GB2051916A - Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom - Google Patents

Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2051916A
GB2051916A GB8012473A GB8012473A GB2051916A GB 2051916 A GB2051916 A GB 2051916A GB 8012473 A GB8012473 A GB 8012473A GB 8012473 A GB8012473 A GB 8012473A GB 2051916 A GB2051916 A GB 2051916A
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United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
panels
connector
recess
element
panel
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB8012473A
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LUDFORD D
Original Assignee
Ludford D
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB7915287 priority Critical
Application filed by Ludford D filed Critical Ludford D
Priority to GB8012473A priority patent/GB2051916A/en
Publication of GB2051916A publication Critical patent/GB2051916A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16BDEVICES FOR FASTENING OR SECURING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OR MACHINE PARTS TOGETHER, e.g. NAILS, BOLTS, CIRCLIPS, CLAMPS, CLIPS, WEDGES, JOINTS OR JOINTING
    • F16B5/00Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them
    • F16B5/0004Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship
    • F16B5/0056Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels or the interlocking key perpendicular to the main plane
    • F16B5/0076Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels or the interlocking key perpendicular to the main plane and using expanding clamps
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/38Connections for building structures in general
    • E04B1/61Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other
    • E04B1/6108Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together
    • E04B1/612Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces
    • E04B1/6145Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces with recesses in both frontal surfaces co-operating with an additional connecting element
    • E04B1/6158Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces with recesses in both frontal surfaces co-operating with an additional connecting element the connection made by formlocking
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16BDEVICES FOR FASTENING OR SECURING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OR MACHINE PARTS TOGETHER, e.g. NAILS, BOLTS, CIRCLIPS, CLAMPS, CLIPS, WEDGES, JOINTS OR JOINTING
    • F16B1/00Devices for securing together, or preventing relative movement between, constructional elements or machine parts
    • F16B1/0057Devices for securing together, or preventing relative movement between, constructional elements or machine parts by the use of a pneumatic action

Abstract

Buildings can be erected from panels (10, 110) having interengageable edges (12, 112) containing inwardly projecting recesses (17, 117) in the form of a narrow mouth (18, 118) and an inwardly widening curved portion (16, 116) and a hollow, flexible dumb-bell- shaped connector (20) which has to be deflated before it can pass through the mouths (18, 118) but which on reflation sealingly engages the widened portions (16, 116) and pulls the edges (12, 112) into close proximity. <IMAGE>

Description

SPECIFICATION Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom The present invention concerns structural panels, connectors therefor and structures such as buildings erectable from the structural panels interconnected by the connectors.

There is a world-wide need for buildings to be rapidly erectable on sites requiring relatively little preparation from building elements prefabricated at a remote factory the assembly of which elements requires relatively little skilled labour. It is a further desideratum that the resulting building should be of high resistance to weather effects, should provide good thermal insulation and should be of long-life and of aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Furthermore, it is desirable that the number of different elements should be as small as possible and that the method of interconnecting panels destined to be wall panels, should be similar to the method of joining roof elements and wall panels to each other. It is also desirable that the panels should be of relatively light weight (from the point of view of transportation by air, sea or land) yet mechanically strong, corrosion-resistant, fire-resistant and, in locations where this in a relevant consideration, be proof against potentially harmful insects such as termites.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided structural panels and a connector for connecting them together, wherein along one shaped edge of a said panel to be connected to an adjacent, similarly shaped edge of another of said panels, there is provided an inwardly extending recess having a mouth and a relatively widened portion behind the mouth, and wherein said connector comprises a flexiblywalled hollow element which is inflatable/deflatable between an inoperative condition in which it can be passed through the mouth of each of said panels to extend into the said widened portions without, however, sealingly engaging the latter and an operative condition in which it sealingly engages the said widened portions and cannot by ordinary force be withdrawn therefrom through the mouths.

Preferably, the connector element is a hollow element, the shape of which in its operative condition, which is also its rest condition, is at least partially complementary to the shape of the widened portion of the recess and so in this "normal" condition the element cannot be inserted into the recess. However, by applying suction thereto, either by piercing the wall of the element with a hollow needle or by providing that wall with a valve, and connecting the needle or valve to a source of reduced pressure, e.g. a vacuum pump, the connector element can be collapsed (flattened) to permit it to be passed through the' mouth of the recess, whereafter its normal shape can be restored naturally, or if necessary, with the assistance of a pump.

