Title:
High-strength composite floor
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A floor made up of interlocking floor panels locked together by locking members includes floor reinforcements having mid-sections substantially equally spaced from one another across substantially an entire length of each floor panel. The reinforcements are configured to accommodate the locking members while not disrupting the uniform spacing of the reinforcements at their mid-sections. The reinforcements are configured to permit insulation to be positioned within an interior space of the floor panels.



Inventors:
Yates, Gaylon (Parsons, TN, US)
Application Number:
11/148983
Publication Date:
12/14/2006
Filing Date:
06/09/2005
Assignee:
Manitowoc Foodservice Companies, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/480
International Classes:
E04F15/00; E04B9/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
QUAST, ELIZABETH A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. An insulated floor comprising a first floor panel, the first floor panel comprising: (a) a plurality of reinforcements substantially uniformly spaced from one another, wherein each reinforcement has at least one transverse opening therein; (b) a panel sheet below the plurality of reinforcements; (c) a decking member overlying the plurality of reinforcements; (d) a tread surface overlying the decking member; (e) panel sidewalls extending vertically along the perimeter of the first floor panel; (f) at least one locking member adjacent to a panel sidewall, wherein at least one reinforcement of the plurality of reinforcements is configured to accommodate the at least one locking member; and (g) insulation between the lower panel sheet and the decking member and residing in the at least one transverse opening.

2. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein the at least one reinforcement is bifurcated into two segments, such that each segment extends toward the panel sidewall on opposite sides of the at least one locking member.

3. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein the at least one reinforcement is notched, such that a first portion of the reinforcement extends toward the at least one locking member and a second portion of the reinforcement extends toward the panel sidewall.

4. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein each of the plurality of reinforcements comprises first and second elongated flat spans separated by a series of vertical members, such that a plurality of transverse openings are defined between the first and second elongated flat spans.

5. The insulated floor of claim 1 further comprising a second floor panel coupled with the first floor panel, wherein the at least one locking member engages the second floor panel to secure the second floor panel to the first floor panel.

6. The insulated floor of claim 5 wherein the second floor panel comprises a panel sidewall, and wherein an abutting edge of the panel sidewalls of the first and second floor panels comprises a tongue-and-groove edge seam.

7. The insulated floor of claim 5 wherein the second floor panel has a decking member overlying a plurality of reinforcements and a tread surface overlying the decking member, and wherein the tread surfaces of the first and second floor panels descend along a portion of an abutting edge of the decking members separating the decking members.

8. The insulated floor panel of claim 5 wherein the locking members comprise locking devices for engaging corresponding locking members in the first and second floor panels and drawing the first and second floor panels together.

9. The insulated floor panel of claim 8 wherein the locking device of the first floor panel comprises a retractable latch and the locking device of second floor panel comprises a locking stud.

10. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein the insulation comprises a polyurethane foam.

11. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein the decking member comprises a plywood material.

12. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein the tread surface comprises a metal sheet.

13. The insulated floor of claim 1 wherein the reinforcements comprise a molded fiberglass material.

14. A floor panel comprising: (a) a series of floor reinforcements having midsections substantially equally spaced from one another; (b) panel sidewalls extending vertically along a perimeter of the floor panel; and (c) at least one panel fasten adjacent to at least one panel sidewall, wherein at least one of the floor reinforcements has an axis that is aligned with and configured to accommodate a corresponding locking member.

15. The floor panel of claim 14 wherein at least one of the floor reinforcements has at least one end that is bifurcated into two segments, such that each segment extends toward the panel sidewall on opposite sides of the corresponding locking member.

16. The floor panel of claim 14 wherein the one or more floor reinforcements are notched, such that a first portion of the reinforcement extends toward the corresponding locking member and a second portion of the reinforcement extends past the locking member toward the panel sidewall.

17. The floor panel of claim 14 further comprising: (a) a decking member overlying the series of floor reinforcements; (b) a tread surface overlying the decking member; and (c) a panel sheet below the plurality of reinforcements.

18. The floor panel of claim 17 wherein the decking member comprises plywood having a thickness of about ¾ inches to about 1 inch.

19. The floor panel of claim 17 wherein the tread surface comprises a metal sheet.

20. The floor panel of claim 17 wherein the floor reinforcements include a plurality of transverse openings therein, and wherein the floor panel further comprises a polyurethane foam between the decking member and the panel sheet and residing in the plurality of transverse openings in the floor reinforcements.

21. The floor panel of claim 14 wherein the locking members comprise locking devices for engaging corresponding locking members in adjacent floor panels.

22. A floor comprising a plurality of floor panels locked together by locking members, each floor panel including floor reinforcements wherein at least one reinforcement is configured to accommodate a locking member.

