US20110121087A1 - Under-floor trough with heating element - Google Patents

Under-floor trough with heating element Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110121087A1
US20110121087A1 US12/623,149 US62314909A US2011121087A1 US 20110121087 A1 US20110121087 A1 US 20110121087A1 US 62314909 A US62314909 A US 62314909A US 2011121087 A1 US2011121087 A1 US 2011121087A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
air
floor
under
delivery assembly
trough
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12/623,149
Inventor
David Alstatt
Pedro J. Bermudez
Frank A. LeMay
Jeffrey L. Otte
Michael J. McQueeny
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WALNUT Manufacturing LLC
Original Assignee
Airfixture LLC
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Airfixture LLC filed Critical Airfixture LLC
Priority to US12/623,149 priority Critical patent/US20110121087A1/en
Assigned to AIRFIXTURE LLC reassignment AIRFIXTURE LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ALSTATT, DAVID, BERMUDEZ, PEDRO J., LEMAY, FRANK A., MCQUEENY, MICHAEL J., OTTE, JEFFREY L.
Assigned to Walnut Manufacturing LLC reassignment Walnut Manufacturing LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: AIRFIXTURE LLC
Publication of US20110121087A1 publication Critical patent/US20110121087A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D5/00Hot-air central heating systems; Exhaust gas central heating systems
    • F24D5/02Hot-air central heating systems; Exhaust gas central heating systems operating with discharge of hot air into the space or area to be heated
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D19/00Details
    • F24D19/10Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices
    • F24D19/1084Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices for air heating systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F1/00Room units for air-conditioning, e.g. separate or self-contained units or units receiving primary air from a central station
    • F24F1/0007Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units
    • F24F1/00075Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units receiving air from a central station
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F1/00Room units for air-conditioning, e.g. separate or self-contained units or units receiving primary air from a central station
    • F24F1/0007Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units
    • F24F1/0043Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units characterised by mounting arrangements
    • F24F1/0053Indoor units, e.g. fan coil units characterised by mounting arrangements mounted at least partially below the floor; with air distribution below the floor
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24HFLUID HEATERS, e.g. WATER OR AIR HEATERS, HAVING HEAT GENERATING MEANS, IN GENERAL
    • F24H3/00Air heaters having heat generating means
    • F24H3/002Air heaters having heat generating means using electric energy supply
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24HFLUID HEATERS, e.g. WATER OR AIR HEATERS, HAVING HEAT GENERATING MEANS, IN GENERAL
    • F24H3/00Air heaters having heat generating means
    • F24H3/02Air heaters having heat generating means with forced circulation
    • F24H3/04Air heaters having heat generating means with forced circulation the air being in direct contact with the heating medium, e.g. electric heating element
    • F24H3/0405Air heaters having heat generating means with forced circulation the air being in direct contact with the heating medium, e.g. electric heating element using electric energy supply, e.g. the heating medium being a resistive element; Heating by direct contact, i.e. with resistive elements, electrodes and fins being bonded together without additional element in-between
    • F24H3/0411Air heaters having heat generating means with forced circulation the air being in direct contact with the heating medium, e.g. electric heating element using electric energy supply, e.g. the heating medium being a resistive element; Heating by direct contact, i.e. with resistive elements, electrodes and fins being bonded together without additional element in-between for domestic or space-heating systems
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24HFLUID HEATERS, e.g. WATER OR AIR HEATERS, HAVING HEAT GENERATING MEANS, IN GENERAL
    • F24H9/00Details
    • F24H9/0052Details for air heaters
    • F24H9/0057Guiding means
    • F24H9/0068Guiding means in combustion gas channels
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F2221/00Details or features not otherwise provided for
    • F24F2221/40HVAC with raised floors

Abstract

An under-floor trough is provided for use with a raised-floor system. The under-floor trough includes an air-delivery assembly, one or more plurality of dampers, a support system, and a heating element. A control unit, removable from above the raised-floor system, and a baffle are disposed within the air-delivery assembly. The dampers include vanes that are actuated between open and closed positions according to a time modulated duty cycle to control the flow of conditioned air to a room. The support system provides a plurality of legs disposed between the bottom of the air-delivery assembly and a sub-floor. A bracket is mounted to a wall and the under-floor trough is supported thereby. The heating element is disposed within the air-delivery assembly. Conditioned air is provided to a room at high flow rates for short durations based on the duty cycle, thereby increasing the uniformity of cooling provided to the room.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • There are a number of ways to heat and air condition spaces within buildings. In many office buildings heating and air conditioning is achieved through ducts in the ceilings of the buildings. However, because the cooling air is introduced from above, it forces some of the warmer air in the ceiling downward, resulting in cooling inefficiencies and a reduction in ventilation effectiveness. Ceiling-based systems also are often expensive to install, service, or modify, since all of the required ducting, and terminals, among other things, are located in the ceilings.
