US20060088386A1 - Piling and pole protective wrap system - Google Patents

Piling and pole protective wrap system Download PDF

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US20060088386A1
US20060088386A1 US11/249,949 US24994905A US2006088386A1 US 20060088386 A1 US20060088386 A1 US 20060088386A1 US 24994905 A US24994905 A US 24994905A US 2006088386 A1 US2006088386 A1 US 2006088386A1
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layer
piling
pole
wrap
seal
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US11/249,949
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William Ellis
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William Ellis
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D5/00Bulkheads, piles, or other structural elements specially adapted to foundation engineering
    • E02D5/22Piles
    • E02D5/60Piles with protecting cases

Abstract

A multi-layer protective wrap system for wood or metal pilings and poles comprising multiple organic polymer layers (an inner seal wrap, an optional foam conformation layer, and an outer compression shell) secured to the pilings by a bar-and-band system provides resistance to decay, thereby extending the life of pilings/poles in both new and retrofit installations. The 2- or 3-layer wrap system not only extends the life of pilings/poles by protecting them from new infestation by organisms, but also starves existing organisms of the oxygen they require to survive. In addition, because the inventive wrap system seals the piling/poles, it prevents leaching of creosote or other protective coating materials into the environment, reducing the threat of toxicity. This permits industry current standard practice of impregnating pilings with creosote to act as a third or fourth layer inside the 2-3 layers of the inventive wrap system.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application is related to Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/622,164 filed Oct. 26, 2004 under the title Wood Piling Wrap System and Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/643,749 under the title Wood Piling Wrap System II filed Jan. 13, 2005, both by the same inventor, the priorities of which are claimed under 35 US Code §§ 119 and 120, and the entire subject matter of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD
  • The invention relates to marine construction and more particularly to a multi-layer wrapping system for pilings and poles that lengthens their useful life against corrosion, against decay and attack by marine and land based organisms. The inventive multi-layer wrap system also reduces leaching of preservative coatings into the environment, thereby reducing contamination of the water and soil into which the pilings and poles are emplaced in service. The inventive wrap system comprises a multi-layer organic polymer wrap that is secured to the pilings or poles by a banding-and-bar seal system useful both for new construction and retrofit to existing pilings and poles, including pilings that are already infested with marine organisms or poles that already show infestation or leaching of preservatives. The inventive wrap system reduces the oxygen availability to below the survival level, so that the organisms die or cannot become established in or on the pilings, and encapsulates the pilings or poles to reduce environmental contamination.
  • BACKGROUND
  • In standard wood, metal and concrete piling systems, marine boring organisms and exposure to water promotes deterioration of the wood and concrete and corrosion of metal. Uncoated wood pilings may be destroyed by marine organisms in one year or less. Absent invasion by marine boring organisms (worms), creosote-coated and other chemically treated wood pilings may last on the order of from 10 to 40+years, depending upon the climactic, immersion and usage conditions, before natural deterioration renders them unsafe to carry the load for which they were intended.
  • The current industry standard is to impregnate the wood with coal-tar creosote and/or copper arsenate to protect it by retarding attack by marine boring organisms. The protective coating must be thorough and deep, because marine boring organisms seek out any unprotected area of the wood surface and spread inward to destroy the untreated interior of the piling. While these chemicals slow the processes of infestation and decay, they leach into the water, which is a growing, serious, and significant environmental concern, particularly around docks used for fishing and human recreation, or in areas where the leachate affects fish and aquatic plants and animals.
  • While both metal and wood are used for pilings and poles, the use of metal is far more common for poles than pilings, as the metal is far harder to protect from corrosion, particularly in salt water environments. In addition, metal is subject to galvanic corrosion in wet environments. Iron is extensively used in bulkheads, and metal bulkheads, pilings and poles may be coated with paints, galvanized coatings or other oxidant and corrosion resistive coatings to prolong service life.
  • In the case of poles, creosote and various copper and copper/arsenic or other organic or metallo-organic compounds have been extensively used for many years against boring insects, and deterioration due to fungus and rot. Metal poles emplaced in the ground typically have longer service life than those emplaced in marine or wet environments (fresh water streams, lakes, ponds and marshes, or frequently wet ground), but the nature and composition of the soil, particularly the natural soil salts content, can significantly shorten the expected service life. In addition, acid or alkaline soils, and those exhibiting natural electrical potentials or micro/milli currents can accelerate corrosion and failure.
  • There is an increasing need to address the issues of leaching of corrosion by-products, and the anti-corrosion, anti-fungal, anti-rot and anti-insect coatings into the environments. Thus, there is a vital need to encapsulate at least the base portion of poles emplaced on land (in soil) and wet environments to prevent such leaching into the environment where they pose or may cause harm to animal and plant life.
  • A number of approaches have been tried to address the problems outlined above. Williams U.S. Pat. No. 5,516,236 describes a single layer wrapped around a piling, with the top edge, bottom edge and overlap of which employs a compressible seal. The top and bottom are compressed with straps and the vertical overlap is compressed with a reinforcing bar nailed to the piling. This single layer system requires careful cleaning before installation, special sealing material, and is relatively fragile in a marine environment.
  • Imhof U.S. Pat. No. 4,713,129 is another single layer system employing a plastic cover or sheet the overlapped ends of which are sealed and secured by a heatable strip to form a fused plastic seam. The sheet is temporarily secured with a strap and bar system that holds it while the electrically heated fusing occurs. This is a specialty system that depends on retention under severe use conditions on the success of the fusing process.
  • Hellmers U.S. Pat. No. 4,697,957 describes use of preformed thick walled split tube of extruded hexene-ethylene copolymer that is used to sheath marine pilings. The sheath is then sealed with polyurethane foam and aluminum nails secure the tube to the piling. This system depends on the integrity of the foam and that the nailing does not permit or produce bulges or gaps that permit entry of marine organisms over time.
