(19)
(11)EP 1 763 890 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
21.09.2016 Bulletin 2016/38

(21)Application number: 05745162.7

(22)Date of filing:  07.06.2005
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01J 35/18(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/IB2005/051859
(87)International publication number:
WO 2006/003533 (12.01.2006 Gazette  2006/02)

(54)

X-RAY TUBE APPARATUS WITH COOLING SYSTEM

RÖNTGENRÖHRENVORRICHTUNG MIT KÜHLSYSTEM

DISPOSITIF DE TUBES A RAYONS X AVEC SYSTEME DE REFROIDISSEMENT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 30.06.2004 US 584205 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
21.03.2007 Bulletin 2007/12

(73)Proprietor: Koninklijke Philips N.V.
5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)

(72)Inventors:
  • LU, Qing, K.
    Aurora, IL 60504 (US)
  • MA, Xiaopo
    Aurora, IL 60504 (US)
  • KRAFT, Kevin, C.
    Aurora, IL 60504 (US)

(74)Representative: Steffen, Thomas et al
Philips Intellectual Property & Standards High Tech Campus 5
5656 AE Eindhoven
5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A- 0 491 471
EP-A- 1 225 793
WO-A-03/065772
DE-B- 1 059 117
JP-A- H07 262 943
US-A- 2 480 198
US-A1- 2004 114 724
US-B1- 6 438 208
EP-A- 1 164 822
WO-A-02/27751
DE-A1- 10 212 934
DE-C- 732 038
JP-A- 2004 152 680
US-A- 5 384 820
US-B1- 6 430 263
US-B1- 6 463 123
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to an X-ray tube insert and to an X-ray tube apparatus with cooling system.

    [0002] X-ray tubes are generally comprised of an outer housing and an insert. The insert typically includes the components necessary to produce X-rays. When X-ray tubes need to be replaced, ordinarily only the insert is replaced by removing an installed insert with components that have failed and placing a new insert into the original housing.

    [0003] When in use, X-ray tubes produce great amounts of heat that should be eliminated. Heat is a substantial contributor to, or direct cause of, the failure of X-ray tube insert components. Among the components susceptible to failure are those comprising, and in the vicinity of, the insert window.

    [0004] Current ways of eliminating such heat include the use of a coolant that is substantially or completely transparent to X-rays. This coolant is usually a liquid or other suitable fluid. Commonly, the coolant is pumped into the tube housing at a first end to fill the housing with coolant. This results in the insert being immersed in, or surrounded by, the coolant in the housing. The coolant then absorbs heat generated by the X-ray tube or other insert components. Heated coolant is then removed from the housing at a second end and may be circulated through a heat exchanger to reduce the temperature of the coolant. After the temperature of the heated coolant is reduced, the coolant is then pumped back into the housing at the first end, forming a closed, recirculating system.

    [0005] In WO03/065772 the X-ray tube insert comprises a nozzle array to direct coolant towards and across on outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (cf. Fig.2, 3). In US6430263B the X-ray tube insert comprises a cold plate (40) disposed on the outer side of the X-ray tube insert window, the cold plate having a coolant inlet (46) and outlet (48) (cf. Fig.2,3). US6438208 and EP0491471 discloses substantially the same as US6430263B. In DE1059117 the X-ray tube insert comprises a nozzle (6) to direct coolant towards and across on outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (cf. Fig.1, 2). In DE10212934 the X-ray tube insert comprises nozzles (11, 12, 13) to direct coolant towards and across on outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (cf. Fig.1, 2). In JP2004152680 the X-ray tube insert comprises a nozzle (90) to direct coolant towards and across on outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (cf. Fig.1, 3-5). In JP07262943 the X-ray tube insert comprises nozzles (31e, 31f, 31d) to direct coolant towards and across on outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (cf. Fig.12, 13, 8, 10, 11, 15). In US20040114724 the X-ray tube insert comprises nozzles (154, 166) to direct coolant towards and across on outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (cf. Fig.5, 6).

