US20130255893A1 - Fire and Smoke Protection System - Google Patents

Fire and Smoke Protection System Download PDF

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Publication number
US20130255893A1
US20130255893A1 US13738431 US201313738431A US2013255893A1 US 20130255893 A1 US20130255893 A1 US 20130255893A1 US 13738431 US13738431 US 13738431 US 201313738431 A US201313738431 A US 201313738431A US 2013255893 A1 US2013255893 A1 US 2013255893A1
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Prior art keywords
elongate
flexible protection
protection member
fire
element
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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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US13738431
Inventor
Jochen Stöbich
Stefan Siller
Frank Krüger
Robert Knein-Linz
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Jochen Stöbich
Stefan Siller
Frank Krüger
Robert Knein-Linz
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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
    • E04B1/62Insulation or other protection; Elements or use of specified material therefor
    • E04B1/92Protection against other undesired influences or dangers
    • E04B1/94Protection against other undesired influences or dangers against fire
    • E04B1/947Protection against other undesired influences or dangers against fire by closing openings in walls or the like in the case of fire
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A62LIFE-SAVING; FIRE-FIGHTING
    • A62CFIRE-FIGHTING
    • A62C2/00Fire prevention or containment
    • A62C2/06Physical fire-barriers
    • A62C2/10Fire-proof curtains
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B15/00Layered products comprising a layer of metal
    • B32B15/14Layered products comprising a layer of metal next to a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/024Woven fabric
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/026Knitted fabric
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/22Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed
    • B32B5/24Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed one layer being a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • 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
    • E04B1/62Insulation or other protection; Elements or use of specified material therefor
    • E04B1/92Protection against other undesired influences or dangers
    • E04B1/94Protection against other undesired influences or dangers against fire
    • E04B1/941Building elements specially adapted therefor
    • E04B1/942Building elements specially adapted therefor slab-shaped
    • 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
    • E04B1/62Insulation or other protection; Elements or use of specified material therefor
    • E04B1/92Protection against other undesired influences or dangers
    • E04B1/94Protection against other undesired influences or dangers against fire
    • E04B1/946Protection against smoke or toxic gases
    • 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
    • E04B1/62Insulation or other protection; Elements or use of specified material therefor
    • E04B1/92Protection against other undesired influences or dangers
    • E04B1/94Protection against other undesired influences or dangers against fire
    • E04B1/948Fire-proof sealings or joints
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E06DOORS, WINDOWS, SHUTTERS, OR ROLLER BLINDS IN GENERAL; LADDERS
    • E06BFIXED OR MOVABLE CLOSURES FOR OPENINGS IN BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, FENCES OR LIKE ENCLOSURES IN GENERAL, e.g. DOORS, WINDOWS, BLINDS, GATES
    • E06B9/00Screening or protective devices for wall or similar openings, with or without operating or securing mechanisms; Closures of similar construction
    • E06B9/24Screens or other constructions affording protection against light, especially against sunshine; Similar screens for privacy or appearance; Slat blinds
    • E06B9/40Roller blinds
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E06DOORS, WINDOWS, SHUTTERS, OR ROLLER BLINDS IN GENERAL; LADDERS
    • E06BFIXED OR MOVABLE CLOSURES FOR OPENINGS IN BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, FENCES OR LIKE ENCLOSURES IN GENERAL, e.g. DOORS, WINDOWS, BLINDS, GATES
    • E06B9/00Screening or protective devices for wall or similar openings, with or without operating or securing mechanisms; Closures of similar construction
    • E06B9/56Operating, guiding or securing devices or arrangements for roll-type closures; Spring drums; Tape drums; Counterweighting arrangements therefor
    • E06B9/58Guiding devices
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E06DOORS, WINDOWS, SHUTTERS, OR ROLLER BLINDS IN GENERAL; LADDERS
    • E06BFIXED OR MOVABLE CLOSURES FOR OPENINGS IN BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, FENCES OR LIKE ENCLOSURES IN GENERAL, e.g. DOORS, WINDOWS, BLINDS, GATES
    • E06B9/00Screening or protective devices for wall or similar openings, with or without operating or securing mechanisms; Closures of similar construction
    • E06B9/56Operating, guiding or securing devices or arrangements for roll-type closures; Spring drums; Tape drums; Counterweighting arrangements therefor
    • E06B9/58Guiding devices
    • E06B9/581Means to prevent or induce disengagement of shutter from side rails
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/10Inorganic fibres
    • B32B2262/101Glass fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/10Inorganic fibres
    • B32B2262/103Metal fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2307/00Properties of the layers or laminate
    • B32B2307/30Properties of the layers or laminate having particular thermal properties
    • B32B2307/306Resistant to heat
    • B32B2307/3065Flame resistant or retardant, fire resistant or retardant
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2571/00Protective equipment

Abstract

The present disclosure describes a fire and smoke protection system for limiting the spread of fire and smoke through an opening, including those in building structures. The system includes a flexible protection member configurable in a storage configuration for subsequent deployment into a protection configuration when fire occurs. The flexible protection member is configurable in single and/or multi-layer arrangements with one or more materials, alone or in combination, and using a variety of construction methods. Generally, the flexible protection member is manufacturable using fire resistant woven and knitted fabric elements, metal foil elements, intumescent elements, and/or wire mesh elements arranged to increase the resistance to forces encountered during a fire. The various elements may be seamed using different stitching patterns and gathered using non-fire resistant thread in order to increase flexibility and resistance to forces. The flexible protection member may also be formed in segments coupled together by clamping members.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of priority to and incorporates herein by this reference in its entirety, U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/584,883, which is entitled “Smoke and Fire Protection Device” and filed on Jan. 10, 2012.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates, generally, to the field of systems, including apparatuses and methods, for limiting the spread of fire and smoke in a building structure.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Fires within building structures often start in a single room or location and spread from room-to-room traveling through interior doorways and other openings. As fires progress through building structures burning various combustible materials, a substantial amount of smoke is generally produced with such smoke potentially including toxic gases that are generated when certain materials and chemical compounds are oxidized. While the fires can cause significant property damage and destroy or weaken building structures, the smoke and toxic gases can cause substantial physical injury or death to persons who inhale them. Thus, by limiting the spread of fires and smoke within building structures, damage to property and building structures may be minimized and physical injury to, and the potential death of, persons within building structures may be prevented.
  • Many attempts have been made to develop devices that limit the spread of fire and smoke through doorways and other openings in building structures. Unfortunately, many of the devices have been found to become mechanically unstable after a fire. Therefore, a number of jurisdictions have begun requiring such devices to pass a test known as the “Hose Stream Test” in order to be approved for use in their jurisdiction. The Hose Stream Test is generally run on a device for limiting the spread of fire and smoke after it has been exposed to high temperatures over a long period of time during a separate fire test. In the Hose Stream Test, a jet of water such as that produced by a fire hose is directed at the device, generally, from a direction that is normal to the device. To pass the Hose Stream Test, the device must withstand the forces exerted on the device by the water jet and not become mechanically unstable.
  • Typically, the devices that have been developed to limit the spread of fire and smoke fall into two categories. A first type of devices has attempted to limit the spread of fire and smoke by sealing openings with flexible protection members including a plurality of slats. Examples of such devices include fire protection roller shutters, fire doors, and curtains made of metal components that slide over and relative to one another. Advantageously, these devices limit the spread of fire and smoke while being capable of withstanding mechanical loads particularly well, including after exposure to fire. As a consequence, many such devices have passed the Hose Stream Test. Unfortunately, these devices are typically heavy and require a large amount of space.
  • A second type of devices has attempted to limit the spread of fire and smoke by sealing openings with a flexible protection member manufactured from a fire resistant material that can be wound around a reel or winding shaft. The fire resistant materials used in such devices typically include woven textile fabrics having warp and weft threads. Beneficially, these devices reduce the spread of fire and smoke, are relatively light in weight, and save space. However, these devices are generally less resistant to mechanical influences and loads than devices of the first type described above. Consequentially, many of these devices cannot pass the Hose Stream Test.
  • There is, therefore, a need in the industry for a fire and smoke protection system that limits the spread of fire and smoke through openings in building structures, is lightweight, requires minimal space, is capable of withstanding mechanical loads during and after exposure to fire, is capable of passing the Hose Stream Test, and that solves the difficulties, problems, and shortcomings of existing systems.
  • SUMMARY
  • Broadly described, the present invention comprises a fire and smoke protection system, including apparatuses and methods, for limiting the spread of fire and smoke through an opening. In a plurality of example embodiments described herein, the fire and smoke protection system comprises multiple components that may be selectively included, constructed and configured to meet the requirements of particular applications and of the Hose Stream Test. For example, the various components of the fire and smoke protection system include a flexible protection member that is configurable in a storage configuration for subsequent deployment into a protection configuration in the event of a fire. As described herein with respect to example embodiments, the flexible protection member may be configured in a variety of arrangements using a variety of materials, alone or in combination, and using a variety of construction methods. Generally and without limitation, the flexible protection member may be manufactured using fire resistant woven and knitted fabric elements, metal foil elements, intumescent elements, and/or wire mesh elements in many different arrangements, including multi-layer structures, with each material, element and arrangement having certain advantages in limiting the spread of fire and smoke while resisting external forces and retaining mechanical strength and stability sufficient to pass the Hose Stream Test.
  • Thus, in an example embodiment, a flexible protection member may comprise a multi-layer structure including a metal foil element sandwiched between two woven fabric elements with the multi-layer structure being surrounded in the lateral and longitudinal directions by a single layer, knitted fabric element. Advantageously, when deployed, the multi-layer structure provides resistance to the spread of fire and smoke, while the knitted fabric elements stretch to enable the flexible protection member to withstand forces acting on it during a fire, including those forces nearest the edges of the flexible protection member which may have the greatest magnitude.
  • In another example embodiment, a flexible protection member may be similar to the above-described flexible protection member, but include a segment of the knitted fabric element above the multi-layer structure formed with a gathering or overlap of material held in position with seams having non-fire resistant thread. Upon exposure to fire, the seams are destroyed or come undone, thereby permitting the gathered and overlapping knitted fabric segment to become non-gathered, providing more knitted fabric material available to stretch upon the application of forces thereto, and producing more surface area normal to the forces and distributing the forces over the greater surface area.
  • In yet another example embodiment, a flexible protection member may be constructed using seams between fabric and metal foil members that are formed with stitching patterns and/or stitching arrangements that are more flexible and stretchable than other types of stitching patterns and stitching arrangements. Through the use of such flexible stitching patterns and/or stitching arrangements, the flexible protection member includes seams with improved flexibility and stretchability that contribute to the overall ability of the flexible protection member to flex, deform, and stretch in response to forces being applied to the flexible protection member.
  • In still another example embodiment, a flexible protection member may be manufactured with a metal foil element imprinted or embossed with a pattern. Subsequently, when exposed to a force at particular location, the imprinted or embossed material in the vicinity of the force location deforms in order to resist the force and oppose tearing of the flexible protection member.
  • In yet another example embodiment, a flexible protection member is formed from a plurality of segments such that adjacent segments are coupled together by a clamping member. Each segment is, generally, made from one or more materials and/or one or more layers of materials that are configured in a desired arrangement similar to the manner in which a flexible protection member having a single segment might be configured and constructed. Generally, each segment is identical to the other segments of the flexible protection device, but may include one or more different materials, layers or structures such that segments near the mid-section of the flexible protection member, for example, may have different mechanical and fire resistant properties than segments nearer the other sections of the flexible protection member. Each clamping member is selected from a plurality of different types of clamping members, some of which are described herein. Typically, the clamping members are of the same type and extend beyond the appropriate extent of the flexible protection member into the system's guides to improve deployment and retraction of the flexible protection member, but may comprise individually different types of clamps and may not all similarly extend into the system's guides. Advantageously, the clamping members add mechanical strength and stability to the flexible protection member, reduce sagging of the flexible protection member during exposure to fire or high temperatures, improve deployment and retraction of the flexible protection member by virtue of one or more of the clamping members extending into the system's guides, and aid the flexible protection member in passing the Hose Stream Test.
