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Eugene FRENETTE / Eugene PERKINS / Ralph POPE

Friction Heaters






Farm Show Magazine 2(5), 1978:  "Fueless Furnace" Uses Friction  to Heat Average Size Home for "50 Cents a Day"
Infinite Energy 23: 23 (1999)
Eugene Frenette: US Patent # 4,143,639
Eugene Perkins: US Patent # 4,424,797
E. Perkins: US Patent # 4,483,277
E. Perkins: US Patent # 4,501,231
E. Perkins: US Patent # 4,651,681
E. Perkins: US Patent # 4,779,575
Ralph Pope: US Patent # 4,798,176

Farm Show Magazine 2(5), 1978

"Fueless Furnace" Uses Friction to Heat Average Size Home for "50 Cents a Day"

Eugene Frenette pours hydraulic oil into his prototype "fuelless furnace". The oil, combined with the spinning action of two cylinders, supposedly creates friction which in turn, produces the heat.

"Defies a basic Law of physics --- a complete hoax," say skeptics. Prototype shown below has been used to provide supplemental heat in Fernette's 12-room house.

How about this --- a fuelless furnace that uses friction instead of fuel to heat an average size home "for only $15 to $16 a month". What's more, it reportedly will sell for less than half the cost of a conventional oil or gasfurnace. Sound too good to be true?

"You bet" say some observers, who claim the whole thing's a hoax --- that it defies a basic law of physics. But others, including a host of small manufacturers and distributors, have jumped at the chance to get in on the ground floor of a "breakthrough" development they feel can help solve the energy crisis. They have invested in franchises and hope to be taking orders for Eugene Frenette's fuelless furnace early next year.

It all started during the winter of 1977-78. It was costing Frenette, father of 12 children --- 10 of whom are still at home --- a whopping $230 a month to buy fuel oil to heat his huge, old uninsulated 12 room "Pillsbury mansion" in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He launched a crash program to perfect his invention - a simple but unorthodox 'fuelless' furnace which he maintains will be able to heat an average size home for only 50 cents a day and which he feels can be retailed "for $600 to $800."

Frenette installed his prototype friction heater in a 10-year-old washing machine. It's made up of two cylinders spinning in opposite directions. There is a clearance of 1/8 in. between the two cylinders which are lubricated by a quart of light motor oil. Spinning action of the cylinders and resulting friction produces the heat, according to Frenette.

He claims franchised models will be odorless. They don't require any chimney since no fuel is burned and there is no flame, soot or odor and are as quiet as a refrigerator. All models will plug into a regular 110 volt outlet and will occupy no more space than a washing machine or dryer.

Estimated operating cost to heat an average size, well insulated home with a 200,000 btu friction "centric" heater is right at $15 a month (for electricity to operate the motor).

One of the first successful prototypes was built in August by Max Johnston, owner of Johnston's Metal Specialties in Creston, Iowa. "I'll admit I was skeptical at first. Sounded like a hoax to me," says Max who was hired by the owner of the "Frenette Furnace" franchises for Alaska and Kentucky to build a prototype.

Following basic design specs supplied by Frenette, Johnston built a prototype which, in his words, "made a believer out of a lot of skeptics around here. including me." It cost about $800 to build, including about 40 hours of labor. Now that we've built one, we could build another in a lot less time. We estimated its output at between 100,000 and 150,000 btu's.

The friction stove produced no odor, made no more noise than you would get with a furnace motor, and we had no vibration or other problems with the rotating circular drums which create the friction heat." Max told FARM SHOW.

According to Larry Nickerson, Frenette's son-in-law, all franchises except Washington. D.C. and Hawaii, have been sold. Some individuals bought up 3 or 4 states. Cost of a state franchise, based on population, was $2,500 cash, plus an additional down payment payable on availability of the first approved stoves, and a remaining balance spread out over 20 years.

The Iowa franchise for example, was priced at $145,000.  Of that, $2,500 was payable immediately to hold the franchise, with $36,250 payable upon availability of Frenette-approved stoves for sale.  The balance ($108,720), plus interest is payable over 20 years in monthly installments.

"I bought two states and others from this area bought up many of the other states franchises during the short time they were available." Harold Schweiss, of Sherburn, Minn., told FARM SHOW. Schweiss has hired a firm to produce a working model which was completed and ready for testing just as this issue went to press.

"Frenette came up with the idea but doesn't have manufacturing or marketing expertise," explains Schweiss. "Individual franchise holders are taking the patented ides to local manufacturers to get a working model. These models, subject to Frenette's approval will then be produced and sold when they've met the usual battery of tests.

Eventually, the best features of these prototypes will be combined into production models which will be essentially the same but produced by a number of different manufacturers," Schweiss explains.


Infinite Energy 23: 23 (1999)

December 1998 Kinetic Furnace Test: Previously Reported Results Retracted

By Jed Rothwell & Ed Wall

We first reported on the Kinetic Furnace, invented by Eugene Perkins and Ralph Pope, in Issue # 19. The device had, at that time, been tested by several independent engineering laboratories and services. The Kinetic Furnace is, as the name implies, a device for heating and forcing airflow. Heat is generated by means of a rotor that flings water from the hub to the rim of its chamber, through some precisely dimensioned nozzles. This "stirring" action is driven by a 6 HP electric motor. The heated water is driven out of the rotor chamber into a radiator and out an output duct.

In April 1998, Eugene Mallove and Jed Rothwell assessed the furnace for themselves at the inventors’ facility in Cumming GA, where they observed the apparent production of excess heat.

Furhter testing was carried out by Mallove and Ed Wall, June through September of 1998, in Bow NH at NERL (New Energy Research Laboratory), but no significant excess heat was observed during that period. Another machine was shipped from Georgia, but it too showed no excess. Finally, Pope loaded a third unit into a van and drove it to New Hampshire himself. He helped install and test it, but this third test also failed. Different sources of water were tested, the operating temperature and the rotation speed of the motor were varied slightly, but no significant excess energy was observed. In IE #22 we reported on this briefly, expressing continued hope that the machine would produce excess heat. We reported a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of 115% (155% excess heat) This level of excess heat is difficult to establish with certainty using airflow calorimetry. A 200 or 300% excess could be detected with confidence, but 15 to 20% could be the result of subtle errors.

Pope returned to Georgia, discouraged. It was clear that we had hit a dead end, and that if the machine does work, there must be something different about the way it was being operated or the water or some other material in Georgia. We decided that the only way we would ever get to the bottom of this mystery would be to conduct extensive tests on site in Georgia, using our instruments and Pope’s in parallel. The machine is large enough to allow several temperature probes and ammeters to be attached simultaneously, unlike the small hand-held cold fusion cells, which often only have room for one set of instruments.

In November 198, Pope reported that he was now achieving a COP as high as 180% with the machine he had brought to Bow, which had been reconditioned and reassembled with a new rotor and pipes. Rothwell conducted a half-day of testing of this machine in the Cummings GA machine shop location, using the same instruments and techniques Rothwell and Mallove used in April. Most of this 180% turned out to be an artifact of Pope’s anemometer, which suffered from a power supply probem caused by worn out rechargeable batteries. The measured air speed was too low. The high excess heat results reported by Pope in previous issues of this magazine were also probably caused by this error. Ralph Pope does not agree with this assessment and believes that the air speed was measured correctly. The blower power did not change and so it is highly unlikely that the airspeed fell. While the large excess was clearly wrong, apparent 46% excess heat was seen, which was in line with what we observed in April. We were encouraged by this preliminary result, yet puzzled and wary by our inability to replicate it in New Hampshire. We decided to press ahead with full-scale tests in Georgia. Ed Wall went to Georgia bringing several tools and precision instruments, listed on page 27.

In the series of tests from December 4-9, 1998, Wall, Rothwell, and Pope tested the Kinetic Furnace extensively, using higher quality instruments and more sophisticated techniques than Pope had ever used. Unfortunately, no significant excess heat was observed. Based on the December results, we believe our initial assessment in April was incorrect, and there was never any significant excess heat in the tests we performed in Georgia or New Hampshire. We believe we have discovered the source of the error which caused the artificial heat in Georgia. The error was in technique rather than instruments or formula. In the December tests we used an improved technique, a computer, an HP 34970A Data Acquisition System, and an array of 11 K-Type, 20 gauge wire thermocouples (four on the inlet and seven on the outlet side). The thermocouples were calibrated carefully through the temperature range of interest and compared to NIST traceable mercury thermometers. By performing this calibration, we learned that the thermocouples read about 0.5° F less than the calibration thermometer over the temperature range of interest. At the same time we used the computerized instruments, we repeated the tests using the same relatively crude, hand-held instruments --- ammeters and thermometers employed in November. In this second test with hand-held electronic, alcohol and mercury thermometers, we measured no excess heat, thus confirming the computer thermocouple readings.

The biggest problem with the April and November tests in Georgia was the lack of a calibration heater This was not an error or an oversight --- we did not have the time to install one during these preliminary, one-day tests. The tests in Bow NH were conducted over two months, and they employed a calibration heater to avoid dependence on air speed measurements and formula-based calculations. With a calibration heater, results from the electric heater were compared with those measured with the Kinetic Furnace. Even of the air speed, electric power, or duct cross-section measurement is inaccurate, the comparative results should show an excess, if one exists.

The first day and a half of testing in Georgia were devoted to installation and testing of the thermocouples and the calibration heater, which was run at three power levels, up to 3.25 kW. At the end of the second day we turned on the Kinetic Furnace, which also consumes about 3 kW electric power. All tests were done with the heater in place, whether it was active or not, to maintain consistent air flow patterns. He Kinetic Furnace testing protocol calls for the machine to be run with the cooling fan turned off until the internal water temperature rises to at least 160°  F. Then the blower is turned on, and internal temperature drops rapidly at first. Stored up heat in the rotor and water are removed. In 20 to 30 minutes the rotor and outlet temperatures stabilize. Twenty minutes into the first Kinetic Furnace test, the initial burst of saved up heat was exhausted, and the temperature fell to about the same level seen with the calibration heaters at 3 kW. It was obvious that the furnace was producing no excess heat.

In our first test it was apparent that the Kinetic Furnace was producing no excess heat. This left two possibilities, which we investigated over the next 5 days:

1. That the previous results were an artifact.
2. That the machine previously produced excess heat, but it was not producing it on December 4.

