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Title:
HEAT TRANSFER MEDIA
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/146560
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A heat transfer media that provides more complete and more even use of the media volume by enhancing the characteristics and/or directions of fluid flow across the media. The heat transfer media includes a heat transfer block having one or more layers that include longitudinal flow passages for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction across each layer, and also include transverse flow passage for enabling lateral cross-flow between the longitudinal flow passages. The heat transfer block may include a plurality of stackable plates, with each plate having fins laterally spaced apart to define longitudinally extending channels, and at least one aperture extending transversely through at least one fin for enabling transverse cross-flow between the longitudinal channels. The aperture may be configured as a recessed groove in the fin, and the fin may have ridge portions longitudinally spaced apart to at least partially define the recessed groove.

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Inventors:
BROOKS, Kevin (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
BLISCHAK, David (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
KOVALIK, Joseph (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
HERMAN, Phillip (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
HACKER, Peter-John (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
WEAKLAND, Gregory (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
SCHOFALVI, Karl-Heinz (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
ZIGMAN, Jayson (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
Application Number:
IB2018/050114
Publication Date:
August 16, 2018
Filing Date:
January 08, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KOCH KNIGHT, LLC (5385 Orchard View Dr SE, Canton, Ohio, 44730, US)
International Classes:
F28F3/04; B05B14/40; F23G7/06; F28D17/02; F28F3/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009154543A12009-12-23
WO2016180942A12016-11-17
WO1997024572A11997-07-10
WO2012004100A12012-01-12
Foreign References:
US5352115A1994-10-04
US6547222B22003-04-15
US5851636A1998-12-22
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACKENZIE, Stephen (4111 E 37th Street North, Wichita, Kansas, 67220, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What is claimed is:

1 . A stackable plate for a heat transfer block, the stackable plate comprising:

a plurality of fins protruding from at least one surface of the plate;

wherein the plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one surface of the plate, the plurality of fins being laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and

wherein at least one of the plurality of fins has at least one aperture extending transversely through the at least one fin in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction for enabling transverse fluid flow between the longitudinally extending channels.

2. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , wherein the at least one aperture is configured as a recessed groove in the at least one fin.

3. The stackable plate according to claim 2, or any other preceding claim, wherein the at least one fin has at least two ridge portions, the at least two ridge portions being spaced apart in the longitudinal direction to define therebetween at least a portion of the recessed groove.

4. The stackable plate according to claim 3, or any other preceding claim,

wherein the at least one fin has a base portion proximal the surface of the plate, and the at least two ridge portions have respective upright edges extending away from the base portion;

wherein the upright edges of the respective ridge portions are

longitudinally spaced apart and oppose each other, and an upper longitudinal edge of the base portion extends in the longitudinal direction to connect the respective upright edges of the ridge portions to define the recessed groove.

5. The stackable plate according to claim 4, or any other preceding claim, wherein the upright edges of the respective ridge portions each has a curved profile, in longitudinal cross-section, at their respective connections with the upper longitudinal edge of the base portion.

6. The stackable plate according to claim 5, or any other preceding claim, wherein each of the upright edges of the respective ridge portions has a continuously curved profile from the upper longitudinal edge of the base portion to an upper longitudinal surface of the ridge portion.

7. The stackable plate according to claim 3, or any other preceding claim, wherein a ratio of the longitudinal length of each of the ridge portions to the longitudinal length of the recessed groove (LR:I_G) is in the rage from 30:70 to 50:50, more particularly 40:60.

8. The stackable plate according to claim 3, or any other preceding claim, wherein a depth of the recessed groove (HG) below an upper surface of at least one of the ridge portions is in the range from 25% to 45%, more particularly 30%, of the height of the at least one ridge portion above the surface of the plate (HR).

9. The stackable plate according to claim 3, or any other preceding claim, wherein each of the ridge portions of the at least one fin is longitudinally spaced apart from opposite edges of the plate.

1 0. The stackable plate according to claim 3, or any other preceding claim, wherein the at least two ridge portions each has an upper surface extending in the longitudinal direction that is configured to engage an opposing surface of another stackable plate, the respective upper surfaces of the ridge portions having a curved profile in transverse cross-section.

1 1 . The stackable plate according to claim 4, or any other preceding claim, wherein the lateral sides of the at least one fin are each inclined by an angle relative to a plane that is perpendicular to the at least one surface of the plate, more particularly the angle being in the range from 2 to 20 degrees, or more particularly 5 to 15 degrees; and

optionally, wherein the base portion of the at least one fin has curved portions on the opposite lateral sides of the fin where the base portion connects with the at least one surface of the plate.

12. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the at least one aperture is configured as a break between longitudinally spaced apart segments of the at least one fin.

13. The stackable plate according to claim 12, or any other preceding claim, wherein the spaced apart segments have opposingly facing edges that define the break, and wherein the opposingly facing edges are each beveled or curved.

14. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein each of the plurality of fins has one or more transversely extending apertures for enabling transverse flow between the respective longitudinally extending channels.

15. The stackable plate according to claim 14, or any other preceding claim,

wherein the one or more transversely extending apertures includes a plurality of transversely extending apertures that define an array of transverse flow paths amid the plurality of fins; and

wherein the plurality of transversely extending apertures are aligned with each other in the transverse direction in the array.

16. The stackable plate according to claim 14, or any other preceding claim, wherein the one or more transversely extending apertures includes a plurality of transversely extending apertures that define an array of transverse flow paths amid the plurality of fins; and

wherein the plurality of transversely extending apertures are offset with respect to each other in the transverse direction in the array.

17. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the plurality of fins are parallel to each other in the longitudinal direction.

18. The stackable plate according to claim 17, or any other preceding claim, wherein the plurality of fins extend in a straight path along the longitudinal direction from one end portion of the plate to an opposite end portion of the plate.

19. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein the at least one fin extends upright from the at least one surface of the plate and terminates at an upper surface of the fin; and

wherein the upper surface of the fin is configured to be attached to an opposing surface of another stackable plate.

20. The stackable plate according to claim 19, or any other preceding claim,

wherein a heat-activated adhesive is interposed between the upper surface of the fin and the opposing surface of the other stackable plate to enable attachment via bonding.

21 . The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein the at least one fin extends upright from the at least one surface of the plate and terminates at an upper surface of the fin; and wherein the upper surface of the fin is flat and parallel to the at least one surface of the plate.

22. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein the at least one fin extends upright from the at least one surface of the plate and terminates at an upper surface of the fin; and

wherein the upper surface of the fin has a recess configured to receive a corresponding protrusion of an opposing stackable plate, and/or to receive a bonding agent to enable attachment to the opposing stackable plate via bonding.

23. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein the plurality of fins is a first plurality of fins, and the plate further comprises a second plurality of fins protruding from the at least one surface of the plate.

24. The stackable plate according to claim 23, or any other preceding claim,

wherein the second plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one surface of the plate, the second plurality of fins being laterally offset and interleaved with the first plurality of fins.

25. The stackable plate according to claim 23, or any other preceding claim,

wherein the first plurality of fins and the second plurality of fins each has a maximum height above the at least one surface of the plate;

wherein the maximum height of the second plurality of fins is less than the maximum height of the first plurality of fins; and

wherein the second plurality of fins are each devoid of apertures configured to provide transverse flow paths.

26. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein the plurality of fins is a first upper plurality of fins, and the at least one surface of the plate is a first upper surface of the plate, and

wherein the plate further comprises a second lower plurality of fins protruding from a second lower surface of the plate opposite the first surface of the plate.

27. The stackable plate according to claim 26, or any other preceding claim, wherein the second lower plurality of fins are laterally offset from the first upper plurality of fins.

28. The stackable plate according to claim 27, or any other preceding claim, in combination with and stacked atop an identical second stackable plate, wherein the second lower plurality of fins of the stackable plate are interleaved with the first upper plurality of fins of the second stackable plate, the second lower plurality of fins of the stackable plate being configured to separate the longitudinally extending channels between the first upper plurality of fins of the second stackable plate to define a plurality of longitudinally extending flow passages between the respective stackable plates;

wherein each of the plurality of longitudinally extending flow passages is at least partially enclosed by: a portion of the first upper surface of the second stackable plate, a portion of the second lower surface of the stackable plate, one of the first upper plurality of fins of the second stackable plate, and one of the second lower plurality of fins of the stackable plate.

29. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the plate has a leading edge portion, a trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions connecting the leading edge portion and the trailing edge portion; and

wherein at least one of the leading edge portion, the trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions is beveled.

30. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the plate has a second major surface opposite the at least one surface having the plurality of fins, the second major surface having a bevel that frames its outer perimeter.

31 . The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim,

wherein the plate has a second major surface opposite the at least one surface having the plurality of fins, and

wherein the second major surface is devoid of fins.

32. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein one or more surfaces of the plate have surface texture for enhancing fluid flow characteristics.

33. The stackable plate according to claim 32, or any other preceding claim, wherein the surface texture includes a plurality of dimples.

34. The stackable plate according to claim 32, or any other preceding claim, wherein the surface texture includes a plurality of protuberances.

35. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the fins are integral with the plate to define a unitary stackable plate.

36. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the stackable plate is made from a non-metallic material, such as a ceramic, for example a clay-based material or an engineered ceramic material. 37. The stackable plate according to claim 1 , or any other preceding claim, wherein the stackable plate is formed in an extrusion process, a pressing process, a sintering process, and/or an additive manufacturing process.

38. A stackable plate for a heat transfer block, the stackable plate comprising:

a plurality of fins extending upright from at least one major surface of the plate;

wherein the plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one major surface of the plate, the plurality of fins being laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and

wherein the plurality of fins each has at least two ridge portions longitudinally spaced apart to define therebetween at least a portion of a transverse flow channel for enabling transverse fluid cross flow between the longitudinally extending channels.

39. A heat transfer block comprising one or more of the stackable plates according to any of the preceding claims.

40. A heat transfer block for communicating fluid flow, the heat transfer block comprising:

a first layer having a first layer major surface, and an adjacent second layer opposite the first layer major surface;

wherein the first layer comprises a plurality of laterally spaced apart fins extending in a longitudinal direction along the first layer, the plurality of fins configured to extend from the first layer major surface and cooperate with the adjacent second layer to define respective longitudinally extending flow passages for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and

wherein at least one of the plurality of fins has at least one aperture extending transversely through the at least one fin in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction, the at least one fin configured to cooperate with the second layer such that the at least one aperture defines a transversely extending flow passage for enabling transverse fluid cross flow between the respective longitudinally extending flow passages.

41 . The heat transfer block according to claim 40, wherein the plurality of fins engage an opposing second layer major surface of the second layer to define the longitudinally extending flow passages, the longitudinally extending flow passages being at least partially enclosed by the first layer major surface, the opposing second layer major surface, and the laterally spaced apart fins; and wherein the at least one fin having the at least one aperture engages the opposing second layer major surface to define the transversely extending flow passage, the transversely extending flow passage being at least partially enclosed by edges of the at least one fin defining the aperture and the opposing second layer major surface.

42. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40- 41 , wherein the at least one aperture is configured as a recessed groove in the at least one fin, the at least one fin having a base portion proximal the first layer major surface, and at least two ridge portions extending upright from the base portion, the at least two ridge portions having respective upright edges that are longitudinally spaced apart and opposing each other, and wherein an upper longitudinal edge of the base portion extends in the longitudinal direction to connect the respective upright edges of the ridge portions to define the recessed groove.

43. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40-

42, wherein the second layer has a second layer major surface opposing the first layer major surface, the second layer major surface being a planar surface devoid of fins.

44. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40-

43, wherein the first layer and/or the second layer have a leading edge portion, a trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions connecting the leading edge portion and the trailing edge portion; and

wherein at least one of the leading edge portion, the trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions is beveled.

45. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40-

44, wherein the first layer has a leading edge, a trailing edge, and opposite lateral edges connecting the leading edge and the trailing edge; and

wherein the plurality of fins are laterally spaced apart from the opposite lateral edges of the first layer such that the lateral edge portions of the heat transfer block have flow channels that open toward the respective lateral edges for enabling lateral cross-flow fluid communication with an adjacent heat transfer block.

46. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40-

45, wherein the first layer and the second layer have the same configuration and cooperate to form a layer unit, the heat transfer block having a plurality of repeating layer units.

47. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40-

46, wherein at least the first layer is the stackable plate according to any of claims 1 -38. 48. The heat transfer block according to claim 40, or any of claims 40-

47, wherein at least the first layer and the second layer are integral and form a unitary heat transfer block, such as being formed by an additive manufacturing process. 49. A regenerative thermal oxidizer, a thermal oxidizer, a flare thermal oxidizer, a catalytic oxidizer, a recuperative oxidizer, or other system used for heat exchange in regenerative systems having the stackable plate or the heat transfer block according to any of the preceding claims.

Description:
HEAT TRANSFER MEDIA

Cross Reference to Related Applications

This present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/458,202 filed February 13, 2017 the disclosures of which incorporated by reference herein

Technical Field

The present disclosure relates generally to heat transfer media, and more particularly to heat transfer media used in regenerative thermal oxidizers, catalytic beds, or the like.

Background

Regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) are commonly used to convert pollutants in a contaminated vapor stream into less harmful combustion products prior to discharge of the vapor stream to the environment. As one example, regenerative thermal oxidizers are used to remove volatile organic compounds present in vapor streams from paint spray booths so that the discharged vapor streams are in compliance with environmental regulations.

Regenerative thermal oxidizers typically include a combustion chamber in which oxidization of the pollutants occurs. In addition, regenerative thermal oxidizers typically include two or more heat transfer columns which increase the efficiency of the oxidation process by preheating the contaminated vapor stream prior to combustion by passing it through a first heat transfer column having first heat transfer media which was previously heated by heat transfer with a hot combusted vapor stream. While the contaminated vapor stream is passing through the first heat transfer media in the first heat transfer column, the hot combusted vapor stream is being directed through second heat transfer media in a second heat transfer column to cause heating thereof.

Over a period of time, the first heat transfer media will cool an appreciable amount because of heat transfer with the contaminated vapor stream. The contaminated vapor stream is then redirected to the already heated second heat transfer media in the second heat transfer column, and the combusted vapor stream is returned to pass through the first heat transfer media in the first heat transfer column for reheating thereof. This cycling of the vapor streams between the first and second heat transfer columns is continually repeated so that the desired preheating of the contaminated vapor stream is maintained. In some systems, a third heat transfer column is provided to allow cycling of a purge gas through the heat transfer column prior to introduction of the clean vapor stream into the heat transfer column. An example of such a system is more fully described in U.S. Patent No. 5,352,1 15, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

Various types of heat transfer media have been utilized in the types of regenerative thermal oxidizers described above, including ceramic saddle- shaped random packings disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,547,222, as well as monolithic structures as disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,352,1 15. Typically, the heat transfer media is dumped or stacked to a preselected depth in the heat transfer column with the openings formed between or within the media providing passages for fluid flow. The monolithic structures disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5,352,1 15 create vertical flow channels that direct fluid flow in the same direction as the overall direction of flow through the heat transfer column. U.S. Patent No. 5,851 ,636 discloses a ceramic packing element formed from a stack of ceramic plates, where each ceramic plate has parallel ribs forming grooves that are closed into parallel flow channels by the surface of an opposed plate. The parallel flow channels of these ceramic packing elements also direct fluid flow in the same general direction as the fluid flow through the heat transfer column.

Summary

The known heat transfer media of the types described above typically confine fluid flow across the media surface to each parallel fluid flow channel, thereby limiting the direction of flow to correspond with the overall direction of flow through the heat transfer column. However, limiting the direction of fluid flow in this way may reduce the uniformity of heat transfer across the media, which may reduce the overall heat transfer efficiency, and also may limit the redistribution of fluid flow across the media, which may increase pressure drop.

An aspect of the present disclosure is to provide improvements in heat transfer media, and more particularly improvements in heat transfer media blocks, which may provide fuller and more even use of the media volume by enhancing the characteristics and/or directions of fluid flow across the media.

According to an aspect of the present disclosure, an exemplary heat transfer block may include one or more layers having longitudinal flow passages that enable fluid flow in the longitudinal direction through each layer of the heat transfer block, which may correspond to the overall direction of flow through the RTO heat transfer column. Advantageously, the heat transfer block also includes transverse flow passages across each layer for enabling lateral cross- flow between the longitudinally extending flow passages. This lateral cross-flow may promote a more uniform distribution of fluid flow across each layer, which may enhance the heat transfer efficiency of the block, while balancing optimal pressure drop.

In exemplary embodiments, each layer of the heat transfer block may be defined by one or more individual stackable plates, which may improve the ease to manufacture such heat transfer blocks.