  • Alternatively, in many office buildings heating and air conditioning is achieved through ducts and plenums in the floors of the buildings. Typical floor terminals used with raised-floor systems in the industry are placed in an air passageway in the floor. Conditioned air is provided to the space above the floor via the terminals and is controlled by throttling mechanical dampers to adjust the airflow into the space. Such a throttling process produces inefficiencies in dispersing the conditioned air to the space. Often the conditioned air stays near the floor and does not disperse throughout the space, thereby creating large temperature variations from the floor to the ceiling. Further, such temperature variations decrease the effectiveness of a thermostat in holding a steady temperature within the space.
  • SUMMARY
  • Embodiments of the invention are defined by the claims below, not this summary. A high-level overview of various aspects of the invention are provided here for that reason, to provide an overview of the disclosure, and to introduce a selection of concepts that are further described below in the detailed-description section below. This summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in isolation to determine the scope of the claimed subject matter.
  • Accordingly, an under-floor trough with a heating element is provided that is mountable in an air passageway beneath a floor. The under-floor trough is used in conjunction with a raised-floor system. Conditioned air is provided to a subspace, or air passage between the raised-floor system and a sub-floor. The under-floor trough selectively controls the amount of air emitted to a room above the floor. The under-floor trough includes an air-delivery assembly, dampers, a diffuser, a support system, and a heating element.
  • The air-delivery assembly is mounted in an opening in a raised-floor system such that conditioned air from beneath the raised floor passes through the air-delivery assembly and into a room above the raised floor. The dampers are coupled to the air-delivery assembly and each preferably includes a vane coupled to a stepper motor. The stepper motor actuates the vane between an open and a closed position thereby controlling the flow of air through the damper. The diffuser is disposed over the air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of conditioned and/or heated air exiting the air-delivery assembly into the room.
  • The support system includes a bracket mounted to a vertical structure and engages a first flange depending outwardly from the air-delivery assembly. A second flange depending outwardly from the air-delivery assembly engages the raised-floor system thereby allowing the air-delivery assembly to hang via the first and second flanges under normal loads. Legs are disposed between the bottom of the air-delivery assembly and the sub-floor to support the air-delivery assembly under loading conditions. A heating element is disposed within the air-delivery assembly to provide heated air to the space above the raised-floor system when needed.
  • In another aspect, a method for providing conditioned air to a room from an under-floor trough in a raised-floor system is provided. A raised-floor system and an under-floor trough are provided, the under-floor trough having an air-delivery assembly, dampers, and a diffuser. An indication is received from a thermostat that a temperature set point is exceeded and a time modulated duty cycle is generated. Conditioned air is provided beneath the raised-floor system and the dampers are actuated to control the flow of conditioned air from beneath the raised floor to the space above the floor based on the time modulated duty cycle.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described in detail below with reference to the attached drawing figures, and wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an under-floor trough in a raised floor system depicting cutaway segments and having vanes in a first position in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an under-floor trough in a raised floor system having vanes in a second position in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side elevation of an under-floor trough in a raised floor system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a partially exploded perspective view of an under-floor trough in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an under-floor trough having a fluid-heated heating element in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a flow diagram depicting a method for providing conditioned air to a room from an under-floor trough in a raised-floor system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an under-floor trough in accordance with yet another embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The subject matter of various embodiments of the invention is described with specificity herein to meet statutory requirements. The description itself, however, is not intended to necessarily limit the scope of claims. Rather, the claimed subject matter might be embodied in other ways to include different components or combinations of components similar to the ones described in this document, in conjunction with other present or future technologies.
  • Embodiments of the invention include an under-floor trough with a heating element and a method for providing conditioned air in a raised-floor system. In one embodiment, an under-floor trough with a heating element for positioning in a passageway in a raised-floor system is described. An air-delivery assembly including a pair of sidewalls, a back having a first outwardly depending flange, a bottom, a front having a second outwardly depending flange, and a baffle is provided. The baffle extends between the pair of sidewalls and is coupled to the back by brackets. Dampers are coupled to the front of the air-delivery assembly, each having a frame with a housing. The housing contains a motor and a vane coupled between the frame and the housing. The motor is coupled with the vane to actuate the vane between a first position and a second position to selectively vary the flow of air. A diffuser is removeably disposed over the air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of air exiting the air-delivery assembly. A support system provides legs coupled between the bottom of the air-delivery assembly and a sub-floor and a bracket fixedly attached to a vertical structure and engaging the first flange of the back of the air-delivery assembly. An electric or fluid heated heating element is disposed within the air-delivery assembly, between the baffle and the front of the air-delivery assembly.
