Title:
Handrail System Stanchion
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides for a support member to connect a column of a handrail or glass barrier system to a concrete slab. The support member may include a post extending from a base. A portion of the post may extend from the concrete slab and may be used to connect the column to the support member. The post may include holes for connecting the support member to the column. One or more legs may extend from the base to elevate the base above a surface.



Inventors:
Hansen, Tracy C. (Hillsboro, OR, US)
Application Number:
11/381494
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
05/03/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H17/16; E01F8/00; E06B3/00; E06B3/54; E06B3/62
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20050116213Pole assembly for a mesh fence and mesh fence having a pole assemblyJune, 2005Dahowski et al.
20080111119METHOD OF ADJUSTABLY MOUNTING A FENCE RAIL TO A FENCE POSTMay, 2008Platt
20070235705COMPOSITE FENCEOctober, 2007Burger et al.
20100038612FENCING SYSTEM FOR CAMPFIREFebruary, 2010Hazlett
20020134976Kit for rail assemblySeptember, 2002Swartz
20080272352Combined Guardrail and Cable Safety SystemsNovember, 2008Gripne et al.
20030132426Wrought-iron fenceJuly, 2003Kang
20070210295Bracket for an offset fencepostSeptember, 2007Smith



Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DORSEY & WHITNEY LLP - DENVER (DENVER, CO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A component for supporting a column of a handrail system comprising: a base; a post extending from the base, the post adapted to support the column; and a plurality of legs extending from the base.

2. The component of claim 1, wherein: the base includes a first portion and three members extending from the first portion; the post extends from the first portion of the base; and at least one of the plurality of legs extends from the first portion of the base.

3. The component of claim 2, wherein the first portion and the three members define a generally arrowhead shaped planar body.

4. The component of claim 1, wherein: the base includes a substantially triangular planar body; and at least one of the plurality of legs extends from proximate a vertex of the base.

5. The component of claim 1, further comprising a means for anchoring the post within a material.

6. The component of claim 5, further wherein the means for anchoring the post is an anchor member operatively associated with the post.

7. The component of claim 6, wherein the anchor member is rebar.

8. The component of claim 1, further comprising a means for anchoring the base within a material.

9. The component of claim 8, wherein the means for anchoring is at least one hole in the base.

10. The component of claim 1, wherein the post defines a generally rectangular cross-sectional area.

11. The component of claim 1, wherein the post is made of steel.

12. The component of claim 1, wherein the post is adapted to extend into at least one-third of the length of the column when the base is embedded within a material.

13. The component of claim 1, wherein the post includes at least one hole therein.

14. A method for connecting a column of handrail system to another structural component comprising: providing a structural component including a first material; providing a connection element including a base and a post, the post extending from the base; embedding the base and a first portion of the post in the first material; providing a column including a first surface defining an aperture operative to receive a second portion of the post extending from the first material; receiving the second portion of the post within the aperture; and filling a space between the post and the first surface with a second material.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the first material is concrete.

16. The method of claim 14, wherein the structural component is a foundation.

17. The method of claim 14, wherein the second material is selected from a group consisting of grout, concrete, or epoxy.

18. The method of claim 14, wherein embedding the base and the first portion of the post in the first material comprises the steps of: providing a form; placing the connection element in the form; filling the form with the first material in a non-solidified state; and allowing the first material to solidify.

19. The method of claim 18, further comprising elevating the base above a surface of the form with a plurality of legs extending from the base

20. The method of claim 14, further comprising embedding an anchor member operatively associated with the connection element within the first material.

21. The method of claim 14, wherein the post is received within at least one-third of the length of the column.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/083,164, titled “Glass Barrier System” and filed on Mar. 16, 2005, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference and which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/553,673, titled “Glass Barrier System” and filed on Mar. 16, 2004, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

a. Field of the Invention

Aspects of the present invention relate to walls and fences, and more particularly, a glass barrier system and support members that may be constructed in combination with a concrete slab or masonry wall.

b. Background Art

Glass wall and fence structures are known in the art and are commonly used as windbreaks, pool surrounds, and noise barriers. Glass walls can be used to create an effective barrier while at the same time, limiting the confining effect of fences made of non-translucent material. In many common designs, glass walls are constructed by supporting pieces of glass between aluminum posts grouted directly into and along the top of concrete slabs or walls. The glass pieces are supported by the aluminum posts by placing edges of the glass pieces in slots extending longitudinally along the length of the aluminum posts.

