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Title:
PHASE SEPARATOR COMPRISING A FLOW DISRUPTOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/211136
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a separator (500) of a liquid phase and of a gas phase of a refrigerant comprising at least two ducts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) including an admission duct (1), called first duct, for admission of the refrigerant into the separator (500), and a separating duct (2), called second duct, with the first duct (1) opening into the second duct (2), characterized in that at least one of the ducts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) houses a flow disruptor element (7).

Inventors:
AZZOUZ, Kamel (ZA l'Agiot 8 rue Louis Lorman, CS 80517 La Verrière Le Mesnil Saint Denis Cedex, 78322, FR)
KHELLADI, Sofiane (ZA l'Agiot 8 rue Louis Lorman, CS 80517 La Verrière Le Mesnil Saint Denis Cedex, 78322, FR)
Application Number:
EP2018/063256
Publication Date:
November 22, 2018
Filing Date:
May 21, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VALEO SYSTEMES THERMIQUES (ZA l'Agiot, 8 rue Louis LormandCS 80517 La Verrière, Le Mesnil Saint Denis Cedex, 78322, FR)
International Classes:
B01D19/00; B60H1/32; F28F25/02
Foreign References:
US4199332A1980-04-22
US2705053A1955-03-29
US20160298890A12016-10-13
US2277651A1942-03-24
FR1600802A1970-08-03
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TRAN, Chi-Hai (Valeo Systèmes Thermiques, ZA L'Agiot 8 rue Louis Lorman, CS 80517 La Verrière Le Mesnil Saint-Denis Cedex, 78322, FR)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Separator (500) of a liquid phase and of a gas phase a refrigerant (700) comprising at least two ducts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) including an admission duct (1), called first duct, for admission of the refrigerant (700) into the separator (500), and a separating duct (2), called second duct, with the first duct (1) opening into the second duct (2), characterized in that at least one of the ducts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) houses a flow disrupter element (7).

2. Separator (500) according to Claim 1, characterized in that the admission duct (1) opens into the separating duct (2) in such a way that the admission duct (1) and the separating duct (2) form two arms of a Y.

3. Separator (500 ) according to Claim 1 or 2, characterized in that the flow disraptor element (7) is configured to generate a centrifugal field on the refrigerant (700).

4. Separator (500) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the flow disraptor element (7) is, on at least one part, in contact with a wall delimiting the duct (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) in which it is located.

5. Separator (500) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the flow disraptor element (7) has an axis of revolution (705) parallel to or coinciding with a principal axis of elongation (10, 20, 30, 40, 50) of the duct (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) in which it is located.

6. Separator (500) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the flow disraptor element (7) is located in the separating duct (2).

7. Separator (500) according to any one of the preceding claims taken in combination with Claim 5, characterized in that the flow disraptor element (7) comprises a so-called central channel (72) having an axis coinciding with the axis of revolution (705) of the flow disraptor element (7).

8. Separator (500) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the flow disraptor element (7) comprises a spiral ramp along which refrigerant (700) is intended to flow.

9. Separator (500) according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises at least two plates (510, 520), including a first plate (510) and a second plate (520) arranged against one another, with at least one of the first plate or the second plate (510, 520) comprising a hoiiowed-out shape forming at least the admission duct (1) and the separating duct (2).

10. Heat exchanger (600) comprising a stack of sheets, between which a refrigerant is intended to circulate, characterized in that it comprises a phase separator (500) defined according to any one of the preceding claims.

Description:
PHASE SEPARATOR COMPRISING

A FLOW DISRUPTOR

The present invention relates to the field of separation of the liquid and gaseous phases of a refrigerant in a circuit for ventilation, heating, and/or air conditioning for vehicles, notably automobiles.

Such a circuit mainly comprises: a compressor, a condenser or a cooler depending on the nature of the refrigerant, a pressure reducing valve and a heat exchanger, notably of the evaporator type. These various devices make it possible to alter the physical nature of the refrigerant by making it pass successively from a gaseous state to a liquid state and vice versa during its passage through the various devices. These modifications of a physical nature are brought about by changes in pressure and/or temperature of the refrigerant along the circuit.

The efficiency of the circuit for ventilation, heating, and/or air conditioning is higher if the fluid fed into the evaporator is in liquid form.. In fact, as the gas phase is not used by the evaporator, its presence represents an appreciable loss of efficiency. Now, it has generally been measured that at the evaporator inlet, about 30% of the refrigerant is in the gaseous state and about 70% is in the liquid state.

To guarantee the operation and the efficiency of a refrigerant circuit of this kind, it is therefore essential that the refrigerant fed into the evaporator is in the liquid phase for the most part. For this purpose, insertion of a liquid-gas phase separator, upstream of the evaporator in the direction of circulation of the refrigerant in the circuit, is known. However, these separators are limited in their capacity for separating the different phases, and their architecture is not often favourable for easy integration in a refrigerant circuit with reduced overall dimensions. The invention therefore proposes to improve this situation.

In this context, the aim of the invention is to propose a liquid-gas phase separator that makes it possible to increase the efficiency of the evaporator in the circuit while reducing its overall dimensions, notably by means of a particular structure and arrangement. For this purpose, the invention relates to a separator of the l iquid phase and gas phase of a refrigerant comprising at least two ducts including an admission duct, called first duct, for admission of the refrigerant into the phase separator, and a separating duct, called second duct, with the first duct opening into the second duct, characterized in that at least one of the ducts houses a flow disruptor element.

Thus, a phase separator of this land has an improved capacity for separation between a liquid phase and a gas phase of a refrigerant while offering reduced overall dimensions allowing easy integration in a refrigerant circuit.

In fact, the presence of the flow disruptor element contributes to separation of the phases by generating disturbance of the flow of the refrigerant, increasing the exchange surface area and increasing the residence time of the refrigerant in at least one of the ducts of the phase separator.

A duct is to be understood as an element configured for receiving and conveying the refrigerant whether it is in gaseous form, liquid form, and/or in the form of a two-phase mixture, each duct having a specific role in the phase separation of the refrigerant. It will thus be understood that the ducts are hollow.

"Opens into" means that the admission duct leads directly into the separating duct. Thus, the admission duct and the separating duct are in communication with one another.

According to various features of the invention, taken alone or in combination, it may be envisaged that:

- the admission duct opens into the separating duct in such a way that the admission duct and the separating duct form two arms of a Y. The zone of the separating duct into which the admission duct opens forms the intersection of the two arms of the Y formed by these two ducts. - The ducts are partially or completely cylindrical.

- The admission duct opens into a middle portion of the separating duct. The middle portion of the separating duct is understood as being more or less two centimetres around half the length o the separating duct, the length f the separating duct being measured along its principal axis of elongation.

- The flow disruptor element is configured to generate a centrifugal field on the refrigerant. "Centrifugal field" means circulation allowing a centrifugal effect to be applied to the refrigerant. This makes it possible to generate rotational circulation of the refrigerant and allows phase separation to be improved.

- The flow disruptor element is an add-on component relative to the phase separator.

- The flow disruptor element is, on at least one portion, in contact with a wall delimiting the duct in which it is located. More precisely, the flow disruptor element is at least partly in contact with the wall or walls forming the duct in which it is housed. In other words, the transverse clearance, measured in a plane perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation of the duct, between the outer edges of the flow disruptor element and the wall that delimits the duct is defined to allow insertion of the disruptor element in the separating duct but without allowing leakage of liquid by trickling along the wall, or limiting said leakage as far as possible.

- The flow disruptor element is fully in contact with a wall delimiting the duct.

- The flow disruptor element is partially in contact with a wall delimiting the duct. "Partially" means that only a part of the flow disruptor is in contact with the duct.

- The disruptor element comprises a spiral ramp with turns, each turn comprising an outer edge in contact with the wall or walls forming the duct in which the spiral ramp is located.

- The flow disruptor element has an axis of revolution parallel to or coinciding with a principal axis of elongation of the duct in which it is located. "Principal axis of elongation of a duct" means the axis extending in the principal direction of elongation of the duct passing through the centre of said duct. The centre of the duct is defined in a cross-section of the duct. - The flow disruptor element has an a is of revolution the duct coinciding with a principal axis of elongation of the duct. In other words the fl w disruptor element and the duct in which it is located are concentric.

- The spi al ramp has an axis of revolution parallel to or coinciding with a principal axis of elongation of the duct in which it is located.

- The flow disraptor element has an axis of revolution parallel to or coinciding with the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct.

- The flow disruptor element is located in the separating duct.

- The flow disruptor element comprises a plurality of orifices forming a channel along the flow disruptor element. Thus, depending on the shape of the disruptor element, each turn, or flight, is pierced at its centre with an orifice, the central channel is then formed from the stack of orifices of the turns, or flights, arranged one after another, in the direction of the axis of revolution to form the spiral ramp, or screw.

- The flow disruptor element comprises a so-called central channel . The presence of the channel makes it possible to form a passage inside the flow disruptor and more precisely inside the screw or the spiral ramp. This passage improves the efficiency of separation of the liquid and gaseous phases by allowing evacuation of the gas phase along the flow disruptor element. Moreover, the flights of the screw or the turns of the spiral ramp and notably their shape help to guide the refrigerant to the central channel . - The so-called central channel extends parallel to the principal axis of elongation of the fl w disruptor element. The channel then does not need to be centred on the flow disruptor element.

- The flow disruptor element comprises a so-called central channel having an axis that coincides with the axis of revolution of the flow disruptor element. In other words, the central channel extends to the centre of the flow disruptor element.

- The central channel passes through the flow disraptor element completely, along the axis of revolution. - The central channel comprises a first conical part and a second cylindrical part.

- The first part and the second part of the central channel have a dimension, measured along the axis of revolution, identical to one another.

- The first, conical, part of the central channel extends, in the direction of the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct, from a side closest to the admission duct.

