and absorbed by the cooler from the object of cooling. In this way, heat is exchanged indirectly with the heat exchanging fluid interposed between the magnetic thermal storage medium, the radiator and the cooler. Therefore, a radiator, a cooler, a heat exchange circuit and a circulator to circulate the heat exchanging fluid are required. This poses the problem that the configuration of the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type is complicated.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In view of the aforementioned points, the object of this invention is to provide a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in which heat can be exchanged directly between the magnetic thermal storage medium and the air.
  • In order to accomplish the above object, according to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of magnetic thermal storage medium type comprising: an air path (9) through which the air is allowed to flow; a heat exchange path (14) through which a heat exchanging fluid is allowed to flow; at least a magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) including a magnetic thermal storage medium (13) increased to high temperature due to the magneto-caloric effect when magnetized and decreased to low temperature when demagnetized; and a magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) for generating a magnetic field in selected one of the air path (9) and the heat exchange path (14); wherein the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is movable to the air path (9) and the heat exchange path (14); wherein with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9), the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in one of the high temperature state and the low temperature state depending on selected one of magnetization and demagnetization of the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37), while, with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the heat exchange path (14), the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in the other of the high temperature state and the low temperature state depending on selected one of magnetization and demagnetization of the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37); and wherein, in the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves to the air path (9) and the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in the high temperature state, heat is radiated to the air while, in the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves to the air path (9) and the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in the low temperature state, heat is absorbed from the air.
  • In this aspect of the invention, the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is movable between an air path (9) and a heat exchange path (14), and therefore heat can be exchanged between the air in the air path (9) and the heat exchanging fluid in the heat exchange path (14). Specifically, in the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves so that a magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is magnetized and increased in temperature to such an extent that the temperature of the air in the air path (9) or the heat exchanging fluid in the heat exchange path (14) is lower than the high temperature of the magnetic thermal storage medium (13), heat is radiated to the air or the heat exchanging fluid, as the case may be. In the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves so that the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is demagnetized and decreased in temperature to such an extent that the temperature of the air in the air path (9) or the heat exchanging fluid in the heat exchange path (14) is higher than the low temperature of the magnetic thermal storage unit (13), on the other hand, heat is absorbed from the air or the heat exchanging fluid, as the case may be. In this way, with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50), the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is increased or decreased in temperature, so that heat can be exchanged between the air in the air path (9) and the heat exchanging fluid in the heat exchange path (14). Also, a magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) can generate a magnetic field in the air path (9) or the heat exchange path (14), and therefore can increase or decrease the temperature of the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the air path (9) or the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the air exchange path (14). As a result, the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) can not only exchange heat directly with the air introduced into an indoor environment but also cool or heat the air introduced into the indoor environment. In short, with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) between the air path (9) and the heat exchange path (14), a refrigeration cycle is formed in which heat is stored in and radiated from the magnetic thermal storage medium (13).
  • According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the first aspect of the invention, wherein the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) is arranged in both the air path (9) and the heat exchange path (14). Thus, the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the air path (9) can be increased to high or low temperature, and therefore the air can be cooled or heated, as the case may be.
  • According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the first aspect of the invention, wherein the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) is arranged movably to one of the air path (9) and the heat exchange path (14). Thus, a magnetic field can be generated in the air path (9) or the heat exchange path (14).
  • According to a fourth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the first aspect of the invention, wherein the heat exchanging fluid is the air and the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) has a moisture absorber (12) integrated therewith for absorbing the moisture from the air. Therefore, the moisture can be absorbed from the air and an indoor humidity increase can be suppressed. In the case where the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) enters the magnetic field and increases in temperature, on the other hand, the moisture absorber (12) is heated and therefore regenerated. In the case where the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is demagnetized and decreases in temperature, the moisture can be removed by the moisture absorber (12). Therefore, the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is prevented from freezing while at the same time preventing a window from misting in a small indoor environment such as a vehicle compartment.
  • According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of magnetic thermal storage medium type in the first aspect of the invention, wherein the air path (9), the heat exchange path (14), the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) are arranged in an automotive vehicle, the apparatus further comprising a first outside air inlet (4) for introducing the air from outside the vehicle to the air path (9), an inside air path (5) for introducing the air in the vehicle to the air path (9), and a first inside-outside air switching door (6) arranged upstream of the air path (9) in the air flow for switching the outside air and the inside air, and wherein the air flows into the air path (9) from the first outside air inlet (4) to thereby control the air condition in the compartments of the vehicle when the first inside-outside air switching door (6) turns to the outside air introduction side.
  • In the case where a magnetic field exists in the heat exchange path (14), therefore, the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) absorbs heat from the air in the air path (9) and radiates heat into the air in the heat exchange path (14) thereby to cool the indoor air. In the case where a magnetic field exists in the air path (9), on the other hand, the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) radiates heat to the air in the air path (9) and absorbs heat from the air in the heat exchange path (14) thereby to heat the indoor air. By introducing the air from a first outside air inlet (4) in this way, the increase in the carbon dioxide concentration in the indoor environment can be suppressed while at the same time discharging the odor from the indoor environment.
  • According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, there is provided A temperature regulation apparatus of magnetic thermal storage medium type in the fourth aspect of the invention, further comprising: a first blower (7) for sending a selected one of the outside air and the inside air to the air path (9); a second outside air inlet (29) for introducing the outside air to the heat exchange path (14); an inside air inlet (14 a) for introducing the inside air to the heat exchange path (14); an air outlet (14 b) for discharging the air from the heat exchange path (14); a second inside-outside air switching door (15) for switching between the inside air from the inside air inlet (14 a) and the outside air from the second outside air inlet (29); and a second blower (17) for sending a selected one of the outside air and the inside air from the heat exchange path (14) to the air outlet (14 b).