To check for possibility #1, an artifact, we began by repeating the tests with the thermometers, hand-held ammeters, and other instruments used in the previous tests. We placed the thermometers in the same locations as the computerized thermocouple arrays. The hand held instruments were used at the same time as the computerized equipment, during both calibration heater runs and live Kinetic Furnace runs. The hand held instruments showed the same 9 or 10°  F delta T as the computerized thermocouples, which indicates no excess heat. We then moved the thermometers to a location roughly as far away from the Kinetic Furnace as Rothwell selected in November and we observed a 13 or 14 degrees F delta T. To assess possibility #2, we tried changing the rotor, the water, the air flow speed and other parameters, which we hypothesized might have a controlling effect on an excess heat phenomenon.

A hypothesis discussed by Horace Heffner in the Vortex Internet forum came to mind. Heffner thought that a warm stream of air might be moving from the outlet duct 15 feet back to the inlet. Although that seemed unlikely, we looked for a stream of air by placing the anemometer next to the outlet duct, at a spot 50 cm back from the end of the duct, toward the Kinetic Furnace. We moved the impeller around, searching for a stream of warm air, checking the left side of the duct, the right side, the top and bottom. The anemometer is quite sensitive to small streams of moving air. The impeller did not spin, so we conclude there was no discrete stream of air going from the outlet duct back toward the Kinetic Furnace. However, the hypothesis stuck in mind, so we did a more careful examination on the air surrounding the Kinetic Furnace and duct on all sides. We now believe there is an area of circulated air around the machine that is warm in comparison with air in the greater volume of the room. This was more apparent during tests on Sunday when the machine shop was deserted and the air in the rest of the building was quiescent. The machine shop is a 5000 sq. ft. steel frame building with the ceiling 14 ft high at the eaves. Outside of this envelope of warm air around the machine, at locations 20 and 30 ft away, the ambient air temperature was roughly 13° cooler than the Kinetic Furnace outlet, and roughly 3 degrees cooler than the air surrounding the inlet. Thus, the actual delta T temperature between the inlet and outlet was 9 or 10° , indicating no excess heat.

In April and November, we measured the inlet temperature at a spot too far from the Kinetic Furnace, outside the cloud of warm air. This spot was picked because Ralph Pope cautioned us not to place the sensors too close to the furnace where they would pick up heat radiating from the rotor and other hot machinery. However, this was incorrect. There was little significant radiant heat; most of the heat near the machine was convective, and it went away during the test. In the first round of tests in December, four inlet thermocouples and three thermometers were placed in various locations around the inlet. The closest ones were about 6 inches away from the rotor and calibration heater. The farthest ones were 35 inches away from the inlet and reasonably well-shielded from radiant heat, yet they were only 0.9° F cooler after the fan was turned on. The difference would have to be 4° F if the excess heat was as high as it appeared to be in November, so radiative effects were not large enough to nullify the apparent excess heat. During the warm up phase of the experiment, before the fan was turned on, the difference between the inlet thermocouples and thermometers was 2 to 3° . Evidently this was convective heat, because when the fan was turned on and the air pulled past the thermocouples and rotor this temperature difference largely disappeared.

The confusion about the inlet temperature underscored a serious weakness in our test setup that continued even after the first round of December tests. We were still not doing the calorimetry the way a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer tests a furnace. The HVAC engineer places the inlet temperature sensor in a single point source. In our tests we did not know precisely where the inlet air originated because we did not have a concentrated point source. When we realized this, we constructed an inlet duct. The inlet was initially about 20" x 6" located 6" below the bottom of the furnace, in a source of cool air. We believe there is no heat path from the Kinetic Furnace rotor or the calibration heater back to the thermocouples. In runs with the calibration heater, the heat balance computed according to the formula came out close to unity, with a COP between 96 and 106%. This inlet duct draws warm air from the cloud surrounding the Kinetic Furnace and its environs, but that makes no difference.

After installing the inlet duct and making other improvements, we tested intensively for three days. Pope altered the pump several times, changing out the rotor and water, but these changes had no effect, just as they had had no effect in Bow. Based on these tests and the exhaustive testing in Bow, we conclude that the three machines we have tested never produced excess heat. It is possible that a Kinetic Furnace produced excess heat in earlier tests at Pope’s facilities with the Air Techniques engineer, or in tests at Dunn Laboratories, Inc., and elsewhere. Pope reports that during these tests, the outlet duct was always passed through a plywood barrier in a window and vented outside, so the error we observed in December could not have occurred.

Rotor heat up rates were similar to those measured in Bow, and rotor steady state temperatures were nowhere near those reported by Pope (140-150°  F). Such high temperatures would be difficult to explain, except as apparent and strong excess heat, but they could not be confirmed. This steady-state rotor chamber temperature remains a key unresolved issue. If there are conditions during which this temperature is higher than what we have seen, then it is possible that Pope and Perkins saw better results. Attempts were made to increase the rotor temperature by restricting the intake plenum cross-section area. The rotor temperature was raised ~ 10° F by this method, but this introduced another factor. The air moved much faster in the intake than the exhaust, so it was cooled by the Bernoulli effect. This was seen during calibration when the blower alone was run for an extended period. The COP came out slightly over-unity for the blower alone because we did not take into account the Bernoulli equations. The actual COP must obviously be under unity for the blower.

Why It Took So Long ~

He reader might wonder why it took 9 weeks to confirm the conservation of energy. Our test results in New Hampshire showed no significant excess heat at any time, and the first test of the Kinetic Furnace in Georgia conclusively proved there was no excess heat. On the face of it this is a simple, straightforward measurement very similar to those conducted by HVAC engineers every day, so you would think that an experienced engineer would get it right the first time with ease. Indeed, Mallove and Wall did get it right the first time. They spent the next 9 weeks making sure. The installation in Bow included an inlet duct, so the apparent excess cannot be caused by the same problem we fixed in Cumming. However, it was clear that the calibration heater was also producing noisy, nominally over-unity results, putting 15% within the range of error.

The apparent correlation of rotor RPM to slightly over-unity COP turned out to be unconfirmed by a large number of other tests.

Another reason it took so long to resolve this issue is that people think slowly and research takes time. Consider the electric generator and motor. Oersted discovered that electric currents produce magnetic effects in 1820. This triggered intense research by Henry, Faraday, Fresnel and other leading scientists. It took Faraday roughly 10 years to prove the converse: that magnets induce electric fields. Faraday devised the first crude electric generator in 1831, and it was a while after that before anyone realized that generators can also be used as motors.

Difficulties ~

Like most experiments, this was a running battle with recalcitrant equipment, fatigue and inadvertent carelessness. Here are some of the things that went wrong.

At first we measured the power into the resistance heater incorrectly, because of the complicated network of two transformers and the autotransformer (variable voltage transformer).

The power meter interface to the computer failed to work, perhaps because of software conflicts with the HP 34970A, so we were unable to download instantaneous power graphs. We depended on the computed power average and total energy. Power input was very steady so this was not a significant problem. In the previous visit with Mallove, power graphs downloaded successfully and showed steady-state operation.

The computer interface to the anemometer also failed to function correctly. The air speed changed every time we altered the configuration, and twice we deliberately slowed down the blower by rewiring to increase heat retention in the rotor housing. We thought this might promote excess heat generation. Because we could not record data automatically from the anemometer to the computer, each time we changed the wind speed we had to go through a laborious 20-minute process to manually record the data. It was measured in FPM (ft/min.) with the DTA4000 electronic anemometer. The anemometer was mounted on a camera tripod. The impeller was positioned at 9 points on a 3x3 array, with points equidistant 3 inches apart. The impeller was placed at a grid point and left to stabilize for one minute. Eight readings were taken at 15-second intervals. The average value and standard deviation was computed.

After the inlet duct was completed, 4 thermocouples were installed in various locations within it. Wide variations and fluctuations in temperature were noted. Apparently, eddy currents produced warm spots within the box. All thermocouples were moved to spots exposed to the incoming rush of air, and the temperatures all registered the same. However, they were probably all registering a fraction of a degree cooler than they would have in the same air motionless because of the Bernoulli effect. This fraction of a degree difference might be mistakenly interpreted as excess heat.

The volume of air flowing through the duct every minute is computed by multiplying the speed of the air, in feet per minute (FPM), by the size of the duct in square feet, to give cubic feet per minute (CFM). However, the cross-section of this duct was irregular. One side was slightly longer than the others and the corners were not right angles. We straightened out the corners somewhat with steel angle brackets. We traced the exact inside dimensions of the duct onto a piece of plexiglass, copied that onto graph paper, and determined surface area, which was 130.7 inches (91% of one sq. ft.). When this correction factor was applied to the formula, the calibration runs and Kinetic Furnace runs agreed to an uncanny extent. The numbers were so close at one point that we worried we were making a mistake.

A section of Rothwells’ November report describes a typical instrument malfunction:

"At minute 75, I placed the DTA4000 near the stool to measure ambient temperature with the built-in thermometer. At minute 105, I discovered that the milling machine nearby interfered with electronics in the control box. When I lifted the control box, the temperature display changed from 71.6° to 71.1° F. I put it down again and it changed back to 71.6° , repeatedly. I moved it a meter away and it dropped to 71.1°  and remained stable.
The red alcohol thermometer registered 71°, and the Acu-rite registered 68.9°  and 68.5° . I moved the stool two meters further inside the building, to a location where all the instruments indicated the air was slightly colder, and all reached the same spread of values they showed before the run: 70.7 on the DTA4000, and 70° , 68.7° , and 68°  on the others. In the new location the anemometer moved with a slight draft of 70 FPM. The air was moving toward the Kinetic Furnace".

This illustrates the importance of using instruments based on different physical principles. We ues mercury thermometers as well as electronic thermometers because mercury thermometers cannot be affected by the electric fields generated by a milling machine.

How Heat Was Measured ~

We measured heat from the Kinetic Furnace by two methods. First, we simply compared the control run to the Kinetic Furnace run at the same power level. When the control run temperature went up 9.5° , the Kinetic Furnace went up 9.5° . When the flow air was restricted then the control run went up 19° ; the Kinetic Furnace also went up 19° . Second, we applied the HVAC formula to compute the actual heat flow. The formula is:

Delta T x 1.08 x FPM (air speed measured in feet per minute by anemometer) x Duct opening as a fraction of one square foot = BTU heat output.