  • In another embodiment, an under-floor trough with a heating element for positioning in a passageway in a raised-floor system is provided. An air-delivery assembly including a first and second sidewall, a back having a first outwardly depending flange, a bottom, a front having a second outwardly depending flange, a baffle, first and second partitions, and a control unit are described. The first and second partitions are coupled between the front and the back, and the control unit is removeably disposed therebetween. The baffle extends between a first sidewall and a first partition and is coupled to the back by brackets. Dampers are coupled to the front of the air-delivery assembly. Each of the dampers has a frame with a housing. The housing contains a motor. A vane is coupled between the frame and the housing and the motor is coupled with the vane to actuate the vane between a first position and a second position to selectively vary the flow of air. A diffuser is removeably disposed over the air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of air exiting the air-delivery assembly. A support system having legs coupled between the bottom of the air-delivery assembly and a sub-floor, and a bracket fixedly attached to a vertical structure and engaging the first flange of the back of the air-delivery assembly are also provided. An electric and/or fluid heated heating element is disposed between the baffle and the front of the air-delivery assembly and is in communication with the control unit.
  • In another aspect, a method for providing conditioned air to a room from an under-floor trough in a raised-floor system is described. A raised-floor system is provided. The raised-floor system provides conditioned air within a space between a sub-floor and a raised floor. An under-floor trough having an air-delivery assembly, dampers, and a diffuser is also provided. The air-delivery assembly is supported by a first outwardly depending flange engaging a bracket mounted to a wall, a second outwardly depending flange engaging the raised floor, and legs coupled between the air-delivery assembly and the sub-floor. The dampers are coupled to the air-delivery assembly. Each of the dampers has a motor coupled with a vane to actuate the vane between a first position restricting the flow of conditioned air and a second position allowing conditioned air to flow into the room, and wherein the diffuser is removeably disposed over the air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of air exiting the air-delivery assembly into the room. An indication is received from a thermostat that a temperature set point is exceeded. A time modulated duty cycle for supplying conditioned air to a room to maintain a temperature set point is generated. Conditioned air is supplied to the room according to the duty cycle by actuating all of the vanes of the dampers substantially simultaneously from the first position to the second position to allow conditioned air to flow into the room, or from the second position to the first position to restrict the flow of conditioned air to the room.
  • Referring now initially to FIGS. 1 and 4, an under-floor trough with a heating element for use with a raised floor system is designated generally by the numeral 100. The under-floor trough 100 comprises an air-delivery assembly 102, and a plurality of dampers 104. All of the pieces and components of the under-floor trough 100 as shown in FIG. 1 are generally formed from sheet metal, but is should be understood that any suitable material may be used. Further, although specific joining techniques are described in the embodiments below, any suitable forming and joining techniques may used to construct the under-floor trough and its components.
  • The air-delivery assembly 102 includes a back 106, a bottom 108, a front 110, and a pair of opposed sidewalls 112 coupled between the back 106 and the front 110. The back 106, bottom 108, and front 110 are preferably integrally formed from a single piece of sheet metal and the pair of sidewalls 112 preferably have an inwardly depending flange 113 along two sides to allow the sidewalls 112 to be joined to the back 106 and front 110 by fasteners (not shown), as illustrated in FIG. 4. The back 106 includes an outwardly depending first flange 107 along a top edge. The front 110 includes an outwardly depending second flange 111 along a top edge. A pair of partitions 114 are coupled between the front 110 and the back 106 near an end of the air-delivery assembly 102. The pair of partitions 114, along with the back 106, bottom 108, and front 110 designate a location in which a control unit 116 is disposed.
  • The control unit 116 may include any necessary components for controlling a heating element, as described in greater detail below. The control unit 116 is a drop-in unit such that it may be installed and/or removed from above the under-floor trough 100 by manually lowering the control unit 116 into position between the pair of partitions 114. One or more receptacles may be located within the location between the pair of partitions such that when the control unit 116 is lowered into position an equal number of connectors on the control unit 116 engage the receptacles. The receptacles thereby connect the control unit 116 to any desired components and power sources. Alternatively, the control unit 116 might be lowered into position and a number of connections made manually by attaching wires or connectors thereto.
  • The control unit 116 is in communication with a thermostat or a second control unit that indicates to the control unit 116 when operation of the associated heating element is desired. Alternatively, the control unit might have an integrated thermostat thereby allowing the control unit to independently determine heating needs. In another embodiment, the control unit 116 also controls the dampers 104 as described below. The control unit 116 receives commands from a thermostat or other control device indicating a desired actuation of the dampers 104.
