Title:
Barrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a flood barrier which, in one embodiment, comprises a resiliently deformable barrier mounted removably via frame members on post footing. At least some embodiments of the barrier may be more rapidly and easily deployable and may be considerably lighter and cheaper to manufacture and yet provide surprising durability and resistance to water flows compared to conventional barrier constructions.



Inventors:
Keedwell, Clive (Bristol, GB)
Application Number:
11/282653
Publication Date:
06/15/2006
Filing Date:
11/21/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01F7/02; E02B3/10; E02B7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAYO-PINNOCK, TARA LEIGH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STITES & HARBISON PLLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. An environmental protection barrier for providing protection from a moving body of water, said barrier comprising a resiliently deformable barrier portion mounted on substantially rigid frame members adapted to be located between a plurality of substantially rigid upwardly extending posts, so as to secure said barrier portion in the path of said body of water, said posts being removably deployable onto post footings extending at least 50 cm below ground level; wherein said resiliently deformable barrier portion has a thickness of between 5 and 50 mm and a mass per unit area of between 5 and 20 kg per square metre, and wherein said barrier portion is adapted to deform or move reversibly from an initial configuration to absorb or deflect energy from said moving body of water.

2. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 1, wherein said posts include channels into which said frame members can be slid.

3. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 2, wherein said channels extend vertically, and whereby said frame members are located by vertical sliding.

4. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 3, wherein said frame members are secured to said posts by said vertical sliding alone.

5. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 1, wherein said frame members include a rigid blade at the base adapted to be inserted into the ground.

6. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 1, wherein said post footings include a substantially flat plate adapted to be secured to the ground by bolts or pins.

7. An environmental protection barrier for providing protection from a moving body of water, said barrier comprising a resiliently deformable barrier portion secured in the path of said body of water by a plurality of substantially rigid upwardly extending posts, wherein said resiliently deformable barrier portion has a thickness of at least 5 mm and a mass per unit area of at least 5 kg per square metre, and wherein said barrier portion is adapted to deform or move reversibly from an initial configuration to absorb or deflect energy from said moving body of water.

8. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 7, wherein said posts are removably deployable onto post footings.

9. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 7, wherein said post footings extend at least partially below ground level.

10. An environmental protection barrier according to claim 1, wherein said posts are further supported by stays which extend from said posts to the ground, at an angle to the posts

11. A method for erecting a deployable flood barrier comprising the steps of: securing a plurality of posts to a corresponding plurality of post footings; attaching a plurality of frame members to said posts; and attaching a substantially impermeable, resiliently deformable layer to said frame members, said resiliently deformable layer having a thickness of between 5 and 50 mm and a mass per unit area of between 5 and 20 kg per square metre

12. A method according to claim 11, wherein attaching said frame members to said posts is achieved by sliding motion of the frame members.

13. A method according to claim 11, wherein said method further includes partially inserting an elongate blade into the ground.

14. A method according to claim 11, wherein said method further includes aligning one or more footings in relation to an existing footing, and maintaining the footing(s) in alignment in a horizontal plane whilst said footing(s) are driven into the ground.

15. A method according to claim 14 wherein maintaining the footing(s) in alignment further includes maintaining the footing(s) substantially parallel to an existing footing whilst said footing(s) are driven into the ground.

16. A method according to claim 14, wherein aligning is achieved using an alignment tool.

17. A method according to claim 14, wherein more than one footing can be aligned and driven into the ground simultaneously.

Description:

This invention relates to environmental protection barriers, and particularly, but not exclusively to barriers for protection against coastal erosion and flooding.

The problems associated with coastal erosion and flooding are only too familiar, and damage caused by flooding and erosion runs into hundreds of millions of pounds each year. In extreme circumstances the damage can extend to human injuries and fatalities.

Many different types of coastal defence schemes and wave erosion barriers have been proposed in the past. Such schemes typically rely on the use of massive constructions to dissipate the wave energy. Examples include concrete sea walls, rock revetments and groynes. Such defences typically cost over £3000 per metre to employ.

Prior art flood protection measures include very large scale, high expenditure schemes, such as earthworks or reinforced concrete walls. At the other end of the scale sandbags are often used in flood situations, however these offer very limited resistance, especially to fast flowing water, and once breached, the sand can actually add to the weight of the flood water, increasing the possible damage caused.