  • Christenson U.S. Pat. No. 5,919,004 involves placing a tubular jacket over a piling sized to have a gap, introducing a marine grade foam in the gap with a propellant, and curing the foam in place so it adheres to the jacket and the piling. This system is very expensive and requires careful sealing top and bottom, and apparently can only be retrofit on pilings with unrestricted access from the top.
  • Hsu U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,438 provides an elongated cap having internal ribs that engage slots pre-cut in the butt end of wooden utility poles prior to preservative pressure treatment of the poles. Blair U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,019,549 and 6,347,911 use a flexible elastomer wrap panel that is stretched and clamped around submerged pilings. The wrap panel includes an interior felt layer impregnated with a corrosion-inhibiting and biocidal gel. A particular feature is the use of helical rib-strakes along the outside of the wrap that reduces or eliminates Aeolian vibration induced by flowing ocean currents. Pfaender U.S. Pat. No. 5,770,265 involves emplacing a ring-like reservoir of a microbial treating solution such as molasses or sodium dodecyl sulphate around wood pilings and poles followed by covering the treated area with a substantially insect impenetrable plastic sheet. These specialty approaches are costly and relatively complex.
  • Accordingly, there is an unmet need in the art for a piling and pole protective system that comprises a relatively inexpensive and easy to install yet robust system that is simple to retrofit on existing pilings and poles, and can equally be used for encapsulating new pilings and poles before emplacement, both in salt water and fresh water wet and marine environments, and on land, to extend the useful life of the pilings and poles by retarding decay, rot, corrosion and attack by marine and insect organisms, and to prevent leaching of piling and pole preservative coating chemicals into the water and soil.
  • THE INVENTION Summary, Including Objects and Advantages
  • The invention is directed to a multi-layer wrap system that meets the needs in the art and extends the useful life of pilings and poles exposed to a wide range of service environments. More particularly, the inventive multi-layer wrap system is equally applicable to retrofit and new construction involving pilings and poles that are exposed to or stand in water and soil, particularly wet areas, including fresh and salt water locations such as salt and fresh water marine locations, lakes, rivers and marshy areas, and areas that are seasonally or frequently wet. In addition, the inventive wrap system is used to encapsulate the bases of poles used strictly in land-based, soil-emplaced service.
  • Although the preferred embodiment described herein is described in terms of the harshest conditions, namely the application of the inventive multi-layer wrap system to pilings used in a marine environment, and more particularly to salt-water marine construction such as docks and navigation structures, it should be understood that the various embodiments of the inventive wrap system apply equally to wrapping the bases of power and other pole structures (e.g., pole and beam building structures; deck and building support structures; telephone, utility and light poles; fencing, barrier and support structures; grandstands; automotive and railroad trestles and ties; and the like) emplaced in soil on land in a wide variety of environments, ranging, for example, from persistently dry to persistently or occasionally wet, including marshes, flood plains, low spots, water run off areas, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. In the case of the marine environments, the inventive multi-layer wrap system functions to prevent attack primarily from marine organisms, and in the case of the land emplaced environments, the inventive wrap system functions to prevent attack primarily from insects, fungus and rot. In both types of uses, the inventive wrap system also functions to encapsulate and reduce leaching into the environment of preservatives used in and on the pilings and poles, whether creosote or other organic or organo-metallic compounds, paints, anti-corrosion coatings and the like.
  • The invention comprises a multi-layer wrap that, in the fresh or salt water marine environment essentially starves marine organisms of sufficient oxygen to become established, propagate and survive. In a presently-preferred 2-layer system of the best mode embodiment, a first seal wrap of a flexible, strong, impervious sheet of polymeric plastic or plastic-impregnated fabric is extended from above the water surface, preferably the top of the piling (generally at least 2′ above the high-water line), to a depth of from about 6″ to about 24″ or more below the mud-line, e.g., the sea, river, pond or lake bed or the marsh bottom.
  • A second, wrap layer comprising a compression shell-like cover layer (called the compression layer) of relatively rigid but flexible, tough, high molecular weight polyolefin polymer (HMWP) of thickness in the range of from about 0.040″ to about 0.150″ thickness is installed over and around the seal layer and secured in place with a vertical seal bar and corrosion resistant strapping system, which tightly seals the layered wrap and prevents water and oxygen from seeping in. This compression cover wrap is preferably selected from polyethylene, polypropylene or co-polymers of polyolefins, and preferably also includes UV stabilizer compounds to confer resistance to polymer breakdown due to sunlight, and carbon black or other colorants for weathering resistance and to confer opacity to assist in protecting the seal wrap or the optional intermediate gasket layer. Other additives may be used in the plastic compression layer to confer abrasion resistance, the desired degree of flexibility and toughness, color, and the like.
  • In a presently-preferred best mode embodiment, the seal wrap layer of the inventive piling wrap system comprises a continuous sheet of polyester, nylon or other suitable woven, polymer-fiber fabric that is seal coated on both sides with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) having thickness on the order of from about 15 mil to about 40 mil or more, depending on the service requirements, the condition of the pilings and poles, the desired service life, and the like, thicker (within reasonable cost effectiveness requirements) generally being preferred. This impervious layer seals the wood, creating a smooth surface to which the next layer can conform and adhere, and cuts off the water and oxygen to the piling surface. A second embodiment of the seal wrap comprises an extruded plastic polymer, co-polymer, ter-polymer, or the like, impervious sheet of similar gauge.
  • Where conditions warrant protecting the top or base (butt end) of the piling or pole, caps made of galvanized or stainless steel, copper, polyolefin or other plastic, or wood-plastic composite material may be used to cover the end(s) of the piling or pole and can be designed to overlap or otherwise shield the upper edges of the inventive wrap system. As an example the same material as used for the compression layer can be used for the caps.
