|Title of Invention||
"SYSTEM TO DISINFECT AIR WITH ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION"
|Abstract||A system to disinfect, prefiltered air using ultraviolet radiation (UV), said system comprising: (a) an air containment vessel (130); (b) an air inlet tube (110) constructed of a non-UV-absorbing material, extending into said air contrainment vessel, and comprising an entrance end (111), a distally opposing exit and (112), an internal surface (121) in contact with said air, and an external surface; (c) total internal reflecting features disposed up-on at least a portion of the external surface of said air inlet tube; (d) an ultraviolet inlet aperture (135) only optically penetrating said air containment vessel; (e) a high intensity ultraviolet lamp (40) arranged in such a manner that ultraviolet radiation provided from the lamp (40) passes through said ultraviolet inlet aperture and impinges upon the internal surface of said inlet tube; and (f) an air outlet (150) extending from said air containment vessel.|
|Full Text||The present invention relates to system to disinfect air with ultraviolet radiation. RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application is a continuation-in-part of the US Patent Application Serial No. 10/268567, filed October 9, 2002, and relies on the disclosure of US Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/336381, filed November 2,2001, both of which are incorporated by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to an air purification system using intense ultraviolet irradiation to break down chemical bonds in toxic compounds and to de-activate pathogens. The method can also be applied to any mass transport, including the purification of water or other fluids containing naturally occurring toxins or those resulting from biological and chemical agents used in warfare.
Prior art UV disinfecting systems are typically water disinfecting systems where the water is exposed to UV radiation such that the radiation passes through the water, strikes a reflecting surface and then again passes through the water after reflection. The reflecting surfaces, typically polished stainless steel, absorb a significant amount of radiation. Air disinfection systems, such as that described by Halloran (US Patent 3,744,216) employ extended;-arc low pressure mercury germicidal lamps within an airstream. Companies such as American Ultraviolet and Steril-Aire manufacture systems that use these lamps within duct of a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, providing germicidal action.
In Whitehead, US 4,260,220, a square cross-section hollow tube waveguide is constructed, operating under the principle of total internal reflection
(TIR). Each wall section has a planar inner surface and an outer surface having 90° angle longitudinal corrugations. The walls are constructed of transparent dielectric material, such as acrylic or optically clear glass. The Whitehead device is used to transport visible light.
A square cross section light waveguide is known in the art to maximum flux homogeneity in a short distance according to Pritchard (US Patent 3,170,980). These devices are typically employed in projection systems between a the light source and an imaging device such as for example is described in Magarill (US Patent 5,625,738).
Common to the prior art UV disinfection systems is overdosage of ultraviolet (UV) radiation to the air being disinfected, which necessarily increases the size, weight, and power of the resulting equipment. There is a long-felt need to improve the efficiency of such systems and also to provide a portable efficient UV disinfecting system for air.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
My invention is an apparatus and method for disinfecting air that channels air through one end of a hollow totally internally reflecting light conduit or waveguide and couples ultraviolet (UV) energy from a high intensity lamp through the conduit or waveguide from the other end. The waveguide itself is constructed of a non-UV-absorbing material, such as UV-grade fused silica glass. Advantageously, the use of light-pipe technology, which is based on total internal reflection (TIR), ensures that all the input UV radiation is dissipated in the air.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Brief Description of the Several Views of the Drawing
FIG. 1 depicts an apparatus for disinfecting water using ultraviolet radiation
FIG. 3 depicts a light pipe irradiation zone within the UV disinfecting apparatus of FIG. 1, showing how the ultraviolet radiation is contained using total internal reflection (TIR).
FIG. 4 depicts an apparatus for disinfecting air using ultraviolet radiation (UV) in accordance with one illustrative embodiment of my invention.
FIG. 5 depicts a sectional view of the UV disinfecting apparatus of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 depicts a block diagram of an air handling system that incorporates my inventive UV disinfecting apparatus.
List of Reference Numbers for the Major Elements in the Drawing
The following is a list of the major elements in the drawings in numerical order.