Here are two typical Kinetic Furnace runs:

December 5, Run 3

Input power 3.40 kW = 11,604 BTU/hr. Output power: 10.9°  F x 1.08 x 1171 FPM x 0.91 sq. ft. = 12,509 BTU/hr.; COP = 108%.

This indicates no excess within the margin of error. In other words, some of the resistance heater control run are also over 100%, and the standard deviation of the anemometer readings was 46 FPM, so this result was between 106 and 110% Overall heat recovery from the system was excellent, so you would expect the COP to be in the range of 90 to 100%.

December 5, Run 4

Input power 3.39 kW = 11,570 BTU/hr Output power: 10.1°  F x 1.08 x 1171 FPM x 0.91 sq. ft. = 11,581 BTU/hr; COP = 100%.

Here is a calibration run with the resistance heater and a different airflow:

December 8, Run 4

Input power = 3.34 kW = 11,399 BTU/hr Output power: 19.0°  F x 1.08 x 1022 x 0.55 sq. ft. = 11,534 BTU/hr.; COP = 101%.

Future work, if time and resources allow, will be with water flow calorimetry, which is easier and more precise. Air as a calorimetric fluid is difficult to work with because it is turbulent, compressible, does not mix well, is difficult to meter, and requires a huge duct. The flow of air through the duct varies from one spot to another, and it varies over time. The anemometer impeller is not large enough to cover the entire duct, so t is used to sample the flow at many points. Flowmeters and temperature sensors immersed in a stream of water also test a small sample of the flow at one point. However, a stream of water can be diverted into a graduated cylinder to test flow, and the fluid in the cylinder can be stirred to be sure the probes correctly register the average temperature. You cannot divert the entire stream of air into a container.

Once factors like the size of the duct cross-section were determined with reasonable accuracy, the results from the calibration and Kinetic Furnace runs at different power levels began to line up with unexpected accuracy. For example, in the first set of tests they all showed COP of 96% within 1%. Later, at another air speed, they lined up between 97 and 99%.

Instruments & Equipment ~

Although the test procedure is simple in principle, we took great care to be sure we were getting the correct answer. One method of doing this is to use redundant instruments based on different physical principles. For example, to measure temperature one can rely upon high precision thermocouples with confidence. In this case we only need to measure temperature to within 2 to 4° F. A cheap thermometer will work adequately for this purpose. We did in fact use some discount store thermometers, and one grade-school science class thermometer. We also used 16 K-type thermocouples, 6 mercury thermometers of various ranges, two bimetallic dial thermometers, a hand-held, high-precision, high-temperature dual thermocouple (HP-52), and a red alcohol thermometer.

The HP-34970A thermocouple differences, as received, were less than 0.1 degree. The other instruments did not agree so precisely, varying as much as 3 F. In one test of ambient temperature, which was most accurate, the thermocouples settled at 73.9° , 72.3° , 72.7° , and 72.0° ; the mercury thermometer, which was the most accurate, settled at 72.3° ; and the red alcohol which is marked in 2-degree increments, indicated 74° F. In a test of the outlet duct temperature, the thermocouples and thermometers registered 82.4° , 82.9° , and the red alcohol thermometer which had a consistent 2° bias at all temperatures, registered 84° F. At that moment the HP-34970A thermocouples registered: 82.6° , 82.7° , 82.8° , 83.0° , 83.1° , and 83.0°  degrees. This 0.5° spread of value was real: temperatures within the air stream did vary. The thermocouples agreed more closely when calibrated in stirred water or left in calm, ambient air.

Even though the cheaper thermometers did have pronounced biases, each agreed with itself. That is to say, when we moved a mercury thermometer, a thermistor, and the red alcohol thermometer from the inlet to the outlet, they all rose 9.5°, even though they started at different values. The cheaper thermometers were inaccurate, but precise. "Inaccurate" means the starting point in the temperature scale --- the absolute temperature was correct. Precise means the temperature rose the same extent as the NAST traceable thermometers.

Equipment used in this test included:
HP 34970A Data Acquisition system
11 K-type, 20-gauge thermocouples
Toshiba laptop computer interfaced to the HP 34970A
A Compaq portable computer to take notes and compute preliminary results with a spreadsheet.
Mercury thermometers to measure ambient air
Amprobe DM-II recording power meter
Pacer Ind., Inc., model DTA4000 impeller anemometer. The built-in thermometr was used in November, and malfunctioned
Amprobe "Ultra" clamp-on inductive analog ammeter and voltmeter, and a Micronta clamp-on inductive analog ammeter and voltmeter. These instruments do not detect power factor and they tend to overestimate electric power. However, in the second set of tests in December, the results they showed were close to the power measured with the more sophisticated Amprobe DM-II
Acu-rite dial thermometer with two thermocouples
Red alchol thermometer from ABC School Supply, Inc.
Dial thermometer on rotor chamber to measure the water temperature.
Two ducts made from 6’x4’ sheets of building insulating material
Stopwatch
Electronic camera
To calibrate, a variable voltage autotransformer, two transformers, and a duct heater with 3.2 kW maximum output.

Was It Worth It?

We wrote above, "the actual COP must obviously be under unity for the blower". A cynic might say that the actual COP of a water mixer must also obviously be under unity, our tests were in vain, and we made a gargantuan effort to prove the conservation of energy and the fixed ratio of work and heat. This ratio was established in the 1840s by J.P. Joule. He used a falling weight to drive a paddle that stirred water and raise the water temperature. It sounds similar to the Kinetic Furnace --- it sounds as if we were trying to overturn an observation established 150 years ago and confirmed countless times every day by scientists and HVAC engineers everywhere. But, there is an important difference between Joule’s experiments, stirred water, and ours. The stirrer in the Kinetic Furnace rotates much more quickly than Joule’s, so quickly that it almost certainly creates cavitation. Similar cavitation on the smaller scale have apparently produced excess heat and nuclear effects. The nuclear claim is controversial, but widely accepted. Much of the investigation into apparent nuclear effects caused by cavitation is being performed in the mainstream by conventional scientists, and approved of by the New York Times, Scientific American, and Popular Science (e.g., P.S., December 1999). The Kinetic Furnace and Griggs Hydrosonic Pump probably perform cavitation on a scale thousands of times larger than any of the experimental sonoluminescence devices. We must say "probably" because we have no direct proof that cavitation is occurring, because we cannot see inside the steel chamber. Perhaps the Kinetic Furnace was previously cavitating and producing excess heat, but it later stopped.

It would be absurd to question the validity of Joule’s experiments. Cavitation has been carefully studied since it began damaging marine propellers about 150 years ago. But, as far as we know, cavitation and heat together have not been carefully researched. People have felt no need to study heat evolved from cavitation, because no one suspected the heat might be unusual. Science works a little like a national park. Thousands of people cluster around the main attraction and the visitors’ center. Hundreds hike down the nearby well-worn paths, measuring heat and cavitation. But the moment you step off the path into the woods, you leave the crowds behind. In a national park it is unlikely that you will stumble into an unexpected rock formation or a hill that has never been climbed, but in a quiet spot you might find a fossil or a new species of insect. The unexplored avenues of science are infinitely larger than the physical paths on earth. The lesson of cold fusion, the Marinov motor, and other strange phenomena described in this magazine is that you can reach the unexplored wilderness of science in a few minutes with simple tools.

Previous Tests & Recent Work By Pope & Perkins ~

The Kinetic Furnace reportedly produced large excess heat in other tests over the years at Dunn Laboratories, Inc. (1982, 1983), Pittsburgh Testing Laboratory (1984, 1986), Automated Test Labs (1986), and elsewhere. What happened during those tests? Were the professional laboratories incorrect? We do not know. In the papers provided to us by Pope, the tests are not described in enough detail to judge with finality. It seems unlikely that professionals in these laboratories made the same kinds of mistakes we did initially, before we installed the inlet duct. After all, their business is to determine the COP of furnaces. However, they never pursued development of the Kinetic Furnace. That is inexplicable behavior. Other companies in the US that tested over-unity cold fusion devices have been quite enthusiastic. Heating and air conditioning companies have often contacted out magazine and asked whether any practical device is available. They seem anxious to proceed with development, and totally unconcerned about the fact that the scientific establishment does not believe these devices exist. This is speculation, but perhaps after Dunn Labs and the others wrote the reports provided to us by Pope, they realized that they might have made a mistake of some sort. The HVAC engineer in Atlanta who performed the tests on the Kinetic Furnace many years ago stood by his work, but he explained that it was a preliminary test.

It is possible that for the past few years, Pope and the late Eugene Perkins were performing invalid tests, and their results may have been meaningless. They never employed a resistance heater or an inlet duct, so they never would have caught the errors we discovered. They did not keep adequate records by our standards, they had no computerized data collection, and they did not organize their tests in a methodical, step-by-step fashion. To their credit, they did the best they could at the time under difficult circumstances.

Their open and cooperative attitude, and their willingness to honestly face the facts is extremely laudable. Many inventors of exotic technology will refuse to allow their machines to be tested in the first place, and even when you find an error with a machine, most will refuse to listen or believe it. Ralph Pope debated the issue with us at first, and he demanded rigorous proof that the inlet temperature was not affected by radiant heat. This forced us to devise a good test to prove our point, with the inlet turned 90° downward and the thermocouples shielded from the furnace above. Pope accepts our conclusion that the present set of experiments show no excess heat, but he believes that previous experiments were successful. He intends to continue testing if he can, and we will do so as time allows.

These results must be seen in the light of the James Griggs HydroSonic Pump excess heat claims in a superficially similar device. Mallove and Rothwell made measurements on the Griggs machine in early 1994. The Griggs results may support the idea that cavitation excess energy is real but highly variable, for reasons not yet understood.

HydroSonic Pumps have not yet been replicated widely. However, Griggs used much better instruments and techniques than Pope-Perkins, and he uses water flow calorimetry, which is easier and more reliable. We have a HydroSonic Pump, and we intend to press ahead with our plans to test it at NERL when we have the time and resources in 1999.