  • As may be gleaned from the foregoing description and from the remaining description below, the fire and smoke protection system is configurable and operable to substantially limit the spread of fire and smoke through an opening. The system has many advantages and benefits over other systems that may become apparent upon reading and understanding the present specification when taken in conjunction with the appended drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 displays a schematic, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a first example embodiment, for substantially sealing an opening in a building structure and limiting the spread of fire and smoke through the opening during a fire.
  • FIG. 2A displays a schematic, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of the fire and smoke protection system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 2B displays a schematic, bottom plan view of a flexible protection member of the fire and smoke protection system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 2C displays a schematic, partial back elevational view of a flexible protection member of the fire and smoke protection system of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3A displays a schematic, bottom plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a second example embodiment.
  • FIG. 3B displays a schematic, partial back elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a second example embodiment.
  • FIG. 4A displays a schematic, bottom plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a third example embodiment.
  • FIG. 4B displays a schematic, partial back elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a third example embodiment.
  • FIG. 5A displays a schematic, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a fourth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 5B displays a schematic, bottom plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a fourth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 5C displays a schematic, partial back elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a fourth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 6A displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seam of a multi-layer flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a fifth example embodiment, before exposure to fire.
  • FIG. 6B displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seam of a multi-layer flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a fifth example embodiment, after exposure to fire.
  • FIG. 7A displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seam of a multi-layer flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a sixth example embodiment, before exposure to fire.
  • FIG. 7B displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seam of a multi-layer flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a sixth example embodiment, after exposure to fire.
  • FIG. 8 displays a schematic, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a seventh example embodiment, for substantially sealing an opening in a building structure and limiting the spread of fire and smoke through the opening during a fire.
  • FIG. 9 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with an eighth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 10 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a ninth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 11 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with an tenth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 12 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with an eleventh example embodiment.
  • FIG. 13 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a twelfth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 14 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a thirteenth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 15 displays a schematic, front perspective view of a flexible protection element of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a fourteenth example embodiment, in an opening through which the spread of fire and smoke is to be limited.
  • FIG. 16 displays a schematic, front perspective view of a flexible protection element of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a fifteenth example embodiment, in an opening through which the spread of fire and smoke is to be limited.
  • FIG. 17 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system having elongate clamping members in accordance with a sixteenth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 18 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member of the flexible protection member of FIG. 17 taken along lines 18-18 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments.
  • FIG. 19 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system having elongate clamping members in accordance with a seventeenth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 20 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member of the flexible protection member of FIG. 19 taken along lines 20-20 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments.
  • FIG. 21 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system having elongate clamping members in accordance with an eighteenth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 22 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member of the flexible protection member of FIG. 21 taken along lines 22-22 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments.
  • FIG. 23 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system having elongate clamping members in accordance with a nineteenth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 24 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member of the flexible protection member of FIG. 23 taken along lines 24-24 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments.
  • FIG. 25 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a twentieth example embodiment.
  • FIG. 26 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member of the flexible protection member of FIG. 25 taken along lines 26-26 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments.
  • FIG. 27 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system having elongate clamping members in accordance with a twenty-first example embodiment.
  • FIG. 28 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member of the flexible protection member of FIG. 27 taken along lines 28-28 and showing the elongate clamping member in a closed configuration.
  • FIG. 29 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of the elongate clamping member of FIG. 28 in an open configuration.
  • FIG. 30 displays a schematic, front elevational view of a flexible protection member of a fire and smoke protection system in accordance with a twenty-second example embodiment, having a front surface imprinted or embossed with a pattern.
  • FIG. 31 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a twenty-third example embodiment, in which the flexible protection member is formed from a multi-layer structure including a metal foil element and multiple wire mesh elements.
  • FIG. 32 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system, in accordance with a twenty-fourth example embodiment, in which the flexible protection member is formed from a multi-layer structure including multiple metal foil elements and multiple wire mesh elements.
  • FIG. 33 displays a schematic, partial diagram of a device, in accordance with a twenty-fifth example embodiment, for manufacturing a multi-layer composite material for use in making a flexible protection member.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Referring now to the drawings in which like elements and steps have similar numbers throughout the several views, FIG. 1 displays a schematic, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system 100, in accordance with a first example embodiment, for substantially sealing an opening 102 in a building structure and limiting the spread of fire and smoke through the opening 102 during a fire. The fire and smoke protection system 100 (also sometimes referred to herein as the “system 100”) is adapted for secure connection to a wall 104 relative to the opening 102 and is configurable in a first configuration (also sometimes referred to herein as a “storage configuration”) that permits ingress and egress through the opening 102 when no fire or smoke exists. The system 100 is also configurable in a second configuration (also sometimes referred to herein as a “fully-deployed configuration” or a “protection configuration”) in which the system 100 significantly limits or prevents the spread of fire and smoke through the opening 102 during a fire.
  • The fire and smoke protection system 100 comprises a flexible protection member 106 and a winding shaft 108 (or reel 108) about and onto which the flexible protection member 106 is fully-wound (and, hence, fully-retracted) when the system 100 is configured in the storage configuration so as not to occlude the opening 102. Conversely, the flexible element 106 is fully-unwound from the winding shaft 108 when the system 100 is configured in the fully-deployed configuration so that the flexible protection member 106 fully occludes the opening 102. Thus, the flexible protection member 106 is selectively configurable to occlude or not occlude the opening 102. While the flexible protection member 106 may have multiple layers and multiple types of materials that are configured and manufactured in different arrangements in the various example embodiments described herein, the flexible protection member 106 generally includes a sheet-like member that is relatively thin in thickness as compared the lateral and longitudinal dimensions thereof. For reference, the term “longitudinal” is used herein to refer to the direction in which the flexible protection member 106 is deployed or retracted, and frequently has its longest dimension. The term “lateral” is used herein to refer to the direction perpendicular to the longitudinal direction and in which the flexible protection member 106 often has its shortest dimension other than thickness.
  • The fire and smoke protection system 100 may be additionally configured in a plurality of intermediate configurations as illustrated in FIG. 1. As seen in the intermediate configuration of FIG. 1, the flexible protection member 106 is substantially unwound from the winding shaft 108 and extended to significantly, although not entirely, occlude the opening 102. In other intermediate configurations, the flexible protection member 106 is partially unwound from the winding shaft 108 and occludes the opening 102 to a lesser or greater extent. It should be understood and appreciated that although the flexible protection member 106 of the fire and smoke protection system 100 is oriented to deploy and retract in the vertical direction according to the first example embodiment and other example embodiments described herein, the flexible protection member 106 may be oriented to deploy and retract in the horizontal direction (or, for that matter, in other directions) in other example embodiments. For this reason, the terms “horizontal” and “vertical” are sparingly used herein.
  • The system 100 also comprises a winding shaft motor 109 mounted within the winding shaft 108 that is operable to rotate the winding shaft 108 in order to retract and wind the flexible protection member 106 onto the winding shaft 108 or to extend and unwind the flexible protection member 106 from the winding shaft 108. A first guide 110A and an opposed second guide 110B of the system 100 are secured to the wall 104 at respectively opposed locations relative to the opening 102 and define recesses therein for at least partially and respectively receiving opposed first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. During winding or unwinding of the flexible protection member 106 onto/from the winding shaft 108 as the system 100 is reconfigured between the storage configuration and fully-deployed configuration, the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106 ride and move respectively within and relative to the recesses of the first and second guides 110A, 110B. The guides 110, according to the first example embodiment, may comprise channel, angle, plate, and/or other similar members appropriately sized and mounted relative to the wall 104 and opening 102 for receiving the lateral edges 112 of the flexible protection member 106. The guides 110 are generally manufactured from an appropriately selected material capable of withstanding the high temperatures produced by fires absent yielding, deflection, or deformation.
  • Additionally, the flexible protection member 106 has a first longitudinal edge 114A (see FIG. 2) and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B that extend between the element's first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B. The first longitudinal edge 114A is generally secured to the winding shaft 108 to facilitate winding and unwinding of the flexible protection member 106 to or from the winding shaft 108. The fire and smoke protection system 100 further comprises a rail 116 that is mounted to a foot 118 of the flexible protection member 106. The foot 118 is connected to and extends along the second longitudinal edge 114B of the flexible protection member 106 and at least between the lateral edges 112 thereof. When the system 100 is configured in the storage configuration, the rail 116 resides in a position flush with a first longitudinal edge of the opening 102 to permit ingress and egress through the opening 102. When the system 100 is configured in the protection configuration, the rail 116 resides in position in contact with and substantially parallel to an opposed, second longitudinal edge 120 of the opening 102.
  • The flexible protection member 106 comprises a woven fabric element 122 manufactured from a woven fabric made from a non-flammable, fire resistant material having appropriate or desired fire resistance. The woven fabric has high structural stability and provides stability to the flexible protection member 106. A fire resistant material, acceptable according to the example embodiments described herein, may be obtained from KTex of Herzogenrath, Germany. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a knitted fabric element 124 that laterally and longitudinally surrounds the woven fabric element 122 as the flexible protection member 106 is seen in FIG. 1. In accordance with the first example embodiment and other example embodiments described herein, the knitted fabric element 124 is manufactured from a non-flammable, fire resistant knitted fabric having at least one thread type comprising glass threads and at least one stainless steel wire (and/or a wire made from stainless steel). The knitted fabric has a course density in the range of one (1) to ten (10) courses per centimeter and/or a density in the range of one (1) to ten (10) weft threads or warp thread per centimeter.
  • Generally, the woven fabric element 122 and knitted fabric element 124 are each light in weight and contribute to the flexible protection member 106 also being relatively light in weight. Since knitted fabric has a relatively low resistance to deformation (especially when compared to woven fabric), the knitted fabric element 124 yields in response to external forces being applied to the flexible protection member 106. Thus, advantageously, the flexible protection members 106 of the first and other example embodiments herein including knitted fabric element(s) 124 also have improved tolerance to external forces that may be applied to the flexible protection members 106 during a fire such as, for example, the force exerted by a jet or stream of water from a fire hose. Additionally, when a flexible protection member 106 includes a woven fabric element 122 and a knitted fabric element 124, the flexible protection member 106 may be manufactured using known manufacturing processes. For example, known knitting machines may be used in the manufacture of the flexible protection member 106 including, for example and not limitation, circular or flat knitting machines. Acceptable knitting machines for the manufacture of the flexible protection member 106 according to the first and other example embodiments include known knitting machines made by the H. Stoll GmbH & Co. KG of Reutlingen, Germany and Mayer & Cie. GmbH & Co. KG of Tailfingen, Germany.
  • As used herein, the term “fire resistant material” refers to a material used to construct a component or object comprising a woven, non-woven or knitted fabric that is either non-flammable or has substantial resistance to burning. Fire resistant materials may include glass fibers, metal fibers, and/or wires. Typically, the woven and knitted fabrics of the example embodiments are selected to prevent a fire from spreading or delay the flow of smoke through an opening 102 for a desired, pre-determined amount of time such as, for example thirty (30), ninety (90) or one hundred and twenty (120) minutes and may, or may not, be selected in accordance with various fire codes issued by governmental agencies or standards bodies.