However it is also possible to conceive an alternative embodiment in which the "normal" shape of the connector is flat to enable it to be passed through the mouth of the recess and can thereafter be inflated so as sealingly to fit against the widened section of the recess.

In the most preferred embodiment the connector element is essentially in the form of a hollow tubular dumb-bell section from which air has to be exhausted to enable it to pass through the mouths of the recess in the adjacent edges of two panels, whereafter on restoration of the normal pressure, an extremely strong interference fit arises between the respective curved portions of the dumb-bell connector and the said widened portions of the recesses which are complementarily arcuately shaped.

Advantageously, the centre-to-centre length of the curved portions of the dumb-bell element is less than that of the mating, complementary widened portions of the panel sections, whereby the adjacent panel edges will be drawn hard together on restoration of the normal pressure in the dumb-bell element, the central "neck" of which is then in tension.

Preferably, the recess in the relevant edge of the panel is at the centre of that edge and the ends of that edge on either side of recess are provided with projecting flanges forming respective dovetail seats for gaskets so that when the two panels are drawn together as described above, the flanges approach each other to compress and thus expand the gaskets, whereby to form a substantially continuous outer and inner face of the connected panels. The stronglycompressed gaskets provide weather-tightness as well as thermal expansion compliance.

The principle of the most preferred embodiment can of course be applied to the connection of any pair of elements with like receses. It is not necessary that the two hollow portions of the connector should be coaxial; they may be at an angle to each other so that the connector can be used to connect two panels which are at anAN angle to each other. It is also conceivable to utilise panels the recessed edges of which are not parallel. For example, an Lshaped panel may be used with a said recess at each end edge of the L-section.

It is also envisaged to make the roof of a building from these panels with the recessed.

edges. The end panel of the roof may have a closure element to close the recess in it, the closure element comprising an essentially flat portion across the edge with a "half-dumbbell" extending into and sealing the recess.

Finally, it is also conceivable to connect panels as described to base frames by securing the frame to e.g. a concrete slab laid over the site, which base frame has along its edge adapted to be connected to the first panel a recess similar to the recess in the panel so that a dumb-bell shaped connector can be used in the manner already described.

Preferably, each panel is substantially boxshaped so that its hollow interior may be filled with a thermal insulation material, preferably a foamable material, such as expanded polyurethane, which may then be foamed in situ.

Face panels for completing the box frame may be attached to the panels and the panels may include all necessary doors and windows, preferably factory-installed, within the boundaries of the panels.

Other aspects of the invention include a kit of parts comprising a plurality of said panels and at least one said connector as well as a building assembled therefrom.

The invention will now be described merely by way of example, with reference to the accompanying, purely diagrammatic drawings, wherein: Figure 1 is a cross-section of part of an external wall of a building erected from structural panels and connectors according to the invention, Figure 2 is a view similar to Figure 1 but showing a wall panel connected to a base panel; Figure 3 is a view similar to Figure 1 but showing a slightly modified connector element for use in connecting non-coaxially arranged panels, Figure 4 is a diagrammatic sectional view of a modified connector element for use as a closure for a roof panel, and Figure 5 is a cross-sectional view of a modified panel element, for use as a mitred corner element.

Referring to Figure 1, there is shown a structural panel 10 comprising two spaced apart parallel walls 11 destined to form the outer and inner wall structure of a building and connected by an edge face 12.

The edge face 12 is provided with a recess generally designated by 13, and which in detail consists of a mouth portion 15, a curved widened section 16 and a generally U-shaped section 1 7 joining the widened section 1 6 on its side remote from the mouth 1 5.

The mouth 1 5 is curved and its adjacent ends project beyond the general plane of the edge 12 to form a throat 1 8. The centre of curvature of the mouth 1 5 and of the widened section 1 6 is at 1 9.

The structural panel 10 is juxtaposed with a like structural panel 110 which will not be described in further detail beyond stating that its like parts have been allotted like reference numbers but increased by 100.