Many of the parts utilized in glass wall products currently available on the market were not specifically designed for use in glass wall applications. Instead, many of these products apply “off-the-shelf” parts and technology originally designed for use in constructing glass storefronts. For example, many currently available glass wall products utilize standard aluminum “storefront” posts grouted directly into open cavities of concrete blocks. In addition, many of these products also utilize wedge vinyl glazing commonly used in storefront applications to help secure the glass to the aluminum posts. The wedge vinyl is typically rolled into the slot located in the post in a space located between the glass and the post.

Although existing “storefront” technology can be used to construct glass wall structures, certain problems can result from using “storefront” technology in glass wall applications. For example, over time, lime in the concrete can react with the aluminum post material grouted directly into concrete, which can weaken the posts. Further, ultraviolet rays and various pollutants, such as salt, can cause the vinyl wedges used to secure the glass to the posts to become brittle and shrink. As a result, the glass can become loose within the slot on the posts. Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved glass wall system.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides for a component for use in conjunction with a handrail system, a glass barrier system, or other structural system. The component can include a base, a post extending from the base, and a plurality of legs extending from the base. The post is adapted to support a column of a handrail system, a glass barrier system, or another structural system. In one embodiment, the base may include a first portion with three members extending from the first portion. In such an embodiment, the post may extend from the first portion of the base and at least one of the plurality of legs may also extend from the first portion of the base. In yet another embodiment, the base may have a substantially triangular planar body with at least one of the plurality of legs extending from proximate a vertex of the base.

Another aspect of the present invention is a method for connecting a column of a handrail system, a glass barrier system, or other structural system to another structural component. The method includes providing a structural component including a first material and a connection element having a base and a post extending from the base, embedding the base and a first portion of the post in the first material, providing a column including a first surface defining an aperture operative to receive a second portion of the post extending from the first material, receiving the second portion of the post within the aperture, and filling a space between the post and the first surface with a second material.

The features, utilities, and advantages of various embodiments of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of embodiments of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings and defined in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a glass barrier system according to one embodiment of the present invention installed on top of a wall.

FIG. 1A is a cross sectional view of the glass barrier system shown in FIG. 1, taken along line 1A-1A.

FIG. 2 is an exploded isometric view of a first post shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded detailed isometric view of a second post shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the second post shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4A is a cross-sectional view of a glazing bead shown in FIG. 4 before being installed.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a bottom rail installed on a piece of glass.

FIG. 6 is an isometric view of an embodiment of a support member.

FIG. 6A is a bottom plan view of the support member shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 7 is an isometric view of a second embodiment of a support member.

FIG. 8 is an isometric view of a handrail system.

FIG. 9 is an exploded isometric view of the handrail system shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of a portion of the handrail system depicted in FIG. 8 showing the support member of FIG. 6 embedded in a concrete slab and a column.

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of the support member embedded in the column, viewed along line 11-11 in FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the support member embedded in the concrete slab, viewed along line 12-12 in FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a glass barrier system constructed from pieces of glass supported between posts extending upward from various types of base structures, such as concrete slabs, masonry walls, and other similar structures. The posts are supported by support members connected with or embedded into the base structure. For example, in one embodiment of the glass support system, aluminum posts are supported by steel members embedded into and extending from a concrete base structure. By supporting the aluminum posts above the concrete, the glass barrier system can eliminate problems associated with lime in the concrete reacting with the aluminum posts. The glass barrier system according to the present invention can provide other benefits when installed as part of a larger construction project, such as a new building construction. For example, because the posts are not connected with or embedded directly into the base structure, the present invention allows the posts to be installed later in the construction process. As such, the likelihood of damage caused to the posts while other construction activities take place is reduced. Some embodiments of the present invention also utilize a U-shaped glazing channel to securely and reliably hold the glass in place with respect to the posts. The glazing channel include soft rubber lips co-extruded with a rigid vinyl material. The rigid vinyl material frictionally engages the glass and the post to hold the glass in position, while the soft rubber lips help prevent outside contaminants, such as salt, from reaching the vinyl. While the present invention is described and depicted below with reference to installation on top of a concrete wall, it is to be appreciated that the present invention can also be utilized in conjunction with other structures, such as a deck or slab. It also to be appreciated that the posts and support members can be made from various types of materials and are not limited to being constructed from aluminum and steel.