  • A baffle 118 is preferably disposed between one of the partitions 114 and one of the sidewalls 112 and coupled to the back 106 by a plurality of brackets 120. With additional reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, the baffle 118 is shown extending from a height slightly less that that of the back 104 and the front 110 of the air-delivery assembly 102 downward toward the bottom 108. A bottom portion 125 of the baffle 118 depends generally downward and toward the front 110 of the air-delivery assembly 102 leaving a gap between the baffle 118 and the bottom 108. In an embodiment, the baffle 118 may have any desired shape and configuration to provide a desired air flow through the air-delivery assembly 102. In another embodiment, the baffle may have one or more notches (not shown) or cutouts along an upper edge to accommodate a diffuser 164 (described below).
  • With reference now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the dampers 104 will be discussed. FIG. 2 shows an under-floor trough 100 having three dampers 104 coupled to the front 110 of the air-delivery assembly 102. It should be appreciated that the air-delivery assembly 102 may have any suitable number of dampers 104 without departing from the scope of the invention as described herein. FIG. 3 depicts a cross-sectional elevation of the under-floor trough 100. The dampers 104 include a frame 126, a pair of hubs 128 (one of each pair is not visible), and a vane 130. The frame 126 includes a top wall 132, a sidewall 134, a bottom wall 136, and a housing 138. The top, side, and bottom walls 132, 134, and 136 of the frame 126 are integrally connected. However, it should be appreciated that the walls 132, 134, and 136 may be separate pieces attached together by any suitable means. The top wall 132 of the frame 126 contains a pair of upwardly depending flanges 140, the sidewall 134 of the frame 126 contains a pair of outwardly depending flanges 142, and the bottom wall 136 of the frame 126 contains a pair of downwardly depending flanges 144. The sidewall 134 contains a centrally located aperture (not shown), the purpose of which will be further discussed below. The housing 138 is coupled to the top and bottom walls 132 and 136 of the frame 126 at a location opposite the sidewall 134 of the frame 126.
  • The housing 138 contains a cover (not shown) and houses a motor (not shown), having an output shaft (not shown), that protrudes from an aperture 154 located in the housing 138. The motor, while not shown, is a preferably stepper motor that uses magnetic attraction to move the vane 130 between an open or second position (FIG. 2) and a first or closed position (FIG. 1). The aperture 146 in the sidewall 134 of the frame 126 and the aperture 154 in a sidewall 158 of the housing 138 align and the pair of hubs 128 are rotatably coupled therewith.
  • The motor, along with the damper 104, are disclosed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/606,085 (issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,241,217) which is herein incorporated by reference. As discussed therein, a control system for the damper 104 receives input signals from a thermostat or other sensor in the room. Based on the signals received, the control system provides control signals to the motor which operates the damper 104. The control system may provide an “open” signal or a “close” signal to the motor. When an open signal is provided, the motor is activated to rotate the vane 130 of the damper 104 to the second, or open position, and the damper 104 remains in that position until a close signal is provided, wherein, the motor rotates the vane 130 of the damper 104 to the first, or closed position.
  • The control of the damper 104 involves assigning the damper 104 a time modulated duty cycle having a fairly short duration, normally under two minutes and often amounting only to seconds. During each duty cycle, the damper 104 is maintained open (or “on”) for a time period that is dependent upon a set point temperature and the actual temperature in the room or space. During the remainder of each duty cycle, the damper 104 is maintained closed (or “off”). The duration of each “open” or “on” time period is adjusted in order to maintain the set point temperature.
  • The vane 130 is connected with the housing 138 and the frame 126 by the pair of hubs 128. The vane 130 is a generally rectangular piece of metal that extends between the sidewall 134 of the frame 126 and the housing 138. The details of the hubs 128 are described but not shown. The hubs 128 each contain a channel (not shown) that receives a portion of the vane 130. The hubs 128 also each contain an aperture (not shown). The aperture of one hub 128 receives the output shaft of the motor while the aperture of the other hub 128 receives a rod (not shown) that is rotatably coupled with the aperture 146 of the sidewall 134. This allows the vane 130 to be rotated relative to the frame 126 between the first and second positions by activation of the motor. FIG. 1 shows the under-floor trough 100 with the vanes 130 of the dampers 104 in the first or closed position while FIG. 2 shows the under-floor trough 100 with the vanes 130 of the dampers 104 in the second or open position.
