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Title:
A HAND HELD APPLIANCE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/130832
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed is a heater comprising a ceramic heater element and ceramic heat sink whereby the ceramic heater element and the ceramic heat sink are both formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material. The ceramic heater element may be generally planar and extends within a first plane. The ceramic heat sink may extend in a second plane which is orthogonal to the first plane. The ceramic heat sink may comprise a plurality of fins which may be discrete. The layers of the ceramic heater element may be orientated orthogonal to the layers of the ceramic heat sink. The ceramic heater element may comprise a conductive track which may be surface mounted to a distal side of the ceramic heater element than the ceramic heat sink or embedded within the ceramic heater element.

Inventors:
GUERREIRO, Ilidio (Dyson Technology Limited, Tetbury HillMalmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
SAUNDERS, Samuel (Dyson Technology Limited, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
SHELTON, Edward (Dyson Technology Limited, Tetbury HillMalmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
NAICKER, Lolan (Dyson Technology Limited, Tetbury HillMalmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
CRAWFORD, Kyle (Dyson Technology Limited, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
Application Number:
GB2018/050070
Publication Date:
July 19, 2018
Filing Date:
January 11, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DYSON TECHNOLOGY LIMITED (Tetbury Hill, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
International Classes:
A45D20/12; A45D1/00; A45D2/00; H05B3/14
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012087021A22012-06-28
Foreign References:
CN101289328A2008-10-22
KR20150000234A2015-01-02
US20130087549A12013-04-11
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOWLER, Maria et al. (Intellectual Property Department, Dyson Technology Limited Tetbury Hill,Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RP, SN16 0RP, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A heater comprising a ceramic heater element and ceramic heat sink whereby the ceramic heater element and the ceramic heat sink are both formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material.

2. A heater according to claim 1, wherein the ceramic heater element is generally planar and extends within a first plane.

3. A heater according to claim 2, wherein the ceramic heat sink extends in a second plane which is orthogonal to the first plane

4. A heater according to any preceding claim, wherein the ceramic heat sink comprises a plurality of fins.

5. A heater according to claim 4, wherein each one of the plurality of fins is discrete. 6. A heater according to claim 4, wherein the layers of the ceramic heater element are orientated orthogonal to the layers of the ceramic heat sink.

7. A heater according to any preceding claim, wherein the ceramic heater element comprises a conductive track.

8. A heater according to claim 7, wherein the conductive track is surface mounted to a distal side of the ceramic heater element than the ceramic heat sink.

9. A heater according to claim 8, wherein the conductive track is coated with an insulating material such as a glaze.

10. A heater according to claim 8, wherein the conductive track is embedded within the ceramic heater element.

11. A heater according to any preceding claim, wherein the ceramic heat sink is bonded to a surface of the ceramic heater element.

12. A heater according to any preceding claim, wherein the ceramic heater element is curved, arcuate or quadrilateral. 13. a heater according to claim 12, wherein for a curved or arcuate form, the ceramic heat sink follows the same arc as the ceramic heater element.

14. A method of manufacturing a ceramic heater having a ceramic heating element and a ceramic heat sink comprising the steps of:

(a) tape casting a plurality of layers of a ceramic material and stacking the layers to form a green state ceramic plate;

(b) applying a conductive track to a first surface of the green state ceramic plate;

(c) bonding a ceramic heat sink to a second surface of the green state ceramic plate; and

(d) sintering the green state heater.

15. A method according to claim 14, including the step of tape casting a second plurality of layers of a ceramic material and stacking the layers over the conductive track between steps (b) and (c).

16. A method according to claim 14 or claim 15, wherein the ceramic heat sink is formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material.

17. A method according to claim 16, wherein the ceramic heater element is generally planar and extends within a first plane and wherein the layers forming the ceramic heat sink are rotated about the first plane by 90° prior to being bonded to the second surface of the ceramic heater element.

18. A method according to any of claims 14 to 17 wherein the number of layers in the green ceramic plate is similar to the number of layers in the ceramic heat sink.

19. A heater comprising a plurality of heater elements and a frame wherein the frame supports and isolates each of the plurality of heater elements. 20. A heater according to claim 19, wherein, the plurality of heater elements are manufactured from a substrate of metal or a ceramic.

21. A heater according to claim 19 or claim 20, wherein the conductive track is surface mounted and then covered in a glaze.

22. A heater according to claim 21, wherein for the ceramic version the conductive track is embedded within the layers of the ceramic material.

23. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 22, wherein the heater elements are planar in one direction and, as previously described, may be planar or arcuate in a second direction or plane.

24. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 23, wherein the frame comprises a plurality of brackets; one for each of the plurality of heater elements.

25. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 24, wherein the heater has a first end and a second end and the plurality of heater elements extend from the first end to the second end. 26. A heater according to claim 25,wherein the frame comprises a pair of brackets for each one of the plurality of heater elements.

27. A heater according to claim 26,wherein one bracket is disposed adjacent the first end and a second bracket is disposed adjacent the second end of the heater. 28. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 27, wherein each of the plurality of heater elements define a first edge and a second edge which extend between the first end and the second end of the heater.

29. a heater according to claim 28, wherein the frame is disposed along the first edge.

30. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 29, wherein a second frame is provided. 31. A heater according to claim 30, wherein the second frame extends along the second edge of the heater.

32. A heater according to claim 29 or claim 30, wherein the second frame comprises a plurality of brackets; one for each of the plurality of heater elements.

33. A heater according to claim 32, wherein the second frame comprises a pair of brackets for each one of the plurality of heater elements.

