Title:
Building element, method for producing the same and method of making a wall construction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A polygonal building element has an insulating means and a frame structure extending along the circumference of the insulating means and having a number of elongate sections that are essentially U-shaped in cross section. The insulating means is made of lightweight material (e.g. cellular plastic) and is self-supporting, and the U-sections are arranged in such manner on the peripheral edge portion of the insulating means that the flanges of each U-section grasp the edge portion of the insulating means.



Inventors:
Lundberg, Jonas (Ahus, SE)
Larsson, Hans (Helsingborg, SE)
Bjorklund, Tonny (Bastad, SE)
Application Number:
09/972737
Publication Date:
07/18/2002
Filing Date:
10/05/2001
Assignee:
LUNDBERG JONAS
LARSSON HANS
BJORKLUND TONNY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/794.1, 52/800.11, 52/800.16, 52/792.1
International Classes:
E04C2/38; (IPC1-7): E04C2/34; E04C2/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GLESSNER, BRIAN E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEINGARTEN, SCHURGIN, GAGNEBIN & LEBOVICI LLP (Ten Post Office Square, Boston, MA, 02109, US)
Claims:

What we claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:



1. A polygonal building element comprising: an insulating means having two opposite large faces, a circumference and a peripheral edge portion with an edge surface, and a frame structure extending along a major part of or the whole circumference of said insulating means and comprising a number of elongate sections that are essentially U-shaped in cross section, each U-section having flanges and a web, wherein said insulating means is made of lightweight material and is self-supporting, and wherein said U-sections are arranged in such manner on said peripheral edge portion of said insulating means that said flanges of each U-section grasp said edge portion of said insulating means and are located on an outside of said two large faces thereof, while said web of said U-section is caused to abut against said edge surface of said insulating means.

2. The building element of claim 1, wherein said U-sections are interconnected at their ends.

3. The building element of claim 2, wherein said U-sections are interconnected at their ends in a number of connection points.

4. The building element of claim 3, wherein said U-sections are interconnected in said connection points by means of screw or rivet joints.

5. The building element of claim 3, wherein said flanges of said U-sections are arranged so as to overlap in said connection points.

6. The building element of claim 1, wherein said webs of said U-sections are provided with slots.

7. The building element of claim 1, wherein said U-sections are identical in cross section.

8. The building element of claim 1, wherein a transverse distance between said flanges of said U-sections corresponds to a thickness of said insulating means in said peripheral edge portion.

9. The building element of claim 1, wherein said U-sections have means for connecting adjacent building elements with each other.

10. The building element of claim 1, wherein two opposite U-sections are displaced along respective peripheral portions in such manner that each form a protruding portion.

11. The building element of claim 1, wherein said U-sections are made of sheet metal.

12. The building element of claim 1, wherein said insulating means is made of cellular plastic.

13. The building element of claim 1, wherein said insulating means consists of a parallelepiped block made of lightweight material.

14. The building element of claim 1, wherein said insulating means comprises a plurality of blocks made of lightweight material, which are assembled so as to form a unit constituting said insulating means.

15. The building element of claim 1, which has the shape of a rectangular wall element with four U-sections, which are identical in pairs.

16. A building element comprising: an insulating means having two opposite large faces, a circumference and a peripheral edge portion with an edge surface, and a frame structure extending along a major part of or the whole circumference of said insulating means and comprising a number of elongate sections that are essentially U-shaped in cross section, each U-section having flanges and a web, wherein said insulating means is made of lightweight material and is self-supporting, wherein said U-sections are arranged in such manner on said peripheral edge portion of said insulating means that said flanges of each U-section grasp said edge portion of said insulating means and are located on an outside of said two large faces thereof, while said web of said U-section is caused to abut against said edge surface of said insulating means, and wherein said U-sections are identical in cross section.

17. A wall construction comprising a number of juxtaposed building elements according to any one of the preceding claims.

