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1. (WO2019008489) CONDUITE DE FLUIDE DE VÉHICULE AUTOMOBILE
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

MOTOR VEHICLE FLUID LINE

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present patent document claims the benefit of priority to German Patent Application 202017104003.8, filed July 5, 2017, and entitled "Motor Vehicle Fluid Line" the entire contents of each of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to a motor vehicle fluid line, wherein the fluid line has at least one fluid channel and a wall enclosing the fluid channel. Moreover, the present disclosure relates to a fluid connector for connecting motor vehicle fluid lines. The motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure and the fluid connector according to the present disclosure are used in particular for conducting at least one fluid medium.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Motor vehicle fluid lines and fluid connectors of the type described at the outset are known in principle in different embodiments in practice. In particular in the case of conducting water or fluids based on water through motor vehicle fluid lines or fluid connectors, it has proven to be a problem that in the case of freezing of the fluid, for example, at low ambient temperature, the fluid line or the fluid connector is damaged or even completely destroyed because of the volume increase and/or the pressure increase.

[0004] A so-called SCR system (SCR: selective catalytic reduction) is frequently used in motor vehicles to reduce the nitrogen oxide content of the exhaust gases. In the framework of the SCR system, an aqueous urea solution is used and in particular the above-described problem also occurs when conducting such an aqueous urea solution through a motor vehicle fluid line and/or a fluid connector. The aqueous urea solution freezes at lower temperatures with volume expansion, similarly to water. This causes a pressure increase and the motor vehicle fluid lines, connectors, and other

components of the SCR system can be damaged or even completely destroyed by this pressure increase.

[0005] Various solution approaches for this problem are already known from practice. For example, heating the motor vehicle fluid lines and/or fluid connectors is known in principle. Nonetheless, an additional remedy upon the occurrence of freezing of the fluids is desired, for example, to avoid damage to the fluid lines and/or fluid connectors in a motor vehicle in the idle state, i.e., in a shut down motor vehicle, and/or at particularly low temperatures. It has already been proposed in this context that separate, attachable elements for the fluid lines and/or fluid connectors be provided, which can enlarge the inner volume thereof in case of freezing of the conducted fluid by displacing components and can thus compensate for the volume expansion and/or the pressure increase. In addition, suctioning the fluid-conducting pipelines empty after the shutdown of the motor vehicle in SCR systems is known from practice. Freezing of the aqueous medium in the pipelines is thus to be precluded.

[0006] However, the measures known from practice are typically linked to high structural expenditure and are therefore very costly. Moreover, it has been shown that the susceptibility to failure of the proposed solutions known from practice is very high and damage to the fluid lines and/or fluid connectors upon freezing of the fluid medium cannot be avoided in a satisfactory manner.

BRIEF SUMMARY

[0007] The present disclosure is based on the technical problem of specifying a motor vehicle fluid line of the type mentioned at the outset, in which the above-described problems and disadvantages can be avoided in an effective and functionally-reliable manner and in which in particular damage or destruction of the pipeline upon freezing of the fluid can be avoided in a simple and functionally-reliable manner and with low structural expenditure. Moreover, the present disclosure is based on the technical problem of specifying a fluid connector having the above-described properties.

[0008] To solve the technical problem, the present disclosure teaches a motor vehicle fluid line, wherein the fluid line has at least one fluid channel and a wall enclosing the fluid channel, wherein at least one thread-shaped or strand-shaped ice pressure compensation element made of a compressible material is arranged in the fluid channel and wherein the length I of the ice pressure compensation element is more than twice as large, preferably more than three times as large as the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element.

[0009] In the scope of the present disclosure, in particular a motor vehicle fluid line which is used in conjunction with an SCR system in motor vehicles for conducting an aqueous solution has special significance. In principle, the motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure can also be used for other fluid systems in motor vehicles, however. According to the present disclosure, the at least one ice pressure compensation element consists of a compressible material. The ice pressure compensation element is thus compressible and/or deformable and preferably reversibly compressible and/or deformable.