FIGS. 1 and 1A show a glass barrier system 100 according to one embodiment of the present invention installed on top of a base structure 102. The base structure shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A is a wall 104 constructed from a plurality of concrete cinder blocks 106. As shown in FIG. 1, a first generally rectangular-shaped piece of glass 108 is supported between a first post 110 and a second post 112 extending from a top surface 114 of the wall 104. Further, a second generally rectangular-shaped piece of glass 116 is supported between the second post 112 and a third post 118 extending from the top surface of the wall 104. In some embodiments of the present invention, the first, second, and third posts are identically constructed, while other embodiments can utilize varying post configurations. For example, some posts may be configured to support pieces of glass from opposing sides, while other posts may be configured to support pieces of glass from only one side. The post heights and distances between the posts can also vary depending upon the particular application. For example, in one embodiment of the present invention, the posts are 48 inches tall and are spaced apart from each other by a distance of 72 inches. Although the glass barrier shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A is constructed with three posts and two pieces of glass, it is to be appreciated that more or fewer pieces of glass and associated posts can be used to increase or reduce the overall length of the glass barrier.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded isometric view of the first post 110 shown in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 2, a lower portion 120 of the first post 110 is adapted to receive an upper portion 122 of a support member 124 extending from grout 126 in the wall 104, and an upper portion 128 of the first post 110 is adapted to connect with a post cap 130. The cross section of the first post 110 is generally elliptically-shaped and is defined by two opposing rounded sides 132 connected with two opposing generally flat sides 134. It is to be appreciated that post cross sections shaped differently from that which is depicted may also be used with the present invention. For example, one embodiment of the present invention utilizes posts having a square cross section.

The first post 110 shown in FIG. 2 includes a first slot 136 and a second slot 138 extending inwardly from the two opposing generally flat sides 134 and extending longitudinally along the length of the first post 110. The first slot 136 and the second slot 138 are adapted to receive a U-shaped glazing bead 140, which in turn, is adapted to receive a side edge portion 142 of the first piece of glass 108, as discussed in more detail below. Although the first and second slots shown in FIG. 2 extend longitudinally along the entire length of the first post, in other embodiments of the present invention, the slots extend longitudinally for a distance that is less than the entire length of the post. Because the first post depicted in FIG. 2 is utilized as an end post in the glass barrier system, a slot blank 144 can be placed inside the second slot 138 to provide an aesthetically pleasing look to the post. The second slot is also capable of receiving the glazing bead and glass piece in the same manner as illustrated in relation to the first slot, as illustrated with reference to the second post shown in FIG. 1. Although the second slot 138 shown in FIG. 2 is substantially a mirror image of the first slot 136, the first post can include differently configured slots. In addition, the post can include more than two slots or a single slot. For example, in some embodiments of the present invention, posts that are to be used as end posts in the glass barrier system are configured with a single slot. In these types of configurations, slot blanks are not needed. It is also to be appreciated that the slots need not be located on opposing sides of the post. For example, the slots can be located in various locations in the post with respect to each other to define various angles between the pieces of glass. In one scenario, the first and second slots are located in adjacent sides of the post to form a corner in the glass barrier system defining a 90 degree angle between the first and second pieces of glass supported by the slots.

As shown in FIG. 2, the lower portion 120 of the post 110 is configured to receive the upper portion 122 of the support member 124 such that the post is suspended above the top surface 114 of the base structure 102. Because the post is not in direct contact with the base structure, the base structure material cannot easily react with the post material. For example, a base structure constructed from concrete can include lime in the concrete that could otherwise react with the post material. This can be important when aluminum posts are utilized with the present invention, because lime can react with the aluminum to weaken the posts. It is to be appreciated that the post can be connected with and/or support by the support member in various ways. For example, as shown in FIG. 1A, screws 146 are used to connect the post 110 with the support member 124. It is to be appreciated that bolts or other similar types of fasteners can also be used to connect the post with the support member. In other embodiments, a ledge on the inside of the post supports the post on top of the support member. In still other embodiments of the present invention, it may be advantageous to apply adhesive to bond the post to the support member. Although the post is depicted as receiving the support member, the post may be connected with the support member in various other ways. For example, in one embodiment of the present invention the post is received within the support member. The support member can also be constructed from various types of materials and can be configured to extend various distances into the grout and the post. For example, in some embodiments of the present invention, the support member is constructed from steel, and is configured to extend 12 to 16 inches into the grout and 12 inches into the post.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the glass barrier system can include the post cap connected with the upper portion of the post. Various post cap configurations may be utilized with the present invention. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the post cap 130 can define an outer perimeter 148 that corresponds with the shape and size of the post cross section. The post cap and post define interconnecting structures to help ensure proper alignment between the post and post cap when connecting the post cap to the post. More particularly, the post includes a pair of opposing webs 150 extending inwardly from the rounded sides 132 and four inwardly extending ledges 152 adjacent the slots 136, 138 adapted to engage the post cap 130. The post cap 130 also includes an upper surface 154 and a lower surface 156. Two pairs of cap extensions 158 extending downward from the lower surface 156 of the post cap 130 define a gap 160 between each pair of cap extensions. When the post cap 130 is connected with the post 112, the cap extensions are received within the post and abut the ledges to help align the post cap with the post. In addition, the gaps 160 receive the opposing webs 150 on the inside of the post 112. The cap extensions can also be configured to frictionally engage the inside of the post to help secure the post cap to the post.

