US20200132377A1 - Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger - Google Patents

Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger Download PDF

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Publication number
US20200132377A1
US20200132377A1 US16/412,054 US201916412054A US2020132377A1 US 20200132377 A1 US20200132377 A1 US 20200132377A1 US 201916412054 A US201916412054 A US 201916412054A US 2020132377 A1 US2020132377 A1 US 2020132377A1
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Prior art keywords
plenum
heat exchanger
air
tube
fan
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Pending
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US16/412,054
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Thomas W. Bugler
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Evapco Inc
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Evapco Inc
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Priority to US201662276328P priority Critical
Priority to US15/402,069 priority patent/US10288352B2/en
Application filed by Evapco Inc filed Critical Evapco Inc
Priority to US16/412,054 priority patent/US20200132377A1/en
Publication of US20200132377A1 publication Critical patent/US20200132377A1/en
Pending legal-status Critical Current

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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28CHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT WITHOUT CHEMICAL INTERACTION
    • F28C1/00Direct-contact trickle coolers, e.g. cooling towers
    • F28C1/14Direct-contact trickle coolers, e.g. cooling towers comprising also a non-direct contact heat exchange
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F3/00Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems
    • F24F3/12Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling
    • F24F3/14Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling by humidification; by dehumidification
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28BSTEAM OR VAPOUR CONDENSERS
    • F28B1/00Condensers in which the steam or vapour is separate from the cooling medium by walls, e.g. surface condenser
    • F28B1/06Condensers in which the steam or vapour is separate from the cooling medium by walls, e.g. surface condenser using air or other gas as the cooling medium
    • 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
    • F28D1/00Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, in which the other heat-exchange medium is a large body of fluid, e.g. domestic or motor car radiators
    • F28D1/02Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, in which the other heat-exchange medium is a large body of fluid, e.g. domestic or motor car radiators with heat-exchange conduits immersed in the body of fluid
    • F28D1/04Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, in which the other heat-exchange medium is a large body of fluid, e.g. domestic or motor car radiators with heat-exchange conduits immersed in the body of fluid with tubular conduits
    • F28D1/047Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, in which the other heat-exchange medium is a large body of fluid, e.g. domestic or motor car radiators with heat-exchange conduits immersed in the body of fluid with tubular conduits the conduits being bent, e.g. in a serpentine or zig-zag
    • F28D1/0477Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, in which the other heat-exchange medium is a large body of fluid, e.g. domestic or motor car radiators with heat-exchange conduits immersed in the body of fluid with tubular conduits the conduits being bent, e.g. in a serpentine or zig-zag the conduits being bent in a serpentine or zig-zag
    • 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
    • F28D5/00Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, using the cooling effect of natural or forced evaporation
    • F28D5/02Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, using the cooling effect of natural or forced evaporation in which the evaporating medium flows in a continuous film or trickles freely over the conduits
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F1/00Tubular elements; Assemblies of tubular elements
    • F28F1/02Tubular elements of cross-section which is non-circular
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28FDETAILS OF HEAT-EXCHANGE AND HEAT-TRANSFER APPARATUS, OF GENERAL APPLICATION
    • F28F1/00Tubular elements; Assemblies of tubular elements
    • F28F1/10Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses
    • F28F1/12Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses the means being only outside the tubular element
    • F28F1/34Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses the means being only outside the tubular element and extending obliquely
    • F28F1/36Tubular elements and assemblies thereof with means for increasing heat-transfer area, e.g. with fins, with projections, with recesses the means being only outside the tubular element and extending obliquely the means being helically wound fins or wire spirals
    • 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]
    • Y02B30/70Efficient control or regulation technologies, e.g. for control of refrigerant flow, motor or heating

