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1. (WO2018098574) FIRST-FILL THERMOSTATIC VALVE ELEMENT
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TITLE: FIRST-FILL THERMOSTATIC VALVE ELEMENT

This application claims priority from British application GB-1620246.7, filed 29 November 2016 the whole of which is incorporated in this application.

BACKGROUND

Fluid flow lines forming engine and transmission components are designed to be opened and closed and redirected upon certain predetermined operating conditions. In many cases these lines are thermally controlled and operate either precipitously or gradually upon the increase or decrease of the thermal pressure conditions within the engine and/or transmission system (herein the "engine system" as by a valving mechanism. As engine and/or transmission system operational parameters are very sensitive, operation of the fluid flow line are not able to be effectively filled and tested during the manufacturing and assembly process.

Thermal or pressure bypass valves are normally closed or in a static condition at ambient temperatures or pressures during the manufacturing and assembly process as the engine and/or transmission system system is idle. Normally the valve is first opened for heated fluid flow as the engine system reaches operating temperature in use, long after it has left the factory floor.

An inability to make an effective fill of the fluid flow lines during manufacturing and assembly slows the process and limits the ease of inexpensive integrity testing at that stage. This in turn increases the risk of costly and damaging repairs at a later date or during actual use of the engine system.

The engine and/or transmission system business is extremely sensitive to the smallest changes in parts or assembly procedures.

THE INVENTION

The invention provides a thermostat valve assembly for controlling fluid flow in an internal combustion engine system including:

· a relatively movable valve and valve seat providing an unobstructed valve passageway between a valve-open and a valve-closed position corresponding to a minimum operating temperature and a maximum operating temperature,

• a valve drive motor assembly centrally located within the valve seat structured to reversibly move the valve seat in relation to the valve between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions responsive to a range of engine operating temperatures including:

• a drive motor with a reversible valve drive stroke operable over said range of operating temperatures, and,

• a drive stroke extension structured to maintain the unobstructed valve passageway between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions, and, a temporary extension of the drive stroke during only the first cycle of engine operating temperature up towards or within said range of operating temperatures.

The invention also provides a valve assembly including an axial valve stem between the valve and the linear drive motor with a drive stroke extension in the valve stem axial to the valve assembly. The valve drive motor assembly stroke drives the valve stem and the linear motor against a reversible resistance pressure provided by axial springs.

Further, the invention provides a valve assembly wherein the drive stroke extension ceases to maintain the temporary extension of the drive stroke upon the valve assembly first reaching a set engine operating temperature below a maximum operating temperature in said range and, preferably below the normal

operating temperature range of the engine system in use.

The invention also provides a valve assembly wherein said drive stroke extension is thermally responsive and changes its state upon reaching a set non-operating temperature and disappears from the drive stroke. The extension is a solid below the set temperature and becomes maleable or liquid at said set temperature and above.

The invention provides a valve assembly as claimed wherein the drive stroke extension is encapsulated into said valve drive motor assembly and temporarily extends the valve stem when it is solid.

Further, the invention provides a valve assembly wherein said drive stroke extension escapes its encapsulation upon the valve drive assembly reaching a set non-operating temperature into the valved fluid and, preferably dissolves permanently.

The method of the invention provides a method of testing a thermostat valve assembly for controlling fluid flow in an internal combustion engine and/or transmission system including providing:

• a relatively movable valve and valve seat with an unobstructed valve passageway between a valve-open and a valve-closed position corresponding to a minimum operating temperature and a maximum operating temperature,

• a valve drive motor assembly centrally located within the valve seat structured to reversibly move the valve seat in relation to the valve between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions responsive to a range of engine operating temperatures,

· a linear drive motor with a reversible valve drive stroke operable over said range of operating temperatures, and,

• a drive stroke extension structured to maintain the unobstructed valve 81 passageway between the valve-open and the valve-closed positions,

• a temporary extension of the drive stroke operative during only the first cycle of engine and/or transmission system operating temperature up

84 towards or within said range of operating temperatures, and,

• leak testing the valve assembly in place within engine and/or transmission system componentry during operation of the temporary extension of the

87 drive stroke and prior to engine operation.

The invention further provides an in-line valving element acting, preferably, axially along the line of valve action which changes its axial properties as the engine 90 and/or transmission system conditions change:

(a) from factory ambient (ie valve state 1 ), preferably open, on the factory floor,

93 (b) to operational (ie valve state 2), also preferably open, upon engine system operation in actual use, and,

(c) back to ambient (ie valve state 3), preferably closed, upon cessation of the 96 engine system cooling needs in use or after, and

(d) continued operation in conjunction with the engine system between valve states 2 and 3 on a demand basis.

99 Alternatively, the valve extension element may change state from solid to liquid at the engine and/or transmission system operating temperature and thereby irreversibly flow out of axial alignment with the line of valve action.

102 Preferably the valve extension element includes a material which is soluble, preferably readily soluble, in the typical fluid used in the line when the engine and/or transmission system is operating and is encapsulated so as to be protected 105 from dissolution.

Most preferably, the valve of the invention is an axially-in-line-controlled annular- passage thermostat (thermostatically controlled valve) wherein the axially 108 controlled valve stem assembly is axially located in relation to the valve annular passageway.