In addition, each stackable plate may be formed by a powder pressing and/or sintering technique, and each plate may have one or more features that facilitate such technique(s).

According to an aspect of the present disclosure, a stackable plate for a heat transfer block includes: a plurality of fins protruding from at least one surface of the plate; wherein the plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one surface of the plate, the plurality of fins being laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and wherein at least one of the plurality of fins has at least one aperture extending transversely through the at least one fin in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction for enabling transverse fluid flow between the longitudinally extending channels.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a stackable plate for a heat transfer block includes: a plurality of fins extending upright from at least one major surface of the plate; wherein the plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one major surface of the plate, the plurality of fins being laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and wherein the plurality of fins each has at least two ridge portions longitudinally spaced apart to define therebetween at least a portion of a transverse flow channel for enabling transverse fluid cross flow between the longitudinally extending channels.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a heat transfer block for communicating fluid flow includes: a first layer having a first layer major surface, and an adjacent second layer opposite the first layer major surface; wherein the first layer comprises a plurality of laterally spaced apart fins extending in a longitudinal direction along the first layer, the plurality of fins configured to extend from the first layer major surface and cooperate with the adjacent second layer to define respective longitudinally extending flow passages for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and wherein at least one of the plurality of fins has at least one aperture extending transversely through the at least one fin in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction, the at least one fin configured to cooperate with the second layer such that the at least one aperture defines a transversely extending flow passage for enabling transverse fluid cross flow between the respective longitudinally extending flow passages.

The following description and the annexed drawings set forth certain illustrative embodiments according to the present disclosure. These

embodiments are indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles according to the present disclosure may be employed. Other objects, advantages and novel features according to aspects of the disclosure will become apparent from the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the drawings.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The annexed drawings, which are not necessarily to scale, show various aspects according to the present disclosure.

Fig. 1 is a fragmentary schematic side view of a regenerative thermal oxidizer having one or more exemplary heat transfer media constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

Fig. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of one of the heat transfer columns used in the regenerative thermal oxidizer in Fig. 1 , which contains a plurality of exemplary heat transfer blocks according to an embodiment of the present disclosure.

Fig. 3 is a perspective view of an exemplary stackable plate according to an embodiment of the present disclosure, which may be used for forming the heat transfer block in Fig. 2.

Fig. 4A is an end view of the stackable plate in Fig. 3. Fig. 4B is an enlarged end view of a portion of the stackable plate in Fig. 4A. Fig. 4C is a cross-sectional side view of the stackable plate in Fig. 4B taken about the line 4C-4C. Fig. 4D is an enlarged cross-section side view of a portion of the stackable plate in Fig. 4C.

Fig. 5 is perspective view of the heat transfer block in Fig. 2, shown outside of the heat transfer column and including a plurality of the stackable plates in Fig. 3.

Fig. 6 is an end view of the heat transfer block in Fig. 5.

Fig. 7 is an enlarged view of a portion of the heat transfer block in Fig. 6. Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional side view of the heat transfer block in Fig. 5 taken about the line 8-8.

Fig. 9 is an enlarged cross-sectional side view of a portion of the heat transfer block in Fig. 8.

Fig. 10 is an example of a prior art heat transfer block.

Fig. 1 1 is an x-y plot illustrating comparative testing of pressure drop vs. flow rate. Fig. 12 is a perspective view of another exemplary heat transfer block having a plurality of exemplary stackable plates according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

Fig. 13 is a partial side view of a portion of an exemplary heat transfer block having a plurality of exemplary stackable plates according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

Fig. 14 is a partial side view of a portion of an exemplary heat transfer block having a plurality of exemplary stackable plates according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

Detailed Description

The principles according to the present disclosure may have particular application to heat transfer media for regenerative thermal oxidizers, and thus will be described below chiefly in this context. It is also understood, however, that principles and aspects according to the present disclosure may be applicable to heat transfer media for other regenerative heat exchange systems, or other systems used to convert pollutants of a contaminated vapor stream into less harmful combustion products prior to discharge of the vapor stream to the environment, such as thermal oxidizers, flare thermal oxidizers, catalytic oxidizers, recuperative oxidizers, or the like.

In the discussion above and to follow, the terms "upper", "lower", "top", "bottom," "end," "inner," "left," "right," "above," "below," "horizontal," "vertical," "longitudinal," "lateral," etc. refer to an exemplary stackable plate, or an exemplary heat transfer block, as viewed in a horizontal position, as shown in Fig. 8, for example. This is done realizing that these units, such as when used in a regenerative thermal oxidizer, can be packed sideways or on various ends, or can be provided in various other positions. Furthermore, it is understood that the terms "upstream," "downstream," "leading," and "trailing" refer to the

arrangement of an exemplary stackable plate or an exemplary heat transfer block as fluid flows in an overall direction through a heat transfer column of a regenerative thermal oxidizer. Such an overall direction of fluid flow is shown generally in the various figures with reference to the directional arrows designated "F." This is done realizing that fluid may flow in various other directions depending on the orientation of the units in the heat transfer column, or the direction of flow through the heat transfer column.

Turning now to Fig. 1 , a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) 10 is shown. The regenerative thermal oxidizer 10 is used to remove pollutants contained in a vapor stream by oxidizing them, and typically converting them into carbon dioxide and water. The regenerative thermal oxidizer 10 comprises a single combustion chamber 12 containing a burner 14 which causes oxidation of the pollutant-laden or contaminated vapor stream to form a clean vapor stream. The regenerative thermal oxidizer 10 also includes three separate heat transfer columns 16, 18 and 20 which are in fluid flow communication with the

combustion chamber 12 and through which the contaminated vapor stream and clean vapor stream alternately flow on their way to and from the combustion chamber.

The contaminated vapor stream may be directed from its source to each of the heat transfer columns 16, 18 and 20 through a supply line 21 and separate inlet lines 22 containing flow control valves 24. The clean vapor stream may be removed from the heat transfer columns by separate outlet lines 26 which also contain flow control valves 28 and feed a common discharge line 29. A purge gas may also be directed to the heat transfer columns through separate inlet purge lines 30 containing flow control valves 32 and connected to a common supply line 33. A portion of the clean vapor stream may be used as the source of the purge gas and a tap line 34 is provided between the clean vapor stream discharge line 29 and purge gas supply line 33 for this purpose.

The contaminated vapor stream flows through supply line 21 and is fed through inlet line 22 into the center heat transfer column 18. The contaminated vapor stream flows through the heat transfer column 18 and undergoes heat exchange before it enters the combustion chamber 12 where it is combusted to form the clean vapor stream. The clean vapor stream is removed from combustion chamber 12 through the adjacent heat transfer column 16 and is then removed from the column through outlet line 26 and discharge line 29.

Purge gas may be concurrently fed to the other heat transfer column 20 through supply line 33 and purge line 30. As the purge gas passes through the heat transfer column 20, it removes any contaminated vapor from the column 20 and carries it to the combustion chamber 12 for cleaning. The flow paths of the vapor streams as described above are regulated by selective opening and closing of the flow control valves 24, 28 and 32.

Because the clean vapor stream leaves the combustion chamber 12 at a high temperature, it is desirable to transfer heat from the clean vapor stream to the contaminated vapor stream to improve process efficiency. This is achieved by manipulating the flow control valves 24, 28 and 32 to cause the contaminated vapor stream to be redirected from heat transfer column 18 to the heat transfer column 16 which has been heated by the clean vapor stream. As the contaminated vapor stream flows through the heated column 16 it increases in temperature until it exits the column and enters the combustion chamber 12 at a much hotter temperature than when it entered the column. At the same time, the clean vapor stream is redirected from heat transfer column 16 to heat transfer column 20 which has been purged of contaminated vapor. The clean vapor stream enters heat transfer column 20 from combustion chamber 12 at a very high temperature and then exits the opposite end of the column 20 at a reduced temperature, having undergone heat exchange within the column 20. Purge gas is in turn directed through column 18 to remove residues of the contaminated vapor stream.

It will be appreciated that after a period of time, column 16 through which the contaminated vapor stream is flowing will have cooled as a result of heat exchange such that it does not provide the desired degree of preheating of the contaminated vapor stream. The contaminated vapor stream must then be switched to column 20 which has been heated by the clean vapor stream. The clean vapor stream is concurrently redirected to the purged heat transfer column 18 and purge gas is directed to the cooled column 16 to remove residue of the contaminated vapor stream. This repeated cycling of the vapor streams among the heat transfer columns allows the regenerative thermal oxidizer to be continuously operated while providing for indirect heat exchange between the respective vapor streams.