18. A method for producing a polygonal building element, wherein a number of U-sections are arranged along a major part of or the whole peripheral portion of a self-supporting insulating means made of lightweight material, a frame structure for the insulating means being formed of the U-sections, said U-sections being arranged in such manner that flanges of each U-section are caused to grasp said edge portion of said insulating means so that said flanges are located on an outside of said large faces thereof, while webs of the U-sections are caused to abut against said edge surface of the insulating means.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein said U-sections are interconnected at their ends.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein said U-sections are interconnected at their ends in a number of connection points.

21. The method of claim 19, wherein said flanges of said U-sections are arranged to overlap in the connection points.

22. A method of making a wall construction, wherein a number of building elements according to any one of claims 1-15 are arranged side by side on a base and interconnected by means of transverse sections, which are connected with said building elements.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein said building elements are connected with each other with the aid of mutually engaging connecting means on the sides of said building element.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein said building elements are arranged in a runner, which is U-shaped in cross section and anchored in a base.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to Provisional Patent Application serial No. 60/298,279 filed on Jun. 14, 2001, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a building element, a method for producing the same and a method of making a wall construction.

BACKGROUND ART

[0003] In the building trade, it is known to use lightweight materials, for example cellular plastic (EPS), in the construction of different types of building elements. It is known, for instance, to produce building blocks, in which a block of cellular plastic is embedded in concrete. The cellular plastic, which is marketed for example under the trademark FRIGOLIT, has many advantages: it is light, it provides satisfactory insulation and it is relatively insensitive to moisture, etc.

[0004] Recently, systems have also been developed in which prefabricated blocks of cellular plastic are assembled by means of steel sections or studs, which grasp the blocks together so as to form an entire wall construction. A system of this type has been introduced by the Swedish company System TEEG AB and is described in an article by Lars Hamrebjörk and Helena Burstrand published in the magazine Bygg & Teknik, No. 8/98. According to this prior-art system, the rectangular blocks of cellular plastic are arranged on their ends and interconnected by means of vertical U-sections made of sheet metal that are pressed into the blocks of cellular plastic in such manner that the U-flanges engage the blocks on both sides of the joint between two adjacent blocks. The wall construction further comprises additional steel sections or studs, to which both cladding and lining are to be attached. On the inside, plasterboards are usually mounted on the studs.

[0005] A type of building element, which to some extent is similar, is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,524,400, which describes how metal sections are arranged around a block of cellular plastic to form an element that is to be included in a wall construction. The sections are U-shaped in cross-section, and their flanges are to be fitted in special grooves made in the blocks of cellular plastic.

[0006] Further examples of how blocks of cellular plastic are used in combination with metal sections to form wall constructions are to be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,265,389 and 6,085,479.

[0007] It is also known to provide sandwich elements, which consist of a core of cellular plastic and a surface material, such as steel, glued thereto.

[0008] However, all the wall systems and building elements mentioned above suffer from a number of disadvantages, some of which will be stated below.

[0009] Assembling the prior-art systems is relatively time-consuming, since, for example, the section flanges must be fitted in special grooves in the blocks of cellular plastic, and the need for such grooves adds to the cost of the system. Furthermore, a plurality of vertical studs are needed to hold the blocks together and support them. An additional disadvantage of System TEEG is that the building elements, i.e. the blocks of cellular plastic, do not have the stiffness required to withstand the stress to which they are subjected during assembly of the wall and when plasterboards are fitted. Moreover, many of the prior-art building elements and wall constructions are unnecessarily heavy, since they comprise a large number of metal sections.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Therefore, an object of the invention is to eliminate or at least alleviate the inconveniences mentioned above, thereby providing an improved building element, which in itself is light and easy to mount in a wall construction. The building element should also be easy to transport and store, and it should allow versatile use. It is also a requirement that the building element and the wall construction built thereof need as little maintenance as possible.

[0011] Another object of the invention is to provide an improved method for producing a building element, which is more rational than prior-art methods.

[0012] A further object of the invention is to provide an improved method of making a wall construction by means of building elements.