It is an object of one aspect of the present invention to provide an improved environmental protection barrier which overcomes or ameliorates disadvantages in prior art barriers. It is a further object to provide an environmental protection barrier which is inexpensive and quick and simple to employ.

In a first aspect the invention provides an environmental protection barrier for providing protection from a moving body of water, said barrier comprising a resiliently deformable barrier portion and means for securing said barrier portion in the path of said body of water, wherein said barrier portion is adapted to deform or move reversibly from an initial configuration to absorb or deflect energy from said moving body of water.

In this way, energy from water impacting onto the barrier is dissipated as the resilient portion flexes or moves. Although prior art barriers have typically relied on having a very large mass, the novel arrangement of this invention has been found to be surprisingly effective at dissipating energy, despite being relatively lightweight and quickly deployable. The material for the resiliently deformable portion is suitably chosen to have high hysteresis for maximum energy dissipation. It is advantageous that the resilient portion does not undergo permanent deformation. At the same time sufficient structural rigidity is provided by the securing means to maintain the deformable portion in the path of the fluid. It should be understood that references to water will include any sediment and debris carried in the water, and may extend to slurries and mud flows for example. In one embodiment the barrier portion is substantially impermeable

In one embodiment, the means for securing comprises a plurality of substantially rigid upwardly extending posts. This arrangement is advantageous for providing a flood barrier with the posts securing the deformable barrier substantially perpendicular to the ground. Such an embodiment has been found to be able to withstand lateral pressures of the order of 100 tonnes per square metre.

Said means for securing may additionally comprise a plurality of substantially rigid frame members, each frame member adapted to be located between said posts. The frame members are suitably include a number of horizontal and/or vertical braces. The barrier portion, as flat sheets, can advantageously be attached directly to the frame members by adhesive or screws or such like. The frame members may merely provide a means for attaching the resilient portion to the posts, and may not be intended to add any structural rigidity to the barrier. Of course the resilient portion could be secured to the posts directly if desired.

In this way a composite structure is effectively formed having a substantially rigid matrix with deformable portions between the posts and cross braces.

In one embodiment the posts include channels to allow the frame members to be located by sliding. Suitably the channels extend vertically, and the frame members and are located by sliding vertically downwards into locating channels of adjacent posts. In certain arrangements nothing further is required to attach the frame members to the posts. The posts need not be arranged in a straight line, and can be offset so as effectively to provide a curved barrier. The vertical sliding arrangement is advantageous in this respect, since each frame member can be angled relative to the next, without requiring any, or only very little modification to post or frame member.

A rigid blade member can usefully be fitted to the base of each frame member, adapted to be inserted into the ground In one embodiment the blade is driven into the ground when the frame member is slid into position, the weight of the frame providing a driving force. The blade member suitably extend the length of the frame, and when driven into the ground helps prevent water flowing under the barrier and/or washing away the surface layer. An alternative arrangement is to provide a deformable lip at the base of each frame to engage the ground, most simply achieved by extending the barrier portion below the edge of the frame.

While in the majority of embodiments each post must be substantially parallel to the next, these features allow slight variations in height between posts, the lip or blade arrangement accommodating a slight slope.

The posts are advantageously removably deployable onto post footings, to allow the barrier to be quickly and easily assembled, and disassembled as and when required. In one embodiment the post footings include a substantially flat plate adapted to be secured to the ground by bolts or pins. The post footings may be embedded or partially embedded in the ground, either permanently or temporarily. Alternatively the footings may be secured to any sufficiently rigid anchor surface (eg bolting to a concrete surface). It may be advantageous for footings to be substantially flush with the ground level so that they are unobtrusive when in place. Different posts in the same barrier may use different types of footings as desired.

In one embodiment the posts are further supported by stays which extend from the posts to the ground, at an angel to the posts.

In one embodiment the posts and frame portions are modular, allowing substantially any number of barrier portions to be erected on top of one another and side by side. Thus a simple kit of common modular parts can be employed to erect a barrier of any width or height within practical limits.