34. A heater according to claim 33, wherein one bracket is disposed adjacent the first end and a second bracket is disposed adjacent the second end of the heater.

35. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 34, wherein a central frame is provided.

36. A heater according to claim 35, wherein the central frame extends from the first end to the second end of the heater and is disposed between the first edge and the second edge. 37. A heater according to claim 35 or claim 36, wherein the central frame is formed from a stamped metal sheet and comprises an aperture sized for each one of the plurality of heater elements.

38. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 37, wherein the heater further comprises a flow guide for guiding the flow of fluid through the heater.

39. A heater according to claim 38, wherein the heater is curved and the flow guide follows the angle of curvature of the heater. 40. A heater according to claim 38 or claim 39, wherein the heater has a first end and a second end and the plurality of heater elements extend from the first end to the second end and , each of the plurality of heater elements define a first edge and a second edge which extend between the first end and the second end of the heater wherein a first flow guide is provided adjacent a first edge.

41. A heater according to claim 40, wherein a second flow guide is provided adjacent a second edge.

42. A heater according to claim 39 or claim 40, wherein the first and/or the second flow guide has a plurality of guide portions and each of the guide portions extends along the heater between a pair of adjacent heater elements.

43. A heater according to any of claims 19 to 42, wherein the frame comprises both retaining brackets and the flow guides.

44. A heater according to any preceding claim, wherein each one of the plurality of heater elements are the same size.

45. A heater according to any of claims 1 to 44, wherein, the plurality of heating elements encompass a range of sizes.

46. A hand held appliance comprising a heater comprising a ceramic heater element and ceramic heat sink whereby the ceramic heater element and the ceramic heat sink are both formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material.

47. An appliance according to any preceding claim, wherein the appliance is a hair care appliance.

48. An appliance according to any preceding claim, wherein the appliance is a hairdryer.

Description:
A Hand Held Appliance

This invention relates to a hand held appliance, and in particular a hand held appliance having a heater.

Hand held appliances such as hair care appliances and hot air blowers are known. Such appliances are provided with a heater to heat either fluid flowing through the appliance or a surface at which the appliance is directed. Most devices are either in the form of a pistol grip with a handle including switches and a body which houses components such as a fan unit and a heater. Another form is for a tubular housing such as found with hot styling devices. Thus, generally the option is to have fluid and/or heat blowing out of an end of a tubular housing and either to hold onto that housing or a be provided with a handle orthogonal to the tubular housing.

This makes the appliance either bulky or sometimes difficult to use as the appliance can be long and/or heavy. A solution to this is two provide a curved form as this reduces the length and can remove some of the bulk. It is known to have a curved hair care appliance with a curved section and then to provide a fan unit in a straight section on one side and the heater in a straight section on the other side. This has the problem that in the curved section fluid can become turbulent resulting in pressure losses and the production of noise. This could be mitigated by turning vanes in the curved section but that adds weight and cost to the appliance. Thus, the inventors have combined the use of a curved hairdryer with the use of a curved ceramic heater so features of the heater can be used to turn and direct the fluid flowing through the curved section and heat this fluid at the same time. This makes the design smaller, quieter and the fluid flowing from the outlet of the appliance can be engineered to exit at any convenient angle regardless of the location of the fluid inlet. The invention discloses a hand held appliance comprising a fluid flow path extending between a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet and a ceramic heater within the fluid flow path wherein the fluid flow path is non- linear and the heater is non-linear. Preferably, the appliance further comprises a housing wherein the housing houses the heater and encloses the fluid flow path, and wherein the housing is curved. In a preferred embodiment the heater is curved.

The invention discloses a hand held appliance comprising a housing, a fluid flow path extending between a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet and a ceramic heater within the fluid flow path wherein the housing houses the heater and encloses the fluid flow path, and wherein the housing is curved and the heater is curved.

Preferably, the housing comprises a straight section and a curved section and the heater is housed within the curved section. Preferably, the heating element is arcuate.

In a preferred embodiment the heater comprises at least one heating element comprising a flat ceramic plate and a conductive track. The invention discloses a housing, a fluid flow path extending between a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet and a ceramic heater within the fluid flow path wherein the housing houses the heater and encloses the fluid flow path, and wherein the housing is curved and the heater is curved. In a preferred embodiment the heating element has a constant curvature. Preferably, the heating element curves around an angle of 10° tol70°. In a preferred embodiment the heating element curves around an angle of 80° to 120°. In a preferred embodiment the heater comprises a heating element and a plurality of fins extending away from the heating element wherein, the plurality of fins dissipate heat from the heating element into the fluid flow path.

Preferably, the heating element is an arcuate flat plate and the plurality of fins extend away from the heating element and are also arcuate. Thus, the heating element is arcuate or curved in one plane and flat in another plane. For example, the heating element is planar in the XY plane and curved in the XZ plane. The fins are orientated orthogonal to the flat plate in the XZ plane. Preferably, the fins follow the same curve as the heating element. In a preferred embodiment each one of the plurality of fins follows the same angle of curvature as the heating element. Preferably, the heater comprises a heating element and a plurality of fins extending away from the heating element wherein, the plurality of fins direct flow of fluid flowing within the heater.

In a preferred embodiment, the plurality of fins comprise a channel extending between adjacent pairs of the plurality of fins and wherein each channel directs flow through the heater.

Preferably, each channel is defined by a surface of a pair of adjacent fins and a portion of a surface of the heating element and wherein, each channel dissipated thermal energy from the heating element into fluid flowing within the fluid flow path.