[0013] These and other objects that will be apparent from the following description are achieved by means of the invention in the form of a polygonal building element comprising an insulating means having two opposite large faces, a circumference and a peripheral edge portion with an edge surface; and a frame structure extending along a major part of or the whole circumference of the insulating means and comprising a number of elongate sections that are essentially U-shaped in cross section, each U-section having flanges and a web; wherein the insulating means is made of lightweight material and is self-supporting; and wherein the U-sections are arranged in such manner on the peripheral edge portion of the insulating means that the flanges of each U-section grasp the edge portion of the insulating means and are located on an outside of the two large faces thereof, while the web of the U-section is caused to abut against the edge surface of the insulating means.

[0014] Further, the invention concerns a method for producing a polygonal building element, wherein a number of U-sections are arranged along a major part of or the whole peripheral portion of a self-supporting insulating means made of lightweight material, a frame structure for the insulating means being formed of the U-sections, the U-sections being arranged in such manner that flanges of each U-section are caused to grasp the edge portion of the insulating means so that the flanges are located on an outside of the large faces thereof, while webs of the U-sections are caused to abut against the edge surface of the insulating means.

[0015] Preferred embodiments and variants are defined in the appended subclaims.

[0016] Several essential advantages are achieved by means of the invention, for example the following:

[0017] The fact that the building element largely consists of lightweight material makes it very light and thus easy to handle both for the assembly personnel and for personnel in charge of transport and storage of the building elements.

[0018] Because the insulating means of the building element is self-supporting, the element has an excellent stiffness, which is further promoted by the frame structure surrounding the insulating means. The excellent stiffness allows the building elements to be easily mounted in the wall construction. The assembly personnel can handle the lightweight building elements themselves, without the use of cranes. The self-supporting property of the insulating means is also advantageous in the production of the building element, since the U-sections can be easily arranged on and grasp the peripheral edge portions of the insulating means.

[0019] The production of the building element itself is more rational than in connection with previously known systems, since the U-sections grasp the edge portion of the insulating means. The flanges of the U-section do not have to be fitted in grooves in the insulating means, as is the case in prior art.

[0020] Assembly of the wall construction is made extremely easy by the fact that the lightweight building elements need only be arranged side by side on a base and joined together in a simple manner.

[0021] In a preferred embodiment, the U-sections are inter-connected at their ends in a number of connection points, which further promotes the stiffness of the building element.

[0022] By arranging the flanges of the U-sections, in a preferred embodiment, to overlap in the connection points, the production of the building element is simplified and it also becomes possible to use identical U-sections for the frame structure.

[0023] Preferably, the webs of the U-sections are provided with slots, which means that the risk of an undesirable thermal bridge through the building element is reduced.

[0024] To ensure a secure engagement between the U-sections and the insulating means, the distance between the flanges of the U-sections is preferably chosen so as to correspond to the thickness of the insulating means.

[0025] According to a preferred embodiment, the U-sections have means for interconnecting adjacent building elements, which facilitates the building of the wall construction.

[0026] The U-sections preferably consist of metal, most advantageously of sheet metal, so as to ensure a low total weight of the building element.

[0027] The insulating means itself is advantageously made of cellular plastic, preferably shaped as a parallelepiped block, which is surrounded by the frame structure consisting of U-sections. As stated above the cellular plastic in itself is advantageous in that it is light and provides good insulation. In addition, it is insensitive to moisture and mould, which is advantageous in the event that the building elements are stored outside or exposed to moisture in any other way. The cellular plastic is also easy to work, which renders it easy to make holes in the building element. The desired hole is simply cut out in the cellular plastic.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The invention and its many advantages will be described in more detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings, which, by way of example, illustrate currently preferred embodiments of the invention.

[0029] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a building element according to an embodiment of the invention.

[0030] FIG. 2 is a cross-section of the building element shown in FIG. 1 taken along the line II-II.

[0031] FIG. 3 shows a building element similar to that of FIG. 1 but with a hole made therein.

[0032] FIG. 4 shows a wall construction made up of building elements of the type shown in FIG. 1.

[0033] FIGS. 5-7 are perspective views, in which certain parts have been removed, showing how the U-sections are joined and interconnected in a connection point, i.e. a corner.