  • A second preferred 3-layer embodiment of the inventive piling and pole wrap system has additional features for pilings and poles exposed to more severe weather or marine conditions. A third, intermediate foam layer is positioned between the first, inner seal wrap and the outer compression layer. This third foam layer functions as a conformation or gasket wrap, and comprises a sheet of plastic, closed-cell foam. This intermediate foam layer is wrapped about the piling, extending the same length as described for the seal wrap layer. Although the presently preferred embodiment employs a closed-cell foam, an open or partially-open-celled foam can be used, particularly where it is desired to permit the foam to be a reservoir of leachate. Thus in the case of poles emplaced on land, the intermediate layer of foam can serve to absorb leachate run-off as it comes down from the upper, exposed portions of the pole aboveground. The leachate is trapped between the compressive wrap cover and the inner-seal layer.
  • In this second preferred embodiment employing a third, intermediate foam conformation/gasket layer of the inventive piling and pole wrap system, a continuous sheet of ¼″-½″ thick, closed or open-cell, water-resistant plastic foam is wrapped tightly against the first seal wrap, acting as a gasket which compresses the first layer to the piling or pole surface, to assist the first layer to conform to the grain and/or other surface irregularities, to better seal the piling surface. The flexibility and compressibility of the closed/open cell foam acts to fill and seal any irregularities in the surface of the piling or pole, particularly wood ones, sealing both layers flush against the piling or pole surface. One skilled in the art can easily determine whether or not the foam gasket layer may be employed based on weather, water and use conditions, such as: the degree of typical water, mud or earth movement surrounding the piling or pole; the amount of wood preservative in the piling or pole; the nature and texture of the piling or pole surface (smooth vs. pitted or rough); or the age or/and deterioration already sustained by the piling or pole, particularly in the case of retrofit wrapping.
  • The presently preferred compression cover layer or “shell” of the inventive piling and pole base wrap system comprises a heavy-duty, tough, continuous sheet of somewhat pre-curled, rigid high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) having a thickness of from about 0.040″ to about 0.150″. The thick shell of HMWPE takes the abuse of contact with water, waves and marine vessels. Its composition includes ultra-violet resistant fillers as additives. Typically the shell HMWPE is black. In the alternative, other polymers, particularly polyolefin shell materials can be used.
  • With respect to installation, the inner edge of the seal layer of the inventive piling wrap system, it is stapled or otherwise secured to the piling or pole (e.g., by nailing, screwing, taping or gluing), wrapped tightly 360 degrees around the cylindrical piling or pole and overlapped on itself by 5-24″ depending on the piling or pole diameter, then secured in place with plastic coated or impregnated cloth, water resistant, highly adhesive tape or glue. A good tape to use is “Duct” tape. Stated another way, the seal layer is over-wrapped, that is, wrapped in the range of about 370-420° around, measuring from the inner edge.
  • Next, in cases where the optional foam layer is used, it is wrapped around the seal wrap, overlapped by 1-6″ (about 5-15°), and affixed to itself with the same type of adhesive tape.
  • The rigid plastic compression shell is wrapped around the one or two inner layers, overlapped by 6″ (about 10-30°) at the vertical longitudinal seam. A banding-and-bar seal assembly or galvanized nails or stainless steel lag bolts are installed to hold the compression shell in place.
  • In a presently-preferred best mode embodiment of the inventive wrap system, a rigid, vertically oriented, retainer bar is placed directly over the seam (the exterior lip edge) of the shell layer of the inventive wrap system. The retainer bar in this embodiment is made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), having dimensions in the range of from about ⅜″ to about 1″ thick and from about 1″ to about 3″ inch wide, and as long as the entire wrap system (which extends from 6-18″ below the mud line to the top or near the top of the piling) The retainer bar is transversely grooved, typically at 1′-3′ intervals to receive stainless steel compression bands that go around the piling or pole. The compression bands are preferably corrosion-resistant bands, made of 317L stainless steel or equivalent metal or polymeric material, having typical dimensions of from about 0.015″ to about 0.150″ thick by from about ⅜″ to about 1″ wide. The bands are positioned in each of the grooved section of the bar, ratcheted tight to a maximum compression of in the range of from about 1000 to 2000 pounds and held closed with clips. In an alternate embodiment of the banding material, an Inconel alloy band or a high-strength polymer strap material of suitable dimensions can be used to replace the stainless steel banding.
  • When the inventive wrap system is installed prior to pile or pole installation, several feet at the base of each piling is left unwrapped, and will be driven into the sea or lakebed so that on installation, 12-24″ of the inventive wrap system will be driven into the earth. When the inventive wrap is installed onto already embedded pilings (retrofit installation), the sea or lakebed is excavated by 18-24″ to expose sufficient piling wood to wrap the layers tightly. Then the earthen sea or lakebed is replaced to the same level it reached before it was excavated, thus covering 6-18″ of the wrap below the mud line.
  • With regard to retrofitting already installed embedded pilings with the inventive wrap, if the tide retreats far enough to expose the piling, the wrapping is done at low tide. If the piling remains underwater at low tide, the wrap is installed by SCUBA divers working underwater.
  • In the case of poles, it is preferred to wrap the entire base of the pole that is installed in-ground, to some 6-18″ above ground level. That is, in the case of pilings the preferred wrap is top down to some 12-24″ below the sea, river, lake or marsh mud line, the remaining being un-wrapped, whereas in the case of poles, the wrapping is from bottom up to some 6-18″ above ground line. However, it should be understood that in the case of sensitive marine environments, whether fresh or salt water, it may be preferred or necessary to wrap the entire section of the piling or pole emplaced in the sea, lake, river, pond or marsh bed. To wrap the bottom of the piling or pole, that is the butt end, the inner seal layer is extended beyond the butt end of the piling or pole, and upon wrapping, the extension is folded over the butt and around the lower portion of the side-wall wrap. Then the outer compression layer shell can secure the folded material. In this case, the foam inner layer may be omitted in the area of the folded material. In addition, the folded material may be cut off square, that is, transverse to the longitudinal axis of the piling or pole to eliminate any undesirable bunching of material. As an alternative, a plastic end cap can be secured to and over the butt, wrapped or not, and the shell layer abuts the edges of the cap to provide an integral shell that covers the butt as well as the piling or pole sides.