In a preferred embodiment the housing comprises a straight portion and a curved portion. Preferably, within the straight portion, the housing houses a fan unit. In a preferred embodiment, within the straight portion the housing comprises a handle.

In a first aspect, the invention provides a heater comprising a ceramic heater element and ceramic heat sink whereby the ceramic heater element and the ceramic heat sink are both formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material. Preferably, the ceramic heater element is generally planar and extends within a first plane. It is preferred that the ceramic heat sink comprises a plurality of fins. Preferably each one of the plurality of fins is discrete. It is preferred that the ceramic heat sink extends in a second plane which is orthogonal to the first plane. Preferably, the layers of the ceramic heater element are orientated orthogonal to the layers of the ceramic heat sink. In a preferred embodiment, the ceramic heater element comprises a conductive track. In one embodiment, the conductive track is surface mounted to a distal side of the ceramic heater element from the ceramic heat sink. Preferably, the conductive track is coated with an insulating material such as a glaze. Alternatively, the conductive track is embedded within the ceramic heater element.

Preferably, the ceramic heat sink is bonded to a surface of the ceramic heater element. Alternatively, the ceramic heater sink is partially embedded in the ceramic heater element. In this embodiment, the ceramic heater element is provided with a series of grooves or channels for at least partially accommodating the ceramic heat sink.

The ceramic heater element is planar but may be any shape within that plane. Examples include curved or arcuate and rectangular. For a quadrilateral shape the ceramic heat sink is generally planar. However, for a curved or arcuate form, the ceramic heat sink follows the same arc as the ceramic heater element. As the ceramic heat sink is attached to the ceramic heater element in the green state, it can be bent to shape and then attached to the ceramic heater element. In a second aspect, the invention provides a method of manufacturing a ceramic heater having a ceramic heating element and a ceramic heat sink comprising the steps of:

(a) tape casting a plurality of layers of a ceramic material and stacking the layers to form a green state ceramic plate;

(b) applying a conductive track to a first surface of the green state ceramic plate; (c) bonding a ceramic heat sink to a second surface of the green state ceramic plate; and

(d) sintering the green state heater.

Preferably, the method includes the step of tape casting a second plurality of layers of a ceramic material and stacking the layers over the conductive track between steps (b) and (c). This forms an embedded conductive track. In this embodiment, the second surface of the green state ceramic plate is formed from the second plurality of layers.

Preferably, the ceramic heat sink is formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material. It is preferred that the layers forming the ceramic heat sink are rotated by 90° prior to being bonded to the second surface of the ceramic heater element. Thus, the layers of the tape cast material are rotated by 90° i.e. the layers of the ceramic heat sink are orientated at 90° to the layers of the ceramic hearer element. Preferably, the ceramic heater element is generally planar and extends within a first plane. It is preferred that the ceramic heat sink extends in a second plane which is orthogonal to the first plane. Preferably, the ceramic heater element is generally planar and extends within a first plane and wherein the layers forming the ceramic heat sink are rotated about the first plane by 90° prior to being bonded to the second surface of the ceramic heater element.

Preferably, the number of layers in the green ceramic plate (the plurality of layers and the second plurality of layers if applicable) is similar to the number of layers in the ceramic heat sink. This means that the shrinkage of the two parts during sintering will be similar.

In one embodiment, the ceramic heat sink is bonded to the ceramic heater plate by applying a solvent at an interface between the ceramic heater element and the ceramic heat sink. The method additionally includes the step of curing the green state heater prior to sintering. This allows time for the joint to harden sufficiently to be moved without distortion. Preferably the curing time is one hour at room temperature. The time is dependent on the thickness of the parts of the joint.

In a third aspect the invention provides a heater comprising a plurality of heater elements and a frame wherein the frame supports and isolates each of the plurality of heater elements. In this embodiment, the plurality of heater elements can be manufactured from a substrate of metal such as stainless steel or a ceramic. The conductive track can be surface mounted and then covered in a glaze or, for the ceramic version, the conductive track is embedded within the layers of the ceramic material. The substrate material is relatively thin 0.5-2.5mm so having a surface mounted conductive track does not prevent heat from being dissipated from both sides of the heater element.

Preferably, the heater elements are planar in one direction and, as previously described, may be planar or arcuate in a second direction or plane.

Preferably, the frame comprises a plurality of brackets; one for each of the plurality of heater elements. The brackets constrain the heater elements maintaining a space between each adjacent pairs of heater elements. In a preferred embodiment, the heater has a first end and a second end and the plurality of heater elements extend from the first end to the second end. Preferably, the frame comprises a pair of brackets for each one of the plurality of heater elements. Preferably, one bracket is disposed adjacent the first end and a second bracket is disposed adjacent the second end of the heater.

Preferably, each of the plurality of heater elements define a first edge and a second edge which extend between the first end and the second end of the heater. It is preferred that the frame is disposed along the first edge. In a preferred embodiment, a second frame is provided. Preferably, the second frame extends along the second edge of the heater. Preferably, the second frame comprises a plurality of brackets; one for each of the plurality of heater elements. Preferably, the second frame comprises a pair of brackets for each one of the plurality of heater elements. Preferably, one bracket is disposed adjacent the first end and a second bracket is disposed adjacent the second end of the heater. Alternatively or additionally, a central frame is provided. The central frame extends from the first end to the second end of the heater and is disposed between the first edge and the second edge. Preferable, the central frame is formed from a stamped metal sheet and comprises an aperture sized for each one of the plurality of heater elements.

