Title:
Transportable dam and a method of erecting the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A set of elements for erecting a transportable dam, the set comprising at least a first inflatable flexible element which, in an inflated state, forms a tube, and a filler element, which is mountable to one end of the inflatable element, whereby, when mounted to the inflatable element, the filler element defines a first end of the tube. The filler element has at least one filler plug opening for filling air and/or liquid into the inflatable element. A coupling arrangement is provided for defining a second end of the tube. The invention further relates to a method of erecting a transportable dam.



Inventors:
Gertz, Henning (Ringsted, DK)
Petersen, Svend A. (Straby, DK)
Application Number:
10/203609
Publication Date:
06/26/2003
Filing Date:
01/09/2003
Assignee:
GERTZ HENNING
PETERSEN SVEND A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/107, 405/91
International Classes:
E02B3/10; (IPC1-7): E02B7/20; E02B3/10; E02B7/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKARD, ALISON K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARNESS, DICKEY & PIERCE, P.L.C. (P.O. BOX 8910, RESTON, VA, 20195, US)
Claims:
1. A method of erecting a transportable dam comprising the step of: laying out a first length of at least one inflatable flexible element which, in an inflated state, forms a tube, mounting a filler element to a free end of said first length of the inflatable element, whereby, when mounted to the inflatable element, the filler element defines an end of the tube, and concurrently with rolling out a second length of the inflatable element: inflating the inflatable element to form a tube by filling air and/or liquid into the inflatable element via one or more filler plug openings mounted in said filler element.

2. A method according to claim 1, further comprising providing a coupling arrangement at a second end of the inflatable element when the inflatable element is further laid out and at least partially filled with air and/or liquid.

3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the coupling arrangement defines a coupling of the tube for interconnecting an end of the tube with an end of a further tube, the method comprising the step of interconnecting the least one inflatable element in an end-to-end fashion to a further inflatable element by means of the coupling arrangement.

4. A method according to any of claims 1-3, wherein the dam comprises a first and a second inflatable element interconnected side by side, the method comprising the step of laying out a predetermined length of the first and second inflatable elements, so that the first element faces a flood side and the second element faces a dry side of the dam.

5. A method according to any of claims 1-4, comprising providing a third inflatable element on top of the first and second interconnected elements.

6. A set of elements for erecting a transportable dam, comprising: at least a first inflatable flexible element which, in an inflated state, forms a tube, a filler element, which is mountable to one end of the inflatable element, whereby, when mounted to the inflatable element, the filler element defines a first end of the tube, the filler element having at least one filler plug opening for filling air and/or liquid into the inflatable element, a coupling arrangement for defining a second end of the tube.

7. A set according to claim 6, wherein at least a part of said inflatable element is stacked or wound.

8. A set according to claim 6 or 7, wherein the coupling arrangement further comprises an intermediary closure for intermittently closing the inflatable element at a location between the two ends of the inflatable element.

9. A set according to any of claims 6-8, further comprising a second inflatable element which, in an inflated state, forms a tub, the first and second inflatable elements being interconnected side by side, so that the first element faces a flood side of the dam and the second element faces a dry side of the dam.

10. A set according to claim 9, wherein the first and second inflatable elements abut each other along a connection line and are interconnected along at least a portion of said line.

11. A set according to any of claims 6-10, wherein the coupling arrangement defines a closure for the tube.

12. A set according to any of claims 6-10, wherein the coupling arrangement defines a coupling of the tube for interconnecting an end of the tube with an end of a further tube.

13. A set according to claim 12, wherein the coupling arrangement allows fluid to pass between the two tubes interconnected by the coupling arrangement.

14. A set according to any of claims 6-13, wherein at least two inflatable elements are coupled in an end-to-end fashion by means of said coupling arrangement.

15. A set according to any of claims 6-14, wherein the coupling arrangement comprises at least one valve through which the liquid and air can pass into the inflatable element.