[0034] FIG. 8 shows a building element according to an alternative embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0035] With reference now to FIGS. 1-2, a building element according to a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in the form of a rectangular wall element having a block-shaped insulating means 1 and a frame structure 2 extending along the circumference thereof and consisting of four elongate sections 3-6, which are U-shaped in cross-section. The U-sections 3-6 are identical in pairs, i.e. sections 3 and 4 are identical, and sections 5 and 6 are identical. All U-sections 3-6 have the same cross section.

[0036] The insulating block 1 is a parallelepiped and comprises two opposite large faces 1a and 1b as well as an edge portion 1c, which extends along the circumference of the block 1. The edge portion 1c includes by definition the edge surface 1d facing the frame structure 2 and the section of the block 1 that is held by the U-sections 3-6.

[0037] The block 1 is made of lightweight material, namely polystyrene foam (EPS) with a density of about 20 kg/m3. Persons skilled in the art often use the name FRIGOLIT, which is a trademark, for this type of blocks of cellular plastic.

[0038] Furthermore, the block 1 is self-supporting or at least semi-rigid in order to maintain a vertical position by itself, which facilitates the production of the wall element and gives this a satisfactory stiffness. In this context, self-supporting thus means primarily that the block 1 does not fold or collapse when placed on its end.

[0039] FIGS. 5-7 show how two of the U-sections 4, 5 are connected in one corner of the wall element. Both U-sections 4, 5 have two flanges 4a, 4b and 5a, 5b respectively, and a horizontal web portion 4c, 5c between them. The U-sections 4, 5 are further provided in per se known manner with slots 7 arranged in rows, the slots serving to reduce the risk of undesirable thermal bridges arising through the wall element. The U-sections 3-6 are preferably made of sheet metal and of the type shown in the catalogue Tak-väggkatalogen-98, published by Lindab AB in 1998, in which a slotted external wall runner labeled SKY is shown on page 150.

[0040] The ends of the U-sections 4, 5 are arranged to overlap at the corner connections of the wall element in such manner that the flange 5a is located on the outside of the flange 4a while the flange 5b is located on the inside of the flange 4b. This overlap corner connection has proven to be particularly advantageous because on the one hand it allows the use of identical profiles and, on the other hand, the stiffness of the frame structure 2 at the corners becomes very good, which in turn promotes the stiffness of the entire wall element. It will be appreciated, however, that several other variants of overlap corner connections are conceivable. The flanges 4a, 5a and 5a, 5b respectively are connected to each other in any appropriate way, for example by means of screw or rivet joints as indicated schematically with reference numeral 8, or by gluing.

[0041] The transverse distance between the flanges of the U-sections 3-6 is preferably such that it corresponds to the thickness of the block 1 at its edge portion 1c. Alternatively, the thickness of the block 1 at this edge portion may be slightly larger than said distance, so that the block 1 is compressed between the flanges, which in some cases may facilitate the assembly.

[0042] The U-sections 4, 5 grasp on the block 1 is particularly strong in the corners, since the inner distance between the flanges 4a and 5b is “reduced” by one sheet thickness measure.

[0043] Owing to the fact that the U-sections 3-6 grasp the edge portion 1c of the block 1, an excellent stiffness in the wall element is obtained. The flanges of the U-sections 3-6 extend across and abut against the two large faces 1a and 1b of the block 1, and their webs 4c, 5c abut against the edge surface 1d of the block 1, which results in a very advantageous grasp.

EXAMPLE

[0044] The dimensions and parameters of a wall element that has provided very good results when put to practical tests are detailed below. 1

Insulating blockFinished wall element
Height:2195 mmHeight:2200 mm
Width:1195 mmWidth:1200 mm
Thickness: 200 mmThickness: 200 mm (203 mm)
Density: 20 kg/m3

[0045] The frame structure consists of four U-sections, which are identical in pairs (2 pcs 1200 mm, 2 pcs 2200 mm) and made of sheet metal manufactured by Lindab Profil AB (slotted external wall runner SKY with a distance between the U-flanges of 200 mm). The sheet thickness is 1.5 mm. This wall element weighs only about 35 kg, which is considerably less than the corresponding wall elements used in prior-art systems.