23. The floor of claim 22 wherein midsections of the plurality of floor panels are substantially equally spaced from one another across substantially an entire length of each floor panel.

24. The floor of claim 22 wherein the at least one reinforcement is bifurcated into two segments, such that each segment extends toward a panel sidewall on opposite sides of the locking member.

25. The floor of claim 24 wherein the two segments having a length that corresponds with a length dimension of the locking member.

26. The floor of claim 24 wherein the bifurcation comprises the two parallel segments attached to a third transverse segment, and wherein the transverse segment is attached to the two parallel segments to define a space within the two parallel segments and the transverse segments that corresponds with perimeter dimensions of the locking member.

27. The floor of claim 22 wherein the at least one reinforcement is notched, such that a first portion of the reinforcement extends toward the locking member and a second portion of the reinforcement extends past the locking member toward a panel sidewall.

28. The floor of claim 27 wherein the second portion has a length that corresponds to a perimeter dimension of the locking member.

29. The floor of claim 22 wherein a portion of the plurality of floor panels have side edges having a tongue and another portion have side edges with a groove therein, such that the floor panels abut against each other and form a tongue and groove edge seam.

30. The floor of claim 29 wherein the floor panels further comprise a decking member and a tread surface overlying the decking member, and wherein the tread surfaces descend along a portion of the edge seam and separate the decking members.

31. The floor of claim 29 wherein the decking members overlying floor panels having a groove therein have a beveled side edge, and the decking members overlying floor panels having a tongue have a substantially straight side edge.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates, generally, to building structures and, more particularly, to composite flooring systems for modular storage systems and insulated containment facilities, such as walk-in coolers, freezers, and other types of insulated containment structures.

BACKGROUND

Modular storage structures and insulated containment structures, such as freezers, walk-in coolers, and the like, often require flooring systems that can support large loads. In addition, the varying dimensions of the containment structures require that the flooring systems also be readily assembled in varying dimensions. Further, refrigerated containment structures require that flooring members be insulated to maintain low temperatures within the refrigerated structures. Walk-in coolers and freezers are often pre-fabricated using a modular design that allows the components of the structure to be shipped unassembled and assembled on-site at a user's facility. Such designs require the pre-fabrication of numerous light-weight panels that can be interlocked together to build a containment structures to a specified dimension. To accommodate future needs of the user for more storage space, the modular components are often designed to allow the containment structures to be easily enlarged.

The modular assemblies for walk-in coolers are provided in standardized dimensions, such that wall, ceiling, and floor panels can be assembled to provide refrigerated spaces having a variable dimension that is based on a combination of the standardized panels. To facilitate easy installation, the wall, ceiling, and floor panels are made of light-weight materials and fit together with tongue-and-groove joints that provide a secure interlocking arrangement.

The floors for the modular containment structures must be configured to be readily assembled with wall and ceiling components. In particular, floor panels for the modular units must be light in weight in order to provide the ready assembly characteristics needed for the containment unit, yet the floor panels must also be capable of supporting heavy loads. Further, the flooring panels must fit together to form a continuous, flat floor surface that is substantially free of dips or bumps at the panel interfaces. A flat smooth floor surface is necessary in order to easily move heavy articles across the floor. If uneven areas are present at panel interfaces, heavy articles can become lodged in recesses or press against raised areas, such that the articles cannot be freely moved across the floor.

Advanced floor designs are necessary to meet the demand for flexible, readily-assembled flooring panels that compatible with modular containment structures and can support heavy loading. Further, modular floor panels are necessary that fit together to form a substantially flat and uniform floor surface for easy movement for heavy articles across the floor.

BRIEF SUMMARY

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, an insulated floor includes a first floor panel having a plurality of reinforcements. The reinforcements are substantially uniformly spaced from one another. Each reinforcement has at least one transverse opening therein. A panel sheet resides below the plurality of reinforcements and a decking member overlies the plurality of reinforcements. A tread surface overlies the decking member. Panel side walls extend vertically along the perimeter of the first floor panel. At least one locking member resides adjacent to a panel sidewall. At least one reinforcement of the plurality of reinforcements is configured to accommodate the at least one locking member. Insulation resides between the lower panel sheet and the decking member and resides in the at least one transverse opening.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a floor panel includes a series of panel reinforcements having mid-sections substantially equally spaced from one another. Panel sidewalls extend vertically along a perimeter of the floor panel. At least one locking member resides adjacent to at least one panel sidewall. The mid-sections of one or more floor reinforcements coincide with a corresponding locking member. At least one of the floor reinforcements has an axis that is aligned with and configured to accommodate a corresponding locking member.