- The second, cylindrical, part of the central channel extends, in the direction of the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct, from a side farthest from the admission duct. - The flow disruptor element has a length less than or equal to half the length of the duct in which it is located. The lengths are measured along the axis of elongation of the duct or according to gravity.

- The lengths of the first part and of the second part are between 10 and 50 millimetres. These lengths may also be between 30 and 40 millimetres. - The flow disruptor element comprises a spiral ramp along which the refrigerant is intended to flow.

- The spiral ramp comprises a succession of turns along its axis of revolution.

- The spiral ramp is continuous. This means that the turns extend from one another, without any discontinuity. - The turns form, an angle of inclination with the axis of revolution of the spiral ramp.

- The angle of inclination is between 1 and 89 degrees. The angle of inclination is measured between the axis of revolution of the ramp and an internal portion of the turn, the internal portion being the hollow portion of the turn facing the axis of revolution.

- The angle of inclination is between 30 and 50 degrees.

- The angle of inclination is equal to 45 degrees. - The spiral ramp has a pitch between I and 10 millimetres. The pitch is measured along the a is of revolution of the spi al ramp and between two consecutive turns, or in this case two consecutive turns, notably between two reference points each located at the same place on each turn. - The pitch is between I and 5 millimetres.

- The pitch is between 3 and 4 millimetres.

- The spiral ramp follows a spiral rotating to the right.

- The diameter of the turns is identical from turn to turn.

- The flow disrupter element comprises a screw that has flights. - The screw comprises at least two flights, the flights being arranged along the a is of revolution of the screw.

- The screw comprises at least one flight of truncated shape. "Truncated" means in the form of a conic frustum. More precisely, this truncated shape is hollow. The truncated shape is oriented in such a way that the slope formed by the hollow part of the conic frustum is oriented in the direction of gravity, so that the refrigerant is guided towards the centre of the flight, i.e. towards the axis of revolution of the screw.

- The angle of the conic frustum formed by the flight is between 1 and 89 degrees, more precisely between 30 and 50 degrees, and advantageously it is equal to 45 degrees. This angle is measured between the axis of revolution and the flight, on the side of the hollow of truncated shape.

- The flow disruptor element comprises at least one ring located at one end of the flow disruptor element.

- The flow disruptor element comprises two rings, each arranged at one end of the flow disruptor element. - The flow disruptor element comprises two ends, called upstream end and downstream end, opposite one another along the axis of revolution. - The flow disrupter element comprises a first ring located at the upstream end and a second ring located at the downstream end of the flow disruptor element.

- The first ring is integral with a turn located at the upstream end of the flow disruptor element.

- The second ring is integral with a tab located at the downstream end of the flow disruptor element.

- The flow disruptor element comprises a tab configured to interact with the second ring.

- The second ring comprises a strip passing through a diameter of said second ring.

- The flow disruptor element comprises an end, opposite the tab, configured to interact with the first ring.

- The separating duct comprises at least two changes of section.

- The separating duct comprises four changes of section.

- A first change of section forms an enlargement of the separating duct, called first clearance, intended to receive a ring of the flow disruptor element.

- A second change of section forms an enlargement of the separating duct, called second clearance, intended to receive a ring of the flow disruptor element.

- A third change of section forms a narrowing of one end, called upstream, of the separating duct. This third change of section is located in the space for extraction of the gas phase and contributes to aspiration of the gas phase.

- A fourth change of section forms a narrowing of one end, called downstream, of the separating duct. This fourth change of section is located in the space for evacuation of liquid phase and contributes to evacuation of the liquid phase.

- The first and the second changes of section are located between the first and the fourth changes of section. - The admission duct comprises a free end forming an intake ori ice for admission the refrigerant into the phase separator.

- The separating duct comprises at least one space for separation of liquid-gas phases, a space for evacuation of the liquid phase, and a space for extraction of the gas phase.

- The flow disruptor element is arranged in the space for liquid-gas separation.

- The flow disruptor element extends over all or part of the space for separation.

- The admission duct opens into the separating duct between the space for liquid-gas separation and the space for gas phase extraction. The admission duct and the separating duct are arranged in such a way that a two-phase mixture of refrigerant admitted into the phase separator via the admission duct flows by gravity along the latter, to the separating duct, and notably flows into the space for separation.

"Upstream" and "downstream" are then defined with reference to the direction of flow by gravity of the liquid phase and/or of the two-phase mixture in the space for separation. The gas phase therefore flows, owing to its density, upstream of the separating duct. The liquid phase is conveyed to the space for evacuation that extends the space for separation downstream of the separating duct.

- The space for liquid-gas separation is located between the space for gas phase extraction and the space for evacuation of liquid phase. - The space for gas phase extraction extends the space for separation along the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct.

- The space for gas phase extraction and the space for liquid-gas separation are concentric.

- The admission duct forms, with the separating duct, an angle between 5 and 90 degrees. More precisely, this angle may be measured between the principal axis of elongation of the admission duct and the part of the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct forming a principal axis of elongation the space for evacuation of the gas phase. This angle is therefore measured from the upstream side defined above.

- The angle is between 40 and 50 degrees. This value of the angle makes it possible to optimize the flow of the two-phase mixture and phase separation. - The phase separator comprises a reserve duct for liquid phase, called the third duct.

- The reserve duct for liquid phase comprises a principal axis of elongation parallel to the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct. Thus, the reserve duct extends side by side with the separating duct and parallel to the latter.

- The reserve duct for liquid phase is in fluid communication with the separating duct. This fluid communication takes place via a fourth duct, called the communication duct.

- The phase separator comprises a so-called liquid phase outlet opening into the reserve duct for liquid phase. In other words, the reserve duct opens into an environment external to the phase separator via the liquid phase outlet. - The liquid phase outlet opens out at one end of the reserve duct. More precisely, the reserve duct comprises two ends arranged opposite one another along the principal axis of elongation of the reserve duct, with a first end in communication with the separating duct and a second end opening into an environment external to the phase separator via the liquid phase outlet. - The outlet for the liquid phase comprises an axis perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation of the third duct.

- The phase separator comprises a communication duct, called fourth duct, providing communication between the separating duct and the reserve duct for liquid phase.

- The communication duct has a curved direction of elongation. - The reserve duct and the separating duct form two arms of a U shape, a base of the

U being formed by the communication duct. - The phase separator comprises a duct for gas phase extraction, called fifth duct.

- The duct for gas phase extraction comprises two ends each opening into an environment external to the phase separator. The duct for gas phase extraction comprises two ends, called first end and second end, arranged opposite one another along the principal axis of elongation of this duct.

- The phase separator comprises an orifice for gas phase extraction and an outlet, both opening into the duct for gas phase extraction. In other words, the duct for gas phase extraction opens into an environment external to the phase separator via the orifice for gas phase extraction and via the outlet. - The orifice for gas phase extraction opens out at one end of the duct for gas phase extraction.

- Between its two ends, the duct for gas phase extraction comprises an opening allowing communication with the separating duct.

- The phase separator comprises a passage for gas phase extraction, also called sixth duct.

- The separating duct is in fluid communication with the duct for gas phase extraction via a passage for gas phase extraction, also called sixth duct.

- The passage for gas phase extraction and the separating duct, and notably the space for gas phase extraction, are concentric. - On one part or completely, the passage for gas phase extraction has a minimum width less than a width of the separating duct and/or than a width of the duct for gas phase extraction. The width is measured in a cross-section of the duct or of the passage, along a straight line passing through the centre of this cross-section and between two farthest points. In the case of a circular section, the width is comparable to a diameter. - Said minimum width forms a suction contraction. This suction contraction may be arranged as close as possible to the duct for gas phase extraction. "As close as possible" is understood as being of the order of 1 to 5 millimetres. The suction contraction is configured to increase the rate of extraction of the portion of gas phase from the two-phase mixture and promote its extraction by the duct for gas phase extraction.

- The suction contraction has a transverse dimension, measured in a direction perpendicular to the principal axis extension of the extraction passage, of between 1 and 10 millimetres. This dimension may be between 4 and 6 millimetres.

- The gas phase outlet comprises an axis parallel to an axis of the intake orifice.

- The gas phase outlet and/or intake orifice are configured to receive a sleeve, of outlet and/or inlet respectively.

- The phase separator comprises four orifices: an intake orifice, an orifice for evacuation of liquid phase, an orifice for evacuation of gas phase and a gas phase outlet.

- The phase separator comprises at least two plates, including a first plate and a second plate arranged against one another, with at least one of the first plate or second plate comprising a hollowed-out shape forming at least the admission duct and the separating duct. - The ducts are hollowed-out shapes arranged in at least one of the plates, starting from an inner principal face of said plate.

- The first duct and the second duct are each delimited by the at least two plates.

- All of the ducts of the phase separator are delimited between the first plate and the second plate. - The plates have a rectangular main shape. The rectangular shape of a plate is defined by the direction of the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct, which is also that of a vertical edge of the plate, and by a direction, called transverse direction, perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation. The transverse direction is that of an upstream edge of the plate. - At least one of the plates comprises a vertical extension. This vertical extension notably extends from the main rectangular shape. - At least one of the plates comprises at least one lateral extension. This lateral extension notably extends from the main rectangular shape. Advantageously, each plate comprises two lateral extensions.

- A first lateral extension houses the admission duct. - A second lateral extension houses the duct for gas phase extraction.

- The intake orifice is formed by the first plate and the second plate.

- The intake orifice has an axis perpendicular to a large side of a plate of the phase separator.

- The first plate and the second plate each comprise an inner principal face, the inner principal faces being arranged against one another, defining an interface between them.

More precisely, the interface comprises the contact zones between the two inner principal faces of each plate.