Different embodiments of the invention may employ a resiliently deformable barrier portion having thicknesses specified as follows:

Greater than 5 mm

Less than 50 mm

Between 10 and 20 mm

Although the thickness may vary these figures are intended to refer to a representative measure of thickness such as average thickness, or the thickness of a representative portion. Different embodiments of the invention may employ a resiliently deformable barrier portion having a mass per unit area specified as follows:

Greater than 5 kg per square metre.

Between 5 and 20 kg per square metre

Approximately 10 kg per square metre

In a second embodiment, the barrier portion is adapted to be fastened to a surface to be protected, secured by one or more pinning members adapted to be driven into said surface. Such an embodiment can usefully be employed as a defence against coastal erosion. The barrier portion can be pinned directly to an area of coast, such as a cliff face, to provide protection against wave erosion.

The said barrier portion suitably comprises a number of individual resilient elements. Different embodiments of the invention have resilient elements specified as follows:

Area greater than 1 square metre

Area greater than 2 square metres

Area between 2 and 10 square metres

The individual elements can be secured abutting one another or partially overlapping one another. It may be desirable for the elements to interlock, for example by having complementary profiled edges.

Pins or pinning members used may be simple nails or stakes, but large bolts or specialist fastenings may be employed, depending on the surface to be protected. Pinning members will suitably have appropriately shaped heads to secure the elements in place. In one embodiment the pinning members are adapted to be driven at least 20 cm into said surface to be protected.

In a particularly preferred embodiment, the barrier portion is formed of an elastomeric material produced from recycled vehicle tyres. This provides a low cost, environmentally friendly material source.

In a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of producing an environmental barrier including a resiliently deformable sheet of elastomeric material, said method comprising the steps of:

    • breaking one or more vehicle tyres into fragments;
    • heating said tyre fragments;
    • adding a resin substance to said heated tyre fragment;
    • forming said mixture into substantially planar sheets

Any manner of vehicle tyres can be used, car and truck tyres being most readily available. Breaking the tyres into fragments can be performed using any suitable method such as cutting or grinding. In one embodiment the tyres are broken into fragments of 2 to 10 mm in size. The forming step may comprise pressure forming such as pressure moulding, but other pressure forming techniques, such as rolling could be employed.

The material specification for the sheets is not particularly stringent, and the entire tyre can be used in the method, including any wire built into the tyre. This results in a simplified process with no separation steps required, and reduces waste. In certain embodiments, fragments of wire in the sheet can be advantageous, producing a crude fibre composite.

In one embodiment fragments are heated to approximately 30 to 60 degrees Celsius, although the fragments and resin could be formed without heating. Sheets are advantageously formed having a thickness of between 10 and 20 mm. Holes and eyelets may be formed into said sheets.

A further aspect of the invention provides a method for erecting a deployable flood barrier comprising the steps of:

    • locating a plurality of posts into a corresponding plurality of footings;
    • attaching a plurality of frame members to said posts;
    • attaching a substantially impermeable, resiliently deformable layer to said posts and said cross members.

In an embodiment where footings are driven into the ground, the method may further comprise using an alignment tool to align one or more footings in relation to an existing footing, and to maintain the footing(s) in alignment while they are driven into the ground. This feature of the invention may also be provided independently. The alignment tool may allow footings to be aligned in a straight line, or may allow footings to be aligned at an offset angle. Alignment is usually always at a specified distance from the adjacent footing, and usually also ensures footings (and hence therefore also posts) are parallel.

In one embodiment, the method further includes partially inserting an elongate blade into the ground, and may include attaching one or more angled stays to one or more of the posts.

A still further aspect of the invention provides a method for protecting a surface from coastal erosion, said method comprising the steps of:

    • placing a resiliently deformable layer against said surface; and
    • securing said resiliently deformable layer to said surface by driving a plurality of pinning members through said layer, into said surface.

In one embodiment the method further comprises aligning a further deformable layer in relation to an existing layer, and securing said further layer.

Another aspect of the invention provides a kit of parts for flood protection barrier comprising:

    • a plurality of footings adapted to receive corresponding posts;
    • a plurality of posts adapted to be located into said footings;
    • a plurality of frame members adapted to be attached to said posts
    • one or more sheets of resiliently deformable material adapted to be secured relative to said posts and to said cross members

The kit may additionally comprise one or more alignment tools for aligning said footings relative to one another. The kit may further comprise an elongate blade, adapted to be partially inserted into the ground at the base of said flood protection barrier. In one embodiment the resilient sheets are pre-attached to the frame members.