16. A set according to any of claims 6-15, wherein the coupling arrangement is made of a substantially stiff material and comprises a ring-shaped clamp member for receiving an end of the inflatable element and for securing the inflatable element to the ring-shaped clamp member, so as to provide a tight seal between the inflatable element and the ring-shaped member.

17. A set according to any of claims 6-16, wherein the coupling arrangement further comprises filling devices for filling liquid and/or air into the tube member.

18. A set according to any of claims 6-17, wherein the at least one filler plug opening comprises a connecting piece adapted to be connected to liquid and air supplying tube.

19. A set according to any of claims 9-18, further comprising a third inflatable element positioned on top of the first and second interconnected elements.

20. A set according to any of claims 6-19, wherein the diameter of the inflatable element is between 50-150 cm, such as between 60-140 cm, such as between 70-130 cm, such as between 80-120 cm, such as between 90-110 cm, such as 100 cm.

21. A set according to any of claims 6-20, wherein the length of the inflatable element is between 5-200 m, such as between 15-180 m, such as between 30-170 m, such as between 40-160 m, such as between 50-150 m, such as between 60-140 m, such as between 70-130 m, such as between 80-120 m, such as between 90-110 m, such as 100 m.

22. A set according to any of claims 6-21, further comprising a mat onto which the inflatable elements can be laid, said mat avoiding leakiness between the inflatable element once inflated to form a tube, and the ground.

23. A set according to any of claims 6-22, wherein the inflatable elements is made from linen and/or a woven material, such as woven polyester fibres coated with a plastic material, such as PVC.

24. A set according to claim 23, wherein the material is woven in a pattern having reinforcing fibres, such that a rupture arising in the tube only can come undone for a length of at most 1-5 centimetres.

25. A set according to any of claims 6-24, wherein the weight of an inflatable element in inflated and partially liquid-filled condition is between 0.5-1.5 tons per meter, such as between 0.8-1.2 tons per meter, such as 1 tons per meter.

26. A set according to any of claims 6-25, wherein the filling element and/or the coupling arrangement is made of aluminium or steel or plastic or composite material, such as fibre reinforced plastic.

Description:
[0001] The invention relates to a transportable temporary dam and to a method of erecting the dam In particular the invention relates to a dam that is useful in areas where a flood may arise within a short time, as the dam can be erected very quickly and in a safe way.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In specific areas around the world a flood often arises within a very short time, so that it is impossible to be in time for erecting a dam that can dam up for the flood. Thus, in those areas a permanent dam is often erected which is not possible to remove and which occupy a large area. Such dams often consist of sandbags or other heavy building elements.

[0003] Different dams are known from the patent literature, e.g., SE 503 551, WO 96/27710, WO 97/39192, EP 0 496 519, GB 2 269 618, WO 99/41459, U.S. Pat. No. 3,613,377 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,645,373.

[0004] Using of elongated, flexible tubes or pipes which is laid out and filled with water is known from EP 0 496 519 and SE 502 551. Those dams are erected by laying tubes out and subsequently filling them with water, which is a more unsafe and difficult dam to erect, in particular, if the weather is heavy/stormy (which it normally is in those areas where a flood arises), as the dam in unfilled condition is difficult to handle due to its lightness.

[0005] Further, the known dams are made of a substantially stiff material that can be difficult to fit tightly to the often-uneven ground on which the dam is erected. Thus, the flood may cause damages due to the leakiness under the dam. In order to avoid leakiness under the dam, the dam described in SE 503 551 comprises a tightening pad on which the tube are positioned. This pad increases the weight of the dam further, and it becomes more difficult to handle.

[0006] Many of the prior art dams are very heavy and difficult to handle in particular under stormy weather conditions, and it takes long time to erect the dams.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to provide a transportable dam that is easy and quick to erect/pull down, and which fits tightly to an uneven ground.

[0008] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a dam that is safe to handle under hard weather conditions.