  • As depicted in FIGS. 1-5 and 7, a diffuser 164 is removeably disposed over and between the back 104 and front 110 of the air-delivery assembly 102 and spans between the pair of sidewalls 112. The diffuser includes a plurality of vanes 166, a back flange 168, a front flange 170, and a pair of side flanges 172. The vanes 166 extend the length of the air-delivery assembly 102 and direct a flow of air from the air-delivery assembly 102. In an embodiment, the vanes 166 are angled fifteen degrees from vertical and toward the front 110 in order to direct a flow of air from the air-delivery assembly 102 into a room at an approximately fifteen degree angle. It is to be understood that any desired angle may be provided to some or all of the vanes 166 or the vanes may be adjustable without departing from the scope of the invention. The back, front, and side flanges 168, 170, and 172 are preferably integral and frame the plurality of vanes 166. Further, the back flange 168 engages the first flange 107 of the back 106, the front flange 170 engages the second flange 111 of the front 110, and the side flanges 172 engage an upper surface 173 of a raised floor system 174 to position and support the diffuser 164 in position over the air-deliver assembly 102. The diffuser 164 further includes a downwardly depending flange 176 that runs the perimeter of the plurality of vanes 166 and that is sized to fit within the back 104, front 110, and sidewalls 112 of the air-delivery system 102.
  • With continued reference primarily to FIGS. 3 and 4, a support system for the under-floor trough is described according to an embodiment of the invention. The support system includes a plurality of legs 178 and a bracket 180. The legs 178 are disposed between the bottom 108 of the air-delivery assembly 102 and a sub-floor 182. The legs 178 include a bracket 184 that engages the air-delivery assembly 102 and couples thereto. The legs 178 also include a foot 186 that is coupled to the sub-floor 182. Additionally, the length of the legs 178 is adjustable such that a desired height may be provided to the under-floor trough 100. It should be understood that the legs 178 may include any desired support leg technology available in the art and may be coupled to the under-floor trough 100 and the sub-floor 182 by any available method.
  • The support system further includes the bracket 180 mounted to a wall 188 or other vertical structure. The bracket 180 comprises one or more sections of angle steel (steel bar having two parallel, adjacent, flat portions perpendicular to one another) and is fixedly attached to the wall 188 by fasteners. The bracket 180 may comprise any suitable form produced from any suitable material. In an embodiment a glue, caulk, or other sealant is disposed between the bracket 180 and the wall 188 to provide a greater seal against the flow of air between the bracket 180 and the wall 188. The bracket 180 engages the first flange 107 of the back 106 of the air-delivery assembly 102 by providing a rigid surface on which the first flange 107 rests. The engagement of the bracket 180 and the first flange 107 may also provide a seal against the flow of air between the bracket 180 and the air-delivery assembly 102. An additional component of the support system is the raised floor system 174. The raised floor system 174 also provides a rigid upper surface 173 upon which the second flange 111 of the front 110 of the air-delivery assembly 102 rests.
  • As such, the under-floor trough 100 is supported primarily by the first flange 107 resting atop the bracket 180 and the second flange 111 resting atop the raised-floor system 174 under normal loads (e.g. the weight of the under-floor trough 100). Under loading conditions, such as where a person or object exerts a downward force on the diffuser 164, the support provided by the bracket 180, the flanges 107 and 111, and the raised-floor system 174 may not be sufficient to retain the under-floor trough 100 within its position in the raised-floor system 174. Thus, the legs 178 provide additional support to aid in counteracting such loading conditions. In another embodiment, the legs 178 provide the primary support for the under-floor trough 100 under normal loads and under loading conditions.
  • FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 depict an electric heating element 122 disposed between the baffle 118 and the front 110 of the air-delivery assembly 102. The electric heating element 122 is coupled to the baffle 118 via a plurality of brackets 124, as shown in FIG. 1. The electric heating element 122 may alternatively be coupled to the front 110, the bottom 108, or mounted between the baffle 118 and the front 110 by any other desirable method. The electric heating element 122 is further communicatively coupled to the control unit 116 which controls the power input to the electric heating element 122. In an embodiment, the electric heating element 122 is a low voltage electric heating element. In another embodiment, the control unit pulses the power input to the electric heating element 122 to provide a more energy efficient heating cycle.
  • FIG. 5 depicts an under-floor trough 200 including a heated-fluid heating element 202. The under-floor trough 200 includes an air-delivery assembly 204, a plurality of dampers 206, and a support system similar to that described above with respect to the under-floor trough 100. Further, the under-floor trough 200 operates similarly to the under-floor trough 100, as is described below. The air-delivery assembly 204 does not include a pair of partitions and a control unit as such is not necessary to control the heated-fluid heating element 202. In another embodiment, a pair of partitions and a control unit are employed to control a heated-fluid heating element.
  • The heated-fluid heating element 202 includes a pipe 208 and a plurality of vanes 210 coupled around the pipe 208. The pipe 204 enters and exits the air-delivery assembly 204 through apertures 212 (only one of which is visible in FIG. 5) in a front wall 214 in the air-delivery assembly 204. Hot water is supplied through the pipe 208, whereby the heat from the water is transferred to the pipe 208 into the vanes 210 and then to air surrounding the vanes 210. It is to be understood that any suitable heated-fluid heating element may be employed in embodiments of the invention and any suitable heated fluid may be used without departing from the scope of the invention as described herein.