Preferably, the heater further comprises a flow guide for guiding the flow of fluid through the heater.

In a preferred embodiment, the heater is curved and the flow guide follows the angle of curvature of the heater. In a preferred embodiment, the heater has a first end and a second end and the plurality of heater elements extend from the first end to the second end. Preferably, each of the plurality of heater elements define a first edge and a second edge which extend between the first end and the second end of the heater. It is preferred that a first flow guide is provided adjacent a first edge. Preferably, a second flow guide is provided adjacent a second edge.

In a preferred embodiment, the first and/or the second flow guide has a plurality of guide portions and each of the guide portions extends along the heater between a pair of adjacent heater elements.

In one embodiment, the frame comprises both retaining brackets and the flow guides.

Preferably, the frame is formed from stamped metal. In one embodiment each one of the plurality of heater elements are the same size.

Alternatively, the plurality of heating elements encompass a range of sizes for example to provide a heater with a circular cross section.

Also disclosed is a hand held appliance comprises a heater comprising a ceramic heater element and ceramic heat sink whereby the ceramic heater element and the ceramic heat sink are both formed from a plurality of layers of tape cast ceramic material. Also disclosed, is a heater comprising a ceramic heater element and at least one heat sink for dissipating heat from the ceramic heater element wherein the ceramic heater element extends along a plane in one dimension and the at least one heat sink extends away from the plane, and wherein the at least one heat sink is ultrasonically welded to the ceramic heater element via discrete connecting portions.

Having discrete connecting portions means that the fin is not connected along its' entire length; there are gaps or breaks in the connection. These gaps enable the stress between the fin and the heater element to be relieved. When the heater is at high temperature or transitioning to or from ambient temperature, the fin material will expand or contract more than the heater element. The gaps or breaks enable the fin material to expand and deform somewhat without causing excessive stress to the heater element. In other words for a given temperature rise, the stress between the heater element and fins is reduced when such gaps are introduced.

Preferably, the discrete connecting portions are a plurality of substantially similar areas of contact between the ceramic heater element and the at least two fins. This uniformity is beneficial as without it, the thermal mis-match would vary along the length of the fin at its 'interface with the heating element causing certain areas to be more prone to cracking and/or debonding.

In a preferred embodiment, the discrete connecting portions are each separated by a similar sized gap and distance between gaps (gap frequency). Again this uniformity is beneficial for a uniform shaped heater as without it, the thermal mis-match would vary along the length of the fin causing certain areas to be more prone to cracking and/or debonding. Alternatively, for a non-uniform heater for example a curved heater, different gap sizes and gap frequency can be applied in adjacent regions of the heater to deliver appropriate stress relieve dependent on operating temperature. Preferably, there are a plurality of heat sinks. In a preferred embodiment, the ceramic heater element is planar and the plurality of heat sinks extend orthogonally from a planar surface of the ceramic heater element. Preferably, the plurality of heat sinks additionally extend orthogonally from a second planar surface of the ceramic heater element.

Also disclosed is a method of manufacturing a ceramic heater having a ceramic heating element and a heat sink comprising the steps of:

(a) producing a green state ceramic plate;

(b) applying a conductive track to a first surface of the green state ceramic plate;

(c) sintering the green state ceramic plate; and

(d) ultrasonically welding a heat sink onto a second surface of the sintered ceramic plate. Preferably, the method includes the step of applying ceramic material over the conductive track between steps (b) and (c). This forms an embedded conductive track. Preferably, for an embedded track, a heat sink is ultrasonically welded onto the other surface of the of the sintered ceramic plate. The green state ceramic plate can be formed from staking a plurality of layers of tape cast material, an extruded block of material or a moulded block.

Preferably, the appliance is a hair care appliance. It is preferred that the appliance is a hair dryer.

The invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Figure 1 shows a front view of an appliance according to the invention;

Figure 2 shows a cross section along line C-C through the appliance of Figure 1 ; Figure 3 shows schematically an isometric view of the appliance of Figure 1 ; Figure 4a shows a front view of part of a heater according to the invention;

Figure 4b shows a side view of the heater of Figure 4a;

Figure 4c shows an isometric view of the heater of Figure 4a; Figure 4d shows a cross section along line A-A of Figure 4a;

Figures 5a to 5d show schematically steps on a method of joining a heat sink to a heater element; Figure 5e shows a two heaters joined together;

Figure 6 shows an example of a jig for housing a heater during re-curing; Figure 7a shows a front view of part of another heater according to the invention;

Figure 7b shows a side view of the heater of Figure 7a; Figure 7c shows an isometric view of the heater of Figure 7a; Figure 7d shows an enlarged view of portion Z of Figure 7c;

Figure 8a shows a front view of part of another heater according to the invention; Figure 8b shows an isometric view of the heater of Figure 10a;

Figure 8c shows a cross section along line G-G through the appliance of Figure 10a; Figure 9a, shows an alternative stacked heater;

Figure 9b shows an exploded view of the heater of Figure 9a ;

Figure 9c shows isometrically a third alternative stacked heater; Figure 9d shows and end view of the heater of figure 9c; Figure 10a shows a cross section thorough a circular heater;

Figure 10b shows a cross section through a quadrilateral heater; Figure 11a shows the heat dissipation route from a unified heater;

Figure 1 lb shows the heat dissipation route from a stacked heater;

Figure 12a shows an example of a mirrored heater according to the invention; Figures 12b, 12c and 12d show different ways the heater of Figure 12a can be electrically connected;