Should anyone be devoting weeks and thousands of dollars testing this sort of claim? Mainstream science says no. We think it is worth doing. We are disappointed, and we have no immediate plans to continue testing the Kinetic Furnace at this time, but we do not consider these last few months a waste of time. The instruments have been quite useful with other projects and the skills and techniques for air flow calorimetry may prove valuable.


US Patent # 4,143,639
( Cl. 126/247 ~ 13 March 1979 )

Friction Heat Space Heater

Eugene Frenette

Abstract --- A furnace or space heater is operable at low cost by a small electric motor which rotates an elongated cylindrical drum on a vertical axis, within an elongated cylindrical casing at a clearance of about one eighth of an inch in the annular chamber formed therebetween. A supply of light lubricant normally occupies the lower portion of the annular chamber but rises to fill the chamber during rotation of the drum. The casing is enclosed in a housing, having a fan chamber containing an electric motor and fan or blower. The motor shaft may rotate both the fan and the drum.

Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It has heretofore been proposed in U.S. Pat. # 1,650,612 to Deniston of Nov. 29, 1927 to rotate a stack of discs relative to a coaxial stack of fixed discs on a horizontal axis within a casing to generate frictional heat in hot water flowing through the lower portion of the casing. In this heating device a supply of oil is contained in the upper portion of the casing to lubricate the discs and to float on the water at a predetermined level.

In U.S. Pat. # 3,333,771 to Graham of Aug. 1, 1967, a pair of vaned rotors are each enclosed within a chamber of a casing, and mounted to rotate in a vertical plane on a horizontal axis as depicted in FIG. 7 thereof. As in the Deniston patent water flows through the device and is heated by friction.

In U.S. Pat. # 4,004,553 to Stenstrom of Jan. 25, 1977 a single disc like rotor is revolved on a horizontal axis in a vertical plane, within a casing to heat water passing through the device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Unlike the above mentioned patents wherein thin discs or vanes, in single or stack configuration, comprise the rotor, in this invention an elongated, cylindrical smooth surfaced, inner drum is the rotor. The drum is rotated in a horizontal plane on a vertical axis within an elongated cylindrical, smooth surfaced casing, or outer drum, to form an annular sealed, liquid, chamber therebetween having a clearance of about one eighth of an inch. A quart of relatively light oil is captive in the annular chamber and at rest occupies only the bottom thereof. However upon rotation of the drum, by an electric motor of about one horse power, the oil rises to fill the chamber due to the pumping action of the drum.

Thus friction heat is generated not by two metal, or other, surfaces contacting each other, but by the contact of the opposing surfaces with the oil which not only lubricates but generates heat.

A portable space heater is formed by enclosing the casing and drum in the lower chamber of a housing and drawing ambient air inwardly and around the heated outer surface of the casing for fan discharge back into the ambient atmosphere by a large diameter, eight bladed fan driven by the drum motor, or preferably by a separate motor. For use as a furnace an air blower and separate electric motor blow ambient air around the casing for discharge into a heating system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of the portable space heater of the invention, in half section;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view in section on line 2--2 of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1 of the device of the invention in its preferred form.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate one embodiment of the friction heat heater 20 of the invention which includes an upstanding, hollow, cylindrical housing 21 formed of imperforate sheet metal 22 and having legs 23 for supporting it on a floor 24 of a building. The space heater 20 is portable and in the portable embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 the housing 21 is of predetermined diameter of about twelve inches and of predetermined height of about thirty-two inches.

Fixed within housing 21 by suitable brackets 25 and 26 is a hollow cylindrical casing, or outer drum, 27 which is of predetermined diameter less than the diameter of the housing, such as ten inches, and is formed of aluminum sheeting 28 for efficient transfer of heat. The cylindrical side wall 29, top wall 31 and bottom wall 32 of casing 27 are imperforate to form a sealed enclosure except for the filler tube 33, which is closed by a removable threaded cap 34.

The casing 27 divides housing 21 into the lower air heating chamber 35, which it occupies and an upper fan chamber 36, there being an annular air chamber 37 formed between the cylindrical side wall 29 of the casing and the coaxial, concentric cylindrical side wall 38 of the housing 21.

Air inlet means 39 is provided in the lower portion of the housing 21 in the form of spaced apertures 41 extending around the cylindrical side wall 38 and air outlet means 42 is provided in the top 43 of the housing in the form of apertures 44. The annular air chamber 37 connects the air inlet means to the air outlet means of the fan chamber 36.

A reversible electric motor 45 is mounted in the fan chamber 36 with an eight bladed fan 46 fast on one end 47 of the motor shaft 48, each blade being of about 25°  pitch and the motor being about one horse power for rotating the shaft 48 at between 1800-3600 R.P.M.

The other end 49 of motor shaft 48 extends into the air heating chamber 35 to rotate the hollow, cylindrical drum 51 which is supported in suitable bearings 52 for rotating around the central, vertical axis of the casing 27 and housing 21.

The inner drum 51 is sealed and hollow and includes the top wall 53, bottom wall 54 and cylindrical side wall 55, the walls being of stainless steel. The exterior cylindrical surface 56 of the cylindrical side wall 55 is smooth as is the interior, cylindrical surface 57 of the aluminum of the cylindrical side wall 29 of casing 27 and the surfaces 56 and 57 are at about one eight inch clearance from each other to form a narrow, annular liquid receptacle 58 therebetween.

It should be noted that the annular liquid receptacle 58 is not a passage through which liquid to be heated is continually flowed, as in the above mentioned prior art patents. Instead it is a sealed chamber and is provided with a supply of liquid lubricant 59 such as a quart of No. 10 oil which normally rests in the horizontal space, or shallow liquid receptacle 61 between the bottom wall 54 of the drum 51 and the bottom wall 32 of the casing 27.

It has been found that the best results are obtained when the lubricant 59 is Quaker State F-L-M-A-T Fluid, Ford Motor Company Qualifications No. 2P-670306 M 2633F. Unlike prior patents, no water is in contact with the oil.

The motor 45 is connected to a thermostat 62, of any well known type by cord 63 and to a source of electricity by male plug 64 so that it is energized under the control of ambient temperature by the signals of the thermostat.

In operation the motor 45 drives the drum 51 at a substantial speed, which causes the oil 59 to rise up into the annular liqud receptacle 58 to substantially fill the same. The heat of friction between the inner drum 51 and outer drum, or casing 27 is transferred by the oil while it prevents wear on the surfaces 56 and 57 so that the exterior aluminum surface 65 of the fixed outer drum 27 becomes heated. Meanwhile the large diameter, multibladed fan 46 is drawing ambient air through the air inlet means 39, thence up through the annular air chamber 37 and past the elongated heated surface 65 for discharge through the air outlet means 42 back into the room.

As shown in FIG. 3, it is preferable to provide a separate electric motor 70, usually about 1/8 H.P. and driving an air blower 71, these being mounted in a lower air chamber 72 for driving ambient air upwardly in an annular flow path in chamber 37 from the air inlet means 73 to the air outlet means 74. Air outlet means is the intake duct 75 of a hot air heating system 76 so that the heater 20 becomes a furnace rather than a space heater, the separate electric motor 70 enables the thermostat 62 to initiate rotation of the drum until a predetermined temperature is reached in the aluminum outer drum 27, whereupon the thermostat automatically de-energizes the drum motor 45 while continuing to rotate the separate fan, or flower motor such as 70, to furnish hot air to the room or heating system 76 until the casing 27 cools to a predetermined temperature.


US Patent # 4,424,797
( Cl. 126/247 ~ 10 January 1984 )

Heating Device

Eugene Perkins

Abstract ~

A heater for heating a liquid including a housing defining a closed elongate heating chamber therein with a cylindrical chamber surface, a rotor body rotatably journalled in the heating chamber with a cylindrical peripheral surface thereon concentrically of the chamber surface so as to define an annular space between the chamber surface and the peripheral surface on the rotor body, drive means for effecting relative rotation between the rotor body and the housing, and pump means for circulating the liquid through the annular space so that the rotation of the rotor body heats the liquid passing through the annular space.

Description ~

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to liquid heaters and more particularly to a liquid heater which heats liquid by shearing the liquid.

Various attempts have been made in the past to mechanically heat liquids. One type of such mechanical heating device heats the liquid by shearing the liquid between rotary and stationary blades in a chamber. A device of this type is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 2,683,448. This type of heating device creates a high degree of turbulence in the liquid passing through the device to be heated and consumes a large amount of power in driving the rotary blades in the chamber. As a result, the heating efficiency of this type of device is relatively low.

In another type of these prior art devices, the heat to heat the liquid is generated by the frictional contact between rotating and non-rotating members. Examples of this type of heating device are illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,625,929; 3,164,147; and 3,402,702. The problems with this type of heating device are that a large amount of power is consumed in generating the frictional heat, and excessive wear is encountered between the surfaces of frictional contact with each other within the heating unit.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These and other problems and disadvantages associated with the prior art are overcome by the invention disclosed herein by providing a heating unit which uses a cylindrical rotor rotating in a cylindrical heating chamber so that the flow of liquid in the chamber is laminar rather than turbulent and with the rotor and chamber not being in contact with each other so that frictional losses within the heating unit are minimized. It has been found that sufficient liquid shear is generated by the rotating rotor in the heating chamber so that the liquid is heated, yet the power consumption associated therewith is minimized so that the heating efficiency of the unit is maximized.

The apparatus of the invention includes a heating unit which may be incorporated in a heating system adapted to heat air in a prescribed space such as a building or residence. The heating unit includes a housing which defines an elongate heating chamber therein with a cylindrical chamber surface. A rotor body is rotatably mounted in the heating chamber and defines a cylindrical peripheral surface thereon concentric with respect to the cylindrical chamber surface. The peripheral surface on the rotor has an outside diameter a prescribed amount smaller than the inside diameter of the chamber so as to define an annular space between the rotor body and the chamber through which the liquid to be heated is passed. Drive means is provided for effecting relative rotation between the rotor and the housing and pump means is provided for circulating the liquid through the annular space between the rotor and the chamber as the rotor is rotated so that the liquid is heated due to the shear of the liquid in the annular space between the rotor body and the chamber. In the embodiment of the invention shown, the pump impeller for circulating the liquid through the chamber is mounted on the rotor so that the drive means simultaneously rotates the pump impeller and the rotor.

