Thermal Lunch Box for Cars




Introduction: Thermal Lunch Box for Cars

This project, although only is a schema, can be very useful for people who tend to spend several hours driving, or for those occasions when you travel with the family in the car, where the idea of carrying hot foods will be welcome..

The concept is very simple, it involves using the heat released from the exhaust flue gases of cars, through a conductive flow.

Step 1: Construct the Heating Element

To the heat transfer element we can use any soft metal (copper, aluminum, brass etc), but if you want to be more efficient, we can pick the one that has a higher coefficient of heat transfer. It can be used for such purpose copper pipe, which is used to transport the domestic gas, the diameter must be tiny so the work will be more easy.

We must make two holes in the trunk of the car to pass through the copper tubes.

On the heating element projecting into the trunk (U-shaped) shall be constructed fins to enhance heat transfer can be made only by winding copper wire or bare aluminum, smaller diameter.

Step 2: Union of the Heating Element (copper Tubing)

If we want a greater heat transfer, then we can add some water inside the copper tube, something like 1 cc, so we can leverage the latent heat of steam generated.

When speaking of steam in a closed system always is implicit the idea that the system can explote , but in this case we have two mitigating that preclude the case.

First mitigating:

If we heat a tube inside which there is water vapor, it began go through of the tube's length and if it is not insulated, heat will transfer from the inside to the environment so that if the tour long enough we will have a temperature profile, where lower temperature, and by by handling the tube length can stabilize the temperature in a range between 40 -50 ºC. therefore in the road although of the tube the vapor will be condensing anger without even coming to overheat, condense into droplets that gravity will return to the hottest area of the copper pipe and then return to vaporize maintaining the temperature profile.

Second mitigating:

The connection between the ends of the brass tube are joined by a rubber stopper, which is a factor of safety if the vapor pressure is greatly increased, the union will disintegrate letting out steam.

In the pic, the black zone represent the rubber union.

Step 3: The Lunch Box

the lunch box can be a simple recipient isolated for food preservation but must be modified so that the U-section must fit in this as a lego, so that a sheet of metal is in contact with the inner, but in turn the back is insulated so the heat will be transferred through the sheet metal (aluminum, stainless steel, etc.) and polystyrene or another insulating material avoid that the heat scape. In the picture, the grey area represent the metal sheet.

Step 4: The Blocker

If we don´t want use the lunch, then we can place a blocker, that is a plug that fits into the U-shape, is a thermal insulator of any adiabatic material such as clay, certain plastics, porcelain. In this drawing the transparent gray area represents the trunk

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    3 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 4

    I can see a couple of other bugs that need to be over come with this concept.

    A) the exhaust tends to be mounted on rubber ring suspension and moves independantly of the car body so there is a movement problem to over come.

    B) the rear exhaust box doesn't get overly hot fitting the heat exchanger to the exhaust manifold would be better, how ever this still has the problem of movement and tends not to be close to a usable storage space.

    I think I would try to use the same coolant supply that powers the heater for the car.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment Stan. The project that I present is a substantial idea and is not very specific. Faced the problem of the vibration , you can replace a section of pipe heating with a section of high pressure hose , so that it can be moved while the upper section (section U ) is fixed .

    " the rear exhaust box does not get overly hot..." To solve this problem you can change the location of the exchanger as you suggest or your use pure isopropyl or ethyl alcohol and aistal system where is the contact to take advantage of this lower amount of energy to change the fluid phase .