  • The term “knitted fabric” is used herein to refer a flat, material object made from a plurality of threads or thread systems that are connected with themselves or each other by stitches. A single type of thread or different types of threads may be used in the object. And, the object may be warp-knitted (warp knit) or weft-knitted (weft knit) with the weft-knitted object being more favored due to its ease of manufacture. If the object is woven, the object may comprise a weft-knitted fabric having only one thread that is simultaneously stitched by multiple needles. However, the object may also comprise a fabric made from several threads that are intertwined with each other.
  • FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C respectively display schematic, front elevational, bottom plan, and partial back elevational views of the system's flexible protection member 106 in accordance with the first example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 2A and as described above with reference to FIG. 1, the flexible protection member 106 comprises a woven fabric element 122 and a knitted fabric element 124, and has a generally rectangular shape with an overall width, “A”, and an overall height, “B”. The woven fabric element 122 also has a generally rectangular shape with a width, “C”, (see FIG. 2B) and height, “D”, that are respectively smaller than the overall width, A, and overall height, B, of the flexible protection member 106 such that the knitted fabric element 124 appears to “frame” the woven fabric element 122 when viewed in FIG. 2A. In actuality, the knitted fabric element 124 comprises four portions 126A, 126B, 126C and 126D, each having a substantially rectangular shape as seen in FIGS. 2A and 2B and each having a dimension, “E”, that is less than the width and height of the woven fabric element 122. Each knitted fabric element portion 126A, 126B, 126C, 126D is arranged relative to the woven fabric element 122 so that it overlaps part of the woven fabric element 122 as illustrated in FIG. 2B. It should be understood and appreciated that while each portion 126A, 126B, 126C and 126D of the knitted fabric element 124 has an equal dimension, E, according to the first example embodiment, each portion 126A, 126B, 126C and 124D of the knitted fabric element 124 may have a dimension, E, in other example embodiments that is the same as or different from one or more of the other portions 126A, 126B, 126C and 126D of the knitted fabric element 124.
  • Each portion 126A, 126B, 126C and 126D of the knitted fabric element 124 is generally secured to the woven fabric element 122 in a similar manner via a seam 128 formed therebetween in the respective regions where each portion 126A, 126B, 126C and 126D of the knitted fabric element 124 respectively overlaps the woven fabric element 122. Seams 128A and 128B are illustrated in FIGS. 2B and 2C, and secure portions 126A and 126B of the knitted fabric element 124 to the woven fabric element 122. Seams 128C and 128D similarly secure portions 126C and 126D of the knitted fabric element 124 to the woven fabric element 122, but are not visible in FIGS. 2B and 2C and, hence, are not described herein.
  • According to the first example embodiment, each seam 128 is formed at least in part by a first row of stitches 130 and a second row of stitches 132 using thread 134 to couple a respective portion 126A, 126B, 126C and 126D of the knitted fabric element 124 to the woven fabric element 122 (see FIGS. 2B and 2C). The first row of stitches 130 of each seam 128 is substantially parallel to the second row of stitches 132 of the same seam 128. Each row of stitches 130, 132 includes a plurality of individual stitches 136 (illustrated as squares in FIG. 2C) arranged in a stitching pattern 138 in which the stitches 136 are positioned relatively close together in groups of stitches 140 separated or offset from preceding and succeeding groups of stitches 140 by gaps 142 and thread 134 extending across the gaps 142. Additionally, the first and second rows of stitches 130, 132 are arranged in a stitching arrangement 144 in which the first row of stitches 130 is offset relative to the second row of stitches 132 such that groups of stitches 140 of the first row of stitches 130 reside substantially adjacent to gaps 142 in the second row of stitches 132 and groups of stitches 140 of the second row of stitches 132 reside substantially adjacent to gaps 142 in the first row of stitches 130. By configuring the rows of stitches 130, 132 according to stitching arrangement 144, each seam 128 is able to expand so that an unequal stretch between the knitted fabric element 124 and woven fabric element 122 does not lead to an excessively great strain on the fire resistant material in the area around the stitches 136. In other example embodiments and to provide additional coupling strength, the knitted fabric element 124 and the woven fabric element 122 may be held together not only by seams 128, but also by an adhesive film arranged between the knitted fabric element 124 and the woven fabric element 122.
  • The thread 134 used to couple the knitted fabric element 124 to the woven fabric element 122 comprises, in accordance with the first example embodiment, a fire resistant thread 134, thereby making each seam 128 more fire resistant and increasing the likelihood of the knitted fabric element 124 remaining coupled to the woven fabric element 122 when exposed to fire. The fire resistant thread 134 generally includes multiple metal threads or at least one metal wire including, for example and not limitation, a wire made from steel or, more preferably, from stainless steel. By using such wires, the thread 134 has high resistance to fire, but yet is sufficiently flexible to enable the flexible protection member 106 to be wound around and unwound from winding shaft 108. As an alternative, the thread 134 may comprise cotton, glass, or aramid fibers, and/or a combination thereof.
  • FIGS. 3A and 3B respectively display bottom plan and partial back elevational schematic views of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a second example embodiment. The flexible protection member 106 of the second example embodiment comprises a first woven fabric element 122A coupled to a first knitted fabric element 124A via seams 128A formed in substantially the same manner as in the first example embodiment. However, the flexible protection member 106 also comprises a second woven fabric element 122B coupled to a second knitted fabric element 124B via seams 128B also formed in substantially the same manner as in the first example embodiment. Additionally, the flexible protection member 106 comprises an intumescent material member 146 positioned between the first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B. Together, the first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B, the first and second knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B, and the intumescent material member 146 form a sandwich structure or arrangement.
  • As used herein, the term “intumescent” refers to a material having a heat consuming, or endothermic, physical reaction or an endothermal chemical reaction when exposed to heat. An intumescent material, acceptable for use in the intumescent material member 146 in accordance with the second and other example embodiments herein, includes expandable graphite. In other example embodiments, the intumescent material member 146 comprises a base layer of the flexible protection member 106 and is manufactured from a fire resistant material into the loops of which an intumescent material is incorporated. The fire resistant material may be manufactured from woven or knitted fabric, but it is advantageous if the fire resistant material comprises a knitted fabric as the knitted fabric yields if the intumescent material expands. Also, if the loops of the fire resistant material are made with both fire resistant threads and non-fire resistant threads, the loops made with non-fire resistant thread come undone upon exposure to fire, thereby causing the knitted fabric to have a larger surface area and giving the intumescent material more space to expand. Alternatively, in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 includes a fire resistant material that is coated with an intumescent material. In still other embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may incorporate an intumescent material in a variety of other arrangements and manners, including those described in International Patent Application No. PCT/DE2008/000999 entitled “Fire-Resistant Closure” and filed on Jun. 19, 2008 (published as International Patent Application Publication No. WO 2008/154906 A1 on Dec. 24, 2008), the teachings of which are incorporated herein in their entirety by this reference.
  • FIGS. 4A and 4B respectively display bottom plan and partial back elevational schematic views of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a third example embodiment. The flexible protection member 106 of the third example embodiment is substantially similar to the flexible protection member 106 of the second example embodiment described above. However, in the flexible protection member 106 of the third example embodiment, the first woven fabric element 122A is coupled to a first knitted fabric element 124A via seams 128A and the second woven fabric element 122B is coupled to a second knitted fabric element 124B via seams 128B, where seams 128A, 128B are formed in different manner than the seams 128 of the first and second example embodiments. More particularly, each row of stitches 130, 132 includes a plurality of individual stitches 136 (illustrated as squares in FIG. 4C) arranged in a stitching pattern 138 in which the stitches 136 are not positioned together in groups of stitches 140 as in the first and second example embodiments. Instead, the stitches 136 of each row of stitches 130, 132 are arranged in a stitching pattern 138 in which each stitch 136 is separated, or offset, from preceding and succeeding stitches 136 by a gap 142 and thread 134 extending across each gap 142. In addition, the first and second rows of stitches 130, 132 are arranged in a stitching arrangement 144 in which the first row of stitches 130 is offset relative to the second row of stitches 132 such that stitches 136 of the first row of stitches 130 reside substantially adjacent to gaps 142 in the second row of stitches 132 and stitches 136 of the second row of stitches 132 reside substantially adjacent to gaps 142 in the first row of stitches 130. Advantageously, the use of stitching pattern 138 and stitching arrangement 144 to form seams 128 is not damaging to the fire resistant material of the woven fabric element 122 and knitted fabric element 124. Further, the use of stitching pattern 138 and stitching arrangement 144 also renders the seams 128 more flexible when stretched along their length than if other stitching patterns or stitching arrangements were used. Due to such increased flexibility, the seams 128 tend to minimize the force transmitted to the fire resistant fabrics when a force is exerted on the flexible protection member 106.
  • FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C respectively display front elevational, bottom plan, and partial back elevational schematic views of the system's flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a fourth example embodiment. The flexible protection member 106 of the fourth example embodiment is substantially similar to the flexible protection member 106 of the first example embodiment described above with the exception that the woven fabric element 122 is coupled near its lateral edges to a first knitted fabric element 124A and a second knitted fabric element 124B via seams 128. Also, the seams 128 are formed in a different manner than the seams 128 of the first example embodiment. More specifically, each seam 128 is formed by a first row of stitches 130 including a plurality of individual stitches 136 (illustrated as squares in FIG. 5C) arranged in a stitching pattern 138 comprising a zigzag pattern in which each stitch 136 is laterally and longitudinally separated, or offset, from preceding and succeeding stitches 136 by a gap 142 and thread 134 extending across each gap 142. Each seam 128 may also be formed by a second row of stitches 132 arranged in a stitching pattern (not shown in FIG. 5C) comprising a zigzag pattern similar to the first row of stitches 130 or a stitching pattern similar to those stitching patterns of the first and third example embodiments. Advantageously, stitches 136 arranged in a zigzag pattern 138 produce a relatively flexible seam 128. Because the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B stretch easily, the presence of flexible seams 128 tends to prevent the woven fabric element 122 from becoming uncoupled and separated from the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B.
  • The flexible protection members 106 of the second, third and fourth example embodiments described above highlight the benefits obtained through the use of seams 128 having particular stitching patterns 138 and stitching arrangements 144 in minimizing the adverse effects of forces applied to the flexible protection members 106. Similarly, the flexible protection members 106 of the fifth and sixth example embodiments described below with respect to FIGS. 6A, 6B, 7A and 7B highlight similar benefits obtained through the use of seams 128 formed between woven fabric elements 122 and knitted fabric elements 124 with fire resistant 134 and non-fire resistant thread 154.
  • FIG. 6A displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seam 128 of a multi-layer flexible protection member 106 having a single knitted fabric element 124, in accordance with a fifth example embodiment, prior to exposure to fire. As seen in FIG. 6A, the flexible protection member 106 comprises a first woven fabric element 122A, a second woven fabric element 122B, and a knitted fabric element 124 that are substantially similar to those of the second and third embodiments. In the fifth example embodiment, the first woven fabric element 122A, second woven fabric element 122B, and knitted fabric element 124 form a multi-layer structure. As seen in FIG. 6A, a portion of the second woven fabric element 122B is positioned immediately adjacent to and between a portion of the first woven fabric element 122A and the knitted fabric element 124. The first woven fabric element 122A overlaps the second woven fabric element 122B to form two or more layers in an overlap zone 148. Outside of the overlap zone 148, the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B form only a single layer.
  • The seam 128 is formed between the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and the knitted fabric element 124 by a first row of stitches 130 between woven fabric element 122A and the knitted fabric element 124 and by a second row of stitches 132 between woven fabric element 122B and the knitted fabric element 124. The first and second rows of stitches 130, 132 are made using fire resistant thread 134. The seam 128 is also formed between the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and the knitted fabric element 124 third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 that extend between and through woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and the knitted fabric element 124. The third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 are made using non-fire resistant thread 154.