When the heating unit is incorporated in a heating system, the liquid heated by the heating unit is passed through an air-to-liquid heat exchanger through which the air to be heated is also passed so that the air is heated as it passes through the heat exchanger. The operation of the heating unit is controlled so as to maintain the temperature of the air exiting the heat exchanger within a prescribed temperature range while the operation of the fan circulating the air through the heat exchanger is controlled in response to the temperature of the air in the conditioned space so as to maintain the temperature of the air in the conditioned space within a prescribed temperature range.

These and other features and advantages of the invention will become more apparent upon consideration of the following description and accompanying drawings wherein like characters of reference designate corresponding parts throughout the several views and in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating the invention incorporated in a heating system;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the heating unit of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a transverse cross-sectional view taken generally along line 3--3 in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is a transverse cross-sectional view taken generally along line 4--4 in FIG. 2.

These figures and the following detailed description disclose specific embodiments of the invention; however, it it to be understood that the inventive concept is not limited thereto since it may be incorporated in other forms.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, it will be seen that the invention is embodied in a heating system 10 used to heat air in a space to be conditioned such as a building or residence. The heating system 10 includes generally a heating unit 11 connected to a liquid-to-air heat exchanger 12. The liquid-to-air heat exchanger 12 is housed in an appropriate duct system 14 adapted to supply air from the space to be conditioned to the heat exchanger 12 and to deliver air from the heat exchanger 12 back to the space to be conditioned. A fan 15 is provided in the duct system 14 for forcing the air from the space to be conditioned through the duct system 14 and the heat exchanger 12. The heating unit 11 is also illustrated housed in the duct system 14 although it is understood that it may be located remotely thereof.

The duct system 14 defines a heat exchanger chamber 16 therein in which the liquid-to-air heat exchanger 12 is mounted with an intake plenum 18 connected to the space to be conditioned by an appropriate return duct 19 so that the air from the space to be conditioned is supplied to the heat exchanger chamber 16 through the intake plenum 18. The air passing from the intake plenum 18 through the heat exchanger 12 in the chamber 16 passes out through a supply plenum 20 connected to the space to be conditioned by the supply duct 21 to supply the heated air back to the space to be conditioned. The fan 15 is located in the heat exchanger chamber 16 so that the fan 15 forces the air from the intake plenum 18 through the heat exchanger 12 in the chamber 16 and out through the supply plenum 20. It will be noted that the heat exchanger 12 extends completely across the chamber 16 so that all of the air passing from the intake plenum 18 to the supply plenum 20 must pass through the heat exchanger 12.

The operation of the fan 15 is controlled by thermostatic switch 22 which is located in the space to be conditioned so that when the temperature of the air in the space to be conditioned drops below a prescribed value, the switch 22 operates fan 15 to circulate air from the space to be conditioned through the heat exchanger 12 until the air in the space to be conditioned has been raised to a higher prescribed value. Such thermostatic switches 22 are conventional and need not be described in detail. As will become more apparent, the operation of the heating unit 11 is controlled by a thermostatic switch 24 located at the air exit side of the heat exchanger 12 as will become more apparent. The thermostatic switch 24 serves to activate the heating unit 11 when the air exiting the heat exchanger 12 drops to a prescribed lower temperature to heat a liquid and supply the liquid to heat exchanger 12 until the temperature of the air exiting the heat exchanger 12 has been raised to a prescribed higher temperature.

The heating unit 11 is illustrated mounted in the heat exchanger chamber 16 under the heat exchanger 12 and includes a liquid heater 25 driven by drive motor 26. In the particular embodiment shown, the drive motor 26 is connected to the liquid heater 25 through a bell and pulley arrangement 28. It is to be understood, however, that the drive motor 26 may be directly connected to the liquid heater 25.

As best seen in FIGS. 2-4, the liquid heater 25 includes a housing 30 in which is rotatably mounted a rotor assembly 31. The housing 30 is fixedly mounted in the heat exchanger chamber 16 while the rotor assembly 31 is rotated by the drive motor 26.

The housing 30 includes a cylindrical side wall 32 closed at opposite ends by end plates 34. Each of the end plates 34 defines a cylindrical projection 35 thereon which fits within the cylindrical side wall 32 and is provided with an annular groove 36 therearound which receives an O-ring 38 therein to seal the end plate 34 to the inside of the side wall 32. The end plates 34 are held in position by tie bolts 39 so that the closed chamber is defined by the side wall 32 and end plates 34. This chamber is divided into a heating chamber 40 and a pumping chamber 41 by a divider assembly 42. The divider assembly 42 includes an annular spacer wall 44 having an outside diameter so that it will snugly fit within the side walls 32 adjacent one of the end plates 34 so that spacer wall 44 projects a prescribed distance away from the end plate 34. The projecting end of the spacer wall 44 is closed by a circular end plate 45 so that the pumping chamber 41 is defined between the end plate 45, spacer wall 44, and the end plate 34 against which the spacer wall 44 abuts. The heating chamber 40 is thus defined between the end plate 45, the end plate 34 opposite that against which the divider assembly 42 abuts and the housing side wall 32. The heating chamber 40 has a diameter d.sub.1 defined by the inside surface 48 of the side wall 32 and a length L.sub.1 defined between the end plate 34 and the end plate 45. The side wall 32 defines an inlet opening 49 therethrough to the chamber 40 adjacent that end plate 34 opposite the divider assembly 42 while the spacer wall 44 and side wall 32 define a common outlet opening 50 therethrough which communicates with the pumping chamber 41. The circular end plate 45 on the divider assembly 42 defines a transfer opening 51 therethrough about the central axis A.sub.1 of the chambers 40 and 41 of diameter d.sub.2 so that the heating chamber 40 communicates with the pumping chamber 41 as will become more apparent.

The rotor assembly 31 includes a support shaft 55 which mounts a rotor body 56 thereon at one position along the length of the shaft 55 and a pump impeller 58 at another position along the support shaft 55. The rotor assembly 31 is mounted in the housing 30 so that the support shaft extends coaxially of the axis A.sub.1 with the rotor body 56 located in the heating chamber 40 while the pump impeller 58 is located in the pumping chamber 41. The support shaft 55 extends through the transfer opening 51 through the end plate 45 in clearance therewith so that liquid can pass from the heating chamber 40 into the pumping chamber 41 and extends out through the end plates 34 through appropriate openings therein. The shaft 55 is rotatably journalled in bearings 59 mounted on each of the end plates 34 and held in position by retainers 60 on the outside of the end plates 34. A seal 61 is provided around shaft 55 immediately inboard of each of the bearings 59 to prevent liquid from passing out of the housing 30 around the shaft 55 at the end plates 34. The shaft 55 is provided with a drive projection 62 which extends out of the housing 30 through one of the retainers 60 so that the belt and pulley arrangement 28 can be connected thereto to rotate the support shaft 55.

The rotor body 56 is hollow and includes a pair of spaced apart washer-shaped end plates 64 which are fixedly attached to that portion of the support shaft 55 within the heating chamber 40 with one of the end plates 64 spaced inwardly of the end plate 34 and the other end plate 64 being spaced inwardly of the end plate 45. The end plates 64 are connected by an annular rotor side wall 65 which extends therebetween with the side wall 65 being fixedly attached to the end plates 64 and the end plates 64 being fixedly attached to the support shaft 55 so that the rotor body 56 rotates with the support shaft 55. The rotor side wall 65 defines a peripheral surface 66 thereon which is cylindrical and located concentrically of the central axis A.sub.1 of the heating chamber 40. The surface 66 has a diameter d.sub.3 which is a prescribed amount less than the inside diameter of the surface 48 so that surfaces 66 and 48 defines an annular space 68 therebetween of a radial distance d.sub.4. The surface 66 has a length L.sub.2 shorter than the length of the heating chamber 40.

The pump impeller 58 is fixedly attached to that portion of the support shaft 55 within the pumping chamber 41 and includes a disk portion 70 oriented perpendicular to the axis A.sub.1 with an outside diameter slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the spacer wall 44 so that the pump impeller 58 is freely rotatable with shaft 55 in the pumping chamber 41. The pump impeller 58 also includes an attachment portion 71 used to attach the pump impeller 58 to the support shaft 55 through an appropriate key arrangement. The disk portion 70 defines a centrally located counterbore 72 therein which opens onto that side of the disk portion 70 facing the circular end plate 45. The counterbore 72 has a diameter larger than that of the support shaft 55 to define an annular cavity in the disk portion 70 around the shaft 55. The disk portion 70 further defines a plurality of radially extending passages 74 therein which open at their inboard ends into the counterbore 72 and open at their outboard ends into the outer periphery of the disk portion 70. The pump impeller 58 is attached to the support shaft 55 so that the passages 70 are aligned with the outlet opening 50 as they rotate within the pumping chamber 41. It will be seen that the diameter of the transfer opening 51 and the diameter of the counterbore 72 are such that liquid can freely pass from the heating chamber 40 through the transfer opening 51 and into the counterbore 72 so that the liquid will be forced outwardly along the passages 74 as the pump impeller 58 is rotated with the support shaft 55. As will become more apparent, this serves to force the liquid out of the housing 30 through the outlet opening 50. The outlet opening 50 is connected to one side of the heat exchanger through a supply pipe 75 while the inlet opening 49 to the housing 30 is connected to the other side of the heat exchanger through the return pipe 76.