The connector element embodied in the present invention is designated by the reference number 20 and is of a generally tubular dumb-bell shaped member. One curved dumb-bell portion 21 is destined for sealingly fitting the curved section 1 6 of recess 13 while the other curved dumb-bell portion 22 is destined to fit the curved widened section 11 6 of the other recess 11 3. The two curved portions 21, 22 of the connector 20 are connected by a neck 23 at which the internal walls of the connector touch each other.

The state or condition of the dumb-bell shape connector 20 in Figure 1 is its normal cpndition with its ends 24 sealed by any suitable means.

Clearly, in this condition it is impossible without further measures to introduce the dumb bell connector 20 into the recesses 13, 11 3 of the adjacent panels 10, 110. Introduction of the connector 20 takes place by applying suction to the interior of the hollow portions 21, 22 qf the connector 20 and this may be done by inserting a hollow needle (not shown) through the flexible walls of the connector and then connecting this needle to a vacuum pump (not shown), or in a non-illustrated embodiment, to provide each curved wall of the connector with a valve similar in principle to a tyre valve for connection to the suction pump.On applying suction to exhaust air from within the connector 20, its shape is flattened sufficiently for it to be insertable into the recesses 13, 113 by being passed through the throats 1 8, 11 8 and thereafter, on disconnecting the connector from the suction pump, the connector is either allowed to restore its normal shape naturally or this process can be assisted by applying pressurised air, again via the hollow needle or valve to the interior spaces of the dumbbell connector.

By careful dimensioning of the connector and of the complementary recesses there is provided an extremely strong interference fit and sealing engagement between the connector and the panels, to such an extent that the two panels thus connected together can only be separated from each other by extraordinarily high forces, not expected to occur even in extreme conditions, before the curved sections 21,22 can be forced through the throats 18, 11 8.

It will now be appreciated that the U-shaped sections 1 7, 11 7 of the recesses are provided as an expansion space for the ends 24 of the connector 20.

By ensuring that the distance between the centres 1 9, 11 9 of the curved portions of the connector 20 is less than the corresponding separation of the centres of curvature of the curved recess sections 1 6, 11 6, edges 1 2, 112 will be drawn together with great force when the connector 20 is fully inflated or restored to its normal condition.

On either side of the throat 1 8, 118 each panel edge 12, 11 2, is provided with a dovetail nest 26, 126 into which is inserted a respective elastomeric (e.g. neoprene) gasket 28 having portions complementary in shape to that of the nests 26, 126. Each nest is defined by flanges 30 fianking the gasket 28 so that when the two panels 10, 110 are drawn together by the action of the connector 20, the flanges will be drawn together by the action of the connector 20, the flanges will be drawn into very close proximity with the gap between them being bridged by the weather-tight, thermally expansible gasket seals.

Figure 1 also shows how facing panels 35 may be attached to the panels to provide a completely enclosed box-shaped construction the hollow interior of which may be filled as desired by an insulator, here a thermoplastic material 36 foamable in situ. The panels may include window elements such as is diagrammatically shown in Figure 1 at 38.

Figure 1 also shows a fragment of a roof generally designated by the reference number 40 which may be connected to the facing panels by a ball-joint indicated at 41.

It will be appreciated that if the method of connecting two panels with a connector according to the invention is used for erecting a complete building, the same principle may also be used for jointing the roof panels, resulting in a structure which is devoid of all normal fixings such as bolts, screws and rivets and the only tool required to dismantle it is a vacuum pump and a hollow needle.

Referring now to Figure 2, there is shown a method of applying the principle explained above to the connection of a first wall panel 10 to a panel 210 forming part of the wall plan frame of a building. Thus Figure 2 shows a concrete foundation 50 to which generally L-shaped angle members 51 are secured by bolts 52. The Lshaped members 51 are then screwed or riveted at 53 to the panel 210 (generally similar to the panel 10) so that its upper edge 212 can then be connected, in the manner already explained, to the panel 10. It will be seen that this construction is then screeded flush as indicated at 54, striking off from the top face of a rubber or like blanking member 55, protecting the panels 10, 210.

