Liebherr-International has been granted a patent for a tubular heat exchanger that includes a heat exchange matrix formed by multiple heat exchange tubes. The tubes have nested ducts and can be supplied with different fluids at different temperatures. Some tubes have multiple pairs of nested ducts connected by transverse spacers. GlobalData’s report on Liebherr-International gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Liebherr-International, was a key innovation area identified from patents. Liebherr-International's grant share as of September 2023 was 46%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A heat exchanger with nested ducts and transverse spacers

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Liebherr-International AG

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11768036B2) describes a heat exchanger that is designed to efficiently transfer heat between different fluids. The heat exchanger includes a fluid circulation chamber with a fluid inlet and outlet for the outer fluid, which is brought to a specific temperature. Housed within the circulation chamber is a heat exchange matrix consisting of multiple heat exchange tubes. Each tube comprises nested inner and outer ducts that define an inner channel for the inner fluid and an intermediate channel for the intermediate fluid. The inner fluid is brought to a second temperature, while the intermediate fluid is brought to a third temperature, different from the first temperature.

One notable feature of the heat exchanger is that at least one heat exchange tube includes multiple pairs of nested ducts, which are connected by transverse spacers. This configuration allows for enhanced heat transfer between the fluids. Additionally, the heat exchange tube may include an intermediate fluid distributor to supply the intermediate channels, and at least one inner duct may pass through the distributor and open into the circulation chamber.

The patent also describes a cooling system that utilizes the heat exchanger. The system includes a hot fluid circuit and a cold fluid circuit, which supply the intermediate and inner channels, respectively. The intermediate and inner channels are supplied counter-currently by the hot and cold fluids, maximizing the efficiency of heat transfer.

Furthermore, the patent discusses an air conditioning system for the cabin of a transport vehicle that incorporates the heat exchanger. This system includes at least one air cooling system, a hot fluid circuit, and a cold fluid circuit. The heat exchanger is used to cool the hot fluid with the cold fluid, improving the overall cooling efficiency of the system.

Overall, this patented heat exchanger design offers improved heat transfer capabilities between different fluids, making it suitable for various applications such as cooling systems in vehicles or air conditioning systems. The use of nested ducts and transverse spacers enhances the efficiency of heat exchange, providing potential benefits in terms of energy savings and improved performance.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.