As described in more detail below, the pieces of glass are connected with the posts by installing the glazing bead on the side edge portions of the pieces of glass and then inserting the glazing beads and side edge portions of the pieces of glass into the slots on the post. The slots are configured such when the glazing beads and glass are received within the slots, the glazing beads are compressed against the sides of the slot and the glass. This compression fit creates friction forces between the slot, the glazing bead, and the glass that act to hold the glass in position relative to the slot. One-way barbs, when used on the glazing bead, also act to prevent the glass from separating from the post.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3 and as previously mentioned, the pieces of glass 108, 116 are supported by the posts 110, 112, 118 by inserting the side edge portions 142 of the pieces of glass into the glazing beads 140. The glazing beads and side edge portions of the glass, in turn, are inserted into the slots 136, 138 in the post 112. As shown in FIG. 3, the first and second slots 136, 138 are U-shaped and are each defined by a first side 162 and a second side 164 connected with a base side 166. The glazing beads are also U-shaped and are each defined by a first glaze side 168 and a second glaze side 170 connected with a base glaze side 172. The glazing bead can be made from various materials, such a plastic, rubber, and vinyl. In some embodiments, the glazing beads include one-way barbs extending along inner and outer surfaces of the glazing bead to engage the slots in the post as well as the pieces of glass.

As shown in FIG. 3, when connecting the second piece of glass 116 with the second post 112, the glazing bead 140 is placed on the side edge portion 142 of the second piece of glass such that the glass is in contact with inner surfaces 174 of the first glaze side 168, the second glaze side 170, and the third glaze side 172. The side edge portion 140 of the second piece of glass 116 and the glazing bead 140 are then inserted into the first slot 136 on the second post 112 such that outer surfaces 176 of the first glaze side 168, the second glaze side 170, and the base glaze side 172 contact the first side 162, second side 164, and third side 166 of the first slot 136, respectively. As previously mentioned, the insertion of the second piece of glass and the glazing bead into the first slot causes the glazing bead to become compressed between the glass and the slot. This compression fit helps to hold the glass in a fixed position relative to the post. As previously mentioned, the glazing bead can also include one-way barbs to help hold the glass in position. As shown in FIG. 4, the first side 162 and the second side 164 of the first slot 136 and the second slot 138 are configured with barbs 178 that interact with barbs 180 on the glazing bead 140. The first piece of glass can be connected with the second post in the same manner as described above with reference to the second piece of glass.

As previously mentioned and as shown in FIGS. 4 and 4A, the glazing beads 140 can include lips 182 connected with the first glaze side and the second glaze side. As shown in FIG. 4, the lips 182 bend and engage opposing sides of the piece of glass when installed. As such, the lips create a barrier between the outside environment and the frictional engagement between the glazing bead, the glass, and the slot. This barrier helps to prevent various contaminants, such as salt, from entering the slot and reacting the glazing bead material. As previously mentioned, the glazing bead can be made from various types of materials. In one embodiment, the lips are made from soft rubber and the glaze sides are constructed from rigid vinyl. Although the lips shown in FIG. 4 are bent outward away from the slot, the lips can also be configured to bend inward toward the slot. In addition, the glass may also be configured with trenches on each side thereof adapted to accept the lips extending inward from the glazing bead.

As shown in FIG. 2, the glass barrier system can also include a lower railing 184 secured to the glass with a bottom rail glazing bead 186 connected with a bottom edge 188 of the glass 108 in a similar manner as described above with reference to the glass and the post. As shown in FIG. 5, the bottom rail 184 can also be configured with barbs 190 that interact with barbs 192 extending from the bottom rail glazing bead 186 to help hold the bottom rail 184 securely to the glass. It is to be appreciated that bottom rails of sizes and shapes may be utilized. For example, one embodiment of the present invention utilizes a bottom rail width, W, of 1.3 inches. In addition, the glass barrier system can also include an upper railing (not shown) along a top edge 194 of the piece of glass.