  • The presently-preferred best mode embodiments of the inventive wrap system assist in protecting pilings and poles from harsh underwater or soil conditions. A first alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system may suffice for conditions where the floor of the body of water is regular and unchanging, the action in the body of water relatively calm, and/or the piling or pole surface exceptionally smooth. Under these conditions, not all layers need to extend below the mud line or soil line. For example, the gasketing foam layer (where used) need only be a vertical strip wide enough to cover the sealing wrap edge (rather than the entire piling) and the outer shell is affixed to the piling with stainless steel bolts instead of compression straps.
  • In this first alternate embodiment, the seal layer extends to 6-18″ below the mud line, and overlaps itself by 6-18″. Over the resulting seam may be placed a 6″ wide strip of ¼″ to ½″ thick closed or open cell plastic foam (as described above) as a gasket, sealing the exposed edge of the seal layer into the surface irregularities of the piling or pole surface. A compression shell layer extending from the top of the piling down to 6-8″ above the mud line is installed around the wrapped piling (the seal layer and compression strip), overlapping on itself by 6″. It is held in place with 4″ stainless steel lag bolts and washers located every 2′ along the vertical length of the shell layer. Holding the seal layer at the base of the shell is a series of four UHMWPE bars, located at 90° increments around the circumference of the piling. These bars are made of the same UHMWPE material outlined in the presently preferred embodiment but are only 6-8″ long, and extend from 6-8 inches above to about 3″ below the mud line. They are affixed to the piling with two-4″ stainless steel lag bolts and washers, both located above the mud line. The bottom edge of the compression shell rests on the four bars.
  • A second alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system differs from the presently-preferred best mode version only in the method used to fasten the seal bar to the piling or pole and wrap layers. In this embodiment, the seal bar, made of ½″ thick by 1½″ wide UHMWPE is not grooved. Instead, 4″ stainless steel lag bolts and washers are located every 2′ along the length of a single seal bar in place of the preferred stainless steel banding to attach the bar to the piling or pole and seal the seam overlap of the compression shell of the inventive wrap system. The two or three wrapped layers and the seal bar extend to 6-18″ below the mud or soil line. After the inventive wrap system has been installed, the earth or seabed is replaced to the same level it reached before it was excavated for installation, thus covering 6-18″ of the wrap.
  • A third alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system is designed specifically for “guide” pilings or poles used on platforms which float up as the tide rises, and sink back down when it recedes. The guide piling is typically tethered to the dock inside a U-shaped loop and roller system (or other conventional tether or box containment system), which allows the dock platform to float up and down as the water level changes. In this case, the two or three layer system is comprised of the same materials as the presently-preferred best modes, including the full length seal bar. In addition, three additional reinforcing bars made of UHMWPE are installed at 90° and 180° to the seal bar. These reinforcing bars extend vertically the length of the piling where the loop and roller (containment) system engages the piling. Preferably the reinforcing bars and the UHMWPE seal bar are placed at the tangential intersection of the dock edge and the three edges of the U-shaped loop tether (or other containment) assembly. Together the four UHMWPE bars protect the wrapping in the area where the loop and roller tubing system permits the dock platform to float up and down as the water level changes. In this embodiment, all four bars (one seal bar and three reinforcing bars) are grooved to accept the stainless steel banding and clip system described in the presently preferred embodiment.
  • A fourth alternate embodiment for attaching the inventive wrap is employed for pilings or poles which have already sustained some deterioration or use damage. In this embodiment, the two or three-layer inventive wrap system is held in place with opposed, hot-dipped galvanized steel C-channels running beyond (above and below) the length of the damaged area to act as a splint to reinforce the piling. These channels can run the full length of the piling, if needed. The C-channel is affixed to the piling with carriage through-bolts located vertically, generally every 2′ along the length of the reinforcing channels. The bolts are oriented on a diameter of the piling and, upon tightening, place the channels in compression to reinforce the piling. In addition they assist in retaining and sealing the compression shell. If deterioration has rendered any area too soft to hold a bolt, they may be installed at irregular intervals to insure that the bolts are anchored into healthy wood or other piling or pole surface material.
  • Flat galvanized steel bars may also be utilized with the presently-preferred bar-and-banding system, to act as a splint for pilings which has slight deterioration or damage. In this embodiment, the steel is installed behind the UHMWPE bar and attached with stainless steel lag bolts prior to the presently-preferred banding process.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The invention is described in more detail with reference to the drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a vertical elevation of an exemplary piling having the inventive wrap system installed and in which the successive layers are peeled back to reveal them, and in relation to the mud line and the water level;
  • FIG. 2 is a series of schematic elevation views, FIG. 2 a-2 d, showing the successive wrapping steps, in which: FIG. 2 a is a piling wrapped with the first, seal layer; FIG. 2 b is a piling showing the second, conformation layer (used only in the second preferred embodiment); FIG. 2 c is a piling with the third compression layer; and FIG. 2 d is a piling with the banding-and-bar securing assembly in place.
  • FIG. 3 is a horizontal cross section of the piling of FIG. 1 taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 1 showing the completed wrapped system;
  • FIG. 4 is an isometric view of a portion of the seal bar and compression bands assembly;
  • FIG. 5 a is a vertical elevation showing a piling having the first alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system installed and in which the successive layers are peeled back to reveal them;
  • FIG. 5 b is a cross section of the first alternate embodiment showing location 5 b-5 b in FIG. 5 a;
  • FIG. 5 c is a cross section of the first alternate embodiment below the orthogonally-oriented bars around the compression shell at location 5 c-5 c in FIG. 5 a;
  • FIG. 6 a is a vertical elevation of a piling having the second alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system installed and in which the successive layers are peeled back to reveal them;
  • FIG. 6 b is a cross section at location 6 b-6 b of FIG. 6 a;
  • FIG. 7 a is an isometric of the upper end of a guide piling having the third alternate embodiment installed, showing the orthogonally-oriented reinforcing bars;
  • FIG. 7 b is a cross section of a guide piling, showing the orthogonally-oriented reinforcing bars held in place with steel banding and clip;
  • FIG. 8 a is an vertical elevation of a deteriorated, “splinted” piling with the fourth alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system installed;
  • FIG. 8 b is a cross-section of a splinted piling showing the C-channel steel bars held together with carriage through-bolts; and
  • FIG. 9 is vertical elevation view of a pole having a wrapping from just above ground level to the butt.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION, INCLUDING THE BEST MODES OF CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
  • The following detailed description illustrates the invention by way of example, not by way of limitation of the scope, equivalents or principles of the invention. This description will clearly enable one skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and describes several embodiments, adaptations, variations, alternatives and uses of the invention, including what is presently believed to be the best modes of carrying out the invention.