[0009] According to a first aspect, the invention relates to a method of erecting a transportable dam comprising the step of:

[0010] laying out a first length of at least one inflatable flexible element which, in an inflated state, forms a tube,

[0011] mounting a filler element to a free end of said first length of the inflatable element, whereby, when mounted to the inflatable element, the filler element defines an end of the tube, and

[0012] concurrently with rolling out a second length of the inflatable element: inflating the inflatable element to form a tube by filling air and/or liquid into the inflatable element via one or more filler plug openings mounted in said filler element.,

[0013] Preferably, the method is carried out in the order indicated above, but the filler element may be mounted to the free end before a first length is laid out, and the inflatable element may thus be filled with air and/or liquid before starting to roll out the second length.

[0014] Preferably, the inflatable element is stacked e.g. on a trailer or wound around a drum. Thus, when the dam is to be erected, the inflatable element may comprise a first portion which is non-inflated and stacked and a second portion which is laid out. Firstly, the second portion is filled with air and subsequently filled with a liquid, such as water pumped up from a sea or lake close to the area whereon the dam is erected.

[0015] One advantage of this method is that the inflatable element is filled concurrently with being laid out, which ensures that the dam is easy to handle under heavy weather conditions. It is not necessary to roll out the entire inflatable element before inflating it, and it is thus avoided that the element will blow over due to stormy/heavy weather during erection.

[0016] In order to extend to dam or to close the ends of the inflatable elements, the method may further comprise providing a coupling arrangement at a second end of the inflatable element when the inflatable element is further laid out and at least partially filled with air and/or liquid.

[0017] The coupling arrangement may define a coupling of the tube for interconnecting an end of the tube with an end of a further tube, and wherein the method comprises the step of interconnecting the least one inflatable element in an end-to-end fashion to a further inflatable element by means of the coupling arrangement.

[0018] In a preferred embodiment, the dam comprises a first and a second inflatable element interconnected side by side, and the method may then comprise the step of laying out a predetermined length of the first and second inflatable elements, so that the first element faces a flood side and the second element faces a dry side of the dam.

[0019] In case the flood becomes higher than the height of the first and second element, the dam may be heightened by providing a third inflatable element on top of the first and second interconnected elements. The third element is erected in the same way as for the first and second element.

[0020] This method is much faster and more effective than traditional methods. Thus, the dam is very useful in those areas where a flood may arise within a very short time. 5 kilometres dam can be erected within 3 hours.

[0021] It should be understood that any of the elements and features described below in connection with the set of elements according to the second aspect of the invention can be incorporated in the method described above for erecting the dam.

[0022] According to a second aspect, the invention relates to a set of elements for erecting a transportable dam, comprising:

[0023] at least a first inflatable flexible element which, in an inflated state, forms a tube,

[0024] a filler element, which is mountable to one end of the inflatable element, whereby, when mounted to the inflatable element, the filler element defines a first end of the tube,

[0025] the filler element having at least one filler plug opening for filling air and/or liquid into the inflatable element,

[0026] a coupling arrangement for defining a second end of the tube.

[0027] When not being used, the inflatable element (tube) may be stacked on a truck/trailer and/or wound around a drum, so that it can be transported in an easy and handy way. Said drum around which the tubes may be rolled, may be positioned. e.g., on the three-point suspension of a tractor, and the drum may be mechanically, hydraulically or pneumatically driven.

[0028] When the dam is to be erected, a first length of the tube is rolled out, so that the tube comprises a first portion, which is stacked and non-inflated, and a second portion which is laid out. The filler element is mounted on the first end of the second portion and concurrently with rolling out a second length, the tube is then inflated partially with air through the filler element comprising filler plug openings through which the air may pass into the tube. When the tube is partially inflated with air, liquid is filled into the tube. By pre-inflating the elements with air, it is possible to fill liquid in before the element is entirely rolled out. Furthermore, it is easier to fill liquid in a pre-inflated element than in a non-inflated element.

[0029] Alternatively, the tube may of course be erected only by filling it with liquid without pre-inflating it with air.

[0030] In order to temporarily closing the second end of the tube, the coupling arrangement may comprise an intermediary closure for intermittently closing the inflatable element at a location between the two ends of the inflatable element.