  • During exposure of the multi-layer structure and seam 128 to fire, the third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 are undone or destroyed, and the knitted fabric element 124 expands and stretches. With the third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 undone or destroyed as seen in FIG. 6B after exposure to fire, the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B are connected to the knitted fabric element 124 only by the first and second rows of stitches 130, 132 and the overlap zone 148 has substantially come undone with minimal overlap remaining and a sizable gap 156 being created between the first woven fabric element 122A and the knitted fabric element 124. However, by virtue of the third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 coming undone without the first and second rows of stitches 130, 132 coming undone, the knitted fabric element 124 is permitted to stretch and absorb the forces acting on the flexible protection member 106 during a fire. As a consequence, any distortion is focused in the knitted fabric element 124 and not in the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B. By together enabling the absorption of the forces, the undoing of the third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 and the elasticity of the knitted fabric element 124 aid the flexible protection member 106 in avoiding the adverse effects of an external force.
  • FIG. 7A displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of a seam 128 of a multi-layer flexible protection member 106, in accordance with a sixth example embodiment, prior to exposure to fire. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a first woven fabric element 122A, a second woven fabric element 122B, a first knitted fabric element 124A, and a second knitted fabric element 124B that are substantially similar to those of the second and third embodiments. In the sixth example embodiment, the first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B, and first and second knitted fabric elements 124B form a multi-layer structure. As seen in FIG. 7A, the first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B are positioned immediately adjacent one another such that a portion of the first woven fabric element 122A overlaps a portion of the second woven fabric element 122B to define an overlap zone 148. The first knitted fabric element is located immediately adjacent a portion of the first woven fabric element 122A and the second knitted fabric element is located immediately adjacent a portion of the second woven fabric element 122A.
  • The seam 128 is formed between the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B by a first row of stitches 130 extending between knitted fabric element 124A, woven fabric element 122A, and knitted fabric element 124B and by a second row of stitches 132 extending between knitted fabric element 124A, woven fabric element 122B, and knitted fabric element 124B. The first and second rows of stitches 130, 132 are made using fire resistant thread 134. The seam 128 is also formed between the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B by third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 that extend between and through woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B. The third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 are made using non-fire resistant thread 154.
  • Similar to seam 128 of the fifth example embodiment, the third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 of seam 128 of the sixth example embodiment are undone or destroyed during exposure of the multi-layer structure and seam 128 to fire. As seen in FIG. 7B and with the third and fourth rows of stitches 150, 152 undone or destroyed, the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B expand and stretch, and the overlap zone 148 is substantially reduced in size. Also, the first woven fabric element 122A remains connected to knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B only by the first row of stitches 130, and the second woven fabric element 122B remains connected to knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B only by the second row of stitches 132. Advantageously, while the overlap zone 148 has been significantly reduced in size due to the effects of fire, the overlap zone 148 remains covered on both sides by the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B and the knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B have been permitted to absorb harmful forces acting on the flexible protection member 106.
  • FIG. 8 displays a fire and smoke protection system 100, in accordance with a seventh example embodiment, for substantially sealing an opening 102 in a building structure and limiting the spread of fire and smoke through the opening 102 during a fire. The system 100 is substantially similar to the system 100 of the first embodiment, except that the flexible protection member 106 is configured differently. According to the seventh example embodiment and as seen in the intermediate configuration of FIG. 8, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A and an opposed second lateral edge 112B. Additionally, the flexible protection member 106 has a first longitudinal edge 114A and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B that extend between the element's first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B. The first longitudinal edge 114A is generally secured to the winding shaft 108 to facilitate winding and unwinding of the flexible protection member 106 to or from the winding shaft 108. The second longitudinal edge 114B is connected to a foot 118 of the flexible protection member 106 that contacts an edge of the opening 102 when the system 100 is configured in the fully-deployed configuration.
  • As seen in FIG. 8, the flexible protection member 106 comprises multiple elongate woven fabric elements 122 and multiple elongate knitted fabric elements 124 that each extend between the longitudinal edges 114A, 114B of the flexible protection member 106. However, each of the multiple elongate woven fabric elements 122 and multiple elongate knitted fabric elements 124 extend only partially between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106 such that the multiple elongate woven fabric elements 122 and multiple elongate knitted fabric elements 124 are arranged adjacent to one another in the form of fabric strips. In such arrangement, the elongate woven fabric elements 122 and elongate knitted fabric elements 124 are configured alternately in the lateral direction between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Thus, a first elongate knitted fabric element 124A is positioned at and aligned along the first lateral edge 112A of the flexible protection member 106. A first elongate woven fabric element 122A extends adjacent to the first elongate knitted fabric element 124A nearest lateral edge 112B and is coupled to the first elongate knitted fabric element 124A by a first seam 128A. A second elongate knitted fabric element 124B extends adjacent to the first elongate woven fabric element 122A nearest lateral edge 112B and is coupled to the first elongate woven fabric element 122A by a second seam 128B. A second elongate woven fabric element 122B extends adjacent to the second elongate knitted fabric element 124B nearest lateral edge 112B and is coupled to the first elongate knitted fabric element 124B by a third seam 128C. A third elongate knitted fabric element 124C extends adjacent to the second elongate woven fabric element 122B positioned at and aligned with the second lateral edge 112B of the flexible protection member 106 and is coupled to the second elongate woven fabric element 122B by a fourth seam 128D.
  • Seams 128A, 128B, 128C and 128D are formed substantially similar to seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above using fire resistant thread. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128A, 128B, 128C and 128D may alternatively use one or more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that the woven fabric elements 122 and knitted fabric elements 124 may be present in different numbers, different sizes and be arranged in different arrangements in other example embodiments.
  • FIG. 9 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with an eighth example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 9, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, and a general shape substantially similar to the flexible protection members 106 of the other example embodiments described herein. The flexible protection member 106 of the eighth example embodiment comprises a woven fabric layer 158 and a knitted fabric layer 160. The woven fabric layer 158 includes a woven fabric element 122 that extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The knitted fabric layer 160 includes a knitted fabric element 124 that also extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Thus, the woven fabric element 122 and knitted fabric element 124 extend entirely adjacent and substantially parallel to one another. The woven fabric element 122 and knitted fabric element 124 are coupled together by seams 128A, 128B that are formed substantially similar to the seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above using fire resistant thread 134. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128A, 128B may alternatively use one or more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may comprise additional woven fabric elements, knitted fabric elements, and/or layers of woven fabric, knitted fabric, intumescent, or other materials in the same or different sizes, shapes and arrangements.
  • FIG. 10 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a ninth example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, and a general shape substantially similar to the flexible protection members 106 of the other example embodiments described herein. The flexible protection member 106 of the ninth example embodiment comprises a woven fabric layer 158. The woven fabric layer 158 includes a woven fabric element 122 that extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The flexible protection member 106 also comprises a knitted fabric element 124 that, unlike the woven fabric element 122, does not extend entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Instead, the knitted fabric element 124 includes a first portion 126A and an opposed second portion 126B, each having a substantially rectangular shape when seen in top plan view. The first portion 126A of the knitted fabric element 124 is positioned adjacent to and aligned with the first lateral edge 112A of the flexible protection member 106. The second portion 126B of the knitted fabric element 124 is positioned adjacent to and aligned with the second lateral edge 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Each of the first and second portions 126A, 126B extends adjacent to the woven fabric element 122 and is generally secured to the woven fabric element 122 via seams 128A, 128B formed with the woven fabric element 122. Seams 128 are formed substantially similar to seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above using fire resistant thread 134. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128A, 128B may alternatively use one or more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may comprise additional woven fabric elements, knitted fabric elements, and/or layers of woven fabric, knitted fabric, intumescent, or other materials in the same or different sizes, shapes and arrangements.
  • FIG. 11 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a tenth example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 11, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, and a general shape substantially similar to the flexible protection members 106 of the other example embodiments described herein. The flexible protection member 106 of the tenth example embodiment comprises a knitted fabric layer 160. The knitted fabric layer 160 includes a knitted fabric element 124 that extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The flexible protection member 106 also comprises a woven fabric element 122 that, unlike the knitted fabric element 124, does not extend entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Instead, the woven fabric element 122 includes a first portion 162A and an opposed second portion 162B, each having a substantially rectangular shape when seen in top plan view. The first portion 162A of the woven fabric element 122 is positioned adjacent to and aligned with the first lateral edge 112A of the flexible protection member 106. The second portion 162B of the woven fabric element 122 is positioned adjacent to and aligned with the second lateral edge 112B of the flexible protection member 106.
  • Each of the first and second portions 162A, 162B of the woven fabric element 122 extends adjacent to the knitted fabric element 124 and is generally secured to the knitted fabric element 124 via seams 128A, 128B formed with the knitted fabric element 124. Seams 128 are formed substantially similar to seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above using fire resistant thread 134. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128A, 128B may alternatively use one or more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may comprise additional woven fabric elements, knitted fabric elements, and/or layers of woven fabric, knitted fabric, intumescent, or other materials in the same or different sizes, shapes and arrangements.
  • FIG. 12 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with an eleventh example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 12, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, and a general shape substantially similar to the flexible protection members 106 of the other example embodiments described herein. The flexible protection member 106 of the eleventh example embodiment comprises a first woven fabric layer 158A and a second woven fabric layer 158B. The first woven fabric layer 158A includes a woven fabric element 122A that extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The second woven fabric layer 158B includes a woven fabric element 122B that also extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Thus, the first woven fabric element 122A and the second woven fabric element 122B extend substantially parallel to one another.
  • The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a metal foil element 164 that extends between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The metal foil element 164 is positioned between the first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and is adjacent and substantially parallel thereto forming a multi-layer, sandwich structure. As used herein, the term “metal foil” refers generally to a foil made from steel, titanium, or copper (since copper does not rust), but may include other metal materials or alloys in various example embodiments. However, according to this and other example embodiments described herein, the metal foil element 164 is manufactured from high grade, stainless steel such as, for example and not limitation, V4A steel (also known as 1.4404 steel) or a stainless steel having eighteen percent (18%) chrome and ten percent (10%) nickel that demonstrates low strain hardening, as the flexible protection member 106 may be rolled and unrolled many times to test operation of the fire and smoke protection system 100. Alternatively, the metal foil element 164 may be manufactured from a steel whose yield strength increases with heating (such as, for example, a dual phase steel) in order to provide the flexible protection member 106 with increased strength during and after a fire. Generally, the metal foil has a thickness between twenty micrometers (20 μm) and two hundred micrometers (200 μm) when the metal foil is not used alone in a flexible protection member 106. When the metal foil is used alone, the metal foil typically has a thickness of more than one hundred micrometers (100 μm).
  • The woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and the metal foil element 164 are coupled together by seams (not shown) that are formed substantially similar to the seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above using fire resistant thread 134. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128A, 128B may alternatively use one or more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may comprise additional woven fabric elements, knitted fabric elements, intumescent elements, metal foil elements, and/or layers of woven fabric, knitted fabric, intumescent, metal foil, or other materials in the same or different sizes, shapes and arrangements.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that the metal foil element 164 of this example embodiment (and, for that matter, the other example embodiments described herein) is self-supporting, meaning that it is sufficiently strong and stable enough to carry its own weight absent support from other elements or components. By virtue of the metal foil elements 164 being self-supporting, the flexible protection members 106 described herein having metal foil elements 164 as a single or central element of a multi-layer structure are possible, but would not be possible if the metal foil elements 164 comprised metal foil merely mounted on a fire resistant material.