  • Thus, the air in the air path (9) can be sent into the indoor environment by a first blower (7), and the air in the heat exchange path (14) can be discharged outdoors by a second blower (17). In the case where the air to which heat is radiated from the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is sent into the indoor environment through the air path (9), therefore, the air of which heat is radiated from the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is sent to an air outlet (14 b) through the heat exchange path (14). Also, the outside air can be introduced into the heat exchange path (14) from a second outside air inlet (29) by a second inside-outside air switching door (15). Therefore, the outside air from the second outside air inlet (29) is passed through the heat exchange path (14) to exchange heat with the magnetic thermal storage medium (13). It is therefore not necessary to exchange heat by sending the conditioned indoor air to the heat exchange path (14), thereby making it possible to regulate the indoor temperature efficiently. In this case, the conditioned air is circulated in the indoor environment, and therefore the outdoor dust and dirt cannot easily enter the indoor environment.
  • According to a seventh aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the sixth aspect of the invention, wherein the second blower (17) and the first blower (7) are arranged adjacently to each other, and therefore can be driven with a single motor. The use of a single motor makes it possible to match the air capacity between the first blower (7) and the second blower (17).
  • According to an eighth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the fourth aspect of the invention, wherein the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9) sets the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the low temperature state, and the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the heat exchange path (14) sets the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the high temperature state, and wherein, with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9), the moisture absorber (12) is located upstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located downstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow, while with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the heat exchange path (14), the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and the moisture absorber (12) is located downstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow.
  • In this aspect of the invention, the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) generates a magnetic field in the heat exchange path (14). The magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50), therefore, absorbs heat from the air after moving to the air path (9). In this case, with the movement of the thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9), the moisture absorber (12) arranged upstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow absorbs moisture from the passing air, and therefore the air flowing indoors can be dehumidified. Also, in view of the fact that the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow, the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) having moved to the heat exchange path (14) radiates heat to the passing air, and the resulting heated air is sent to the moisture absorber (12) thereby to regenerate the moisture absorber (12).
  • According to an ninth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the fourth aspect of the invention, wherein the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9) sets the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the high temperature state, and the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the heat exchange path (14) sets the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the low temperature state, wherein with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9), the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and the moisture absorber (12) is located downstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow, while with the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the heat exchange path (14), the moisture absorber (12) is located upstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located downstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow.
  • The magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) generates a magnetic field in the air path (9). With the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9), therefore, heat is radiated to the air. In such a case, the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the air path (9) causes heat radiation to the passing air from the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50). Thus, the moisture in the moisture absorber (12) located downstream of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is sent indoors. With the movement of the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to the heat exchange path (14), on the other hand, the moisture can be absorbed by the moisture absorber (12) from the air in the heat exchange path (14). Thus, the humidity change of the indoor air is suppressed.
  • According to a tenth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the fourth aspect of the invention, wherein the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) and the moisture absorber (12) are accommodated in the same container and, therefore, heat is efficiently transmitted to the moisture absorber (12) at the time of heat radiation from the magnetic thermal storage medium (13). Thus, the moisture absorber (12) can be efficiently regenerated.
  • According to an eleventh aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the first aspect of the invention, wherein the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) includes a filter (11) for removing the dust and dirt from the air, and therefore foul outdoor air is prevented from entering the indoor environment.
  • According to a twelfth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the eleventh aspect of the invention wherein, in the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves to the air path (9), the filter (11) is located upstream of the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in the air flow, and in the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves to the heat exchange path (14), the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of the filter (11) in the air flow. Therefore, the dust and dirt in the air cannot easily flow indoors through the air path (9), and therefore are prevented from flowing indoors while at the same time protecting the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) and the moisture absorber (12). Also, the dust and dirt attached to the filter (11) in the heat exchange path (14) can be discharged outdoors.
  • According to a thirteenth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type in the first aspect of the invention, wherein the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is configured of a first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and a second magnetic thermal storage unit (16), and with the movement of one of the first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and the second magnetic thermal storage unit (16) to the air path (9), the other magnetic thermal storage unit moves to the heat exchange path (14). With the movement of the first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and the second magnetic thermal storage unit (10), therefore, the magnetic thermal storage medium (13) alternates between high temperature state and low temperature state. Thus, the temperature and humidity of the air passing through the air path (9) can be regulated continuously while at the same time making it possible to alternately operate and regenerate the moisture absorber (12).
  • According to a fourteenth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type and a vehicle air-conditioning system, wherein the air path (9), the heat exchange path (14), the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and the magnetic field generating means (17, 28, 37) are arranged in the vehicle in such a manner that a specified internal part of the vehicle is cooled by at least the air passing through the air path (9). Therefore, the invention is applicable to a vehicle air-conditioning system having a simpler structure than the conventional vehicle air-conditioning system configured of a cooling heat exchanger utilizing the gas-liquid phase change and a heating heat exchanger utilizing the waste heat of the engine.
  • According to a fifteenth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type and a vehicle air-conditioning system in the fourteenth aspect of the invention, further comprising a boarding will confirming means (65) for confirming the intention of a possible occupant outside the vehicle to board the vehicle, wherein the will of a possible occupant to board the vehicle is confirmed before activating the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37). Then, the compartments of the vehicle can be air-conditioned before the possible occupant boards the vehicle.
  • According to a sixteenth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type and a vehicle air-conditioning system in the fourteenth aspect of the invention, further comprising an announcing means (66) for detecting the air-conditioning conditions in the vehicle and announcing outside the vehicle the information on the air-conditioning conditions in the vehicle with the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) in operation. In this way, the air-conditioning conditions in the vehicle can be announced outside the vehicle. In other words, the uncomfortable temperature and the offensive fan noises in the initial stage of air-conditioning operation can be avoided by the observation from outside the vehicle.