[0031] The coupling arrangement may define a closure for the tube, and which may be mounted to the second end after having temporarily closed the second end by means of said intermittently closure.

[0032] Often it is necessary to extend the dam by mounting further inflatable elements in an end-to-end fashion and therefore the coupling arrangement may define a coupling of the tube for interconnecting an end of the tube with an end of a further tube. Thus, it is possible to provide a dam, wherein at least two inflatable elements are coupled in an end-to-end fashion by means of said coupling arrangement. The dam may comprise three, four, five, ten, twenty or more inflatable elements coupled in an end-to-end fashion.

[0033] When a closure or a further inflatable element is coupled to the second end by means of the coupling arrangement, the intermediary closure can be removed and air or liquid can be filled into the rest of the inflatable element and/or into the further element coupled thereto.

[0034] Preferably, the coupling arrangement allows fluid to pass between the at least two tubes interconnected by the coupling arrangement, and preferably a fluid connection across substantially the entire cross-section of the tubes and the coupling arrangement is provided. Alternatively, the coupling arrangement may comprise at least one valve through which the liquid and air can pass into the inflatable element.

[0035] The coupling arrangement may form a totally closed coupling between two adjoining elements, so that no air and liquid can pass from one element to the other. As the inflatable elements can be closed in the ends provides that the dam can be positioned on a very sloping ground without the liquid contained therein flows out of the elements.

[0036] In a preferred embodiment, the coupling arrangement is made of a substantially stiff material and comprises a ring-shaped clamp member for receiving an end of the inflatable element and for securing the inflatable element to the ring-shaped clamp member, so as to provide a tight seal between the inflatable element and the ring-shaped member. The clamp member may comprise an inner ring for supporting the ends of two adjoining inflatable elements and an outer strap/clamp for clamping the ends to the inner ring. Thus, a tight seal is provided between two adjoining elements. It is possible to mount a plurality of inflatable elements in an end-to-end fashion, and the dam can thus be extended infinitely be means of said coupling arrangement.

[0037] The coupling arrangement may further comprise filling devices for filling liquid and/or air into the tube member. Thus, it is possible to fill air and/or liquid into the dam at a location e.g. halfway up the dam and not only from an end portion of the dam.

[0038] The filler element and the coupling arrangement may be identical.

[0039] In a preferred embodiment, the dam may further comprise a second inflatable element which, in an inflated state, forms a tub, and wherein the first and second inflatable elements are interconnected side by side, so that the first element faces a flood side of the dam and the second element faces a dry side of the dam.

[0040] Preferably, the first and second inflatable elements abut each other along a connection line and are interconnected along at least a portion of said line. Alternatively or additionally the first and second inflatable elements may be interconnected by means of a cloth that surrounds both the first and second elements. By interconnecting the first and second elements, the dam is unable to roll crosswise in relation to its longitudinal direction and it can withstand a higher pressure from the flood side of the dam. The first and second element may sewed or glued or welded together along said line.

[0041] If the flood is higher than the height of the first and second element, a further third inflatable element can be positioned on top of the first and second interconnected elements. It should be understood that the erection of the second and third element is carried in the same way as the erection of the at least first inflatable element.

[0042] The filler plug openings may comprise connecting pieces adapted to be connected to liquid and air supplying tubes via e.g. a water pump and an air compressor, respectively.

[0043] The dimension of the may vary depending on the flood-height and pressure from the flood. Preferably, the diameter of the inflatable elements is between 50-150 cm, such as between 60-140 cm, such as between 70-130 cm, such as between 80-120 cm, such as between 90-110 cm, such as 100 cm.

[0044] The length of each inflatable element is between 5-200 m, such as between 15-180 m, such as between 30-170 m, such as between 40-160 m, such as between 50-150 m, such as between 60-140 m, such as between 70-130 m, such as between 80-120 m, such as between 90-110 m, such as 100 m.

[0045] In case it is difficult to have the dam fitting tight to the ground, the dam may further comprise a mat onto which the inflatable elements can be laid, said mat avoiding leakiness between the inflatable element once inflated to form a tube, and the ground.