It is understood that the placement of the combustion chamber 12 in relation to the heat transfer columns 16, 18 and 20 can be varied from the illustrated embodiment. For example, the combustion chamber 12 could be placed below or to either side of the heat transfer columns. When the combustion chamber is to one side of the columns the flow through the columns is generally horizontal.

Referring to Fig. 2, a perspective view of exemplary heat transfer media for use in the RTO 10 is shown within the heat transfer column 20. As shown, the heat transfer media includes a plurality of exemplary heat transfer blocks 36. Each of the heat transfer columns 16, 18 and 20 may include one or more of the heat transfer blocks 36. Generally, the heat transfer block 36 includes solid surfaces 40 that define fluid flow passages that enable fluid passing

therethrough to undergo heat exchange as the fluid flows across the surfaces 40. As shown, the heat transfer block 36 includes a plurality of longitudinal flow passages 39, which may correspond to the overall direction of flow through the RTO heat transfer column. In addition, the heat transfer block 36 also includes one or more transverse flow passages 39 configured to promote transverse cross flow of the fluid between the longitudinally extending passages 38. As will be described in further detail below, such an exemplary heat transfer block 36 may provide fuller and more even use of the media volume by enhancing the characteristics and/or directions of fluid flow. In exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer block 36 includes a plurality of layers 42, which may be in the form of individual plates that are stacked in a cooperating manner to define the longitudinal flow passages 38 and the transverse flow passages 39.

Figs. 3-4D show an exemplary stackable plate 50 that may be used to form at least portion of the heat transfer block 36. As shown, the stackable plate 50 includes a first surface 52 (also referred to as a "major surface") and an opposite second surface 53, which may respectively define upper and lower planar surfaces of a major body portion of the plate 50. The plate 50 also includes a leading edge portion 56, a trailing edge portion 58, and opposite lateral edge portions 60, 62 that connect the leading edge portion 56 and trailing edge portion 58. In the illustrated embodiment, the plate 50 is shown as being a generally parallelepiped shape, such as a rectangular prism. Those having ordinary skill in the art would understand, however, that the stackable plate may take the form of other suitable three-dimensional shapes, including non-planar shapes, as may be desirable for particular applications. As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the plate 50 includes a plurality of fins 54 protruding upright from the first surface 52. The protruding fins 54 may be integral and unitary with the plate 50 as shown, or the protruding fins 54 may be attached to the surface 52 of the plate in any suitable manner. As shown, the plurality of fins 54 may extend in a longitudinal direction between the leading edge portion 56 and the trailing edge portion 58 of the plate surface 52, and the fins 54 may be laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels 64. In this manner, the plurality of fins 54 and the corresponding longitudinally extending channels 64 are configured to enable fluid flow in the longitudinal direction across the plate surface 52, which may be essentially parallel to the overall direction of fluid flow through an RTO heat transfer column (as designated by the directional arrow, F).

Advantageously, one or more of the fins 54 have one or more apertures 66 that extend transversely across the fins 54 in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction for enabling transverse fluid flow between adjacent longitudinal channels 64 (as shown by the flow lines F). In the illustrated embodiment, the one or more apertures 66 extend transversely through the fin(s) 54 in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction. It is understood, however, that the aperture(s) 66 may extend transversely through the fin(s) 54 in a direction inclined to the longitudinal direction. By providing the transversely extending apertures 66 and enabling such lateral cross-flow between adjacent channels 64, the heat transfer characteristics of the stackable plate 50 and/or the heat transfer block 36 may be improved. For example, the apertures 66 may be configured to promote lateral cross-flow so as to enhance the uniform distribution of fluid flow across the stackable plates, which may improve heat transfer efficiency and reduce pressure drop.

In the illustrated embodiment, the apertures 66 are configured as recessed grooves in the fins 54. More particularly, each fin 54 may have at least two ridge portions 68 that are longitudinally spaced apart to define therebetween at least a portion of the recessed groove 66 (referred to herein with the same reference numeral as the aperture 66 for clarity). As shown, the plurality of recessed grooves 66 may be arranged in a predetermined pattern to define an array of transverse flow paths amid the plurality of fins 54. In the illustrated embodiment, the laterally adjacent recessed grooves 66 are longitudinally aligned with respect to each other in the array, which may provide a less tortuous transverse fluid flow path. Alternatively or additionally, one or more of the apertures (e.g., recessed grooves 66) may be longitudinally offset with respect to other apertures in the array to provide a more tortuous flow path (as shown in Fig. 12, for example), which may be desirable for certain applications. It is understood that although the apertures 66 are shown configured as recessed grooves between the ridge portions 68 of the fins 54, other

configurations for the apertures may be possible, such as breaks between fin portions (shown in Fig. 12, for example); holes, slots, scallops, or notches in the fins; or any other suitable flow channel configuration that extends transversely across the fin for enabling transverse fluid flow between the longitudinal channels 64.

In exemplary embodiments, the ridge portions 68 have respective upright edges 72 that extend away from a base portion 70 of the fins 54. As shown, the upright edges 72 of the respective ridge portions 68 may be longitudinally spaced apart and oppose each other to form a gap in the fin 54, and an upper edge 74 of the base portion 70 may extend in the longitudinal direction to connect the respective upright edges 72 to define the recessed groove 66. In exemplary embodiments, the upright edges 72 may each have a curved profile in longitudinal cross-section such that their connection with the upper longitudinal edge 74 of the base portion 70 is a curved transition (as shown in Fig. 4D, for example). In the illustrated embodiment, the upright edges 72 each has a continuously curved profile (e.g., a constant radius as shown in longitudinal cross-section) from the upper longitudinal edge 74 of the base portion 70 to an upper longitudinally extending surface 76 of the ridge portion 68. The upright edges 72 also may be curved in the lateral direction. Such curved

configuration(s) may further enhance fluid flow characteristics and/or may facilitate manufacturability of the fins by improving pressure uniformity and die release via powder pressing techniques.

As will be discussed in further detail below, the upper longitudinal surface 76 of the ridge portion 68 may be configured to engage an adjacent surface, such as an opposing surface of another stackable plate. In this manner, the ridge portions 68 of the fins 54 may be configured to support one or more of these stackable plates. In addition, the cooperation between such layers or plates may at least partially enclose one or more of the longitudinal flow channels 64 and the transversely extending apertures 66 so that fluid passing over the surfaces defining these channels undergo heat exchange. As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the upper longitudinal surface 76 of the ridge portion 68 has a curved profile in transverse cross-section (as shown in Fig. 4B, for example), which may minimize contact area with the adjacent surface or plate. Such a curved configuration also may facilitate manufacturing via powder pressing techniques. The upper longitudinal edge 74 of the base portion 70 also may have a curved profile in transverse cross-section, which may enhance fluid flow characteristics as the fluid transversely flows through the aperture 66 and/or facilitate manufacturing.

In exemplary embodiments, a longitudinal length (I_G) of the recessed grooves 66 may be greater than a longitudinal length (LR) of the ridge portions 68. For example, a ratio of the longitudinal length (LR) of the ridge portion 68 to the longitudinal length (I_G) of the recessed groove 66 may be in the rage from about 30:70 to 50:50, more particularly about 40:60. Alternatively or additionally, a depth (Hs) of the recessed groove 66 below the upper surface 76 of the ridge portion 68 may be less than a height of the base portion 70 as measured from the surface 52 to the upper edge 72 at the groove. For example, the depth (Hs) of the recessed groove 66 may be in the range from about 25% to 45%, more particularly about 30%, of the height (HR) of the at least one ridge portion above the surface 52 of the plate. Such configuration(s) of the recessed groove 66 may provide a relatively long and narrow aperture in the fin 54, which may enhance fluid flow characteristics, while balancing heat transfer efficiency, pressure drop, and strength of the fin and/or plate.

In exemplary embodiments, the fins 54 may be spaced apart substantially parallel to each other along the longitudinal direction to provide a uniform lateral width for fluid flow across the channel 64. In the illustrated embodiment, the plurality of fins 54 extend in a straight path along the longitudinal direction from the leading edge portion 56 of the plate to the opposite trailing edge portion 58. It is understood, however, that the fins 54 may extend in the longitudinal direction to provide a more tortuous path, such as fins extending in the longitudinal direction in converging, diverging, serpentine, sinuous, curved, zigzag, or diagonal paths.

