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United States Patent Application 20170241656
Kind Code A1
Fox; Andrew R. ;   et al. August 24, 2017

POWERED WINDOW AIR FILTER

Abstract

The present disclosure relates to powered window air filters. More particularly, it relates to air filter systems capable of use in a window opening. Some embodiments relate to an adjustably sized air filter. Some embodiments include a filter assembly including filter media and a fan and/or control unit that forces air through the filter media in the filter assembly.


Inventors: Fox; Andrew R.; (Oakdale, MN) ; Langer; Jonathan S.; (Westfield, NJ) ; Jiang; Weilai; (Shanghai, CN) ; Sun; Yu Wen; (Woodbury, MN) ; Echeverri; Nicolas A.; (Woodbury, MN)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY

St. Paul

MN

US
Family ID: 1000002654212
Appl. No.: 15/506204
Filed: August 24, 2015
PCT Filed: August 24, 2015
PCT NO: PCT/US15/46494
371 Date: February 23, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62041496Aug 25, 2014
62041499Aug 25, 2014
62041500Aug 25, 2014
62041501Aug 25, 2014
62206928Aug 19, 2015

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F24F 3/1603 20130101; B01D 46/521 20130101; B01D 46/0032 20130101; B01D 46/448 20130101; B01D 46/442 20130101; B01D 46/46 20130101; F24F 2003/1635 20130101; E06B 7/03 20130101; F24F 13/18 20130101; F24F 13/28 20130101; B01D 2265/04 20130101; E06B 2007/023 20130101; F24F 2003/1657 20130101; E06B 7/02 20130101
International Class: F24F 3/16 20060101 F24F003/16; B01D 46/00 20060101 B01D046/00; B01D 46/44 20060101 B01D046/44; F24F 13/28 20060101 F24F013/28; E06B 7/02 20060101 E06B007/02; E06B 7/03 20060101 E06B007/03; F24F 13/18 20060101 F24F013/18; B01D 46/52 20060101 B01D046/52; B01D 46/46 20060101 B01D046/46

Claims



1. A window air filter comprising: a filter assembly including filter media; and a fan and/or control unit that forces air through the filter media in the filter assembly.

2. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the fan and/or control unit comprises: a housing; a control module; a vent; and a motor.

3. The window air filter of claim 2, wherein the housing is at least one of u-shaped and/or c-shaped.

4. The window air filter of claim 1, further comprising an end cap.

5. The window air filter of claim 4, further comprising: an internal connector between the end cap and the fan and/or control unit.

6. The window air filter of claim 5, wherein the internal connector provides an outward pushing force when the window air filter is installed in a window.

7. The window air filter of claim 5, wherein the internal connector includes at least one of a spring-loaded feature or a telescoping feature.

8. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the filter assembly is at least one of flexible, adjustable, and/or extendible.

9. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the filter media is replaceable within the filter assembly and/or wherein the filter assembly is replaceable.

10. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the filter media is at least one of moisture-resistant, moisture-repellant, electrostatically charged, an electret nonwoven web, and/or not electrostatically charged.

11. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the filter media includes at least one of carbon, activated carbon, a nonwoven, a thermoplastic, a thermosetting material, a porous foam, fiberglass, paper, a high loft spunbound web, a low loft spunbound web, a meltblown web, and/or bi-modal fiber diameter meltblown media.

12. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the filter media is pleated.

13. The window air filter of claim 1, wherein the filter media is at least one of self-supporting and non-self-supporting.

14. The window air filter of claim 1, further including electronics.

15. The window air filter of claim 1, further comprising: an anchoring device.

16. A kit, comprising: an air filter of claim 1; and a cutting device capable of cutting the filter media to a desired size.

17. A kit, comprising: an air filter of claim 1; and an attachment device capable of permanently or semi-permanently attaching the air filter to a window.