    [0006] According to the present invention there is provided an x-ray tube insert according to present claim 1 and an x-ray tube apparatus with cooling system according to present claim 4. Preferred features are specified in dependent claims 2, 3 and 5.

    FIG. 1 is a system diagram of an X-ray tube insert window cooling system.

    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a flow diverting unit.

    FIG. 3 is a diagram of an X-ray tube insert with a flow director attached.

    FIG. 4A is a view of the underside of a first configuration of a flow director.

    FIG. 4B is a view of the top of a first configuration of a flow director.

    FIG. 5 is a view of the top of a second configuration of a flow director.

    FIG. 6A is a view of the top of a configuration of a flow director not forming part of the present invention

    FIG. 6B is a view of the bottom of a configuration of a flow director not forming part of the present invention



    [0007] FIG. 1 depicts an X-ray tube cooling system 10. The cooling system 10 includes an X-ray tube housing 12. The housing 12 contains an X-ray tube insert 14 and coolant 16. An ingress coolant line 18 carries coolant 16 to a flow diverting unit 20. The flow diverting unit 20 is attached to the housing 12 and provides an ingress region for coolant to enter and fill the interior of the housing 12.

    [0008] The flow diverting unit 20 is configured to divert some coolant 16 to a coolant diversion line 22 while allowing an undiverted portion of the coolant 16 to enter the interior of the housing 12. The coolant diversion line 22 carries diverted coolant to a flow director 24. The flow director 24 may include a plurality of nozzles 26. Each of the nozzles 26 directs a portion of the diverted coolant in a generally fan-shaped spray 28 over the insert window 30, where the diverted coolant commingles with undiverted coolant in the interior of the housing 12.

    [0009] An egress coolant line 32 carries coolant 16 to a heat exchanger 34. The heat exchanger 34 includes a coolant pump (not pictured) that circulates coolant 16 throughout the system.

    [0010] FIG. 2 depicts a flow diverting unit 50 that is suitable for use as the flow diverting unit 20 depicted in FIG. 1. The flow diverting unit 50 has a body portion 52 that is generally cylindrical in shape with a center passage 54 running laterally along its length and configured to receive an incoming coolant flow. Body portion 52 is coupled to a diverter 56. The diverter 56 is also generally cylindrical in shape with a center passage 58 that runs laterally along its length and has a common axis 60 with the center passage 54 of the body portion 52.

    [0011] The diverter 56 has a main coolant passage 62 that receives an incoming coolant flow from the center passage 54 of the body 52. The diverter also has a center tube 57 that is generally cylindrical in shape, shares common axis 60, and contains a portion of the center passage 58 of the diverter 56. Bypass passages 64 connect to the main coolant passage 62 and allow a portion of the coolant entering the diverter 56 to exit the flow diverting unit 56.

    [0012] Coolant that does not exit the flow diverting unit 56 through a bypassing passage continues through the center passage portion of center tube 57 and exits the diverter 56, entering coolant hose 66.

    [0013] FIG. 3 depicts the exterior of an X-ray insert 80. The X-ray insert 80 includes an X-ray tube 82 that produces X-rays during operation. The insert 80 also includes an X-ray window 84. Attached to X-ray insert 80 is a flow director 86. The flow director 86 includes one or more nozzles 88 to direct coolant toward and across the surface of the X-ray window 84.

    [0014] FIGs. 4A and 4B depict a first configuration of a flow director 100. The flow director 100 has a body 102 that is generally arc-shaped about a center line 104. The arc of body 102 is compatible with the arc of the X-ray insert with which the flow director 100 is used. The body 102 has a first wall 106 and a second wall 108 that are both generally arc-shaped. Second wall 108 contains a plurality of openings or notches that can be of different sizes such as small opening 110 and large opening 112. The body 102 also has side walls 114, each of which has an opening 116. The body 102 also has a rear wall 118. The walls 106, 108, 114, and 118 are connected to form a five-sided, box-like structure that defines a coolant passage 120.