  • In this regard, the invention is illustrated in the several figures, and is of sufficient complexity that the many parts, interrelationships, and sub-combinations thereof simply cannot be fully illustrated in a single patent-type drawing. For clarity and conciseness, several of the drawings show in schematic, or omit, parts that are not essential in that drawing to a description of a particular feature, aspect or principle of the invention being disclosed. Thus, the best mode embodiment of one feature may be shown in one drawing, and the best mode of another feature will be called out in another drawing.
  • All publications, patents and applications cited in this specification are herein incorporated by reference as if each individual publication, patent or application had been expressly stated to be incorporated by reference.
  • FIG. 1 shows in vertical elevation an exemplary embodiment of the inventive wrap system 10, in this case a wrap applied to a wood piling as exemplary of pilings of various materials in general, and for poles emplaced in wet environments. Thus, where there is reference to piling, one skilled in the art upon consideration of the teachings herein will readily perceive how the inventive wrap system can be applied to a wide range of piling and pole types and their service use and environments.
  • The inventive wrap is shown mounted on wood piling 12 in use in a marine environment, driven into the seabed 14 with a suitable length 16 below the mud line 18. The three-layer inventive wrap system 10 comprises the seal layer 20, the conformation or gasket layer 22 and the compression layer 24. In this case the butt end 17 and a medial portion extending upwardly thereof of the piling is not wrapped as the mechanical driving action would shred or tear the sealing layer. Where piling or post holes are drilled, the piling or pole emplaced in the hole and the hole back-filled or filled with sealing compound (e.g., bentonite, montmorillionite or similar swelling fill) or concrete, the piling or pole may be wrapped to, and optionally around, the butt end 17, un which case a cap, like top cap 36, may be used to seal off the butt end 17.
  • A vertically oriented HMWPE (polyethylene) retainer bar 28, is transversely (horizontally) grooved 30 at 2′ intervals, that is secured with stainless steel compression bands 32 that are overlapped, ratcheted tightly and secured to themselves by clips 34. A plastic or steel cap 36 covers the top of the piling and the upper edges of the inventive wrap system. Where needed, such as the case of poles placed in-ground, a similar cap can be employed at the butt 17 to seal that end of the pole when emplaced. It should be understood that while it is shown in this and other illustrations, the conformation or gasket layer 22 is included only in the second preferred embodiment, and is selected for use or not by one skilled in the art on the basis of piling, pole and surrounding water conditions.
  • Note that the raw edges of each of the three layers (seal edge 40, gasket edge 42, compression edge, 44) are offset around the circumference of the piling.
  • FIG. 2 shows the progression of the inventive wrap system as it would be installed.
  • FIG. 2 a shows the seal layer 20 wrapped around the piling 12, from an upper datum line 13 to a depth of 6-18″ below the mud line 18. In the case of a piling the upper datum line 13 is at or near the top of the piling, or at least sufficiently high above the high water mark to provide a reasonable zone of protection. In the case of a pole, the pole continues upward above the datum line 13 a considerable amount (many feet). Conversely, in the case of a pole, the mud line 18 is the soil line and may be only 6-24″ below the datum line 13, and the wrap may extend from as little as 6-18″ below the soil line to all the way to, and optionally around, the butt end 17.
  • The seal layer is stapled 11 to the piling 12, wrapped around it and overlapped on itself by 10-24″, resulting in an exposed edge 40 which held in place with adhesive tape 26 attached in spiral fashion around the piling 12.
  • FIG. 2 b shows the conformation or gasket layer 22 of foam, closed cell foam being preferred in marine and wet environments, used in the second preferred embodiment of the inventive wrap system, wrapped around the initial (first) seal layer 20 and overlapping by 1-6″ The resulting raw edge 42 is sealed with adhesive tape 26. In one suitable method the tape may be wrapped in spiral fashion around the circumference of the piling 12, as shown.
  • FIG. 2 c shows the compression or shell layer 24 wrapped around the prior layer, either the first, seal layer 20 where no gasket layer 22 is used, or around the second, gasket layer 22 where that layer is used. The compression shell layer 24 overlaps on itself by 6″ (creating layer edge 44).
  • FIG. 2 d shows a rigid, polyethylene retainer bar 28 placed vertically over the edge 44. The bar has ½″ wide, approximately 1/16″ deep grooves 30 every 2′ to accept stainless steel bands 32 which are ratcheted tight, overlapped and secured to itself by clips 34.
  • FIG. 3 shows a horizontal cross section of the layers of the inventive wrap system 10; the pole or piling 12 at the center, surrounded by the seal layer 20 overlapping by 6-18″, the conformation or gasket layer 22 overlapping by 1-6″, the compression layer 24 overlapping by 6″, and the rigid retainer bar 28 (the steel banding 32 is shown in FIG. 4).
  • FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of one end of a piling or pole with the rigid polyethylene retainer bar 28 in place. It is made of ½″ thick, 1½″ wide material, with ½″ wide, 1/16″ deep transverse grooves 30 cut every 2′ along its length. The bar is placed directly over the outer edge 44 of the compression (shell) layer 24. Fitting into each groove 30 is a tensioned band 32 made of 317L stainless steel, ratcheted tight (to a maximum of 1,200 pounds) and secured tightly in place with a clip 34.