  • According to a seventeenth aspect of the invention, there is provided a temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type and a vehicle air-conditioning system in the fourteenth aspect of the invention, further comprising an air-conditioning unit (42, 43) including an evaporator operated by a drive source in the vehicle for cooling the air with the refrigerant, wherein upon detection of an insufficient air-conditioning capability of the air-conditioning system, the magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and the magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) are activated. In this way, the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type can be used as an auxiliary device for the vehicle air-conditioning control system.
  • Incidentally, the reference numerals in parentheses, to denote the above means, are intended to show the relationship of the specific means which will be described later in an embodiment of the invention.
  • The present invention may be more fully understood from the description of preferred embodiments of the invention set forth below, together with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a sectional view schematically showing a vehicle in longitudinal position according to a first embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing first and second magnetic thermal storage units in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematically showing a magnetic field generating means in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view schematically showing a magnetic field generating means according to a second embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view schematically showing first and second magnetic thermal storage units according to a third embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 6 schematically shows the internal structure with a magnetic thermal storage medium and a moisture absorber integrated with each other in FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 7 is a sectional view schematically showing a vehicle in longitudinal position according to a fourth embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 8 is a sectional view schematically showing a vehicle in longitudinal position according to a fifth embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 9 is a sectional view schematically showing first and second air paths according to a sixth embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 10 is a sectional view schematically showing a vehicle in longitudinal position according to a seventh embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 11 is a diagram showing a general configuration according to an eighth embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 12 is a diagram showing a general configuration according to a ninth embodiment of the invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • A first embodiment of the invention is explained below. FIG. 1 is a sectional view schematically showing an automotive vehicle 1 in longitudinal position according to the first embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 1, the arrows indicate the four directions in which the vehicle and the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type are positioned. The two circles in the vehicle 1 indicate front tires 2 and rear tires 3, respectively.
  • A first outside air inlet 4 for introducing the air into the compartments is formed on the front side of the vehicle 1. An inside air path 5 through which the air in the compartments circulates is formed on the side rear of the first outside air inlet 4 in the vehicle. A first inside-outside air switching door 6 for switching the air path is arranged between the first outside air inlet 4 and the inside air path 5. The first inside-outside air switching door 6 includes a door revolving means such as a motor not shown and is arranged in a rotatably movable way. FIG. 1 shows the position in which the first inside-outside air switching door 6 closes the inside air path 5 and opens the first outside air inlet 4.
  • A first blower 7 is arranged under the first outside air inlet 4. The first air blower 7 is adapted to blow the air rearward of the vehicle. The first blower 7 includes a first blower motor 8 for driving the first blower 7.
  • A first air path 9 is arranged on the side rear of the first blower 7 in the vehicle. The air is supplied into the compartments through the first air path 9. A first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 for exchanging heat with the air flowing into the compartments is arranged in the first air path 9. The first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 includes an air path allowing the air to flow back and forth in the direction along the length of the vehicle. In the air path of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10, a filter 11 for removing the dust and dirt contained in the air, a moisture absorber 12 for reducing the humidity of the air and a magnetic thermal storage medium 13 having the magneto-caloric effect of increasing the temperature upon magnetization and decreasing the temperature upon demagnetization are arranged in that order from the front to rear side of the vehicle. The magnetic thermal storage medium 13 is formed of, for example, gadolinium or the like material.
  • A second air path 14 constituting a waste heat path according to the invention is arranged under the first air path 9. The second air path 14 is adapted to send the air out of the compartments. A second inside-outside air switching door 15 operatively interlocked with the first inside-outside air switching door 6 is arranged on the side rear of the second air path 14 in the vehicle. The second inside-outside air switching door 15 includes a door revolving means such as a motor not shown and is arranged in a rotatably movable way. As long as the second inside-outside air switching door 15 is at a position to close the compartments side of the second air path 14 (the position indicated by the corrugation in the drawing), the outside air flows in by way of the second outside air inlet 29 arranged in the second air path 14 and flows toward the front of the vehicle. The second outside air inlet 29 is arranged under the second air path 14.
  • The second air path 14 has arranged therein a second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 for exchanging heat with the air flowing out of the compartments. The second magnetic thermal storage unit 16, like the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10, is adapted to pass the air therethrough. The second magnetic thermal storage unit 16, like the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10, includes a filter 11, a moisture absorber 12 and a magnetic thermal storage medium 13 arranged in that order from the front to rear side of the vehicle. The moisture absorber 12 and the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 are each fixedly arranged on a seat not shown. This seat has a corrugated form, for example. A flat plate is arranged between the corrugated seats. The flat plate is connected to the crests of the wave of the corrugated seats so that the air can flow between the flat plate and the corrugated seats. These seats are arranged in the containers of the magnetic thermal storage media 13 of the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16. This container is formed of a nonmagnetic material. The magnetic thermal storage medium 13 may be fixedly arranged in a predetermined shape such as a rectangle or a circle or coated on the seat. As an alternative, the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 in a powdered form may be sealed in a thin container.
  • A second blower 17 is arranged on the side forward of the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 in the vehicle. The second blower 17 is adapted to send the air in the direction forward of the vehicle. The air thus sent forward of the vehicle is discharged from an air outlet 14 b formed in the second air path 14. The second blower 17 includes a second blower motor 18 for driving the second blower 17. A CO2 sensor 19 for measuring the CO2 concentration in the compartments is arranged in the compartments. In addition to the air outlet 14 b, a rear air outlet 60 is also arranged in the compartments. The rear air outlet 60 has an air outlet door 61. The air outlet door 61 is connected rotatably to a servo motor not shown. The air outlet door 61 is adapted to discharge the air in the case where the second inside-outside air switching door 15 is in such a position as to close the compartments side of the second air path 14 and the first inside-outside air switching door 6 introduces the outside air. The magnetic field generating means 27, 28 are arranged in the first and second air paths 9, 14, respectively. The magnetic field generating means 27, 28 are described in detail later.