- A principal axis of elongation of the admission duct and a principal axis of elongation of the separating duct are included and are concurrent in the interface or in a plane parallel to the interface. A principal axis of elongation is an axis along the principal direction of elongation of the duct and passing through the centre of a cross-section of this duct.

Thus, in the case when the principal axis of elongation of the admission duct and the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct are included and are concurrent in the interface, this signifies that each plate comprises at least one admission half-duct and separation half-duct. In other words, the interface forms a plane of symmetry to the admission duct and to the separating duct.

If these axes are included and concurrent in a plane parallel to the interface, it will be understood that one of the plates comprises more than one half-duct, for example three quarters of the admission duct and three quarters of the separating duct.

It should be noted that if the plates forming the phase separator are curved, the interface is curved. - The principal a is of elongation of the admission duct or the principal axis elongation of the separating duct is included and is concurrent in the interface or in a plane parallel to the interface.

- The interface is flat and is then called the interface plane. - The first and the second plates are arranged against one another on an interface plane.

- The interface plane passes through a mid-plane of at least one of the ducts of the separator.

- The interface plane passes through a mid-plane of the admission duct and of the separating duct.

- The interface plane passes through a mid-plane of the admission duct, of the separating duct and of the third duct. In other words, each sheet delimits an admission half- duct and a separation half-duct, on a plane containing the principal axis of elongation of these ducts. - The principal axis of elongation of the separating duct is parallel at least to a longitudinal edge of one of the first plate and/or second plate.

- The reserve duct for liquid phase is delimited between the first plate and the second plate.

- The orifice for evacuation of liquid phase is made in one of the two plates of the separator, and has an axis perpendicular to this plate.

- The communication duct is delimited between the at least two plates.

- The communication duct is delimited by the first plate and the second plate arranged against one another.

- The phase separator comprises a duct for gas phase extraction, called the fifth duct, delimited by the at least two plates. - The duct for gas phase extraction is delimited by the fi st plate and the second plate arranged against one another.

- The orifice for gas phase extraction is made in one of the two plates of the separator, and has an axis perpendicular to this plate. - The first end of the duct for gas phase extraction opens onto the external environment via the orifice for gas phase extraction made in the second plate.

- The second end of the duct for gas phase extraction opens onto the external environment via an orifice for outlet of gas phase formed by the first plate and the second plate. - The phase separator comprises a passage for gas phase extraction, also called sixth duct, delimited between the at least two plates.

- The passage for gas phase extraction is delimited between the first plate and the second plate.

- The minimum width is measured, at the interface, perpendicularly to the axis of elongation of the separating duct and is between 1 and 10 millimetres. Advantageously, the minimum width is between 4 and 6 millimetres, to within manufacturing tolerances.

- The duct for gas phase extraction comprises, at one end opposite the orifice for gas phase extraction, an orifice for outlet of gas phase formed by the first plate and the second plate. - The dimension of a larger side of at least one of the plates delimiting the admission duct and the separating duct is between 10 and 500 millimetres, to within manufacturing tolerances. Advantageously this dimension is between 240 and 250 millimetres.

- The dimension of a short side of at least one of the plates delimiting the admission duct and the separating duct is between 10 and 100 millimetres. Advantageously this dimension is between 35 and 40 millimetres.

- The principal axis of elongation of the separating duct is parallel to a larger side of at least one of the plates. The invention also relates to a heat exchanger comprising a stack of sheets between which a refrigerant is intended to circulate, characterized in that it comprises a phase separator as defined above.

According to various features of the invention, taken alone or in combination, it may be envisaged that:

- The stack of sheets delimits a collecting box, an outlet box and at least one return box, said heat exchanger comprising an inlet orifice opening into the collecting box, an outlet orifice opening into the outlet box, and characterized in that a sheet, called cheek, located at one end of the stack of sheets is arranged against one of the plates of the phase separator.

- The cheek is arranged against one of the plates of the phase separator in such a way that the inlet orifice and the outlet orifice open into ducts of the phase separator.

- The cheek is put against the second plate of the phase separator.

- The cheek is put against an outer face of the second plate of the phase separator. - The heat exchanger is of the evaporator type. A heat exchanger of this kind is intended to cool an air stream passing between its stack of sheets.

- The sheets of the stack of sheets comprise principal faces parallel to the principal faces of the plates of the phase separator.

- The cheek is formed by the second plate of the phase separator. - The orifice for evacuation of liquid phase from the phase separator is arranged opposite the inlet orifice of the heat exchanger.

- The orifice for gas phase extraction is arranged opposite the outlet orifice of the heat exchanger.

The invention also relates to a refrigerant circuit of a motor vehicle, comprising successively a compressor, a condenser, a pressure reducing valve, and a heat exchanger characterized in that it comprises a phase separator as defined above. According to one embodiment, the phase separator is located between the pressure reducing valve and the heat exchanger.

The invention also relates to a motor vehicle comprising a refrigerant circuit as defined above. Other features, details and advantages of the invention and of its operation will become clearer on reading the description given hereunder as a guide, referring to the appended figures, in which:

- Fig. 1 is a schematic representation of the operation of a refrigerant circuit of a motor vehicle,

- Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a phase separator according to a first embodiment of the invention, in which the separating duct is shown transparently,

- Fi s. 3 A, 3B and 3C show a flow disrupt or element according to the invention, in the form of a spiral ramp, and where Fig. 3A is a longitudinal section of the flow disruptor element, Fig. 3B is a perspective view of the side of a first ring, and Fig. 3C is a perspective view of the side of a second ring,

- Figs. 4 A and 4B are exploded views, at different viewing angles, of the first plate and of the second plate of a phase separator according to a second embodiment of the invention, in which it is made with plates,

- Figs. 5 A and 5B are front views showing the respective ducts of the second plate and of the first plate of the phase separator according to the second embodiment,

- Figs. 6 A and 6B are perspective views of the phase separator according to the second embodiment, equipped with sleeves and not equipped with sleeves, respectively, with Fig. 6B showing a plate of the separator transparently, and

- Figs. 7 A and 7B are perspective views of a heat exchanger comprising a phase separator according to the invention shown with the phase separator and without the phase separator, respectively.

It should first be noted that although the figures disclose the invention in detail for its implementation, they may of course serve for defining the invention better, if applicable. Moreover, it should be noted that, for all of the figures, the same elements are denoted by the same reference numbers. Fig. 1 is a schematic representation of a circuit 1000 of a refrigerant 700 that interacts with an installation for ventilation, heating, and/or air conditioning of a motor vehicle. The circuit 1000 comprises a compressor 200, a condenser 300, a pressure reducing valve 400 and a heat exchanger 600, which may notably be of the evaporator type 60 or of the liquid cooler type, also called "chiller". The refrigerant 700 circulates through these elements successively, along the circuit 1000.

The refrigerant 700 is admitted, in essentially gaseous form, into the compressor 200. At the outlet of the compressor 200, the refrigerant 700, which has undergone compression, is in the form of a gas whose pressure and temperature have increased. The refrigerant 700 is then fed into the condenser 300, in which it undergoes a first phase change and is transformed into liquid. During this phase change, the pressure of the refrigerant 700 remains approximately constant and its temperature decreases, the refrigerant 700 giving up part of its heat to the surroundings by means of the condenser 300. The refrigerant 700, essentially in liquid form at the outlet of the condenser 300, is then conveyed to a pressure reducing valve 400, in which it undergoes expansion, resulting in the production of a two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700 in liquid form and in gaseous form, notably at low temperature. The two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700 at the end of the expansion operation, i.e. at the outlet of the pressure reducing valve 400, may comprise about 70% of refrigerant 700 in liquid form, also called liquid phase, and about 30% of refrigerant 700 in gaseous form, also called gas phase.

The refrigerant 700 in the form of a two-phase mixture is then conveyed to the heat exchanger 600 in which it undergoes a new change and where the liquid phase of the refrigerant 700 is transformed into gas, which is then led back to the compressor 200 for a new cycle. This transition from the liquid state to the gaseous state in the heat exchanger 600 makes it possible to lower the temperature of an external medium, for example an air stream sent into the passenger compartment of the vehicle and circulating in the installation for air conditioning, ventilation and/or heating or a liquid.

The efficiency of the heat exchanger 600 is linked directly to the fact that the fluid fed into it consists essentially of liquid phase. For this purpose, the circuit 1000 comprises a phase separator 500 of the refrigerant 700, advantageously located between the pressure reducing valve 400 and the heat exchanger 600 in the direction of circulation of the refrigerant 700 in the circuit 1000. A set of valves, pipes and control elements, not shown in detail in the figure, allows operation and control of the assembly formed by the compressor 200, condenser 300, pressure reducing valve 400, phase separator 500 and heat exchanger 600.

The phase separator 500 according to the invention is compact and offers easy integration with a circuit 1000 of refrigerant 700 such as that shown schematically in Fig. 1, while allowing efficient separation between the liquid phase and the gas phase of the two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700 leaving the pressure reducing valve 400.

For this purpose, Fig. 2 shows that the phase separator 500 according to the invention comprises a first duct 1, or admission duct, via which the two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700 is fed into the phase separator 500, and a second duct 2, or separating duct, in which the required phase separation is effected. It is to be understood here that the term "duct" denotes a hollow element configured for receiving and conveying the refrigerant 700 in gaseous form, in liquid form, and/or in the form of a two-phase mixture. In other words, each duct comprises wails that form at least one internal chamber in which the refrigerant is intended to circulate. Thus, the admission duct 1 delimits an internal chamber that is called the admission chamber, and the separating duct delimits an internal chamber that is called the separation chamber.

At least one of the ducts 1, 2, whether it is the admission duct 1 or the separating duct 2, houses a flow disrupter element 7 as shown transparently in Fig. 2. This flow disrupter element 7 will be described in more detail later in the description.

The admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2 so as to transport the two- phase mixture of refrigerant 700 fed into the separating duct 2. More precisely, the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2 in such a way that they form together the two arms of a Y shape. In other words, the admission duct 1 makes an angle 100 with the separating duct 2. Thus, the admission duct 1 extends obliquely relative to the separating duct 2. As a reminder, the term "oblique" signifies neither parallel, nor perpendicular. The zone in which the admission duct I opens into the separating duct 2 forms the intersection of the two arms of the Y. Thus, the admission duct 1 and the separating duct 2 are concurrent, in such a way that the admission chamber opens into the separation chamber. This means that the admission duct 1 and the separating duct 2 are not located one after another concentrically, or in other words that the admission duct 1 and the separating duct 2 are a single duct cut schematically into several parts, but that the admission duct 1 opens into a part of the separating duct 2.

More particularly, the admission duct 1 and the separating duct 2 each have a principal axis of elongation along which they extend lengthwise, i.e. along their larger dimension. Thus, the admission duct 1 has a principal axis of elongation referenced 10 and the separating duct 2 has a principal axis of elongation referenced 20. The respective directions of these principal axes of elongation 10, 20 correspond to the directions followed by the two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700, when it is conveyed through these ducts 1 , 2. It is also defined that the principal axis of elongation 10 of the admission duct 1 and the principal ax is of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2 are axes of symmetry for each of these two ducts 1, 2. In other words, the principal axes of elongation 10, 20 are defined as cutting through cross-sections of the ducts 1, 2 approximately at their centre. A cross-section is defined as a section of each of these ducts 1, 2 taken perpendicularly relative to its principal axis of elongation 10, 20, respectively. The admission duct 1 comprises two ends, including a first end I 1 forming an orifice

I 10, called intake orifice, opening onto an external medium of t he phase separator 500 and a second end 1 2 opening into the separating duct 2. The first end 1 1 of the admission duct 1, and notably the orifice 110 that it forms, may be intended to receive an inlet sleeve 80, as will be described later, with reference to Fig. 6 A. Between the two ends 1 1 . 12 of the admission duct 1 , the wal ls forming the admission duct 1 are impervious, i.e. the admission duct 1 does not comprise orifices other than those formed by its two ends 11, 12. The wails forming the admission duct 1 thus form an impervious tube for conveying the refrigerant 700 arriving from outside the phase separator 500 to the separating duct 2.

It should be noted that the intake orifice 1 10 of the admi ssion duct 1 may have a central ax is 1 I OA perpendicular to the principal ax is of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2. It will be understood that the admission duct 1 may be angled in order to form on the one hand the arm of the Y and on the other hand the intake orifice 110 having a central axis I I OA perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation of the separating duct 2. "Central axis" means an axis passing through the centre of the orifice.

Moreover, the separating duct 2 comprises two open ends 220, 230, in addition to the opening formed by the admission duct 1. These two ends 220, 230 are arranged opposite one another along the principal axis of elongation 20 of this separating duct 2. Apart from these three openings, the separating duct 2 is impervious. It should be noted that the separating duct comprises a reduction of section at the level of its two open ends 220, 230.

The separating duct 2 has various spaces, each having a specific role. These various spaces therefore divide the separation chamber into several parts. More particularly, the separating duct 2 comprises, between its two ends 220, 230, a space for liquid-gas separation 21, a space for evacuation of liquid phase 22 and a space for gas phase extraction 23. These three spaces 21, 22, 23 are stacked on top of one another along the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2. In other words, each space delimited by the walls forming the separating duct 20 has a principal axis concentric with the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2.

More precisely, the space for liquid-gas separation 21 is located, in the direction of the principal axis of elongation 20, between the space for gas phase extraction 23 and the space for evacuation of liquid phase 22. In other words, in the direction of the principal axis of elongation 20, the space for liquid-gas separation 21 is prolonged, at one of its ends, by the space for evacuation of liquid phase 22, and at its opposite end by the space for gas phase extraction 23, with which it is approximately concentric, as is shown schematically by the dashed lines.

The space for liquid-gas separation 21 and the space for gas phase extraction 23 are separated from one another by the second end 12 of the admission duct 1 opening into the separating duct 2. In other words, the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2 between the space for liquid-gas separation 21 and the space for gas phase extraction 23, in the direction of the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2.

Phase separation, in the phase separator 500 according to the invention, takes place on the one hand by gravity and on the other hand by the presence of the flow disruptor element 7, as will be described later.

Separation by gravity is performed as follows: as the liquid phase contained in the two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700 is denser than the gas phase contained in said mixture, it is separated from the gas phase by a density difference, under the effect of gravity. The gas phase contained in this two-phase mixture, also separated from the liquid phase by gravity, is extracted by the same phenomenon, i .e. owing to its lower density, i.e. its lightness, relative to the liquid phase. Phase separation is based on the fact that when subjected to gravity, the liquid phase of a given fluid will tend to trickle "downwards" under the effect of its own weight, whereas the gas phase of this same fluid will tend to "rise" above the l iquid phase.

To promote separation by gravity, the phase separator 500 is then arranged in such a way that the orientation of the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2 and notably of the spaces 2 1 , 22, 23 of which it consists promote flow by gravity to the maximum. For this purpose, the phase separator 500 may. for example, be arranged in such a way that the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2 is approximately vertical or close to vertical, vertical being defined as being perpendicular to the ground or to the floor of the vehicle for an automotive application. In other words, in an orthonormal coordinate system (Oxyz) of space, in which the direction of the axis (Oz) is that of the vertical, the phase separator 500 according to the invention is arranged in such a way that the direction of the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2 is paral lel to the a is Oz. Sl ight differences from this paral lelism may be tolerated provided the flow of the two- phase mixture of refrigerant 700 within the separating duct 2 remains subject to gravity. These differences may, for example, result from space constraints for installation of the refrigerant circuit in the motor vehicle in question or may result from machining tolerances. The respective directions of the longitudinal axis (Ox) and of the transverse a is (Oy) of said orthonormal coordinate system are then defined perpendicularly to the direction of the axis (Oz), in such a way that the reference system (Oxyz ) is an orthonormal coordinate system of space. According to the embodiment example more particularly described and illustrated here, in which the separating duct 2 is of cylindrical geometry, it follows from the foregoing that the plane (Oxy) of said reference system is then a radial plane of this separating duct 2. Moreover, the designations upstream and downstream will be used hereinafter with reference to the direction of flow by gravity of the refrigerant 700 ithin the separating duct 2 and notably within the space for liquid-gas separation 2 1 . With reference to these designations, and as can be seen in the figures, the various ducts and spaces defined above are arranged so that the space for gas phase extraction 23 extends upstream of the space for liquid-gas separation 21 and so that the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2 approximately at the upstream end of the space for liquid-gas separation 21, the space for evacuation of liquid phase 22 extending downstream from the downstream end of this space for liquid-gas separation 21. It follows from the foregoing that the two-phase mixture of the refrigerant 700, fed into the phase separator 500, is conveyed directly from the admission duct 1 to the separation space 2 1 . To promote this flow and separation by gravity within the phase separator 500, the invention specifies that the principal axis of elongation 10 of the admission duct 1 forms, with the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2, an angle 100 advantageously between 5 and 90 degrees. It is to be understood here that the angle 100 is measured on the side of the space for gas phase extraction 23 and not on the side of the space for evacuation of liquid phase 22. In other words, the angle 100 is measured on the side upstream of the zone in which the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2, i.e. opposite the direction of flow by gravity of the two- phase mixture of refrigerant 700 w ithin the space for liquid-gas separation 2 1 . Advantageously, the angle 100 is between 40 and 50 degrees. According to a particular variant embodiment, this angle is equal to 45 degrees.

The angle 100 is defined for optimizing the flow by gravity of the two-phase fluid mixture of refrigerant 700 within the admission duct 1 and conveyance thereof to the separating duct 2. In fact, for values of the angle 100 that are too small, the two-phase mixture of refrigerant will tend to flow like a waterfall, whereas for values of the angle 100 that are too high, a form of stagnation of this two-phase mixture may occur. In the first case, arrival of a given quantity of two-phase mixture in the separating duct 2 will be sudden, which may have an adverse effect on the selectivity of liquid-gas separation proper. In the second case, arrival a given quantity of two- phase mixture in the separating duct 2 will be too slow, which may have an adverse effect on the efficiency of liquid-gas separation through excessive lengthening of the time for introduction the two- phase mixture into the space for separation 21.

In order to improve the efficiency of phase separation, the invention envisages placement of a flow disraptor element 7 in one of these ducts. Preferably, the disruptor element 7 is located in the separating duct 2, and notably in the space for separation 21. An embodiment example of this flow disruptor element 7 is shown schematically in Figs. 3 A, 3B and 3C.

The function of the flow disruptor element 7 is to induce a centrifugal field on the refrigerant 700. In other words, the two-phase mixture to be separated is submitted to a rotational motion within the duct in which the flow disruptor element 7 is located, or here in the separating duct 2 and in the space for separation 21. After the centrifugal field has been created, the liquid phase, which is denser than the gas phase, is centrifuged to the exterior of the flow disruptor element 7, for example towards the wall or walls of the separating duct 2, whereas the gas phase, being less dense, moves towards the centre of the flow disruptor element 7. Depending on the location of the flow disruptor element 7, gravity may reinforce this separation. It should also be noted that the rotational motion of the refrigerant 700 may be accentuated by tangential injection of the two-phase mixture into the space for separation 21.

The presence of the flow disruptor element 7 also makes it possible to increase the residence time of the refrigerant 700 in the duct in which it is located. This makes it possible to achieve more complete phase separation than in the absence of the flow disruptor element 7.