  • FIG. 13 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a twelfth example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 13, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, and a general shape substantially similar to the flexible protection members 106 of the other example embodiments described herein. The flexible protection member 106 of the twelfth example embodiment comprises a first woven fabric layer 158A and a second woven fabric layer 158B. The first woven fabric layer 158A includes a woven fabric element 122A that extends partially between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The second woven fabric layer 158B includes a woven fabric element 122B that also extends partially between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Thus, the first woven fabric element 122A and the second woven fabric element 122B extend substantially parallel to one another.
  • The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a metal foil element 164 that extends partially between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106 to the same extent as the woven fabric elements 122. The metal foil element 164 is positioned between the first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and is adjacent and substantially parallel thereto forming a multi-layer, sandwich structure. According to the twelfth example embodiment, the metal foil element 164 is manufactured from high grade steel such as, for example and not limitation, V4A steel (also known as 1.440 steel). It should be understood and appreciated that the metal foil element 164 may be manufactured from other types of steels or metals in other example embodiments.
  • Additionally, the flexible protection member 106 comprises first and second knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B that are positioned partially adjacent to the first woven fabric element 122A and second woven fabric element 122B, respectively. The first knitted fabric element 124A includes first and second portions 126A1, 126A2 that each extend only partially between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The first portion 126A1 of the first knitted fabric element 124A overlaps a first end of the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and metal foil element 164 and extends to the first lateral edge 112A of the flexible protection member 106. The second portion 126A2 of the first knitted fabric element 124A overlaps a second end of the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and metal foil element 164 and extends to the second lateral edge 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, the second knitted fabric element 124B includes first and second portions 126B1, 126B2 that each extend only partially between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The first portion 126B1 of the second knitted fabric element 124B overlaps a first end of the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and metal foil element 164 and extends to the first lateral edge 112A of the flexible protection member 106. The second portion 126B2 of the second knitted fabric element 124B overlaps a second end of the woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and metal foil element 164 and extends to the second lateral edge 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The first and second knitted fabric elements 124 are connected to leads near lateral edges 112A, 112B.
  • The woven fabric elements 122, knitted fabric elements 124, and metal foil element 164 are coupled together by a plurality of seams 128. More specifically, the first portion 126A1 of the first knitted fabric element 124A, woven fabric elements 122A, 122B, metal foil element 164, and the first portion 126B1 of the second knitted fabric element 124B are coupled together by seam 128A1. Similarly, the second portion 126A2 of the first knitted fabric element 124A, woven fabric elements 122A, 122B, metal foil element 164, and the second portion 126B2 of the second knitted fabric element 124B are coupled together by seam 128A2. The first portion 126A1 of the first knitted fabric element 124A and the first portion 126B1 of the second knitted fabric element 124B are coupled together by seam 128B1. Similarly, the second portion 126A2 of the first knitted fabric element 124A and the second portion 126B2 of the second knitted fabric element 124B are coupled together by seam 128B2. The seams 128 are formed in a manner that is substantially similar to the seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above using fire resistant thread 134. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128 may alternatively use one or more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may comprise additional woven fabric elements, knitted fabric elements, intumescent elements, metal foil elements, and/or layers of woven fabric, knitted fabric, intumescent, metal foil, or other materials in the same or different sizes, shapes and arrangements.
  • In use, when an external force, “F”, is exerted on or acts upon the first woven fabric element 122A in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of the first woven fabric element 122A, the woven fabric elements 122 and metal foil element 164 tend to sag. Concurrently, the knitted fabric elements 124 tend to stretch as a stretchable element 166. Because the elasticity of the stretchable element 166 is at least five times larger than the elasticity of the metal foil element 164, the distortion due to the force, F, is primarily in the stretchable element 166 when the force, F, is acting. As used herein, the term “elasticity” refers to the relative elongation in the direction of an applied force divided by the applied force and normalized to the width of each relative element. Essentially, “elasticity” refers to the Hooke's field, i.e. the interval in which Hooke' s approximation applies. If a Hooke' s interval does not exist, the elasticity refers to the interval between zero (0) and one percent (1%) relative expansion. In this and other example embodiments herein, it is advantageous if the stretchable element 166 comprises a knitted fabric.
  • FIG. 14 displays a schematic, top plan view of a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a thirteenth example embodiment. As illustrated in FIG. 14, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, and a general shape substantially similar to the flexible protection members 106 of the other example embodiments described herein. The flexible protection member 106 of the thirteenth example embodiment comprises a first knitted fabric layer 160A and a second knitted fabric layer 160B. The first knitted fabric layer 160A includes a knitted fabric element 124A that extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The second knitted fabric layer 160B includes a knitted fabric element 124B that also extends entirely between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Thus, the first knitted fabric element 124A and the second knitted fabric element 124B extend substantially parallel to one another.
  • The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a metal foil element 164 that extends only partially between the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The metal foil element 164 is positioned between the first and second knitted fabric elements 124A, 124B and is adjacent and substantially parallel thereto forming a multi-layer, sandwich structure. According to the thirteenth example embodiment, the metal foil element 164 is manufactured from high grade steel such as, for example and not limitation, V4A steel (also known as 1.440 steel). It should be understood and appreciated that the metal foil element 164 may be manufactured from other types of steels or metals in other example embodiments.
  • The knitted fabric elements 124A, 122B are coupled together by seams 128A, 128B formed with rows of stitches 130A, 130B using fire resistant thread 134 that are similar to the rows of stitches 130 used in seams 128 of the first example embodiment described above. It should be understood and appreciated, however, that seams 128A, 128B may alternatively use more rows of stitches, one or more stitching patterns, and one or more stitching arrangements as described or not described in the other example embodiments. It should also be understood and appreciated that in other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 may comprise additional knitted fabric elements and/or metal foil elements, woven fabric elements, intumescent elements, and/or layers of woven fabric, knitted fabric, intumescent, metal foil, or other materials in the same or different sizes, shapes and arrangements.
  • When an external force, “F”, is exerted on or acts upon the knitted fabric element 124A in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of the first knitted fabric element 124A, the knitted fabric elements 124 tend to stretch as a stretchable element 166 in the regions where the metal foil element 164 does not extend and is not present. Because the elasticity of the stretchable element 166 is considerably larger than the elasticity of the metal foil element 164, the distortion due to the force, F, is primarily in the stretchable element 166 when the force, F, is acting.
  • FIG. 15 displays a schematic, front perspective view of a flexible protection element 108 of a fire and smoke protection system 100, in accordance with a fourteenth example embodiment, in an opening 102 through which the spread of fire and smoke is to be limited. The opening 102 is, for ease and purposes of illustration, defined by a frame 200. Other elements of the fire and smoke protection system 100 have been omitted from the view for clarity. The frame 200, as seen in FIG. 15 and for reference, includes a pair of opposed side panels 202A, 202B that extend longitudinally in the vertical direction, a top panel 204 that extends between the side panels 202A, 202B laterally in the horizontal direction, and an optional bottom panel 206 that also extends between the side panels 202A, 202B laterally in the horizontal direction.
  • The fire and smoke protection system 100 comprises a flexible protection member 106 that is gathered within and/or relative to the opening 102. The flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A and an opposed second lateral edge 112B that extend in a generally longitudinal direction, and has a first longitudinal edge 114A and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B that extend in a generally lateral direction between lateral edges 112A, 112B. The first longitudinal edge 114A of the flexible protection member 106 extends adjacent the frame's top panel 204 such that the flexible protection member 106 extends substantially entirely between the side panels 202A, 202B of the frame 200 with lateral edges 112A, 112B being substantially adjacent and parallel to respective inside surfaces of the frame's side panels 202A, 202B.
  • According to the fourteenth example embodiment, the flexible protection member 106 generally comprises a substantially non-stretchable portion 208 and a stretchable portion 210. The non-stretchable portion 208 has a generally rectangular shape when viewed from a direction perpendicular thereto indicated by arrow 212 and extends only partially between lateral edges 112A, 112B and longitudinal edges 114A, 114B. The non-stretchable portion 208 is surrounded on three sides by the stretchable portion 210 of the flexible protection member 106 such that a first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 is present between the non-stretchable portion 208 and first longitudinal edge 114A and such that second and third sections 214B, 214C of the stretchable portion 210 are present, respectively, between the non-stretchable portion 208 and the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B. The non-stretchable portion 208 has a multi-layer structure and includes first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B with a metal foil element 164 positioned therebetween. The first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and metal foil element 164 are coupled together via seams formed using fire resistant thread 134 in a manner substantially similar to seams 128 of the other example embodiments described herein. The stretchable portion 210 of the flexible protection member 106 generally comprises a knitted fabric element 124 which stretches and is coupled to the non-stretchable portion 208 also by seams formed using fire resistant thread 134 in a manner substantially similar to seams 128 of the other example embodiments described herein.
  • The first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 of the flexible protection member 106 forms a gathered portion 216 (also sometimes referred to herein as a “folded portion 216” or “overlapping portion 216”) relatively near the inside surface of the frame's top panel 204 and the member's first longitudinal edge 114A. To form the gathered portion 216, the first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 is folded along fold lines 218A, 218B extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B and overlapped to define a first part 220A of the gathered portion 216 extending from the member's first longitudinal edge 114A to the first fold line 218A in a direction generally toward the member's second longitudinal edge 114B, a second part 220B of the gathered portion 216 extending between the first fold line 218A and the second fold line 218B in a direction generally toward the member's first longitudinal edge 114A, and a third part 220C of the gathered portion 216 extending in a direction generally toward the member's second longitudinal edge 114B. Thus, in the gathered portion 216, the second part 220B of the gathered portion 216 is oriented substantially adjacent to and overlaps a portion of the first part 220A of the gathered portion 216. Similarly, a portion of the third part 220C of the gathered portion 216 is oriented substantially adjacent to and overlaps the second part 220B of the gathered portion 216. Collectively, the first, second and third parts 220A, 220B, 220C form a “Z-shaped” folding pattern when viewed from one of the lateral edges 112 of the flexible protection member 106.
  • In order to maintain the first, second and third parts 220A, 220B, 220C of the gathered portion 216 so arranged and in the storage configuration, a seam 128 is formed using rows of stitches 150, 152 to releasably couple the parts 220 together. The rows of stitches 150, 152 are made with non-fire resistant thread 154. During exposure of the flexible protection member 106 to fire, the stretchable portion 210 stretches and coupled with the fire causes the rows of stitches 150, 152 to become undone or destroyed, thereby permitting the gathered portion 216 to come undone and allowing the force of gravity to act on parts 220B, 220C to un-gather the flexible protection member 106.
  • Once un-gathered, the stretchable portion 210 and, hence, the flexible protection member 108 have increased surface area with which to receive, distribute, and absorb a force exerted on the flexible protection member 108. Also, the first, second and third parts 220A, 220B, 220C of the first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 may stretch and yield, since they are formed of a stretchable material, in response to a force exerted on the flexible protection member 108. Additionally, the second and third sections 214B, 214C of the stretchable portion 210 present, respectively, between the non-stretchable portion 208 and the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B may also stretch and yield, since they are formed of a stretchable material, in response to force applied to the flexible protection member 108. Thus, at least by virtue of the un-gathering of the first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 and the presence of the second and third sections 214B, 214C of the stretchable portion 210, the flexible protection member 108 is reconfigurable into a configuration that is more able to stretch and bulge in a direction normal to the surface of the flexible protection member 108 and, hence, better resist forces applied to the flexible protection member 108, including, but not limited to, forces corresponding to a stream of water from a fire hose.