18. The kit of claim 17, wherein the attachment device is at least one of a nail, a screw, a hook, an adhesive, and/or an adhesive backed interlocking strip.
Description



TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to powered air filters. More particularly, it relates to powered air filter systems capable of use in a window opening.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Windows are available in a large variety of sizes and can include vertically or horizontally operable sashes to provide air flow between an exterior and an interior of a building structure. Occupants of a building structure often desire opening windows to let fresh air into an interior of a home, business, or otherwise enclosed space. However, in many locations, such as highly populated areas of China, the outside air is more contaminated than the indoor air. Novel filtering solutions are needed to let the fresh aspects of the outdoor air in without letting in the pollution or contaminants. Outdoor contaminants may include larger particles such as pollen, dust, and mold spores and smaller particles such as those forming PM.sub.2.5, bacteria, and viruses. Gaseous outdoor pollutants such as odors, NO.sub.x, SO.sub.2, ozone, and others may also be of concern in some locations.

SUMMARY

[0003] The inventors of the present disclosure recognized that, in light of the above, a need exists for a powered air filter that protects users from air quality contaminants, allows fresh air get into the home through windows, can be easily installed and used by consumers, is versatile to fit in most locations, and/or has minimal impact on lighting and visibility. In some embodiments, the powered air filter is a window air filter. Powered air filters have various benefits, at least one of which is that they provide more or increased air flow into a room than an unpowered (passive) air filter.

[0004] The inventors of the present disclosure invented various embodiments of air filters, methods of making air filters, and methods of using air filters.

[0005] Some embodiments relate to a window air filter comprising a filter assembly including filter media; and a fan and/or control unit that forces air through the filter media in the filter assembly. In some embodiments, the fan and/or control unit comprises: a housing; a control module; a vent; and a motor.

[0006] In some embodiments, the housing is at least one of u-shaped and/or c-shaped. Some embodiments further comprise an end cap. In some embodiments, the filter assembly is at least one of flexible, adjustable, and/or extendible.

[0007] Some embodiments further comprise an internal connector between the end cap and the fan and/or control unit. In some embodiments, the internal connector provides an outward pushing force when the window air filter is installed in a window. In some embodiments, the internal connector includes at least one of a spring-loaded feature or a telescoping feature. In some embodiments, the air filter further includes electronics. Some embodiments further include an anchoring device.

[0008] In some embodiments, the filter media is replaceable within the filter assembly and/or wherein the filter assembly is replaceable. In some embodiments, the filter media is at least one of moisture-resistant, moisture-repellant, electrostatically charged, an electret nonwoven web, and/or not electrostatically charged. In some embodiments, the filter media includes at least one of carbon, activated carbon, a nonwoven, a thermoplastic, a thermosetting material, a porous foam, fiberglass, paper, a high loft spunbound web, a low loft spunbound web, a meltblown web, and/or bi-modal fiber diameter meltblown media. In some embodiments, the filter media is pleated. In some embodiments, the filter media is at least one of self-supporting and non-self-supporting.

[0009] Some embodiments relate to a kit including an air filter as described above or herein and a cutting device capable of cutting the filter media to a desired size.

[0010] Some embodiments relate to a kit including an air filter as described above or herein and an attachment device capable of permanently or semi-permanently attaching the air filter to a window. In some embodiments, the attachment device is at least one of a nail, a screw, a hook, an adhesive, and/or an adhesive backed interlocking strip.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a front view of an exemplary powered air purifier or filter in accordance with principles of the present disclosure;

[0012] FIG. 2A is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary powered air purifier or filter in accordance with principles of the present disclosure;

[0013] FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of another exemplary powered air purifier of filter in accordance with principles of the present disclosure;

[0014] FIG. 3A is a top view of the window air purifier of FIG. 2A;

[0015] FIG. 3B is a top view of the window air purifier of FIG. 2B;

[0016] FIGS. 4A-4C are perspective views of an exemplary window air purifier or filter for installation in a vertically opening window in accordance with principles of the present disclosure; and

[0017] FIG. 5A-5B are perspective views of an exemplary window air purifier or filter for installation in a horizontally opening window in accordance with principles of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] Various embodiments and implementations will be described in detail. These embodiments should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present application in any manner, and changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the embodiments and implementations. For example, many of the embodiments, implementations, and examples are discussed with specific reference to window air filters, but these should not be construed to limit the application scope to this one exemplary implementation. Further, only some end uses have been discussed herein, but end uses not specifically described herein are included within the scope of the present application. As such, the scope of the present application should be determined by the claims.