  • With reference now to FIG. 6 and with additional reference to FIGS. 1-4, a method 600 for providing conditioned air to a room from an under-floor trough 100 in a raised-floor system 174 is described according to an embodiment of the invention. A raised-floor system 174 is provided having conditioned air within a space between the sub-floor 182 and the raised floor 174, at 602. Conditioned air is supplied beneath the raised floor system 174 via any suitable air conditioning or blower system. In an embodiment, the space between the sub-floor 182 and the raised-floor system 174 is a plenum and the conditioned air is provided to the plenum, the dampers 104 being in fluid communication therewith. In another embodiment, ductwork is provided beneath the raised floor system 174 and attaches to the dampers 104. At 604, an under-floor trough is provided. As depicted in FIG. 1 the assembled under-floor trough 100 has a plurality of dampers 104 and is positioned along a wall 188 with the diffuser 164 visible from above the raised floor system 174. Additionally, a thermostat is supplied in a room above the raised floor system 174 for use in controlling the heating and cooling of the room.
  • Initially, the vanes 130 of the dampers 104 are in a first or closed position, as depicted by the shadowed lines of FIG. 3. An indication is received from a thermostat that the temperature of the space is above or below a temperature set point, at 606. At 608, a time modulated duty cycle for supplying heated and/or conditioned air to the room to achieve and/or maintain the temperature set point is generated. The time modulated duty cycle utilizes a series of actuations of the vanes 166 of the dampers 104 between open and closed positions to pulse the flow of conditioned air to the room. Conditioned air is supplied to the room by actuating the vanes 130 of the dampers 104 from the closed position to the open position and back to the closed position according to the duty cycle, at 610. As such, the flow of conditioned air to the room is either predominantly restricted or predominantly un-restricted thereby providing flow rates at either near 0% or near 100% of a possible given pressurization of the conditioned air within the raised-floor system 174.
  • By actuating the vanes 130 to the open position, depicted in FIG. 3, a high flow rate of conditioned air is provided to the room from the under-floor trough 100. The conditioned air flows through the dampers 104 and into the air-delivery assembly 102 where it strikes the baffle 118. The baffle 118 is positioned and formed so as to divert the flow of conditioned air upward through the diffuser 164. As described above, the plurality of vanes 166 of the diffuser 164 are designed such that the flow of conditioned air is directed toward the center of the room and away from the wall 188. Further, by providing a high flow rate of conditioned air, the air is forced upwards into the room and mixes throughout a larger volume of the room than if it were supplied at a lesser flow rate. Additionally, such a high flow rate overcomes issues with the flow of conditioned air out of the air-delivery unit 102 and into the room caused by the large volume within the air-delivery unit 102.
  • For example, under-floor trough systems of the prior art employ a method of mechanically throttling a damper to control the flow rate of a generally continuous input of conditioned air into a room. As such, the flow rate of conditioned air is kept at a level much less than 100% of the available flow and is varied between 0% and 100% by throttling the damper. Thus, as the conditioned air exits such trough systems, it stays near the floor and fills the room from the floor up due to the low buoyancy of cold air and because there is not a sufficient flow rate to eject the conditioned air into the upper elevations of the room. Issues with such a system include large temperature variations from the floor, which is very cool, to the ceiling, which is much warmer. Additionally, in such circumstances the cold air does not easily reach the elevation of a controlling thermostat. Therefore, the thermostat continues to call for additional cooling even though the lower elevations of the room may be well below a temperature set point. This may lead to great inefficiencies in the cooling of the room as well as occupants thereof being uncomfortable.
  • By employing the time modulated duty cycle and actuating the dampers 104 between fully open and fully closed as described above, a much more efficient cooling process may be achieved. Further, the high flow rate of conditioned air through the under-floor trough 100 causes the conditioned air flow to higher elevations of the room and mix more evenly throughout the room. Additionally, by employing the time modulated duty cycle to pulse the flow of conditioned air to the room, a generally equal volume of conditioned air as might be used in a mechanically throttled system of the prior art described above is used. Thus, a generally equal amount of conditioned air is used to provide a much more uniformly cooled room. As such, over time, embodiments of the invention may become increasingly more efficient over mechanically throttled systems of the prior art, because occupants and thermostats of rooms cooled by the prior art systems may make inefficient adjustments to compensate for the uneven dispersion of conditioned air within the room, among other reasons.