To produce the required centrifugal field, the flow disruptor element 7 is configured to generate helicoidal or rotational circulation of the refrigerant 700. According to the embodiment example illustrated, the flow disruptor element 7 is in the form of a spiral ramp 70 along which the refrigerant 700 is intended to flow. The following description relates to the embodiment example with a spiral ramp 70, but of course this description may be applied to any other flow disruptor element 7 configured to generate helicoidal or rotational circulation of the refrigerant 700. As is shown in Figs. 3A, 3B and 3C, the spiral ramp 70 has an axis of revolution 705. It is then defined in the description that follows that an element located closest to the axis of revolution 705 is called inner, as opposed to an element located farthest from the axis of revolution 705, which is called outer. This axis of revolution 705 preferably coincides with the principal axis of elongation 20 of the duct in which it is located, here the separating duct 2. As a result, the flow disruptor element 7, here in the form of a spiral ramp 70, the space 21 for liquid-gas separation, and the separating duct 2 are concentric, with an axis in common with the principal axis of elongation 20.

According to various embodiments, the flow disruptor element 7 may occupy all or part of the largest dimension, such as the height or the length, of the separating duct 2 or of the duct that it occupies. Preferably, the flow disruptor element 7 occupies between 25% and 75% of the largest dimension, here the height measured along the axis Oz, of the separating duct 2 or of any other duct in which it is placed. In the case shown, the spiral ramp 70 may have a height measured along the axis 0 of between 45 millimetres and 200 millimetres. Preferably, the spiral ramp 70 has a height of 70 millimetres. The spiral ramp 70 is continuous. This means that the spiral ramp 70 comprises turns

75 that prolong one another, without any discontinuity. A turn 75 is defined as a complete turn of the spiral followed by the spiral ramp 70.

The spiral ramp 70 extends until it is roughly in contact with the walls delimiting the separating duct 2 radially, or according to the width. "Approximately" means that the manufacturing tolerances are included. An outer edge of the turns 75 is in contact with the wall or walls delimiting the separating duct 2. All of the turns 75 of the spiral ramp may be in contact with the wall or walls delimiting the separating duct 2, as shown in Fig. 2. According to the example illustrated in Figs. 3 A, 3B and 3C, all of the turns 75 have an identical diameter, the diameter being measured for one and the same turn 75 from one outer edge to another outer edge diametrically opposite. According to a variant embodiment, the turns have diameters that vary from one another, notably so that only some of the turns 75 are in contact with the wall or wails delimiting the separating duct 2.

It is to be understood here that the flow disruptor element 7 is configured so that the free space, or transverse clearance, measured in a plane perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2, between the outer edges of the flow disruptor element 7 and the walls that delimit the separating duct 2, is a minimum and preferably zero. However, this space is defined to allow easy insertion, but without play, of the flow disruptor element 7 within the space for liquid-gas separation 2 1 . In other words, the flow disruptor element 7 is defined in such a way that any leakage of liquid phase and/or of two- phase mixture of refrigerant 700 by trickling along the walls delimiting the separating duct 2, in the portion of the separating duct 2 that it occupies, is limited to the maximum extent, or even eliminated completely. This results in better efficiency of phase separation, in the sense that it ensures that all of the refrigerant 700 flowing along the disruptor element 7 is subjected to the centrifugation field induced by the flow disruptor element 7. The pitch 7 1 of the spiral followed by the spiral ramp 70 corresponds to the distance, measured in the direction of the axis of revolution 705 of the flow disruptor element 7, between two consecutive turns 75. This pitch 7 1 is, for example, between I and 1 0 millimetres. According to a variant embodiment, the pitch 71 of the spiral followed by the spiral ramp 70 is from 3 to 4 millimetres. Each turn 75 is inclined so as to channel the refrigerant 700 in the direction of the axis of revolution 705 of the spiral ramp 70. Thus, each turn 75 forms a slope oriented towards the axis of revolution 705. More precisely, as shown in Fig. 3 A, an angle of inclination 77 is defined, extending between the axis of revolution 705 and an inside surface of a turn 75. This angle of inclination 77 is, for example, between 20 degrees and 70 degrees. Preferably, the angle of inclination 77 is equal to 45 degrees. The spiral ramp 70 is then arranged in the separating duct 2 in such a way that the turns 75 are oriented so as to channel th refrigerant 700 in the direction of the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2.

Each turn 75 of the spiral ramp 70 comprises an orifice 78 at its centre, as can be seen in Figs. 3A and 3B. It may then be said that the slope of a turn 75 is oriented so that the refrigerant 700 is guided towards the orifice 78. According to the embodiment example, all of the turns 75 have orifices 78 that have a central axis that coincides with the axis of revolution 705 of the spiral ramp 70. These orifices 78 then form a so-called central channel 72 extending over the whole of the spiral ramp 70 and in the direction of the axis of revolution 705. This central channel 72 is shown with a dotted line in Fig. 3 A. It follows from the foregoing that th central channel 72, the flow disruptor element 7, the space 2 1 for liquid-gas separation and the separating duct 2 are concentric.

The orifices 71 may have different dimensions from one turn 75 to another. According to the embodiment example, in which the orifices 71 are circular, the orifices have variable diameters from one turn 75 to another. Thus, the central channel 72 formed by the succession of orifices 78 has a dimension, such as a diameter, that is variable along the axis of revolution 705 of the spiral ramp 70. More precisely, it is defined that the spiral ramp 70 comprises two end turns 701, 702 opposite one another along the axis of revolution 705. A first end turn 701 called upstream turn of the spiral ramp 70 is, for example, located closest to the zone where the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2, in contrast to a second end turn 702 called downstream turn located, for example, farthest from the zone where the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2. Between the upstream turn 701 and the downstream turn 702, a middle turn 703 is defined, located midway between the upstream turn 701 and the downstream turn 702, along the axis of revolution 705. As can be seen in Fig. 3 A, the orifices 78 of the turns 75 between the upstream turn

701 and the middle turn 703 have diameters that vary from one another. More precisely, these diameters decrease progressively in a direction from the upstream turn 701 to the middle turn 703. In fact, the upstream turn 701 comprises an orifice 78 having the largest diameter whereas the middle turn 703 comprises an orifice 78 having the smallest diameter. Between these two turns 701 , 703, the diameter of the orifices 78 decreases progressively in the direction from the upstream turn 701 to the middle turn 703. Thus, in the direction from the upstream turn 701 to the middle turn 703, the central channel 72 comprises a diameter that decreases progressively.

The orifices 78 of the turns 75 between the middle turn 703 and the downstream turn 702 have constant diameters relative to one another. More precisely, these orifices have a diameter identical to the diameter of the orifice of the middle turn 703. Thus, the central channel 72 comprises a constant diameter between the middle turn 703 and the downstream turn 702, this diameter being smaller than the diameter of the orifices 78 of the turns 75 located between the upstream turn 701 and the middle turn 703. To summarize, the central channel 72 comprises a conical upstream portion and a cylindrical downstream portion. In other words the central channel 72 forms roughly an open funnel in the upstream portion with a diameter of the orifices 78 of each turn 75 decreasing progressively from upstream to downstream.

The dimensions of the diameters of the orifices 78 forming the central channel 72 may vary between 1 millimetre and 30 millimetres. Preferably, the largest diameter of an orifice 78 of the spiral ramp 70 is between 7 and 10 millimetres.

Preferably, the change in section between the conical upstream portion and the cylindrical downstream portion occurs midway along the central channel 72. The dimensions of the upstream portion and of the downstream portion of the central channel 72, measured along the axis of revolution 705, are identical and between I and 100 millimetres respectively. According to an embodiment example, these dimensions are approximately of the order of 30 to 40 millimetres for each of the portions. The central channel 72 thus has a dimension measured along the axis of revolution 705 between 60 and 80 millimetres, preferably 70 millimetres like the spiral ramp 70. Of course, the change in section could be located at any other point of the central channel 72, thus the dimensions, measured along the axis of revolution 705, of the upstream portion and of the downstream portion of the central channel 72, may vary and be different from one another.

The spiral ramp 70 may follow a left-hand spiral or a right-hand spiral. This means that the refrigerant 700 flowing along the spires, from the upstream turn 701 to the downstream turn 702, may turn clockwise, i.e. follow a right-hand spiral, or turn anticlockwise, i.e. follow a left-hand spiral. According to the embodiment example illustrated, the spiral ramp 70 follows a right-hand spiral.

According to a variant embodiment, the flow disrupter element 7 is in the form of a screw formed from a set of flights arranged one after another and along the axis of revolution of the screw. Of course, the characteristics described for the spiral ramp 70, such as pitch, inclination of the turns or flights, presence of a central channel, dimensions, direction of rotation of the fluid, are applicable to the screw.

The operation of the phase separator 500 according to the invention is therefore as follows: the two-phase mixture of refrigerant 700, received in the admission duct 1, is conveyed by gravity to the separating duct 2 and, more precisely, to the aforementioned separation space 2 1 . The liquid phase and the gas phase making up this two-phase mixture are separated in the following way: the portion of liquid phase is conveyed to the space for evacuation of liquid phase 22 located downstream of the space for liquid-gas separation 21, whereas the portion of gas phase is directed, owing to its lower density and its lightness, to the space for gas phase extraction 23 located upstream of the space for liquid-gas separation 21.

More precisely, when the two-phase mixture of refrigerant reaches the space for liquid-gas separation 21, it is conveyed naturally by gravity to the spiral ramp 70 and is then subjected to the centrifugation field induced by the configuration of the spiral ramp 70. The liquid phase contained in the two-phase mixture, being denser than the gas phase, is then directed to the outer edges of the turns 75, and notably to the wall or walls delimiting the separating duct 2. On account of contact with the wall or walls delimiting the separating duct 2, the liquid phase, which is also subject to the effect of gravity, continues to flow from turn 75 to turn 75, in the direction from the upstream turn 701 to the downstream turn 702, while being subjected to centrifugation increasingly, and until it reaches the space for evacuation of liquid phase 22.