[0019] One exemplary embodiment of an air purifier or filter 20, in accordance with principles of the present disclosure, is illustrated in FIG. 1. In some embodiments, the air purifier or filter can be used in a window. The air purifier 20 of FIG. 1 includes a fan/control unit 22, a filter assembly 24, and an end cap 26. In general terms, the air purifier 20 is capable of fitting into a window to filter impurities from the outdoor air to make it cleaner upon its exit from the air purifier into the indoors where people will breathe the cleaner air. In some embodiments, the fan 22 can be a low profile fan that draws air in through the filter assembly 24 and discharges the cleaned air to the indoor environment. In some embodiments, the low profile design delivers purified outdoor air to the indoors without blocking a significant portion of the window area. In some embodiments, the low profile window air purifier 20 can be installed on a window ledge, fill the entire gap across the ledge, and/or provide a self-sealing construction to the window frame and sash. In some embodiments, the window air purifier 20 can be employed in horizontal or vertical sliding multi-part windows.

[0020] In some embodiments, the fan/control unit 22 includes a housing 40, control modules 42, a vent 44, a plug 46, and a motor 48. In some embodiments, the fan/control unit 22 and the end cap 26 are rigid structures, although they may include gaskets or other soft or rubbery materials to provide improved air seals and gripping to the window structure surfaces. In some embodiments, the filter assembly 24 is inherently flexible, due to the choice of materials, the geometry of the filter media 28, or both. In some embodiments, the filter assembly 24 is an elongated, adjustable-length assembly, as described in greater detail below. In some embodiments, an internal connector 30 may be included to extend between the fan/control unit 22 and the end cap 26. In some embodiments, the connector 30 is adjustable in a longitudinal direction between the fan/control unit 22 and the end cap 26. In some embodiments, the connector 30 can provide structural support for the window air purifier 20 and may help maintain the dimensional integrity of the window air purifier 20 in use, particularly by providing compression strength. In some embodiments, the connector 30 may use spring-loaded, telescoping features, which could provide a constant outward pushing force when the window air purifier 20 is installed in a window. In some embodiments, an outward pushing force could help the window air purifier 20 remain installed in a variety of situations.

[0021] In some embodiments, the air filter and/or fan/control unit includes electronics of a type generally known. Some exemplary electronics that can be used in the air filters described herein include, for example, sensors for temperature, humidity, particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5), VOC's, other gases or pollutants (e.g., ozone, etc.). In some embodiments, the onboard electronic controls could turn the air filter and/or fan on or off and/or could adjust the fan speed depending on input from any of these sensors. Some embodiments could additionally or alternatively include wireless communication (e.g. wi-fi) so that the product could be remotely monitored or controlled. In some embodiments, the air filter could interact with other devices. In one exemplary embodiments, the air filter could communicate with a user's smart phone. In another exemplary embodiment, the air filter could incorporate or access data from other sources (e.g. obtain local air quality measurement data and modify its operation based on the received data).

[0022] The window air purifier 20 of FIG. 1 can include various filter assemblies. In some embodiments, the filter media 28 is exposed to the "dirty" air outside the window and is sealed to the air inside of the window. With additional reference to FIGS. 3A and 3B, in some embodiments, air flows from outside the window, through the filter media 28, into the fan/control unit 22, and into the room through the vents 44. As illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2B, in some embodiments, the filter media 28a, 28b can be formed as a flat sheet. In some embodiments, the filter media 28a, 28b can extend along the entire length of the filter assembly 24. In some embodiments, the filter media 28 is replaceable. In some embodiments, the entire filter assembly 24 is sold as a single replaceable unit. In some embodiments, only the filter media 28 of the filter assembly 24 is sold as the replaceable item, and the filter housing 32 is considered permanent.