  • The first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 are adapted to slide up and down between the first air path 9 and the second air path 14. In this slide motion, one of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 moves to the first air path 9, for example, while the other magnetic thermal storage unit moves to the second air path 14.
  • The configuration of the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 is explained in detail with reference to FIG. 2. The second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 is arranged on the front side of the vehicle, and the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 is arranged on the rear side of the vehicle. The first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 are connected to a driving-side wire 20 and a driven-side wire 21.
  • The driven-side wire 21 is connected to the upper end of each of the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 along the height of the vehicle. The driving-side wire 20 is connected to the lower end of each of the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 along the height of the vehicle.
  • The driving-side wire 20 is connected to the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 through a driving-side rotor 22, and with the rotation of the driving-side rotor 22, moves the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 up and down. The driving-side rotor 22 is coupled to a drive shaft 23. With the rotation of the drive shaft 23, the driving-side rotor 22 is rotated. An end of the drive shaft 23 is connected to a rotary shaft, not shown, of the driving motor 24, and the other end thereof is rotatably supported on a support member not shown. With the rotation of the driving motor 24, the drive shaft 23 is rotated.
  • The driven-side wire 21, on the other hand, is connected to the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 through a driven-side rotor 25. The driven-side rotor 25 is rotatably held on a driven-side shaft 26, and with the upward or downward motion of the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16, rotated by the driven-side wire 21. The ends of the driven-side shaft 26 are supported by a support member not shown.
  • The first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 include guide units 10 a, 16 a, respectively. The guide units 10 a, 16 a are fitted slidably in the guide grooves, not shown, formed in the first and second air paths 9, 14, respectively. The first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16, being guided by the guide grooves in this way, can be moved upward and downward smoothly.
  • The magnetic field generating means for magnetizing the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 is explained in detail with reference to FIG. 3. FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a first electromagnet 27 and a second electromagnet 28. The first electromagnet 27 and the second electromagnet 28 are each formed in the shape of substantially “U”. The substantially U-shaped opening is arranged in such a position as to cover the outer surface of the first and second air paths 9, 14.
  • The first and second electromagnets 27, 28 are configured of a first coil 27 b and a second coil 28 b including first and second iron cores 27 a, 28 a wound with wires, respectively. The widths 27 c, 28 c of the first and second iron cores 27 a, 28 a are larger by the width of the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 than the width of the first and second thermal storage units 10, 16, respectively. Even in the case where the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16 slide alternately, therefore, the magnetic field is able to cover the magnetic thermal storage media 13 of the first and second magnetic thermal storage units 10, 16.
  • Next, the electrical control unit according to this embodiment is explained briefly. A plurality of setting units not shown are arranged in the compartments. The setting units specifically include, though not shown, an inside-outside air switch setting unit, a temperature setting unit, an air capacity setting unit and a blowdown mode setting unit. The vehicle 1 includes air-conditioning sensors not shown. According to this embodiment, the air-conditioning system is automatically controlled based on the detection values of the air-conditioning sensors. The operating information and the detection values of these sensors are input to a control device not shown.
  • The control device is configured of a well-known microcomputer such as a CPU, a ROM, a RAM and the peripheral circuits thereof. Each control value is calculated based on the operating information of the occupants and the input values of the air-conditioning sensors. The control device is adapted to output each control value thus calculated to each control unit. The control units include a control unit, not shown, for the first blower motor 8, a control unit for the first coil 27 b or the second coil 28 b, and a control unit, not shown, for the servo motor 24. Various control signals include a blower voltage signal for the first blower motor 8, an energization signal of the first coil 27 b or the second coil 28 b and a drive instruction signal for the servo motor 24.
  • Now, the operation of the first embodiment of the invention will be explained. In response to the inside-outside air switching signal from the control device, the first inside-outside air switching door 6 rotatively moves to an outside air introducing position where the inside air path 5 is closed and the first outside air inlet 4 is open or an inside air circulating position where the inside air path 5 is open and the first outside air inlet 4 is closed. The control device sends a signal to both the drive unit of the first inside-outside air switching door 6 and the drive unit of the second inside-outside air switching door 15 at the same time. In the case where the first inside-outside air switching door 6 moves rotatively to the outside air introducing position, for example, the second inside-outside air switching door 15 opens the path between the second air path 14 and the interior of the compartments. With the movement of the first inside-outside air switching door 6 to the inside air circulating position, on the other hand, the second inside-outside air switching door 15 moves to the position where the path between the second air path 14 and the interior of the compartments is shut off.
  • The first blower 7 is driven by the first blower motor 8 and sends the air into the compartments. The first blower motor 8 is controlled by a blower voltage signal from the control device. The air from the first blower 7 is sent along the direction of arrow X to the first air path 9. The air thus blown enters the compartments through the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 or the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. Also, the blown air is passed through the filter 11, the moisture absorber 12 and the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 in that order in the first air path 9. In the filter 11, the dust and dirt in the air can be moved. Each moisture absorber 12 dehumidifies the air, and is made of silica gel or zeolite, for example. The magnetic thermal storage media 13 can regulate the air temperature.