Figure 13 shows an example of a heater element; Figure 14a to 14c show an alternative heater according to the invention; Figure 14d shows a partially welded heat sink; and

Figures 15 to 15d show different shapes and configurations of a heater according to the invention can take. Figures 1, 2, and 3 show an appliance, in this case a hairdryer 10 having a curved outer profile formed from an outer casing 18 of the appliance 10. There a straight section 12 which includes a handle 20 and a fan unit 70 and a curved section 14 which includes a heater 80. A fluid flow path 400 is provided through the appliance from a fluid inlet 40 which is provided at a first end 22 of the straight section 12 to a fluid outlet 440. The fluid outlet 440 is provided adjacent or downstream of the distal end 14b of the curved section 14 from the straight section 12. In this embodiment, there is a second straight section 16 provided downstream of the heater 80 or between the curved section 14 and the fluid outlet 440.

The fluid flow path 400 is non-linear and flows through the straight section 12 and the handle 20 in a first direction 120 and exits from the curved section 14 in a second direction 130. At the fluid outlet 440, the fluid flow path 400 has turned 90°, thus the first direction 120 is orthogonal to the second direction 130. However, this is just one example, different degrees of curvature can be used.

The hairdryer 10 can be considered to have an inlet plane extending across the first end 22 of the straight section 12 and an outlet plane extending across the fluid outlet 440 and the inlet plane and the outlet plane are non-parallel.

Referring now to Figures 4a to 4d, the heater 80 will be described in more detail. The heater 80 comes in two parts which are subsequently bonded together. Figure 4a to 4c show one of the two parts. The other of the two parts tends to be a mirror image of the one shown. The heater 80 comprises a heating element 88 formed from a flat ceramic plate 82 such as aluminium nitride which has a conductive track 90 typically screen printed onto the flat ceramic plate 82 when in its' green state. The flat ceramic plate 82 is formed by stacking a number of layers of tape cast ceramic material until the required thickness is achieved and then laminating the stack layers. The lamination process comprises vacuum sealing the stack in a plastic bag and hydrostatically pressing the stack to form the flat ceramic plate 82. Heat is dissipated from the conductive track 90 via a heat sink which typically comprises a plurality of fins 84 which extend out from the flat ceramic plate 82 and into the fluid flow path 400. The conductive track 90 is electrically connected to a power source (not shown) via heater connection leads 92. In this example the heater includes two heater tracks 90a and 90b and there are three leads 92 as the two heater tracks 90a and 90b share either the live or the neutral connection.

Once the conductive track has been screen printed onto the flat ceramic plate, it can either be covered by an insulating material such as a glaze or further layers of tape cast ceramic material can be stacked over the conductive track 90 embedding the conductive track 90 within the ceramic.

The heater 80, is a single sided unified heater and there are a few ways of

manufacturing them. In one example, the heating element 88 can be fired and then sintered fins 84 can be bonded to the sintered heating element 88 using a bonding paste such as a glass bonding paste. Alternatively, the fins 84 can be attached to the flat ceramic plate 82 in the green state and they can be co-fired as a single unit. Co-firing provides a stronger joint and two methods will be discussed. The first produces the heater 80 of Figures 4a to 4d. In this embodiment, the fins 84 are surface mounted to the flat ceramic plate 82. The fins 84 can be pressed into contact with the surface of the flat ceramic plate 82. A bonding paste such as a glass bonding paste can be applied to the joint or a solvent is applied to the end of each fin 84 before it is attached to the flat ceramic plate 82 both of these options can be used with the pressed contact or without. The solvent dissolves binders in the tape cast material locally and after around an hour (depending on the thickness of the joints) the material re-cures with the fins 64 bonded to the flat ceramic plate 82.

A second method for producing a heater 50 will be described with reference to Figures 5a to 5d. The flat ceramic plate 52 has a first side 54 and a second side 56. The fins 60 will be attached to the first side 54 following preparation work. The stacked layers of tape cast ceramic material are laminated , then grooves 58 are milled into the flat ceramic plate 52 by, for example CNC milling of the stack after lamination. The conductive track 90 is either surface mounted to the second surface 56 or is embedded within the flat ceramic plate 52. For the embedded embodiment, the flat ceramic plate 50 will need to be thicker than for the surface mounted option surface so the fins 60 which are recessed into the flat ceramic plate 52 are spaced from the conductive track 90.

The fins 60 are made from laminated sheets of ALN tape, which are green cut into appropriately sized rectangular pieces. Each of these pieces is planar upon cutting, but as the laminate is flexible in the green state, these pieces can be easily bent into a curved shape if required.

A solvent 64 such as Diethylene Glycol Mono-ethyl Ether Acetate (DGMEA) is painted into the grooves 56 and onto and end face 62 of the fins 60 using a paint brush.

DGMEA acts like a glue. This chemical locally dissolves the laminate and allows the material (binder, ceramic, etc.) to flow to fill gaps between adjacent parts. As the dissolved material re-cures in around an hour (depending on the thickness of the fins amongst other things), a green-state joint is created.

Regardless of the method used to produce the green state heater 50, 80 it is

advantageous to support the green state heater 50, 80 during the re-curing process; an example of a jig is shown in Figure 6. Sheets 66 of metal, for example aluminium are cut to fit around and between the fins and once the whole heater has been encapsulated, a weight 68 is added to press the joint together and ensure a good bond. The green state heater is then sintered to produce a single unified part.

