US20110197535A1 - Laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements - Google Patents

Laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements Download PDF

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Publication number
US20110197535A1
US20110197535A1 US12/705,593 US70559310A US2011197535A1 US 20110197535 A1 US20110197535 A1 US 20110197535A1 US 70559310 A US70559310 A US 70559310A US 2011197535 A1 US2011197535 A1 US 2011197535A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
split
tongue
connector
located
construction elements
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US12/705,593
Inventor
Geoffrey Alan Baker
Nicholas Gizard Vitale
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SURELY LINK GROUP Inc
Original Assignee
Geoffrey Alan Baker
Nicholas Gizard Vitale
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Application filed by Geoffrey Alan Baker, Nicholas Gizard Vitale filed Critical Geoffrey Alan Baker
Priority to US12/705,593 priority Critical patent/US20110197535A1/en
Publication of US20110197535A1 publication Critical patent/US20110197535A1/en
Assigned to SURELY LINK GROUP INC. reassignment SURELY LINK GROUP INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BAKER, GEOFFREY ALAN, VITALE, NICHOLAS GIZARD
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
    • 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
    • E04B1/6125Connections 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 on the one frontal surface co-operating with recesses in the other frontal surface
    • E04B1/6129Connections 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 on the one frontal surface co-operating with recesses in the other frontal surface the connection made by expansion
    • 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
    • E04B1/6116Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by locking means on lateral surfaces
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/38Connections for building structures in general
    • E04B1/61Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other
    • E04B1/6108Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together
    • E04B1/612Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces
    • E04B1/6145Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces with recesses in both frontal surfaces co-operating with an additional connecting element
    • E04B1/615Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces with recesses in both frontal surfaces co-operating with an additional connecting element the connection made by expansion
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B1/00Constructions in general; Structures which are not restricted either to walls, e.g. partitions, or floors or ceilings or roofs
    • E04B1/38Connections for building structures in general
    • E04B1/61Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other
    • E04B1/6108Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together
    • E04B1/612Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces
    • E04B1/6145Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces with recesses in both frontal surfaces co-operating with an additional connecting element
    • E04B1/6154Connections for building structures in general of slab-shaped building elements with each other the frontal surfaces of the slabs connected together by means between frontal surfaces with recesses in both frontal surfaces co-operating with an additional connecting element the connection made by friction-grip
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F15/00Flooring
    • E04F15/02Flooring or floor layers composed of a number of similar elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/01Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship
    • E04F2201/0107Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels substantially in their own plane, perpendicular to the abutting edges
    • E04F2201/0115Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels substantially in their own plane, perpendicular to the abutting edges with snap action of the edge connectors
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/01Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship
    • E04F2201/0138Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels perpendicular to the main plane
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/01Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship
    • E04F2201/0138Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels perpendicular to the main plane
    • E04F2201/0146Joining sheets, plates or panels with edges in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels perpendicular to the main plane with snap action of the edge connectors
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/02Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections
    • E04F2201/026Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections with rabbets, e.g. being stepped
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/02Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections
    • E04F2201/028Non-undercut connections, e.g. tongue and groove connections connected by tongues and grooves with triangular shape
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/04Other details of tongues or grooves
    • E04F2201/041Tongues or grooves with slits or cuts for expansion or flexibility
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/04Other details of tongues or grooves
    • E04F2201/044Other details of tongues or grooves with tongues or grooves comprising elements which are not manufactured in one piece with the sheets, plates or panels but which are permanently fixedly connected to the sheets, plates or panels, e.g. at the factory
    • E04F2201/049Other details of tongues or grooves with tongues or grooves comprising elements which are not manufactured in one piece with the sheets, plates or panels but which are permanently fixedly connected to the sheets, plates or panels, e.g. at the factory wherein the elements are made of organic plastics with or without reinforcements or filling materials
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/05Separate connectors or inserts, e.g. pegs, pins, keys or strips
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/05Separate connectors or inserts, e.g. pegs, pins, keys or strips
    • E04F2201/0517U- or C-shaped brackets and clamps
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04FFINISHING WORK ON BUILDINGS, e.g. STAIRS, FLOORS
    • E04F2201/00Joining sheets or plates or panels
    • E04F2201/05Separate connectors or inserts, e.g. pegs, pins, keys or strips
    • E04F2201/0523Separate tongues; Interlocking keys, e.g. joining mouldings of circular, square or rectangular shape
    • E04F2201/0529Separate tongues; Interlocking keys, e.g. joining mouldings of circular, square or rectangular shape the interlocking key acting as a dovetail-type key
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16BDEVICES FOR FASTENING OR SECURING CONSTRUCTIONAL ELEMENTS OR MACHINE PARTS TOGETHER, e.g. NAILS, BOLTS, CIRCLIPS, CLAMPS, CLIPS, WEDGES, JOINTS OR JOINTING
    • F16B5/00Joining sheets or plates, e.g. panels, to one another or to strips or bars parallel to them
    • F16B5/0004Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship
    • F16B5/0008Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels substantially in their own plane, perpendicular to the abutting edge