Abstract

Spiral finned elliptical tube closed circuit coolers and evaporative refrigerant condensers in which the air flow entering the unit is directed to flow across the tubes in a direction that is parallel to the tube axes and generally perpendicular to the fins produce a completely unexpected gain in capacity of 25% compared to comparable units in which the air flow is directed across/perpendicular to the tube axes.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 15/402,069 entitled “Improvement of Thermal Capacity of Elliptically Finned Heat Exchanger,” filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 9, 2017 and now U.S. Pat. No. 10,288,352 issued May 14, 2019, which application is based upon and claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/276,328 entitled “For Improvement of Thermal Capacity of Elliptically Finned Heat Exchanger For Closed Circuit Fluid Cooler and Evaporative Condenser Heat Exchanger,” filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 8, 2016, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to closed circuit coolers and evaporative refrigerant condensers.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE BACKGROUND
  • Both evaporative closed circuit coolers and evaporative refrigerant condensers utilize heat exchangers to transfer heat from an internal fluid or refrigerant indirectly to an external circulating fluid that is usually water. The circulating water, in turn, transfers heat and mass directly to the air. The air flow is induced or forced through the heat exchanger via a motive device such as a fan. The heat exchanger, in the established technology, consists of multiple serpentine tubes that are connected to the main fluid or refrigerant flow via header assemblies. The thermal capacity of these coolers and condensers is a function of the mass air flow rate as well as the internal and external heat transfer coefficients of the heat exchanger coil.
  • One previous technology advancement, over the original round bare tubes, improves the mass air flow rate by changing the round tube shape to elliptical, with the long axis of the ellipse parallel to the air flow direction (U.S. Pat. No. 4,755,331). Since the ellipse is more aerodynamically shaped than the round tube, the air flow resistance is reduced, air flow is subsequently increased, and, thereby, thermal capacity is increased.
  • Another previous technology improvement has changed the angles of the long axis of the ellipse in an alternating pattern, left and right. The thermal heat rejection capability of each tube increases with the canted pattern which also results in a larger spacing between tubes. This effectively reduces cost by reducing the number of tubes required to achieve the same heat rejection capability of the vertically positioned tube.
  • Another previous and significant technological advancement places spiral fins on the elliptical tubes of the heat exchanger at a specific spacing and fin height. This advancement increases the overall thermal capacity of the heat exchanger by a very significant amount. The fins are spaced along the length of the tubes so as to increase the thermal heat transfer coefficients without increasing the resistance to air flow. Since this technological advance also extends the total amount of heat transfer surface, it allows water conservation and visible plume reduction through partial or complete dry operation at reduced environmental air temperatures.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • All of the coolers and condensers that use the spiral fins on elliptical tubes either pull or push the air into the plenum beneath the coil either from the side (perpendicular to the tube axis and parallel to the longitudinal axis of the fins) or from all sides. Although it seems counterintuitive, it has now been discovered that by orienting the air flow entering the heat plenum to be parallel to the tubes (perpendicular to the fin axis), an additional gain in thermal capacity is realized. Initial test results show that orienting the air flow so that it enters the plenum from a direction that is parallel to the tube axis and perpendicular to the fin axis produces a total gain in capacity of 25% compared to when the air inlet air flow is perpendicular to the tube axis and parallel to the fin axis. This additional capacity gain due to the orientation of the coils relative to the inlet air direction was highly unexpected.
  • Arranging the fan, coils, and air inlet faces to cause the air flow to enter the plenum from a direction parallel to the tube axis/perpendicular to the fin axis can be done is several ways, depending on the fan type and unit type.
  • For example, the axial fan induced draft counterflow cooler or condenser, for a single cell unit, draws air into the plenum from all four sides. To produce the desired improvement result for this unit, the coils remain in the same orientation, with the heat exchanger tubes running parallel to the two long sides of the unit and perpendicular to two short sides of the unit. To get the inlet air flow mostly parallel to the tube axis, air inlets are provided only on the two air inlet faces that are the short side of the unit, the sides with the tube ends. In a unit that has already been constructed, the air inlets on the long sides (the sides that parallel the length of the heat exchanger tubes) are sealed off, leaving the air inlets open on the remaining two short sides. This arrangement causes all of the air entering the plenum of the unit to enter from a direction that is parallel to the heat exchanger tube axes and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the fins. In order to accommodate increased air flow through the sides that face the tube ends without increasing the pressure loss significantly, the height of the air inlet openings may be increased, increasing the air inlet cross sectional area and reducing the air inlet velocity to a desired level. A further advantage of this arrangement is that units may be positioned as multiple cells with the closed sides side-by-side without penalty. It is noted that the “long” and “short” side designations in the foregoing description are intended to designate the side of the unit that is parallel to the tube length (“long”) and the side of the unit that faces the tube ends (“short”), respectively. In the case of a unit that is substantially square in plan, the invention is achieved by providing air inlets to the plenum on only the two sides of the unit that face the tube ends.