Yet another aspect of the invention provides a kit of parts for a coastal erosion barrier comprising:

    • one or more sheets of resiliently deformable material
    • a plurality of pinning members for securing said one or more sheets to a surface to be protected

In one embodiment the sheets include a plurality of eyelets to receive said pins.

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a footing for a deployable flood barrier according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows views of a post assembly for a deployable flood barrier according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a frame member for a deployable flood barrier according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an assembled side elevation of an embodiment of a deployable flood barrier according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a front elevation of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of an alternative embodiment of a deployable flood barrier according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 8 illustrates patterns in which a barrier according to the present invention can be deployed;

FIG. 9 illustrates an alignment tool for use in erecting a deployable flood barrier according to an aspect of the present invention

FIG. 10 illustrates an alternative alignment tool;

FIG. 11 shows an embodiment of a coastal erosion defence according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 12 shows a detail scrap view of a rubber sheet suitable for use in the present invention.

Referring initially to FIG. 1, a footing is shown in front (102) and side (104) views. The footing is generally hollow square section and has a dull point 106 at the base, and a ground plate 108 welded around the outside close to the top. The footing also has an internal stop 110 approximately halfway along the length of the footing, and securing holes 112 above the ground plate, for receiving a toggle pin.

FIG. 2a shows an inner post locating member 202. The locating member is hollow square section and dimensioned to be a close fit inside the footings and posts which are both of similar section. The locating member has securing holes 204 which align with securing holes in the footing and in the posts when the barrier is assembled.

FIG. 2b is a side view and FIG. 2c a sectional view (not to scale) of a post 206. The sectional view shows the post has a hollow square section body 208 and a ‘T’ profiled rib 210 extending along the front face of the post. The rib creates two vertically extending channels 212 on each side of the post, when assembled.

FIG. 3a illustrates a frame member 300 having a number of vertical 302 and horizontal 304 braces. FIG. 3b shows a blade 306 which may be secured to the base of frame member 300.

Referring to the side elevation shown in FIG. 4, a post 402 is shown affixed to footing 404 extending below the ground level indicated as 406. An inner locating member 408 extends inside the hollow footing and rests on stop 410 of the footing. The locating member also extends up into the post 402, the base of the post butting against the footing to locate the post vertically. Cross members 412 (extending into the page as viewed in FIG. 1) of a frame member are located against the front side of the posts. Attached to the front of the frame is a sheet of rubber 414. The sheet of rubber extends down to a lip 416, formed by the base of the frame member, running along the width of the structure (viewed into the page) a short distance above the ground. An elongate blade 418 extends vertically downwards from the lip, and is designed to penetrate into the ground at the base of the barrier, as shown.

It can be seen from FIG. 4, that a further locating member could be inserted into the top of any given post, can then effectively acts as a footing for a further post member, thus creating a modular structure.

The footings in FIG. 4 additionally include a base plate 420 adapted to rest on the ground, and secured in place by a number of pegs 422.

A compression stay 424 is attached close to the top of post 402 with a stirrup and pin joint. The lower end of the stay is attached to a secondary base plate 426, which is secured to the ground by pegs. The secondary base plate is set back from the post, with the stay angled at approximately 45 degrees to the vertical.

FIG. 5 shows a front elevation of the embodiment of FIG. 4. elements of the frame members 512 can be seen more clearly. The downwardly extending blade 518 is also more clearly shown attached to the lowermost part of the frame member.

The posts, inner locating members and footings are secured by toggle pins 532 extending through holes which are aligned when the components are assembled. It can be seen in FIG. 5 that the footings extend a distance into the ground substantially equal to the height of the pots when in position.

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5. It can be seen that the frame members 602 and associated rubber sheets 604 are located in the channels of each pair of adjacent posts. In this arrangement the frame members can easily be slid vertically into position between two appropriately spaced posts.

While the arrangement of FIG. 6 can accommodate frame members, and hence post placements, at slight angles, FIG. 7 shows an arrangement which caters for offsets of a greater angle. The frame portions include two modified tongue and groove joints 702 to allow a limited degree of bending. Of course, the rubber portion attached to the frame does not require modification to allow bending. Alternatively, rigid frame portions can include fixed bends. For example, a frame portion could be provided with two 15 degree bends, thereby allowing adjacent posts to have a relative rotation of 30 degrees.