Further, the first fill valve element of the invention uses a microcrystalline wax 111 encapsulated in an axial valve poppet which holds the inline combination of wax motor and inline valve in an extended position (the Open' position of valve state

1 ) until it 1 st reaches operating temperatures whereupon it commences to melt 114 into a pliable or liquid form and then permanently dissolves in the engine fluid traveling in the line or moves out of the line of force (axial) of the valve.

Further, the wax motor plunger and the poppet are cylindrical and adapted for 117 sliding engagement with a cylindrical poppet receiver to restrain unmelted melting and melted wax within the poppet cavity for a period. When the actuator pin plunger approaches the bottom out condition against the poppet inline wall or 120 receiving surface the melting or melted wax has flowed out the axial alignment with the valve action between the poppet and the plunger or stem, or through a small hole in the poppet, or both.

123 In another aspect of the invention, the invention provides an improved control valve apparatus, for controlling the flow of liquid around a circuit in an engine and/or transmission system. The apparatus is illustrated as it relates to a

126 transmission-oil-cooler circuit for a vehicle, but the invention is applicable to liquid circulation circuits generally, especially those on vehicles, including the coolant (water) circulation circuit, the engine-oil cooler circuit, etc.

129 Such circuits have a requirement for thermal control of the flow. When an engine and/or transmission system is cold, it tends to release detrimental emissions. The vehicle is designed to minimize emissions at normal running temperatures, and

132 thus designers aim to shorten the warm-up period as much as possible.

The circuit usually includes a temperature-controlled valve often called a thermostat. During normal running, this valve routes the main-flow of hot liquid in

135 the circuit through a radiator or other heat dissipator. During warm-up the thermostat valve routes the liquid through a bypass sub-circuit, so that the liquid now does not pass through the heat dissipator. Once the liquid has warmed up,

138 the thermostat valve switches flow over to the cooler.

A complete circuit may include a full-flow circuit. When the liquid is up to its normal running temperature, the hot liquid flows around the full-flow circuit, 141 including a radiator or cooler. When the liquid is cold, i.e not yet warmed up, the cold liquid flows around the bypass circuit, avoiding the cooler.

In many circuit systems, the temperature-controlled valve apparatus is set to 144 perform two tasks. When the liquid is cold, the apparatus opens the bypass circuit and closes the full-flow circuit. When the liquid is hot the apparatus opens the full-flow circuit and closes the bypass circuit. During changeover between the two 147 circuits, there will be intermediate period during which both circuits are open.

In a simpler variant, the temperature-controlled valve thermostat opens/closes the full-flow circuit (which includes the radiator/cooler) in accordance with the 150 temperature of the liquid, but the bypass circuit is left open all the time. The variant is simpler mechanically, but the speed of response to changes, and the accuracy of control of the liquid temperature, is less sophisticated.

153 The present invention relates to the portion of the operation of the thermostat valve that opens and closes the full-flow circuit, and peripherally to the bypass circuit. The invention is described in detail in relation to the bypass-always-open- 156 variant, because that is mechanically simpler. However, the invention is intended for use in systems that provide open/close control of both the full-flow circuit and the bypass circuit, as well as in systems that have an always-open bypass.

159 During on-going normal use of the vehicle, the full-flow control valve-F is closed when the liquid is cold and fully open when the liquid is hot and must be

unrestricted. But the fact that the full-flow valve is closed when cold can make 162 it difficult to perform the initial act of filling the circuit and its components with (cold) liquid, on the vehicle, engine and/or transmission system production/assembly line or in repair, as the circuit must be filled, bled and leak-165 tested, often under pressure and the valve is cold-closed. At these times it is common practice either to heat the component or to provide a blocker which holds the full-flow valve-F cold-open, even though the liquid in the circuit is cold, to 168 enable filling the circuit components with cold liquid. The cold-open valve-F also enables operators to check for leaks and perform other tests.

The blocker must be removed after filling and leak checking are complete.

171 One type of blocker or spacer is of meltable or deformable material, whereby the spacer, when solid, keeps the full-flow control valve-F always open -- so long as the liquid remains cold as is shown in United States Patent 3, 114,965 issued in

174 1961 at item 86 and alternatively in United States Patent 5,452,852 issued in 1995, at Figures 9 through 12. The task performed by the spacer is over and done with before the liquid reaches its final hot temperature. The meltable spacer

177 effectively disappears from the liquid circuit after completing its as-designed function, and before the vehicle has a chance to release significant detrimental emissions, preferably by dissolving into the liquid itself.

180 In previous designs, the preferred spacer is shown in the form of an annulus, made of a meltable material. The annular spacer is interposed between the sealing face of the movable valve-member-F and the sealing face of the valve-seat-F. So long

183 as the spacer remains solid, holding the valve-F open, the liquid can pass into and around the full-flow circuit. When the vehicle is driven, and the liquid finally does become hot, now the annular spacer melts, and this allows the valve-F to revert to

186 its normal function.

Neither of the prior art solutions have been widely adopted to the knowledge of the present applicant as they are unworkable in a modern manufacturing facility.

189 One problem with the conventional annular spacer is that it is large and that it must have a complex and malleable shape in order to provide both an cold-open valve condition and a fluid-flow condition. Meltable structures such as shown in

192 the drawings are complex and expensive to produce, maintain, install and use and are prone to deformation, manufacturing error, all conditions which cannot occur in modern assembly-line work. Even if assembled reliably when the liquid

195 becomes hot, and the spacer starts to melt; it inevitably starts to melt a little faster unevenly, e.g on the north side than it does on the south side. This uneven melting adds to placement, alignment and deformation issues and can cause or

198 allow the valve-member-F to tilt, or otherwise to be misplaced, or to adopt an incorrect posture, relative to the valve-seat-F. Such action can cause the valve- member-F to become jammed in a tilted posture.