[0010] Length I of the ice pressure compensation element means, in the scope of the present disclosure, in particular the greatest extension of the ice pressure compensation element along its longitudinal axis, specifically in the uncompressed state. In this case, the length I relates to the stretched or elongated and in particular linearly stretched or elongated state, which preferably means in this case an unstretched or relaxed state of the compensation element in the longitudinal direction. Stretched or elongated state furthermore in particular means a state of the ice pressure compensation element in which the ice pressure compensation element is not arranged in a wavy or spiral manner or the like. Furthermore, diameter or largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element in the scope of the present disclosure in particular means the greatest extension of the ice pressure compensation element transverse to the longitudinal axis, specifically in the uncompressed state. According to one preferred embodiment, the ice pressure compensation element has a circular cross section in the uncompressed state and is accordingly cylindrically formed. The diameter or largest diameter dK of the ice

pressure compensation element is then the circle diameter. In principle, the ice pressure compensation element can also have a cross-sectional area of another form in the uncompressed state, for example, an oval or polygonal cross-sectional area. According to one particularly preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, the length I of the ice pressure compensation element is more than four times as large, in particular more than five times as large, and particularly preferably more than six times as large as the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element. It is also in the scope of the present disclosure that the length I of the ice pressure compensation element is substantially larger, for example, ten times or twenty times or fifty times larger, than the diameter or the largest diameter of the ice pressure compensation element.

[0011] One particularly preferred embodiment of the present disclosure is distinguished in that the ice pressure compensation element extends with at least the majority of its length I in the longitudinal direction of the fluid channel. The ice pressure element particularly preferably extends with at least 55% and very particularly preferably with at least 60% of its length I in the longitudinal direction of the fluid channel. Longitudinal direction of the fluid channel means in particular the direction which extends along the longitudinal axis L of the fluid line. It is advantageous for the part of the length I of the ice pressure compensation element extending in the longitudinal direction of the fluid channel to be arranged parallel or essentially parallel to the longitudinal direction of the fluid channel or the longitudinal axis L of the fluid line.

[0012] It is in the scope of the present disclosure that the ice pressure compensation element is arranged in the fluid channel in a wavy or essentially wavy and/or spiral or essentially spiral manner. It is possible that the at least one ice pressure compensation element is arranged freely floating in the fluid channel of the fluid line and, for example, is arranged in a regionally wavy manner and/or regionally spiral manner and/or regionally in parallel to the longitudinal axis L of the fluid line. Depending on the selection of the material of the ice pressure compensation element, it is possible that the ice pressure compensation element is flexible or substantially

flexible, and its arrangement in the fluid channel (for example, wavy, spiral, or linear) can change during the conduction of the fluid medium. In principle, the ice pressure compensation element can also be rigid or essentially rigid, however, and its arrangement or shape in the fluid channel during the conduction of the fluid medium is maintained or essentially maintained. A straight or linear design of the ice pressure compensation element without waves or spiral turns is then also possible.

[0013] One preferred embodiment of the present disclosure is characterized in that the at least one ice pressure compensation element extends over the entire length of the fluid line or substantially over the entire length of the fluid line. This embodiment is based on the finding that a particularly effective compensation of the ice pressure by compression of the ice pressure compensation element can then take place over the entire length of the fluid line. According to an alternative embodiment of the present disclosure, the ice pressure compensation element only extends regionally over the length of the fluid line. It is advantageous for multiple ice pressure compensation elements to then be arranged in the at least one fluid channel of the fluid line, and these ice pressure compensation elements to each particularly preferably extend regionally over the length of the fluid line. If multiple ice pressure compensation elements are arranged in the at least one fluid channel of the fluid line, these ice pressure compensation elements can be arranged regionally overlapping. However, it is also in principle in the scope of the present disclosure that upon arrangement of multiple ice pressure compensation elements in the at least one fluid channel of the fluid line, the ice pressure compensation elements do not overlap. It is possible in this embodiment variant that one compensation-element-free intermediate space is located or compensation-element-free intermediate spaces are located between the individual ice pressure compensation elements.

[0014] It is in the scope of the present disclosure that in the case of freezing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel, the at least one ice pressure compensation element is compressed, in particular as a result of the pressure increase and/or as a result of the ice pressure. It was already stated above that the at least one ice pressure compensation element is compressible according to the present disclosure and is

preferably reversibly compressible and/or deformable. Upon thawing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel, the at least one ice pressure compensation element can preferably reassume its original shape and/or at least substantially reassume its original shape. It is advisable for the at least one ice pressure compensation element to be compressed in particular in the radial direction or substantially in the radial direction of the fluid channel upon freezing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel. The ice pressure compensation element is preferably compressed such that the ratio of the volume of the ice pressure compensation element in the compressed state to the volume of the ice pressure compensation element in the uncompressed state is 0.1 to 0.9, preferably 0.2 to 0.8, and particularly preferably 0.3 to 0.7. The internal volume of the fluid channel available to the fluid guided in the fluid channel can advantageously be enlarged by compression of the at least one ice pressure compensation element, preferably by compression in the radial direction or substantially in the radial direction of the fluid channel. The compression of the ice pressure compensation element takes place in the scope of the present disclosure in particular as a result of the freezing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel and this compression causes as recommended an enlargement of the internal volume available to the fluid in the fluid channel. In this manner, a volume increase and/or pressure increase in the fluid line as a result of the freezing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel can be compensated for.

