US20100319285A1 - Method and system for a foldable structure employing material-filled panels - Google Patents

Method and system for a foldable structure employing material-filled panels Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100319285A1
US20100319285A1 US12/819,054 US81905410A US2010319285A1 US 20100319285 A1 US20100319285 A1 US 20100319285A1 US 81905410 A US81905410 A US 81905410A US 2010319285 A1 US2010319285 A1 US 2010319285A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
building
building block
panel
material
mixing
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Abandoned
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US12/819,054
Inventor
Scott E. Jewett
Jeffrey D. Cohen
Daniel J. Dell 'Aqila
Robert J. Metcalf
Harvey R. Jewett
George W. Southworth
Ben G. Kalenik
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PORTABLE COMPOSITE STRUCTURES Inc
Cohen Jeffrey D
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PORTABLE COMPOSITE STRUCTURES Inc
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Priority to US21928109P priority Critical
Application filed by PORTABLE COMPOSITE STRUCTURES Inc filed Critical PORTABLE COMPOSITE STRUCTURES Inc
Priority to US12/819,054 priority patent/US20100319285A1/en
Assigned to PORTABLE COMPOSITE STRUCTURES, INC. reassignment PORTABLE COMPOSITE STRUCTURES, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: DELL 'AQUILA, DANIEL J., JEWETT, HARVEY R., JEWETT, SCOTT E., KALENIK, BEN G., SOUTHWORTH, GEORGE W., COHEN, JEFFREY D., METCALF, ROBERT J.
Publication of US20100319285A1 publication Critical patent/US20100319285A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/02Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls built-up from layers of building elements
    • E04B2/42Walls having cavities between, as well as in, the elements; Walls of elements each consisting of two or more parts, kept in distance by means of spacers, at least one of the parts having cavities
    • E04B2/54Walls having cavities between, as well as in, the elements; Walls of elements each consisting of two or more parts, kept in distance by means of spacers, at least one of the parts having cavities the walls being characterised by fillings in all cavities in order to form a wall construction
    • 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
    • E04B1/16Structures made from masses, e.g. of concrete, cast or similarly formed in situ with or without making use of additional elements, such as permanent forms, substructures to be coated with load-bearing material
    • E04B1/161Structures made from masses, e.g. of concrete, cast or similarly formed in situ with or without making use of additional elements, such as permanent forms, substructures to be coated with load-bearing material with vertical and horizontal slabs, both being partially cast in situ
    • 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
    • E04B1/6179Connections 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 protrusions and recesses on each frontal surface
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/84Walls made by casting, pouring, or tamping in situ
    • E04B2/86Walls made by casting, pouring, or tamping in situ made in permanent forms
    • E04B2/8647Walls made by casting, pouring, or tamping in situ made in permanent forms with ties going through the forms
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/84Walls made by casting, pouring, or tamping in situ
    • E04B2/86Walls made by casting, pouring, or tamping in situ made in permanent forms
    • E04B2002/8694Walls made by casting, pouring, or tamping in situ made in permanent forms with hinged spacers allowing the formwork to be collapsed for transport

Abstract

In one embodiment, the present invention can include a foldable structure employing material-filled panels which can be used as an emergency shelter in disaster areas. A building can formed from one or more building blocks. The building blocks can be in a compact position, such as when being transported to a disaster area, or in an expanded position, such as when the building is ready to be built in the disaster area. In the expanded position, the building blocks can be filled with various materials such as expanding foam material. The expanding foam material can be formed from two mixing materials. In addition, the expanding foam material can have insulating properties. The building of the present invention can also be used, for example, as sheds, tree houses, and/or permanent housing. The building blocks can have marine applications and/or military application due to their light weight, yet, ballistic nature.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of provisional application No. 61/219,281 entitled “FOLDABLE BUILDING STRUCTURE EMPLOYING FOAM-CORE BUILDING PANELS” filed on Jun. 22, 2009, and which is expressly incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Disclosure
  • The present disclosure generally relates to a method and system for a foldable structure employing material-filled panels.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Each year natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, floods, tsunamis, storms, and/or hurricanes occur in areas all over the world. These natural disasters are often unpredictable, terrifying, and devastating causing millions of dollars in damage and tremendous loss of life. The first hours and days of a natural disaster are critical to relief workers when attempting to mitigate the damage and casualties of the natural disaster area. However, the relief workers often have little to no place to stay due to the damage caused by the natural disaster to suitable shelters such as hotels, vacant apartments, or houses. In addition the displaced native population will generally utilize any vacancies in housing. Moreover, to the extent that the natural disaster damages houses, apartments and hotels belonging to the native population, this displaced native population will also be in dire need of suitable shelter.