    • F16B5/0012Joining sheets, plates or panels in abutting relationship by moving the sheets, plates or panels substantially in their own plane, perpendicular to the abutting edge a tongue on the edge of one sheet, plate or panel co-operating with a groove in the edge of another sheet, plate or panel

Abstract

There is disclosed apparatus, method and system for mechanically joining abutting construction elements having a first split tongue located at one end of the connector and a second split tongue located at the other end of the connector. The first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship. In an embodiment the grooves in said construction elements are formed into auxiliary groove containing members adapted to be integrated into an edge or face surface of the construction elements.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to apparatus, method and system for laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements, especially floating floors, concrete block, concrete brick, or concrete tile floors or walls.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • Methods and systems for laying and joining building panels is known in the prior art. More specifically, by way of example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,051,486 to Pervan discloses a locking system for a floorboard having connectors which are integrated with the floorboard and adapted to connect the floorboard with an identical floorboard in a horizontal direction. The connectors consist of a locking strip which projects from the vertical plane of the floorboard and has a locking element which engages a downward open locking groove of the floorboard. The locking strip is a separate part which is mechanically fixed to the floorboard in a horizontal and vertical direction and consists of a machined sheet-shaped material which is made of a wood-based material.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to the laying and mechanically joining of building panels, especially thin hard wood floating floors. Each panel is normally connected to and aligned with one another via a tongue and groove mechanism. Formation of the tongue element typically results in some loss of saleable panel surface material. The objective of the present invention is to connect and align adjacent panels without the need to form a tongue element in the edge of one of the panels. Rather the panels are joined via an auxiliary connector element which engages suitably shaped grooves that are formed in the panels in such a manner as to not result in the loss of surface material. The tongues which mate with the grooves are incorporated into the auxiliary connector. The tongues on the connector element are split tongues to permit ease of installation of the connector into a panel and to hold the installed connector in place. The tongues on the auxiliary connector and its mating panel groove can be arranged to allow either lateral mating in which the tongue is inserted into the groove in a direction parallel to the panel surface or normal mating in which the tongue is inserted into the groove in a direction that is normal to the panel surface. The auxiliary connector is of low cost PVC, or other thermoplastic polymer, extrusion with the intent that the cost savings that accrues from the saving of panel surface material more than offsets the cost of the connector.
  • In an embodiment of the invention there is disclosed a connector for mechanically joining abutting construction elements comprising:
      • a first split tongue located at one end of said connector; and
      • a second split tongue located at the other end of said connector;
      • wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship.
  • In another embodiment of the invention there is disclosed a method for mechanically joining abutting construction elements comprises:
      • providing a first split tongue located at one end of said connector; and
      • providing a second split tongue located at the other end of said connector;
      • wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship.
  • In another embodiment of the invention there is disclosed a system for mechanically joining abutting construction elements comprising:
      • a first split tongue located at one end of said connector; and
      • a second split tongue located at the other end of said connector;
      • wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship.
  • The foregoing has outlined, rather broadly, the preferred feature of the present invention so that those skilled in the art may better understand the detailed description of the invention that follows. Additional features of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claims of the invention. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they can readily use the disclosed conception and specific embodiment as a basis for designing or modifying other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention and that such other structures do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Other aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description, the appended claim, and the accompanying drawings in which similar elements are given similar reference numerals.
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B are side views of a prior art tongue and groove joint with lateral insertion;
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B are side views of the prior art with the split tongue of the present connector replacing the solid tongue of the prior art;
  • FIG. 3 is a side view showing flexing of the split tongue of FIGS. 2A and 2B where both members are shown flexing;
  • FIG. 4 is a side view showing augmentation of split tongue restoring force with a bulk elastic material;
  • FIG. 5 is a side view showing augmentation of split tongue restoring force with a strip spring material;
  • FIG. 6 is a side view of a grooved tongue with a locking catch and groove with locking step for receiving the locking catch;
  • FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C show the grooved tongue with locking catches of FIG. 6 entering the groove with locking steps;
  • FIG. 8 is a side view of a prior art auxiliary connector;
  • FIG. 9 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having split or grooved tongues;
  • FIG. 10 is a side view of the auxiliary connector having split or grooved tongues of FIG. 9 inserted into a left panel;
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of the auxiliary connector of FIG. 9 having split or grooved tongues inserted into both a left and right panel;
  • FIG. 12 is a side view of the auxiliary connector of FIG. 9 as it is being inserted into a left and a right panel;
  • FIG. 13 is a side view of an embodiment of an auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongues in accordance with the principles of the invention;
  • FIG. 14 is a side view of a panel groove for receiving the auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongues of FIG. 13 in accordance with the principles of the invention;
  • FIG. 15 is a side view of the auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongues of FIG. 13 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 14; and
  • FIG. 16 is a side view of the auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongues of FIG. 13 installed in both first and second panel grooves.