[0046] Preferably, the tubes are made of a thin and strong material that takes the shape of the uneven ground and thus prevents leakiness under the dam. The inflatable element may be made of any material that is inflatable, flexible and substantially non-ductile. Preferably, the elements is made from linen and/or a woven material, such as woven polyester fibres coated with a plastic material, such as PVC. It may also comprise other fibres, such as carbon fibres or aramid fibres coated with other types of plastics, such as polypropylene. The elements may be coated both outside and inside with PVC. In case a heavy and sharp object, e.g. a bole, is swept along by the flood and hits the dam, a rupture may arise in the tubes. In order to avoid that such a rupture causes huge damages to the dam, the material may be woven in a pattern having reinforcing fibres positioned with suitable spaces between, such that the rupture arising in the tube only can come undone for a length of at most 1-5 centimetres.

[0047] The weight of an inflatable element in inflated and partially water filled condition may be between 0.5-1.5 tons per meter, such as between 0.8-1.2 tons per meter, such as 1 tons per meter.

[0048] The total weight of an inflatable element (in unfilled condition) may be between 400-800 g/m2, such as between 500-700 g/m2, such as 630 g/m2, or such as 1-5 kg per meter.

[0049] The material is preferably woven such that there is primary fibres positioned in the longitudinal direction (WA) and secondary fibres positioned in the transverse direction (WE). Tests has been made to the material showing that the tensile strength for a 5 cm long test-piece is 2300 N/5 cm in the transverse direction (WE) and 2500 N/5 cm in the longitudinal direction (WA). The tear strength is 300 N in both the longitudinal and transverse direction. The adhesion between the woven material and the coating is 90 N/5 cm, and the adhesion in the welding, where the two sides of the material is welded together to form the tube, is 7.5 Kg/5 cm.

[0050] The physical properties depend on the woven pattern, the reinforcement, the coating material, etc., and may thus differ from the ones indicated.

[0051] The material may be ultra-violet treated so that it can stand the sun light, arid its light fastness may be 7-8 (according to DIN 53388). Further, it may stand temperatures from minus 30 to plus 70 degrees Celsius (according to DIN 53372), and it may have a fire resistance in accordance with DIN 53388.

[0052] Preferably, the filling element and/or the coupling element are made of aluminium or steel or plastic or composite material, such as fibre reinforced plastic.

[0053] This invention provides a dam that is easy to handle and is simultaneously very functional. The dam is transportable and can be erected within a short time, e.g. 5 kilometres dam can be erected within 3 hours. By means of the coupling arrangement, the length of the dam is variable, and thus the darn can be adapted to any area, and it can be extended infinitely.

[0054] As the dam is filled with liquid and air concurrently with being laid out, the dam has a certain weight from the beginning, so that it is much easier to handle under stormy weather conditions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0055] Preferred embodiments of the invention will be described in details below with reference to the accompanying figures, wherein

[0056] FIG. 1 shows a dam with two inflatable elements laid on the ground,

[0057] FIG. 2 shows a dam with two inflatable elements laid on the ground,

[0058] FIG. 3 shows a drum around which an inflatable element is wound,

[0059] FIG. 4 shows a dam with a third inflatable element positioned on top of a first and second interconnected elements,

[0060] FIG. 5 shows a coupling arrangement according to the invention,

[0061] FIG. 6 shows a side and front view of a coupling arrangement with filler plugs according to the invention,

[0062] FIG. 7 shows a coupling arrangement with filler plugs according to the invention,

[0063] FIG. 8 shows a tractor with a drum for unrolling/rolling up the inflatable elements, and

[0064] FIG. 9 shows a tractor with a drum for unrolling/rolling up the inflatable elements, and an air-compressor and a water pump.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0065] FIG. 1 shows a dam with two flexible inflatable elements (hereinafter called tubes) laid on the ground. The dam comprises two tubes 1,2 that are interconnected side by side. The tubes are made of a thin, strong and non-ductile material that is rolled out concurrently with being filled with water and/or air. The dam will follow the uneven terrain due to its flexible material.