  • Because the building of even temporary housing is time consuming and expensive and can require, for example, natural resources which may not be readily available in the area affected by the natural disaster, the critical first hours and days of the natural disaster, are either wasted building housing for the relief workers rather than the displaced native population or are spent erecting temporary shelters that typically do not provide a long term solution for the displaced native population.
  • In the meantime, the critical first hours and days are not used efficiently since a limited amount of relief workers will be present, and furthermore, energy is wasted building housing for the limited amount of relief workers. This can lead to a high amount of damages and casualties.
  • Temporary solutions such as tents are generally unsatisfactory since they may not provide adequate shelter against extreme temperatures at night or the day. In addition, such temporary solutions are generally uncomfortable, which can fatigue and tax the rescue workers. This can reduce the efficiency of the rescue workers. In addition to natural disasters, additional housing may be needed during military conflicts and/or during peacekeeping missions. Temporary solutions are also generally undesirable during such problematic issues.
  • More permanent temporary shelters are typically expensive both in terms of the purchase price and to transport to the location of the natural disaster. Thus, there is a need for a building which can be easily erected in an efficient manner while providing a comfortable and adequate shelter.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed, for example, to a building which can be easily erected in an efficient manner while providing a comfortable and adequate shelter. In one embodiment, the present invention can be a foldable structure employing material-filled panels which can be used as an emergency shelter in disaster areas.
  • The present invention can be, for example, a building formed from one or more building blocks. The building blocks can be in a compact position, such as when being transported to a disaster area, or in an expanded position, such as when the building is ready to be built in the disaster area. In the expanded position, the building blocks can be filled with expanding foam material. The expanding foam material can be formed, for example, from two mixing materials, allowing for the easy generation of the expanding foam material. This reduces the amount of natural resources used to erect the building. In addition, the expanding foam material can have insulating properties to provide adequate shelter against extreme temperatures during the day or night. The building blocks can also be formed, for example, from other types of materials such as cement, organic material, rubble, earth, adobe, plant matter, or any type of local material. Thus, the building of the present invention can be easily deployed to a natural disaster area, and can be easily erected without a huge tax on the natural resources. This can allow a large number of buildings to be for relief workers in an efficient manner. This can also increase a number of housing available for victims and/or relief workers. This can provide immediate housing for the victims and also increase the number of relief workers available during the critical first hours and days of a natural disaster. The present invention can also be permanent housing for the victims. In addition, during military conflicts, the present invention can provide housing, for example, for refugees. For peacekeeping missions, the present invention can house the peacekeepers.
  • In addition, the present invention is sturdy enough such that when the relief workers are not needed anymore, the buildings can provide shelter for any displaced native population, reducing the recovery time period. The building of the present invention is also not limited to the emergency shelter, but can also be used, for example, as storage sheds, field hospitals, tree houses, and/or permanent housing. In addition, the building blocks can have marine applications and/or military application due to their light weight, yet, durable and ballistic nature.
  • In one embodiment, the present invention is a building block including a first panel, a second panel opposing the first panel, and a plurality of stringers connecting the first panel and the second panel, wherein the first panel, the second panel, and the plurality of stringers are configured to switch between a compact position and an expanded position.
  • In another embodiment, the present invention is a building including a plurality of building blocks, each of the building blocks including, a first panel, a second panel opposing the first panel, and a plurality of stringers connecting the first panel and the second panel, wherein each of the building blocks is configured to switch between a compact position and an expanded position.
  • In yet another embodiment, the present invention is a building kit including a building block in a compact position, a roof in a compact position and configured to be connected to the building block, a first mixing material, and a second mixing material, the first mixing material and the second mixing material selected such that a mixture of the first mixing material and the second mixing material forms an expandable foam material which can be placed within the building block.
  • In still another embodiment, the present invention is a method for constructing a building including transforming a first building block from a compact position to an expanded position, placing support material in a support material area in the first building block, transforming a second building block from a compact position to an expanded position, and connecting the first building block with the second building block.