1 incidence angle (refraction at fluid inlet tube internal surface)
2 internal reflection angle (reflection at fluid inlet tube external surface)
5 fluid (to be disinfected)
10 fluid inlet tube
11 entrance end (fluid inlet tube)
12 exit end (fluid inlet tube)
13 internal surface (fluid inlet tube)
14 external surface (fluid inlet tube)
15 concentric gap (between inlet tube and optical cladding tube)
20 optical cladding tube
30 fluid containment vessel
31 ultraviolet mirror (fluid containment vessel internal surface)
32 air gap (fluid containment vessel)
33 inner tube (of fluid containment vessel)
35 ultraviolet inlet aperture
36 lower ultraviolet window surface
37 upper ultraviolet window surface 40 high intensity ultraviolet lamp 50 fluid outlet tube
71 first UV light ray (exiting lower ultraviolet window surface)
72 second UV light ray (exiting fluid)
73 third UV light ray (entering fluid inlet tube internal surface)
74 fourth UV light ray (exiting fluid inlet tube internal surface)
75 fifth UV light ray (entering fluid)
100 light pipe (formed from fluid, fluid inlet tube, and concentric
101 air inlet fan
102 air filter
103 catalytic filter
104 air outlet fan
105 air (to be disinfected)
110 air inlet tube
111 entrance end (air inlet tube)
112 exit end (air inlet tube)
113 internal surface (fluid inlet tut>e)
114 external surface (fluid inlet tube)
120 total internal reflecting features (of air inlet tube)
121 internal surface (of total internal reflecting features) .
123 deflector mirror
130 air containment vessel
131 ultraviolet mirror (air containment vessel internal surface)
135 ultraviolet inlet aperture
137 ultraviolet window surface
140 high intensity ultraviolet lamp
141 ultraviolet sensor
150 fluid outlet tube
101 air inlet fan
102 air filter
103 catalytic filter
104 air outlet fan
200 controller (for disinfecting system)
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Mode(s) for Carrying Out the Invention
Referring first to FIG. 1, the basic construction of an ultraviolet (UV) water disinfecting device in accordance with my invention is shown, including a fluid inlet tube 10 that acts as a central light pipe, an optical cladding tube 20 around the lower portion of fluid inlet tube 10 and defining therewith a concentric gap 15, a fluid containment vessel 30, a fluid outlet tube 50, and a high intensity UV lamp 40, such as a flashlamp.
Referring next to FIG. 2, the fluid containment vessel 30 includes an internal surface configured as an ultraviolet mirror 31; for example, the fluid containment vessel may be constructed from aluminum and the internal surface may be polished aluminum. A fluid 5 to be disinfected, such as water, enters the fluid inlet tube 10 through an entrance end 11. The fluid inlet tube 10 may be manufactured, for example from UV-grade fused silica.
The fluid 5 travels through the fluid inlet tube 10 towards the high intensity UV lamp 40 and exits the fluid inlet tube 10 at the exit end 12. The fluid 5 flow then is redirected by an ultraviolet (UV) transmissive window lower surface 36, which forms a portion of the lower end of fluid containment vessel 30. Next, the fluid 5 flow is redirected to the fluid outlet tube 50, which is located in the upper end of the fluid containment vessel 30.
The fluid 5 is contained within the fluid containment vessel 30. The fluid containment vessel 30 includes an inner tube 33, which may be constructed from UV-grade fused silica, contained within an outer aluminum shell with a reflective interior surface defining a UV mirror 31, with a gap 32, such as an air gap, between the outer shell and the inner tube 33. Then ends of the outer tube 30 are closed off with the lower ultraviolet window surface 36 and an ultraviolet window upper surface 37.
The preferred orientation of the ultraviolet (UV) water disinfecting device is vertical, so that the fluid 5 flow approximates plug-flow, and the position of the fluid outlet tube 50 is at or near the highest point, allowing for quick and efficient removal of undesirable air bubbles. Air bubbles present in the fluid 5 can form scattering sites for the UV radiation thereby degrading system efficiency. These UV scattering sites result in UV radiation being directed at less than optimum angles causing reflections from the fluid containment vessel internal surface, the ultraviolet mirror 31 that is approximately 86% reflective when composed of aluminum tube. Without these UV scattering sites, the ultraviolet radiation is dissipated mostly within the fluid 5, because all reflections are near loss-less because of the total internal reflection (TIR) operation of a light pipe.
