Title:
Building/flooring panel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A building panel has a reinforcing mesh embedded in a concrete slab formed by pressing. The reinforcing mesh is formed of wire rods each of which has at least one flat face. The rods are welded together with the flat faces of the rods abutting one another so that contact between the wire rods occurs over an area. Wire mesh of this kind has considerably enhanced weld shear strength. The panels are formed by pressing so that the concrete mix becomes dense and generally homogeneous. The high structural strength of such panels makes them ideal for use in constructing block and beam foundations and for use in walls, ceilings and flooring.



Inventors:
Kemp, Michael Barrie (Essex, GB)
Application Number:
10/311857
Publication Date:
02/26/2004
Filing Date:
08/04/2003
Assignee:
KEMP MICHAEL BARRIE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/454
International Classes:
E04B5/02; E01C5/08; E04C2/06; E04C5/04; E04F13/14; E04F15/024; E04F15/08; (IPC1-7): E04B1/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY & LARDNER LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A building panel having a reinforcing mesh formed of wire rods welded together, the wire rods each having at least one flat face and the rods being welded together with the flat faces of the rods abutting one another, so that contact between the wire rods occurs over an area, the reinforcing mesh being embedded in a concrete slab formed by pressing.

2. A panel according to claim 1 in which at least one face of concrete slab is formed with a decorative finish or coating.

3. A panel according to claim 1 in which the concrete mix of which the slab is formed includes particles of a range of sizes so that the resulting slab is dense and generally homogeneous.

4. A panel according to claim 3 in which the particles range from 10 mm diameter to Fines.

5. A floor comprising at least one panel in accordance with any of claims 1 to 4 and means for supporting the said panel at the edges and/or corners thereof.

6. A floor according to claim 5 in which the means for supporting the panel includes at least one pre-cast concrete beam.

7. A wall comprising at least one panel according to any of claims 1 to 4.

8. A ceiling comprising at least one panel according to any of claims 1 to 4.

9. A method of forming a building panel comprising embedding a reinforcing mesh formed of wire rods welded together, the wire rods each having at least one flat face and the rods being welded together with the flat faces of the rods abutting one another, so that contact between the wire rods occurs over an area, in concrete and forming the concrete and reinforcing mesh into a slab by pressing.

10. A method according to claim 9 further comprising forming a decorative finish or coating on at least one face of the slab.

11. A method according to claim 9 or 10 in which the concrete mix of which the slab is formed includes particles of a range of sizes so that the resulting slab is dense and generally homogeneous.

12. A method according to claim 11 in which the particles range from 10 mm diameter to Fines.

Description:
[0001] The present invention relates to an improved building panel, in particular, to an improved panel for use in constructing raised floors or other building components.

[0002] In modern buildings, it is frequently the case that services, electrical cabling, data cabling, and the like, have to be provided over a wide area of the building without trailing cables forming a health hazard when power, data or the like are to be provided to points in the middle of floor areas. One preferred way of dealing with these needs is to provide a raised floor with a cavity below, in which services can be concealed. Either the entire floor area may be composed of panels which can be lifted at will to provide access to the cavity below or removable panels may be provided at intervals in a more permanent floor construction.

[0003] At present, the only types of flooring panels currently on the market suitable for use in the kind of raised floor construction described above are as follows:

[0004] a) a plain or edge-profiled steel tray welded to a flat steel top plate with the interior space filled with either concrete slurry or gypsum

[0005] B) a plain steel tray with a slab of chipboard inside and either a plate or a tin-tray on the top.

[0006] The products currently available have a number of disadvantages. For example, when type (a) is cut, this can result in the filling falling out thus reducing its load bearing capability. Type (b) suffers from the effects of moisture on the chipboard core and requires dry site conditions for installation. Further, the edges of the panels have to be covered after they are cut to comply with fire ratings. The metal on both panels can also be affected by moisture which causes corrosion. If corrosion goes undetected, the panels may become unsafe, being susceptible to collapse.

[0007] In accordance with the invention, there is provided a building panel having a reinforcing mesh formed of wire rods welded together, the wire rods each having at least one flat face and the rods being welded together with the flat faces of the rods abutting one another, so that contact between the wire rods occurs over an area, the reinforcing mesh being embedded in a concrete slab formed by pressing.

[0008] The panel of the invention is not affected by moisture or corrosion because, once formed it is of similar material to the fabric of the building construction in which it is installed. As it is not affected by moisture or corrosion, the panel can be installed in any climate or in buildings subject to all kinds of inclement weather conditions.