[0015] According to one particularly preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, the ratio of the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element in the uncompressed state to the diameter dF of the fluid channel is between 0.05 and 0.7, preferably between 0.1 and 0.6, particularly preferably between 0.1 and 0.5.

[0016] According to the present disclosure, the at least one ice pressure compensation element consists of a compressible material. One preferred embodiment, which has special significance in the scope of the present disclosure, is characterized in that the at least one ice pressure compensation element is formed based on a polymer plastic, in particular based on a thermoplastic elastomer. The at least one ice pressure compensation element is advantageously formed based on a synthetic rubber and particularly preferably based on an ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM). As a result of the preferred embodiment of the ice pressure compensation element from a polymer material or plastic, outstanding resistance of the ice pressure compensation element to the fluids guided in the fluid channel and in particular to SCR solutions and/or urea solutions is achieved. As a result, the ice pressure compensation element is resistant to corrosion or the like and is therefore particularly long-lived and functionally reliable.

[0017] The at least one ice pressure compensation element is preferably reversibly compressible. The selection of the above-mentioned polymer materials ensures in this case a particularly permanent and functionally-reliable reversible compressibility of the ice pressure compensation element. Moreover, it is also in the scope of the present disclosure that the at least one ice pressure compensation element is formed based on a foamed material, in particular based on a foamed polymer plastic and preferably based on a foamed thermoplastic elastomer. It is advisable for the at least one ice pressure compensation element to be formed based on a foamed synthetic rubber and very particularly preferably based on a foamed ethylene-propylene-diene rubber (EPDM). It is in the scope of the present disclosure that the at least one ice pressure compensation element has a porous structure. In this case, the pores are preferably pores which are closed below the outer surface of the ice pressure compensation element and/or within the ice pressure compensation element. The surface of the ice pressure compensation element is advantageously formed closed and/or is formed by a closed outer skin. An embodiment has particularly proven itself in which the ice pressure compensation element is formed based on a closed-cell, foamed EPDM plastic. Other materials and structures of the ice pressure compensation element also come into consideration in principle, wherein the ice pressure compensation element is compressible in any case.

[0018] According to one preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element in the uncompressed state is between 0.2 and 10 mm, preferably between 0.3 and 8 mm,

particularly preferably between 0.5 and 5 mm. It is advisable for the diameter dF of the fluid channel of the fluid line to be between 0.5 and 50 mm, preferably between 1 and 20 mm, particularly preferably between 2 and 15 mm, and in particular between 2 and 10 mm.

[0019] One recommended embodiment of the motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure is distinguished in that the fluid line is designed as a heatable fluid line. In the scope of the present disclosure, the heating of the motor vehicle fluid line can be performed, for example, by electrical heating means such as heating wires, planar heating means, or the like.

[0020] It is provided according to one preferred embodiment of the present disclosure that the at least one ice pressure compensation element is fixed at at least one end, preferably at a first end, on the wall of the fluid line. The second end of the ice pressure compensation element is advantageously arranged freely floating and/or unfixed in the fluid line or in the fluid channel. A thread-shaped or strand-shaped ice pressure compensation element is preferably fixed in this case at a first end on the wall of the fluid line and the second end of the ice pressure compensation element is then in particular arranged freely floating and/or unfixed in the fluid line or in the fluid channel. A simple fixation which is implementable with little effort of the ice pressure compensation element is thus enabled. Because of the at least one freely floating and/or unfixed end, the ice pressure compensation element can preferably assume various arrangements in the fluid channel of the fluid line or can orient itself in different ways. The fact that the second end of the ice pressure compensation element is arranged freely floating and/or unfixed furthermore has the advantage that the ice pressure compensation element adapts itself to a certain extent to the flow of the fluid and therefore hardly opposes this flow with flow resistance. However, it is also possible in principle that both ends or all ends of the ice pressure compensation element are fixed on the wall of the fluid line.