  • FIG. 17 is a side view of an embodiment of an auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongue in accordance with the principles of the invention;
  • FIG. 18 is a side view of a panel groove for receiving the auxiliary connector with grooved tongue of FIG. 17 in accordance with the principles of the invention;
  • FIG. 19 is a side view of the auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongue of FIG. 17 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 18;
  • FIG. 20 is a side view of the auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongue of FIG. 17 installed in both first and second panel grooves of FIG. 18.
  • FIG. 21 is a side view of an embodiment of an auxiliary connector with tongue in accordance with the principles of the invention;
  • FIG. 22 is a side view of a panel groove for receiving the auxiliary connector with tongue of FIG. 21 in accordance with the principles of the invention;
  • FIG. 23 is a side view of the auxiliary connector with tongue of FIG. 21 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 22;
  • FIG. 24 is a side view of the auxiliary connector with tongue of FIG. 21 installed in both first and second panel grooves of FIG. 22.
  • FIG. 25 is a side view of an auxiliary groove able to be integrated into a construction element to receive and hold a split or grove tongue auxiliary connector of the type shown in FIG. 9;
  • FIG. 26 is a side view of the auxiliary groove shown in FIG. 25 integrated into the edge of a construction element;
  • FIG. 27 is a side view of the auxiliary groove shown in FIG. 25 integrated into the edge of a construction element with the auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 9 laterally inserted into and holding onto the channel in the auxiliary groove;
  • FIG. 28 is a side view of the auxiliary groove shown in FIG. 25 integrated into the edge of a first construction element with the auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 9 inserted into the channel in the auxiliary groove with the right side split tongue of the auxiliary connector laterally inserted into and holding onto the channel of a second auxiliary channel integrated into the edge of a second construction element;
  • FIG. 29 is a side view of an auxiliary groove able to be integrated into a construction element to receive and hold a split or grooved tongue auxiliary connector of the type shown in FIG. 13;
  • FIG. 30 is a side view of the auxiliary groove shown in FIG. 29 integrated into the under side of a construction element;
  • FIG. 31 is a side view of the auxiliary groove shown in FIG. 29 integrated into the edge of a construction element with the auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 13 normally inserted into and holding onto the channel in the auxiliary groove;
  • FIG. 32 is a side view of the auxiliary groove shown in FIG. 29 integrated into the edge of a first construction element with the auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 13 normally inserted into the channel in the auxiliary groove with the right side split tongue of the auxiliary connector normally inserted into and holding onto the channel of a second auxiliary channel integrated into the edge of a second construction element;
  • FIG. 33 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a vertical projection on the left side adhesively connected to a channel in the bottom surface of a first construction element and a split tongue on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a channel in the bottom surface of a second construction element;
  • FIG. 34 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a plurality of vertical support struts on the left side adhesively connected to a lateral channel in a first construction element and a split tongue on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a channel in an edge of a second construction element;
  • FIG. 35 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a full tongue on the left side which may be adhesively connected to a lateral channel in a first construction element and a split tongue on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a channel in a second construction element where a plurality of vertical support struts are located between the full tongue and the split tongue;
  • FIG. 36 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a plurality of horizontal struts which project up on the left side and which are connected to a vertical channel in a bottom surface of a first construction element and a split tongue on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a vertical channel in a bottom surface of a second construction element; and
  • FIG. 37 is a side view of an auxiliary groove integrated into a first construction element which is adapted to receive and hold a block extender and a split or grove tongue auxiliary connector integrated into the block extender and a second construction element.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, there are shown side views of a prior art tongue and groove joint prior to and after being joined together with lateral insertion. Typically, the adjacent edges 10, 12 of building panels 14, 16 must be held in good alignment normal to the panel faces 18, 20, e.g., in floating laminate flooring, so that the assembled panels appear to form a contiguous flat front or top surface. This alignment and holding is typically achieved by means of a tongue 22 and groove 24 joint. In many cases the holding feature of the tongue to its groove is accomplished solely by friction between the tongue and groove surfaces, while in other instances the holding action can be augmented with the use of adhesives or by shaping the tongue and its mating groove to provide a mechanical locking feature.
  • The panels used in flooring typically have two relatively flat surfaces: the upper surface 18, 20, which is the surface typically walked on, and a lower surface 26, the surface which is in contact with the surface supporting the floor. The panels typically have four edge surfaces (two side edge surfaces and two end edge surfaces), that are typically perpendicular to the upper surface where the two side edge surfaces are relatively long and parallel to each other; and the other two edge surfaces that are relatively short and similarly parallel to each other. The result is a panel which is typically long and narrow.