In exemplary embodiments, the lateral sides of the fin 54 may be inclined by an angle (a) relative to a plane that is perpendicular to the surface 52 of the plate, which may provide a ramped surface for enhancing fluid flow, such as cross-flow through the aperture 66, while also balancing pressure drop with the turbulence that may be created by such angling. In exemplary embodiments, the angle (a) may be in the range from 2 to 20 degrees, and more particularly 5 to 15 degrees. Such relatively small angles may provide for a narrower width of the fin 54 and a wider width of the channel 64 to provide an enhanced amount of flow through the channel 64 while also balancing the surface area of the fin 54 to provide sufficient heat transfer. Also as shown, the base portion 70 of the fin 54 is proximal the major surface 52 and may have curved portions 78 on its opposite lateral sides to provide a curved connection with the surface 52 (as shown in Fig. 4B, for example), which also may enhance fluid flow

characteristics and/or facilitate manufacturing via powder pressing techniques, as discussed above.

In exemplary embodiments, the stackable plate 50 also may include a second plurality of fins 80 having a different configuration than the first plurality of fins 54. In the illustrated embodiment, the second plurality of fins 80 protrude from the major surface 52 and extend in a longitudinal direction between laterally adjacent first fins 54, such that the second fins 80 are laterally offset and interleaved with the first fins 54. As shown in Fig. 4B, the second fins 80 have a height above the surface 52 that is less than the height of the ridge portions 68 of the first fins 54, but are about the same height as the upper longitudinal edge 74 of the base portion 70 of the first fins 54. In this manner, the second fins 80 generally would not be configured to support an adjacent stackable plate, but rather are configured to have a relatively low profile that allows fluid flow to pass over the tops of the fins 80 within the longitudinal flow channel 64. The second plurality of fins 80 also may be devoid of transverse flow apertures. As shown, the second fins 80 may have a transverse cross-sectional profile similar to the first fins 54. For example, the lateral sides of the second fins 80 may be inclined by an angle relative to a plane that is perpendicular to the surface 52 of the plate, which may be the same angle (a) of the first fins 54, which provides a ramped surface for the fluid cross-flow passing over the tops of the fins 80. The second fins 80 also may have curved portions on its opposite lateral sides toward the base to provide a curved connection with the surface 52. Such configuration(s) of the second plurality of fins 80 disposed within the flow channels 64 between the first plurality of fins 54 may enhance fluid flow characteristics along and across the flow channel 64, may enhance heat transfer characteristics by adding surface area and mass to the plate, and/or may improve the overall rigidity and strength of the plate 50.

As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the plate 50 also may have a beveled edge portion 82 along one or more of the leading edge portion 56, the trailing edge portion 58, and the opposite lateral edge portions 60 and 62. More particularly, the beveled edge portion 82 may be formed toward the lower surface 53 of the plate, and may be configured to frame the outer perimeter of the plate 50. The beveled edge portion 82 may be configured to provide a wider opening toward the edge portions of the plate, such as when multiple of the plates 50 are stacked together, which may enhance fluid intake into the flow channels 64. Also as shown, each of the ridge portions 68 of the fins 54 may be longitudinally spaced apart from the leading edge 56 and/or trailing edge 58 of the plate to further enhance intake flow.

In exemplary embodiments, the plate 50 (including the plate surfaces 52 and 53 and/or the fins 54 and 80) may have surface texturing for enhancing the fluid flow characteristics and heat transfer of the fluid flowing across the plate 50. For example, the surface texturing may be configured to enhance turbulent flow of the fluid as it passes across the plate 50. The surface texturing may include a plurality of recesses and/or a plurality of protuberances. For example, the recesses may be configured as a plurality of dimples disposed across the plate 50 in a predetermined pattern. The protuberances may be configured as a plurality of bumps, studs, pins, cylinders, bars, chevrons, or the like. It is understood that the surface texturing may be applied to one or more surfaces of the plate, and that the various configurations of surface texturing may be employed on one or both sides of a single plate, or the various configurations may be employed differently across multiple stacked plates. It also is

understood that other surface texturing configurations may be utilized depending on the requirements of the application, as understood by those having ordinary skill in the art.

Referring now to Figs. 5-9, the exemplary heat transfer block 36 is shown in further detail. Generally, the heat transfer block 36 may include at least one first layer and an adjacent second layer that are configured to cooperate with each other to define the longitudinal flow passages 38, which may correspond to the overall direction of flow through the RTO heat transfer column. The first and second layers also are configured to cooperate with each other to define the transverse flow passages 39 for enabling lateral cross-flow between the longitudinal flow passages 38.

In exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer block 36 may be formed by a plurality of stackable plates. In the illustrated embodiment, a plurality of the stackable plates 50 may be stacked together to define the heat transfer block 36, such that one of the plates (e.g., 50A) may be a first layer of the block, and another one of the plates (e.g., 50B) may be a second layer of the block. In the illustrated embodiment, each of the stackable plates 50A and 50B is the same as the stackable plate 50 in Figs. 3-4D. Those having ordinary skill in the art would understand, however, that not all of the stackable plates need be identical, and different configurations of stackable plates may be substituted for one another, or used in conjunction with one another, as may be desirable for particular applications.

As shown, the first stackable plate 50A cooperates with the second stackable plate 50B to define therebetween the longitudinally extending flow passages 38. These longitudinally extending flow passages 38 may correspond with the respective longitudinally extending channels 64 of the respective plates 50A and 50B. For example, when the plurality of fins 54 of the first plate 50A engage the lower major surface 53 of the second plate 50B, the longitudinally extending flow passages 38 may be at least partially enclosed by the laterally spaced apart fins 54 of the first plate 50A, the major surface 52 of the first plate 50A, and the opposing lower surface 53 of the second plate 50B. Also as shown in the illustrated embodiment, the first stackable plate 50A cooperates with the second stackable plate 50B to define therebetween the transversely extending flow passages 39 (as shown in Figs. 8 and 9, for example). These transversely extending flow passages 39 may correspond with the respective transversely extending apertures 66 that extend across the respective fins 54 of the plate 50A and 50B. For example, when the plurality of fins 54 engage the lower major surface 53 of the second plate 50B, the transversely extending flow passages 39 may be at least partially enclosed by the upright edges 72 of the ridge portions 68 of the fins 54 of the first plate 50A, the upper longitudinal edge 74 of the base portion 70 of the fins 54 of the first plate 50A, and the opposing lower surface 53 of the second plate 50B.

In exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer block 36 also may be configured to have flow passages 84 on its lateral sides that open in the lateral direction, which may enable improved cross-flow communication with laterally adjacent heat transfer blocks. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the fins 54 are laterally spaced apart from the lateral edges 60 and 62 of the plates 50 to provide the laterally opening flow passages 84. In exemplary

embodiments, the amount of lateral flow though the passages 84 may be further enhanced by the lateral cross-flow through the transversely flow passages 38 between each plate 50.

As shown, the stackable plates 50A and 50B may be stacked together in a cooperating relationship such that the first stackable plate 50A may stably support the second stackable plate 50B, such as on the upper longitudinal surfaces 76 of the ridge portions 68. In this manner, the fins 54 may be configured to have sufficient strength and rigidity to support the weight of the plates above, particularly at operating temperature. In the illustrated

embodiment, the upper longitudinal surfaces 76 have a curved profile in transverse cross-section, which may minimize contact area and/or facilitate manufacturing. It is understood, however, that other configurations may be utilized, such as fins having flat tops (as shown in Fig. 13, for example), or fins having tops with a recess for containing an adhesive and/or receiving a corresponding protrusion for alignment with the opposite stackable plate (as shown in Fig. 14, for example). In exemplary embodiments, the stackable plates 50A and 50B may be coupled together in any suitable manner, such as with an adhesive (as shown in Figs. 13 and 14, for example), fasteners, interlocking members, or within a casing, to make the heat transfer block 36 a rigid unit that is capable of being handled and stacked in a heat transfer column of a regenerative thermal oxidizer, or the like.

In exemplary embodiments, the block 36 and/or the individual stackable plates 50 may be made from a ceramic, such as a refractory clay or engineered ceramic, or may be made from other suitable materials that are inert to the gases passing across the solid surfaces, and which remain solid at the process operating temperatures. For example, the stackable plates 50 and/or the resultant heat transfer block 36 may be made from one or more ceramic materials, such as refractory clays or engineered ceramics. In exemplary embodiments, the refractory clay may contain such constituents as S1O2, AI2O3, MgO, CaO, etc., or other suitable materials configured to withstand the types of fluids and temperatures experienced during operation.