It is to be appreciated that various embodiments of support members can be used with different barrier systems, railings, fences, and walls. For example, FIGS. 6 and 7 show two embodiments of support members 300 that can be used with a barrier or railing system. As illustrated, the support members 300 can each include a post 302 and one or more legs 304 connected with a base 306. The support members 300 can also include an anchor member 308 connected with the post 302. It is to be appreciated that the base 306, post 302, legs 304, and anchor member 308 can be made from various types materials, such as steel, aluminum, carbon composites, plastic, any other suitable material, or a combination thereof. The support member 300 can be configured to be partially embedded in various types of materials, such as concrete, to support a barrier system. For example, the base 306, a first portion of the post 302, and the anchor member 308 may be adapted to be embedded within concrete with a second portion of the post 302 projecting outwardly from the concrete. As such, the second portion of the post 302 can be adapted to support a column or other structural component of a barrier system.

As previously mentioned, the post 302 is connected with and extends from the base 306 of the support member 300. The base 306 can be configured to help prevent the post 302 from tilting or overturning when the base 306 is placed on a support surface or the ground. As such, it is to be appreciated that the base 306 can be of various shapes and sizes. In one form, the base 306 has a generally arrowhead shaped planar body. In the arrowhead configuration, the base 306 can include a plurality of members 310a-c extending from a common origin. In one example, the base 306 includes three members 310a-c, with one member 310b located between the other two members 310a, c extending outward from the common origin. The post 302 can be coupled with the base 306 at the intersection of the three members 310a-c. It is also to be appreciated that the base 306 may be an assembly of separate members or a single piece defining a shape, such as the arrowhead configuration shown in FIG. 6. In alternate embodiments, such as shown in FIG. 7, the base 306 may have a generally triangular shaped planar body. Although depicted as a generally arrowhead shaped planar body in FIG. 6 and a generally triangular shaped planar body in FIG. 7, the base 306 may include a body with any desired shape that will generally reduce the possibility of the post 302 overturning the base 306 when the base 306 is placed on the ground or other support surface with the post 302 extending from the base 306 in a generally vertical direction relative to the ground.

As shown in FIG. 7, the base 306 may include or define a hole or other aperture 312 of any possible shape to help anchor the base 306 when embedded into a material, such as concrete. For example, if the base 306 is embedded in concrete, the concrete, as it is poured, may fill the hole 312 shown in FIG. 7, thereby forming a shear key between the base 306 and the concrete when the concrete sets. Although the base 306 shown in FIG. 7 includes one hole 312, it is to be appreciated that other embodiments can include more than one hole, which may further enhance the anchoring of the base 306 within a material. In addition to having a hole 312 in the base 306, other methods may be utilized to enhance the anchoring of the base 306 within a material. For example, shear studs, rebar, or other suitable anchoring elements may be connected with the base 306. In another example, one or more surfaces of the base 306 may be roughened to enhance the bonding between the base 306 and the material in which the base is embedded.

As shown in FIGS. 6, 6A, and 7, the support member 300 can include one or more legs 304 extending from the base 306. The legs 304 may be integral with the base 306 or may be connected with the base 306 by welding, mechanically fastening (e.g. bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), or other known means to join two elements together. The legs 304 can elevate the base 306 above a surface upon which the base 306 is supported. The distance the legs 304 extend from the base 306 may be based on an amount of desired elevation of the base 306 above a surface. For example, the legs 304 may rest against a bottom surface of a concrete form for a slab. As such, the legs 304 position the base 306 a desired distance above the bottom surface of a concrete slab formed using the concrete form. In one example, it may be desired for approximately two inches of concrete to be between the base 306 and the bottom of the concrete slab after the concrete slab is formed. Accordingly, the legs 304 may extend approximately two inches from the base 306. It is to be appreciated that the above example is merely illustrative of a method to determine the distance one or more of the legs 304 may extend from the base 306. Accordingly, the actual distance that each leg 304 extends from the base 306 may be more or less than two inches. Further, as will be described in more detail below, some embodiments of the support member 300 may not include legs 304.