  • Typically a groove such as groove 24 is formed in a long side and short end edge, and tongues 22 are formed on the long side and short end edges opposite those on which the grooves are formed. The panels are assembled so that the groove on the edge of one panel mates with the tongue on the edge of its adjacent panel; and typically the tongues and grooves join adjacent panels on both their long and short edges.
  • Typically, forming the tongues on the long and short side edges of a panel creates a loss of between 2% to 5% of saleable panel face surface.
  • The present invention is directed toward providing a new improved apparatus, method and system of joining panels together which eases the installation of the tongue in the groove, and eliminates the loss in saleable surface material associated with the formation of a tongue on the side and end edges of a panel. In another embodiment, the present invention also provides improved apparatus, method and system of joining other construction materials, e.g., concrete brick, concrete block, and concrete tile.
  • Referring to FIGS. 2A and 2B, there are shown side views of a split or grooved tongue 28 having a first projection 30, a second projection 32 and a space 34 there between. The tongue 28 is similar to the tongue 22 of FIG. 1A except for the addition of a groove 34 (or grooves) formed in the tongue parallel to the direction of insertion.
  • The front or top surface of each panel 14, 16 is the decorative face of the panel that is exposed to view, while the rear surface 26 is the normally unfinished surface that faces the support structure. The tongue edge 10 is the panel edge that remains after the panel tongue is formed and the groove edge 12 is the panel edge that remains after the panel groove is formed. The groove 34 that is formed into the tongue is called the tongue groove to differentiate it from the groove 24 in the panel which is called the panel groove. Formation of a tongue with one or more grooves provides a tongue with two or more sub-tongues 30, 32 which adjoin the tongue groove 34, or grooves.
  • As a consequence of their reduced thickness, the sub-tongues 30, 32 are able to flex in a direction that is normal to the tongue axis as shown in FIG. 3. The force that the sub-tongues exert to resist flexing is denoted as the sub-tongue restoring force. In applications where the sub-tongue restoring force is inadequate, it can be augmented by the installation of a spring element into the tongue groove.
  • FIG. 3 is a side view showing flexing of both members of the split tongue.
  • Referring to FIG. 4, a spring element 36 is provided by a section of bulk elastic material such as rubber or Viton which is inserted between the sub-tongues
  • In another embodiment, and referring to FIG. 5, a restoring force is provided by using a spring element in the form of a U-shaped element 38 which can be made of a spring material such as steel, polyvinylchloride (PVC) or the like.
  • In another embodiment, a grooved tongue can be used to hold the tongue in place in its groove. Referring to FIG. 6, there is shown a side view of a split or grooved tongue with a locking catch and a groove with a locking step for receiving the tongue.
  • The tongue 40 in FIG. 6 is designed with a catch 46 at the end of sub-tongues 44; and the mating panel groove 48 is designed with an engaging step 50 at the distal end on its upper and lower surfaces. The manner in which the catch interacts with the groove to hold the tongue in place is shown in the installation views shown in FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C. As seen in FIG. 7B, during installation, the sub-tongues flex towards the center of the tongue groove to allow the sub-tongue catches to slide over the narrow region of the panel groove. As seen in FIG. 7C, once the catches have passed the edges of the groove, the sub-tongues snap back to their expanded condition and the sub-tongue catches 46 engage panel groove steps 50.
  • It is clear that if the panel facing edge of the catches and the panel facing vertical edge of the groove steps in FIG. 6 are exactly perpendicular to the axis of the tongue, then a large lateral space between the panel edges of the adjoining panels would have to be left in the finished panel surface to accommodate the unavoidable tongue and groove fabrication tolerances.
  • The size of the lateral space required to allow for fabrication tolerances can be reduced by forming the sub-tongue catch edges at an angle “a” that is normal to the tongue axis, as shown in FIG. 6, which will allow the distance between the sub-tongue catch edge and the panel groove step edge to vary by “b” which effectively reduces the lateral space between adjoining panels. The choice of the angle “a” is a trade between the ability to accommodate dimensional variations and how securely the tongue is held in the groove.
  • The angle “c” of the groove step edge is typically 90° but if can be either more or less than 90° but the difference between the 90° and the angle “c” should be less than the angle “a”.
  • However, regardless of how easy the split tongue makes installation of the tongue in the groove, or how securely the tongue is held in the groove after installation, the geometries described above do not eliminate the loss of saleable panel surface that results from the fabrication a tongue which is integral with the edge of a panel. It is known that the loss of panel surface material can, however, be avoided by the use of an auxiliary connector such as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,051,486 to Pervan.
  • Referring to FIG. 8, there is shown a side view of an auxiliary connector disclosed by Pervan. The tongue (and its lost surface material) on a panel edge is replaced with a groove similar to that on the panels opposite edge; and the connector is fabricated with two opposite facing tongues. As shown in FIG. 8, the right panel 52 has a groove 54 and the left panel 56 has a groove 58 where the panels 52, 56 are joined with an auxiliary connector 60 having a left facing tongue and a right facing tongue.