  • The second blower 17 is driven by the second blower motor 18 and sends the air from the second air path on the rear side of the vehicle in the direction of arrow Y toward the front side of the vehicle. The air flowing in the second air path 14 is discharged out of the compartments through the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 or the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. The air before being discharged is passed through the magnetic thermal storage medium 13, the moisture absorber 12 and the filter 11 in that order in the second air path 14. When the air passes through the magnetic thermal storage medium 13, heat can be absorbed from or radiated to the air. In the case where heat is radiated to the air, the moisture absorber 12 arranged downstream in the air flow can be heated and therefore can be efficiently regenerated. Also, in view of the fact that the air flows in the direction opposite to the direction in which the dust and dirt are attached to the filter 11, the surface dust and dirt of the filter 11 can be removed.
  • The control device sends a signal to the first blower 7, the second blower 17, the first inside-outside air switching door 6 and the second inside-outside air switching door 15 while at the same time sending a control signal to the servo motor 24. The servo motor 24, upon receipt of the control signal from the control device, rotates in one direction and drives the driving-side rotor 22 until the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 reach predetermined positions in the first air path 9 and second air path 14, respectively. With the arrival of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 at the predetermined positions in the first air path 9 and second air path 14, respectively, the servo motor 24 rotates in the opposite direction and drives the driving-side rotor 22 in the opposite direction. By repeating this operation, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 move alternately to the first air path 9 and second air path 14.
  • The electric current is adapted to flow in one of the first electromagnet 27 of the first air path 9 and the second electromagnet 28 of the second air path 14. In the case where the air temperature in the compartments is lower than the set temperature input to the temperature setting unit, for example, the first electromagnetic 27 is energized. Thus, the magnetic thermal storage media 13 of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 are magnetized and heated thereby to heat the air in the first air path 9. In the process, the power of the second electromagnet 28 is switched off. In the case where the air temperature in the compartments is higher than the set temperature input to the temperature setting unit, on the other hand, heat is absorbed from the air in the first air path 9 by energizing the second electromagnet 28. In the process, the power of the first electromagnet 27 is switched off.
  • Next, the operation and the effects of the first embodiment of the invention are explained.
  • (1) In the case where the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 each include the moisture absorber 12 in addition to the magnetic thermal storage medium 13, the dehumidification capability is improved. Also, the sensible heat after dehumidification is lowered in cooling mode, and therefore the cooling effect is improved. Also, the moisture is released from the moisture absorber 12 by the heat of the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 in the second air path 14 thereby to regenerate the moisture absorber 12. In the heating mode, on the other hand, the reduction in humidity in the compartments can be suppressed by increasing the temperature of the moisture absorber 12.
  • (2) In the case where the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 each include the filter 11 in addition to the magnetic thermal storage medium 13, the dust and dirt contained in the air blown into the compartments can be removed. Also, in view of the fact that the dust and dirt removed by the filter 11 are discharged out of the compartments when the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 or the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 moves to the second air path 14, the fouling of the air in the compartments can be continuously suppressed while at the same time preventing the filters 11 from loading. Further, the magnetic thermal storage media 13 and the moisture absorbers 12 are protected on the one hand and the offensive odor due to the fouling of the filters 11 can be suppressed on the other hand.
  • (3) The first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 move up and down alternately, so that the air conditioning operation can be continuously performed.
  • Next, a second embodiment is explained with reference to FIG. 4. According to the first embodiment, the magnetic field generating means includes the first electromagnet 27 and the second electromagnet 28 arranged outside of the first air path 9 and the second air path 14, respectively. The second embodiment is different from the first embodiment in that as shown in FIG. 4, permanent magnets 37 are rotatably arranged on the outside of the first air path 9 and the second air path 14. FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the first air path 9 and the second air path 14. In FIG. 4, the longitudinal and vertical arrows indicate the directions in which the vehicle is positioned and the direction in which the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type is mounted on the vehicle. In FIG. 4, a drive gear 38 is arranged substantially at the middle position in vertical direction of the first air path 9 and the second air path 14. A drive shaft 39 is arranged at the central portion of the drive gear 38. The drive shaft 39 is formed as a cylinder. The drive shaft 39 is arranged through the first air path 9 and the second air path 14 from one side surface to the other side surface thereof. A permanent magnet 37 is arranged on each of one and the other side surfaces of the drive shaft 39. The permanent magnets 37 each are formed as a rectangle, for example. A worm gear 40 is arranged on the left side of the drive gear 38 in the page. One end of the worm gear 40 is connected to the servo motor 41, and the other end thereof rotatably supported by a support member 42.
  • The operation of the second embodiment is explained. In response to a drive instruction from a control device not shown, the servo motor 41 is started to rotationally drive the worm gear 40. With the rotation of the worm gear 40, the drive gear 38 is rotated by the worm gear 40. With the rotation of the drive gear 38, the drive shaft 39 is rotated. The permanent magnets 37 arranged on the drive shaft 39 move to the side surface of one of the first air path 9 and the second air path 14.
  • The use of the permanent magnets 37 in place of the first electromagnet 27 and the second electromagnet 28 in the second embodiment produces the same effect as in the first embodiment.
  • Next, a third embodiment of the invention is explained with reference to FIG. 6. According to the first and second embodiments, the moisture absorber 12 and the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 are arranged in juxtaposition with each other in each of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. According to the third embodiment, however, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, each magnetic thermal storage unit is formed by integrating each magnetic thermal storage medium 13 and the corresponding moisture absorber 12 with each other. In FIGS. 5 and 6, the longitudinal and vertical arrows designate the directions in which the vehicle is positioned, and the direction in which the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type is mounted on the vehicle. Also, FIG. 5 shows the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 with each magnetic thermal storage medium 13 and the corresponding moisture absorber 12 integrated with each other. FIG. 6 is a diagram for explaining the internal structure of the magnetic thermal storage unit with the magnetic thermal storage media 13 and the moisture absorbers 12 integrated with each other.