In operation, it will be seen that the heating chamber 40 and the pumping chamber 41 as well as the passage through the heat exchanger and the pipe 75 and 76 are filled with a liquid to be heated such as water. When the drive motor 26 rotates the rotor assembly 31, this causes the rotor body 56 to be rotated in the heating chamber 40 while the pump impeller 58 is rotated in the pumping chamber 41. The pump impeller 58 pumps the liquid through the liquid heater 25 to the heat exchanger 12 and then back to the liquid heater 25 so that the heating chamber 40 and pumping chamber 41 remain filled with liquid at all times. As the rotor body 56 is rotated via the drive motor 26, the liquid at the cylindrical peripheral surface 66 on the rotor body 56 tries to move with the rotor body 56 while the liquid at the inside surface 48 on side wall 32 tries to remain stationary. This establishes a velocity gradient in the liquid across the annular space 68 between the rotor body 56 and the inside surface 48 of the side wall 32 to establish shear forces within this liquid. These shear forces cause the liquid to be heated. The velocity profile across the annular space 68 is such that the liquid in the annular space 68 remains in the laminar flow region so as to minimize the power consumption of the liquid heater 25. Thus, it will be seen that the liquid in the annular space 68 is being moved longitudinally of the annular space 68 by the pump impeller 58 while the liquid is moving circumferentially about the space 68 by the rotor body 56. This heats the liquid in the annular space 68 as it flows therealong and then flows out of the heating chamber 40 into the pumping chamber 41 where the pump impeller 58 pumps the liquid through the heat exchanger 12 so that the heat from the liquid can be transferred to the air passing through the heat exchanger 12.

It has been found that the temperature to which the liquid can be heated in the annular space 68 is dependent on the relative velocity of the cylindrical peripheral surface 66 with respect to the inside surface 48 on the side wall 32. When water is used as the liquid, rotating surface 66 at a velocity of about 1150 feet per minute heats the water to a temperature of about 140° F., rotating surface 66 at a velocity of about 1800 feet per minute heats the water to about 165° F., and rotating surface 66 at a velocity of about 2550 feet per minute heats the water to a temperature of about 210° F. Thus, it will be seen that the temperature to which the water can be heated can be adjusted by adjusting the rotational speed of the rotor body 56 to adjust the velocity of the peripheral surface 66 on the rotor body 56.

The radial distance d.sub.4 of the annual space 68 affects the volume of liquid that will be heated by the rotating rotor body 56 at any one time. Distances of 0.06-1.0 inch for the distances d.sub.4 have been found practical to reasonably heat the liquid passing through the annular space 68. A distance d.sub.4 of about 0.75 inch has been found preferable to heat the liquid at a flow rate of about two gallons per minute.

The heating rate capacity of the liquid heater 25 is also dependent on the velocity of the cylindrical peripheral surface 66 on the rotor body 56. When water was used as the liquid to be heated, a velocity of about 1800 feet per minute generated about 19,000 BTU per hour whereas rotating the surface 66 at a velocity of about 2550 feet per minute generated about 25,500 BTU per hour. The volume of liquid in the liquid heater 25 and the system of the heat exchanger 12 and the liquid heater 25 should be such that the air passing through the heat exchanger 12 at a prescribed volumetric rate can be heated over the desired temperature differential. It is found that liquid heater 25 holding about one gallon of liquid with the system holding about three gallons of liquid is sufficient to heat air passing through the heat exchanger 12 at a volumetric rate of about 300 cfm about 40°-80° F. with a temperature differential in the liquid passing through the heat exchanger 12 of about 15°-20° F.

In the system illustrated, the diameter d.sub.1 is about 5.5 inches, the diameter d.sub.3 is about 4 inches, and the length L.sub.2 of the surface 66 is about 6 inches. The drive motor 26 operates from a 115 volt power source and draws about 5.5 amps to rotate the rotor assembly 31 at about 2400 rpm to move the peripheral surface 66 on the rotor body 56 at a velocity of about 2550 feet per minute. Thus, the drive motor 26 has a power consumption of about 0.6 kilowatt per hour to produce a heating output of about 25,500 BTU per hour. In the above system, the fan 15 was operated to force air through the heat exchanger 12 at a flow rate of about 300 cfm. With the rotor assembly 31 rotating at about 2400 rpm, the air passing through the heat exchanger 12 was heated from a temperature of about 60.degree. F. to a temperature of 100°-145° F. while the water temperature supplied to the heat exchanger 12 from the liquid heater 25 was at a temperature of about 210° F. and the temperature of the water returned to the liquid heater 25 from the heat exchanger 12 is at a temperature of about 185° F. At this rotational speed, the pump impeller 58 was pumping the water at a flow rate of about 2 gpm with a pressure differential of about 0.5 psi across the impeller 58. The thermostatic switch 22 in the space to be conditioned was set to maintain the temperature of the air in the space at about 71° F. while the thermostatic switch 24 was set to start operation of the liquid heater 25 when the temperature of the air exiting the heat exchanger 12 dropped to about 100° F. and to stop operation of the liquid heater 25 when the temperature of the air exiting the heat exchanger 12 reached about 140° F. Typically, the operating cycle for the fan 15 was about 10-12 minutes with the liquid heater 25 being operated for about two cycles of 1-2 minutes each during each operating cycle of the fan.


US Patent # 4,483,277
( Cl. 122/26 ~ 20 November 1984 )

Superheated Liquid Heating System

Eugene Perkins

Abstract --- A heating system using two liquid heaters of the immersed rotor type is provided for supplying heated liquid to a heat exchanger, and the liquid heaters are alternately connected to and disconnected from the heat exchanger so that the disconnected heater will produce superheated liquid.

Description

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A heating system which may be portable or installed, for example in a residence or other building, utilizes as its source of heat a liquid heater comprising a chamber filled with a liquid in which a body is rotated to create friction in the liquid, which is then supplied to a heat exchanger external to the liquid heater. A heating system is provided having two such liquid heaters, together with means for alternately connecting each of the heaters to the heat exchanger while disconnecting the other heater from the heat exchanger, thereby producing superheated liquid in the closed liquid heater.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A number of U.S. patents, and my co-pending application for patent Ser. No. 311,074, filed Oct. 13, 1981, for Heating Device, now abandoned describe and claim apparatus for producing heat by rotating a cylindrical body within a closed chamber containing a liquid, thereby producing friction and shearing action within the liquid and raising its temperature to a degree which makes the liquid a source of heat when supplied to a heat exchanger forming part of a heating system.

It is often necessary or desirable in the use of heating systems utilizing such liquid heaters to continuously provide to the heat exchanger liquid at a higher temperature than can normally be produced by a liquid heater of the type to which the invention relates, and it has therefore been the object of this invention to provide a liquid heater of that type, and a heating system utilizing such a liquid heater, which will produce superheated liquid for delivery to the heat exchanger.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a part sectional and part elevational view of the heating system provided by the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a new and useful liquid heater and a heating system utilizing the heater to provide liquid at higher temperatures than may normally be provided by the pertinent type of liquid heater.

The liquid heater provided by the invention is disclosed in FIG. 1 and comprises a housing chamber defined by a cylindrical wall 2 and end walls 4, 6 through which there extends axially a shaft 8 on which there are mounted in spaced relation two cylindrical rotors 10, 12. Between the two rotors there are two parallel, axially spaced annular walls 22, 24 defining on either side the spaced rotor chambers 26, 28 and between them a compartment 30 within which there is mounted on the shaft a centrifugal type pump 32. The inner edges of the annular walls 22, 24 define a central opening 34 providing communication between the two rotor chambers and the pump chamber. The rotor chambers have, respectively, inlet ports 36, 38 and the pump chamber has outlet port 40. Any suitable means may be provided for rotating the shaft, the rotors and the pump.

The heating system provided by the invention utilizing the described double rotor and single pump liquid heating apparatus comprises a heat exchanger 50 comprising a screen and an elongated tubing through which liquid from the heater is passed, and which may be conventional in structure and operation or which may be modified as described and claimed in my co-pending application for U.S. patent Ser. No. 311,074 filed Oct. 13, 1981 for Heating Device, now abandoned. In the system according to the present invention the port 40 of the pump chamber 30 is connected by tubing 52 to the inlet port 53 of the tubing which forms part of the heat exchanger, and the ports 36, 38 of the rotor chambers 26, 28 are connected, respectively, by tubes 54, 56 to the fixed part 58 of a switching valve 60. A tube 62 leads from this valve to the outlet port 64 of the heat exchanger tubing, and the valve comprises a movable member 70 having two passages 72, 74 through it. Suitable means, such as that illustrated, may be provided for moving the valve part 70 to alternate positions, in one of which the outlet port 64 of the heat exchanger tubing is connected to rotor chamber 26 through tube 62, valve passage 72 and tube 54, and in the other of which the outlet port of the heat exchanger is connected to rotor chamber 28 through tube 62, valve passage 74 and tube 56.

In the use and operation of the described system the shaft is rotated to rotate the two rotors and the pump and the switching valve is operated in the manner described to cause each of the rotor chambers to be alternately connected into the heating system while the other rotor chamber is disconnected from the remainder of the heating system. In this latter condition the liquid in the disconnected rotor chamber will be superheated because the rotor operates without release of the liquid in its chamber to the rest of the system. Upon further operation of the valve the closed rotor chamber will be connected into the system and will deliver superheated liquid to the heat exchanger. At the same time as this occurs, the other rotor chamber will be closed at the switching valve to cause superheated liquid to be produced within it which will be delivered to the heat exchanger when the valve is again shifted.


US Patent # 4,501,231

Heating System with Liquid Pre-heating

( Cl 122/26 ~ 26 February 1985 )

Eugene Perkins

Abstract --- A heating system is provided in which a rotor is rotated within a body of liquid within a chamber to heat the liquid by friction, and the liquid is conveyed to a heat exchanger and then returned to the liquid heater. The rotor chamber of the liquid heater is surrounded by a jacket chamber to which cooled liquid passes from the heat exchanger and in which it is heated by convection from the rotor chamber and from which it passes to the rotor chamber.

Description

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A heating system which may be portable or installed, for example in a residence or other building, utilizes as the source of heat a liquid heater comprising a chamber filled with a liquid in which a body is rotated to create friction in the liquid, which is then supplied to a heat exchanger external to the liquid heater through a circulation system. Direct introduction of the cooled liquid from the heat exchanger causes a thermal impact on the liquid with reduction in efficiency of the system, and this thermal impact is reduced by supplying the cooled liquid from the heat exchanger to a jacket surrounding the liquid heater before introduction of the liquid into the heating chamber of the liquid heater.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

While liquid heaters per ses of the described type have been described in many patents and in the literature, no heating system, whether protable or installed, utilizing such a liquid heater as the source of heat has been developed or used. Among the many reasons for this is the observed fact that the cooled liquid returned from the heat exchanger to the liquid heater produces a thermal impact on the liquid in the heater reducing the heating effect on the liquid within the heater and therefore the overall efficiency of the system. The object of the invention has therefore been to provide means for reducing the thermal impact and therefore increasing the efficiency of the system, and this is accomplished by the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a part sectional and part schematic view of a heating system in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, and

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the heating system provided by the invention comprises a liquid heating unit A, a heat exchanger B, and tubing C which provides a system for circulating heated liquid from the liquid heating unit to the heat exchanger, where it loses heat, and back to the liquid heating unit for re-heating.