  • As seen in the FIG. 8, after the two panels are joined, the auxiliary connector is completely hidden from view.
  • Referring to FIG. 9, there is shown a side view of an auxiliary connector having right and left split or grooved tongues where each sub-tongue has a catch which is provided to engage the connector at its right and left mating panels. More specifically, the auxiliary connector which is symmetrical about its center vertical axis includes left and right upper 60 and lower 62 sub-tongues separated by a tongue groove 64, and each sub tongue has a catch 66 at its end. Located between the left and right sub-tongues is one or a plurality of panel upper vertical support struts 68 and one or a plurality of lower vertical support struts 70.
  • Referring to FIG. 10, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector of FIG. 9 having split or grooved tongues inserted into a left panel, and FIG. 11 is a side view of the auxiliary connector of FIG. 9 having split or grooved tongues inserted into both left and right panels. FIG. 12 is a side view of the auxiliary connector of FIG. 9 as it is being inserted into left and right panels.
  • As can be seen in FIG. 10, the front surface 18 of the panel 14 that extends over the panel groove 48 forms a relatively weak cantilever element. The panel edge vertical support struts 68, 70 serve to support this relatively weak cantilever element by transferring the load applied to it at the panel face from there to the support surface supporting the panel.
  • Referring to FIG. 12, the left side of FIG. 12 shows the grooved tongue auxiliary connector just starting to be inserted into a panel groove, and the right side of FIG. 12 shows the grooved tongue auxiliary connector partially inserted into its panel groove.
  • FIGS. 10, 11, and 12 show the grooved tongue auxiliary connector in which the auxiliary connector tongue is inserted into its mating panel grooves in the lateral direction, i.e., in the plane of the panel surfaces.
  • Referring to FIG. 13, there is shown a side view of an embodiment of an auxiliary connector with two grooved tongues in accordance with the principles of the invention where the grooved tongue auxiliary connector is adapted to be inserted into mating panel grooves from the rear surface of the panel in a direction which is normal to the panel surface.
  • The auxiliary connector of FIG. 13 is symmetrical about its centrally located vertical axis and includes left and right first sub-tongues 70 having sub-tongue catches 72, left and right second sub-tongues 74 having sub-tongue catches 76.
  • The left and right first and second sub-tongues can be composed of, for example, a plastic such as PVC or a metal such as steel, bronze, etc, and extend outward from the same side of support member 80.
  • Referring to FIG. 14, there is shown a side view of a panel groove for receiving the auxiliary connector with grooved tongue of FIG. 13 in accordance with the principles of the invention. Panel groove 86 includes two steps 88 sized to receive the sub-tongue catches 72, 76 as shown in FIG. 13. In addition, a clearance channel 90 is provided in the bottom of the panel for receiving the part of support member 80 which is located between two grooved or split tongues.
  • Referring to FIG. 15, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector with split or grooved tongue of FIG. 13 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 14 of a panel 14 and awaiting installation of a second adjoining panel. The left sub-tongue catches 72, 76 engage the panel groove steps 88 and support member 80 is located in clearance channel 90.
  • Referring to FIG. 16, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector with grooved tongue of FIG. 13 installed in a panel groove formed into a second panel 16.
  • Referring to FIG. 17, there is shown a side view of an embodiment of an auxiliary connector with two grooved tongues in accordance with the principles of the invention where the grooved tongue auxiliary connector is adapted to be inserted into mating panel grooves from the rear surface of the panel in a direction which is normal to the panel surface.
  • The left grooved or split tongue consists of left, non-flexing, sub-tongue 92 and left flexing sub-tongue 74 with tongue groove 96 between them and catch 76 on sub-tongue 74. The right grooved or split tongue consists of right, non-flexing, sub-tongue 94 and right flexing sub-tongue 70 with tongue groove 98 between them and catch 72 on sub-tongue 70.
  • Referring to FIG. 18 there is shown a side view of a panel groove for receiving the auxiliary connector with grooved tongue of FIG. 17 in accordance with the principles of the invention. Partial panel groove 86 includes a single step 88 sized to receive the sub-tongue catch 76 as shown in FIG. 17. In addition groove 100 is provided to receive sub-tongue 92 as shown in FIG. 17; and a clearance channel 90 is provided in the bottom of the panel for receiving the part of support member 80 from which the two split or grooved tongues in FIG. 17 project.
  • Referring to FIG. 19, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector with grooved tongues of FIG. 17 installed in the panel grooves of FIG. 18 of a panel 102 and awaiting installation of a second adjoining panel. The left sub-tongue catches 76 engages the panel partial groove step 88 and support member 80 is located in clearance channel 90. The right side non-flexible sub-tongue 92 presses on the side of right side of panel groove 100 to hold catch 76 of flexible sub-tongue 74 in contact with step 88 of partial panel groove 86 in FIG. 18.