  • FIG. 5 a shows a second (first alternate) embodiment of the inventive wrap system 10 on a wood piling 12 in place in a marine environment, driven into the seabed 14 with a suitable length 16 below the mud line 18. In this embodiment the inventive wrap system 10 comprises two layers: First, the seal layer 20, which extends from the datum line 13 down to below the mud line 18 by about 1′, and overlaps and is stapled and/or taped as in the above presently-preferred best mode embodiment. In this first alternate embodiment, the seal layer edge 40 is secured with only a vertical, longitudinal strip of conformation or gasket layer material 56 of closed cell foam on the order of 6″ wide. This strip overlaps the seal edge 40 from top to bottom of the first layer wrap. A second, compression layer 24 is placed around the seal layer 20 and gasket strip 56. This compression layer 24 extends from the datum line 13 down to 6-8″ above the mud line 18. The first wrap layer 20 and compression layer 24 are attached to the piling 12 with 4″ stainless steel lag bolts and washers 54 located every 2′ along the length of the compression shell. The bolts are emplaced adjacent the edge 44 of the compression layer as shown.
  • Four un-grooved bars 52 made of ½″ thick by 1½″ wide ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene are placed 90 degrees apart around the circumference of the piling 12 to secure the wrap layer 20 below the bottom edge of the compression layer 24. These short retainer bars extend from below the mud line 18, typically about 3″ to 12″ below, to far enough above the mud line to meet the bottom of the second compression layer 24, so that the bottom edge 46 of the compression shell 24 rests on the top of the four bars. Each of the bars is attached to the piling, through the seal layer, with two-4″ stainless steel lag bolts and washers 54, located above the mud line 18. This second embodiment is particularly useful in retrofit situations.
  • FIG. 5 b shows this second (first alternate) embodiment of the inventive wrap system 10 in cross-section (at location 5 b-5 b in FIG. 5 a), with the piling 12 at the center, the seal layer 20 wrapped around it and overlapping by 10-20″, the gasket strip 56 placed over the seal edge 40, the compression shell 24 wrapped around the seal and gasket layers, overlapping by about 6″ with a lag bolt and washer 54 at the compression layer edge 44.
  • FIG. 5 c shows the second (first alternate) embodiment of the inventive wrap system 10 in cross section below the compression shell (at location 5 c-5 c in FIG. 5 a), showing the seal layer 20 held in place by four un-grooved retainer bars 52 which anchor the seal layer to the base of the piling 12 at 90 degree intervals around its circumference.
  • FIG. 6 a shows a third (second alternate) embodiment of the inventive wrap system mounted on piling 12 in place in a marine environment, driven into the seabed 14 with a suitable length 16 below the mud line 18. The two or three-layer inventive wrap system 10 comprises the seal layer 20, the conformation or gasket layer 22 (where used) and the compression layer 24 extending from the datum line 13 down to below the mud line 18. In this version, an un-grooved ½″ thick by 1½″ wide polyethylene bar 52, is placed over the compression layer edge 44 and affixed through all layers to the wood piling 12 with 4″ stainless steel lag bolts and washers 54 at 2′ intervals longitudinally along the piling 12.
  • FIG. 6 b shows all of the components identified in FIG. 6 a of the second alternate embodiment of the inventive wrap system 10 in cross section (at location 6 b-6 b in FIG. 6 a) The piling or pole 12 is at center, followed in order by overlapped seal layer 20, conformation/gasket layer 22 with overlap, compression layer 24 with overlap, and the un-grooved poyethylene retainer bar 52 affixed with bolts and washers 54.
  • FIG. 7 a shows a fourth (third alternate) embodiment of the inventive wrap system, which is designed for floating guide pilings, a portion above the waterline 19 being shown. The two or three-layer inventive wrap system 10 comprises the seal layer 20, the conformation or gasket layer 22 (where used) and the compression layer 24, as in the presently-preferred best mode embodiment. In this embodiment, the system used to affix the inventive wrap system comprises four grooved UHMWPE bars 28 running the full length of the portion of the piling or pole 12 that must withstand the banging and rubbing friction of the floating dock as the water level (and therefore the dock) rises and falls due to tides or waves. The inventive wrap system 10 is affixed to the piling by the use of the same band 32 and clip 34 system used in the presently-preferred embodiment.
  • FIG. 7 b shows the fourth (third alternate) embodiment in cross section along the line 7 b-7 b of FIG. 7 a, the four orthogonally-oriented bars 28 being held in place with the steel band 32 and clip 34 system.
  • FIG. 8 a shows a fifth (fourth alternate) embodiment, in which channel members are used to “splint” pilings which have sustained some deterioration, this application of the inventive wrap system 10 shown mounted on piling 12 in place in a marine environment. The two or three-layer inventive wrap system 10 comprises the seal layer 20, the conformation or gasket layer 22 (where used) and the compression layer 24. Galvanized steel C-channel 60 runs the length of the piling on two opposite sides of the piling, and is held in place with stainless steel carriage through-bolts and washers 58. The dotted line 62 indicates where the piling 12 has suffered some deterioration; the carriage bolts 58 have been placed above and below the damage to anchor them securely in healthy wood.
  • FIG. 8 b shows in cross section along line 8 b-8 b of FIG. 8 a a C-channel 60 and carriage through-bolt 58 system used to splint deteriorated pilings. In this embodiment, the channel can be reversed, with the legs against the compression layer 24, where there is no concern for the bolt head and opposed nut to be exposed. As an alternative, angle brackets can be used in the place of C-channel, although the latter is preferred.