The quantity, shapes, and locations of the legs 304 on the base 306 may be selected to generally reduce the possibility of the base 306 being overturned when the post 302 extends from the base 306 in a generally vertical direction relative to the ground. For example, as shown in FIG. 6A, the support member 300 includes four legs 304, each leg 304 having a generally L-shaped cross-section. One leg 304 is located proximate a first portion of the base 306 from which the post 302 extends. Each of the remaining three legs 304 are located proximate the distal end portions of the respective three members 310a-c extending from the first portion of the base 306. In another example shown in FIG. 7, the support member 300 includes three generally rectangular shaped legs 304, each located proximate respective vertices of the triangular shaped body of the base 306. The quantities, shapes, and configurations of the legs 304 shown in FIGS. 6, 6A, and 7 provide stability to the support member 300 when the base 306 is supported on the ground or other support surface by the legs 304. It is to be appreciated that the above examples are merely illustrative, and as such, various quantities, shapes, and locations of legs 304 may be used to reduce the possibility of the post 302 overturning the base 306 when supported by legs 304.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the post 302 is connected with and extends from the base 306. The post 302 may be integral with the base 306 or may be connected with the base 306 in various ways, such as by welds, mechanical fasteners (e.g., bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), or other known means to join two elements together. Generally, the post 302 extends from a surface of the base 306 opposite a surface from which the legs 304 extend. The distance that the post 302 extends from the base 306 can vary and may be based on the desired distance that the second portion of the post 302 extends from a material in which the base 306 is embedded. In one example, the base 306 is embedded four inches from a top surface of a concrete slab and it is desired that the second portion of the post 302 extend at least twenty-four inches from the top surface. As such, the post 302 can be configured to extend approximately twenty-eight inches from the base 306. It is to be appreciated that the previous example is merely illustrative of one method to determine the distance that the post 302 extends from the base 306. Accordingly, the actual distance that the post 302 extends from the base 306 may be more or less than twenty eight inches.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the post 302 may include a body with one or more holes 314 located therein. As shown in FIG. 6, one of the holes 314 may be adapted to receive an anchor member 308 (e.g., rebar, shear studs, etc.). The anchor member 308 may be used to enhance the anchoring of the support member 300 within the material (e.g., concrete, grout, etc.) in which at least a portion of the support member 300 is embedded. It is to be appreciated that the anchor member 308 can be connected with the post 302 in various ways, such as by welding as shown in FIG. 7, mechanical fastening, or any other suitable means for connecting two members together. Generally, the anchor member 308 may be located within the first portion of the post 302 and embedded within the material in which the support member 300 is embedded. The anchor member 308 can also have various shapes and sizes to enhance the anchoring of the support member 300 within a material. For example, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the anchor member 308 may be generally V-shaped or J-shaped. In other embodiments, the anchor members 308 are linear, L-shaped, or U-shaped. Still other anchor members 308 include other shapes typically used for rebar or other anchoring members such as shear studs or other suitable shapes for providing an anchor between the support member 300 and the material in which the support member 300 is embedded. It is also to be appreciated that more than one anchor member 308, or combinations of anchor members, may be used.

As described in more detail below, the post 302 may include additional holes 314 to anchor the post 302 within grout, concrete, epoxy, or other suitable material that may join or otherwise associate the post 302 with a column or other structural component of a barrier system. In other configurations, the holes 314 may be used to receive fasteners (e.g., bolts, screws, rivets, etc.) to join or connect the post 302 with a column or other structural component of a barrier system. In yet other configurations, the holes 314 may be used for welding the post 302 to a column or other structural component.

FIG. 8 depicts a handrail system 320, which may be connected to a structural component 322 such as a concrete slab using the support member described above. The handrail system 320 may include columns 324, handrail top and bottom beams 326, 328 connected to the columns 324, and handrail verticals 330 extending between the handrail top and bottom beams 326, 328. The handrail top and bottom beams 326, 328 may be connected to the handrail columns 324 by welds, mechanical fasteners (e.g. bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), or other known means to join two elements together. The columns 324 may be connected to the structural component 322 using support members 300 as described in more detail below.

FIG. 9 depicts an exploded view of the handrail system shown in FIG. 8. A pair of support members 300 extend from the concrete slab 322. As described in more detail below, the support members 300 may be used to connect the columns 324 to the concrete slab 322. Each column 324 may include an aperture 332 that may receive a support member 300 and a bonding material 334 such as grout. The handrail verticals 330 may extend between the bottom handrail beam 328 and a handrail plate 336, and may be connected to each member by welds, mechanical fasteners (e.g. bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), or other known means to join two elements together. The handrail bottom beam 328 may be channel shaped, the handrail verticals 330 may be rectangular, and the handrail plate 336 may be generally rectangular. However, each could be any other suitable structural shape including tube shaped, I-shaped, circular, etc.