[0066] FIG. 2 shows the dam from another angle. The two tubes are interconnected along a line 3. The tubes may be sewed or welded or glued together. As the tubes are interconnected, the dam is unable to roll crosswise in relation to its longitudinal direction, and the water (filled into the elements) cannot pass from one element to the other.

[0067] FIG. 3 shows a drum 4 around which the tubes 1 or 2 are rolled. The drum can be mounted to e.g. a tractor as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, by means of a three-point suspension. Alternatively, the tubes can be manually rolled up or they can be stacked on a truck or trailer in layers.

[0068] FIG. 4 shows a dam with a third tube 5 positioned on top of a first and second interconnected tubes 1,2. Thus, the height of the dam is increased in order to dam up for a higher flood.

[0069] FIG. 5 shows a coupling arrangement for coupling to adjoining tubes in an end-to-end fashion. The coupling arrangement, that is made of a substantially stiff material, comprises a ring-shaped member 6 having outer surface portions 6a with flanges 7a, 7b that are adapted to support a round-going inner surface 1a, 2a of an end portion of the tubes. The coupling element further comprises an outer clamp 8 adapted to clamp said inner surface towards said ring-shaped member, so as to provide a tight seal between the tubes 1,2 and the ring-shaped member 6.

[0070] FIG. 6 shows another embodiment of the coupling arrangement comprising two clamps 8a, 8b, each of which clamping the inner surface 1a. 2a of the tubes 1, 2 towards the flanges 7a, 7b, respectively.

[0071] FIG. 7 shows a side and front view of a combined filler element and coupling arrangement comprising the ring-shaped member 6 having an outer surface portion with flanges 7a, 7b. The ring-shaped member 6 has filling plugs 9a, 9b for filling liquid into the tubes. The filling plugs comprise valves 10a, 10b for opening and closing for the flow of liquid. A middle plate 11 is provided for closing between the opposite sections 1,2, and in order to have the possibility of letting air and/or liquid passing between the two sections, an openable valve 9c is positioned in the plate 11 at the point 12. Turning the handle 10c opens/closes the valve 9c. Filling plugs 13a, 13b with valves 14a, 14b for filling air into the tubes are provided.

[0072] FIG. 8 shows a combined filler element and coupling arrangement, wherein the filling plugs are positioned inside the coupling. The tubes 15 for liquid and the tube 16 for air penetrate the plates 11, and thus it is possible to fill the left and right side of the dam with liquid and/or air by leading liquid through the filling plug 9 and air through the filling plug 13. If it's only the left side of the dam that has to be filled, the valves 10a may be closed and the valves 10b opened, or vice versa. A removable cover 17 may be zipped or in other ways attached to the member 6.

[0073] FIG. 9 shows a tractor 18 with a drum 19 for unrolling/rolling up the tubes 1. The drum 19 is attached to the three-point suspension 20 on the tractor. The tractor may drive forward concurrently with laying out the tubes that are filled with liquid and air, and when the entire tube is unrolled, the end is temporarily closed with an intermediary closure 23 until an end closure or a further inflatable element is coupled thereto.

[0074] FIG. 10 shows a tractor 18 with a drum 19 for unrolling/rolling up the tube 1, and an air-compressor 21 and a water pump 22. The tube 1 is coupled to the preceding tube (not shown) by means of the coupling arrangement 6 comprising the outer clamp B. The compressor 21 and pump 22 is connected to the filling plugs 9a, 9b, respectively. When the tube 1 is unrolled about 0-5 metres, then it is coupled to the coupling element 6 and air and liquid is filled into it.

[0075] Preferably, each tube is partially filled with air before the water is filled in. The filler element and the coupling arrangement may be identical as can be seen in the figures. The filler element may comprise a plate similar to the plate 11 shown in FIG. 7, and it may comprise filler plug opening.s The filler element may be coupled to the end of the inflatable element in the same way as the mounting of the coupling arrangement shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.