  • There are several additional possibilities for a forced draft unit with either axial or centrifugal fans all on one side. In a first embodiment, the coils are rotated 90 degrees so the heat exchanger tube axis is parallel to the direction of air flow entering the plenum. For another embodiment, the fans are placed on either one or both of the short ends. In a third embodiment, a two cell, back-to-back arrangement has coils that are rotated 90 degrees relative to a standard orientation, but these coils run fully across the width of both cells so that longer coils could be utilized.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a prior art induced draft single cell unit.
  • FIG. 2 is a cutaway view of a prior art induced draft single cell unit.
  • FIG. 3 is a cutaway view of an induced draft single cell unit according to an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a prior art induced forced draft single cell unit with axial fans on one side.
  • FIG. 5 is a cutaway view of a prior art induced forced draft single cell unit with axial fans on one side.
  • FIG. 6 is cutaway view of a forced draft unit with axial fans all on one side according to an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 7 is a cutaway view of a forced draft unit with axial fans all on one side according to another embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 3 shows an induced draft single cell evaporative cooler according to a first embodiment of the invention. At the top of the unit is the fan which draws air into the unit and forces it out the top of the unit. Below the fan (not shown) is a water distribution system that distributes water over the tube coil. The tube coil is made of an array of serpentine elliptical tubes with spiral fins. Each length of tube is connected at its ends to an adjacent higher and/or lower tube length by a tube bend. Process fluid to be cooled enters the tubes via an inlet header and exits the tubes via an outlet header. Beneath the tube coil is the plenum, where air enters the unit and the water that is delivered to the unit via the water distribution system is cooled via direct heat exchange with the air, collects at the bottom and recirculated to the top via water recirculation system, not shown. Whereas the prior art units, air inlets were provided on all four sides of the plenum allowing the fan to draw air into the plenum and into the tube coil from all four directions. According to the invention, however, no air inlets are provided on the sides of the plenum that parallel the longitudinal axis of the tube lengths, and air inlets are only provided on the sides of the plenum that are beneath the tube ends/tube bends. The inventors have unexpectedly discovered that by providing air inlets only at the ends of the plenum beneath the tube ends and not allowing air to enter the plenum from the sides that parallel the longitudinal axes of the tubes, the capacity of the unit may be surprisingly increased by 25%.
  • According to an alternative embodiment, prior art induced draft devices (specifically, evaporative coolers with elliptical tube with spiral fins, see FIGS. 1 and 2) may be modified according to the invention by sealing off the air inlets on the sides of the unit that parallel the longitudinal axis of the tubes. Even by reducing the surface area of the air inlets by more than 50%, it was surprisingly discovered that modifying prior art devices as discussed that the capacity of the units increased by 25%.
  • Referring to FIG. 5, a forced draft evaporative cooler of the invention has, from the top down, a water distribution system (not shown), followed by the tube coil, followed by the plenum. The tube coil is made of an array of serpentine elliptical tubes with spiral fins. Each length of tube is connected at its ends to an adjacent higher and/or lower tube length by a tube bend. Process fluid to be cooled enters the tubes via an inlet header and exits the tubes via an outlet header. Beneath the tube coil is the plenum, where air enters the unit and cools the water that flows over the coils, delivered via the water distribution system. The water collects at the bottom of the plenum and is recirculated to the top via water recirculation system, not shown. Axial or centrifugal fan is situated on a side of the plenum beneath the tube ends in order to force air into the plenum in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tube lengths. As with the induced draft evaporative coolers of the invention, forced draft evaporative coolers of the invention, in which air is forced into the plenum in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis of spiral finned elliptical tube lengths increases the capacity of the device by 25% as compared to forcing the air into the plenum in a direction that is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the tube lengths (FIG. 4).
  • According to another embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 6, the orientation of the tube coil in a forced draft unit may be rotated 90 degrees relative to the orientation in a prior art forced draft evaporative cooler with a spiral finned elliptical tube coil (FIG. 4) so that the tube ends are aligned across the longitudinal axis of the unit, above the location of the axial/centrifugal fans. According to this arrangement, the fans force the air into the plenum in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the tubes, again with the highly unexpected result of increasing the capacity of the device by 25%.
  • Referring to FIG. 7, according to a further embodiment of the invention, a second set of fans may be placed on a side of the plenum opposite a first set of fans in a forced air evaporative cooler with spiral finned elliptical tubes in which the tube coil is rotated 90 degrees relative to the orientation of the tube coil in a prior art forced draft evaporative cooler. According to this embodiment, the longitudinal axes of the tubes are oriented perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the unit, and one or more fans are situated under each set of tube ends, forcing air into the plenum in a direction that is parallel to the longitudinal axes of the tubes, unexpectedly increasing the capacity of the unit by 25%.

