TECHNIQUE FOR MANAGING COOLANT IN A MOBILE MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI) SYSTEM
Publication Date: 2016-Mar-21
The IP.com Prior Art Database
A technique for automatically dumping out and refilling coolant in a mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system is disclosed. The technique includes temperature sensors, control valves, and a pressurized closed loop system. The technique is used to automatically dump coolant out of a cooling circuit at extreme cold temperatures in the MRI system and then automatically refill the cooling circuit when allowable operating temperatures are reached.
The present disclosure relates generally to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and more particularly to a technique for managing coolant in a mobile MRI system.
An MRI system requires a coolant to keep the temperature within specifications, particularly in two areas of the MRI system, in a gradient coil and in power electronics of the system. In many instances the MRI system uses hollow coils in the gradient coil. These hollow coils carry both current and water or coolant for cooling. Combination of coolant and electricity in such hollow coils requires that low conductivity coolant is used, thereby preventing use of freeze inhibitors like Glycol.
In a fixed system which is within a building or a hospital, freezing risk is low as the probability of losing power as well as backup power is low. However, in a mobile environment with the MRI system installed in a trailer, the MRI system is sometimes exposed to extremely low temperatures while travelling through certain parts of the world and the potential for losing power is significantly higher than a fixed site. Therefore, not using freeze inhibitors poses a challenge in mobile MRI systems.
Further, many MRI systems have cooling circuits that use coolants, such as de-ionized (DI), which have high cooling capacities and high freezing temperatures. Mobile MRI systems units often travel through or even operate in regions with extremely cold ambient temperatures below the freezing points of the coolant. If a generator running the mobile MRI stops running, the coolant stops flowing and freezes. Frozen coolant severely damages the MRI system. Also, dumping the coolant out of the MRI system in such instances is undesirable as that leads to long downtime. A different coolant that has similar cooling capacity but lower freezing temperature could also be used to solve the problem of coolant freezing. However, such coolant having lower freezing point would have high conductivity, which is not acceptable for use in hollow gradient coils.
It would be desirable to have an improved technique for managing coolant in mobile MRI systems.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Figure 1 depicts a technique for automatically dumping out and refilling coolant in a mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system.