Figure 3 shows a variant of Figure 1 for use in connecting two non-coaxial panels 310, 41 0 by means of a connector 320 which is generally similar to the connector 20 described above except that it has an elongated neck 323 to which the hollow curved dumb-bell sections 321 and 322 are connected at an angle 350. Figure 3 also shows that the gap between the adjacent edges 312, 412 can be bridged over by an angled extrusion 360 at the outer end and inwardly by curved connector elements 370 and 380 having complementary co-operating portions.

Figure 4 shows the end of a roof 500 having a panel 510 generally similar to the panel 10 the recess 51 3 of which is closed by a modification of the connector designated generally by the reference number 520. This closure element 520 has a flat base 550 extending parallel with the edge 512 of the panel and surrounds its ends by means of flanges 551.The centre of the element 520 is provided with "half a dumb-bell", that is to say a neck 516 and a hollow curved portion 521, fitted into the complementary recess 513, in the manner already described above.

Finally, Figure 5 shows a panel element 610 of generally L-shaped configuration, that is to say the edges 612, and 612' of which lie mutually perpendicularly to each other. However, each edge 612,612' is provided with a recess 613, 613' respectively so that each edge may be connected with an adjacent edge of a panel as already described by means of a connector similar to the connector 20.

It will be appreciated from the foregoing description that as far as the preferred embodiment is concerned, it is necessary to create an unnatural or disordered condition in the connector 20 by evacuating it to deform it from its normal shape and then the normal shape is restored; this reduces the likelihood of failure.

However, although this is less preferred at present it would be possible to consider the deflated or flattened shape of the connector 20 as its normal condition and to inflate it to the condition shown in Figure 1.

It will also be appreciated that the crosssectional shapes of the recesses and the complementary shapes of the connectors may vary considerably without departing from the principle explained above.

The preferred material for the panels is extruded aluminium while the preferred material for the connector is rubber or plastics.

Buildings erected from panels and connectors according to the invention may be used in widely varying conditions and for widely varying purposes wherever mobility and rapid erection and relatively cheap transportation (in view of the low weight) are of advantage and where complete insulation is desirable, be it in very hot or very cold climates. Furthermore, such structures would also be very useful in an emergency to erect temporary buildings which can then be readily erected, removed and transferred. Furthermore, it is considered that such structures would also be useful for low-cost housing e.g. in developing countries. Although the materials used in this system are relatively sophisticated, the plant and processes used in producing the panels and the connectors as well as the erection in the buildings is relatively simple.

Where the structure is to be permanent, the connector (in the preferred assembly mode above) could be pumped full of a liquid settable compound, e.g. concrete, or preferably a polymerising compound and held under pressure until it hardened. This would produce a solid dumb-bell in pressure contact with the metal surfaces and a junction which could detach only by actual disruption of the metal sections or by tearing through the neck of the dumb-bell over its full length. It should still retain some degree of compliance to ground or thermal movement, although this would be reduced. This feature is useful in very severe conditions, e.g. buildings in typhoon areas or earthquake zones.

Claims (14)