  • In still yet another embodiment, the present invention is a method for constructing a shed including transforming only a single building block from a compact position to an expanded position, placing support material in a support material area in the building block, transforming a roof from a compact position to an expanded position, and connecting the roof to the single building block.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The exact nature of this invention as well as other objects and advantages thereof will be readily apparent from consideration of the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals designate like parts through the figures thereof and wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a building according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a side view of an outer panel and inner panel connected by stringers according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 depicts a portion of an outer panel according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a building including a roof according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a building block in a compact position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a building block in an intermediate position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a building block in an intermediate position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a building block in an expanded position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a building block according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a building block attached to a floor according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a building block partially filed with expanding foam material;
  • FIG. 12 is a is a perspective view of a building block filled with expanding foam material;
  • FIG. 13 is a building according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 14 depicts a snap together connection of two outer panels of two building blocks according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 15 depicts a snap together connection of two outer panels of two building blocks according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 16 depicts a snap together connection of two outer panels of two building blocks according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 17 is an interlocking building unit according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 18 is a column unit according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 19 depicts interlocking building units connected to each other according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 20 depicts a building block formed by interlocking building units according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 21 depicts a folding section in a compact position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 22 depicts a folding section in an expanded position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 23 depicts a folding section according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 24 depicts a folding section between an expanded position and a compact position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 25 depicts a folding section in a substantially compact position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 26 depicts a folding section laid out in an open position according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 27 depicts a roof according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 28 depicts a roof according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 29 depicts a roof according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 30 depicts a roof according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 31 depicts a building according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 32 depicts a building block according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 33 depicts roof anchors according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 34 depicts a building including inserts according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 35 depicts a building including drains according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 36 depicts a process according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • FIG. 37 depicts a process according to an embodiment of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 38 depicts an outer panel of a building block according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Reference will now be made in detail to the preferred embodiments of the invention which set forth the best modes contemplated to carry out the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in conjunction with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that they are not intended to limit the invention to these embodiments. On the contrary, the invention is intended to cover alternatives, modifications and equivalents, which may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. Furthermore, in the following detailed description of the present invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, molding procedures have not been described in detail as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the present invention.
  • In one embodiment, the present invention includes a building 100 as seen, for example, in FIG. 1. The building can be, for example, a house, a shed, a tree house, a storage unit, a geodesic dome, and/or any other type of structure which requires a relatively short build time. Thus, the building 100 can be easily built to provide, for example, housing for relief workers or displaced persons in disaster areas. The building 100 can also be, for example, easily built as a shed for personal use in a backyard. The building 100 can also be, for example, easily used as a tree house for children and/or adults.
  • The building 100 can be constructed from, for example, a building block 116. The building block 116 can be formed from an outer panel 102, and an inner panel 104. The outer panel 102 can oppose the inner panel 104. However, the outer panel 102 and the inner panel 104 need not be parallel with each other, but instead can merely just face each other. A plurality of outer panel 102 and a plurality of inner panel 104 can form, for example, an outer shell 172 and an inner shell 174. The outer panel 102 and the inner panel 104 can be formed, for example, from plastic, polyurethane, polycarbonate, cardboard, UV resistant material, anti-microbial material, or any other type of lightweight, yet durable material. In one embodiment, the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104 can be treated to make them UV-resistant, anti-microbial, water-resistant, water-proof, sound-resistant, and/or sound-proof. In addition, the outer panel 102, and/or the inner panel 104 can be treated with fire-resistant material. The inner shell 174 can define, for example, a usable area 120. The usable area 120 can be habitable and/or able to store materials. Thus, the usable area 120 can provide a space for one or more person to sleep in the usable area 120 or leave materials in the usable area 120.
  • The outer panel 102 and the inner panel 104 are connected by a plurality of stringers 108. The outer panel 102, the inner panel 104, and the stringers 108 define a support material area 106. The support material area 106 can be filled, for example, with support material 110. The support material 110 can provide, for example, support for the building 100. The support material can be, for example, expanding foam material, sand, dirt, rocks, sawdust, wood, straw, hay bales, rubble from destroyed buildings in disaster areas, other natural resources which may be abundant or easily usable at a location of the building 100, and/or any combination of the above. In one embodiment, the natural material can be, for example, fire resistant, or develop to be fire resistant. For example, hay bales can be mineralized with nitrogen, which is fire resistant and is a good insulator.