In yet another embodiment of the invention, a floor includes a plurality of floor panels locked together by locking members. Each floor panel includes floor reinforcements with at least one reinforcement configured to accommodate a locking member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a cut-away perspective view of a floor panel arranged in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates the floor panel of FIG. 1 in combination with two additional floor panels in cut-away perspective view prior to being interlocked to form a floor in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of two adjacent floor panels of FIG. 2 where the decking has been removed to show the arrangement of reinforcements and locking members in the floor panels;

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of sidewall portions of two floor panels containing panel locking members prior to engagement of the floor panels;

FIG. 5A is a top sectional view of a panel locking members arrangement of FIG. 4 prior to interlocking;

FIG. 5B shows the panel locking members in FIG. 5A after interlocking;

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view of two abutting floor panels that are locked together;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a floor panel with the decking removed to show an arrangement of reinforcements in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is plan view of a floor panel the decking removed showing a floor panel configuration to support a partition wall in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a reinforcement in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a reinforcement configured to accommodate a locking member in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view illustrating a reinforcement configured to accommodate a locking member in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a reinforcement configured to accommodate two locking members in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a cut-away perspective view of a floor panel 10 arranged in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Floor panel 10 is a generally rectangular-shaped floor panel that includes a panel sheet 12 that forms a bottom surface of floor panel 10. A plurality of reinforcements 14 are evenly positioned along panel sheet 12. A decking member 16 overlies reinforcements 14 and a tread surface 18 overlies decking member 16. A panel sidewall 20 extends around the perimeter of floor panel 12 and, in the illustrated embodiment, includes outside portions 22 and 24 and interface portion 26. As will subsequently be described in more detail, reinforcements 14 include a plurality of transverse openings or channels 28. Openings 28 provide spaces through which insulation (not shown) can fill the interior space within floor panel 10 defined by panel sheet 12, decking member 16 and sidewall 20.

Floor panel 10 also includes a screed 30 adjacent to outside portions 22 and 24 of sidewall 20. Screed 30 is configured to support vertical wall panels of the walk-in cooler or containment structure that are assembled over floor panel 10. Wall plate 30 includes a number of locking members 32 that couple with complimentary locking members in the wall panels to secure the wall panels to floor panel 10. Further, as will subsequently be described, interface portion 26 includes locking members 34 that couple with corresponding locking members in an adjacent floor panel (shown in FIG. 2) to interlock floor panel 10 to the adjacent floor panel.

Floor panel 10 is constructed of materials that enable the floor panel to support heavy loads, while keeping the overall weight of floor panel 10 to a minimum.

In one preferred embodiment of the invention, panel sheet 12 is constructed of sheet steel having a thickness of about 0.0179 to about 0.019 inches. The sheet steel is preferably a sheet steel coated with an alloy of aluminum and zinc. One such sheet steel is available under the trademark “Galvalume®” from Bethlehem Steel Corporation. This material is a sheet steel having a hot-dipped alloy coating having about 55% aluminum and about 45% zinc. Reinforcements 14 are preferably fabricated from non-thermally conductive molded fiberglass. Further, in one embodiment of the invention, decking member 16 is a fiberboard material having a thickness of about ¾ of an inch to about 1 inch. In a preferred embodiment, decking member 16 is plywood. The fiberboard material can, however, also be any of a number of composite fiberboard materials including pressed wood, composite board, and the like. Tread surface 18 is preferably constructed of an aluminum sheet having a thickness of about 0.1 inch. Alternatively, tread surface 18 can be stainless steel, or other hard, wear resistant material. Further, tread surface 18 can be designed with small channels or raised portions to create a corrugated tread plate or other type of gripping surface. To create a desired gripping surface, the tread surface 18 can be provided by numerous types of metals including aluminum, stainless steel, and the like.

To provide floor panel 10 with the ability to support high floor loading, reinforcements 14 are spaced across the span of floor panel 10 at substantially uniform spacing distances. In one embodiment of the invention, reinforcements 14 are spaced about 12 inches apart across floor panel 10. Those skilled in the art will appreciate, depending upon the particular building requirements, reinforcements 14 can be spaced apart at various distances as needed to provide a particular load-bearing capacity. For example, if higher load bearing strength is desired, reinforcements 14 can be spaced less than 12 inches apart. In other embodiments of the invention, the spacing distances can be 11 inches, or even 10 inches or less. Those skilled in the art will further recognize that practical limitations within the floor construction industry often require less than perfect precision with respect to construction dimensions. Accordingly, the term “substantially uniformly spaced” or “substantially equally spaced” means that the reinforcements are all spaced apart by distances within typical construction tolerances and the spacing distances can vary by, for example, up to plus or minus 10% to 15%.