[0009] The panel of the invention is particularly strong and no other reinforced concrete panel currently available can be manufactured to be as thin as that of the invention, while giving the same structural strength. The strength of the finished panel can be chosen to suit the particular application for which it is intended.

[0010] The panel of the invention is also advantageous in that there is no need for a separate bonding finish to be applied to the panels; the finish is, in effect, part of the manufacturing process. Further, a number of different finishes giving differing aesthetic effects are possible. For example, the panels may be finished so as to mimic granite, marble, stone or a terrazzo finish.

[0011] As mentioned above, the panel of the invention is suited to flooring applications and is particularly useful in place of some known floor constructions. For example, block and beam floors use precast beams and lightweight blocks which are then reinforced by means of an overlaid cement screed. The panel of the invention can be used in place of the lightweight blocks to provide a finished floor without the need for separate reinforcement or a cement screed and, hence, without the need for wet works on site.

[0012] A heavier grade of panel in accordance with the invention can be used in open concourse areas in railway stations and airport terminals and in shopping malls and superstores. In all of these locations, traditionally flooring has been in the form of large amounts of terrazzo set in a cement bed to provide a hard-wearing surface.

[0013] Similarly hard-wearing floors can be provided using the panel of the invention but with the added advantage that panels can easily be lifted to provide access to service conduits and the like below the floor.

[0014] Although the panel of the invention is particularly suited to use in flooring applications, it can also be used for curtain walling or partitioning where a robust, versatile finish is required, for example in railway stations or in other similar public-use locations.

[0015] A further aspect of the invention provides a method of manufacturing a building panel, the method comprising providing a reinforcing mesh formed of wire rods welded together, the wire rods each having at least one flat face and the rods being welded together with the flat faces of the rods abutting one another, so that contact between the wire rods occurs over an area; embedding the mesh in concrete and forming the concrete and reinforcing mesh into a slab by pressing.

[0016] An example of a panel in accordance with the invention will now be described in detail, by way of example.

[0017] The panel comprises a steel reinforcement mesh core, embedded in a concrete mixture. The mesh and concrete are placed in a mould and then placed in a multistage press.

[0018] The steel reinforcement mesh core, is formed of a lattice of wire rods which are welded together. The wire rods each have at least one flat face and the rods are welded together with the flat faces of the rods abutting one another, so that contact between the wire rods occurs over an area. Wire mesh of this kind, which is described in, for example, published United Kingdom patent application No 2299100, has considerably enhanced weld shear strength.

[0019] The concrete mixture in which the mesh is embedded is specially formulated to be homogeneous. It is made using a range of particles from sizes from 10 mm down to Fines so that the resulting concrete is very dense and of very high strength when cured.

[0020] The concrete mix is placed in a high pressure press and the reinforcing mesh is then laid over it. Pressure is applied using the press to force the mesh into the concrete mix and to drive out water. Under pressure the component parts are driven together and the chemical reaction within the concrete mix bonds the concrete into a solid slab which grips the reinforcing mesh.

[0021] The pressure applied is generally greater than 450 tons per square inch, producing a concrete of more than 70 Newtons.

[0022] The dimensions of the panel may, typically, be 600×600 mm square by 20 mm to 50 mm in depth depending on the required loading.

[0023] The panel can be supplied unfinished or can have a number of aggregates applied into the top surface during the production process, for example, marble chippings which may then polished to give a terrazzo finish.

[0024] Typically, in a floor construction, the panels will be supported on each corner by either steel pedestals or on concrete blocks. The panels are sufficiently strong and rigid to support the necessary loading when supported in this way.

[0025] Tas mentioned above, the panel of the invention can also be supported on a pre-cast concrete beam for many uses. The high structural strength of the panel makes it ideal for use in constructing block and beam foundation over sites of buildings by replacing the slab with prefabricated panels in accordance with the invention. This eliminates the need for large quantities of wet concrete and aggregates used to consolidate the base of a building.

[0026] The panel can also be used to replace the large areas of terrazzo floors which have to be set in a cement bed. The panel described above can be suspended to give a working area for services in the void below the floor. Because individual panels can easily be lifted, the need for costly removal of traditional terrazzo floor when modifications are required can be avoided, saving a considerable amount of time and money. Further if an area of floor is damaged, individual panels can easily be replaced.

[0027] The panel of the invention is easily cut and shaped, providing flexibility as to floor and wall shapes and is not susceptible to harsh conditions, enabling it to last as long as solid stone or marble products.