  • Since the support material can be easily formed, such as in the case of the expanding foam material, or is constructed from abundant material, such as in the case of the natural resources, the building 100 can be built in a relatively inexpensive manner without costly materials and little effort. The support material area 106 can have a width, for example, of 8 inches or more. However, the width can be reduced or increased depending on the type of support material 110 used and/or the type of material used for the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104. Furthermore, the width can be reduced or increased depending on the type of uses for the building 100.
  • The outer panel 102 and the inner panel 104 connected by stringers 108 can be seen, for example in FIG. 2. As seen in FIG. 2, the stringers 108 span the support material area 106. The stringers 108 provide support for the support material 110. In addition, the number of stringers 108 provided can be large enough such that failures of some of the stringers 108 will not substantially compromise the integrity of the building 100. The stringers 108 can be formed, for example, from dowels, plastic rods, twisted wires, a plurality of strong filaments or strips, zip ties, Kevlar® wires, kite strings, baling wires, nylon cords, metal piping, and/or other material suitable for supporting the support material 110.
  • In one embodiment, the stringers 108 can include a stringing unit 162 and loops 164 at the end of the stringing unit 162. The stringing unit 162 traverses the support material area 106. The loops 164 are formed outside of the support material area 106. The loops 164 can be connected to the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104 by placing a wire 166 through the loops 164. This can be seen, for example, in FIG. 3 with the wire 166 running through the loops 164 along a side view of the outer panel 102. The wire 166 can be, for example, located on an inside or outside side of the outer panel 102.
  • Instead of using the wire 166, dowels, rods, or any other type of material can be used. In addition instead of using the wire 166 or the loops 164, the stringers 108 can be connected to the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104 by being sewn onto the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104, using a Chicago screw, or any other type of suitable method.
  • Referring back to FIG. 2, the inner panel 104 can also optionally have a ballistic material 168 adhered to the inner panel 104 and/or the outer panel 102. The ballistic material 168 can be, for example, an Aramid fabric layer, Kevlar® layer, E-glass, ceramic material, and or any other type of ballistic material which have ballistic properties. The ballistic material 168 can provided, for example, penetration protection to the building 100. In addition, should the building 100 suffer an explosion, the ballistic material can reduce the likelihood of damaging shrapnel emanating from the building 100.
  • Referring back to FIG. 1, conduits 112 can also be formed inside the support material area 106. The conduits 112 can be used, for example, to drain material from a roof, or provide a location for safe passage of pipes and/or wires. In addition, the conduits 112 can also be used, for example, for venting.
  • In one embodiment, the building 100 can include a floor 122 and/or windows 114. The floor 122 in FIG. 1 is attached to the building block 116 as foldable panels which can be folded into place to form the floor for the building 100. However, other flooring can be used, such as a wood flooring, a concrete flooring, tarp, flooring made from local materials, or any other type of flooring. In addition, the building 100 can be anchored to the ground using, for example, a foundation anchor attached to the building 100.
  • The windows 114 can be formed, for example, by cutting through the outer panel 102, the inner panel 104, and/or the stringers 108 after the supporting material 110 has been deposited into support material area 106. In the case where the supporting material 110 is expanding foam material, the expanding foam material, will have already set, allow for easy creation of the windows 114. In one embodiment, the windows 114 can be formed before the supporting material 110 has been deposited into support material 106. In another embodiment, the windows 114 can be pre-cut and/or pre-formed.
  • As seen in FIG. 4, the building 100 can also include, for example, a roof 118. In one embodiment, the roof 118 can be attached to the building block 116 as foldable panels which can be folded into place to form the roof of the building 100. However, other types of roofing can be used, such as roof tiles, wood, branches, and/or any other type of roofs formed from local materials.
  • In one embodiment, the building block 116 can be configured to switch between a compact position and/or an expanded position as seen in FIG. 5, FIG. 6, FIG. 7, and/or FIG. 8. As seen in FIG. 5, the building block 116 is in a compact position with the outer panel 102 bent at the corners 148 and in a flat position. The inner panel 104 can also be in a flat position and can be located inside the outer panel 102.
  • The building block 116 can also be switched to an expanded position as seen in the intermediate positions FIG. 6 and FIG. 7. In FIG. 6 and FIG. 7, the building block 116 is transformed from its flattened position and the outer panel 102, and/or the inner panel 104 is no longer flat, but instead begins to define the usable area 120, and/or the support material area 106. The building block 116 is in the expanded position in FIG. 8. Although the building block 116 is formed in the shape of a square or rectangle, the expanded position can be, for example, any shape. In one embodiment, the position depicted in FIG. 6 or FIG. 7 could be considered, the expanded position.