  • As shown in FIG. 6, the magnetic thermal storage media 13 are arranged on a corresponding seat 40 and each is covered with the corresponding moisture absorber 12. The seat 40 is corrugated. A plurality of the corrugated seats 40 are prepared, and a flat plate 41 for partitioning the seats 40 is arranged between each adjacent seats 40. The air is adapted to flow longitudinally to the seats 40.
  • According to the third embodiment, as described above, each magnetic thermal storage medium 13 is covered with the moisture absorber 12 and arranged on the corresponding seat 40. The seats 40 configured this way are arranged in the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. For this reason, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 according to this embodiment can be reduced in size as compared with the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16, respectively, according to the first and second embodiments. Also, each magnetic thermal storage medium 13 and the corresponding moisture absorber 12 are in direct contact with each other and, therefore, the moisture absorbers 12 can be efficiently regenerated.
  • Next, a fourth embodiment is explained with reference to FIG. 7. According to the first to third embodiments, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 exchange heat with the blown air to regulate the temperature of the compartments. The fourth embodiment, however, is different from the first to third embodiments in that as shown in FIG. 7, an evaporator 42 for cooling the air through a refrigerant and a heater core 43 for exchanging heat between the engine cooling water and the passing air are arranged in the compartments apart from the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. FIG. 7 is a sectional view schematically showing the vehicle in longitudinal position. The longitudinal and vertical arrows in FIG. 7 indicate the directions in which the vehicle is positioned and also the direction of the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type mounted on the vehicle.
  • In FIG. 7, the evaporator 42 and the heater core 43 are arranged downstream of the blower 7 in the air flow to regulate the temperature of the air supplied to the compartments.
  • According to the fourth embodiment, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10, the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16, the evaporator 42 and the heater core 43 are arranged in the compartments, and therefore the conditioned air provides an improved sense of warmth. Also, the visibility is improved against fogging, if any, of the windshield glass of the vehicle. Further, the windshield glass is prevented from fogging during the inside air circulation mode operation in the winter season.
  • A fifth embodiment of the invention will be explained with reference to FIG. 8. In the fourth embodiment, the evaporator 42 and the heater core 43 are arranged upstream of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 in the air flow independently of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. The fifth embodiment is different from the fourth embodiment in that in the fifth embodiment, the heater core 43 is arranged downstream of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. The longitudinal and vertical arrows in FIG. 8 indicate the directions in which the vehicle are positioned and also the direction of the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type mounted on the vehicle.
  • In FIG. 8, the evaporator 42 is arranged downstream of the blower 7 in the air flow, while the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10, the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 and the heater core 43 are arranged downstream of the evaporator 42. By doing so, both the cooling capacity and the heating capacity are desirably improved in cooling and heating modes, respectively.
  • Now, a sixth embodiment is explained with reference to FIG. 9. In the first embodiment, the first blower 7 and the second blower 17 are driven separately from each other by the first blower motor 8 and the second blower motor 18, respectively. In the sixth embodiment, on the other hand, the first blower 7 and the second blower 17 are driven at the same time by a single blower motor 8 as shown in FIG. 9. FIG. 9 is a sectional view schematically showing the first air path 9 and the second air path 14 in vertical direction. In FIG. 9, the longitudinal and vertical arrows indicate the directions in which the vehicle is positioned and also the direction of the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type mounted on the vehicle.
  • In FIG. 9, the first blower 7 and the second blower 17 each make up a multiblade tangential fan (cross flow fan) in which the gas passes through a cross section perpendicular to the axis of the impellers. The blower motor 8 for the first blower 7 and the second blower 17 is arranged at a position intermediate between the first blower 7 and the second blower 17. The driving shaft of the blower motor 8 is connected to the first blower 7 and the second blower 17. As a result, as compared with the first embodiment, the number of blower motors can be decreased on the one hand and the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type can be reduced in size on the other hand. Also, as the first blower 7 and the second blower 17 are driven by a single blower motor 8, the air capacity can be matched between the first blower 7 and the second blower 17.
  • Next, a seventh embodiment will be explained with reference to FIG. 10. According to the first to sixth embodiments, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 are arranged to alternate between the first air path 9 and the second air path 14 thereby to assume two states in which the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 is magnetized and demagnetized. The seventh embodiment is different from the first to sixth embodiments in that the first air path 9 and the second air path 14 are formed by defining a cylindrical pipe longitudinally to the vehicle and a circular magnetic thermal storage unit 50 is rotatably movably arranged in the pipe thereby to assume two states including magnetization and demagnetization of the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 by rotating the circular magnetic thermal storage unit 50. The magnetic thermal storage unit 50 is arranged to allow the air to pass therethrough longitudinally to the vehicle. In FIG. 10, the longitudinal and vertical arrows indicate the directions in which the vehicle is positioned and also the direction in which the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type is mounted on the vehicle.
  • FIG. 10 is a sectional view schematically showing the vehicle 1 in longitudinal position. The first air path 9 and the second air path 14 in FIG. 10 are formed by defining a cylindrical pipe running longitudinally of the vehicle. Specifically, a partitioning plate 52 is arranged at the vertically central portion in the cylindrical pipe. The partitioning plate 52 is formed with holes, not shown, for establishing communication between the first air path 9 and the second air path 14. A circular magnetic thermal storage unit 50 and a motor 51 for rotatively driving the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 are arranged in the communication holes. A rotary shaft not shown is arranged at the central portion of the circle of the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 longitudinally of the vehicle. The part of the rotary shaft on the rear side of the vehicle is coupled to the drive shaft, not shown, of the motor 51. The part of the rotary shaft on the front side of the vehicle, on the other hand, is rotatably supported on a support member not shown. The motor 51 may alternatively be arranged on the part of the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 on either the front side or the rear side of the vehicle.