[0021] It is in the scope of the present disclosure that the fluid line is connected to at least one assembly, preferably a tank and/or a pump.

[0022] To solve the technical problem, the present disclosure furthermore teaches a fluid connector for connecting motor vehicle fluid lines, wherein the fluid connector has at least one fluid channel and wherein at least one thread-shaped or strand-shaped ice pressure compensation element made of a compressible material is arranged in the at least one fluid channel of the fluid connector and wherein the length I of the ice pressure compensation element is more than twice as large, preferably more than three times as large as the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element.

[0023] The connector advantageously has at least two connection ends for the connection of fluid lines. In principle, however, the connector can also have more than two connection ends and accordingly can connect more than two fluid lines to one another, for example, three fluid lines. A fluid medium can preferably flow through the connector between its connection ends. A fluid connector which is used in conjunction with an SCR system in motor vehicles for conducting an aqueous urea solution has special significance in particular in the scope of the present disclosure. In principle, however, the fluid connector according to the present disclosure can also be used for other fluid systems in motor vehicles. According to the present disclosure, at least one thread-shaped or strand-shaped ice pressure compensation element made of a compressible material is arranged in the at least one fluid channel of the flow connector. It is in the scope of the present disclosure that this ice pressure compensation element has the above-explained features, for example, with respect to its material and/or dimensions.

[0024] According to one particularly preferred embodiment, the at least one ice pressure compensation element extends out of a fluid line connected to the fluid connector - in particular a fluid line having the above-described features - into the fluid channel of the fluid connector. The at least one ice pressure compensation element is then advantageously fixed at one end on the wall of the fluid line and extends with its at least one unfixed and/or freely floating end in the fluid channel of the fluid connector. An assembly made of fluid line and fluid connector having at least one ice pressure compensation element results. Both the fluid connector and also the fluid line connected to the fluid connector are then protected by the at least one ice pressure compensation element from damage or destruction as a result of freezing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel.

[0025] It is also in the scope of the present disclosure that at least one separate ice pressure compensation element is arranged in the fluid channel of the fluid connector. The at least one separate ice pressure compensation element of the fluid connector advantageously extends in at least one fluid line connected to the fluid connector.

[0026] It is moreover also in the scope of the present disclosure that at least one separate ice pressure compensation element is arranged in the fluid channel of the fluid connector, which preferably extends in at least one fluid line connected to the flow connector and furthermore at least one ice pressure compensation element extends out of a fluid line connected to the fluid connector into the fluid channel of the fluid connector. In such an embodiment, it is possible that the ice pressure compensation elements regionally overlap.

[0027] According to a particularly recommended embodiment of the present disclosure, it is provided that the at least one separate ice pressure compensation element is fixed at at least one end, preferably at one end, on the fluid connector. In this manner, a discharge of the ice pressure compensation element by the fluid flow out of the flow connector is prevented. At least the second end of the ice pressure compensation element is advantageously arranged freely floating and/or unfixed. At least the second end of the separate ice pressure compensation element is preferably arranged freely floating and/or unfixed in the fluid channel of the fluid connector. However, it is also in the scope of the present disclosure that the unfixed and/or freely floating end of the separate ice pressure compensation element is arranged in the fluid channel of a fluid line connected to the fluid connector. The fact that at least one end, preferably one end of the ice pressure compensation element is fixed and preferably at least the second end of the ice pressure compensation element is arranged freely floating and/or unfixed has the advantage that the ice pressure compensation element can be fixed with little effort but nonetheless functionally

reliably and moreover opposes the fluid flow with the least possible flow resistance. However, it is also in principle in the scope of the present disclosure that both ends or all ends of the ice pressure compensation element are fixed on the fluid connector.

[0028] One preferred embodiment of the present disclosure is characterized in that the fluid connector is designed as a heatable fluid connector. In the scope of the present disclosure, the heating of the fluid connector can be performed, for example, by electrical heating means, such as heating wires, planar heating means, or the like.

[0029] According to one recommended embodiment of the present disclosure, the fluid connector can be a so-called quick connector. Quick connector means in particular that at least one connection end of the fluid connector is designed as part of a detachable catch connection. Moreover, it is in the scope of the present disclosure that fluid lines can be connected to fluid lines or a fluid line can be connected to an assembly using the fluid connector. Such an assembly can be, for example, a tank and/or a pump.