The basic liquid heating unit A comprises a housing 2 formed by a cylindrical wall 6 having a horixontal axis, and end walls 8, 10. These walls bound a rotor chamber within which there is mounted a shaft 12 a rotor 14 having a cylindrical surface 16 and, if desired, end walls 18, 20. The rotor surface is concentric with the cylindrical housing wall 6 and is spaced inwardly from it, leaving an annular space 22 within the housing and surrounding the rotor.

The shaft 12 is rotatably mounted in the end walls of the housing and extends outside the rotor chamber through a sealed bearing 24 in end wall 10 into a pump chamber 30 where a centrifugal type pump 32 is mounted on the shaft. Means are provided for rotating the shaft, the rotor and the pump and may take the form of a pulley and belt 34 which are connected to be driven by a motor (not shown).

The heat exchanger B is of conventional construction and comprises a screen through which a tube extends which, in accordance with known practice, is formed into a plurality of parallel sections connected by bends to provide a continuous conduit within the screen to which heated liquid is supplied from the liquid heater A and from which cooled liquid flows to the liquid heater.

Means are provided by the invention for pre-heating the cooled liquid flowing from the heat exchanger before it is introduced into the rotor chamber of the liquid heater, and such means comprise, first, an annular jacket chamber 40 which surrounds the rotor chamber 22 and is bounded on the outside by a cylindrical outer wall 42 and internally by the annular wall 6 of the rotor chamber. The radial width of the jacket chamber may be selected to provide a total volume of the system (rotor chamber, pump chamber, heat exchanger tubing and connecting tubing) adequate to produce sufficient liquid heated to a designed temperature to provide the BTUs required by the system.

In accordance with the invention the parts of the system are interconnected to produce a flow of liquid to cause the desired pre-heating of the liquid output of the heat exchanger. To provide this flow the upper part of the jacket chamber is connected at 50 to the tube 52 which is connected to the outlet end of the tubing of the heat exchanger, while the lower part of the jacket chamber is connected at 54 to the inlet end of the heat exchanger tubing through tube 56, pump chamber 30 and tube 58, which connects to the inlet of the heat exchanger tubing. The inlet and outlet connections 50, 54 between the jacket chamber and the heat exchanger are located at opposite axial ends of that chamber.

Internally of the apparatus the lower part of the jacket chamber communicates with the lower part of the rotor chamber through port 60 which is below the inlet opening 50 to the jacket chamber, and the upper part of the rotor chamber communicates with the upper part of the jacket chamber through port 62 which is above the outlet port 54 of the jacket chamber.

In the operation of the system cooled liquid flows from the heat exchanger through tube 52 and enters the jacket chamber 40 at port 50. Within the jacket chamber it flows downwardly in oppositely directed streams, as shown at 70, 72 in FIG. 2, to the lower part of the jacket chamber where it enters the rotor chamber through port 60. Within the rotor chamber the liquid flows upwardly in oppositely directed streams 74, 76 and is mixed with heated liquid being produced in the rotor chamber. The mixed heated liquid passes from the rotor chamber to the jacket chamber through port 62 which is above jacket chamber outlet port 54. Within the jacket chamber the heated liquid moves in oppositely and downwardly directed streams 78, 80 to the outlet port 54, from which it passes through tube 56, pump chamber 30 and tube 58 to the inlet port of the heat exchanger tubing.

The return flow of cooled liquid from the heat exchanger picks up heat in its passage through the jacket chamber by convection through the rotor chamber wall 6 and therefore enters the rotor chamber at a higher temperature than would be the case if the liquid stream flowing from the heat exchanger entered the rotor chamber directly, thus increasing the efficiency of the system.

The provision of the jacket chamber or its equivalent also permits the total volume of the system to be increased, this often being desirable or necessary to accomodate the heating unit to a particular installation.


US Patent  # 4,651,681

( Cl 122/26 ~ 24 March 1987 )

Heating System using a Liquid Heater as the Source of Heat

Eugene Perkins

Abstract --- A heating system of the portable, installed or other type in which the heat source is an apparatus in which a body of liquid is heated by friction produced in the liquid by a rotating body immersed in the liquid and the heated liquid is supplied to a heat exchanger, the heating system being made efficient and successful by relations between its parts and by reduction of the time spent in the heater exchanger by the heated liquid.

Description

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A heating system, which may be portable or installed in a residential or other type of building, has as its source of heat a liquid heater in which a body is rotated within a closed chamber containing a liquid which, in turn, is supplied through tubing to a heat exchanger external to the source of heat, which is of the type in which heated fluid flows through a tube having a plurality of parallel linear sections connected by bends. The heated liquid is supplied by the source through a plurality of separate tubes leading to alternate bends of the heat exchanger tubing, and the other bends are connected through a plurality of other separate tubes to the inlet of the liquid heater, whereby heated liquid passes through only a part of the entire heat exchanger and thereby retains a greater part of its heat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The single FIGURE of the drawings is a view of the heating system provided by the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the heating system provided by the invention is illustrated in the drawings and comprises a liquid heating unit A, a heat exchanger B, and tubing C, which provides a circulating system for carrying heated liquid from the liquid heating unit to the heat exchanger, where it loses heat, and back to the heating unit for re-heating.

The liquid heating unit A comprises a housing 2 having an internal chamber which is bounded by cylindrical surface 4, having diameter d1 and end walls 6, 8. A partition 10 divides the chamber into a rotor chamber 12 and a pump chamber 14, and has a central opening 16 of diameter d2. A shaft 18 is rotatably mounted in the end walls and extends concentrically through the rotor chamber and the pump chamber and passes through the opening in the partition. Means are provided for rotating the shaft and may take the form of a pulley 20 carried by the shaft outside the housing and connected to be driven by a motor (not shown) and belt 22. The pump chamber has an outlet port 24 and the rotor chamber has an inlet port 26 to which are connected parts of the circulating tube system C.

Within the rotor chamber there is mounted on shaft 18 a rotor body 30 having a cylindrical surface 32 of diameter d3 and end walls 34, 36. The rotor surface 32 is concentric with the cylindrical housing surface 4 and spaced inwardly from it by radial distance d4, leaving an annular space 38 within the housing and surrounding the rotor. The end walls 34, 36 of the rotor are parallel to, and spaced inwardly from, the housing end wall 6 and partition 10 and are spaced inwardly from them by distances d5 and d6, respectively.

An impeller-type pump 40 is mounted on shaft 18 within the pump chamber and has radial hollow vanes 42 surrounding a central hub 44 having an inlet recess 46 which faces the central opening in partition 10.

The heat exchanger B is of conventional structure and comprises a screen 50 supporting a tube 52 which in accordance with known practice is formed into a plurality of parallel sections 54 connected by bends 56 to provide in conventional practice, a continuous conduit within the screen for the passage of heated liquid.

The invention provides means for reducing dissipation of heat from the liquid in the heat exchanger. In distinction to the conventional heat exchanger in which the liquid passes through the entire exchanger tubing all liquid delivered to the tubing of the heat exchanger in accordance with the invention passes through only a small part of the entire tubing of the exchanger, thereby reducing dissipation of heat from the liquid and returning the heated liquid to the heating unit at a higher temperature than if, as under conventional practice, the liquid passed through the entire tubing of the heat exhanger.

The means for providing this result at the heat exchanger comprises a plurality of tubes 60 which branch outwardly from the tube 62 which connects the heat exchanger to the outlet passage 24 of the heating unit, and which are connected to alternate bends 56a of the complete heat exchanger tubing. In addition, the tube 64 which leads to the inlet passage 26 of the heating unit is connected through a plurality of branch tubes 66 which are connected to the bends 66a of the heat exchange tubing between the bends 56a to which the inlet tubes are connected.

Because of these connections of the inlet and outlet passages of the heater unit to the heat exchanger tubing heated liquid from the heater unit is within the heat exchanger for a shorter length of time than is the case in which the liquid passes through the entire heat exchanger tubing system, thereby returning to the heating unit liquid with a greater heat content. It will be understood that while, for the purpose of this description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, the inlet and outlet connections are made to alternate bends of the heat exchanger tubing the connections may be made to bends or parts of the tubing spaced more than alternately if it is desired to increase the heat loss by the liquid while in the heat exchanger.

The incorporation into a heating system of the features of this invention results in the maintenance of a sufficiently high percentage of the heat content of the liquid to cause a "flywheel" effect which permits successful use of the liquid heater of the described type as the source of heat of a complete heating system.


US Patent # 4,779,575
Cl. 122/26 ~ 25 October 1988

Liquid friction heating apparatus

Eugene Perkins

Abstract --- Liquid friction heating apparatus includes a pump rotor and an impeller rotor in a liquid reservoir. As the pump and impeller are rotated they impart frictional heat to the liquid. Further, the pump at all times delivers liquid to the inlet of the impeller which impells the liquid through restricted orifices to further heat the liquid. The pump positively prevents cavitation and ensures a constant flow through the orifices.