FIG. 8a shows a barrier 802 used to form a protective ring arrangement around a group of buildings. FIG. 8b shows a number of barriers 804 deployed in a chicane pattern, to dissipate energy from water moving in the direction indicated by arrow A.

An alignment tool in shown in plan in FIG. 9a and in side elevation in FIG. 9b. The tool is generally T shaped, having a datum collar 902 at the ‘base’ of the T, an insertion collar 904 roughly at the centre of the tool, and a pair of feet 906 at the end of the ‘top’ member. The datum collar is designed to fit a datum post 908, which is inserted into a footing which is already located in place (not shown). The datum post has a square section lower portion for locating securely into a footing, and a generally circular section upper portion, having a dowel rod 910 extending radially outwards near the top of the datum post. The datum collar is generally cylindrical and designed to fit closely around the upper portion of the datum post. The datum collar has a slot 912 cut into the top edge, into which the dowel rod of the datum post is received. Thus the datum post and collar position the alignment tool and allow only rotation about the axis of the datum post the maximum angle of rotation determined by the width of the slot. A second slot may be provided which does not allow any rotation, constraining the alignment tool to be perpendicular to the square section of the datum post.

The insertion collar 904 has an outer portion 914 which is rigidly mounted, and an inner portion 916 which is moveable inside the outer portion. The outer portion is of the form of a hollow cylinder, and the inner portion has a complementary cylindrical exterior, and a square section interior to receive and locate a post footing such as that of FIG. 1, to be driven into the ground. In a similar fashion to the datum collar and post arrangement, a dowel rod 918 of the inner portion locates in a slot 920 of the outer portion to provide a degree of limited rotation about a vertical axis, relative to the perpendicular position shown in the figure. Both inner and outer portions of the insertion collar have an open side to allow footing to be removed from the insertion collar laterally. The inner portion can be ‘closed’ with toggle pins 922 passing through a fastening collar as shown.

This arrangement therefore allows a footing to be located at the correct distance from a neighbouring footing, and maintained parallel to that footing while being driven into the ground. The new footing can be in line with the previous footing or at an angle (by virtue of the datum collar arrangement) and can itself be square or oriented at an angle (by virtue of the insertion collar arrangement). When the footing is mostly embedded in the ground (the ground plate prevents full embedding while the alignment tool is in place) the datum post can be lifted out of the existing footing and datum collar, the toggle pins of the insertion collar removed, and the alignment tool taken away laterally. The new footing can then be driven the remaining distance into the ground.

FIG. 10 shows a second type of alignment tool, similar in a number of respects to the first. Again the structure is generally T shaped with a datum post 1002 and collar 1004 at one end. In this arrangement however, the datum post and collar constrain the apparatus to be perpendicular to the existing footing. In this arrangement three footings 1006 are simultaneously aligned for insertion into the ground. The insertion collars 1008 are each fixed to the T structure and each constrain a footing perpendicular to the structure. A three pronged anvil 1010 can be inserted into the three footings and can be used to allow the three footings to be driven into the ground simultaneously.

The posts, footings, cross members, beams and girders are made of box section steel or aluminium. Connections between these members may be clamps, pins, bolts, welds, or any other suitable means.

FIG. 11 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention in use as a defence against coastal erosion. A section of steeply sloping coastline 1102, such as a cliff face is shown, having a number of substantially vertical portions. A number of sheets of rubber 1104 are arranged against the cliff face, and secured by pins 1106 driven through the sheets into the rockface. The sheets are secured in the path of the waves as they hit the coastline. The sheets are shown overlapping, with the pins down abutting edges securing both sheets to the cliff face.

FIG. 12 shown a detail of a rubber sheet 1204, having a hole 1206 formed therein, through which securing pins can be driven. A metal eyelet 1208 is provided around the hole to prevent ripping or tearing of the sheet at the hole.

It will be understood that the present invention has been described above purely by way of example, and modification of detail can be made within the scope of the invention.

Each feature disclosed in the description, and (where appropriate) the claims and drawings may be provided independently or in any appropriate combination.