  • FIG. 9 shows in elevation a fifth embodiment comprising the inventive multi-layer wrap system applied to a utility pole 12, in this case one in an area where there is permanent water 48, such as a stream, lake, pond or marsh, or the water is transient or seasonal, or the ground 14 is typically moist. The wrap system extends from a suitable datum line 13 above the ground level 18 or above the high water line 50 down to below the ground level, and optionally to the butt 17 of the pole 12. As shown the pole extends well above the datum line 13. In this example the wrap system, comprising an inner, first seal layer material 20 and an outer compression layer shell material 24 extends to the butt end of the pole 17. Further, the inner seal layer 20 is extended beyond the bottom end of the pole, then upturned and folded back up the side 64. The compression layer 24 engages and securely retains the folded material 64, and the retaining bar 52 retains the entire assembly in place by means of the bolts 54, preferably of stainless steel or other corrosion resistance-treated steel (such as galvanized bolts). The outer compression layer can extend down to the lower end of the pole 17. Optionally, a cap 36 can be emplaced over the end, either over just the seal layer 20 or both the seal layer and the compression layer 24.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • It is clear that the inventive two or three-layer wrap system of this application has wide applicability to the marine industry, namely to dock, bridge and marine structure builders and the like, and to land-based utilities and construction industries, namely to power, lighting, telephone and structural support poles. The system extends the useful life of wood or metal pilings and poles by encasing them in a multi-layer protective sheath that slows the natural process of deterioration by marine boring organisms, insects and effectively encapsulates them against escape into the environment of leachate from preservative coatings.
  • By way of example, the inventive system of multi-layer wrapping of poles and pilings reduces the cost and frequency of replacing them to only as frequently as once per decade or more (several to many decades for land-based service use), and has the clear potential of becoming adopted as the new standard for sealing pilings and poles. From an industrial perspective, each year of life extension for a piling represents a 10 percent increase in the life of the piling and thus a 10 percent cost benefit.
  • It should be understood that various modifications within the scope of this invention can be made by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit thereof and without undue experimentation. For example, the wood piling system cap can have a wide range of designs to provide the functionalities disclosed herein. Likewise the sealing bar may be made of metal rather than polyethylene. The invention is therefore to be defined by the scope of the appended claims as broadly as the prior art will permit, and in view of the specification if need be, including a full range of current and future equivalents thereof.
  • Parts List
  • This parts list is provided as an assist to examination; it may be canceled upon allowance
    10 Inventive wrap system
    11 Stainless steel staples
    12 Piling or Pole
    13 Upper Datum Point
    14 Sea or lakebed
    16 Depth of piling into sea or lakebed
    17 Butt end of piling or pole
    18 Mud line
    20 Seal layer of wrap system
    22, Conformation or gasket layer of wrap system
    24 Compression shell layer of wrap system
    26 Adhesive tape
    28. Grooved polyethylene retainer bar
    32 Stainless steel banding
    34 Stainless steel clips
    36 Galvanized, stainless steel or plastic cap
    40 Seal layer outer edge
    42 Conformation/gasket layer outer edge
    44 Compression shell outer edge
    46 Bottom edge of compression shell
    48 Body of water
    50 Waterline
    52 Ungrooved UHMWPE bar
    54 4″ stainless steel lag bolt and washer
    56 Conformation/gasket strip
    58 Stainless steel through bolt and washer
    60 Hot dipped galvanized steel C-channel bars
    62 Area of deterioration of piling or pole
    64 Up-turned seal layer material

Claims (20)

1. A multi-layer wrap system for protection of pilings and poles against infestation of organisms, and against weathering and service damage, particularly in wet environments comprising:
a) a first, seal wrap layer comprising a sheet of flexible, strong, impervious polymer material wrapped around said piling or pole in at least areas of exposure of said piling or pole to attack by said organisms, said wrap overlapping on itself by a sufficient amount to insure a conforming seal without gaps against the surface of said piling or pole and terminating in an outer marginal edge;
b) a second, compression layer wrap applied over said first seal layer, said second wrap layer overlapping on itself by a sufficient amount to insure said second wrap can be secured to itself without gaps exposing said first layer and terminating in an outer marginal edge;
c) at least one retaining bar placed over the marginal edge of said second compression layer wrap;
d) securing members, selected from spaced bands under compression and bolts secured in said piling or pole, engaging said retaining bar and compressing said compression layer wrap tightly around said piling or pole and said first, seal wrap layer; and
e) said wrap system functioning to conformingly seal and starve oxygen from organisms in or on said piling or pole and to provide an outer protective shell that protects from service damage.
2. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 1 which includes a third, intermediate gasket wrap layer comprising a sheet of plastic foam wrapped around said seal layer to overlap on itself, which gasket layer assists in conforming said seal layer to irregularities in said piling or pole and which is secured in place by said outer compression layer.
3. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 1 wherein the marginal edge of said seal layer is overlain with a strip of plastic foam secured in place by said outer compression layer.
4. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 3 wherein said outer compression layer extends vertically downwardly from a datum line and terminates above a soil or mud line and said compression layer rests on a plurality of short, vertical spaced retaining bars in contact with said seal layer and that extend below said soil or mud line, said short retaining bars being secured to said piling or pole by bolts, and said compression layer being secured to said piling or pole by vertically spaced bolts placed adjacent said outer marginal edge of said compression layer.
5. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 2 wherein at least one of said seal layer overlap and said gasket layer overlap is secured to itself by tape or glue before application of said outer compression layer.
6. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 2 wherein said gasket layer is closed cell foam.
7. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 2 wherein said retaining bar is secured to said piling or pole by bolts secured into said piling or pole through said bar and wrap layers.
8. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 1 which includes in place of or in addition to said retaining bar at least one pair of opposed retaining channels connected to each other by bolts passing through said piling or pole.
9. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 2 which includes in place of or in addition to said retaining bar at least one pair of opposed reinforcing steel channel members connected to each other by bolts passing through said piling or pole.
10. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 1 which includes in place of or in addition to said retaining bar at least two pairs of opposed vertical rub bars secured to said piling or pole at a level bridging high and low water levels, said rub bars protecting said outer compression layer from damage by dock structures to which said piling or pole is tethered.
11. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 1 which includes at least one of a top or a butt cap member for protection of and assisting the encapsulation of the piling or pole top or butt.