  • According to the seventh embodiment, as in the first to sixth embodiments, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 need not be moved vertically and, therefore, the configuration is simplified as compared with the first to sixth embodiments. Also, the magnetic field can be reduced in size more in the case where the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 is magnetized than in the case where the magnetic thermal storage media 13 of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 are magnetized in the first to sixth embodiments. Further, unlike the first to sixth embodiments in which the internal pressure and hence the blowdown air capacity undergoes a change with the up and down movement of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16, the seventh embodiment involves a smaller change in the internal pressure resulting in a smaller change in air capacity.
  • Now, an eighth embodiment will be explained with reference to FIG. 11. Unlike the first to seventh embodiments comprising the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 or the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 arranged in a vehicle, the eighth embodiment comprises the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 arranged in an indoor environment as shown in FIG. 11. The indoor environment is indicative of the interior of a warehouse, a building, a computer room, a residential house or the like. Like in the seventh embodiment, the circular magnetic thermal storage unit 50 may be rotatably arranged in the first air path 9 and the second air path 14. Also, the first air path 9 and the second air path 14 are formed as cylindrical pipes for the arrangement of the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 according to the seventh embodiment. FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view schematically showing the indoor environment in one direction. In FIG. 11, the indoor environment 30 is arranged on the right side in the page, and air paths for the indoor environment 30 are arranged on the left side in the page. These air paths include a first air path 9 for introducing the air into the indoor environment from outside and a second air path 14 for discharging the air out of the indoor environment.
  • The first air path 9 has arranged therein a blower 7 for sending the outdoor air into the indoor environment and a blower motor 8 for driving the blower 7. The second air path 14 is arranged above the first air path 9. The first air path 9 and the second air path 14 have arranged therein the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16, respectively, vertically movably. A permanent magnet 37 is arranged under the first air path 9. The permanent magnet 37 is arranged in such a manner that the magnetic field covers the entire area of the magnetic thermal storage media 13 of the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. By doing so, the indoor heating operation can be performed.
  • According to the eighth embodiment, the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 are arranged in the indoor environment, and therefore the same effects as the first embodiment are produced also in the indoor space. Instead of the permanent magnet 37, a first electromagnet 27 and a second electromagnet 28 may be arranged as a magnetic field generating means. Also, the permanent magnet 37 arranged under the first air path 9 for the heating operation may be removed and arranged above the second air path 14 for the cooling operation.
  • Next, a ninth embodiment of the invention will be explained with reference to FIG. 12. The ninth embodiment, as shown in FIG. 12, comprises a means to confirm the will of a possible occupant including a remote control unit 65 operable at a place distant from the vehicle by a possible occupant and a receiving unit 67 for receiving an operation signal from the remote control unit 65. The receiving unit 67 is included in a control device 62 for controlling the various devices. According to the ninth embodiment, an indication lamp 66 indicates the air condition in the indoor environment. Thus, this indication lamp 66 is capable of indicating the information corresponding to the temperature change in the indoor environment. FIG. 12 is a sectional view schematically a vehicle in longitudinal position. In FIG. 12, the longitudinal and vertical arrows indicate the directions in which the vehicle is positioned and also the direction in which the temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type is mounted on the vehicle.
  • An electrical control unit according to this embodiment is explained briefly with reference to FIG. 12. A control device 62 for controlling the various devices is arranged in the compartments. The control device 62 is adapted to output a control signal to each device in response to at least an input signal from an inside air temperature sensor 63, a temperature Tset set on the temperature setting unit 64 by an occupant, an input signal from a CO2 sensor 19 or an input signal from a remote control unit 65 (such as a remote control key) for confirming the will of the possible occupant. Each device receives and is controlled by these control signals through a dedicated control unit. The control signals include a control signal applied to the control unit 8 a of the blower motor 8, a control signal applied to the servo motor control unit 6 b of the door shafts 6 a, 15 a, a control signal applied to the control unit 24 a of the servo motor 24, a control signal applied to the control units 27 d, 28 d of the first electromagnet 27 and the second electromagnet 28 and the control signal applied to a control unit 66 a of the indication lamp 66.
  • Of all these control signals, the control signal output to the control unit 66 a of the indication lamp 66 makes it possible to indicate various air conditions in the compartments by different colors. As a specific example, the indication lamp 66 is lit in red in the case where the compartments are so cold or hot that the possible occupant may feel discomfortable, yellow in the case where the temperature in the compartments may be rather discomfortable to the possible occupant, and green in the case where the temperature in the compartments is considered to have reached a degree comfortable to the possible occupant.
  • According to the ninth embodiment, a control signal is output to each device in response to an input signal from the remote control unit 65 and, therefore, the vehicle can be air-conditioned before a possible occupant boards the vehicle. Thus, the possible occupant can start the air-conditioning system without entering the compartment. Also, the provision of the indication lamp 66 which is lit in different ways in accordance with the indoor air condition of the compartments makes it possible to inform the possible occupant of the current air condition. Therefore, uncomfortable temperature and the annoying fan noises, in the initial state of the air conditioning operation, can be avoided by observation from outside the vehicle.
  • Finally, other embodiments of the invention are explained.
  • (1) According to the first to ninth embodiments, air is passed through the second air path 14 to exchange heat between the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 or the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16 and the air. As an alternative, water is circulated in the heat exchange circuit arranged in the second air path 14, so that heat is exchanged between the water and the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 or the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16.
  • (2) According to the first to ninth embodiments, the filter 11, the moisture absorber 12 and the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 are arranged in that order from the air upstream side of the first air path 9 in the first magnetic thermal storage unit 10 and the second magnetic thermal storage unit 16. As an alternative, the arrangement may be the filter 11, the magnetic thermal storage medium 13 and the moisture absorber 12 in that order.