  • Referring again to FIG. 3, the operation of the under-floor trough 100 for heating a space above a raised floor system 174 is described according to an embodiment of the invention. As described previously, the under-floor trough 100 is mounted adjacent to a wall 188 via a bracket 180 mounted to the wall 188. During a heating cycle the vanes 130 of the dampers 104 are in a first or closed position, thereby essentially eliminating the flow of air into the air-delivery assembly 102 from under the raised-floor system 174. The control unit 116 receives an input from a thermostat or a second control unit requesting heat for an associated room. The control unit 116 provides an appropriate power supply to the electric heating element 122, thereby causing the electric heating element 122 to generate heat. As the electric heating element 122 heats the air contained within the air-delivery assembly 102 between the baffle 118 and the front 110, the buoyancy of the air increases causing the heated air to rise and flow out of the under-floor trough 100 and into the room. Such a flow of the heated air creates a draft which pulls cooler air downward and into the air-delivery assembly 102 into the space between the back 106 and the baffle 118. The downward flow of cool air continues along the bottom 108 and under the baffle 118. The air is then drawn upward between the baffle 118 and the front 110 and around the electric heating element 122 to be heated.
  • Additionally, the positioning of the under-floor trough 100 along a wall 188 is advantageous in that the wall 188 is often an exterior wall which may have one or more windows. As such, the wall 188 is generally cooler than the interior of the room and thus the air near the wall 188 is cooler. The cool air near the wall 188 readily sinks, or flows downward into the under-floor trough 100 due to its reduced buoyancy as compared to the warmer air within the room. The additional air flow imparted by the sinking cooler air along the wall 188 may further increase the circulation of air throughout the room as the air cycles through the under-floor trough 100, into the room and back toward the wall 188.
  • In an embodiment, the control unit 116 directs a heating cycle in which the electric heating element 122 is pulsed. Such a pulsed heating cycle may provide increased benefits to efficiency and circulation among other benefits.
  • In another embodiment, an under-floor trough 200 includes a fluid-heated heating element 202. The fluid-heated heating element is heated by a fluid, such as for example water provide via a boiler system. The heating of the element is controlled by a thermostat or other suitable control unit. Further, the heating and airflow created therefrom are similar to that described above with respect to the under-floor trough 100 having an electric heating element 122.
  • FIG. 7 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, an under-floor trough 300 has a single damper 104 coupled to a front 302 of an air-delivery assembly 304. This under-floor trough 300 uses a support system similar to that described above with respect to the under-floor trough 100. Further, the under-floor trough 300 operates similarly to the under-floor trough 100, as is described above.
  • Many different arrangements of the various components depicted, as well as components not shown, are possible without departing from the scope of the claims below. Embodiments of the inventive technology have been described with the intent to be illustrative rather than restrictive. Alternative embodiments will become apparent to readers of this disclosure after and because of reading it. Alternative means of implementing the aforementioned can be completed without departing from the scope of the claims below. Certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations and are contemplated within the scope of the claims.

Claims (20)

1. An under-floor trough with a heating element for positioning in a passageway in a raised-floor system, the under-floor trough including:
an air-delivery assembly having a pair of sidewalls, a back having a first outwardly depending flange, a bottom, a front having a second outwardly depending flange, and a baffle, wherein said baffle extends between said pair of sidewalls and is positioned between the front and the back;
one or more dampers coupled to said air-delivery assembly, each of said one or more dampers having a frame with a housing, the housing containing a motor, and a vane coupled between the frame and the housing, wherein the motor is coupled with the vane to actuate the vane between a first position and a second position to selectively vary the flow of air into the air-delivery assembly;
a diffuser removeably disposed over said air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of air exiting the air-delivery assembly;
a support system having a plurality of legs coupled between said air-delivery assembly and a sub-floor and a bracket fixedly attached to a vertical structure and engaging said first flange of said back of said air-delivery assembly; and
a heating element disposed between said baffle and one of said back and said front of said air-delivery assembly.
2. The under-floor trough of claim 1, wherein said motor is a stepper motor.
3. The under-floor trough of claim 2, wherein the stepper motor selectively moves the vane from the first position to the second position via magnetic attraction and/or repulsion.
4. The under-floor trough of claim 1, wherein the under-floor trough is primarily supported under normal loads by the first flange engaging said bracket and the second flange engaging said raised-floor system.
5. The under-floor trough of claim 4, wherein the under-floor trough is primarily supported by the plurality of legs when vertical loads are applied to the under-floor trough.
6. The under-floor trough of claim 1, wherein said bracket provides an air seal between said air-delivery assembly and said vertical structure.
7. The under-floor trough of claim 1, wherein said vertical structure is a wall.
8. The under-floor trough of claim 9, wherein all of the vanes of the plurality of dampers are actuated from the first position to the second position or from the second position to the first position substantially simultaneously.
9. The under-floor trough of claim 8, wherein the vanes are actuated to control the flow of conditioned air from beneath the raised-floor system and into a room above the raised-floor system based on a time modulated duty cycle.