  • In one embodiment, the building 100 can be formed, by a series of building blocks 116 instead of only a single building block. For example, as seen in FIG. 9, a building block 116 a can be first placed on the floor 122 in an expanded position. In FIG. 9, the building 100 can be attached to a floor 122 formed, for example, from concrete or steel. In the case where the support material 110 is an expanding foam material, the building 100 can be attached to a floor 122 by letting the expanding foam material expand and leak out of the building block 116 a and form a bond with the floor 122. In FIG. 9, the floor 122 is not flaps formed from the building block 116 a, but instead is a separate item.
  • In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 10, the building block 116 a can be attached to the floor 122 through a base plate 168. The base plate 168 can include a receiving area 164 for receiving the building block 116 a. The base plate 168 can be attached to the floor 122 prior to receiving the building block 116 a. After receiving the building block 116 a, the base plate 168 can be attached to the building block 116 a using connecting units 166. Connecting units 116 can be, for example, studs, screws, fasteners, nails, or any other types of devices which can connect two devices together.
  • Referring back to FIG. 9, the support material 110 is an expanding foam material 124. To form the expanding foam material 124, a first mixing material 150 is added with a second mixing material 152 in a bucket 128. The resulting expanding foam material 124 is poured onto the support material area 106 as seen, for example in FIG. 11 and FIG. 12. The expanding foam material 124 begins expanding and substantially completes its expansion before it substantially sets, as seen in FIG. 12. For example, the foam material 124 can substantially complete rising before it substantially sets. This can reduce, for example, an amount of pressure exerted on the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104 and reduce an amount of bulging on the outer panel 102 and/or the inner panel 104. Excess expanding foam material 132, or expanding foam material 124 that spills out of the building block 116 can be removed as seen in the portion 134 through sawing or other removal methods. In one embodiment, the expanding foam material 124 can be a slow setting type of foam which can take, for example, 5 minutes or more to set. The quickness of the set time may not be critical since a set time which is longer than normal will generally still be faster than constructing a building 100 using conventional methods. In one embodiment, one inch of expanding foam material 124 when initially prepared through mixing the first mixing material 150 and the second mixing material 152 can generate between a 20 inch to 30 inch expanding foam material 124 when the expanding foam material 124 has finished expanding and has set. However, in another embodiment, one inch of expanding foam material 124 can generate any amount of expanding foam material such as less than 20 inches of expanding foam material 124 or more than 30 inches of expanding of foam material 124 such that it can provide adequate material for the building 100.
  • Once the building block 116 a has its expanding foam material 124 set and any excess expanding foam material 132 removed, building block 116 b can be placed on top of the building block 116 a. The process for placing expanding foam material in the building block 116 a can be repeated for the building block 116 b. In one embodiment, to secure the building block 116 a to the building block 116 a, ribs 156 a, 156 b, 158 a, and 158 b can be used as shown in FIG. 14, FIG. 15, and FIG. 16.
  • FIG. 14 depicts a cross-section of an outer panel 102 a for the building block 116 a and an outer panel 102 b for the building block 116 b, which can be snapped together. The outer panel 102 a and the outer panel 102 b can be, for example, an approximately 0.5 inch twin-wall sheet stock that is formed from plastic. Although the outer panel 102 a and/or the outer panel 102 b are depicted, the inner panels can be used in the same manner. The outer panel 102 a includes, for example, the rib 156 a, the rib 158 a, an inner side 160 a and an outer side 161 a, while the outer panel 102 b includes, for example, the rib 156 b, the rib 158 b, an inner side 160 b and an outer side 161 b. The rib 156 a and the rib 156 b are shorter than the rib 158 a and the rib 158 b, respectively. The rib 156 a and the rib 156 b do not extend all the way across the outer panels 102 a and 102 b, and instead is connected only on one end to the outer panels 102 a and 102 b. For example, the rib 158 a extends across the inner side 160 a and the outer side 161 a, while the rib 158 b extends across the inner side 160 b and the outer side 161 b. However, the rib 156 a does not extend across the inner side 160 a and the outer side 161 a, and the rib 156 b does not extend across the inner side 160 b and the outer side 161 b. The outer panel 102 a and the outer panel 102 b can be placed together as indicated by the arrow 164.