201 If that happens, the fact that the valve-member is misplaced is difficult to detect; indeed, the displacement might never be noticed during the life of the vehicle which would be operating outside of design parameters, including emission

204 standards.

The same concerns arise with respect to the valve in United States Patent . 3,114,965.

207 FIGURES

Figure 1 , 2 and 3 show a detailed view of the prior art as a poppet and valve extension in Fig1 , as a rounded valve stem extension in Fig 2, and perspective in 210 Fig 3.

Figures 4, 5 and 6 provide a detailed view of the preferred embodiment poppet and waxy extension element in 3 views corresponding to Figs 1 ,2 and 3.

213 Figure 7 is a cross-sectional view of a full-flow control valve apparatus which embodies the invention;

Figure 8 is a diagrammatic section of a simpler embodiment apparatus, and

216 includes a diagram of a typical circuit in which the apparatus can be used;

Figures 9 A,B,C,D,E, and F shown without the embodiment spacer show each of six stages in the operation of an embodiment apparatus, during normal warmed-up 219 running;

Figures 10 A,B,C,D,E, and F shows six stages in the operation of a similar apparatus, but now includes the preferred embodiment spacer to hold the valve 222 cold-open;

Figures 11 A,B, and C show three stages in the operation of another embodiment apparatus;

225 Figures 12 A,B, and C show three stages in the operation of another embodiment apparatus;

Figures 13 A,B, and C show three stages in the operation of another embodiment 228 apparatus;

Figure 1 shows another embodiment apparatus, ready for operation;

Figures 15 A and B show two stages in the operation of another embodiment 231 apparatus.

Fig 16A and 16B shows another embodiment with the spacer encapsulated within the drive motor assembly adjacent the valve stem Fig 16B includes the small 234 escape hole.

Figures 17, 18 and 19 are a plan view of a thermally responsive valve extension poppet including deformable vanes and cross-sections taken along line X-X in the 237 extension condition Figure 18 and as deformed, Figure 19.

Figures 20 and 21 are cross-sections of a thermally responsive valve extension poppet embodiment including a thermally deformable poppet cavity in the 240 extension condition Figure 18 and as deformed, Figure 19.

Figures 22 and 23 are cross-sections of a thermally responsive valve extension embodiment including a thermally deformable support ring on the valve stem in 243 the extension condition Figure 18 and as deformed, Figure 19, allowing the valve stem to enter the poppet cavity, and including a removable retaining pin.

. THE PRIOR ART

246 The prior art used on most engines and motors include variable fluid flow lines which are valved to open and close, whether completely or partially, based upon temperature and/or pressure conditions. In Figures 1 ,2 and 3 the valve is axially

249 aligned as at 1with a valve spring and a valve poppet 2 for in/out extension motion along the main axis 1 . The valve poppet is driven, most often by a wax motor with an extensible plunger, actuator pin or linear drive shaft, against an axially

252 aligned valve spring.

Figure 3 shows a pictorial perspective view of the prior art poppet.

Figures 1 and 2 show central cross-sections of the poppet 2 piston or actuator pin 255 (3) aligned along the valve axis of motion 1 .

The drive end of actuator pin 3 in Figures 1 and 2 is rounded to show a close fit within the interior cavity of the poppet along the side of the interior surface and

258 abutting against the receiving surface. On assembly the pin is mated into the receiving surface and the whole valve held in axial compression against the springs to facilitate assembly, ensure axial alignment and accommodate manufacturing

261 tolerances.

. PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Figure 7 includes a full wax motor valve support 5 aligned in the direction of valve 264 travel. The valve is retained axially within support 5 by a spring clip arrangement with sealing by a 1 st and a 2nd O-ring. Wax motor 2 is, preferably, temperature dependent and acts axially in extension against motor spring 4 and the valve spring 267 from a valve-closed position at ambient temperature to an extended valve-open position at an elevated temperature. The poppet closes the end of the valve spring and centers actuator pin 3 on axis within the valve spring.

270 As shown in the expanded view in Fig 5, drive shaft 12 includes an enlarged cylindrical drive end adapted for a sliding fit along the axis of valve motion within the top-hat shape of poppet 2. Assembly is facilitated as the top-hat poppet has

273 an exterior surface which may be self-aligning within the interior of the valve spring over its initial turns.

Figures 4, 5 and 6 show pictorial perspective and cross-section views respectively 276 of an embodiment of the poppet element of the invention. The poppet is shaped as a top-hat with a laterally extending circular alignment flange providing a spring surface and a monolithic cylindrical central portion with:

279 (a) an outer cylindrical wall acting to align the poppet with the valve spring and the main axis,

(b) an inner cylindrical wall acting to align the poppet with the piston or 282 actuator pin 3, and,

(c) a receiving surface spaced from the alignment flange along the main axis.

The drive shaft actuator pin 3 includes an enlarged diameter cylindrical piston 7 285 adapted for a sliding fit within the inner cylindrical wall 8 and for engagement with the receiving surface 5 and sealing engagement.