The top handrail beam 326 may include a generally arcuate shaped body that defines a smooth outer surface that may be gripped by a hand and a top beam open space that may receive the handrail plate 336. A pair of flanges may extend from the top handrail beam body into the open space defined by the body to provide a surface to connect to the handrail plate 336 to the handrail top beam 326 as described below. The top handrail beam 326 may be any other suitable structural shape including channel shaped, tubular, rectangular, I-shaped, etc.

The handrail top plate 336 may be slid into the top beam open space. The top handrail beam flanges will vertically retain the handrail plate 336 within the open space, thereby connecting the handrail plate 336 to the top handrail beam 326. Other methods of connecting the top handrail beam 326 to the handrail plate 336 may be utilized including joining these members by welding, mechanically fastening (e.g. bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), or other known means to join two elements together. Further, in some alternative embodiments, the handrail plate 336 may be omitted, and the handrail verticals 330 may be directly connected to the top handrail beam 326 using any known method to join two element together.

FIG. 10 shows an elevation view of a portion of the handrail system 320 depicted in FIG. 8 with the support member 300 used to connect a handrail column 324 to another structural component 322 shown in phantom line. As shown in FIG. 10, the base 306, legs 304, and the first portion of the post 302 of the support member 300 are embedded within a concrete slab 322 containing reinforcing material 340, such as rebar. The legs 304 of the support member 300 elevate the base 306 above the bottom of the concrete slab 322. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the legs 304 of the support member 300 may also be located within the concrete slab 322 to avoid the reinforcing material 340. The base 306 or the legs 304 may also be tied to the reinforcing material 340 to help minimize movement of the support member 300 within the concrete slab 322. Tying the support member 300 to the reinforcing material 340 may also reduce the tendency of the support member 300 to overturn prior to the concrete slab 322 being formed around the support member 300. Holes (not shown) may be provided in the base 306 or the legs 304 to facilitate the tying of the support member 300 to the reinforcing material 340. As previously mentioned, some embodiments of the support member 300 do not include legs 304. In such embodiments, prior to forming the concrete slab 322, the base 306 may be supported directly on the bottom of the concrete form or may be supported above the bottom of the concrete form by the reinforcing material 340 or other known means of supporting a component above the bottom of a form.

Referring back to FIG. 10, the second portion of the post 302 extends from the upper surface of the concrete slab 322. The second portion of the post 302 may also be adapted to extend into and be encompassed by the column 324. The distance in which the second portion of the post 302 extends into the column 324 can vary. For example, in one embodiment, the second portion extends into approximately one-third of the length of the column 324 to provide additional resistance to external forces exerted on the column 324. Generally, the largest moments, shears, and other external forces exerted upon the column 324 occur within the portion of the column 324 proximate the upper surface of the concrete slab 322. Accordingly, extending the second portion of the post 302 into approximately the lower third of the column 324 and structurally associating the post 302 with the column 324 provides additional material to resist the external forces exerted upon the column 324 where the aforementioned forces tend to be the largest.

Although described as extending into approximately one-third of the column 324, it is to be appreciated that the second portion of the support member 300 may extend more or less than a distance of one-third the column length. Further, rather than extending into a column 324 or other structural component of a handrail system 320, the post 302 of the support member 300 may extend outside of or adjacent to the column or other structural component or may be used as a column or other structural component for a handrail system 320. When extending adjacent to a column 324 or other structural component, the post 302 may be connected or joined with the column 324 or other structural component by mechanical fasteners (e.g., bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), welds, or other suitable means to join two elements together.

As shown in FIG. 12, the column 324 may have a generally square cross-sectional area defining an aperture 332 for receiving the second portion of the post 302, which may have a rectangular cross-sectional area. The rectangular cross-section of the post 302 may help the concrete to form better around the post 302. Although depicted as having a rectangular cross-sectional area, it is to be appreciated the post 302 may have various other cross sectional shapes, such as circular, tubular, I-shaped, L-shaped, C-shaped, Z-shaped, or a combination thereof. As such, the column 324 or other structural component of a handrail system 320 may also have any cross-sectional area that defines an aperture 332 sufficiently sized to receive the post 302 therein.