The stackable plates 50 and/or the heat transfer block 36 may be formed by an extrusion process, a pressing and/or sintering process, an additive manufacturing process, a machining process, or any other suitable process. For example, although the heat transfer block 36 may be formed with individual stackable plates 50 as shown and described above, it is also understood that the heat transfer block 36 may be formed as a single unitary block having one or more of the foregoing features of the stackable plate 50 integrated therein. For example, any of the foregoing features of the above-described exemplary stackable plate 50 (including fins, apertures, longitudinal flow passages, transverse flow passages, and the like) may be made via additive manufacturing. In addition, the additive manufacturing process may integrate each of the plates into the monolithic heat transfer block by building the block layer-by-layer in a known manner so as to eliminate the need for stacking. It is understood that in such an additively manufactured configuration, the stackable plates and features thereof would instead be formed as integrated plates, or integrated layers, in the monolithic heat transfer block. It is also understood that any suitable additive manufacturing process (such as free form fabrication, selective layer sintering, etc.) may be utilized to form the monolithic heat transfer block and/or each individual stackable layer, as would be understood by those having ordinary skill in the art.

Turning now to Fig. 1 1 , test results are shown illustrating comparative testing between a heat transfer block constructed in accordance with the heat transfer block 36 in Figs. 5-9 compared to a heat transfer block constructed in accordance with a prior art heat transfer block as shown in Fig. 10. As shown in Fig. 10, the prior art heat transfer block includes a plurality of plates 150 having a plurality of fins 180 that extend in the longitudinal direction, and which are devoid of apertures that would allow cross-flow between longitudinally extending channels.

The test parameters of the comparative testing shown in Fig. 1 1 are as follows. The exemplary heat transfer block 36 in accordance with the present disclosure is constructed of 17 stackable plates 50 (as shown in Figs. 3-4D), which results in the heat transfer block 36 being about 300mm long, about 200mm wide, and about 76mm tall. The fractional open area of flow passages at the exit of the exemplary heat transfer block 36 is about 0.583 ft 2 . The comparative prior art heat transfer block is constructed of 16 stackable plates 150 (as shown in Fig. 10), which results in a heat transfer block about 300mm long, about 200mm wide, and about 76mm tall. The fractional open area of flow passages at the exit of the prior art heat transfer block is about 0.516 ft 2 .

During the testing, each heat transfer block is placed in a flow channel and the actual flow rate of the air (fluid) is varied at levels of about 45, 55, 70, 85, 100, 1 15, 130, and 150 actual cubic feet per minute (ACFM). The pressure drop of the air across the heat transfer block is measured (in mmHg) at each flow rate level with a high accuracy dP (differential pressure) cell. The testing is conducted with a controlled air temperature between 70 to 90°F. The testing is repeated for each heat transfer block at the varying flow rate levels with different percentages of the fractional open area of the heat transfer block being blocked. The blockage is made at the exit flow passages of each heat transfer block with clay, and the remainder of the heat transfer block upstream of the blocked portion is free of blockage. The blockage percentage levels for testing include 0% (unblocked), 20%, 40%, and 60% of the fractional open area at the exit being blocked. The results of this comparative testing are shown in Fig. 1 1 , which plots the pressure drop (mmHg) vs. flow rate (ACFM) for each test condition. The different blockage percentage levels are depicted in the key for Fig. 1 1 , in which the Examples (Ex.) represent the exemplary heat transfer block 36 and the Comparative Examples (Comp. Ex.) represent the prior art heat transfer block.

As illustrated in Fig. 1 1 , the results of the testing show that the exemplary heat transfer block 36 demonstrates a surprising improvement in the reduction of pressure drop compared to the prior art heat transfer block, particularly at higher blockage percentages and increased flow rates. The understanding from this testing is as follows. The exemplary heat transfer block 36 includes features, such as the transverse flow passages 39 formed by the apertures 66, that allow fluid flow to redistribute within each layer. As blockage of the heat transfer block occurs, the velocity of the fluid at the blockage typically increases. However, because the exemplary heat transfer block 36 allows the fluid flow to redistribute around the blockage, the velocity upstream of the blockage is lower, which results in a lower pressure drop for the portion of the heat transfer block that has the lower velocity.

Turning to Fig. 12, another exemplary embodiment of heat transfer block 236 having a plurality of exemplary stackable plates (e.g., 250A and 250B) is shown. The stackable plates 250A, 250B and the heat transfer block 236 are similar to the above- referenced stackable plate 50 and the heat transfer block 36, and consequently the same reference numerals but indexed by 200 are used to denote structures corresponding to similar structures.

As shown in Fig. 12, the stackable plate 250A includes a first upper surface 252, a second lower surface 253, a leading edge 256, a trailing edge 258, and opposite lateral edges 260 and 262. The plate 250A also includes a plurality of fins 254 protruding from the first surface 252. As shown, the plurality of fins 254 extend in a longitudinal direction between the leading edge 256 and the trailing edge 258 of the plate surface 252, and the fins 254 are laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels 264.

In the illustrated embodiment, the fins 254 have one or more transversely extending apertures 266 that extend across the fins 254 for enabling transverse fluid flow between adjacent longitudinal channels 264. As discussed above, by providing the transversely extending apertures 266 and enabling such lateral cross-flow between adjacent channels 264, the heat transfer characteristics of the stackable plate 250A and/or the heat transfer block 236 may be improved. As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the apertures 266 are configured as breaks, or gaps, between longitudinally spaced apart segments 254a, 254b of the respective fins 254. By configuring the apertures 266 as breaks between the fin segments 254a, 254b, the ease to manufacture such transverse flow paths in the plate 250 may be improved, particularly where the fins 254 are integral and unitary with the plate 250, as shown. In exemplary embodiments, the breaks may have a longitudinal length that is at least as long as the lateral width of the channel 264 for enhancing the amount of transverse cross-flow. In the illustrated embodiment, the transversely extending apertures 266 are arranged to define an array of transverse flow paths amid the plurality of fins 254, in which laterally adjacent apertures 266 are offset with respect to each so as to provide a more tortuous transverse flow path.

As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the stackable plate 250 also includes a second plurality of fins 255 protruding from the second lower surface 253. The second plurality of fins 255 (e.g., lower fins) may be configured substantially the same as the first plurality of fins 254 (e.g., upper fins), or the second plurality of fins 255 may be different. In the illustrated embodiment, the second plurality of fins 255 are arranged laterally offset from the first plurality of fins 254, and extend in a longitudinal direction along the plate surface 253. The second plurality of fins 255 are also laterally spaced apart to define

therebetween longitudinally extending channels (hidden from view). The second plurality of fins 255 may also include one or more transversely extending apertures (hidden from view), which also may be configured as breaks between longitudinally spaced apart fin segments.

As shown, the plurality of the stackable plates (e.g., first stackable plate 250A and second stackable plate 250B) are stacked together to define the heat transfer block 236. In the illustrated embodiment, the stackable plates 250A, 250B are substantially the same as each other, and are stacked together in a cooperating relationship such that one stackable plate 250B stably supports another stackable plate 250A.

In exemplary embodiments, the first stackable plate 250A cooperates with the second stackable plate 50B to define therebetween longitudinally extending flow passages 238. The longitudinally extending flow passages 238 may correspond with the respective longitudinally extending channels formed between respective fins 254 and 255 on opposite sides of the plate 250. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the lower fins 255 of the first plate 250A are laterally offset with respect to the upper fins 254 of the second plate 250B, which enables the lower fins 255 of the first plate 250A to be interleaved with the upper fins 254 of the second plate 250B. In this manner, the lower fins 255 of the first plate 250A may separate the longitudinally extending channels 264 of the second plate 250B, and the upper fins 254 of the second plate 250B may separate the longitudinally extending channels (hidden from view) of the first plate 250A so as to define the longitudinally extending flow passages 238. Such a stacked configuration may be repeated as desired to form as many stacked layers and longitudinal flow passages as desired for a particular application.