Claims (11)

1. An evaporative heat exchanger for cooling or condensing a process fluid, comprising:
an indirect heat exchange section;
a direct heat exchange section situated beneath the indirect heat exchange section;
a water distribution system located above the indirect heat exchange section and configured to spray water over the indirect heat exchange section;
the indirect heat exchange section comprising a process fluid inlet header and a process fluid outlet header, and an array of serpentine tubes connecting said inlet header and said outlet header, said serpentine tubes having an elliptical cross-section with spiral fins; said serpentine tubes further having lengths extending along a longitudinal axis, said lengths connected to adjacent lengths of a same serpentine tube by tube bends;
said indirect section comprising a plenum where water distributed by said water distribution system and having received heat from said indirect section is cooled by direct contact with air moving through said plenum;
a water recirculation system, including pump and pipes, configured to take water collecting at the bottom of said plenum and deliver it to said water distribution system;
an air mover configured to move ambient air into said plenum and up through said indirect section;
wherein said evaporative heat exchanger is configured so that air is moved by said air mover into said plenum in a direction that is parallel to said longitudinal axis of said tube lengths and perpendicular to longitudinal axes of said spiral fins.
2. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein substantially all air flow driven by said air mover into said indirect section flows first through said plenum.
3. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein said air mover is a fan, and said evaporative heat exchanger is an induced draft device and said fan is located above said water distribution system, and is configured to draw air from outside of said device into said plenum and up through said indirect heat exchange section.
4. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 3, wherein sides of said plenum parallel to said tube lengths are sealed to prevent substantial entry of air.
5. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein is said air mover is a fan, and said evaporative heat exchanger is a forced draft device, and said fan is located at a side of said plenum that is beneath said tube bends.
6. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 5, wherein said longitudinal axis of said tube lengths is perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of said evaporative heat exchanger.
7. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 5, wherein said fan is configured to draw air from outside of said device and force it into said plenum in a direction that is parallel to said longitudinal axis of said tube lengths and perpendicular to longitudinal axes of said spiral fins.
8. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 7, wherein substantially all air flow entering said indirect section is delivered by said fan.
9. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 8, wherein substantially no air enters said plenum except via said fan.
10. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein said air mover is a first fan and a second fan, said first fan located at a side of said plenum that is beneath a set of tube bends at a first end of said tube lengths, said second fan located at a side of said plenum that is beneath a set of tube bends at a second end of said tube lengths.
11. An evaporative heat exchanger according to claim 10, wherein said fans are configured to draw air from outside of said device and force it into said plenum in a direction that is parallel to said longitudinal axis of said tube lengths and perpendicular to longitudinal axes of said spiral fins.
US16/412,054 2016-01-08 2019-05-14 Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger Pending US20200132377A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

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US201662276328P true 2016-01-08 2016-01-08
US15/402,069 US10288352B2 (en) 2016-01-08 2017-01-09 Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger
US16/412,054 US20200132377A1 (en) 2016-01-08 2019-05-14 Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger

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US16/412,054 US20200132377A1 (en) 2016-01-08 2019-05-14 Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger

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US16/412,054 Pending US20200132377A1 (en) 2016-01-08 2019-05-14 Thermal capacity of elliptically finned heat exchanger

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US (2) US10288352B2 (en)
AU (1) AU2017206116A1 (en)
BR (1) BR112018013629A2 (en)
CA (1) CA3010855A1 (en)
MX (1) MX2018008463A (en)
RU (1) RU2721956C2 (en)
WO (1) WO2017120603A1 (en)
ZA (1) ZA201804764B (en)

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WO2015172180A1 (en) * 2014-05-13 2015-11-19 Klaas Visser Improved evaporative condenser
WO2017175384A1 (en) * 2016-04-08 2017-10-12 日揮株式会社 Gas-processing apparatus
US10502493B2 (en) * 2016-11-22 2019-12-10 General Electric Company Single pass cross-flow heat exchanger
CN109827267A (en) * 2019-01-22 2019-05-31 西安工程大学 A kind of horizontal combined vertical plate cast two-stage indirect evaporating-cooling water cooler
CN110939999A (en) * 2019-12-13 2020-03-31 华南理工大学广州学院 Working method of dehumidification and humidification integrated machine

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WO2017120603A1 (en) 2017-07-13
RU2018123992A (en) 2020-02-10
US20170198973A1 (en) 2017-07-13
RU2018123992A3 (en) 2020-03-12
US10288352B2 (en) 2019-05-14
CA3010855A1 (en) 2017-07-13
AU2017206116A1 (en) 2018-07-19
RU2721956C2 (en) 2020-05-25
MX2018008463A (en) 2019-05-30
BR112018013629A2 (en) 2019-01-22

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