A grout 334 or other suitable material (e.g., concrete, epoxy, etc.) may be used to fill any space between an interior surface of the column 324 and the post 302. The grout 334 or other suitable material may bond the column 324 to the support member 300 and/or sufficiently associate the support member 300 with the column 324 to form a composite structural member including the column 324 and the post 302. With reference to FIG. 10, the holes 314 in the second portion of the post 302 may form a shear key with the grout 334 or other suitable material in a manner similar to the shear key described above between the base 306 and the concrete. Other methods of joining the support member's post 302 to a column 324 or other structural component of a handrail system 320 may be utilized. For example, the support member's post 302 may be joined by mechanically fastening it to a structural component of a handrail system 320 (e.g., using bolts, screws, rivets, etc.), by welding the elements together, or by using any other known means to join two elements together.

A method of connecting a column 324 (or other structural component) of a handrail system 320 to another structural component using the support member 300 is described below with reference to FIGS. 10, 11, and 12. A form (not shown) is provided for forming the structural component 322 (e.g., a concrete slab). The support member 300 and any reinforcing material 340 for the structural component 322 is placed within the form. The form is filled with a non-solidified or partially solidified material (e.g., unset concrete) to create the structural component 322, thereby embedding the base 306, the first portion of the post 302, and, if desired, the anchor member 308 within the material. The non- or partially solidified material is allowed to solidify sufficiently to support a person, equipment, or other loads. A second portion of the post 302 extends from the structural component 322 and is received within a column 324 having an aperture 332 for receiving the post 302 therein. A space between the post 302 and a surface of the column 324 defining the aperture 332 is filled with a bonding material 334 (e.g., grout). The above-described method is merely illustrative of a method for embedding the support member 300 in a material and connecting a column 324 or other structural component to the support member 300. Accordingly, other methods may be used to embed the support member 300 in a material and/or connect a column 324 or other structural component to the support member 300. Also, it should be noted that the method described above for using a support member 300 to connect a handrail column 324 to a concrete slab 322 may be used for other systems such as the glass barrier system described above, fences, walls, or any other systems that require a column or other structural element to be connected to another structural element.

It will be appreciated from the above noted description of various arrangements and embodiments of the present invention that a glass barrier system has been described which may include: a support member adapted to be connected with a base structure, a post connected with the support member so as to support the post in a position away from the base structure, and at least one piece of glass connected with the post. The glass barrier can be formed and configured in various ways depending upon the particular application. It will be appreciated that the features described in connection with each arrangement and embodiment of the invention are interchangeable to some degree so that many variations beyond those specifically described are possible. For example, the glass barrier system can be assembled so as to include only one support member, one post, and one piece of glass in situations where an opposing end of the glass can be supported by some other structure, such as a wall. In another scenario, the posts of the glass barrier system are configured to support two or more vertically arranged pieces of glass within a single slot. In such a configuration, the bottom edge of an upper piece of glass can be adjacent to the top edge of a lower piece of glass. In addition, the bottom and top edges may or may not be in contact with each other. The glass barrier system can also be configured to accommodate glass pieces of various thickness. For example, some embodiments of the glass barrier system are configured to accommodate glass having a thickness of ¼, ⅜, and ½ inch. In one embodiment that accommodates ½ inch thick glass, the glazing bead is removed and the glass is wet-glazed into the slot.

Although various representative embodiments of this invention have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventive subject matter set forth in the specification and claims. All directional references (e.g., upper, lower, upward, downward, left, right, leftward, rightward, top, bottom, above, below, vertical, horizontal, clockwise, and counterclockwise) are only used for identification purposes to aid the reader's understanding of the embodiments of the present invention, and do not create limitations, particularly as to the position, orientation, or use of the invention unless specifically set forth in the claims. Joinder references (e.g., attached, coupled, connected, and the like) are to be construed broadly and may include intermediate members between a connection of elements and relative movement between elements. As such, joinder references do not necessarily infer that two elements are directly connected and in fixed relation to each other.

In some instances, components are described with reference to “ends” having a particular characteristic and/or being connected with another part. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is not limited to components which terminate immediately beyond their points of connection with other parts. Thus, the term “end” should be interpreted broadly, in a manner that includes areas adjacent, rearward, forward of, or otherwise near the terminus of a particular element, link, component, part, member or the like. In methodologies directly or indirectly set forth herein, various steps and operations are described in one possible order of operation, but those skilled in the art will recognize that steps and operations may be rearranged, replaced, or eliminated without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not limiting. Changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.





 
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