The first stackable plate 250A also cooperates with the second stackable plate 250B to define therebetween transversely extending flow passages (hidden from view), which are similar to the above-described flow passages 39. In this manner, the transversely extending flow passages (hidden from view in Fig. 12) may correspond with the respective transversely extending apertures 266 that extend across the respective upper fins 254 of the second plate 250B, and may also correspond with the apertures (hidden from view) that extend across the lower fins 255 of the first plate 250A. For example, the upper fins 254 of the second plate 250B may engage the opposing lower surface 253 of the first plate 250A, and the transverse flow passage may be defined by the edges of the aperture 266 of the second plate 250B cooperating with the opposing first plate surface 253. More particularly, where the apertures 266 of the second plate 250B are configured as breaks between fin segments 254a and 254b, at least some of the transverse flow passages may be enclosed by the opposing first plate surface 253, the longitudinally spaced apart end portions of the second plate fin segments 254a and 254b, and the portion of the second plate surface 252 extending between the end portions of the fin segments 254a and 254b. In addition, the lower fins 255 of the first plate 250A may also may have apertures (hidden from view), which may form additional transverse flow passages when cooperating with the lower plate 250B in a similar manner as described above.

Turning to Fig. 13, a partial side view of a portion of another exemplary heat transfer block 336 having a plurality of exemplary stackable plates 350A, 350B according to another embodiment is shown. The stackable plates 350A, 350B and the heat transfer block 336 are similar to the above-referenced stackable plates 50, 250A and the heat transfer block 36, 236 and consequently the same reference numerals but indexed by 300 are used to denote structures corresponding to similar structures.

In the illustrated embodiment, the stackable plate 350B has at least one fin 354 that extends upright from a surface 352 of the plate and terminates at a flat upper longitudinal surface 376. The flat upper longitudinal surface 376 may be parallel to the surface 352 of the plate. In addition, a bonding agent 375 may be interposed between the fin 354 and a lower surface 353 of the adjacent plate 350A. The bonding agent 375 may be an adhesive, such as a heat-activated adhesive, or the like. In the illustrated embodiment, the upper longitudinal surface 376 is shown as being substantially flat, but optionally may include a recess 377, or trough, for receiving, containing, and/or self-leveling the bonding agent 375.

Referring to Fig. 14, a partial side view of a portion of another exemplary heat transfer block 446 having a plurality of exemplary stackable plates 450A, 450B according to another embodiment is shown. The stackable plates 450A, 450B and the heat transfer block 436 are similar to the above-referenced stackable plates 50, 250A, 350A and the heat transfer block 36, 236, 336 and consequently the same reference numerals but indexed by 400 are used to denote structures corresponding to similar structures.

In the illustrated embodiment, the stackable plate 450B has at least one fin 454 that extends upright from a surface 452 of the plate and terminates at an upper longitudinal surface having a concave recess 477. The recess 477 may extend along at least a portion of the upper surface of the fin 454, and may be configured to receive a corresponding protrusion 479 that extends from a lower surface 453 of the adjacent plate 450A, which may facilitate alignment of the plates 450A, 450B. Optionally, a bonding agent 475, such as an adhesive, may be disposed within the recess 477 to facilitate attachment of the plates 450A, 450B.

It is understood that the foregoing descriptions of the stackable plates

(e.g., 50, 250A, 350A, 450A, etc.) and the heat transfer blocks (e.g., 36, 236, 336, 436, etc.) are equally applicable to one another, except as noted above, and thus it is understood that aspects of the stackable plates (e.g., 50, 250A, 350A, 450A, etc.) and the heat transfer blocks (e.g., 36, 236, 336, 436, etc.) may be substituted for one another or used in conjunction with one another where applicable. It is furthermore understood that in the foregoing embodiments, the various configurations of the fins and apertures may be employed on one or both sides of a single plate, or the various configurations may be employed differently across multiple stacked plates, as may be desirable for particular applications.

Heat transfer media, such as the exemplary heat transfer block having one or more of the exemplary stackable plates, have been disclosed herein which may provide fuller and more even use of the media volume by enhancing the characteristics and/or directions of fluid flow across the media.

More particularly, the exemplary heat transfer block may include one or more layers having longitudinal flow passages that enable fluid flow in the longitudinal direction across each layer, and also include transverse flow passages for enabling lateral cross-flow between the longitudinal flow passages. This lateral cross-flow may promote a more uniform distribution of fluid flow across each layer, which may enhance the heat transfer efficiency of the block, while balancing optimal pressure drop. In exemplary embodiments, one or more of the layers of the heat transfer block may be formed by one or more exemplary stackable plates.

According to an aspect of the present disclosure, a stackable plate for a heat transfer block includes: a plurality of fins protruding from at least one surface of the plate; wherein the plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one surface of the plate, the plurality of fins being laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and wherein at least one of the plurality of fins has at least one aperture extending transversely through the at least one fin in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction for enabling transverse fluid flow between the longitudinally extending channels.

Embodiments may include one or more of the following additional features, alone or in combination.

For example, the at least one aperture may be configured as a recessed groove in the at least one fin.

The at least one fin may have at least two ridge portions, the at least two ridge portions being spaced apart in the longitudinal direction to define therebetween at least a portion of the recessed groove.

The at least one fin may have a base portion proximal the surface of the plate, and the at least two ridge portions may have respective upright edges extending away from the base portion.

The upright edges of the respective ridge portions may be longitudinally spaced apart and oppose each other, and an upper longitudinal edge of the base portion extends in the longitudinal direction to connect the respective upright edges of the ridge portions to define the recessed groove.

The upright edges of the respective ridge portions may each have a curved profile, in longitudinal cross-section, at their respective connections with the upper longitudinal edge of the base portion.

Each of the upright edges of the respective ridge portions may have a continuously curved profile from the upper longitudinal edge of the base portion to an upper longitudinal surface of the ridge portion.

A ratio of the longitudinal length of each of the ridge portions to the longitudinal length of the recessed groove (LR:I_G) may be in the rage from 30:70 to 50:50, more particularly 40:60.

A depth of the recessed groove (HG) below an upper surface of at least one of the ridge portions may be in the range from 25% to 45%, more particularly 30%, of the height of the at least one ridge portion above the surface of the plate (HR).

Each of the ridge portions of the at least one fin may be longitudinally spaced apart from opposite edges of the plate. The at least two ridge portions may each have an upper surface extending in the longitudinal direction that is configured to engage an opposing surface of another stackable plate, the respective upper surfaces of the ridge portions having a curved profile in transverse cross-section.

The lateral sides of the at least one fin each may be inclined by an angle relative to a plane that is perpendicular to the at least one surface of the plate.

The angle may be in the range from 2 to 20 degrees, or more particularly 5 to 15 degrees.

The base portion of the at least one fin may have curved portions on the opposite lateral sides of the fin where the base portion connects with the at least one surface of the plate.

The at least one aperture may be configured as a break between longitudinally spaced apart segments of the at least one fin.

The spaced apart segments may have opposingly facing edges that define the break, and the opposingly facing edges may each be beveled or curved.

Each of the plurality of fins may have one or more transversely extending apertures for enabling transverse flow between the respective longitudinally extending channels.

The one or more transversely extending apertures may include a plurality of transversely extending apertures that define an array of transverse flow paths amid the plurality of fins.

The plurality of transversely extending apertures may be aligned with each other in the transverse direction in the array.

The plurality of transversely extending apertures may be offset with respect to each other in the transverse direction in the array.

The plurality of transversely extending apertures may be offset with each other in the array.

The one or more apertures may extend transversely through the fin in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction, or in a direction inclined to a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal direction.

The plurality of fins may be parallel to each other in the longitudinal direction. The plurality of fins may extend in a straight path along the longitudinal direction from one end portion of the plate to an opposite end portion of the plate.

The at least one fin may extend upright from the at least one surface of the plate and terminate at an upper surface of the fin.

The upper surface of the fin may be configured to be attached to an opposing surface of another stackable plate.

A heat-activated adhesive may be interposed between the upper surface of the fin and the opposing surface of the other stackable plate to enable attachment via bonding.

The upper surface of the fin may be flat and parallel to the at least one surface of the plate.

The upper surface of the fin may have a recess configured to receive a corresponding protrusion of an opposing stackable plate, and/or to receive a bonding agent to enable attachment to an opposing stackable plate via bonding.

The plurality of fins may be a first plurality of fins, and the plate may further include a second plurality of fins protruding from the at least one surface of the plate.

The second plurality of fins may extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one surface of the plate, the second plurality of fins being laterally offset and interleaved with the first plurality of fins.

The first plurality of fins and the second plurality of fins may each have a maximum height above the at least one surface of the plate, wherein the maximum height of the second plurality of fins may less than the maximum height of the first plurality of fins.

The second plurality of fins may each be devoid of apertures that otherwise would provide transverse flow paths.