  • (3) According to the seventh embodiment, the motor 51 is arranged at the center of the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 thereby to rotate the magnetic thermal storage unit 50. As an alternative, a gear is formed on the outer periphery of the magnetic thermal storage unit 50 and driven by another gear formed on the motor 51 thereby to rotate the magnetic thermal storage unit 50.
  • (4) According to the ninth embodiment, the indication lamp 66 is arranged to indicate the air condition in the compartments. As an alternative, the air condition may be indicated by voice.
  • While the invention has been described by reference to specific embodiments chosen for purposes of illustration, it should be apparent that numerous modifications could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the basic concept and scope of the invention.

Claims (17)

1. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type comprising:
an air path (9) through which the air is allowed to flow;
a heat exchange path (14) through which a heat exchanging fluid is allowed to flow;
at least a magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) including a magnetic thermal storage medium (13) which increases to high temperature due to the magneto-caloric effect when magnetized and decreases to low temperature when demagnetized; and
a magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) for generating a magnetic field in selected one of said air path (9) and said heat exchange path (14);
wherein said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is movable to said air path (9) and said heat exchange path (14);
wherein with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said air path (9), said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in one of said high temperature state and said low temperature state depending on selected one of magnetization and demagnetization of said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37), while, with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said heat exchange path (14), said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in the other of said high temperature state and said low temperature state depending on selected one of magnetization and demagnetization of said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37); and
wherein, in the case where said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves to said air path (9) and said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in said high temperature state, heat is radiated to said air while in the case where said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) moves to said air path (9) and said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is set in said low temperature state, heat is absorbed from said air.
2. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) is arranged in said air path (9) and said heat exchanging path (14).
3. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) is adapted to move to selected one of said air path (9) and said heat exchange path (14).
4. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said heat exchanging fluid is the air, and said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) is integrated with a moisture absorber (12) for absorbing the moisture from the air.
5. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said air path (9), said heat exchange path (14), said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) are arranged in an automotive vehicle,
said apparatus further comprising a first outside air inlet (4) for introducing the air from outside said vehicle to said air path (9), an inside air path (5) for introducing the air in said vehicle to said air path (9), and a first inside-outside air switching door (6) arranged upstream of said air path (9) in the air flow for switching said outside air and said inside air, and
wherein the air flows into said air path (9) from said first outside air inlet (4) to thereby control the air condition in the compartments of said vehicle when said first inside-outside air switching door (6) turns to the outside air introduction side.
6. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 5, further comprising:
a first blower (7) for sending a selected one of said outside air and said inside air to said air path (9);
a second outside air inlet (29) for introducing the outside air to said heat exchange path (14);
an inside air inlet (14 a) for introducing the inside air to said heat exchange path (14);
an air outlet (14 b) for discharging the air from said heat exchange path (14);
a second inside-outside air switching door (15) for switching between the inside air from said inside air inlet (14 a) and the outside air from said second outside air inlet (29); and
a second blower (17) for sending a selected one of said outside air and said inside air from said heat exchange path (14) to said air outlet (14 b).
7. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 6,
wherein, said second blower (17) and said first blower (7) are arranged adjacently to each other.
8. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 4,
wherein the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said air path (9) sets said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in said low temperature state, and the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said heat exchange path (14) sets said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in said high temperature state, and
wherein, with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said air path (9), said moisture absorber (12) is located upstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located downstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow, while with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said heat exchange path (14), said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and said moisture absorber (12) is located downstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow.
9. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 4,
wherein the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said air path (9) sets said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in said high temperature state, and the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said heat exchange path (14) sets said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) in said low temperature state,
wherein with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said air path (9), said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and said moisture absorber (12) is located downstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow, while with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said heat exchange path (14), said moisture absorber (12) is located upstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located downstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow.
10. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 4,
wherein said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) and said moisture absorber (12) are accommodated in the same container.
11. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) includes a filter (11) for removing dust and dirt from the air.
12. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 11,
wherein with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said air path (9), said filter (11) is located upstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located downstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow, while with the movement of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) to said heat exchange path (14), said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) is located upstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow and said filter (11) is located downstream of said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) in the air flow.
13. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) includes a first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and a second magnetic thermal storage unit (16),
wherein with the movement of one of said first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and said second magnetic thermal storage unit (16) to said air path (9), the other of said first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and said second magnetic thermal storage unit (16) moves to said heat exchange path (14), and
wherein said magnetic thermal storage medium (13) alternates between said high temperature state and said low temperature state in accordance with the movement of said first magnetic thermal storage unit (10) and said second magnetic thermal storage unit (16).
14. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 1,
wherein said air path (9), said heat exchange path (14), said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) are arranged in a vehicle to cool a specific portion of the interior of said vehicle at least by the air passing through said air path (9).
15. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 14, further comprising:
a boarding will confirming means (65) for confirming the will of a possible occupant outside a vehicle to board said vehicle,
wherein when a possible occupant is confirmed to board said vehicle by said means (65), said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) are activated.
16. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 14, further comprising:
announcing means (66) for detecting the control of the air-conditioning operation in said vehicle with said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) activated and announcing, externally to the vehicle, the information corresponding to said control of the air-conditioning operation.
17. A temperature regulation apparatus of a magnetic thermal storage medium type according to claim 14, further comprising:
an air-conditioning unit (42, 43) including an evaporator activated by an internal drive source of the vehicle for cooling the air through a refrigerant,
wherein, upon detection that the air-conditioning capacity of said air-conditioning device is insufficient, said magnetic thermal storage unit (10, 16, 50) and said magnetic field generating means (27, 28, 37) are activated.
US10/899,730 2003-07-28 2004-07-27 Temperature regulation apparatus of magnetic thermal storage medium type and vehicle air-conditioning system Abandoned US20050022538A1 (en)

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