The poppet of Figure 4 includes a small amount of a waxy material within the 288 interior cavity. The waxy material is chosen to be sufficiently hard and resilient to deformation so as to consistently resist axial compression forces in the valve element at low and ambient temperatures and thereby to maintain the valve in an 291 initial (preferably open) condition separated from the flow line fluids. Upon assembly, the piston is driven into the poppet cavity at ambient temperatures, in the usual way, by axial compression of the springs. As the piston pin contacts the 294 encapsulated resilient waxy material 9 the valve element is driven at ambient

temperature from a valve-closed position towards a stable valve-open condition as pressure on the waxy material 9 is conveyed to the receiving surface 5 of the 297 poppet 2 and deformation of the waxy material is restrained or prevented.

Thus, upon manufacturing assembly the completed valve is in a stable condition with, preferably, the valve open. Fluid may be readily introduced at ambient 300 temperature, pressurized and the system bled and tested for deficiencies such as leaks.

Upon operation of the engine and/or transmission system in ordinary working 303 conditions the waxy material 9 of Figure 4 is such that it melts (preferably) or deforms at a temperature just above or below the nominal operating temperature of the wax motor. The melted waxy material is slowly squeezed out (leaking) 306 preferably between the pin and the poppet as at 10, or otherwise bled away through a small hole, allowing the pin drive surface to approach and ultimately act directly against the poppet receiving surface 5 while maintaining the valve motion 309 solely upon the main axis, all parts in alignment. The waxy materials may, alternatively, be bled away through a small hole in the poppet as at 1 1 .

Since the wax motor, the actuator pin and the poppet are fully immersed in the 312 line fluid the slowly leaking waxy material is absorbed or dissolved in to the line fluid where it remains in solution throughout all ambient temperature ranges.

Upon engine cooling any remaining waxy material not otherwise dissolved will 315 return to its hardened state and act as a bonding agent between the piston and the poppet.

Throughout, the valve components remain in compression by the action of the 318 springs.

Figure 4 shows the poppet of the invention 2 as slightly elongated in relation to the poppet of the prior art shown in Figure 3A. Due to the small amount of waxy 321 material which may be employed in the valve extension element of the invention, most preferably, the poppet of Figure 4A is of the same lateral dimensions as that of Figure 3A with the small axial extension required accommodated in the valve

324 springs well within existing manufacturing tolerances.

Figures 5 and 6 show a cross-sectional view of the valve element of the invention:

Figure 7, in valve state 1 , shows the valve upon final assembly at ambient 327 temperature. The waxy material is shown hardened so as to extend the spacing between the poppet and the actuator pin while in compression against the upper and lower valve springs. The valve is fixed in an open condition.

330 In valve states 2 and 3, shown in Figures 9 and 10 the valve after first operation of the engine at its nominal operating temperatures for a period of time. The waxy material has deformed and/or melted allowing spring compression and the wax

333 motor operation to drive the actuator pin (valve stem) more fully into the poppet and thus operate the valve and the engine normally for the duration.

Upon commencement of the melting or deformation process, the waxy material is 336 driven out of the poppet cavity or otherwise from between the actuator pin (valve stem) and the valve, from the axial line of valve movement at a rate determined by the supply of heat energy, the deformation characteristics of the waxy material 339 as it is heated and the axial spacing of the valve components. Preferably the waxy materials is provided in the limited spacing between the actuator pin and the interior surface of the poppet.

342 As the waxy material is driven from the cavity, the combination of spring pressure and wax motor actuation forces drive the actuator pin (valve stem) further into the cavity or along the axis of movement to ultimately impact upon a receiving

345 surface. Preferably the waxy material is fully soluble in the engine fluid and of such a small amount so as to cause no concern whatsoever regarding routine and long term engine operation.

348 In the following, a suffix "-F" indicates that the component is associated with the full-flow circuit. A suffix "-B" indicates that the component is associated with the bypass circuit.

351 In Figure 7, a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of the invention 20 includes a full-flow control-valve-F 21 . Figure 8 shows how the apparatus of Figure 7 is (typically) connected into an engine and/or transmission-oil cooler circulation

354 circuit (herein TOC) 23. Liquid from a heat-source 25 of the TOC enters the apparatus 20 through an inlet-port 27. The valve-F 21 distributes the flow of liquid from the heat-source 25 selectably (a) to a cooler/ heat-dissipator 29 of the TOC

357 23 (via an outlet-port 30 of the apparatus 20), or (b) back to the heat-source 23 (via a bypass-port 32 of the apparatus 20), or (c) both.

The apparatus 20 preferably includes a linear thermal motor 34, comprising a 360 motor-body 36 and a motor-piston or stem 38. The motor-body 36 serves as a movable valve-member-F 40 of the valve-F 21 , and the housing 43 is provided with a valve-seat-F 45. A valve-spring 47 biasses the movable valve-member-F 40 363 towards and against the valve-seat-F 45.

The Figures 9 comprise several views of the apparatus 20, showing the conditions within the apparatus at six different stages of operation. In Figures 9, the

366 meltable spacer of the invention has been omitted. The spacer in fact is absent throughout the service life of the vehicle. The spacer only needs to be present when the circuit is being first-filled with liquid, and it remains present after that

369 only until the liquid reaches the melt-temperature-MT degC of the material of the spacer for the first time. The spacer melts away the first time the liquid exceeds the melt-temperature-MT. The melt-temperature-MT is typically well above

372 ambient temperatures, and well below the normal warmed-up running temperature of the liquid in the circuit.