  • Referring to FIG. 20, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector with left grooved tongue of FIG. 17 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 18 formed in panels 102, with the right grooved tongue of FIG. 17 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 18 formed in panels 104. The right sub-tongue catches 72 engages the panel partial groove step 88. The left side of right side non-flexible sub-tongue 94 presses on the left side of panel groove 100 to hold catch 72 of flexible sub-tongue 70 in contact with step 88 of partial panel groove 86 in FIG. 17.
  • Referring to FIG. 21, there is shown a side view of an embodiment of an auxiliary connector with two tongues in accordance with the principles of the invention where the auxiliary connector is adapted to be inserted into mating panel grooves from the rear surface of the panel in a direction which is normal to the panel surface.
  • The left grooved or split tongue consists of left, non-flexing, sub-tongue 92 and left flexing sub-tongue 74 with tongue groove 96 between them and catch 76 on sub-tongue 74. The right grooved or split tongue consists of right, non-flexing, sub-tongue 94 and flexing sub-tongue 70 with tongue groove 98 between them and catch 72 on sub-tongue 70.
  • Referring to FIG. 22 there is shown a side view of a panel groove for receiving the auxiliary connector with grooved tongue of FIG. 21 in accordance with the principles of the invention. Partial panel groove 86 includes a single step 88 sized to receive the sub-tongue catch 76 as shown in FIG. 21. In addition groove 100 is provided to receive sub-tongue 92 as shown in FIG. 21; and a clearance channel 90 is provided in the bottom of the panel for receiving the part of support member 80 from which the two split or grooved tongues in FIG. 21 project.
  • Referring to FIG. 23, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector with grooved tongues of FIG. 21 installed in the panel grooves of FIG. 22 of a panel 102 and awaiting installation of a second adjoining panel. The left sub-tongue catches 76 engages the panel partial groove step 88 and support member 80 is located in clearance channel 90 of FIG. 22. The left side non-flexible sub-tongue 92 presses on the left side of partial panel groove 100 to hold catch 76 of flexible sub-tongue 74 in contact with step 88 of panel groove 86 in FIG. 22.
  • Referring to FIG. 24, there is shown a side view of the auxiliary connector with left grooved tongue of FIG. 21 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 22 formed in panel 102, with the right grooved tongue of FIG. 21 installed in the panel groove of FIG. 22 formed in panel 104. The right sub-tongue catches 72 engages the panel partial groove step 88. The right side non-flexible sub-tongue 94 presses on the right side of panel groove 100 to hold catch 72 of flexible sub-tongue 70 in contact with step 88 of partial panel groove 86 in FIG. 22.
  • Referring to FIG. 25, there is shown a side view of an auxiliary groove containing member 106 able to be integrated into the edge of a construction element such as a concrete brick or a concrete block or a concrete tile. The auxiliary groove containing member would preferable be extruded in long lengths in a thermoplastic polymer such as PVC or in a metal such as brass or aluminum. It could also be cast in shorter lengths.
  • If the construction element (e.g., a concrete brick or concrete block or concrete tile) is formed by the hardening of a material in a mold, the auxiliary groove containing member can be integrated into the element as part of the fabrication process. Alternatively, a suitable groove containing member can be incorporated into the edge of the construction element and the auxiliary groove containing member adhesively integrated into the element after it is formed (either at the element fabrication site or, later, when the element is at a construction site.).
  • The groove in the auxiliary groove containing member is made to mate with a connector such as that shown in FIG. 9. In FIG. 25, the groove 48 has sides 111 which serve to flex the sub-tongues of the auxiliary connector until the catches 66 on the auxiliary connector in FIG. 9 pass the steps 50 at the distal end of the groove in FIG. 25. The tapered regions 110 of the groove 48 may or may not be present and serve to make it easier to install the auxiliary connector into the groove. The flat regions 112 at the entrance of groove 48 server to act with the vertical leg or legs 68, 70 of the auxiliary connector in FIG. 9 to transfer forces from the top to the bottom of the connector. Steps (or alternatively inclined surfaces) 108 in FIG. 25 serve to hold the auxiliary connector firmly in the edge of the construction element.
  • Referring to FIG. 26 there is shown a side view in which the auxiliary groove containing member 106 shown in FIG. 25 is shown integrated into the edge of a construction element 114.
  • Referring to FIG. 27 there is shown a side view in which the auxiliary groove containing member 106 shown in FIG. 25 is integrated into the edge of a construction element 114 from FIG. 26, with the left split or grooved tongue of the lateral auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 9 inserted into and held by the interaction of catches 66 of FIG. 9 with the steps 50 of the auxiliary connector in FIG. 25.