  • In addition, because the first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 is initially gathered, the stretchable portion 210 and the flexible protection member 106 may be sized to be much larger and have substantially greater surface area in the un-gathered configuration. Further, the ability of the flexible protection member 106 to resist force is not solely dependent upon the stretchability and elastic properties of the materials employed therein.
  • FIG. 16 displays a schematic, front perspective view of a flexible protection element of a fire and smoke protection system 100, in accordance with a fifteenth example embodiment, in an opening through which the spread of fire and smoke is to be limited. The flexible protection member 106 is substantially similar to the flexible protection member 106 of the fourteenth example embodiment, is displayed using a similar frame 200 and opening 102, and comprises a flexible protection member 106 having a non-stretchable portion 208 and a coupled non-stretchable portion 210.
  • Similar to fourteenth example embodiment, the non-stretchable portion 208 has a generally rectangular shape when viewed from a direction perpendicular thereto indicated by arrow 212 and extends only partially between lateral edges 112A, 112B and longitudinal edges 114A, 114B of the flexible protection member 106. The non-stretchable portion 208 is surrounded on three sides by the stretchable portion 210 of the flexible protection member 106 such that a first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 is present between the non-stretchable portion 208 and first longitudinal edge 114A and such that second and third sections 214B, 214C of the stretchable portion 210 are present, respectively, between the non-stretchable portion 208 and the first and second lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The non-stretchable portion 208 has a multi-layer structure and includes first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B with a metal foil element 164 positioned therebetween. The first and second woven fabric elements 122A, 122B and metal foil element 164 are coupled together via seams formed using fire resistant thread 134 in a manner substantially similar to seams 128 of the other example embodiments described herein.
  • The stretchable portion 210 of the flexible protection member 106 generally comprises a knitted fabric element 124 and is coupled to the non-stretchable portion 208 also by seams formed using fire resistant thread 134 in a manner substantially similar to seams 128 of the other example embodiments described herein. However, in contrast to the flexible protection member 106 of the fourteenth example embodiment, the first section 214A of the stretchable portion 210 is not formed into a gathered portion. Therefore, during exposure to fire, there is no gathered portion to come undone to enhance the surface area or the stretching and deflection capabilities of the flexible protection member 106. Hence, stretching and deflection of the flexible protection member 106 responsive to an applied force is substantially due to stretching and bulging of the knitted fabric element 124 comprising the stretchable portion 210 thereof.
  • In the example embodiments described above, the flexible protection members 106 generally each comprise a sheet-like member that extends substantially between the lateral and longitudinal edges of an opening through which the spread of fire and smoke is to be limited. However, in certain applications and sometimes due to manufacturing considerations, it is advantageous for some flexible protection members 106 to be configured as a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 having a substantially rectangular shape (when viewed in a direction perpendicular to a front or back surface thereof) and being relatively thin in thickness as compared the lateral and longitudinal dimensions thereof. When a flexible protection member 106 is so configured, elongate clamping members 232 couple adjacent pairs of elongate segments 230 of the flexible protection member 106 together. Generally, the elongate clamping members 232 extend primarily in and parallel to the longitudinal edges 114 of a flexible protection member 106, and may advantageously extend beyond the lateral edges 112 thereof such that the elongate clamping members 232 extend into the recesses of the guides 110. Also, each elongate clamping member 232 is typically located at a distance of less than two (2) meters relative to each immediately preceding and succeeding elongate clamping members 232. More accurately, each elongate clamping member 232 is located at a distance of between thirty (30) to one hundred (100) centimeters relative to each immediately preceding and succeeding elongate clamping members 232, with a preferred distance measuring fifty (50) centimeters.
  • Beneficially, the elongate clamping members 232 permit a flexible protection member 106 to be wound onto a winding shaft 108 for configuration of a fire and smoke protection system 100 in a storage configuration or to be unwound from a winding shaft 108 for reconfiguration of a fire and smoke protection system 100 in a protection configuration as the elongate clamping members 232 also typically extend in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the winding shaft 108. Also, the elongate clamping members 232 are relatively stable against downward deflection and, hence, aid the flexible protection member 106 in maintaining its shape and in opposing sagging. Additionally, the elongate clamping members 232 are generally easy to install, which is important since flexible protection members 106 using elongate clamping members 232 are assembled at job sites. In the paragraphs that follow, a number of different elongate clamping members 232 are described in further detail with respect to FIGS. 17-29.
  • FIG. 17 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a sixteenth example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 17, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, a first longitudinal edge 114A, and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Each elongate segment 230 is formed from a single layer of fire resistant material including, for example, but not limitation, the knitted fabric, woven fabric, metal foil, and other fire resistant materials described, or not described, herein. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a plurality of elongate clamping members 232 with each elongate clamping member 232 extending between and coupling adjacent elongate segments 230 and extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B.
  • FIG. 18 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member 232 of the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 17 taken along lines 18-18 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B. As illustrated in FIG. 18, elongate segment 230A is folded along fold line 234A to define first and second portions 236A, 236B of elongate segment 230A in a substantially “U-shape” configuration. Similarly, elongate segment 230B is folded along fold line 234B to define first and second portions 238A, 238B in a substantially “U-shape” configuration. Elongate segment 230A and elongate segment 230B are arranged such that the first portion 236A of elongate segment 230A resides between the first portion 238A of elongate segment 230B and the second portion 238B of elongate segment 230B. Similarly, the first portion of 238A of elongate segment 230B resides between the first portion 236A of elongate segment 230A and the second portion 236B of elongate segment 230A. Frictional forces between portions 236A, 236B of elongate segment 230A and portions 238A, 238B of elongate segment 230B aid in holding the elongate segments 230A, 230B together and resisting forces that tend to cause separation. To enhance the frictional forces, a strip made of non-flammable material and having rough surfaces may be positioned between portions 236A, 236B of elongate segment 230A and portions 238A, 238B of elongate segment 230B.
  • The elongate clamping member 232 comprises a first elongate clamping rod 240A and an opposed second elongate clamping rod 240B. The first elongate clamping rod 240A resides adjacent the second portion 236B of elongate segment 230A and defines a plurality of bores 242A that are laterally offset relative to one another at a respective plurality of discrete locations between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, the second elongate clamping rod 240B resides adjacent the second portion 238B of elongate segment 230B and defines a plurality of bores 242B that are laterally offset relative to one another at a respective plurality of discrete locations between lateral edges 112A, 112B axially-aligned with bores 242A of the first elongate clamping rod 240A. Elongate segments 230A, 230B similarly define a plurality of bores 244 extending through portions 236A, 238A and parts of portions 236B, 238B at a respective plurality of discrete locations between lateral edges 112A, 112B and that are, respectively, cooperative and coaxially-aligned with respective bores 242A, 242B. The elongate clamping member 232 further comprises a plurality of pre-tensioning members 246 such that a respective pre-tensioning member 246 is present within coaxially-aligned bores 242A, 242B, 244. The pre-tensioning members 246 apply a pre-tensioning force, “F”, to the first and second elongate clamping rods 240 pre-tensioning the elongate clamping rods 240 relative to one another and causing the elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B to securely hold portions 236A, 238A and parts of portions 236B, 238B of adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B together. Pre-tensioning members 246 acceptable in accordance with this example embodiment include, for example and not limitation, fasteners, rivets, tie rods, screws, and tension springs. Generally, the pre-tensioning force, F, is selected to hold adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B together when a load force, “G”, corresponding to twice the weight of the components of the flexible protection member 106 present below the elongate clamping member 232 is applied.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that clamping of adjacent elongate members 230A, 230B together constitutes an improvement over coupling of the elongate members 230A, 230B with seams. Thus, although adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B are punctured in connection with use of the elongate clamping members 232 and, hence, the elongate segments 230A, 230B are weakened, the mechanical weakening of the flexible protection member 106 due to seaming is substantially greater.
  • FIG. 19 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a seventeenth example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 19, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, a first longitudinal edge 114A, and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Each elongate segment 230 is formed from and includes a first knitted fabric element 124A, a metal foil element 164, and a second knitted fabric element 124B arranged in a multi-layer sandwich structure. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a plurality of elongate clamping members 232 with each elongate clamping member 232 extending between and coupling adjacent elongate segments 230 and extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. It should be understood and appreciated that each elongate segment 230 may also be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein.
  • FIG. 20 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member 232 of the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 19 taken along lines 20-20 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B. As illustrated in FIG. 20, elongate segment 230A is folded along fold line 234A to define first and second portions 236A, 236B of elongate segment 230A in a substantially “U-shape” configuration. Similarly, elongate segment 230B is folded along fold line 234B to define first and second portions 238A, 238B in a substantially “U-shape” configuration. Elongate segment 230A and elongate segment 230B are arranged such that the first portion 236A of elongate segment 230A resides between the first portion 238A of elongate segment 230B and the second portion 238B of elongate segment 230B. Similarly, the first portion of 238A of elongate segment 230B resides between the first portion 236A of elongate segment 230A and the second portion 236B of elongate segment 230A. Frictional forces between portions 236A, 236B of elongate segment 230A and portions 238A, 238B of elongate segment 230B aid in holding the elongate segments 230A, 230B together and resisting forces that tend to cause separation.
  • The elongate clamping member 232 comprises a first elongate clamping rod 240A and an opposed second elongate clamping rod 240B. The first elongate clamping rod 240A resides adjacent the second portion 236B of elongate segment 230A and defines a plurality of bores 242A that are laterally offset relative to one another at a respective plurality of discrete locations between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, the second elongate clamping rod 240B resides adjacent the second portion 238B of elongate segment 230B and defines a plurality of bores 242B that are laterally offset relative to one another at a respective plurality of discrete locations between lateral edges 112A, 112B axially-aligned with bores 242A of the first elongate clamping rod 240A. Elongate segments 230A, 230B similarly define a plurality of bores 244 extending through portions 236A, 238A and parts of portions 236B, 238B at a respective plurality of discrete locations between lateral edges 112A, 112B and that are, respectively, cooperative and coaxially-aligned with respective bores 242A, 242B. The elongate clamping member 232 further comprises a plurality of pre-tensioning members 246 such that a respective pre-tensioning member 246 is present within coaxially-aligned bores 242A, 242B, 244. The pre-tensioning members 246 apply a pre-tensioning force, “F”, to the first and second elongate clamping rods 240 pre-tensioning the elongate clamping rods 240 relative to one another and causing the elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B to securely hold portions 236A, 238A and parts of portions 236B, 238B of adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B together. Pre-tensioning members 246 acceptable in accordance with this example embodiment include, for example and not limitation, fasteners, rivets, tie rods, screws, and tension springs.
  • FIG. 21 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a eighteenth example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 21, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, a first longitudinal edge 114A, and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Each elongate segment 230 is formed from a single layer of fire resistant material including, for example, but not limitation, the knitted fabric, woven fabric, metal foil, and other fire resistant materials described, or not described, herein. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a plurality of elongate clamping members 232 with each elongate clamping member 232 extending between and coupling adjacent elongate segments 230 and extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B.
  • FIG. 22 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member 232 of the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 21 taken along lines 22-22 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B. As illustrated in FIG. 22, elongate clamping member 232 comprises a first elongate piping/welt member 250A and an opposed second elongate piping/welt member 250B that each extend between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. A portion of elongate segment 230A wraps around the first elongate piping/welt member 250A to form a first elongate piping/welt 252A and first elongate loop 253A extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, a portion of elongate segment 230B wraps around the second elongate piping/welt member 250B to form a second elongate piping/welt 252B and second elongate loop 253B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106.