Owing to its lower density, the gas phase contained in the two-phase mixture is trapped in the inner part of the turns 75, i.e. towards the axis of revolution 705 of the spiral ramp 70, and notably towards the central channel 72. The gas phase is then entrained towards the space for gas phase extraction 23. This extraction is, firstly, promoted by the conical configuration of the central channel 72 in its upstream part and by the inclination of the turns 75 relative to the axis of revolution 705. As will be described later, extraction of the gas phase is also reinforced by a phenomenon of suction brought about by the configuration of an extraction passage 6. Thus, in the direction from the upstream turn 701 to the downstream turn 702, the two-phase mixture becomes depleted of gas phase and enriched with liquid phase, until it only consists of the latter.

The presence of the flow disruptor element 7 within the separating duct 2 and notably in the space for liquid-gas separation 21 therefore makes it possible to improve the efficiency of phase separation. Moreover, owing to its configuration, this flow disruptor element 7 also makes it possible to increase the residence time of the refrigerant 700 within the separating duct 2 and notably in the space for liquid-gas separation 2 1 , and thus reduce the si/e of this space for liquid-gas separation 21. The flow disruptor element 7 therefore allows the compactness of the phase separator 500 to be improved while maintaining or even improving its efficiency.

Moreover, the flow disruptor element 7 comprises a ring at least at one of its ends

701, 702. According to the embodiment example illustrated, the flow disruptor element 7 in the form of a spiral ramp 70 comprises a ring 73, 74 at each of its ends, upstream 701 and downstream 702. The spiral ramp 70 comprises a fi st ring 73 arranged at the level of the upstream turn 701 and a second ring 74 arranged at the level of the downstream turn

702. Figs. 3B and 3C show these rings 73, 74 from different viewing angles.

As shown in Fig. 3B, the first ring 73 is in contact with the upstream turn 701. It is therefore placed at the upstream end of the spiral ramp 70. The first ring 73 is in the form of a cylindrical ring whose axis coincides, for example, with the axis of revolution 70 of the flow disruptor element 7. The inside diameter of the ring forming this first ring 73 is equal to the outside diameter of the turns 75, to within manufacturing tolerances. The outside diameter of the ring forming this first ring 73 is greater than the outside diameter of the turns 75.

The height o the first ring 73, measured in the direction of the axis of revolution 705 of the flow disruptor element 7, is advantageously less than or equal to that of a turn 75. More precisely, the height of the first ring 73, measured along the axis of revolution 705 of the flow disruptor element 7, is equal to the height of a half-turn 75 or, in other words, of a half-pitch 71.

As shown in Fig. 3C, the second ring 74 is located opposite the first ring 73, at the end of the flow disruptor element 7. The second ring 74 is therefore located at the downstream end of the spiral ramp 70. As well as the first ring 73, the second ring 74 is in the form of a cylindrical ring whose axis coincides, for example, with the axis of revolution 705 of the flow disruptor element 7. The outside diameter of the second ring 74 is equal to the outside diameter of the first ring 73. Similarly, the height of the second ring 74, measured along the axis of revolution 705, is equal to the height of the first ring 73. The second ring 74 differs from the first ring 73 in that the second ring 74 comprises a strip 76. This strip 76 extends along the diameter of this second ring 74. Thus, the strip 76 is opposite the central channel 72. The strip 76 is, advantageously, integral with the second ring 74. The height of the strip 76, measured along the axis of revolution 705 of the flow disruptor element 7, is equal to that of the second ring 74.

The strip 76 makes it possible to connect the spiral ramp 70 to the second ring 74. In fact, the strip 76 and the spiral ramp 70 are joined together by an extension of the downstream turn 702 forming a tab 77. This tab 77 extends rectiiinearly along the axis of revolution 705. The tab 77 prolongs the downstream turn 702 rectiiinearly, so that it does not constitute an obstacle to flow of the liquid phase of refrigerant 700 along the downstream turn 702 and so that it does not block the central channel 72. More precisely, the tab 77 has a dimension, transverse to the axis of revolution 705, less than or equal to a radius of the second ring 74.

The presence of the first ring 73 and of the second ring 74 makes it possible to position the flow disruptor element 7 inside one of the ducts, and notably in the separating duct 2. As will be described later, with reference to Figs. 4A and 4B, the separating duct 2 comprises recesses intended to receive the rings 73, 74.

Moreover, as can be seen in Fig. 2, the phase separator 500 comprises a third duct 3, called reserve duct for liquid phase. In this reserve duct 3, there is accumulation of liquid phase within the phase separator 500. For maximum reduction of the overall dimensions of the phase separator 500 according to the invention, at least part of the reserve duct for liquid phase 3, and advantageously the whole reserve duct 3, extends side by side with the separating duct 2, parallel to the principal axis of elongation 20 of the latter.

The reserve duct 3 for liquid phase has a principal axis of elongation 30 along which it extends, on its largest dimension. This principal axis of elongation 30 is parallel to the principal axis of extension 20 of the separating channel 2. As shown in the figures, and referring to the designations upstream and downstream defined above, the reserve duct 3 communicates with the downstream part of the separating duct 2 and notably with its open end 220. More precisely, the reserve duct 3 constitutes a prolongation of the space 22 for evacuation of liquid phase in the direction of conveying the liquid phase. The separating duct 2 and the reserve duct 3 together form the two arms of a U shape with the base of the U formed by a fourth duct 4 called communication duct, putting the separating duct 2, and notably the space 22 for evacuation of liquid phase, in communication with the reserve duct 3. The space 22 for evacuation of liquid phase may be defined as comprising a first portion located downstream of the space 21 for liquid-gas separation within the separating duct 2, a second portion consisting of the aforementioned communication duct 4, and a third portion formed by the reserve duct 3 in which the liquid phase accumulates.

The reserve duct 3 comprises two ends 31, 32 arranged opposite one another along the principal axis of elongation 30 of this reserve duct 3. In the direction of flow of the liquid phase, a first end 31 is located closest to the separating duct 2 and opens into the communication duct 4. The second end 32 forms an orifice 33, for evacuation of liquid phase, opening into an environment external to the phase separator 500. This evacuation orifice 33 has a central axis 33A perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation 30 of the reserve duct 3. Preferably, the axis 33 A of the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 is approximately parallel to the axis Ox of the orthonormal coordinate system defined above. Between the two ends 31, 32 of the reserve duct 3, the walls forming the reserve duct 3 are impervious, i.e. the reserve duct 3 does not comprise openings other than those formed by its two open ends 31, 32. The walls forming the reserve duct 3 thus form an impervious tube allowing conveyance of the liquid phase of the refrigerant 700 from the separating duct 2 to the exterior of the phase separator 500.

The gas phase resulting from separation by gravity and by centrifugation within the space for liquid-gas separation 21 is, as stated above, conveyed to the space 23 for gas phase extraction located upstream of the zone where the admission duct 1 opens into the separating duct 2 and towards the end 230 of the separating duct 2.

The separating duct 2, and notably the space 23 for gas phase extraction, communicate with a fifth duct 5 called duct for gas phase extraction. The duct for gas phase extraction 5 extends along a general axis of elongation 50. The general axis of elongation 50 extends obliquely relative to the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2. The duct for gas phase extraction 5, l ike the admission duct 1, opens onto the exterior of the phase separator 500 and therefore allows the gas phase of the refrigerant 700 to leave the separator 500. More precisely, the duct for gas phase extraction 5 comprises two ends 51, 52 each opening onto the exterior of the phase separator 500. More particularly, the duct for gas phase extraction 5 comprises a first end 51 forming an orifice for evacuation of gas phase 53 having a central axis 53A perpendicular to the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2. Preferably, the central axis 53A of the gas phase outlet 53 is parallel to the axis Oy and to the axis 1 I OA of the intake orifice 110. This first end 51 and the gas phase outlet 53 that it forms may be configured to receive an outlet sleeve 90, as will be described later, with reference to Fig. 6A.

The duct for gas phase extraction 5 comprises a second end 52 also opening onto the exterior of the phase separator 500 in an orifice for gas phase extraction 41. The extraction orifice 41 comprises a central axis 41A perpendicular both to the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct and to the central axis 53 A of the outlet orifice 53. It should be noted that the centre of the orifice 41 for gas phase extraction is aligned along the axis Oy with the centre of the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 described above. More precisely, the central axis 33A of the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 and the central axis 41A of the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 are parallel. It will be understood that the duct for gas phase extraction 5 may be angled in order to form on the one hand the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 and on the other hand the orifice 41 for gas phase extraction, both having perpendicular axes 110A, 53A.

Between the two ends 51, 52 of the duct for gas phase extraction 5, the walls forming this duct for gas phase extraction 5 have an opening 54 to a sixth duct, called extraction passage 6, as will be described later. It can also be seen that the admission duct 1 and the duct for gas phase extraction 5 are located on one and the same side of the phase separator 500.

It should be noted that the admission duct 1, the separating duct 2, the reserve duct 3, the communication duct 4, the duct for gas phase extraction 5 and the extraction passage 6 may have sections that differ from one another. This means that their shapes and dimensions may vary. According to one embodiment, each of these ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 has cross-sections having approximately the same dimensions, such as a width or a diameter. A cross-section is taken in a plane perpendicular to the axis of elongation of the duct 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in question. More precisely, it is defined that the admission duct 1, the separating duct 2, the reserve duct 3 and the duct for gas phase extraction 5 have roughly identical widths. The width of a duct is for example between 10 millimetres and 30 millimetres. Advantageously the width is equal to 15 millimetres.

According to the embodiment example illustrated, the admission duct 1 has a rectangular or square cross-section, and the separating duct 2, the reserve duct 3, the communication duct 4, the duct for gas phase extraction 5 and the extraction passage 6 have a circular cross-section. Thus, ail of the ducts except the admission duct 1 are cylindrical. According to different embodiments, the cross-sections of these ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or passage 6 taken perpendicularly to their principal axis of elongation may be of any other shape, such as triangular or semicircular.