In Figure 9A, the liquid is cold (i.e at ambient temperature), which means that the 375 stem 38 of the thermal motor 34 is (almost) fully withdrawn, and the motor-length ML is at a minimum. Now, the valve-spring 47 is able to move the valve-member-F 40 into sealing contact with the valve-seat-F 45, and the valve-F 21 is closed, and 378 liquid present in the source-chamber 49 is prevented from passing through the valve-F 21 into the cooler-chamber 50. Instead, liquid in the source-chamber 49 flows into the bypass-chamber 52 and thence straight back into the heat-source 25 381 through the bypass-port 32 (i.e without being cooled).

The apparatus includes a stem-abutment-unit 54, which is functionally an element of the housing. The stem-abutment-unit 54 has a number of components, but its

384 function is to halt the advance of the protruding stem (as the liquid warms and the motor-length ML increases). The valve-F 21 opens when the protruding stem 38 makes contact with the opposed stem-abutment-unit 54, whereby further

387 protrusion of the stem 38 out of the motor-body 36 results in the body 36 moving downwards (in the drawing), against the valve-spring 47.

In Figure 9B, the liquid is now cool, having warmed enough for the advancing stem 390 38 to just take up the slack between the tip of the stem and the opposed stem- abutment-unit 54.

In Figure 9C, the liquid is now tepid, the movable valve-member-F 40 of the 393 motor-body 36 has separated from and moved clear of the valve-seat-F 45, whereby the full-flow valve-F 21 is open, and the (tepid) liquid can start to flow through the apparatus 20 from the inlet-port 27 to the outlet-port 30.

396 The apparatus 20 also includes a bypass valve-B 56. The housing 43 is formed with a valve-seat-B 60 of the bypass valve-B 56. The motor-body 36 serves also as the movable valve- member- B 61 of the bypass valve-B, in that the valve-member-B 61

399 (i.e of the motor-body 36) makes contact with the valve-seat-B 60, and thereby blocks liquid in the source-chamber 49 from passing into the bypass-chamber 52.

In Figure 9D, the liquid is now warm, and the stem has advanced so far that the 402 valve-member-B 61 on the motor-body 36 has just bottomed out against the valve- seat-B 60 formed in the housing 43, closing the bypass valve. Now, with the bypass closed, all the liquid entering the apparatus flows out through the outlet-port 30 405 to the cooler or heat-dissipator 29, and thence (having been cooled) back to the heat-source 25.

In Figure 9E, the liquid is now hot, and the stem 38 has advanced beyond its warm 408 condition of Figure 9D, at which the valve-B 56 was just closed. Now, the stem 38 starts to push against the stem-abutment-unit 54.

One function of the stem-abutment-unit 54 is to provide an over-travel capability, 411 whereby the stem 38 can continue to advance (as the liquid becomes hotter), without harming the thermal motor 34, nor any other component. The stem- abutment-unit 54 includes a top-hat-shaped poppet 63 and a relief-spring 65. The 414 relief-spring 65 presses the poppet 63 against a circlip 67 (or alternately a coined ridge or an O-ring), which is fixed in the housing 43. In Figure 9F, the liquid is now very hot, and the stem 38 has advanced to its maximum extent. The designers 417 must see to it that stem-abutment-unit 54, including the relief spring 65, allows for enough over-travel to ensure that the advancing stem 38 cannot bottom out against something solid such as the housing 43.

420 The bypass-valve-B 56 remains open while the temperature of the liquid goes through cold, cool, tepid, and closes when the liquid temperature reaches warm. The bypass-valve-B remains closed as the liquid moves on to hot and very-hot

423 temperatures.

The full-flow valve-F 21 is closed when the liquid is cold and cool, and cracks open when the liquid reaches its warm or tepid temperature. The full-flow valve-F then 426 remains open as the liquid gets hot, and is wide open at the warm temperature and hotter. Both valves are open when the liquid is in its tepid temperature range.

429 The temperatures at which the various operational changes take place are different in different applications of the invention. The actual temperature levels are determined by the designers in the particular case. That is to say, it is up to

432 the designers -given the requirements of the particular circulation system, to select just what is the temperature-CT degC at which 'cool' becomes 'tepid' (at which the designers want the full-flow valve-F to crack open), and just what is the

435 temperature-TW degC at which 'tepid' becomes 'warm' (at which the designers want the bypass valve-B to close).

When on the assembly line, it becomes time for the TOC to be filled with oil. At 438 this time, of course the oil is cold; that being so the full-flow valve-F will be closed. To facilitate filling, the full-flow valve-F should be prevented from closing, i.e should be held open, and the apparatus 20 includes a spacer 69, the 441 presence of which prevents the valve-F 21 from closing. In fact, preferably, the spacer 69 leaves the motor-body 36 parked midway between the two valve-seats 45,60 whereby both valve-F and valve-B remain open during filling, testing for 444 leaks, etc., as in Fig 7.

Figure 7 shows the situation on the assembly line, where the spacer 69 is encapsulated in place, preventing the full-flow valve-F 21 from closing. The 447 spacer 69 is held compressed between the tip of the stem 38 and the underside of the closed end 70 of the poppet 63. The spacer 69 is compressed by the force of the valve-springs 47.

450 In Figure 7, the oil is cold, as sensed by the thermal motor 34. Therefore, the motor length-ML is at or near its minimum. The valve-F is held open because the spacer axial length-SL is long enough to hold the valve-member-F 40 separated

453 from the valve-seat-F 45, when the liquid is cold and the thermal motor 34 is at its minimum length. At the same time, the spacer-length SL is not to long as to enable the valve-member-B to contact the valve-seat-B, thereby closing the

456 bypass-valve- B.