    [0015] Attached to the wall 108 of the body 102 at the area of openings 110 and 112 are a plurality of nozzles 122. Each nozzle has 2 side walls and a rear wall connected generally at right angles to form a general U-shaped formation where the U is then bent to form an angle such that the channel of the U-shape matches with the notches of wall 108 to provide a fluid communication channel between the coolant passage 120 and the nozzle 122. The end of the nozzle 122 is tapered to narrow the end of the nozzle.

    [0016] The openings 116 allow the flow of coolant into the coolant passage 120. The coolant then flows through a small opening 110 or a large opening 112 and into nozzle 122. In nozzle 122, the coolant flows through the length of the nozzle and exits at the tapered end of the nozzle.

    [0017] FIG. 5 depicts a second configuration of a flow director 150. This second configuration is similar to the first configuration, including nozzles 152 that are similar to the nozzles 122 of FIGs. 4A and 4B. Additionally, extended nozzles 154 are provided. The extended nozzles 154 are located at either end of the line of openings in the wall of the body and have been modified to bend the tapered end of the nozzle substantially 90 degrees such that the direction of flow of coolant from the extended nozzles travels substantially perpendicularly to the direction of coolant flow from nozzles 152.

    [0018] FIGs. 6A and 6B depict a configuration of a flow director 200, not forming part of the present invention. The flow director 200 has a body 202 that is similar to body 102 of flow director 100 and includes a coolant passage 203. The flow director 200 has a wall 204 that corresponds to wall 108 of flow director 100. However, wall 204 contains a single notch 206 instead of a plurality of openings. The flow director 200 also has a flow sleeve 208 that is connected to the body 202 in the region of the notch 206. The flow sleeve 208 is generally arc-shaped to substantially match the arc of the body 202. The flow sleeve 208 has side walls 210 and a top wall 212. Side walls 210 and top wall 212 are connected at their edges at substantially right angles to define a coolant egress area 214. Coolant egress area 214 is in fluid communication with coolant passage 203 and coolant ingress openings 216.

    [0019] Coolant flows into the coolant passage 203 of body 202 through coolant ingress openings 216. Coolant then continues to flow through notch 206 into the coolant egress area 214 of the flow sleeve 208 and exits in a generally wedge-shaped flow pattern, as opposed to the generally fan -shaped spray patterns provided by the nozzles of other configurations.

    [0020] The invention disclosed herein is defined by the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An X-ray tube insert (14, 80), comprising:

    a cathode;

    an anode, operatively coupled to the cathode such that the operation of the cathode and anode produces radiation;

    a cylindrical X-ray tube insert housing with an X-ray tube insert window (30, 84),

    wherein the cathode and the anode are arranged in the cylindrical X-ray tube insert housing; and

    a flow director (24, 86, 100, 150) attached on the X-ray tube insert housing including

    a body (102) being arc-shaped and including a passage (120) configured to receive a coolant flow through said passage, wherein the arc of the body is compatible with the arc of the cylindrical X-ray tube insert housing , the body having a first wall (106) and a second wall (108) being arc-shaped with the second wall (108) containing at least one opening or notch (110, 112); and

    at least one nozzle (26, 88, 122, 152) attached to the second wall (108) at the area of the at least one opening or notch (110, 112) and thereby being in fluid communication with the body, each of the at least one nozzle having two side walls and a rear wall forming an U-shaped formation, wherein the U shaped formation is bent to form an angle such that the channel of the U-shaped formation matches with the respective opening or notch (110, 112) of the second wall (108) to provide a fluid communication channel between the coolant passage (120) and the nozzle to direct at least a portion of the coolant flow towards and across an outer surface of the X-ray tube insert window (30, 84) to be cooled by the coolant flow.


     
    2. The X-ray tube insert of claim 1, wherein the at least one nozzle comprises a plurality of nozzles and the at least one opening or notch comprises a plurality of openings or notches, each nozzle being configured to direct a portion of the flow of coolant.
     