  • As seen in FIG. 15, the rib 156 a and the rib 156 b bend as they touch and force is exerted on them. As seen in FIG. 16, eventually the rib 156 a and the rib 156 b slide past each other, forming a lock to couple the outer panel 102 a to the outer panel 102 b. Even if the outer panel 102 b was lifted straight up, the rib 156 a and the rib 156 b would contact each other and provide resistance for such a movement. This reduces the likelihood that outer panels 102 a and/or 102 b will be dislodged from each other. Furthermore, the outer panel 102 b now rests on the rib 158 a, while the rib 158 b prevents the outer panel 102 a from sliding past the rib 158 b. The use of the ribs 156 a, 156 b, 158 a, and 158 b can provide an effective and low-cost option for connecting the outer panel 102 a to the outer panel 102 b, and the building block 116 a to the building block 116 b. The same principles can be applied, for example, to the inner panels 104 for the building block 116 a and the building block 116 b.
  • Referring back to FIG. 13, once the building block 116 b is attached to the building block 116 a, the building block 116 c can be attached to the building block 116 b. The roof 118 can then be attached to the building block 116 c. In one embodiment, the building block 116 c does not have a uniform height, but instead is slanted to allow the roof 118 to be slanted. The roof 118 can include, for example, a base unit 128, and a cover 130. The cover 130 can be overlayed on top of the base unit 128.
  • In one embodiment, the building 100 includes a window 114 and a door 126. The window 114 can be directly cut through the building blocks 116 b. In addition, the window 114 can also include, for example, a clear plastic or glass. Likewise, the door 126 can be formed by cutting through the building blocks 116 a, 116 b, and/or 116 c. However, a portion of the outer block 102 and/or the inner block 104 for the building blocks 116 a, 116 b, and/or 116 c can remain uncut in order to provide a hinge for the door 126.
  • In one embodiment, the building block 116 can be formed, for example, from one or more interlocking building units 174 as seen in FIG. 17 and one or more column units 176 as seen in FIG. 18. Each of the interlocking buildings units 174 can have an interlocking section 170 and an interlocking section 172. The interlocking section 170 of one interlocking building unit 174 can mate with the interlocking section 172 of another interlocking building unit 174. For example, as seen in FIG. 19, the interlocking building unit 174 a includes interlocking sections 170 a and 172 a, while the interlocking building unit 174 b includes interlocking sections 170 b and 172 b. The interlocking building unit 174 a can be connected to the interlocking building unit 174 b by connecting the interlocking section 172 a and the interlocking section 170 b together.
  • The column unit 176 can be inserted between the interlocking building unit 174 a and the interlocking building unit 174 b in the area occupied jointly by the interlocking sections 172 a and 170 b. This prevents, for example, the interlocking sections 172 a and 170 b from becoming separated and substantially locks them in place. As seen in FIG. 20, the process can be repeated to form the building block 116, which can hold, for example, support material.
  • In one embodiment, the outer panel 102 can be physically bonded to the expanding foam material 124 as shown in FIG. 38. As seen in FIG. 38, the outer panel 102 can be, for example, a 0.5 inch twin-wall sheet stock. The outer panel 102 can include an inner side 160 and an outer side 161, and a plurality of ribs 158. The plurality of ribs 158, the inner side 160, and the outer side 161 define a plurality of hollow sections 182. The inner side 160 defines a plurality of holes 180, which allow the expanding foam material to enter the hollow sections 182. By entering the hollow sections 182, the expanding foam material 124 forms a physical bond with the outer panel 102. This can allow, for example, the expanding foam material 124 to be secured to the outer panel 102. The principles depicted in FIG. 38 can be applied, for example, to the inner panel 104 to form a physical bond between the expanding foam material 124 and the inner panel 104.
  • In one embodiment, the outer panel 102, the inner panel 104, the roof 118, and/or the floor 122 can be formed, for example, from a folding section 136 as seen in FIG. 21 and FIG. 22. As seen in FIG. 21, the folding section 136 can be folded into a compact position, while in FIG. 22, the folding section 136 can be switched into an expanded position. By placing the folding section 136 in the compact position, it can be easily transported allowing for more folding sections 136 to be placed in a small area. However, when the folding section 136 is ready to be used as an outer panel 102, inner panel 104, roof 118, and/or floor 122, it can be switched to the expanded position. The folding section 136 can be sewn or joined together with stringers.