The plurality of fins may be a first upper plurality of fins, and the at least one surface of the plate may be a first upper surface of the plate, and the plate may further include a second lower plurality of fins protruding from a second lower surface of the plate opposite the first surface of the plate.

The second lower plurality of fins may be laterally offset from the first upper plurality of fins. The stackable plate may be combined with and stacked atop an identical second stackable plate, wherein the second lower plurality of fins of the stackable plate may be interleaved with the first upper plurality of fins of the second stackable plate, wherein the second lower plurality of fins of the stackable plate may be configured to separate the longitudinally extending channels between the first upper plurality of fins of the second stackable plate to define a plurality of longitudinally extending flow passages between the respective stackable plates, and wherein each of the plurality of longitudinally extending flow passages may at least partially enclosed by: a portion of the first upper surface of the second stackable plate, a portion of the second lower surface of the stackable plate, one of the first upper plurality of fins of the second stackable plate, and one of the second lower plurality of fins of the stackable plate.

The plate may have a leading edge portion, a trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions connecting the leading edge portion and the trailing edge portion, and at least one of the leading edge portion, the trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions may be beveled.

The plate may have a second major surface opposite the at least one surface having the plurality of fins, the second major surface having a bevel that frames its outer perimeter.

The second major surface may be devoid of fins.

One or more surfaces of the plate may have surface texture for enhancing fluid flow characteristics.

The surface texture may include a plurality of dimples.

The surface texture may include a plurality of protuberances.

The fins may be integral with the plate to define a unitary stackable plate.

The stackable plate may be made from a non-metallic material, such as a ceramic, for example a clay-based material or an engineered ceramic material.

The stackable plate may be formed in an extrusion process, a pressing process, or an additive manufacturing process.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a stackable plate for a heat transfer block includes: a plurality of fins extending upright from at least one major surface of the plate; wherein the plurality of fins extend in a longitudinal direction along the at least one major surface of the plate, the plurality of fins being laterally spaced apart to define therebetween respective longitudinally extending channels for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and wherein the plurality of fins each has at least two ridge portions longitudinally spaced apart to define therebetween at least a portion of a transverse flow channel for enabling transverse fluid cross flow between the longitudinally extending channels.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a heat transfer block may include at least one stackable plate having one or more of the foregoing features.

According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a heat transfer block for communicating fluid flow includes: a first layer having a first layer major surface, and an adjacent second layer opposite the first layer major surface; wherein the first layer comprises a plurality of laterally spaced apart fins extending in a longitudinal direction along the first layer, the plurality of fins configured to extend from the first layer major surface and cooperate with the adjacent second layer to define respective longitudinally extending flow passages for enabling fluid flow in the longitudinal direction; and wherein at least one of the plurality of fins has at least one aperture extending transversely through the at least one fin in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction, the at least one fin configured to cooperate with the second layer such that the at least one aperture defines a transversely extending flow passage for enabling transverse fluid cross flow between the respective longitudinally extending flow passages.

Embodiments may include one or more of the following additional features, alone or in combination.

For example, the plurality of fins may engage an opposing second layer major surface of the second layer to define the longitudinally extending flow passages, the longitudinally extending flow passages being at least partially enclosed by the first layer major surface, the opposing second layer major surface, and the laterally spaced apart fins.

The at least one fin having the at least one aperture may engage the opposing second layer major surface to define the transversely extending flow passage, the transversely extending flow passage being at least partially enclosed by edges of the at least one fin defining the aperture and the opposing second layer major surface.

The at least one aperture may be configured as a recessed groove in the at least one fin.

The at least one fin may have a base portion proximal the first layer major surface, and at least two ridge portions extending upright from the base portion, the at least two ridge portions having respective upright edges that are longitudinally spaced apart and opposing each other, and wherein an upper longitudinal edge of the base portion extends in the longitudinal direction to connect the respective upright edges of the ridge portions to define the recessed groove.

The second layer may have a second layer major surface opposing the first layer major surface, and the second layer major surface may be a planar surface devoid of fins.

The first layer and/or the second layer may have a leading edge portion, a trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions connecting the leading edge portion and the trailing edge portion, wherein at least one of the leading edge portion, the trailing edge portion, and opposite lateral edge portions may be beveled.

The plurality of fins may be laterally spaced apart from the opposite lateral edges of the first layer such that the lateral edge portions of the heat transfer block have flow channels that open toward the respective lateral edges for enabling lateral cross-flow fluid communication with an adjacent heat transfer block.

The first layer and the second layer may have the same configuration and cooperate to form a layer unit, the heat transfer block having a plurality of repeating layer units.

At least one of the first layer, the second layer, and any following layers may be a stackable plate according to any of the foregoing.

At least the first layer and the second layer may be integral and form a unitary heat transfer block, such as being formed by an additive manufacturing process. According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a regenerative thermal oxidizer, a thermal oxidizer, a flare thermal oxidizer, a catalytic oxidizer, a recuperative oxidizer, or other system used for heat exchange in regenerative systems, includes one or more stackable plates, or the heat transfer block, according to any of the foregoing.

It is understood that all ranges and ratio limits disclosed in the

specification and claims may be combined in any manner. It is also to be understood that unless specifically stated otherwise, references to "a," "an," and/or "the" may include one or more than one, and that reference to an item in the singular may also include the item in the plural.

The phrase "and/or" should be understood to mean "either or both" of the elements so conjoined, i.e., elements that are conjunctively present in some cases and disjunctively present in other cases. Other elements may optionally be present other than the elements specifically identified by the "and/or" clause, whether related or unrelated to those elements specifically identified unless clearly indicated to the contrary. Thus, as a non-limiting example, a reference to "A and/or B," when used in conjunction with open-ended language such as "comprising" can refer, in one embodiment, to A without B (optionally including elements other than B); in another embodiment, to B without A (optionally including elements other than A); in yet another embodiment, to both A and B (optionally including other elements); etc.

The word "or" should be understood to have the same meaning as "and/or" as defined above. For example, when separating items in a list, "or" or "and/or" shall be interpreted as being inclusive, i.e., the inclusion of at least one, but also including more than one, of a number or list of elements, and, optionally, additional unlisted items. Only terms clearly indicated to the contrary, such as "only one of" or "exactly one of," may refer to the inclusion of exactly one element of a number or list of elements. In general, the term "or" as used herein shall only be interpreted as indicating exclusive alternatives (i.e. "one or the other but not both") when preceded by terms of exclusivity, such as "either," "one of," "only one of," or "exactly one of."

The phrase "at least one," in reference to a list of one or more elements, should be understood to mean at least one element selected from any one or more of the elements in the list of elements, but not necessarily including at least one of each and every element specifically listed within the list of elements and not excluding any combinations of elements in the list of elements. This definition also allows that elements may optionally be present other than the elements specifically identified within the list of elements to which the phrase "at least one" refers, whether related or unrelated to those elements specifically identified. Thus, as a non-limiting example, "at least one of A and B" (or, equivalent^, "at least one of A or B," or, equivalent^ "at least one of A and/or B") can refer, in one embodiment, to at least one, optionally including more than one, A, with no B present (and optionally including elements other than B); in another embodiment, to at least one, optionally including more than one, B, with no A present (and optionally including elements other than A); in yet another embodiment, to at least one, optionally including more than one, A, and at least one, optionally including more than one, B (and optionally including other elements); etc.

The term "about" as used herein refers to any value which lies within the range defined by a variation of up to ±10% of the stated value, for example, ±10%, ± 9%, ± 8%, ± 7%, ± 6%, ± 5%, ± 4%, ± 3%, ± 2%, ±1 %, ±0.01 %, or ±0.0% of the stated value, as well as values intervening such stated values.

The transitional words or phrases, such as "comprising," "including,"

"carrying," "having," "containing," "involving," "holding," and the like, are to be understood to be open-ended, i.e., to mean including but not limited to.

Although the invention has been shown and described with respect to a certain embodiment or embodiments, it is understood that equivalent alterations and modifications will occur to others skilled in the art upon the reading and understanding of this specification and the annexed drawings. In particular regard to the various functions performed by the above described elements (components, assemblies, devices, compositions, etc.), the terms (including a reference to a "means") used to describe such elements are intended to correspond, unless otherwise indicated, to any element which performs the specified function of the described element (i.e., that is functionally equivalent), even though not structurally equivalent to the disclosed structure which performs the function in the herein illustrated exemplary embodiment or embodiments of the invention. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention may have been described above with respect to only one or more of several illustrated embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of the other embodiments, as may be desired and advantageous for any given or particular application.