    3. The X-ray tube insert of claim 2, wherein a first one (154) of the plurality of nozzles is configured to direct a first portion of the flow of coolant in a first direction, and a second one (152) of the plurality of nozzles is configured to direct a second portion of the flow of coolant in a second direction that is different from the first direction.
     
    4. An X-ray tube apparatus with cooling system (10), comprising an X-ray tube housing (12), the X-ray tube insert (14, 80) of claim 1 contained in the X-ray tube housing (12) and a flow diversion unit (20) configured to divert a portion of a flow of coolant via a coolant diversion line (22) to the flow director (24, 86, 100, 150) and to allow an undiverted portion of the flow of coolant to enter the interior of the X-ray tube housing (12).
     
    5. The X-ray tube apparatus with cooling system (10) of claim 4, further comprising an heat exchanger to which the coolant flow is routed.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Röntgenröhreneinsatz (14, 80), der Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Kathode;

    eine Anode, die betriebsfähig so mit der Kathode gekoppelt ist, dass der Betrieb der Kathode und der Anode Strahlung erzeugt;

    ein zylindrisches Röntgenröhreneinsatzgehäuse mit einem Röntgenröhreneinsatzfenster (30, 84),

    wobei die Kathode und die Anode in dem zylindrischen Röntgenröhreneinsatzgehäuse angeordnet sind; und

    einen am Röntgenröhreneinsatzgehäuse angebrachten Strömungslenker (24, 86, 100, 150) umfassend

    einen Körper (102), der bogenförmig ist und einen Durchgang (120) umfasst, der konfiguriert ist, um eine Kühlmittelströmung durch den genannten Durchgang aufzunehmen, wobei der Bogen des Körpers mit dem Bogen des zylindrischen Röntgenröhreneinsatzgehäuses kompatibel ist, wobei der Körper eine bogenförmige erste Wand (106) und zweite Wand (108) aufweist, wobei die zweite Wand (108) mindestens eine Öffnung oder Kerbe (110, 112) enthält;

    mindestens eine Düse (26, 88, 122, 152), die im Bereich der mindestens einen Öffnung oder Kerbe (110, 112) an der zweiten Wand (108) angebracht ist und dadurch in Fluidkommunikation mit dem Körper steht, wobei jede der mindestens einen Dose zwei Seitenwände und eine Rückwand hat, die eine U-Form bilden, wobei die U-Form gebogen ist, um einen derartigen Winkel zu bilden, dass der Kanal der U-Form mit der jeweiligen Öffnung oder Kerbe (110, 112) der zweiten Wand (108) übereinstimmt, um einen Fluidkommunikationskanal zwischen dem Kühlmitteldurchgang (120) und der Düse zu schaffen, um mindestens einen Teil der Kühlmittelströmung zur und über die Außenfläche des durch die Kühlmittelströmung zu kühlenden Röntgenröhreneinsatzfensters (30, 84) zu leiten.


     
    2. Röntgenröhreneinsatz nach Anspruch 1, wobei die mindestens eine Düse eine Vielzahl von Düsen umfasst und die mindestens eine Öffnung oder Kerbe eine Vielzahl von Öffnungen oder Kerben umfasst, wobei jede Düse konfiguriert ist, um einen Teil der Kühlmittelströmung zu lenken.
     
    3. Röntgenröhreneinsatz nach Anspruch 2, wobei eine erste (154) der Vielzahl von Düsen konfiguriert ist, um einen ersten Teil der Kühlmittelströmung in eine erste Richtung zu lenken, und eine zweite (152) der Vielzahl von Düsen konfiguriert ist, um einen zweiten Teil der Kühlmittelströmung in eine zweite Richtung zu lenken, die sich von der ersten Richtung unterscheidet.
     