  • In one embodiment, the outer panel 102, the inner panel 104, the roof 118, and/or the floor 122 can be formed, for example, from a folding section 138 as seen in FIG. 23, FIG. 24, FIG. 25, and/or FIG. 26. As seen in FIG. 23, the folding section 138 can be a variety of different shapes, such as a pentagon. As seen in FIG. 24 and FIG. 25, the folding shape 138 can also be moved from a compact position to an open position and/or stored in a compact position by being folded. As seen in FIG. 26, the folding shape 138 can be laid out in an expanded position as shown in FIG. 26. In such a case, the folding shape 138 can be desirable as the roof 118.
  • The roof 118 can also be a variety of shapes as shown in FIG. 27, FIG. 28, FIG. 29, and/or FIG. 30. The roof 118 can be designed, such that it can still be folded and stored in a compact position or switched to an expanded position when it is ready to be used. This can allow larger roofs to be implemented, even through the use of a standard 8 feet shipping container. Furthermore, the unconventional shapes can allow for greater overhang of the roof 118 in the building 100 as shown in FIG. 31. The overhang can allow water or other material to be drained away at a distance from the building block 116. This can reduce a likelihood of damage to the building block 116 and/or the building 100.
  • In one embodiment, the building block 116 can be expanded into a variety of shapes in the expanded position as shown in FIG. 32. For example, the building block 116 can be expanded into a figure-8. However, the building block 116 can also be expanded into other shapes, such as triangle, octagon, circle, or any other type of shapes that are suitable for a building.
  • In one embodiment, the roof 118 can be secured to the building block by using roof anchors 142 as shown in FIG. 33. The roof anchors 142 can be punched through the roof 118 and/or be aligned with a hole in the roof 118. The roof anchors 142 can include, for example, a threaded portion 178, which can then be mated with a threaded nut 176 to secure the roof 118 between the threaded nut 176 and the building block 116. In one embodiment, the roof 118 can be engaged to the building block 116 before, or after support material 110 and/or expanding foam material 124 has been placed in the roof 118.
  • In one embodiment, the roof 118 need not be formed to be flush with the building block 116 as shown in FIG. 34. Instead, the roof 118 can be, for example, accordion shaped. Inserts 144 can be used in conjunction with the roof 118 and the building block to fill in the gaps between the roof 118 and the building block 116. Thus, the roof 118 can be slanted, pitched, irregular, and/or have a variety of sizes and shapes with the use of the inserts 144 to reduce the gaps between the roof 118 and the building block 116. The inserts 144 can be of a variety of sizes and shapes to fill in the gap between the roof 118 and the building block 116.
  • In one embodiment, the roof 118 can include drains 146 to aid in draining the rainwater on the roof 118 as shown in FIG. 35. The drains 146 can align, for example, with a conduit 112 (FIG. 1). The drains 146 and/or the conduit 112 can be inside the building 116, between the outer panel 102 and the inner panel 104, and/or outside the building 116. The drains 146 and/or the conduit 112 can be formed, for example, from polypropylene or any other mildew or rot resistant material.
  • In one embodiment, the present invention is a process as shown in FIG. 36. In Step 3602, a first building block is transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. For example, the building block 116 a can be transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. (FIG. 13) In Step 3604, support material is placed in the first building block. For example, supporting material 110, or expanding foam material 124 can be placed in the support material area 116 a. In Step 3606, a second building block is transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. For example, the building block 116 b is transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. (FIG. 13) In Step 3608, the first building block is connected with the second building block. For example, the building block 116 a can be connected to the building block 116 b. (FIG. 13)
  • In another embodiment, the present invention is a process according to FIG. 37. In Step 3702, only a single building block is transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. For example, a building block 116 can be transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. (FIG. 1) In Step 3704, support material is placed in the building block. For example, the support material 110 can be placed in the building block 116. In Step 3706, a roof can be transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. For example, the roof 118 can be transformed from a compact position to an expanded position. (FIG. 4) In Step 3708 the roof is connected to the single building block. For example, the roof 118 can be connected to the building block 116. (FIG. 4)
  • In another embodiment, the present invention can be, for example, a building kit. The building kit can include, for example, only a single building block 116, a roof 118, a first mixing material 150, and/or a second mixing material 152. The single building block 116 and/or the roof 118 can be packaged in a compact position. This can, for example, reduce transportation costs and/or storage costs for the building kit. Furthermore, the first mixing material 150 and/or the second mixing material 152 can be stored in substantially flat tubes to also reduce transportation costs and/or storage costs. Thus, the building kit can therefore be a low-cost and easy solution for a user who wishes to build, for example, a small structure. The compact size of the building kit can reduce transportation and/or storage costs which can reduce overhead costs for a merchant selling the building kit. Part of the reduction in overhead costs can be passed onto the consumer so that the consumer can also partake in such savings. In addition, the consumer will also enjoy savings in other manners since the building kit can reduce an amount of time and resources that it takes to build a building.