According to the embodiment example illustrated, the separating duct 2 opens, via its upstream end 230, into the sixth duct, called the extraction passage 6, which in its turn opens into the duct for gas phase extraction 5. Thus, the extraction passage 6 is arranged between the space 23 for gas phase extraction and the duct 5 for gas phase extraction. Here, the extraction passage 6 extends, along the principal axis of extension 20 of the separating duct 2, from the upstream end of the space 230 of the separating duct 2 to the opening 54 of duct 5 for gas phase extraction, which it opens into. In other words, the extraction passage 6 provides communication between the space 23 for gas phase extraction and the duct for gas phase extraction 5.

The function of the extraction passage 6 is to transfer, from the space 23 for gas phase extraction to the duct for gas phase extraction 5, the gas phase resulting from phase separation performed in the separating duct 2, and notably in the space for separation 21. For this purpose, the relative configuration of the extraction passage 6, of the space 23 for gas phase extraction and of the duct for gas phase extraction 5 is defined both for optimizing this transfer, to prevent any return of gas phase into the space 21 for liquid-gas separation as well as to prevent entry of liquid phase into the duct for gas phase extraction 5. Advantageously, the extraction passage 6, the separating duct 2, and notably the space 23 for gas phase extraction are concentric, with an axis in common with the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2. Of course, the extraction passage 6 could also be offset relative to the principal axis of elongation 20 of the separating duct 2. A plurality of extraction passages 6 could also be envisaged. It should be noted that the extraction passage 6 may open into the duct 5 for gas phase extraction obliquely and advantageously tangentially to the latter.

Preferably, the extraction passage 6 has, on its entirety in the direction of the principal axis of elongation 20, or along its own principal axis of elongation, a constant so- called minimum width 61. This minimum, width 61 is measured in a cross-section and along the axis Oy defined above. Advantageously this constant minimum width 61 is less than the width of the separating duct 2 and/or of the duct for gas phase extraction 5. In general, it may be said that the extraction passage 6 has a width at least two times smaller than the width of the separating duct 2 and/or of the duct for gas phase extraction 5. Said minimum width 61 makes it possible to form a restriction that allows suction of the gas phase through the extraction passage 6. This width 61 is between 1 millimetre and about ten millimetres. According to a particularly advantageous variant embodiment, this minimum width 61 is 5 millimetres. This particular dimension of the extraction passage 6 has the role of increasing the velocity of the gas phase, by creating a phenomenon of aspiration within the space 23 for gas phase extraction. It therefore contributes to the efficiency of phase separation in the phase separator 500. It also has the function of limiting any entry of liquid phase to the upstream part of the separating duct 2 and to the duct for gas phase extraction 5.

According to a variant embodiment, in longitudinal section, i.e. in this case along the axis Oz, the extraction passage 6 has a trapezium shape with the minimum width 61 located on the side of the duct for gas phase extraction 5.

Moreover, Fig. 2 shows that the four orifices 33, 41, 53, 110 of the phase separator 500 that open out to the exterior are circular. In other words, the orifices 33, 41, 53, 110 of the phase separator 500 are delimited by circular walls. Of course, other shapes of the orifices 33, 41, 53, 110 may be envisaged, depending on the need for connection or integration.

According to a second embodiment of the invention, illustrated in Figs. 4 A and 4B, the various ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 described above of the phase separator 500 are delimited between at least two plates 510, 520 arranged against one another on an interface plane 550.

The geometry, the arrangement and the dimensions of the ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 forming the phase separator 500 according to the second embodiment are identical at every point to the phase separator 500 according to the first embodiment. More precisely, the various ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are delimited by hollowed-out shapes made in at least one of the plates. The plates then form the walls of the ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

As is illustrated in Figs. 4A and 4B, the phase separator 500 according to the second embodiment comprises two plates 510, 520 arranged against one another, with the flow disruptor element 7 located between them. One plate is defined as having a shape that is mainly flat, rectangular, full, preferably rigid and of small thickness. As will be described later, there is a first plate 510 and a second plate 520. Of course, the phase separator 500 could comprise one or more additional plates while remaining within the scope of the invention.

The plates 510, 520 each have an approximately rectangular shape, with a longer side C extending along the axis Oz and a short side D extending along the axis Oy. According to one embodiment example, the size of the largest side C, also called the height of the phase separator 500 measured along the axis Oz, is between approximately 10 and 500 millimetres. The size of the short side D, also called the width of the phase separator 500 measured along the axis Oy, is between approximately 10 and 100 millimetres. More precisely, the height of the phase separator 500 is of the order of 240 to 250 millimetres, and its width is of the order of 35 to 40 millimetres.

Each plate 510, 520 comprises at least one lateral extension, and preferably two lateral extensions 531, 532 for each of the plates, extending from the largest side C, C2 of the plate 510, 520. Each extension 531, 532 defines one of the ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 of the phase separator 500. A first extension 531 defines the admission duct 1 of the refrigerant 700 and a second extension 532 defines the duct for gas phase extraction 5, these ducts 1, 5 having been described above. It should be noted that the two extensions 531, 532 originate from one and the same side of one of the plates 510, 520, notably starting from one and the same long side C of the rectangular shape followed by the plates 510, 520. Thus, the admission duct 1 and the duct for gas phase extraction 5 are located on one and the same side of the phase separator 500.

Moreover, according to one embodiment, a bridge of material 530 joins the two extensions 531, 532 together, notably at their free ends. The presence of this bridge of material 530, as well as the arrangement of the two extensions 531, 532 relative to the rectangular shape of the plate 510, 520 then forms an overall triangular opening 535. The second plate 520 differs from the first plate 510 by the presence of at least one orifice 33, 41 passing through it. In the case shown, the second plate 520 comprises the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 and the orifice for gas phase extraction 41, described above. These two orifices 33, 41 have the same diameter and have centres that are aligned with one another along the axis Oy. More precisely, these two orifices 33, 41 are located as closely as possible to a vertical end edge, called the upstream edge 501 of the phase separator 500, of the second plate 520, and called the short side D above. Thus, it will be understood that, in contrast to the second plate 520, the first plate 510 does not have orifices passing through it.

Moreover, the second plate 520 has a vertical extension 534 relative to the first plate 510. Thus, the second plate 520 has a long side C greater than the long side C2 of the first plate 510, measured along the vertical axis Oz. The dimensions described above regarding the height of the phase separator 500 therefore relate more particularly to this second plate 520.

Each plate 510, 520 has two principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b. For a given plate 510, 520, the two principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b are joined together by an outer edge 511, 521. These outer edges 511, 521 also define the thickness of the plates 510, 520 along the axis Ox defined above. The outer edges 511, 521 of the plates 510, 520 may have the same dimensions from one plate 510, 520 to another, notably in terms of shape, length and thickness, to within manufacturing tolerances.

The first plate 510 and the second plate 520 each comprise a hollowed-out shape made in their thickness. These shapes are hollowed out starting from one of the principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b of at least one of the plates 510, 520. These hollowed-out shapes form the ducts, spaces and passages described above. According to the embodiment example illustrated, the shapes are hollowed out starting from one of the principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b of each of the plates 510, 520 of the phase separator 500. Preferably, the principal faces 510a, 520a comprising the hollowed-out shapes do not comprise asperities projecting from these principal faces. According to a variant embodiment, the shapes are hollowed out starting from one of the principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b of a single plate of the phase separator 500, the other one being flat on its two principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b.

The plates 510, 520 are placed against one another in such a way that the two principal faces 510a, 520a, comprising the hollowed-out shapes, are put against one another, with the hollowed-out shapes put opposite one another. The combination of the two faces 510a, 520a and of their respective spaces defined by the hollowed-out shapes, notably forms the admission duct 1 and the separating duct 2. The combination of the two principal faces 510a, 510b also forms the reserve duct 3, the communication duct 4, the duct for gas phase extraction 5 and the extraction passage 6. The contact surface between the two plates 510, 520, or two principal faces, forms an interface 550. This interface 550 may assume any shape, depending on the shape of the principal faces 510a, 520b. Preferably, and to facilitate manufacture by mechanical means, the interface 550 is flat.

Among the principal faces 510a, 510b, 520a, 520b, each plate 510, 520 has an inner principal face 510a, 520a comprising the hollowed-out shapes so as to define all or part of the ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and an outer principal face 510b, 520b, exposed to the external environment of the phase separator 500. According to the embodiment example illustrated in the figures, the outer faces 510b, 520b, i.e. the faces not comprising the hollowed-out shapes, are mainly flat, i.e. on at least 80% of their area.

According to the example illustrated, the plates 510, 520 each comprise the respective hollowed-out shape of half-duct 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, made in their thickness starting from their respective inner faces 510a, 520a. Manufacture of the phase separator 500 by mechanical means is simplified thereby. The arrangement of the inner principal faces 510a, 520a, of plates 510, 520 against one another is in this case effected on the flat interface 550, which may also be called the interface plane 550.

In the context of this embodiment, the interface plane 550 bisects at least one of the ducts defined by the plates 510, 520. Preferably, the interface plane 550 bisects the assembly of ducts and space delimited by the plates 510, 520. Thus, the interface plane 550 is a plane of symmetry for these ducts and space delimited by the plates 510, 520. Hereinafter, the invention will be described according to this embodiment example, which is not exhaustive but is particularly advantageous, notably in terms of manufacture by mechanical means.