    4. Röntgenröhrengerät mit Kühlsystem (10), umfassend ein Röntgenröhrengehäuse (12), einen in dem Röntgenröhrengehäuse (12) enthaltenen Röntgenröhreneinsatz (14, 80) nach Anspruch 1 und eine Strömungsumleitungseinheit (20), die konfiguriert ist, um einen Teil der Kühlmittelströmung über eine Kühlmittelumleitungsleitung (22) zum Strömungslenker (24, 86, 100, 150) umzuleiten und einen nicht umgeleiteten Teil der Kühlmittelströmung in den Innenraum des Röntgenröhrengehäuses (12) eintreten zu lassen.
     
    5. Röntgenröhrengerät mit Kühlsystem (10) nach Anspruch 4, weiterhin umfassend einen Wärmetauscher, zu dem die Kühlmittelströmung geleitet wird.
     


    Revendications

    1. Organe inséré de tube à rayons X (14, 80), comprenant :

    une cathode ;

    une anode, fonctionnellement couplée à la cathode de telle sorte que le fonctionnement de la cathode et de l'anode produise un rayonnement ;

    un logement cylindrique d'organe inséré de tube à rayons X avec une fenêtre d'organe inséré de tube à rayons X (30, 84),

    dans lequel la cathode et l'anode sont agencées dans le logement cylindrique d'organe inséré de tube à rayons X ; et

    un organe directeur d'écoulement (24, 86, 100, 150) fixé sur le logement d'organe inséré de tube à rayons X, incluant

    un corps (102) étant en forme d'arc et incluant un passage (120) configuré pour recevoir un écoulement de liquide de refroidissement à travers ledit passage, dans lequel l'arc du corps est compatible avec l'arc du logement cylindrique d'organe inséré de tube à rayons X, le corps possédant une première paroi (106) et une seconde paroi (108) étant en forme d'arc avec la seconde paroi (108) contenant au moins une ouverture ou encoche (110, 112) ; et

    au moins une buse (26, 88, 122, 152) fixée à la seconde paroi (108) dans la zone de l'au moins une ouverture ou encoche (110, 112) et étant ainsi en communication fluidique avec le corps, chacune de l'au moins une buse possédant deux parois latérales et une paroi arrière formant une formation en forme de U, dans lequel la formation en forme de U est pliée pour former un angle de telle sorte que la goulotte de la formation en forme de U corresponde à l'ouverture ou l'encoche respective (110, 112) de la seconde paroi (108) pour fournir une voie de communication fluidique entre le passage de liquide de refroidissement (120) et la buse pour diriger au moins une portion de l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement vers et à travers une surface extérieure de la fenêtre d'organe inséré de tube à rayons X (30, 84) pour être refroidie par l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement.


     
    2. Organe inséré de tube à rayons X selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'au moins une buse comprend une pluralité de buses et l'au moins une ouverture ou encoche comprend une pluralité d'ouvertures ou d'encoches, chaque buse étant configurée pour diriger une portion de l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement.
     
    3. Organe inséré de tube à rayons X selon la revendication 2, dans lequel une première (154) parmi la pluralité de buses est configurée pour diriger une première portion de l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement dans une première direction, et une seconde (152) parmi la pluralité de buses est configurée pour diriger une seconde portion de l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement dans une seconde direction qui est différente de la première direction.
     
    4. Appareil de tube à rayons X avec système de refroidissement (10), comprenant un logement de tube à rayons X (12), l'organe inséré de tube à rayons X (14, 80) selon la revendication 1 contenu dans le logement de tube à rayons X (12) et une unité de déviation d'écoulement (20) configurée pour dévier une portion d'un écoulement de liquide de refroidissement par l'intermédiaire d'une conduite de déviation de liquide de refroidissement (22) vers l'organe directeur d'écoulement (24, 86, 100, 150) et pour permettre à une portion non déviée de l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement d'entrer à l'intérieur du logement de tube à rayons X (12).
     
    5. Appareil de tube à rayons X avec système de refroidissement (10) selon la revendication 4, comprenant en outre un échangeur de chaleur vers lequel l'écoulement de liquide de refroidissement est acheminé.
     




    Drawing

















    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description