[0030] The present disclosure is based on the finding that using the motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure or using the fluid connector according to the present disclosure, a pressure increase and/or volume expansion of a freezing fluid medium can be compensated for in an effective and functionally-reliable manner by the ice pressure compensation element according to the present disclosure. Damage to the fluid lines or the fluid connector or other parts of the fluid system upon freezing of the fluid can be quasi-precluded. It is to be noted that the motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure or the fluid connector according to the present disclosure is distinguished in comparison to the known measures to compensate for a pressure increase as a result of a freezing fluid by way of particularly high functional reliability with extremely low cost expenditure at the same time. In particular, complex structural modifications or measures on the fluid lines and/or on the fluid connectors can be avoided with the motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure or the fluid connector according to the present disclosure, respectively. It is to be emphasized that the motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure or the fluid connector according to the present disclosure may be particularly effectively used in particular in SCR systems using aqueous urea solutions. A further advantage of the measures according to the present disclosure for ice pressure compensation is that by way of the thread-shaped or strand-shaped ice pressure compensation element, a pressure increase and/or volume increase as a result of a freezing fluid is locally compensated in each case over a broad region of the fluid line or the fluid connector. A significant difference therefore exists from the compensation elements known from practice, which are plugged onto the fluid lines or fluid connectors. The measures according to the present disclosure manage without complex mutually displacing components for enlarging the volume available to the fluid.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0031] The present disclosure will be explained in greater detail hereafter on the basis of a drawing, which merely illustrates an exemplary embodiment. In the schematic figures:

[0032] Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a motor vehicle fluid line according to the present disclosure,

[0033] Figure 2 shows a section A-A through the subject matter according to Figure 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0034] The figures show a motor vehicle fluid line, wherein the fluid line 1 has at least one fluid channel 2 and a wall 3 enclosing the fluid channel 2. A fluid medium, which is not shown in greater detail, is conducted through the fluid line 1 or through the fluid channel 2 of the fluid line 1. Preferably and in the exemplary embodiment, this is an aqueous urea solution in this case and the illustrated fluid line 1 is used advantageously and in the exemplary embodiment in the framework of an SCR system for a motor vehicle. According to the present disclosure, at least one thread-shaped or strand-shaped ice pressure compensation element 4 made of a compressible material is arranged in the fluid channel 2. In the exemplary embodiment according to Figure 1 , the ice pressure compensation element 4 is shown in the uncompressed state and has a circular cross section. The illustrated ice pressure compensation element 4 extends with the majority of its length I in the longitudinal direction of the fluid channel 2. Length I of the ice pressure compensation element means in particular the greatest extension of the ice pressure compensation element along its longitudinal axis, specifically in the stretched-out or elongated, linear state. In Figure 1 , the ice pressure compensation element 4 is arranged in a wavy or approximately wavy form in the fluid channel 2 of the fluid line 1 . According to the present disclosure, the length I of the ice pressure compensation element is more than twice as large, preferably more than three times as large as the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element 4 is. In the exemplary embodiment according to Figure 1 , the length I of the ice pressure compensation element 4 may be approximately 30 to 50 times as large as the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element 4 is. As recommended and in the exemplary embodiment, the part of the length I of the ice pressure compensation element 4 extending in the longitudinal direction is arranged parallel or essentially parallel to the longitudinal axis of the fluid channel 2 or to the longitudinal axis L of the fluid line 1 . Preferably and in the exemplary embodiment, the ratio of the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element 4 to the diameter dF of the fluid channel is between 0.05 and 0.7. In the exemplary embodiment according to the figures, the ratio of the diameter or the largest diameter dK of the ice pressure compensation element 4 to the diameter dF of the fluid channel 2 may be approximately 0.1 . This can be seen in particular in Figure 2.

[0035] The ice pressure compensation element 4 consists according to the present disclosure of a compressible material. Preferably and in the exemplary embodiment, the ice pressure compensation element 4 is formed based on a plastic foam made of EPDM. The surface of the ice pressure compensation element 4 is advantageously formed closed or is formed by a closed outer skin in this case. Preferably and in the exemplary embodiment, the ice pressure compensation element 4 is compressed in particular in the radial direction or essentially in the radial direction of the fluid channel 2 as a result of the pressure increase and/or the ice pressure upon freezing of the fluid guided in the fluid channel 2. In this manner, the pressure increase inside the fluid line 1 is compensated for and at the same time the internal volume of the fluid channel 2 available to the fluid is enlarged. As a result of the compensation according to the present disclosure, damage to the motor vehicle fluid line can be avoided effectively and functionally-reliably.