A single heater 50 can be used if this suits the situation, otherwise, after sintering, two heaters 50 are placed back to back and pressed together, or joined using a glaze, glue or a thermal paste 58 (Figure 5e). In this embodiment, the heater 50 is semi-circular in cross-section with the centrally located fins being longer than outer the fins; this is because in the example appliance 10, the heater 80 fits within a tube, alternatives are to have a square or rectangular heater. Figures 7a to 7d, show another heater variation, 180. This heater is formed as a double sided heater 180. In this example the conductive track 90 is embedded in a flat ceramic plate 182 which has fins 84 attached to both sides. This eliminates the need for a bond between the two parts of the heater 80 described with respect to Figures 4a to 4d.

There are a number of embodiments, the flat ceramic plate 182 can be fired and then sintered fins 84 subsequently attached using a bonding paste. Alternatively, all the fins 84 can be attached to the flat ceramic plate 182 in the green state as described earlier, either by surface bonding or by embedding the end of the fins 84 into the flat ceramic plate 182 and the whole heater 90 fired to produce the final article. In this example, as the heater has a circular cross-section and is curved, the heater will either need to be self-supporting or will require supporting whilst being sintered.

Conventionally, a piece of the same material is used to support the heater during the sintering process as this will shrink by the same amount during sintering. A person skilled in the art will appreciate this.

It is possible to make a fin from a single sheet of A1N rather than a laminated stack of sheets. However, a thicker fin makes it easier to assemble the heater in the green state, and is more structurally robust once the heater is sintered and has better heat conduction up the fin (higher fin efficiency).

Green cutting of the parts, either to form the fins, the layers for the stacked ceramic heater element or to form the grooves to embed the fins in the flat ceramic plate can be through CNC milling, stamping using an appropriately shaped cutter tool, or a guillotine. The heaters described with respect to Figures 4a to Figure 7d all show curved heaters with circular cross sections. Figure 10a and 10b show a cross section through a circular and a quadrilateral heater respectively. The curved heaters of Figures 4a to Figure 7d could alternatively be cylindrical heaters having a cross section as shown in Figure 10a which shows a housing 110 which surrounds a heater 112. Equally, the heater could be a quadrilateral heater, such as a rectangular heater 116 surrounded by a housing 114 shown in Figure 10b. Heater 112 is a unified heater, where the ceramic heater element and the fins are co-fired and heater 116 is formed from two single sided unified heaters 116a, 116b which are bonded as previously described after sintering.

Figures 8a to 8c show another heater 200. In this embodiment, a multitude of discrete flat ceramic plates 210 are used to provide the heat. As previously described, each of the discrete ceramic plates 210 includes a conductive track (not shown) and in this embodiment are held together with a scaffold formed from stamped metal sheets 220. The flat ceramic plates 210 are held at or near each end 200a and 200b of the heater 200 to maintain spacing between the flat ceramic plates 210 allowing fluid to flow between adjacent flat ceramic plates.

In all the examples shown, a three dimensional heater has been produced using a two dimensional heating element 88.

The examples of heaters having fins 84, 60 as a heat sink have an added benefit that the fins are used to dissipate heat from the heating element 88 and as they follow the curve of the heater 80, 50, 180 the fins 84, 60 assist in turning flow around the curve, reducing turbulence which reduces pressure losses through the heater as the fluid is turned from a first direction 120 to a second direction 130, 140 and also reduces the production of noise.

In the example without fins, as shown in Figures 8a to 8c, the plurality of heater elements 210 direct the flow of fluid flowing through the heater 200 by providing a longitudinal split through the fluid flow path. In this embodiment, as there are a plurality of heating elements 210 separate fins are not required for heat dissipation as instead of the heating element 80 having two surfaces available for thermal exchange with the fluid flow path, there are instead two times as many surfaces as there are heating elements 210. As shown in Figures 11a and lib, thermal exchange from the heater to fluid flowing in the fluid flow path can be achieved by increasing the available surface of the heating element (Figure lib) or by providing a cooling feature such as the fins (Figure 11a) which wick heat from the heating element towards the tips of the fins due to a thermal gradient, this heat is then exchanged with fluid that flows passed the fins which increases the thermal gradient causing more heat to be drawn along the fins.

The stacked heater, having a plurality of discrete ceramic heater plates 210 offers a more direct route for heat generation and transport i.e. heat is dissipated where it is generated. The fins and heating elements are one and the same. If the heating elements are thought of as heatsink fins, a very high fin efficiency can be achieved.

The name 'stacked heater' comes from the 'stack' of planar heating elements used. These can be made from: LTCC or HTCC thick- film ceramic substrate (aluminium nitride or other ceramics) which can have embedded of surface mounted (and glazed) conductive tracks; or thick- film metal substrate (these usually have a glazing to electrically insulate trace); or from an electroceramic material (e.g. doped-BaTi 'PTC')

An alternative stacked heater 150 is shown in Figures 9a and 9b. In this embodiment, the plurality of heater elements 152 are held in position by a framework 160 which includes both retaining brackets 162 and guide vanes 164. These can be formed from a single sheet of stamped metal, or the guide vanes 164 are made separately and attached to the brackets 162.

The heater 150, generates heat in a multiple planar surfaces and is able to convect this heat directly to air heating elements so also acts as the fins of a heatsink. Air is guided along the surfaces of heating elements 152 using guide vanes 164. A set of brackets and also at each end 150a and 150b of the heating elements 150. The guide vanes 164 extend between a pair of adjacent heating elements 150 from a first end 150a to the second end 150b and guide air flowing around the curve of the heater 150. This reduces pressure losses through the appliance and reduces the production of noise by providing a curved surface for the air to flow round and as the guide vanes are metal, they assist in transferring heat.