Fig. 5A shows the inner principal face 520a of the second plate 520 forming the phase separator 500 while Fig. 5B shows the inner principal face 510a of the first plate 510, both in front view. These two figures illustrate in detail the geometry and the elements making up the phase separator 500. It should be noted that, at least for the admission duct 1 and the separating duct 2, these two inner faces 510a, 520a are symmetric. Of course, it will be understood that each plate 510, 520 only delimits a part of the ducts. For conciseness, it will be understood that when there is mention of a duct, this applies to the partial ducts formed in each plate 510, 520. Moreover, with the ducts denoting empty spaces in this embodiment, it will be understood that when they are described, we mean the walls delimiting it.

All of the ducts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, spaces and passages are identical to the first embodiment, with the principal axis 20 of extension of the separating duct 2 parallel at least to a long side C, 511, 521 respectively, of at least one of the plates 510, 520.

However, it should be noted that the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33, and the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 pass through the thickness of the second plate 520. Thus, the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 and the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 each comprise a central axis 33A, 41 A perpendicular to the principal faces 520a, 520b of the second plate 520. In the context of the example illustrated, the central axes 33A, 41A are also perpendicular to the interface plane 550. Moreover, with reference to the direction of flow by gravity of the two-phase mixture within the space 21 for liquid-gas separation, these orifices 33, 41 passing through the second plate 520 are located at the level of an upstream edge 501 of the phase separator 500. However, as shown in Fig. 5B, the first plate 510 does not comprise an orifice passing through it. The intake orifice 110 and the gas phase outlet 53 are formed by the combination of the two plates 510, 520. In other words, each plate 510, 520 comprises a part forming the intake orifice 110 and the gas phase outlet 53. To summarize, among the orifices that open out to the exterior of the separator 500, two are formed by the combination of the plates against one another and two others pass through one of the two plates.

Fig. 5A shows more particularly the flow disrupter element 7 received in the space 21 for liquid-gas separation of the separating duct 2. With reference to the directions upstream and downstream defined above, the flow disrupter element 7 is arranged in such a way that the first ring 73 described above is placed upstream of the space 21 for liquid- gas separation, and so that the second ring 74 described above is placed downstream of the latter. This figure illustrates more particularly the role that these rings and their constituent elements may play in the placement of the flow disruptor element 7 within the phase separator 500. In fact, it can be seen from this figure that the first ring 73 and the second ring 74 may play a role of blocking of the disruptor element within the separating duct 2. In fact, it is conceivable that these rings 73, 74, being integral with the flow disruptor element 7, then allow placement of the latter without deformation within the separating duct 2 and, owing to their configuration, allow blocking of the latter in particular in the direction of its axis of revolution 705. The strip 76 may then also allow gripping and holding of the flow disruptor element 7, for example by a fitting tool, without risk of deformation of the screw.

More particularly, it can be seen in Fig. 5B that the separating duct 2 comprises two recesses 730, 740 intended to receive the rings 73, 74 integral with the flow disruptor element 7. These recesses 730, 740 make it possible to increase the section of the separating duct 2 at certain points. These recesses 730, 740 are of cylindrical shape or, in the context of a plate 510, 520, semi-cylindrical.

Figs. 6A and 6B show the phase separator 500 according to the second embodiment in which the plates 510, 520 are joined together. It can be seen in Fig. 6B that the phase separator 500 comprises four orifices: the so-called intake orifice 110, the liquid phase outlet 33, the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 and the gas phase outlet 53. It can thus be seen that the intake orifice I 10 and the gas phase outlet 53, both formed by the combination of the plates against one another, are located on one and the same side of the phase separator 500. More precisely, the intake orifice 1 10 is located below the gas phase outlet 53, along the axis Oz. It should be noted that the diameter of the intake orifice 110 opening into the admission duct 1 is smaller than the diameter of the gas phase outlet 53 opening into the duct for gas phase extraction 5.

The liquid phase outlet 33 opening into the reserve duct 3 is made in the same plate 520 as the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 opening into the duct for gas phase extraction 5. These two ori ices 41 , 33 have roughly identical dimensions, to within manufacturing tolerances, and are aligned along the axis Oy. Moreover, these two orifices 41 , 33 are located as closely as possible to an upstream edge 501 of the plates 5 10, 520.

Fig. 6A shows that an inlet sleeve 80 is mounted in the intake orifice 110. This inlet sleeve 80 therefore opens into the admission duct 1. Similarly, it can be seen that an outlet sleeve 90 is mounted in the gas phase outlet 53. This outlet sleeve 90 therefore opens into the duct for gas phase extraction 5. These sleeves 80, 90 allow connection of the phase separator 500 to the external environment.

Fig. 7A illustrates the combination of the phase separator 500 according to the second embodiment, as described above, ith a heat exchanger 600 such as an evaporator 60.

The evaporator 60, also illustrated in Fig. 7B, is formed from a set of sheets 601, also called plates, which are stacked in pairs of two sheets, face to face, i n a direction of stacking col linear with the axis Ox. Said evaporator 60 allows cooling of an air stream passing between two pairs of sheets 601. As shown in Figs. 7A and 7B, the air stream to be cooled circulates in the direction followed by the arrow F or in directions collinear with this arrow F. The air stream is then cooled by the refrigerant 700 circulating between two sheets 601 of one and the same pair.

More particularly, the refrigerant 700 in liquid form is ed into a collecting box 620. This collecting box 620 then allows the refrigerant 700 to be distributed uniformly in at least part of the evaporator 60. The refrigerant 700 circulating in the evaporator 60 passes through one or more return boxes 630 that allow several passes of refrigerant 700 to be made in the evaporator 60 before it is conveyed to an outlet box 640. In fact, once heat exchange with the air stream has taken place, the refrigerant 700 in gaseous form is fed into the outlet box 640. The outlet box then allows the refrigerant 700 in gaseous form to be channeled and guided to the exterior of the evaporator 60.

The evaporator 60 therefore comprises an inlet orifice 62 opening into the collecting box 620 and an outlet 64 opening into the outlet box 640. Preferably, these two orifices 620, 640 are located as closely as possible to an upstream edge 605 of the evaporator 60.

Fig. 7B also shows that the evaporator 60 comprises an end sheet, or cheek 615 intended to support the phase separator 500. In fact, as shown in Fig. 7A, the second plate 520 of the phase separator 500 is laid against the cheek 615 of the evaporator 60. The phase separator 500 then becomes an integral part of this evaporator 60. In a particularly advantageous, but not exclusive, variant embodiment of the invention, this second plate 520 constitutes the cheek 615 of the evaporator 600. It will be understood that the orifice for evacuation of liquid phase 33 made in the second plate 520 of the phase separator 500 is arranged opposite the inlet orifice 62 opening into the collecting box 620. Similarly, the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 made in the second plate 520 of the phase separator 500 is arranged opposite the outlet orifice 64 opening into the outlet box 640. Advantageously, the orifices placed opposite one another have the same shapes and dimensions and have concentric axes.

According to the embodiment example illustrated in Fig. 7 A, the first plate 510 and the second plate 520 of the phase separator 500 have dimensions similar to those of the sheets 601 forming the evaporator 600. More precisely, it can be seen that the vertical extension 534 of the second plate 520 makes it possible to seal the return box or boxes 630 located in a lower part of the evaporator 60, the lower part being opposite the upstream edge 605 along the axis Oz.

Thus, in the context of integration of the phase separator 500 with a heat exchanger 600 of the evaporator type 60, the refrigerant 700 in gaseous form resulting from the heat exchange performed in the evaporator 60 is mixed with the gas phase extracted from the two-phase mixture going into the phase separator 500 via the inlet sleeve 80. In fact, owing to the location and the configuration of the orifice for gas phase extraction 41 , the gas phase leaving the evaporator 60 is necessarily led to mix with the gas phase resulting from the phase separation performed in the space for separation 21 of the phase separator 500. These two gaseous phases are necessarily mixed and conveyed by the duct for gas phase extraction 5 to the outlet sleeve 90 defined above. It is therefore particularly simple to combine a phase separator 500 according to the invention with a heat exchanger 600 of the evaporator type 60.

Moreover, integration of such an assembly formed by the phase separator 500 and the evaporator 600 with a refrigerant circuit 1000 of a motor vehicle is also simplified thereby.

As has just been described, the phase separator 500 according to the invention, whether for the first embodiment or the second, makes it possible to perform, in reduced overall dimensions, efficient separation of the liquid phase and gas phase contained in the two-phase mixture of a refrigerant 700 received, for example, from a pressure reducing valve 400 installed in the circuit 1000 of refrigerant 700 of a vehicle, notably an automobile. Furthermore, owing to its configuration with plates, a phase separator 500 according to the second embodiment is easy to integrate with a heat exchanger 600 of the evaporator type.

The invention is not, however, limited to the means and configurations described and illustrated, but also applies to any equivalent means or configurations and to any combination of such means. In particular, although the invention has been described and illustrated here in the particular case of a phase separator whose plates have approximately the general shapes of rectangular parallelepipeds, it also applies to cases when the various plates making up such a separator have shapes appreciably different from one another, different from those of rectangular parallelepipeds, provided that, between them, these plates delimit an admission duct 1 and a separating duct 2 as described in the present document. Moreover, although the invention has been described and illustrated here according to a variant embodiment in which the various ducts and passages making up the phase separator 500 have approximately cylindrical shapes, it goes without saying that other shapes of ducts may be envisaged without adversely affecting the invention. Moreover, designation of the ducts by the terms first duct, second duct, third duct, fourth duct, Ιϊ I th duct or si th duct, allowing them to be distinguished, has been used for purposes of easier understanding, and these designations do not, of course, have a limiting effect.

Finally, for the second embodiment, although the interface plane 550 has been described here as containing al l of the principal axes of the various ducts, spaces and passages of the phase separator 500, it is also conceivable, without adversely affecting the invention, that thi s interface plane 550 only contains a part of the principal axes of the various ducts, spaces and passages of the phase separator 500. This means that the plates need not necessarily comprise half of the various ducts, spaces and passages of the phase separator 500.