The oil being cold, preferably if the bypass remains open when cold, whereby the motor length-ML is minimum, the length-ML of the motor 34 (the motor 34

459 comprises the body 36 and the stem 38) is then short enough that the valve-spring would be able, absent the spacer 69, to hold the valve-F closed; the spacer 69 being present, now the overall axial length OL (being the sum of the motor axial

462 length-ML and the spacer axial length-SL, see Figure 7) is indeed long enough to hold the full-flow valve-F 21 open.

After the TOC has been filled with oil, and the leakage checks etc have been 465 carried out, the oil is still cold as any operation on the assembly line is unlikely to raise the temperature of the oil to the melt temperature-MT degC of the material of the spacer 69. The first time the TOC reaches its fully-warmed-up temperature 468 might happen later along the vehicle assembly and finishing process, but might not happen until the vehicle has been 1 st operated.

The Figures 10 illustrate what happens the first time the engine warms up and the 471 oil reaches the melt temperature-MT. In Figure 10A, the oil is warming, but the spacer 69 has not yet started to melt, and is still intact. Thus, in Figure 10A, valve-F and valve-B are both open.

474 In Figure 10B, the spacer 69 is starting to melt away. The now-liquid material of the spacer leaks out of the cylindrical cavity 72 inside the poppet 63, through the clearance between the cylindrical end 74 of the stem 38 and the cavity 72, or

477 preferably, partially or completely through a small hole in the poppet 63. The designers see to it that the clearance is large enough to enable such leakage. In Figure 10B, since the oil is now warming up, the stem 38 has now extended a

480 certain distance out from the motor-body 34. Thus, as the spacer 69 melts, the spacer axial length-SL shrinks, while the motor axial length-ML grows. Thus the overall axial length-OL might stay the same, or might increase, or might decrease,

483 during the period between the spacer size starting to shrink and finally disappearing out of the poppet 63. The designers should engineer the temperature characteristics of the spacer 69 material and of the thermal motor 34 so as to

486 complement each other during this period.

It will be understood that, for at least some of the period when the spacer 69 is melting away, the full-flow valve-F is wide open. Therefore, the fluid may be 489 circulated through the heat-dissipater or cooler 29.

Absent the spacer, only after the fluid has warmed up does the apparatus open the full-flow valve-F. The first time the circuit is put into operation, the spacer is still 492 present, and the cold liquid therefore passes through the full-flow circuit-F, i.e through the cooler 29, right from the start. Still, the liquid must warm to the melt temperature-MT degC before the spacer can melt and disappear. The time it takes

495 for the oil to reach the temperature-MT (even though the temperature-MT might be lower than the normal warmed-up running temperature) is considerably longer than the normal (spacer-gone) warm-up period. Again, once the spacer has

498 disappeared the warm-up times from then on will be normal (i.e fast), because normally the valve-F is closed during warm-up.

In Figure 10C, the spacer having disappeared, and valve-F and valve-B are both 501 open, the fluid or oil is within its 'tepid' temperature range. In Figure 10D, the fluid is warm, the spacer is gone, the valve-F is wide open, and the stem 38 has extended just far enough out of the body for the bypass valve-B to be on the point 504 of closing. From then on (Figure 10E), as the temperature rises further, the lengthening thermal motor 34 now lifts the poppet 63 off the circlip 67, and the stem 38 extends further by compressing the relief-spring 65.

507 In the following:

- 'cool' , 'warm', are particular temperature levels;

- 'cold', 'tepid', 'hot', are temperature ranges.

510 No-spacer operations -- open/closed valved bypass, Figure 9:

- below 'cool' (= 'cold' range), valve-F is closed, valve-B is open;

- when liquid reaches 'cool' level -- valve-F starts to open, valve-B is open;

513 - between 'cool' and 'warm' (= 'tepid' range), both valves are open;

- when liquid reaches 'warm' level -- valve-F remains open, valve-B closes;

- above 'warm' (= hot range), valve-F is open, valve-B is closed.

516 No-spacer operations -- always-open bypass:

- below 'cool' (= 'cold' range), valve-F is closed;

- when liquid reaches cool level, valve-F starts to open;

519 - above 'cool' (= 'tepid' and 'hot' ranges) valve-F remains open.

Actual levels of temperature that correspond to the above designations, in the particular apparatus and circuit, can be readily determined, below the 'cool' level 522 of temperature, the bypass valve-B does not close.

First-time-after-fill operation -- open/closed valved bypass, Figure 10:

- liquid in the 'cold' range = below 'cool' = both valves open;

525 - liquid in the 'tepid' range = between 'cool' and 'warm' = both valves open;

- liquid in the 'hot' range = warm and above= valve-F open, valve-B closed;

528 - after the spacer is gone, the two valves open/close normally as dictated by the liquid temperature.

First-time-after-fill operation -- always-open bypass:

531 - the valve-F remains open so long as the spacer remains intact;

- after the spacer is gone, valve-F opens/closes normally in response to liquid temperature.

534 Preferably, the melt-temperature-MT degC of the material of the meltable spacer 69 at cool' point continues in tepid and is within the 'tepid' range, whereby the spacer starts to melt at a liquid temperature that is below 'warm' . The bypass

537 valve-B preferably should not close while the spacer is still present. Ideally, the the spacer disappears before the bypass valve-B closes.