Description

This invention relates to apparatus for heating liquid and more particularly to apparatus for heating liquid by internal friction.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well known to heat liquid by internal friction either by rotating a body in a liquid reservoir as disclosed, for example, in my U.S. Pat. # 4,424,797 or by forcing liquid through restricted orifices as disclosed in the patent to Horne et al. U.S. Pat. # 4,344,567. Though rotating a body through liquid in a reservoir is effective to heat the liquid a problem of cavitation can arise where the rotor loses intimate contact with the liquid, and during such periods the heating process becomes highly inefficient.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The broad object of the invention is to vastly improve the efficiency of a friction heater for liquids by not only rotating a cylindrical heating rotor in the liquid, but also by constructing the rotor as a liquid impeller wherein a central cavity is provided in the rotor with fluid passages interconnecting the central cavity and the periphery of the rotor, the passages being so arranged relative to the rotational axis of the rotor that fluid is expelled with great centrifugal force through the passages, each passage having adjacent its outlet end a restricted orifice. As the liquid is expelled through the orifices, it is heated due to the frictional constriction of the liquid by the orifices. In addition, the liquid in the reservoir has a measure of heat imparted thereto by the frictional engagement of the liquid with all of the external surfaces of the rotor. To further increase the efficiency of the heater and in accordance with the invention I provide pump means which delivers pressurized liquid from the reservoir directly to the central cavity whereby cavitation in the cavity is entirely eliminated and liquid is forced through the restricted orifices not only by centrifugal force but also by the pressure on the liquid delivered by the pump to the cavity. Though any of a variety of pump means would fall within the purview of the invention, desirably the pump is a rotor generally similar to the described heating rotor but substantially reversed whereby as the pump rotor rotates it scoops liquid into the fluid passages, which are arranged relative to the axis of rotation that the liquid flows inwardly to a central cavity which is directly connected by conduit means to the central cavity of the heating rotor. The advantage of providing a rotary pump of the type described is that it, too, as it rotates imparts heat to the liquid wherever the latter is in frictional contact with the pump rotor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a vertical cross-sectional view of apparatus for frictionally heating liquid in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-sectional view of a rotary pump looking in the direction of the arrows 2--2 in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the rotary heating impeller of the invention looking in the direction of the arrows 3--3 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings the numeral 10 designates an impeller constructed in accordance with the invention. The impeller 10 is disposed within a closed housing 12 defining a reservoir containing a suitable heat transfer liquid. The housing 12 has an outlet port 14 and an inlet port 15 connected to the inlet and outlet, respectively, of a suitable heat utilization device (not shown) such as a heat exchanger.

The impeller 10 comprises a cylindrical rotor 16 having a peripheral surface 18 and a central inlet cavity 20. Fluid passages 22 lead from the inlet cavity to the peripheral surface 18 of the rotor, the passages 22 being arranged relative to the axis of rotation of the rotor 16 that upon rotation thereof in a predetermined direction, as indicated by the arrow 24, liquid is impelled by centrifugal force to flow from the inlet cavity 20, through the passages 22 outwardly of the rotor. Restricted orifices 26 are provided in the fluid passages, preferably at their outer extremities where the velocity of the liquid is at a maximum, to cause the liquid to become heated as it is impelled through the orifices. The orifice 26 may be provided in inserts 28 and if there is danger of erosion of the rotor, should it be of a light metal such as aluminum, there may be provided additional inserts at the inner ends of the passages 22 or, for that matter, throughout the lengths of the passages, any and all inserts being made of a substance, such as steel, having a predetermined hardness capable of resisting erosion.

Means, such as the shaft 28 and drive pulley 30, are provided for rotating the impeller rotor 16 and, in accordance with the invention pump means, broadly designated by the numeral 30, delivers liquid from the housing 12 directly to the inlet cavity 20 of the impeller rotor 16 at all times while the latter is rotated in the predetermined direction 24. As is apparent,thecavity 20 and the peripheral surface 18 are co-axial and a conduit 32 is co-axial with the inlet cavity 20, the pump means 30 being disposed to induce pressurized axial liquid flow through the conduit 32 into the cavity 20.

As shown, the shaft 28 extends into the housing 12 in cantilever fashion with the inlet port 15 being axially aligned with the shaft. This is the arrangement of a prototype. Obviously, the shaft could extend to a bearing in the left hand wall of the housing 12 as viewed in FIG. 1 and the inlet port could be located elsewhere in that wall. Regardless, the pump means 30 is shown secured to the shaft 28 with the pump means having inlet means, hereafter described in detail, open to the liquid in the housing 12 and an outlet connected to the fluid conduit 32.

The pump means 30 comprises a rotor 32 which may be substantially similar to the impeller rotor 16 though reversed. The pump rotor has a peripheral surface 34, a central outlet cavity 36 and fluid passages 37 leading from the peripheral surface to the outlet cavity and arranged relative to the axis of rotation of the rotor that upon rotation thereof in the same predetermined direction 24, fluid is forced to flow from the periphery of the rotor into the outlet cavity 36. In order to positively induce flow into the passages 37 the ends thereof are provided with suitable scoops 38 as seen in FIG. 2. The fluid conduit means 32 comprises a cylindrical member rigidly connected to the respective pump and impeller rotors 32, 16 for rotation therewith in axial alignment with the outlet and inlet cavities 36, 20.

The operation of the apparatus should be clear from the foregoing description. The pump and impeller are driven in a closed system, and as the two rotors rotate, they heat liquid in frictional contact with their exposed surfaces. In addition, the pump delivers liquid under pressure to the inlet cavity of the impeller from which the liquid is impelled through the passages 22 having restricted orifices 28 therein where the liquid is further heated. Due to the pumping action of the pump which positively delivers liquid under pressure to the inlet cavity of the impeller rotor 16, it is impossible for the inlet cavity to cavitate and thus liquid is at all times subjected to heating effects with substantially no loss in efficiency as can occur where a rotor is simply rotated in a body of liquid. The combined pumping action of the pump 30 and impeller 10 is highly adequate to ensure radial flow through the outlet port 14, and the device being served, such as a heat exchanger, and back to the inlet port 15.

It will be apparent that the invention is susceptible of a variety of modifications and changes without, however departing from the scope and spirit of the appended claims.


US Patent # 4,798,176
Cl 122/26 ~ 17 January 1989

Apparatus for frictionally heating liquid

Eugene Perkins

Abstract --- An impeller for frictionally heating liquid is arranged that upon rotation thereof in a liquid reservoir, liquid is forced from the exterior of the impeller through passages having restricted orifices therein to an inner outlet cavity closed on one side and having an axial opening on the other. The impeller not only heats the liquid due to the shear friction of the liquid with its outer surface, but the liquid flowing through these passages is further heated as it is forced through the orifices. The impeller serves both as a friction heater and a pump to circulate heated liquid through an outlet port in the housing to a heat utilization device and back to an inlet port.

Description ~

This invention relates to liquid heating apparatus and more particularly to apparatus which heats liquid by friction.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to heat liquid by rotating a rotor in a reservoir of liquid, such an arrangement being shown in my U.S. Pat. # 4,424,797. It is also known to frictionally heat a liquid byforcing it through restricted orifices such an arrangement being shown in the patent to Horne et al. U.S. Pat. # 4,344,567.

A problem associated with rotating a rotor in a bath of liquid is that there can be a cavitation problem wherein the liquid periodically separates at the interface between the rotor and liquid. Further, where the heated liquid must be transported to a heat utilization device, such as a heat exchanger separate pump means must usually be provided.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to provide an impeller comprising a rotor rotatable in a reservoir of liquid to heat the same through frictional shear of liquid at the interface between the rotor and the liquid. The rotor has a peripheral surface and a central outlet cavity which has an opening on one side of the rotor while its other side is closed. Fluid passages extend from the peripheral surface of the rotor to the outlet cavity and the passages are arranged relative to the axis of rotation of the rotor that upon rotation thereof in a predetermined direction liquid is forced to flow from the peripheral surface into the outlet cavity. Restricted orifices are positioned in the passages to cause the liquid flowing therethrough to be further heated.

Another object of the invention is to provide the combination of an impeller of the foregoing nature and a closed housing defining a liquid reservoir and in which the impeller is rotatably mounted, the housing having an inlet port in radial alignment with the impeller rotor and an outlet port in axial alignment with the opening in the side of the outlet cavity whereby the rotor, by its outer surface and the restricted orifices not only serves as a liquid heater but it also serves as a pump to circulate the heated liquid through the outlet port and a heat utilization device, such as a heat exchanger, and back to the inlet port.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a vertical cross-sectional view showing the impeller of the invention mounted in a closed housing defining a liquid reservoir; and

FIG. 2 is a view of the impeller looking in the direction of the arrows 2--2 FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, the numeral 10 defines the impeller of the invention which is adapted to be disposed within a closed housing 12 defining a reservoir containing a heat transfer liquid. The impeller 10 comprises a rotor 14 having a peripheral surface 16 and a central outlet cavity 18 having an axial opening on one side while being closed on the other. Fluid passages 20 lead from the peripheral surface 16 of the rotor into the cavity 18, the passages 20 being arranged relative to the axis of rotation of the rotor that upon rotation thereof in a predetermined direction, as indicated by the arrow 22, liquid is forced to flow from the periphery of the rotor into the outlet cavity 18. Restricted orifices 24 are provided in each fluid passage proximate the outlet cavity 18 to cause liquid to be heated as it flows through the passages into the outlet cavity.

Though it is within the purview of the invention for the passages to define various longitudinal paths for liquid flow, desirably the passages are straight, as shown, and equiangularly spaced about the axis of rotation of the rotor, the longitudinal axis of the respective passages sloping relative to the axis of rotation in the same direction as the predetermined direction of rotation as indicated by arrow 22.

The entrances of the passages 20 at the peripheral surface 16 of the rotor are provided with scoops 25 which extend beyond the peripheral surface 16 and face in the same direction as the predetermined direction of rotation.

In its position of use the impeller 10 is mounted in the housing 12 on a shaft 26 which extends through a wall of the housing and may be driven in the predetermined direction 22 by any convenient power source represented generally by the pully 28. The housing 12 has an inlet port 30 connected to the outlet of a heat utilization device 32, such as a heat exchanger, and leading into the housing in substantially radial alignment with the rotor. The housing 12 also has an outlet port 28 in substantial axial alignment with the outlet opening of the outlet cavity and leading to the inlet of the heat utilization device.

Desirably the rotor body of the impeller is made of a light-weight substance such as aluminum or even plastic. However, such substances are subject to erosion as the rotor is driven at a high rate of rotational speed through the liquid. To counter this problem, the scoops 25 and the restricted orifices 24 are formed on or in inserts 30, 32, respectively, having a hardness to resist such erosion. Means are provided, such as screw threads (not shown) or an interference fit for rigidly connecting the inserts to the rotor proximate the inlets and outlets, respectively, of the passages.

In use, the described impeller of the invention has been found to heat the liquid to a high level in a short period of time with a high degree of efficiency and with no interruption in flow due to cavitation.



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