  • Referring to FIG. 28 there is shown a side view in which a first construction element 114 with auxiliary groove containing member 106 of FIG. 25 integrated into its edge and having the left split or grooved tongue of auxiliary the lateral connector of FIG. 9 inserted and held into the groove in the auxiliary groove containing member; and has the right split or grooved tongue of the lateral connector shown in FIG. 9 inserted to the groove of an auxiliary groove containing member 106 of FIG. 25 that has been integrated into the left edge of second construction element 116 with auxiliary groove containing member 106 of FIG. 25 integrated into its left edge
  • The auxiliary groove element integrated into the all four sides (left, right, top and bottom) of a construction element allows the construction elements to be joined so as to form a wall without the need for mortar in between the elements. This should allow walls to be built more quickly in good weather or bad by inexperience workers.
  • Should mortar be desired in the spaces between the construction elements, this can easily be accommodated by lengthening the connector shown so that a mortar receiving space is left between the right and left or bottom and top edges of the construction element.
  • In either case, with or without mortar, the presence of the connectors should serve to provide a construction that is less prone to failure during earthquakes due to the ability of the auxiliary connectors to flex rather than fracture when strained.
  • Referring to FIG. 29, there is shown a side view of an auxiliary groove containing member 118 able to be integrated into the flat under surface of a construction element such as a concrete brick or a concrete block or a concrete tile. This auxiliary groove containing member is particularly suited to being attached by mortar to the undersurface of bathroom or other decorative tile. The auxiliary groove containing member would preferable be extruded in long lengths in a thermoplastic polymer such as PVC or in a metal such as brass or aluminum. It could also be cast in shorter lengths.
  • If the construction element (e.g., a concrete brick or concrete block or concrete tile) is formed by the hardening of a material in a mold, the auxiliary groove containing member can be integrated into the element as part of the fabrication process. Alternatively, a suitable groove can be incorporated into the surface of the construction element and the auxiliary groove element adhesively integrated into the construction element after it is formed (either at the construction element fabrication site or, later, when the construction element is at a construction site.).
  • The groove in the auxiliary groove containing member is made to mate with a normal connector such as that shown in FIG. 13. In FIG. 29, the groove 48 has sides 122 which serve to flex the sub-tongues of the auxiliary connector until the catches 72 and 76 on the auxiliary connector in FIG. 13 pass the steps 50 at the distal end of the groove 48 in FIG. 29. The tapered regions 120 of the groove 48 may or may not be present and serve to make it easier to install the auxiliary connector into the groove. The region 90 in the auxiliary groove containing member is cut away to provide room for the support leg 80 between the two split or grooved tongues in FIG. 13. The top 124 of the step serves to locate the auxiliary connector vertically when it is attached to the back of a tile element.
  • Referring to FIG. 30 there is shown a side view in which the auxiliary groove containing member 118 shown in FIG. 29 is shown integrated onto the undersurface of a decorative tile 126 by mortar 128 introduced into the space between the auxiliary groove and the tile.
  • Referring to FIG. 31 there is shown a side view in which the auxiliary groove containing member 118 shown in FIG. 29 is integrated onto the undersurface of a decorative tile 126 by mortar 128, with the sub-tongues 70 and 74 of the left split or grooved tongue of the normal auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 13 inserted into and held by the interaction of catches 72 and 76 of FIG. 13 with the steps 50 of the auxiliary connector in FIG. 29.
  • Referring to FIG. 32 there is shown a side view in which a first tile element 126 with auxiliary groove containing member 118 of FIG. 29 integrated into its lower surface and having the left split or grooved tongue of the normal auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 13 inserted and held into the groove 48 in the auxiliary groove; and has the right split or grooved tongue of the normal auxiliary connector shown in FIG. 13 inserted to the groove 48 of an auxiliary groove containing member 118 of FIG. 29 that has been integrated into the lower surface of second tile element 130 with auxiliary groove 118 of FIG. 29 integrated into its lower surface.
  • The auxiliary groove element integrated into the all four under-surfaces (left, right, top and bottom) of a construction element allows the construction elements to be joined so as to form a wall without the need for mortar in between the elements. This should allow walls to be built more quickly in good weather or bad by inexperience workers.
  • Should mortar be desired in the spaces between the construction elements, this can easily be accommodated by lengthening the connector 80 in FIG. 13 between the left and right split or grooved tongues so that space to receive mortar is left between the right and left or bottom and top edges of the construction element.
  • In either case, with or without mortar, the presence of the connectors should serve to provide a construction that is less prone to failure during earthquakes due to the ability of the auxiliary connectors to flex rather than fracture when strained.
  • FIG. 33 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a vertical projection 140 on the left side adhesively connected to a channel in the bottom surface of a first construction element 142 and a split tongue 144 on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a channel in the bottom surface of a second construction element 146.