Referring next to FIG. 3, a light pipe 100 region is formed from the fluid 5, such as water, the fluid inlet tube 10, such as a UV-grade fused silica tube, and the concentric gap 15, such as an air gap or a vacuum gap. The concentric gap 15 is hydraulically isolated from the fluid 5, in order to allow the light pipe 100 to operate. Light pipe operation is based on the refractive index of the concentric gap being less than the refractive index of the fluid 5. The refractive indices of
fused silica and water in the UV region of the light spectrum are shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1 - Refractive Indices of Fused Silica and Water
As shown in Table 1, water has about the same refractive index as UV grade fused silica glass in the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the light spectrum.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is transmitted from the high intensity ultraviolet lamp 40, passes through the ultraviolet inlet aperture 35, and enters the lower ultraviolet window surface 36 as shown in FIG. 2. It is desirable to minimize the distance between lamp 40 and aperture 35 to preclude UV absorption by fluid-borne or surface contaminants. In certain embodiments, aperture 35 is fashioned with one or more lens elements (to enhance the optical coupling efficiency. A first UV light ray 71 exits lower ultraviolet window surface, is bent by refraction, and enters the fluid 5, defining a second UV light ray 72. The second UV light ray 72 impinges upon the internal surface 13 of the fluid inlet tube 10, which is in contact with the fluid 5, at an incidence angle IDwhere incidence angle 1 is measured with reference to the surface normal of internal surface 13. As the second UV light ray 72 enters a stdewall of the fluid inlet tube
10, it is bent by refraction and redirected at a new internal reflection angle 2, defining a third UV light ray 73.
The value of angle 2, as defined by Snell's Law, is a function of incident angle 1 and the refractive indices of the fluid 5 and the material, such as UV-grade silica, from which the fluid inlet tube 10 is constructed. The third UV light ray 73 continues through the fluid inlet tube 10 material and impinges upon the external surface 14 of the fluid inlet tube that is in contact with the concentric gap 15. The third UV light ray 73 is reflected back into the sidewall of the fluid inlet tube 10, defining a fourth UV light ray 74 when the refractive indices of the fluid inlet tube 10 material and the concentric gap 15 meet total internal reflection conditions as defined by Snell's Law. The refractive index of the concentric gap 15 is defined by the material contained in the concentric gap or by the refractive index of a vacuum if no material is contained within the concentric gap 15.
It is a feature of my invention that a light pipe 100 region, as defined by an initial optical trajectory from UV light source 40, exists for at least part of the length of the fluid inlet tube 10. Therefore, it is required that the incidence angle 2 be limited to a predetermined range in accordance with the refractive indices of the fluid 5, the material from which the fluid inlet tube 10 is constructed, and the concentric gap 15. In a preferred embodiment of my invention, the fluid inlet tube 10 is constructed from UV-grade silica glass, the fluid 5 to be disinfected is water, and the concentric gap 15 contains dry air.
Another embodiment of my invention suitable for disinfecting air is shown in FIGS. 4-6. Referring first to FIG. 4, an air containment vessel 130 includes an internal surface configured as an ultraviolet mirror 131; for example, the air containment vessel may be constructed from aluminum and the internal surface may be polished aluminum. The air 105 to be disinfected enters the TIR light conduit 110 through an entrance end 111. The light conduit 110 may be manufactured, for example from UV-grade fused silica, ^specialty grades that are highfy transmissive in the germicidal wavelengths of 200nm - 300nm, such as Hereaus Suprasil.
Refer now to FIG. 5, air inlet tube 110 transitions into a section including total internal reflecting (TIR) features 120 that extend from the exit end 110 closest to lamp 140, some distance toward the entrance end 111. This allows some UV light to leak out of air inlet tube 110 and distribute throughout air containment vessel 130. In one embodiment, the TIR features 120 are a plurality of prism light guides, similar to those taught for visible light in Whitehead (US Patent 4,260,220), which describes the solid angle through which TIR can be maintained for an air waveguide. For example, the uncollimated UV energy from a short-arc xenon flash lamp without auxiliary optics can be totally contained via TIR out to a conical half angle of about 27 degrees. UV rays beyond this angle will necessarily leak through the TIR features 120 into the air 105 until it strikes another surface, such as UV mirror 131. Advantageously, air containment vessel 130 maximizes the overall system efficacy by containing the UV, allowing it more opportunity to interact with the air stream. Air containment vessel 130 can also have a square cross section, such as for maximum UV beam homogeneity, or other shape as required.
The air 105 travels through the air inlet tube 110 towards the high intensity UV lamp 140 and exits the light conduit 110 at the exit end 112. The air 105 flow strikes and is diverted around optional deflector mirror 123, which also functions optically to minimize the amount of UV radiation escaping air containment vessel 130.
For embodiments that do not include mirror 123, a portion of UV radiation from the lamp will exit the section of inlet tube 110 having TIR features 120, and enter the upper portion of containment vessel 130. Only that fraction of UV radiation from the lamp that is highly collimated will reach inlet aperture 111. These rays can be further deflected back into containment vessel 130 by introducing, for example, a right angle fitting at the inlet aperture 111.