[0046] Construction of a wall

[0047] The prefabricated wall elements 1-2 are arranged on their ends on a base 20, side by side, for making a wall construction, generally referred to by reference numeral 9, as shown in FIG. 4. The wall elements 1-2 are interconnected by means of transverse sheet metal sections 10, which are attached to the frame structures of the wall elements. Cladding or lining of prior-art type, for example plasterboards on the inner side of the wall (not shown), can then be arranged on the finished wall 9.

[0048] It will be appreciated here that the wall elements 1-2 may be interconnected in other ways, for instance by means of boards of gypsum or plywood, which are attached directly on the wall elements 1-2.

[0049] To facilitate the erection of the wall 9, the vertical U-sections 5, 6 of the wall elements are provided with schematically illustrated connecting means 11 (see FIG. 1), which allow interconnection of two adjacent wall elements. Thus, engagement is to be established between two adjacent, vertical U-sections of two wall elements in the wall 9.

[0050] Another way of connecting two adjacent wall elements is illustrated in FIG. 8. The sections 3 and 4 of the wall element 1-2 according to this alternative embodiment are thus displaced laterally in such manner that each forms a protruding portion 17 and 18 respectively, which can be caused to grasp part of the edge portion 1c of the adjacent wall element, which is indicated by means of dashed lines. In this case, it has to be ensured, naturally, that the sections 3, 4 are displaced only to such an extent that they can still be connected to both section elements 5 and 6.

[0051] Thus, a wall element 1-2 of the type described above may be produced in a very rational way. The U-sections 3-6 are arranged along the peripheral portion of the self-supporting insulating block 1, thereby forming its frame structure 2. The secure grasp of the U-sections 3-6 on the block 1 is then established, as described above.

[0052] The wall construction 9 as such is also easy to achieve by placing the wall elements side by side on a base and interconnecting them two by two by means of the connecting means 11 and all together, for example, by means of the transverse sections 10 (see FIG. 4). Owing to this rational and easily assembled construction, the work can be done in a short period of time and with a smaller work force than would have been necessary in prior-art wall systems. Considerable ergonomic advantages are also obtained, since the wall elements are lightweight and thereby easy to handle. No cranes are needed to build this wall. Furthermore, the need for traditional, vertical studs is reduced or even eliminated, since the vertical U-sections 5, 6 of the wall elements serve this purpose, for example as attachment points for plasterboard lining.

[0053] Particular advantages are obtained owing to the fact that it is very easy to make holes in the wall element. This is illustrated in FIG. 3, which shows a wall element having a circular hole 12, which has been cut out in the block 1 of cellular plastic in a simple way.

[0054] Additional embodiments

[0055] It will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the embodiments described above and that modifications are conceivable within the scope of the inventive concept as expressed in the appended claims.

[0056] It can be mentioned, for example, that the choice of insulating material is not critical as long as it is sufficiently light and fulfils other general requirements for such building parts, such as moisture resistance etc. Different types of cellular plastic may be used, the density of which should, however, preferably be in the range 15-30 kg/m3 in order to obtain the desired light building element. It should also be noted that the insulating means may comprise several lightweight blocks, preferably made of cellular plastic, which are joined in the direction of the plane and/or the direction of the thickness to form a unit. It is also possible to build the insulating means as a sandwich element consisting of different materials, such as plywood/gypsum in combination with cellular plastic/mineral wool.

[0057] The choice of sections is not critical either as long as the sections ensure sufficient stiffness in the building element and are light enough to ensure a low total weight.

[0058] In the wall application, the frame structure 2 need not necessarily extend along the whole circumference of the wall element; a variant is to leave out the lower U-section 4 and instead arrange the wall element in a U-shaped runner, which is anchored in the base 20. Such a “floor runner” is schematically indicated by means of dashed lines in FIG. 4 and referred to by reference numeral 15. It is of course also possible to let the frame structure 2 extend along the whole circumference of the wall element and still arrange the wall element in a U-shaped runner anchored in the base 20.

[0059] Naturally, the shape of the building element is not critical either, but several different polygonal embodiments are conceivable. Furthermore, the building element may be use in many ways, i.e. also for roof and floor constructions.