  • FIG. 34 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a plurality of vertical support struts 150 on the left side adhesively connected to a lateral channel in a first construction element 152 and a split tongue 154 on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a channel in a second construction element 156. The small projection in the lateral channel in the first construction element may be eliminated when a similar small projection is present on the end support strut
  • FIG. 35 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a full tongue 158 on the left side which may be adhesively connected to a lateral channel in a first construction element 160 and a split tongue 162 on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a channel in a second construction element 164 where the auxiliary connector has a plurality of vertical support struts 166 located between the full tongue 158 and the split tongue 162.
  • FIG. 36 is a side view of an auxiliary connector having a plurality of horizontal struts 190 which project up on the left side and which are connected to a vertical channel in a bottom surface of a first construction element 192 and a split tongue 194 on the right side of the auxiliary connector integrated into a vertical channel in a bottom surface of a second construction element 196.
  • FIG. 37 is a side view of an auxiliary groove 180 integrated into a first construction element 182 which is adapted to receive and hold a block extender 184 which is locked to the auxiliary grove with a split of grove tongue 186, and an auxiliary connector 188 having a split or grove tongue at each of its ends for connecting the block extender 184 to a second auxiliary groove 190 in a second construction element 192.
  • While there have been shown and described and pointed out the fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention and not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments discussed were chosen and described to provide the best illustration of the principles of the invention and its practical application to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are entitled.

Claims (20)

1. A connector for mechanically joining abutting construction elements comprising:
a first split tongue located at one end of said connector; and
a second split tongue located at the other end of said connector;
wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship.
2. The connector of claim 1 wherein said grooves in said construction elements are formed into auxiliary groove containing members adapted to be integrated into an edge or face surface of said construction elements.
3. The connector of claim 1 wherein said split tongues have catches for engaging steps located in said grooves.
4. The connector of claim 3 wherein a plurality of vertical support struts are located between said first and second split tongues.
5. The connector of claim 3 wherein said first split tongue projects upward and is located on one side of said connector; and said second split tongue projects upward and is located on the same one side of said connector that said first split tongue is located.
6. The connector of claim 1 wherein said first and second split tongues each include flexible sub tongues.
7. The connector of claim 1 wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves which are located on a side and in from an edge of the construction elements for holding the construction elements in abutting relationship.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein a clearance channel is located between the groove and the edge of each panel for receiving a portion of the support member that extends between adjacent panels.
9. A method for mechanically joining abutting construction elements comprises:
providing a first split tongue located at one end of said connector; and
providing a second split tongue located at the other end of said connector;
wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship.
10. The method of claim 9 wherein said grooves in said construction elements are formed into auxiliary groove containing members adapted to be integrated into an edge or face surface of said construction elements.
11. The method of claim 9 wherein said split tongues have catches for engaging steps located in said grooves.
12. The method of claim 11 wherein a plurality of vertical support struts are located between said first and second split tongues.
13. The method of claim 11 wherein said first split tongue projects upward and is located on one side of said connector; and said second split tongue projects upward and is located on the same one side of said connector that said first split tongue is located.
14. The method of claim 9 wherein said first and second split tongues act as spring elements.
15. The method of claim 9 wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves which are located on a side and in from an edge of the construction elements for holding the construction elements in abutting relationship.
16. A system for mechanically joining abutting construction elements comprising:
a first split tongue located at one end of said connector; and
a second split tongue located at the other end of said connector;
wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves in abutting construction elements for holding the adjacent construction elements in abutting relationship.
17. The system of claim 16 wherein said grooves in said construction elements are formed into auxiliary groove containing members adapted to be integrated into an edge or face surface of said construction elements.
18. The system of claim 16 wherein said split tongues have catches for engaging steps located in said grooves.
19. The system of claim 16 wherein said first split tongue projects upward and is located on one side of said connector; and said second split tongue projects upward and is located on the same one side of said connector that said first split tongue is located.
20. The system of claim 16 wherein said first and second split tongues are adapted to be inserted into and locked onto grooves which are located on a side and in from an edge of the construction elements for holding the construction elements in abutting relationship.
US12/705,593 2010-02-13 2010-02-13 Laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements Abandoned US20110197535A1 (en)

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US12/705,593 US20110197535A1 (en) 2010-02-13 2010-02-13 Laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements
CN2010206643007U CN202108206U (en) 2010-02-13 2010-12-17 Connector and system for paving and mechanically connecting building component
CN2010105925284A CN102080436A (en) 2010-02-13 2010-12-17 Connector, method and system for paving and mechanically connecting building member
PCT/US2011/024669 WO2011119266A2 (en) 2010-02-13 2011-02-12 Laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements
EP11759862.3A EP2678486A2 (en) 2010-02-13 2011-02-12 Laying and mechanically joining building panels or construction elements

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EP2678486A2 (en) 2014-01-01
WO2011119266A2 (en) 2011-09-29
CN102080436A (en) 2011-06-01
CN202108206U (en) 2012-01-11

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