Continuing to refer to airflow path 105, the air then strikes an ultraviolet (UV) window 135, which forms a portion of the lower end of air containment vessel 130. As discussed earlier, in certain embodiments, window 135
comprises one or more lens elements. The TIR structure, for the embodiments that are primarily designed to disinfect air, have more limited containment angles than the embodiments that are primarily designed to disinfect water. For the embodiments designed to disinfect air, some degree of optical collimation is advantageous, although the principle of etendue requires a larger cross section for the TIR region 120 of tube 110.
Finally, the air 105 flow is redirected to the air outlet 150, which is located in the upper end of the air containment vessel 130. Advantageously, while the air 105 is travelling outside of the TIR section, it receives additional UV irradiation that has been trapped by UV mirror 131, and thus forms a practical embodiment of a high efficiency UV irradation system. Alternatively, the UV exiting the lamp can be collimated with the - 27 degree conical half angle, and injected into a very long TIR guiding structure, thereby achieving extremely high efficacy (i.e. the amount of disinfection per electrical watt).
In a preferred embodiment, a UV sensor 141 is used as a feedback element to ensure that proper irradiance levels are being applied. Apprise Technology (Duluth, MN), under the trade name UV Clean, produces a suitable UV sensor that can handle continuous and pulsed UV sources. The UV sensor 141 is located with a view into vessel 130, but without direct view of UV lamp 140.' Advantageously, this position enables the sensor to measure the integrated cavity irradiance, and is not prone to variations in the lamp's output distribution. Since the air stream is filtered, cleaning of the sensor's input aperture is minimized. In certain embodiments, such as those where the provision of disinfected air life-critical, redundant UV sources and sensors are employed.
Referring now to FIG. 6, an ultraviolet air disinfecting system that uses my inventive UV disinfecting apparatus, is schematically depicted. Air to be disinfected enters, for example, through inlet fan 101 and passes through air filter 102 to remove contaminants that would degrade the system efficacy by absorbing UV. The filtered air 105 to be disinfected next flows into air
containment vessel 30 where it is irradiated by high intensity ultraviolet (UV) lamp 140. After being irradiated, the air flows from the air containment vessel 130, through optional catalytic filter 103, which converts ozone back into breathable oxygen and finally exits through air outlet fan 104. Feedback from sensors are fed into controller 200 which then can regulate the amount of UV introduced into vessel 130, and the flow rate via inlet fan 101 and outlet fan 104. Additionally, for those embodiments that use a pulsed lamp as UV source 40, controller 200 varies the pulse repetition rate. In further embodiments controller ZOO can also provide alarm warnings, for example, when sensor 141 detects abnormally low UV irradiation in chamber 130, perhaps signaling the need for the lamp to be replaced.
List of Acronyms used in the Specification
The following is a list of the acronyms used in the specification in alphabetical order.
HEPA high efficiency particulate air (filter)
HVAC heating, venting, and air conditioning
TIR total internal reflection
Alternate embodiments may be devised without departing from the spirit or the scope of the invention. For example, this same system can be adapted for a dual-use application, whereby multiple fluids (e.g. air and water) can be purified.
1. A system to disinfect, prefiltered air using ultraviolet radiation (UV), said
(a) an air containment vessel (130);
(b) an air inlet tube (110) constructed of a non-UV-absorbing material, extending into said air containment vessel, and comprising an entrance end (111), a distally opposing exit end (112), an internal surface (121) in contact with said air, and an external surface;
c) total internal reflecting features disposed up-on at least a portion of the external surface of said air inlet tube;
(d) an ultraviolet inlet aperture (135) only optically penetrating said air containment vessel;
(e) a high intensity ultraviolet lamp (40) arranged in such a manner that ultraviolet radiation provided from the lamp (40) passes through said ultraviolet inlet aperture and impinges upon the internal surface of said inlet tube; and
(f) an air outlet (150) extending from said air containment vessel.
2. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said air inlet tube is constructed from UV-grade silica glass.
3. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the total internal reflecting features comprise a plurality of prism light guides.
4. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the system comprises a UV sensor (141) as a feedback mechanism.
5. The system as claimed in claim 1 wherein ozone generation is suppresses by use
of a lamp employing UV absorbing glass.
6. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the system comprises a catalytic
filter (103) to convert ozone into oxygen.
|Indian Patent Application Number||1237/DELNP/2004|
|PG Journal Number||21/2012|
|Date of Filing||07-May-2004|
|Name of Patentee||HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC|
|Applicant Address||OF 101 COLUMBIA ROAD,P.O. BOX 2245, MORRISTOWN, NEW JERSEY 07962, USA|
|PCT International Classification Number||A6IL|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/US02/34482|
|PCT International Filing date||2002-10-30|