In addition, a central support 166 is provided. In this embodiment, the central support 166 also functions as a first neutral connection for the heating plates 152. A second neutral connector 168 and a live connector 170 are provided adjacent the first end 150a of the heater 150. Is this embodiment, these connectors are formed from stamped metal parts which are folded around each one of the heating elements 152 and electrically connected to the conductive track in each of the heating elements 152. The manner of electrical connection will not be discussed in detail, as the skilled person will be aware of a number of alternatives such as using vias through each one of the heating elements 152.

The guide vanes 164 are in contact with heating elements 150 through pressed contact so may heat up and dissipate this heat to air. This thermal function is not strictly needed, but is a beneficial consequence of the contact between guide vane and heating element.

A further alternative stacked heater 250 is shown in Figures 9c and 9d. At a first end 250a, which in this embodiment is the inlet end of the heater 250 i.e. where flow enters the heater 250 the electrical connectors 260 serve a secondary function. The heater 250 comprises a number of spaced apart heater elements 252 which are formed from a number of layers of tape cast ceramic with either a surface mounted conductive track which is covered by a protective glaze or an embedded conductive track where there are layers of tape cast ceramic material on either wide of the conductive track embedding the conductive track within the ceramic material. The electrical connectors 260 are rods of conductive material and they pass through the heater elements 252 electrically connecting them but also aligning and spacing the heater elements 252. At the second end 250b of the heater, which is the outlet end of the heater 250 i.e. where flow exits the heater 250, a central bar 270 is provided. The central bar 270 extends across the heater 250 and each of the heater elements 252 is provided with a notch 254 which the central bar engages. This aligns and spaces the heater elements 252 at the second end 250b.

An arrangement of guide vanes 264 are provided between the heating elements 252 in the heater 250. The guide vanes 264 extend between a pair of adjacent heating elements 252 from a first end 250a to the second end 250b of the heater 250 and guide air flowing around the curve of the heater 250. In this embodiment a guide vane 264 is provided adjacent each edge 252a and 252b of the heating elements 252 and in the case of the central longer heating elements 254 a further pair of guide vanes 266 are provided between the central bar 270 and the guide vanes 264. This is to assist in turning the flow in a more even fashion within the larger gap between the central bar 270 and the guide vane 264.

As the Stacked Heater is a collection of heating elements which are electrical resistors, they can be wired in different ways to achieve the desired total electrical resistance.

In practice, manufacturing economy of scale would dictate a mirrored design e.g. an even number of identical heaters. Referring to Figure 12a, shows two small 70 and two large 72 heaters in a mirrored arrangement.

There are multiple ways to connect these separate heating elements e.g. fully parallel as shown in Figure 12b (lowest total resistance), fully series as shown in Figure 12c (highest total resistance) or a hybrid as shown in Figure 12d. The manner in which the heating elements are connected depends on the required outputs from the heater and the system limitations.

Figure 13 shows an example of a heater element 190 for use in a stacked configuration (as described with respect to Figures 8a to 9d). The heater element 190 has a substrate 192 which is the ceramic material and a conductive track 194. The region 198 containing the conductive track 194 can be considered to be a high power zone and is the hottest part of the heater element 190 where power is input into the heater element. The outer region 196 which is devoid of the conductive track can be considered a low power zone and is cooler as it dissipates heat from the high power zone 196.

The relative proportions of the high power zone 196 and the low power zone 198 can be tuned to obtain a desired temperature at the edge 190a of the heater element 190. This affects the touch temperature of a surrounding housing (not shown). For a relatively small high power zone 198 within a heater element 190, the temperature gradient across the surface of the heater element 190 will be greater and so will require a better quality of ceramic substrate to withstand this. Conversely, if a lower power heater element is acceptable, a lower quality ceramic substrate can be used with a relatively larger high power zone i.e. the conductive track 194 is closer to the edge 190a of the heater lement 190.

The air temperature cross-sectional profile at the exit as well as the temperature of the heater where it interfaces with a bounding enclosure may be controlled by appropriate design of the trace pattern e.g. edges of each heater can be made cooler so that the thermal boundary condition with the enclosure is less severe (product touch temperature requirement), the maximum achieve temperature and temperature gradient of each heating element can be kept below the maximum allowable for survivability.

Figures 15a to 15d show alternative configurations that can be achieved using the stacked heater. The heaters shown in Figures 8 a to 9d are curved or arcuate 230 as depicted in Figure 15d. The stacked heaters, and indeed all of the heaters hereinbefore described can be made in other configurations such as cylindrical 232 as depicted in Figure 15c and 15a or quadrilateral 234 as shown in Figure 15b. In all the examples, the heater 230, 232, 234 is housed within a housing 236. The housing 236 surrounds and contains the heater 230, 232, 234 providing protection to the heater and a thermal barrier. In an appliance 10, the housing 236 sits within an outer casing 18 of the appliance 10 often with a small air gap 118 between the housing and the outer casing 18 and another air gap 218 between the housing 236 and the heater 230, 232, 234. The air gaps 118, 218 provide thermal insulation for the heater 230, 232, 234 enabling the outer casing 18 of the appliance to be handled by a user.