The melt-temperature-MT degC is too low if there is a chance that the spacer were 540 to disappear, or even just start to melt, at or close to temperatures within the ambient range. The melt-temperature-MT degC is too high if, by the time the spacer disappears, the liquid is too hot to allow the full-flow valve-F to close.

543 The Figures 1 1 show a simplified version of the apparatus, in which the bypass is always open. When the full-flow valve-F is open, a major fraction of the fluid/oil flow preferentially goes around the full-flow circuit, through the cooler 29,

546 because the cross-sectional area of the bypass port 32 in Figures 1 1 is restricted, comparatively, as shown.

In Figure 1 1 A, the spacer 69 is in place and intact. The circuits have been filled 549 and the appropriate assembly-line tests and checks have been performed. Now, the vehicle awaits the first time the fluid/oil warms up to the melt-temperature- MT degC, whereupon the spacer will melt and disappear, from the operation of 552 the valve and preferably by dissolving into the fluid/oil, and the apparatus 20 can perform its task of ensuring rapid warm-up.

As the fluid/oil warms up, the stem 38 grows longer, while the spacer melts and 555 becomes operationally shorter, even if not dissolved or fully dissolved. The sum of the two lengths might increase, might decrease, or might stay the same. It is preferred that the sum should decrease, so that the valve-F closes, or almost 558 closes, and thereby reduces the fraction of the flow passing through the cooler 29 at this time, i .e prior to the spacer melting away or disappearing from the operation of the valve.

561 Once the spacer 69 has disappeared, now the valve-F is able to open and close as dictated by the liquid temperature. There being no bypass valve-B in Figure 1 1 , and therefore no need for a stem-abutment-unit, with its poppet, circlip, and

564 relief spring 65, the container for the spacer is now provided as a cylindrical opening 72 in the housing 43, rather than in the poppet. The open end of the container is plugged by the cylindrical end 74 of the stem 38, thereby constraining

567 the spacer from moving relative to the cavity 72. The end 74 is a loose fit inside the cavity 7, to enable the melting material of the spacer to escape or through the small hole 1 1 .

570 In Figure 11 B, the spacer has disappeared. The liquid has warmed enough that the valve-F is open, whereby the liquid is circulating though the circuit of the cooler 29. At the same time, a comparative trickle of flow continues to circulate around

573 the bypass circuit.

In Figure 11 C, the fluid/liquid/oil in the apparatus and circuits is now cold, awaiting the next time the vehicle will be used. During warm-up, the cooler

576 circuit is closed, and all the flow goes through the bypass circuit, as required in order to ensure a rapid warm-up. Once the liquid has warmed up, the valve-F opens normally. The apparatus continues to perform in that manner for the rest of

579 its service life.

If the circulation circuits of the engine and/or transmission oil cooler (or of other circulation circuits to which the present technology has been applied) were to 582 require servicing in which the liquid is drained out of the system, the old apparatus 20 should be replaced with a new one, where the new apparatus includes a new spacer. This will facilitate the after-service re-filling of the circuits.

585 The Figures 12 show an alternative where the valve-member-F is formed on a component other than the body 36 of the thermal motor 34. The meltable spacer 69 is contained in the cylindrical cavity 72 of the component 74. In Figure 12A,

588 the spacer 69 is solid and intact, and holds the valve-V 21 open. In Figure 12B, the spacer has gone. The valve-V is closed, and the apparatus is ready to function normally. In Figure 12C, the liquid is hot, and the lengthening stem compresses

591 the valve-spring 47 (no relief-spring 65 is needed when the bypass is kept open.)

In the Figures 13, the apparatus again includes the valve member component 74, but now the spacer 78 is located underneath the motor body 36. The spacer is 594 located within the cylindrical cavity 72. The motor body 36 itself plugs the open end of the cavity 72, and the melting material of the spacer 69 can escape around the loose clearance fit of the body 36 in the cavity 72.

597 In Figure 14, the puck-shaped spacer 78 is replaced with a spacer of narrower

cylindrical configuration, similar to the previous spacers. A narrow extension 80 of the motor body serves to plug the open cylinder when the spacer is in place.

600 In the Figures 15, again the valve member-F 40 is formed on the separate component 81 , and a bypass valve-B has again been included. The bypass valve member-B 61 is formed on the opposite end of the component 81 from the full- 603 flow valve member-F 40. In the Figures 15, the spacer 69 was located (in the previously disclosed manner) in the cavity of the component 74, but the spacer has disappeared before the scene depicted in Figure 15B as in Fig 15A. The spacer 69

606 held the valve-F open (in fact, held both valves open) with the liquid cold, for filling and leak-testing purposes. But now, in Figure 15B, the oil is once more cold, whereby the bypass valve-B 56 is open and the full-flow valve-F 21 is closed.

609 In Figure 15B, the oil is at the 'warm' temperature, and the stem 38 has extended until the bypass-valve- B has just closed. The full-flow-valve-F is wide open. In Figure 15C, the oil is hot; the stem 38 is over-extended, and the relief spring 65

612 has deflected to accommodate the excess travel.