[0023] With reference to FIGS. 2A and 2B, in some embodiments, the filter assembly 24 includes a filter housing 32. In some embodiments, the filter housing 32 can be C-shaped or U-shaped in cross section. In some embodiments, the shape, along with the internal open cavity formed by the filter housing 32, provides some flexibility to the filter assembly 24. In some embodiments, the filter housing 32 can be made of plastic, for example. Even a moderately thick plastic filter housing 32, in a C- or U-shaped geometry, will provide some flexibility. In some embodiments, the flexibility of the filter housing 32 can be useful in helping to seal the filter assembly 24 to the window "W" when the filter is pinched between the window sash and the window frame during use. In some embodiments, the filter housing 32 can include an outer cover 34 and an inner shell 36. In some embodiments, flexibility may also be imparted through the selection of materials for the filter assembly 24, for example the use of thick (e.g. 5-25 mm) expanded polyethylene foam, or the inclusion of other gasket or weather-stripping materials can be used. In some embodiments, the outer shell 34 may be rigid or non-rigid. In some embodiments, the particular filter media 28 selected for the window air purifier 20 can be particularly suited have particular desired characteristics described herein. In some embodiments, the filter media 28 is preferably constructed from moisture-resistant materials and may optionally include additional layers or features to specifically block or repel water, such as rain. In some embodiments, an electrostatic charge is optionally imparted into or on to material(s) of the filter media 28. An electrostatically charged media 28 may be used, of which many grades are available, and many of which offer high efficiency with low pressure drop. In some embodiments, the filter media 28 can be an electret nonwoven web. Electrostatic charge can be imparted to the filter media 28 in a variety of ways as is well known in the art, for example by hydrocharging, corona charging, etc. (e.g., as described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,947,142 (mentioned above)). In other embodiments, the filter media 28 is not electrostatically charged. Additional multi-functional media grades, which incorporate activated carbon or other materials for purifying gas-phase pollutants, may also be incorporated into the filter structure.

[0024] FIGS. 2A and 3A illustrate one exemplary embodiment of a filter media 28a including a nonwoven web media. In some embodiments, the filter media 28a can be constructed, for example, from nonwoven fibrous media formed of thermoplastics or thermosetting materials such as polypropylene, linear polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride. Other suitable, non-limiting materials for the filter media include porous foams, nonwovens, papers, fiberglass, or the like. In some embodiments, the filter media 28 comprises a filter media that attracts and captures dust, allergens such as pollen and mold spores, and fine particle pollution from the outdoor air.

[0025] In some embodiments, other nonwoven webs useful with the filter media 28a can be a high loft spunbond web, such as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 8,162,153 to Fox et al., the entire teaching of which is incorporated herein by reference. In other embodiments, the filter media 28a can be a low loft spunbond web, such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,947,142 to Fox et al., the entire teaching of which is incorporated herein by reference. In yet other embodiments, nonwoven webs useful with the filter media 28a are generated by other techniques and/or have other characteristics, such as the meltblown nonwoven webs disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,858,297 to Shah et al., the entire teaching of which is incorporated herein by reference). Other non-limiting examples of useful nonwoven web formats include bi-modal fiber diameter meltblown media such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,858,163, the entire teaching of which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0026] In some embodiments, the filter media 28 can alternatively be a pleated filter media 28b, as illustrated in FIGS. 2B and 3B, including at least a portion that has been folded to form a configuration comprising rows of generally parallel, oppositely oriented folds. In some embodiments, pleats can be formed in the filter media 28b using various methods and components as are well known in the art, e.g., to form a pleated filter for use in applications such as air filtration., for example those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,740,137 to Kubokawa et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 7,622,063 to Sundet et al., the entire teachings of both of which are incorporated herein by reference. FIGS. 2B and 3B illustrate an exemplary pleated filter media 28b. In one embodiment, the pleated filter media 28b extends only partially along the filter assembly 24, as illustrated in FIG. 3B. In some embodiments, the pleated filter media 28b may be difficult to cut linearly to fit an entire length of the filter assembly 24. In some embodiments, the filter assembly 24 may be sealed at the point where the filter media 28b terminates, and the rest of the filter assembly 24 length may be cut to the desired length for installation: it is essentially dead space. In some embodiments, the filter media 28 can consist of the filter media or web alone or can include one or more additional components or structures applied or assembled to the filter media 28. The filter media 28 of the assembly 24 can be self-supporting or non-self-supporting. Where the filter media 28 consists of the filter media or web and a support structure, the filter media 28 can be non-self-supporting with the addition supporting structure rendering the filter media 28, as a whole, to be self-supporting. As used herein, the term "self-supporting filter media or web" can describe at least one of the following conditions: (1) a filter media or web that is deformation resistant without requiring stiffening layers, adhesive or other reinforcement in the filter media web; or (2) the filter media generally maintains its shape when subjected to an airstream as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 7,169,202 to Kubokawa, the entire teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference; or (3) a web or media having sufficient coherency and strength so as to be drapable and handleable without substantial tearing or rupture. As used herein, the term "non-self-supporting" can denote an air filter media that is not capable, in the absence of a support frame and/or a support grill, of withstanding the forces encountered due to typical air flow.