Claims
1. Structural panels and a connector for connecting them together, wherein along one shaped edge of a said panel to be connected to an adjacent, similarly shaped edge of another of said panels, there is provided an inwardly extending recess having a mouth and a relatively widened portion behind the mouth, and wherein said connector comprises a flexibly-walled hollow element which is inflatable/deflatable between an inoperative condition in which it can be passed through the mouth of each of said panels to extend into the said widened portions without, however, sealingly, engaging the latter and an operative condition in which it sealingly engages the said widened portions and cannot by ordinary force be withdrawn therefrom through the mouths.
2. The invention claimed in claim 1, wherein the connector element is a hollow element the shape of which, in its operative condition which is also its rest condition, is at least partially complementary to the shape of the widened portion of the recess and is such that the connector element cannot in this condition be inserted into the recess.
3. The invention claimed in claim 1, wherein the connector element is a hollow element which is inflated in its operative condition to a shape which is generally complementary to the shape of said widened portion and must be deflated by suction before it can be inserted into said recess.
4. The invention according to claim 1, in which the "normal" shape of the said connector element is flat (deflated) to enable it to be passed through the mouth of the recess and can thereafter be inflated so as sealingly to fit against the widened section ofthe recess.
5. The invention according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the connection effected by the connector element engaging in the recess of two adjacent panels and operatively securing the panels together is rendered permanent by at least partially filling the interior of the connector element by a settable or hardenable material, e.g. a polymerisable or thermo-settable synthetic material or concrete.
6. The invention according to any preceding claim, wherein the connector element is essentially in the form of a hollow tubular dumbbell section from which air has to be exhausted to enable it to pass through the mouths of the recesses in the adjacent edges of two panels, whereafter on restoration of the normal pressure, an extremely strong interference fit arises between the respective curved portions of the dumb-bell connector and the said widened portions of those recesses which are complementarily arcuately shaped.
7. The invention according to claim 6, wherein the centre-to-centre length of the curved portions of the dumb-bell element is less than that of the mating, complementary widened portions of the panel sections, whereby the adjacent panel edges will be drawn hard together on restoration of the normal pressure in the dumb-bell element, the central "neck" of which is then in tension.
8. The invention according to claim 6 or claim 7, wherein the recess in the relevant edge of the panel is at the centre of that edge and the ends of that edge on either side of recess are provided with projecting flanges forming respective dovetail seats for gaskets so that when the two panels are drawn togther the flanges approach each other to compress and thus expand the gaskets, whereby to form a substantially continuous outer and inner face of the connected panels.
9. The invention according to any of claims 6 to 8, wherein the two hollow portions of the connector are coaxial.
10. The invention according to any of claims 6 to 8, wherein the said two hollow portions are at an angle to each other so that the connector can be used to connect two panels which are at an angle to each other.
11. The invention according to any preceding claim, wherein in order to make the roof of a building from these panels with the recessed edges, an end panel of the roof has a closure element to close the recess in it, the closure element comprising an essentially flat portion across the edge with a "half-dumb-bell" extending into and sealing the recess.
12. The invention according to any preceding claim, wherein said panels are connected to a base frame securing the frame to a concrete slab laid over the site, which base frame has along its edge adapted to be connected to the first panel a recess similar to the recess in the panel so that a said connector can be used.
13. The invention according to any preceding claim, wherein each panel is substantially boxshaped so that its hollow interior is fillable with a thermal insulation material, preferably a foamable material which may then be foamed in situ.
14. A kit of parts comprising a pluraiity of said panels and at least one said connector.
1 5. A building assembled from a kit of parts as claimed in claim 14.
1 6. The invention according to claim 1, or claim 14, substantially as herein described with reference to and as shown in any of the Figures of the accompanying drawings.
GB8012473A 1979-05-02 1980-04-16 Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom Withdrawn GB2051916A (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB7915287 1979-05-02
GB8012473A GB2051916A (en) 1979-05-02 1980-04-16 Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8012473A GB2051916A (en) 1979-05-02 1980-04-16 Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB2051916A true GB2051916A (en) 1981-01-21

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GB8012473A Withdrawn GB2051916A (en) 1979-05-02 1980-04-16 Structural Panels, Connectors Therefor and a Structure Erected Therefrom

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Cited By (53)

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GB2144196A (en) * 1983-07-29 1985-02-27 Project Office Furniture Limit Jointing system
DE3336357A1 (en) * 1983-10-06 1985-04-18 Franz Dipl Ing Cuerten Non-positive and leak-tight connection of wall elements by means of pressure hoses
FR2589901A1 (en) * 1985-11-08 1987-05-15 Dagard Fils Sa expandable enclosure has walls assembled panels.
FR2699612A1 (en) * 1992-12-19 1994-06-24 Blohm Voss Ag Method and coupling piece connecting device.
EP0637694A1 (en) * 1993-08-05 1995-02-08 Takeshige Shimonohara Method of jointing members and a jointing structure
WO1995028532A1 (en) * 1994-04-16 1995-10-26 Preform Raumgliederungssysteme Gmbh Joining arrangement
EP0979953A1 (en) 1998-08-11 2000-02-16 Clip-Off Device for connecting two workpieces
WO2000019033A1 (en) 1998-09-25 2000-04-06 Preform Holding D.O.O. Partition wall
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EP1060829A1 (en) * 1999-06-16 2000-12-20 Schneeberger Holding AG Linear motion guide
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Cited By (117)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
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