The Figures 16 show variants in which the spacer 69 of meltable material is located inside the motor-body of the thermal motor. In Figure 16A, the stem is a loose fit

615 in the cylindrical cavity, and the melted material can leak out of the cavity through the clearance between the stem and the cylinder. In Figure 16B, the stem is a tight fit in the cavity, such that the leakage would be inhibited. That being

618 so, a hole is provided in the side of the cylinder to allow the melted material to escape.

The meltable-spacer 69 is contained within a container, preferably a cylindrical 621 cavity. In Figure 7, for example, the container is formed by the top-hat-shaped poppet, which constitutes a cylinder having one open end. The open end of the cylinder is plugged, after the spacer has been inserted, by the stem of the thermal 624 motor. When the material of the spacer melts, the now-liquid material leaks away through the loose clearance between the cavity and the stem of the thermal motor and/or through the small hole 11 . The spacer having disappeared, the tip of the 627 stem is now free to engage the inside-end of the closed-ended cylinder formed by the top-hat. Similar cylindrical cavities and holes are provided in the other embodiments.

630 In fact, the cylindrical cavities, and the loose fit of the associated stem, serves a dual purpose. First, the stem serves as the plug for holding the spacer in the cavity. The valve-spring-F acts on the stem of the thermal motor to hold the

633 spacer compressed between the tip of the stem and the underside of the closed end of the cavity. Thus, the spacer is very well encapsulated contained in the apparatus, and basically cannot tip or otherwise become displaced, as is the motor

636 stem.

Second, The valve-member should be free to 'settle' against the associated valve- seat, in order for the valve to seal properly. If the valve-member were too tightly

639 located, mechanically, in the housing, or in the cavity, any slight errors of posture and attitude of the valve-member might cause the valve not to close properly. The valve-member should be, in effect, free to 'float', to a sufficient extent as to

642 enable the valve-member to settle into conformance with the valve-seat, when the valve is closed -- particularly when the valve-member is almost touching the valve- seat. Thus, the engagement of the stem within the cavity should be tight and

645 loose together: tight enough to ensure the thermal motor cannot tip and become displaced, yet loose enough to allow the liquid material of the melted spacer to escape from the cavity, and loose enough to ensure good conformance of the valve

648 member to the valve seat.

The spacer-length SL of the spacer is measured in the direction of travel of the motor-stem relative to the motor-body. This axial length SL mm of the spacer

651 should be long enough that -- the fluid/oil/liquid being cold -- the valve-member-F is held well clear of the valve-seat-F. Also, the length SL should be such that both valves, i.e the full-flow valve-F and the bypass valve-B, are both held open when

654 preparing to fill the circuits and components (including the present apparatus).

The spacer should not be so long, though, that the motor-body would or might become jammed against its abutment, during the filling operation.

657 FURTHER EMBODIMENTS

The deformable poppet embodiment shown in Figures 17, 18 and 19 includes a top hat shaped poppet 100 which includes a plurality of axially aligned internal radial

660 vanes 102 extending into the poppet cavity. Below the set temperature of deformation valve stem 106 and enlarged end 104 extend axially towards the vanes 102 as shown in Figure 18. Preferably spacing E-E is zero so that surface 1 12 rests

663 on the plurality of vane ends 103 prior to engine system first use. Upon reaching the set temperature, preferably below the operating range, vanes 102 soften and thermally deform so as to no longer support the axial loading of the valve stem

666 106. Vane deformation continues as at 1 10 in Figure 19 allowing the valve extension to disappear from the line of action of the valve assembly with surface 1 12 contacting and driving against poppet interior surface 108 and, preferably,

669 slidingly confine valve stem enlarged end 104 within the poppet cavity as shown in Figure 19.

Figures 20 and 21 show cross-sections of a further embodiment of a thermally 672 deformable poppet as if Figure 17, 18 and 18. In Figure 20, the surface 108 width

F-F is narrower than the opening distance F-F. Valve stem surface 112 is supported on poppet 1 10, Figure 20, against valve spring pressures and maintains 675 the valve in a preferably open condition. Upon the first temperature rise to the set deformation temperature poppet dimension irreversibly increases from A-A to a larger dimension B-S so that distance F-F becomes equal to the diameter of 678 enlarged end 104, and, preferably, approximately equal to dimension G-G in

Figures 20 and 21 . Thus, valve spring pressure along line 1 drives valve stem 106 into the poppet cavity and the valve extension disappears.

681 Figure 22 and 23 show cross-sections of a further thermally deformable valve extension in extended, Figure 22, and deformed non-extending condition, Figure 23. Enlarged valve stem end 104 includes a thermally deformable ring 126

684 laterally extending its pre-deformation diameter to C-C sited within an annular ring groove 128 in the valve stem 104. Valve assembly axial pressure 1 drives ring 126 against poppet surface 120 to remain in extension. Upon temperature rising 687 to the set deformation temperature, ring 126 irreversibly radially contracts along line 125-130 into grove 128 thereby reducing extension diameter C-C to the poppet internal diameter D-D. Upon this deformation the valve extension of Figure 22

690 disappears from the axial line of action of the valve assembly.

Additionally, valve stem 106 may be axially additionally restrained temporarily by a manually removable pin 132 across poppet 122 which assists in maintaining the 693 valve extension in place during the entire pre-engine-operation process, including testing and evaluation. Once the testing is complete the parts may be partially disassembled and the pin removed.

696 The scope of the present disclosure is by way of example rather than by way of limitation, and the subject disclosure does not preclude inclusion of such modifications, variations, and/or additions to the present subject matter as would

699 be readily apparent to he person skilled in the art.