Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-0913
2019-04-02

Thin Ceiling Circulator to Enhance Thermal Comfort and Cabin Space 2019-01-0913

In emerging countries with hot climates, many vehicles are not fitted with a Rear Air Conditioner. Despite this, there is still a need to improve the thermal comfort of rear seat occupants in these markets. A solution to address this need is a Ceiling Circulator. The Ceiling Circulator is a product which improves the thermal comfort of occupants by circulating the air within the cabin. A Conventional Circulator design uses a cross flow fan, these fans have a large cross section and are difficult to package, sacrificing cabin space. Therefore, it is a problem to balance the requirements for rear seat thermal comfort and the constraints of limited ceiling cabin space. Our approach was to separate the air outlet & blower so as to achieve a significant reduction in cross section while maintaining the same comfort of a conventional product by maintaining delivered airflow volume. The technical challenge to improve the air outlet is to increase the "Air Volume Gain Factor" which is a ratio of the volume of air delivered by the blower / the volume of air just after the exit of the outlet. This additional airflow is induced from the surrounding air by a long thin jet of high-speed air created by the slit-shaped outlet we devised. The technical challenge to improve the blower was to maintain a high performing fan with a compact cross section, while reducing the noise output to an acceptable level. To realize this we developed a radial centrifugal blower in which we limited the rotational speed, and integrated the small brushless motor at the center of the fan. As a result, we reduced the thickness of the air outlet by 50% and the blower by 20%, starting mass production in 2016.

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