  • The elongate clamping member 232 further comprises a first elongate clamping rod 240A and an opposed second elongate clamping rod 240B. The first and second elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B define respective elongate recesses 254A, 254B for receiving respective portions 256A, 256B of an elongate retaining member 258 therein. The elongate retaining member 258 locks the first elongate clamping rod 240A to the second elongate clamping rod 240B. When locked together, the first and second elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B define elongate piping/welt cavities 259A, 259B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106 in which the first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B respectively reside, thereby coupling elongate segments 230A, 230B.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that while each elongate segment 230 has been described with reference to FIGS. 21 and 22 as being formed by a single layer of fire resistant material, each elongate segment 230 may also be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein. It should also be understood and appreciated that the elongate clamping member of FIGS. 21 and 22 may be employed with elongate segments 230 employing single layers of fire resistant materials or employing multi-layer structures having one or more fire resistant materials. Additionally, it should be understood and appreciated that if the elongate segments 230 are formed of metal foil elements 164, the elongate segments 230A, 230B may be wrapped respectively around the first and second elongate piping/welt members 250A, 250B and welded respectively to themselves to form very stable elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B. Further, if such elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B are formed, a clasp may be employed in lieu of elongate clamping member 232 resulting in a particularly secure connection between the elongate segments 230A, 230B.
  • FIG. 23 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a nineteenth example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 23, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, a first longitudinal edge 114A, and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Each elongate segment 230 is formed from a single layer of fire resistant material including, for example, but not limitation, the knitted fabric, woven fabric, metal foil, and other fire resistant materials described, or not described, herein. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a plurality of elongate clamping members 232 with each elongate clamping member 232 extending between and coupling adjacent elongate segments 230 and extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B.
  • FIG. 24 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member 232 of the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 23 taken along lines 24-24 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B. As illustrated in FIG. 24, elongate clamping member 232 comprises a first elongate piping/welt member 250A and an opposed second elongate piping/welt member 250B that each extend between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. A portion of elongate segment 230A wraps around the first elongate piping/welt member 250A to form a first elongate piping/welt 252A and first elongate loop 253A extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, a portion of elongate segment 230B wraps around the second elongate piping/welt member 250B to form a second elongate piping/welt 252B and second elongate loop 253B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106.
  • The elongate clamping member 232 further comprises a first elongate clamping rod 240A and an opposed second elongate clamping rod 240B. The first and second elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B define respective coaxially-aligned bores 260A, 260B for receiving fasteners 262A, 262B therein. The fasteners 262A, 262B lock the first elongate clamping rod 240A to the second elongate clamping rod 240B. When locked together, the first and second elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B define elongate piping/welt cavities 259A, 259B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106 in which the first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B respectively reside, thereby coupling elongate segments 230A, 230B.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that while each elongate segment 230 has been described with reference to FIGS. 23 and 24 as being formed by a single layer of fire resistant material, each elongate segment 230 may also be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein. It should also be understood and appreciated that the elongate clamping member of FIGS. 23 and 24 may be employed with elongate segments 230 employing single layers of fire resistant materials or employing multi-layer structures having one or more fire resistant materials. Additionally, it should be understood and appreciated that if the elongate segments 230 are formed of metal foil elements 164, the elongate segments 230A, 230B may be wrapped respectively around the first and second elongate piping/welt members 250A, 250B and welded respectively to themselves to form very stable elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B.
  • FIG. 25 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a twentieth example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 25, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, a first longitudinal edge 114A, and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Each elongate segment 230 is formed from a single layer of fire resistant material including, for example, but not limitation, the knitted fabric, woven fabric, metal foil, and other fire resistant materials described, or not described, herein. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a plurality of elongate clamping members 232 with each elongate clamping member 232 extending between and coupling adjacent elongate segments 230 and extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B.
  • FIG. 26 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member 232 of the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 25 taken along lines 26-26 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B. As illustrated in FIG. 26, elongate clamping member 232 comprises a first elongate piping/welt member 250A and an opposed second elongate piping/welt member 250B that each extend between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. A portion of elongate segment 230A wraps around the first elongate piping/welt member 250A to form a first elongate piping/welt 252A extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, a portion of elongate segment 230B wraps around the second elongate piping/welt member 250B to form a second elongate piping/welt 252B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106.
  • The elongate clamping member 232 further comprises an elongate clamping clip 264 extending slightly beyond the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. The elongate clamping clip 264 has an elongate central portion 266 and an elongate first leg 268A that extends away from the elongate central portion 266 and then loops back toward the elongate central portion 266 to define a first elongate channel 270A. The elongate clamping clip 264 also has an elongate second leg 268B that, similar to the elongate first leg 268A but in the opposite direction, extends away from the elongate central portion 266 and then loops back toward the elongate central portion 266 to define a second elongate channel 270B. Collectively, the elongate central portion 266, elongate first leg 268A, and elongate second leg 268B form a cross-sectional shape corresponding to a tilted letter “S”. The first and second elongate channels 270A, 270B respectively receive the first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B.
  • The elongate clamping clip 264 is manufactured, according to the example embodiment, from a fire resistant, spring steel material that permits the ends of the elongate first and second legs 268A, 268B to be respectively spread apart from the elongate central portion 266 for the insertion of the first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B into the first and second elongate channels 270A, 270B. Once the elongated piping/welts 252 are inserted, the elongate first and second legs 268A, 268B spring back toward the elongate central portion 266 securing the elongated piping/welts 252 and trapping respective portions of the elongate segments 230A, 230B therebetween. Also, the elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B are positioned at respective locations offset forward and aft from the plane of the elongate segments 230A, 230B.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that while each elongate segment 230 has been described with reference to FIGS. 25 and 26 as being formed by a single layer of fire resistant material, each elongate segment 230 may also be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein. It should also be understood and appreciated that the elongate clamping member of FIGS. 25 and 26 may be employed with elongate segments 230 employing single layers of fire resistant materials or employing multi-layer structures having one or more fire resistant materials. Additionally, it should be understood and appreciated that if the elongate segments 230 are formed of metal foil elements 164, the elongate segments 230A, 230B may be wrapped respectively around the first and second elongate piping/welt members 250A, 250B and welded respectively to themselves to form very stable elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B.
  • FIG. 27 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 having elongate clamping members 232 in accordance with a twenty-first example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 27, the flexible protection member 106 has a first lateral edge 112A, an opposed second lateral edge 112B, a first longitudinal edge 114A, and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B. The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate segments 230 with each elongate segment 230 extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Each elongate segment 230 is formed from a single layer of fire resistant material including, for example, but not limitation, the knitted fabric, woven fabric, metal foil, and other fire resistant materials described, or not described, herein. The flexible protection member 106 further comprises a plurality of elongate clamping members 232 with each elongate clamping member 232 extending between and coupling adjacent elongate segments 230 and extending between lateral edges 112A, 112B.
  • FIG. 28 displays a schematic, cross-sectional view of an elongate clamping member 232 of the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 27 taken along lines 28-28 and showing portions of the adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B. The elongate clamping member 232 is configurable in first, closed configuration (see FIG. 28) in which adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B are clamped and coupled together, and a second, open configuration (see FIG. 29) in which adjacent elongate segments 230A, 230B are not clamped or coupled together. As illustrated in FIG. 28, elongate clamping member 232 comprises a first elongate piping/welt member 250A and an opposed second elongate piping/welt member 250B that each extend between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. A portion of elongate segment 230A wraps around the first elongate piping/welt member 250A to form a first elongate piping/welt 252A and elongate loop 253A extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106. Similarly, a portion of elongate segment 230B wraps around the second elongate piping/welt member 250B to form a second elongate piping/welt 252B and elongate loop 253B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106.
  • The elongate clamping member 232 also comprises a first elongate clamping rod 240A and a second elongate clamping rod 240B pivotally, or hingedly, attached to the first elongate clamping rod 240A in a scissor or criss-cross arrangement via an elongate pivot pin 272. The first elongate clamping rod 240A has an elongate first part 274A and an elongate second part 274B. Similarly, the second elongate clamping rod 240B has an elongate first part 276A and an elongate second part 276B.
  • Additionally, the elongate clamping member 232 defines first and second elongate piping/welt cavities 259A, 259B extending between the lateral edges 112A, 112B of the flexible protection member 106 for respectively receiving first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B. More specifically, the elongate first part 274A of first elongate clamping rod 240A and the elongate first part 276A of second elongate clamping rod 240B form the first elongate piping/welt cavity 259A. Similarly, the elongate second part 274B of first elongate clamping rod 240A and the elongate second part 276B of second elongate clamping rod 240B form the second elongate piping/welt cavity 259B.
  • In use, the first elongate clamping rod 240A and second elongate clamping rod 240B are pivoted relative to one another about pivot pin 272 to configure the elongate clamping member 232 in the open configuration. The first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B are then respectively inserted into and received by the first and second elongate piping/welt cavities 258A, 258B. Subsequently, the first elongate clamping rod 240A and second elongate clamping rod 240B are again pivoted relative to one another about pivot pin 272, but to configure the elongate clamping member 232 in the closed configuration. Once configured and secured in the closed configuration, for example and not limitation, by a biasing member or locking mechanism, the first and second elongate clamping rods 240A, 240B contact, or engage, elongate segments 230A, 230B and hold the first and second elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B within the first and second elongate piping/welt cavities 258A, 258B to securely couple elongate segments 230A, 230B.
  • The elongated clamping member 232 of this example embodiment is particularly well-suited for use with elongate segments 230 including one or more metal foil element(s) 164 that comprise at least one layer of metal foil material. If the elongate segments 230 are formed of metal foil elements 164, the elongate segments 230A, 230B may be wrapped respectively around the first and second elongate piping/welt members 250A, 250B and welded respectively to themselves to form very stable elongate piping/welts 252A, 252B.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that while each elongate segment 230 has been described with reference to FIGS. 27, 28 and 29 as being formed by a single layer of fire resistant material, each elongate segment 230 may also be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein. It should also be understood and appreciated that the elongate clamping member of FIGS. 27, 28 and 29 may be employed with elongate segments 230 employing single layers of fire resistant materials or employing multi-layer structures having one or more fire resistant materials.
  • In the previously described example embodiments of a fire and smoke protection system 100 and/or various components thereof, the flexible protection members 106 have been manufactured with substantially smooth front and back surfaces. However, if the flexible protection members 106 are made with front and/or back surfaces having a pattern imprinted or embossed therein, the flexible protection members 106 deform and bulge in a malleable way locally in the areas of the imprinted or embossed pattern elements so that the imprint or embossed pattern elements yield, thereby increasing the resistance to forces applied normal to the surfaces. Therefore, in the example embodiments described below with reference to FIGS. 30, 31 and 32, the flexible protection members 106 are manufactured with front and/or back surfaces having a pattern or a texture.
  • FIG. 30 displays a schematic, front elevational view of a flexible protection member 106 of a fire and smoke protection system 100 in accordance with a twenty-second example embodiment. The flexible protection member 106, as seen in FIG. 30, has a first lateral edge 112A and an opposed second lateral edge 112B that each extend in a substantially longitudinal direction. The flexible protection member 106 also has a first longitudinal edge 114A and an opposed second longitudinal edge 114B that each extend in a substantially lateral direction between lateral edges 112A, 112B. Generally, the flexible protection member 106 comprises a sheet-like member that is minimal in thickness (as measured between front and back surfaces thereof) relative to the element's lateral and longitudinal dimensions.
  • The flexible protection member 106 includes a metal foil element 164 and has a front surface 290 (or face 290) that is imprinted or embossed with a pattern 292. As illustrated in FIG. 30, the pattern 292 comprises a honeycomb structure having a plurality of cells 294 (or pattern elements 294). Each cell 294 has a depth that corresponds to the thickness of the metal foil element 164 and, hence, the flexible protection member 106. Thus, according to this example embodiment, an acceptable depth for each cell 294 is 0.2 millimeters for a metal foil element 164 having a thickness of 0.2 millimeters. Also, the pattern 292 and cells 294 are sized and arranged to repeat the pattern 292 within a distance referred to as a mesh width. In accordance with this example embodiment, the mesh width comprises 10 millimeters, meaning that the pattern 292 and cells 294 repeat themselves every 10 millimeters.