Figure 14a and 14b show an alternative heater 300 having flat ceramic plate 310 with an embedded conductive track as previously described (not shown). In this embodiment, there are two heat sinks 320, one either side of the flat ceramic plate 310. The heat sinks 320 are made from a conductive material such as aluminium, copper, titanium or a non-expansion alloy such as Kovar and are formed from stamped sheets. Each one of the two heat sinks 320 is formed from a first part 322 and a second part 324 both of which are formed as corrugated or castellated parts . There is a foot section 326 for connecting to the flat ceramic plate 310, a leg section 328 which extends from the foot section 326 generally orthogonal to the flat ceramic plate 310 and forms the majority of the heat sink area and a connecting section 330 which extends between adjacent leg section distal to the foot section 326.

At the interface between the first part 322 and the second part 324 of a heat sink, in order to maintain even spacing between the first part and the second part, the first part 332 ends with a leg 328a without a connecting section and the second part 326 ends with a connecting portion 330a which is provided with a lip 332 which is adapted to extend over leg 328a.

With the previous embodiments described, the heat sinks have been formed from individual fins which were attached to or embedded into the flat ceramic plate. In contrast, in this embodiment, a number of fins are formed from each of the first part 322 and the second part 324 which are subsequently attached to each surface of the flat ceramic plate 310. In this embodiment, the heat sinks have a thermal mismatch to the ceramic material so the joint between the heat sink and the flat ceramic plate 310 is non- continuous. The foot section 326, is not a continuous piece of material rather, it is formed from a plurality of individual connectors 326a with an expansion gap 334 inbetween each adjacent connector. The expansion gap 334 relieves stress created between the heat sink and the flat ceramic plate 310 during thermal cycling due to the heat sink material expanding and contracting more that the ceramic material. The heat sinks can be attached to the flat ceramic plate 310 by a number of different methods. A bonding paste, glue, thermal paste, glaze could be used but these methods have temperature limitations of around 2-300°C so cannot be used for a heater which is intended to run at higher temperatures such as around 600 °C. For a higher operating temperature, brazing of the heat sink onto the flat ceramic plate is an option as is ultrasonically welding the heat sink.

Ultrasonic welding is an established joining technique and can be used for any of the heaters herein described where the heat sink is bonded or glued to the heating element. For the example shown in Figures 14a and 14b, the individual connectors 326a may be ultrasonically welded to the flat ceramic plate 310. As with brazing, for ultrasonic welding, the flat ceramic plate first requires metallizing to enable metal heat sinks to bond to the ceramic. The outer surface of the flat ceramic plate is coated with a metallisation paste which typically includes the ceramic material used to form the flat ceramic plate, a refractory material such as tungsten plus binders and fillers.

In the welding process, the heat sink 320 and the flat ceramic plate 310 are positioned in a rig or anvil and a welding tool (sonotrode) is placed against an individual connector 320a with a small force whilst the ultrasonic frequency is applied and the weld formed. . Typically a frequency of 20kHz is used, for a connector size of 3mm and heat sink thickness of 0.3mm around 200N of force is used during the welding process and the welding process takes around 60 microseconds. A single weld can join more than one of the individual connectors 326a such as a row of connectors, 336 a column of connectors 338 or an array of connectors.

Referring to Figure 14d, in one embodiment, a number of individual connectors 170, 172, 174, 176, 178 are welded in a single process. The sonotrode is designed to cover all five of the individual connectors 170, 172, 174, 176, 178 in a single cycle, the sonotrode is moved to the next set and the process is repeated until all of the individual connectors 326 have been welded to the flat ceramic plate 310. In this example the individual connectors are 1.7 mm by .7 mm although this is merely convenient for this particular heater, larger or smaller individual connectors may be used however, for the stress relief to function they connectors cannot be too large.

The ultrasonic process leaves a surface pattern on the connectors 170, 172, 174, 176, 178 which ibn this example is a cross-hatch. The person skilled in the art will appreciate that other patterns are suitable, the main objective is to achieve the required strength to enable the joints to withstand a lifetime of thermal cycling as the heater is heated and cooled during use.

In order to enable any angle of exit from the fluid outlet, the appliance is provided with a housing that extends beyond the heater. In Figure 2, this piece of the housing 16 is straight and fluid flowing out of the heater 80 continues in the same direction.

However, this piece of the housing does not need to be straight it could be curved to allow exit from a different angle or even be adjustable by a user to enable a range of different exit angles to be used.

The conductive track can be formed from two tracks as described, however one track can be used or more than two. Use of a single track may limit the temperatures setting available to the user whereas multiple tracks enable different wattage to be turned on and off giving more levels of temperature and more accurate control. Different wattage can be achieved by a number of different identical tracks or each track could be rated to a different number of watts. Also, although three connection points are shown, each track could have individual connection points or a different sharing arrangement could be used.

Suitable ceramic materials include aluminium nitride, aluminium oxide and silicon nitride.

The invention has been described as an appliance has having a fluid flow and this has been used instead of air flow as it is known to use hair care appliances with refillable containers of serums or even water to hydrate hair as it is being styled. Indeed it may utilise a different combination of gases or gas and can include additives to improve performance of the appliance or the impact the appliance has on an object the output is directed at for example, hair and the styling of that hair.

The invention has been described in detail with respect to a hairdryer however, it is applicable to any appliance that draws in a fluid and directs the outflow of that fluid from the appliance.

The appliance can be used with or without a heater; the action of the outflow of fluid at high velocity has a drying effect.

The appliance has been described without discussion of any attachment such as a concentrating nozzle or a diffuser however, it would be feasible to use one of these known types of attachment in order to focus the exiting fluid or direct the fluid flow differently to how it exits the appliance without any such attachment.

The invention is not limited to the detailed description given above. Variations will be apparent to the person skilled in the art.