Method and apparatus for thermal management of vehicle exhaust systems
A catalytic converter is surrounded by variable conductance insulation for maintaining the operating temperature of the catalytic converter at an optimum level, for inhibiting heat loss when raising catalytic converter temperature to light-off temperature, for storing excess heat to maintain or accelerate reaching light-off temperature, and for conducting excess heat away from the catalytic converter after reaching light-off temperature. The variable conductance insulation includes vacuum gas control and metal-to-metal thermal shunt mechanisms. Radial and axial shielding inhibits radiation and convection heat loss. Thermal storage media includes phase change material, and heat exchanger chambers and fluids carry heat to and from the catalytic converter.
U.S. Patent 5,477,676
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