  • While this example embodiment has been described with reference to a flexible protection member 106 having a honeycomb pattern 292, it should be understood and appreciated that the flexible protection member 106 may, in other example embodiments, have other types of patterns 292 that are formed with linear, non-linear, specifically-shaped, and arbitrarily-shaped elements, alone or in combination, and be formed with different mesh widths. For example and not limitation, the flexible protection member 106 of another example embodiment may have patterns 292 including lines, arcs, ellipses, polygons, or other geometric and non-geometric elements. It should also be understood and appreciated that the flexible protection member 106 of other example embodiments may have patterns 292 made by methods other than imprinting or embossing such as, for example but not limitation, molding, stamping, surface printing, or surface etching. Additionally, it should be understood and appreciated that the flexible protection member 106 of other example embodiments may have patterns 292 formed by texturing of the element's front and/or back surfaces including, absent limitation, by the addition and/or removal of a material(s) to the front and/or back surfaces of the flexible protection member 106, or by the addition and/or removal, partially or entirely, of a coating, film, or other material(s) applied to the front and/or back surfaces of the flexible protection member 106. In addition, it should be understood and appreciated that while the flexible protection member 106 has been described with reference to FIG. 30 as being formed by a single layer of fire resistant material, the flexible protection member 106 may also be formed in other example embodiments using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein.
  • FIG. 31 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system 100 in accordance with a twenty-third example embodiment. The fire and smoke protection system 100 is substantially similar to the fire and smoke protection system 100 of the first example embodiment, but includes a flexible protection member 106 having a multi-layer structure in which a metal foil element 164 is interposed, or sandwiched, between a first layer 296 formed of a first wire mesh element 298A and a second layer 300 formed of a second wire mesh element 298B. In FIG. 31, the first layer 296 and metal foil element 164 near the corner of the flexible protection member 106 formed between longitudinal edge 114A and lateral edge 112B are peeled away to expose the multi-layer structure and for clarity. While not required, one or more of the metal foil element 164, first wire mesh element 298A, or second wire mesh element 298B may be connected together such as by contact welding. According to this and other example embodiments herein, the wire mesh elements 298 are manufactured from the same, or a similar, material as that of the metal foil element 164 including, but not limited to, an austenitic steel like, or similar to, the steels described above in the description of FIG. 12.
  • The flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate strips 302 that extend in a lateral direction beyond lateral edges 112A, 112B and into respective first and second guides 110A, 110B to aid in guiding the flexible protection member 106 during reconfiguring of the system 100 between a storage configuration and protection configuration. The elongate strips 302 are secured to the flexible protection member 106 by clamping using elongate clamping members 232 (not shown) and methods similar to those described above with reference to FIGS. 18 and 20. Each elongate strip 302 is positioned at a distance, “D”, relative to the immediately preceding and succeeding elongate strips 302 in the longitudinal direction. A distance, D, acceptable in accordance with this example embodiment, includes fifty (50) centimeters. Alternatively, since the multi-layer structure of the flexible protection member 106 comprises a metal foil element 164 and wire mesh elements 298A, 298B, the elongate strips 302 may be welded, in other example embodiments, to the flexible protection member 106 in lieu of being clamped to the flexible protection member 106 using elongate clamping members 232. In still other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 comprises elongate strips 302 that are present in addition to elongate clamping members 232.
  • Advantageously, the first and second wire mesh elements 298A, 298B generally have a higher tear resistance than the metal foil element 164. Typically, if the metal foil element 164 is hit by a water jet at a particular location, the metal foil element 164 will yield, bulge and possibly tear at the location. However, when reinforced and supported with an adjacent wire mesh element 298 as in this and other example embodiments, the notch stress at the base of the tear is small and the tear in the metal foil element 298 does not spread.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that while the flexible protection member 106 has been described with reference to FIG. 31 as being formed with wire mesh elements 298A, 298B, the flexible protection member 106 may alternatively be formed by substituting elements made from fire resistant materials, described or not described herein, for one or both of the wire mesh elements 298A, 298B. Also, it should be understood and appreciated that while the flexible protection member 106 has been described as comprising a particular multi-layer structure, the flexible protection member 106 may alternatively be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the single and multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein.
  • FIG. 32 displays a schematic, partial, front elevational view of a fire and smoke protection system 100 in accordance with a twenty-fourth example embodiment. The fire and smoke protection system 100 is substantially similar to the fire and smoke protection system 100 of the first and twenty-third example embodiments, but includes a flexible protection member 106 having a multi-layer structure including a first wire mesh element 298A, a first metal foil element 164A, a second wire mesh element 298B, and a second metal foil element 164B. In FIG. 32, the layers are shown peeled away near the corner of the flexible protection member 106 formed between longitudinal edge 114A and lateral edge 112B to expose the multi-layer structure and for clarity. As seen in FIG. 32, the first metal foil element 164A is positioned between the first wire mesh element 298A and the second wire mesh element 298B such that the second wire mesh element 298B is positioned between the first metal foil element 164A and the second metal foil element 164B. The first and second metal foil elements 164A, 164B may be imprinted or embossed with a pattern 292 similar to the metal foil element 164 described above with respect to FIG. 30 such that the first and second wire mesh elements 298A, 298B are arranged and reside in the depressions defined by the pattern 292 in the first and second metal foil elements 164A, 164B.
  • Similar to the flexible protection member 106 of FIG. 31, the flexible protection member 106 comprises a plurality of elongate strips 302 that extend in a lateral direction beyond lateral edges 112A, 112B and into respective first and second guides 110A, 110B to aid in guiding the flexible protection member 106 during reconfiguation of the system 100 between a storage configuration and protection configuration. The elongate strips 302 are secured to the flexible protection member 106 by clamping using elongate clamping members 232 (not shown) and methods similar to those described above with reference to FIGS. 18 and 20. Each elongate strip 302 is positioned at a distance, “D”, relative to the immediately preceding and succeeding elongate strips 302 in the longitudinal direction. A distance, D, acceptable in accordance with this example embodiment, includes fifty centimeters (50 cm). Alternatively, since the multi-layer structure of the flexible protection member 106 comprises metal foil elements 164A, 164B and wire mesh elements 298A, 298B, the elongate strips 302 may be welded, in other example embodiments, to the flexible protection member 106 in lieu of being clamped to the flexible protection member 106 using elongate clamping members 232. In still other example embodiments, the flexible protection member 106 comprises elongate strips 302 that are present in addition to elongate clamping members 232.
  • In an alternative example embodiment, the layers of the multi-layer structure may be arranged in a different order in which the first and second metal foil elements 164A, 164B are disposed immediately adjacent one another back-to-back with the first wire mesh element 298A adjacent the first metal foil element 164A and the second wire mesh element 298B adjacent the second metal foil element 164B. Also, in another alternative example embodiment, the fire and smoke protection system 100 further comprises a second winding shaft 108 that enables the first wire mesh element 298A and first metal foil element 164A to be wound around the first winding shaft 108A and the second wire mesh element 298B and second metal foil element 164B to be would around the second winding shaft 108B when the system 100 is in a storage configuration. By using two winding shafts 108, the first and second metal foil elements 164A, 164B do not slip or shift relative to one another during winding about the winding shafts 108 as might occur if the first and second metal foil elements 164A, 164B were wound on a single winding shaft 108.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that while the flexible protection member 106 has been described with reference to FIG. 32 as being formed with wire mesh elements 298A, 298B, the flexible protection member 106 may alternatively be formed by substituting elements made from fire resistant materials, described or not described herein, for one or both of the wire mesh elements 298A, 298B. Also, it should be understood and appreciated that while the flexible protection member 106 has been described as comprising a particular multi-layer structure, the flexible protection member 106 may alternatively be formed using any of the materials and according to any of the structures (including, without limitation, the single and multi-layer structures) for flexible protection members 106 described, or not described, herein.
  • FIG. 33 displays a schematic, partial diagram of a device 310 for manufacturing a multi-layer material for use in making a flexible protection member 106 in accordance with a twenty-fifth example embodiment. As seen in FIG. 33, the device 310 comprises a first drum 312 and a second drum 314 offset at a distance relative to the first drum 312. A metal foil 316 is arranged around the first drum 312. A woven fabric 318 made from a fire resistant material is arranged around the second drum 314. The device 310 includes a coating unit 320 having a dispensing device 322 and a roller 324 for applying an adhesive coating. Additionally, the device 310 includes a connecting unit 326 having a heated cylinder 328 and a plurality of rollers 330 for applying a fire resistant material to the metal foil.
  • In operation, the metal foil 316 spools off of the first drum 312 and is directed toward the coating unit 320. While traveling through the coating unit 320, a paste-like adhesive is dispensed and applied to the metal foil by the dispensing device 322 and roller 324. The adhesive-covered metal foil 316 exits the coating unit 320 and is directed into the connecting unit 326. Concurrently, the woven fabric 318 is spooled off of the second drum 314 and into the connecting unit 326. Within the connecting unit 326, the adhesive-coated metal foil 316 and woven fabric 318 travel in contact and side-by-side around the heated cylinder 328 which activates the adhesive, causing the metal foil 316 and fire resistant woven fabric 318 to become securely connected together. The coupled metal foil and fire resistant woven fabric 332 comprises a dimensionally-stable, textile structure or composite material from which a flexible protection member 106 may be made.
  • If, for a particular application, the flexible protection member 106 requires the inclusion of a fire resistant knitted fabric element, the device 310 (or a similarly configured second device) may be used in a second pass similar to the first pass described above, to apply a knitted fabric layer to the already produced composite material. In such case, the composite material 322 from the first pass is loaded onto the first drum 312 and a fire resistant knitted fabric is loaded onto the second drum 314. Once loaded, the composite material 322 spools off of the first drum 312 and passes through the coating unit 320 where similar adhesive is applied and the adhesive coated composite material 322 is directed into the connecting unit 326. Concurrently, the kitted fabric is spooled off of the second drum 314 and into the connecting unit 326. Inside the connecting unit 326, the adhesive-coated composite material 322 and the knitted fabric come into contact and travel around the heated cylinder 328. The adhesive is activated by the heated cylinder 328 and the knitted fabric becomes secured to the composite material 322 to form a new composite material including a woven fabric, metal foil, and knitted fabric that may be used to produce a flexible protection member 106.
  • It should be understood and appreciated that the device 310 may be used to produce many different multi-layer materials that may be used in the manufacture of flexible protection members 106 by loading the device 310 with desired materials and making multiple passes through the device 310 in an appropriate sequence to form suitable composite materials having the desired materials for particular applications.
  • Whereas the present invention has been described in detail above with respect to example embodiments thereof, it should be appreciated that variations and modifications might be effected within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Claims (2)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A system as described and shown herein, including at least each and every embodiment.
  2. 2. A system as described and shown herein.
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US13804451 US20140190709A1 (en) 2013-01-10 2013-03-14 Smoke or Fire Protection Device
EP20140150781 EP2754468A3 (en) 2013-01-10 2014-01-10 Fire and smoke protection system
US14867713 US20160024785A1 (en) 2012-01-10 2015-09-28 Fire and smoke protection system

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US20160024785A1 (en) 2016-01-28 application
US9127501B1 (en) 2015-09-08 grant
CA2801443A1 (en) 2013-07-10 application

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