[0027] The present window air purifiers or filters 20 can be useful in protecting users from outside air quality contaminants As discussed above, an electrostatically charged filter media 28 may be used. Additional multi-functional media grades, which may incorporate activated carbon or other materials for purifying gas-phase pollutants, may also be incorporated into the filter assembly 24. The use of a powered fan unit 22 should provide more airflow into a room than any unpowered (passive) window filter. It will also likely provide more airflow than an open window under calm wind conditions. By further using a low pressure drop web enabled by the electrostatic charging, additional airflow improvements and reductions in fan power consumption can be achieved.

[0028] FIGS. 4A-4C illustrate an exemplary installation process of the window air purifier or filter 20 in a vertically opening window 80. First, the filter media 28 is cut to length using a cutting utensil 82 such as a knife, heavy duty scissors, or similar object. The cut does not have to be perfectly straight, because the end cap 26 attachment provides some room for a non-straight cut. The filter media 28 is attached to the filter assembly 24 between the fan/control unit 22 and the end cap 26, and then the entire window air purifier 20 is placed in a partially open window. For a vertical sliding window 80, as illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4C, the window air purifier 20 is positioned on the lower sill.

[0029] For a horizontal sliding window 180, as illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5B, the window air purifier 20 is positioned in a vertical orientation with the fan housing 30 on the bottom. In some embodiments, a pushing force from internal rods or spring-loaded product 30 (see, e.g., FIG.1) provides a holding force to the window frame in either orientation. The window is closed the rest of the way onto the window air purifier 20, and the contact between the window sash and the window air purifier 20 provides a seal to close any gaps that might allow leakage from the outside to the inside. In some embodiments, remaining small gaps may be avoided by the use of a piece of foam, weather-stripping, etc. In addition, a restraining strap or other component (not shown) may be optionally included and attached to prevent the window air purifier 20 from dislodging and falling out of the window 80, 180 opening.

[0030] In some embodiments, the air filters of the present disclosure include an anchoring device that ensures that the air filter does not fall out of the window. The anchoring device can be any known such device including, for example, a strap that connects the air filter to a wall or other permanent or stable structure in a building, room, home, or office. The anchoring device is optional and present in some embodiments that would benefit from this enhanced security feature. For example, in the US, most users of window air filters live in single family homes. In most instances, if the window air filter falls out of the window, it will probably land in a bush, and it is extremely unlikely to hurt someone. In contrast, in urban environments or highly populated countries, like China, for example, many people live in high rise apartments. If the window air filter falls out of a window, the problem could be more significant. In some instances, the window air filter could harm people or property.

[0031] The air filters of the present disclosure can be placed in any desired frame or housing. Some exemplary frames are described in, for example, U.S. Patent Application No. 62/041496 and 62/041,499, both of which are incorporated in their entirety herein. The air filter media can come in roll form, such as, for example, that described in U.S. Patent Application No. 62/041,500, the entirety of which is incorporated herein. The air filter assembly or media of U.S. Pat. No. 62/206,928 can be used in the air filters of the present disclosure.

[0032] The terms first, second, third and the like in the description and in the claims, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a sequential or chronological order. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and that the embodiments of the invention described herein are capable of operation in other sequences than described or illustrated herein.

[0033] All of the references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. Moreover, the terms top, bottom, over, under and the like in the description and the claims are used for descriptive purposes and not necessarily for describing relative positions. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and that the embodiments of the invention described herein are capable of operation in other orientations than described or illustrated herein.

[0034] The recitation of all numerical ranges by endpoint is meant to include all numbers subsumed within the range (i.e., the range 1 to 10 includes, for example, 1, 1.5, 3.33, and 10).

[0035] Those having skill in the art will appreciate that many changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments and implementations without departing from the underlying principles thereof. Further, various modifications and alterations of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the present application should, therefore, be determined only by the following claims and equivalents thereof.

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