10. An under-floor trough with a heating element for positioning in a passageway in a raised-floor system, the under-floor trough including:
an air-delivery assembly having a first sidewall, a second sidewall, a back having a first outwardly depending flange, a bottom, a front having a second outwardly depending flange, a baffle, a first partition, a second partition, and a control unit, wherein said baffle extends between said first sidewall and said first partition and is coupled to said back by a plurality of brackets, wherein said first partition and second partition is coupled between said front and wherein said back, and said control unit is removeably disposed between said first partition and second partition;
a plurality of dampers coupled to said front of said air-delivery assembly, each of said dampers having a frame with a housing, the housing containing a motor, and a vane coupled between the frame and the housing, wherein the motor is coupled with the vane to actuate the vane between a first position and a second position to selectively vary the flow of air;
a diffuser removeably disposed over said air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of air exiting the air-delivery assembly;
a support system having a plurality of legs coupled between said air-delivery assembly and a sub-floor and a bracket fixedly attached to a vertical structure and engaging said first flange of said back of said air-delivery assembly; and
a heating element disposed between said baffle and said front of said air-delivery assembly and in communication with said control unit.
11. The under-floor trough of claim 10, wherein said control unit is accessible from above said raised-floor system.
12. The under-floor trough of claim 11, wherein said control unit comprises a drop-in unit.
13. The under-floor trough of claim 10, wherein the under-floor trough is primarily supported under normal loads by the first flange engaging said bracket of the support system and the second flange engaging said raised-floor system.
14. The under-floor trough of claim 13, wherein the under-floor trough is primarily supported by the plurality of legs when vertical loads are applied to the under-floor trough.
15. The under-floor trough of claim 10, wherein said bracket of the support system provides an air seal between said air-delivery assembly and said vertical structure.
16. The under-floor trough of claim 10, wherein the heating element is an electric heating element and wherein the electric heating element is a low voltage heating element.
17. The under-floor trough of claim 10, wherein the heating element is an electric heating element and wherein the electric heating element is pulsed.
18. The under-floor trough of claim 10, wherein all of the vanes of the plurality of dampers are actuated from the first position to the second position or from the second position to the first position substantially simultaneously.
19. The under-floor trough of claim 18, wherein the vanes are moved to control the flow of conditioned air from beneath the raised-floor system and into a room above the raised-floor system based on a time modulated duty cycle.
20. A method for providing conditioned air to a room from an under-floor trough in a raised-floor system, the method comprising:
providing a raised-floor system having conditioned air within a space between a sub-floor and a raised floor;
providing an under-floor trough having an air-delivery assembly, a plurality of dampers, and a diffuser, wherein said air-delivery assembly is supported by a first outwardly depending flange engaging a bracket mounted to a wall, a second outwardly depending flange engaging said raised floor, and a plurality of legs coupled between the air-delivery assembly and the sub-floor, and wherein said plurality of dampers are coupled to said air-delivery assembly, each of said dampers having a motor coupled with a vane to actuate the vane between a first position and a second position, and wherein said diffuser is removeably disposed over said air-delivery assembly to direct the flow of air exiting the air-delivery assembly into the room;
receiving an indication from a thermostat that the temperature of a room exceeds a temperature set point;
generating a time modulated duty cycle for supplying conditioned air to the room to maintain a temperature set point; and
supplying conditioned air to the room according to said duty cycle by actuating all of said vanes of said plurality of dampers substantially simultaneously from said first position to said second position to allow conditioned air to flow into the room or from said second position to said first position to restrict the flow of conditioned air to the room.
US12/623,149 2009-11-20 2009-11-20 Under-floor trough with heating element Abandoned US20110121087A1 (en)

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US20140367477A1 (en) * 2013-06-12 2014-12-18 Codi Group, Llc Impact and/or sound deadening hydronic sub-flooring panel and related system and method
US20160017603A1 (en) * 2013-06-12 2016-01-21 Codi Group, Llc Impact and/or sound deadening hydronic sub-flooring panel with underlayment assemblies and related systems and methods
US20170269648A1 (en) * 2012-10-04 2017-09-21 Compass Datacenters, Llc Air dam for a datacenter facility
KR102114819B1 (en) 2020-04-21 2020-05-25 김재하 Metal smelting apparatus

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US20170269648A1 (en) * 2012-10-04 2017-09-21 Compass Datacenters, Llc Air dam for a datacenter facility
US20140367477A1 (en) * 2013-06-12 2014-12-18 Codi Group, Llc Impact and/or sound deadening hydronic sub-flooring panel and related system and method
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KR102114819B1 (en) 2020-04-21 2020-05-25 김재하 Metal smelting apparatus

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