12. A multi-layer wrap system as in claim 1 wherein said seal layer extends to and around the butt of said piling or pole, excess seal layer sheet material is folded up and around adjacent the butt end of said piling or pole, and said compression layer engages and retains said folded excess seal layer material folded around the butt end of said piling or pole.
13. Method of protecting pilings or poles from weathering, attack from organisms, and against leaching of preservatives applied to said pilings or poles into the environment comprising the steps of:
a) wrapping a first, seal layer comprising a sheet of flexible, strong, impervious polymer material around said piling or pole in at least areas of exposure of said piling or pole to attack by said organisms, and overlapping said seal layer on itself by a sufficient amount to insure a conforming seal without gaps against the surface of said piling or pole and terminating in an outer marginal edge;
b) wrapping a second, compression layer over said first seal layer, and overlapping said second compression layer on itself by a sufficient amount to insure said second layer can be secured to itself without gaps exposing said first layer and terminating in an outer marginal edge;
c) placing at least one retaining bar to bridge over the marginal edge of said second compression layer wrap;
d) emplacing securing members, selected from spaced bands under compression and bolts secured in said piling or pole, to engage said retaining bar to compress said compression layer tightly around said piling or pole and said first, seal wrap layer; and
e) said wrap system functioning to conformingly seal and starve oxygen from organisms in or on said piling or pole and to provide an outer protective shell that protects from service damage and reduces leaching into said environment.
14. Method as in claim 13 which includes the added step of wrapping a third, intermediate gasket layer, comprising a sheet of plastic foam, around said seal layer to overlap on itself, said gasket layer assists in conforming said seal layer to irregularities in said piling or pole and is secured in place by said outer compression layer.
15. Method as in claim 13 which includes the added step of overlaying the marginal edge of said seal layer with a strip of plastic foam secured in place by said outer compression layer.
16. Method as in claim 14 which includes the steps of: extending said outer compression layer vertically downwardly from a datum line to terminate above a soil or mud line; emplacing a plurality of short, vertical spaced retaining bars in contact with said seal layer and extending said short retaining bars to below said soil or mud line; securing said short retaining bars to said piling or pole by bolts; resting a lower margin of said compression layer in contact with upper ends of said short retaining bars, and securing said compression layer to said piling or pole by vertically spaced bolts placed adjacent said outer marginal edge of said compression layer.
17. Method as in claim 14 which includes the added step of securing at least one of said first seal sheet and said gasket wrap marginal edges to itself with tape before wrapping said compression layer.
18. Method as in claim 13 which includes the step in place of or in addition placing said retaining bar, placing and securing at least two pairs of vertical rub bars at substantially 90° to each other on sides of said piling or pole at a level bridging high and low water levels, said rub bars protecting said outer compression layer from damage by dock structures to which said piling or pole is tethered.
19. Method as in claim 14 which includes the step in place of or in addition placing said retaining bar, placing and securing at least two pairs of vertical rub bars at substantially 90° to each other on sides of said piling or pole at a level bridging high and low water levels, said rub bars protecting said outer compression layer from damage by dock structures to which said piling or pole is tethered.
20. Method as in claim 13 which includes the step of extending said seal layer to and around the butt of said piling or pole; folding excess seal layer sheet material up and around adjacent the butt end of said piling or pole; and engaging and retaining said excess folded seal layer material folded around the butt end of said piling or pole beneath said compression layer.
US11/249,949 2004-10-26 2005-10-13 Piling and pole protective wrap system Abandoned US20060088386A1 (en)

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US20090031646A1 (en) * 2006-07-14 2009-02-05 Stelco Inc. Utility pole
US20090283252A1 (en) * 2008-05-16 2009-11-19 Tao Hou Gas heater
US20100107953A1 (en) * 2008-11-05 2010-05-06 Selway Lorraine T PoleSox
US20110056170A1 (en) * 2009-09-09 2011-03-10 Harry Lowe Protective covering for wooden utility poles and method of installation
US8691340B2 (en) 2008-12-31 2014-04-08 Apinee, Inc. Preservation of wood, compositions and methods thereof
US20150082743A1 (en) * 2013-09-20 2015-03-26 Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Transport of a tower of a wind turbine
US20150132067A1 (en) * 2013-11-14 2015-05-14 MedVasis, LLC Multilayer marine wraps
US20150159396A1 (en) * 2013-11-18 2015-06-11 PLS Technologies, Inc. Utility or meter pole top reinforcement method and apparatus
WO2015184538A1 (en) * 2014-06-02 2015-12-10 Rs Technologies Inc. Pole shield
US9523177B2 (en) 2012-11-15 2016-12-20 Donald Andrew Snethun Piling boot
US9878464B1 (en) 2011-06-30 2018-01-30 Apinee, Inc. Preservation of cellulosic materials, compositions and methods thereof
US20180200982A1 (en) * 2017-01-19 2018-07-19 Ted Anthony Martin Aquatic structure
AU2020100004B4 (en) * 2015-10-27 2020-09-24 Advanced Substructures Ltd A Method Of Constructing A Column, A Subterranean Structure, And A Structure Made From The Method
US11105060B2 (en) 2014-06-02 2021-08-31 RS Technology Inc. Pole shield

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US20090031646A1 (en) * 2006-07-14 2009-02-05 Stelco Inc. Utility pole
US20130058637A1 (en) * 2008-05-16 2013-03-07 Applied Materials, Inc. Gas heater
US20090283252A1 (en) * 2008-05-16 2009-11-19 Tao Hou Gas heater
US9766022B2 (en) * 2008-05-16 2017-09-19 Applied Materials, Inc. Gas heater
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US20150159396A1 (en) * 2013-11-18 2015-06-11 PLS Technologies, Inc. Utility or meter pole top reinforcement method and apparatus
WO2015184538A1 (en) * 2014-06-02 2015-12-10 Rs Technologies Inc. Pole shield
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AU2020100004B4 (en) * 2015-10-27 2020-09-24 Advanced Substructures Ltd A Method Of Constructing A Column, A Subterranean Structure, And A Structure Made From The Method
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