  • In addition, the building block 116 can also be used for other applications, such as for maritime uses, road barriers, security barriers, insulation uses, ballistic uses, and/or any other type of uses which can be suitable for the properties of the building block 116. The maritime uses can be, for example boat hulls, docks, or any other type of marine applications. Due to the ballistic properties of the building block 116, the building block 116 can also have military uses, such as for ammunition sheds, or any buildings which may be exposed to explosions. In addition, the building blocks 116 can be used, for example, to provide armor for a vehicle.
  • In another embodiment, the building 100 also be easily deconstructed to allow for the building 100 to be reused at another site. In the case that the support material 110 is the expanding foam material, a dissolving compound can be poured over the expanding foam material 124 to dissolve the expanding foam material 124.
  • The previous description of the disclosed examples is provided to enable any person of ordinary skill in the art to make or use the disclosed methods and apparatus. Various modifications to these examples will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the principles defined herein may be applied to other examples without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosed method and apparatus. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive and the scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope

Claims (20)

1. A building block comprising:
a first panel;
a second panel opposing the first panel; and
a plurality of stringers connecting the first panel and the second panel, wherein the first panel, the second panel, and the plurality of stringers are configured to switch between a compact position and an expanded position.
2. The building block of claim 1 wherein the first panel, the second panel, and the plurality of stringers define a support material area.
3. The building block of claim 2 wherein the support material area is configured to receive a support material.
4. The building block of claim 3 wherein the support material is at least one of an expanding foam material, cement, organic material, rubble, earth, adobe, or plant matter.
5. The building block of claim 4 wherein the support material is an expanding foam material which substantially completes its expansion prior to substantially setting.
6. A building comprising:
a plurality of building blocks, each of the building blocks including:
a first panel;
a second panel opposing the first panel; and
a plurality of stringers connecting the first panel and the second panel, wherein each of the building blocks is configured to switch between a compact position and an expanded position.
7. The building of claim 6 wherein each of the building blocks further includes a plurality of ribs located within the first panel and the second panel.
8. The building of claim 7 wherein the building blocks includes a first building block and a second building block, and the first building block is connected to the second building block by connecting the ribs in the first building block and the ribs in the second building block.
9. The building of claim 6 each of the building blocks is configured to include an expandable foam material.
10. A building kit comprising:
a building block in a compact position;
a first mixing material; and
a second mixing material, the first mixing material and the second mixing material selected such that a mixture of the first mixing material and the second mixing material forms an expandable foam material which can be placed within the building block.
11. The building kit of claim 10 wherein the building block is configured to switch between the compact position and an expanded position, and the expandable foam material is placed within the building block when the building block is in the expanded position.
12. The building kit of claim 10 wherein the building block includes
a first panel,
a second panel opposing the first panel, and
a plurality of stringers connecting the first panel and the second panel.
13. The building kit of claim 10 further comprising a plurality of anchors configured to be attached to the building block.
14. A method for constructing a building comprising:
transforming a first building block from a compact position to an expanded position;
placing support material in a support material area in the first building block;
transforming a second building block from a compact position to an expanded position; and
connecting the first building block with the second building block.
15. The method of claim 13 wherein the support material is an expanding foam material.
16. The method of claim 15 further comprising mixing a first mixing material with a second mixing material to form the expanding foam material.
17. The method of claim 15 further comprising removing excess expanding foam material when the expanding foam material is substantially set.
18. A method for constructing a shed comprising:
transforming only a single building block from a compact position to an expanded position;
placing support material in a support material area in the building block;
transforming a roof from a compact position to an expanded position; and
connecting the roof to the single building block.
19. The method of claim 18 further comprising:
forming a door from the single building block.
20. The method of claim 18 further comprising mixing a first mixing material with a second mixing material to form the support material.
US12/819,054 2009-06-22 2010-06-18 Method and system for a foldable structure employing material-filled panels Abandoned US20100319285A1 (en)

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