For applications to refrigerated compartments, such as walk-in coolers and the like, the interior space between panel sheet 12 and decking member 16 is filled with insulation. In one embodiment of the invention, floor panel 10 is filled with a foamed-in-place urethane material. In a preferred embodiment, the urethane material is a polyurethane foam having an isocyanate polymer composition. The polyurethane is blown into the interior spaces of floor panel 10 using a blowing agent or other means of pressure induced filling. Once the polyurethane foam has cured, it has a density of about 2 pounds per cubic foot.

Floor panel 10 can be built in a variety of configurations. In order that a number of such floor panels can be assembled to form a floor having variable dimensions. A portion of a floor assembly 38 is illustrated in FIG. 2. The illustrated portion of floor assembly 38 includes floor panel 10 shown in FIG. 1 positioned adjacent to a middle floor panel 40. An end floor panel 42 is positioned next to middle floor panel 40 on the opposite side from floor panel 10. Floor panels 10, 40 and 42 are positioned such that reinforcements 14 of floor panel 10 align with reinforcements 44 of floor panel 40 and reinforcements 46 of floor panel 42. Further, the floor panels are aligned such that screed 30 of floor panel 10 aligns with a screed 48 of floor panel 40 and a screed 50 of floor panel 42. Accordingly, once the floor panels are locked together by the locking members described below, a continuous screed is provided upon which to vertical walls of the containment structure can be assembled and locked to the floor. As will subsequently be described, the interior abutting edges of floor panels 10, 40 and 42 are configured to tightly interlock together and form a continuous floor surface.

A plan view of flooring panels 10 and 40 is shown in FIG. 3 with the decking members and tread surfaces removed. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the floor panels are aligned such that reinforcements 14 of floor panel 10 substantially align with reinforcements 44 of floor panel 40. Further, as described above, screed 30 of floor panel 10 substantially aligns with screed 48 of floor panel 40.

Floor panel 10 includes locking members 64, 66 and 68. Floor panel 40 includes corresponding locking members 70, 72, and 74. To lock panels 10 and 40 together, the floor panels are brought close to each other by movement in the direction indicated by arrows 75, such that interior edge 76 of panel 10 abuts against interior edge 78 of panel 40. Once panels 10 and 40 are brought into contact with each other, as will be described in more detail below, cam mechanisms are activated in locking members 64, 66 and 68 that engage pins within locking members 70, 72 and 74, respectively.

In accordance with an embodiment of the invention, reinforcement 80 of floor panel 10 and reinforcement 82 of floor panel 40 are configured to accommodate locking members 66 and 72, respectively. As used herein, the term “accommodate” means that the reinforcement is configured at one or both ends to pass by the locking member and abut against the sidewall of the floor panel. The end configuration of the reinforcement permits the reinforcement to bypass the locking member while the middle portion or midsection of the reinforcement remains positioned at an equal distance from adjacent reinforcements. As will subsequently be described, various configurations are possible for accommodating locking members, such as locking member 66 and 72. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, reinforcement 80 is bifurcated into segments 84 and 86. Similarly, reinforcement 82 of panel 40 is bifurcated into segments 88 and 90 to accommodate locking member 72.

As described above, in accordance with one aspect of the invention, the bifurcation of reinforcements 80 and 82 permits these reinforcements to be regularly positioned along the spans of their respective floor panels. The mid-section of reinforcements of 80 and 82 are spaced apart from adjacent reinforcements by the same distance as all of the other reinforcements of each floor panel. By configuring reinforcements 80 and 82 to accommodate locking members 66 and 72, respectively, a high strength floor is obtained that can support high floor loading. In the absence of configuring reinforcements 80 and 82 to accommodate locking members 66 and 72, the spacing distance would have to be altered, such that the mid-sections of reinforcements 80 and 82 would not be uniformly spaced in the same manner as the remaining reinforcements in each floor panel. An uneven spacing distance would weaken the floor and reduce its load bearing capability. Further, the inclusion of additional reinforcements; such that reinforcements were positioned on each side of locking member 66 and 72 would unnecessarily increase the weight of floor panel 10 and 40. Further, the reinforcement configuration permits the floor panels to be constructed with standardized internal component layout dimensions.

Reinforcement 82 is also configured to accommodate a locking member 92 positioned along interior edge 94 of floor panel 40. To accommodate locking member 92, reinforcement 82 is bifurcated into segments 96 and 98. Accordingly, reinforcement 82 is configured to accommodate two locking members and floor panel 40, while the mid-section of reinforcement 82 is spaced apart from adjacent reinforcements by the same uniform spacing as remaining reinforcements 44 and floor panel 40.

In another embodiment of the invention, reinforcement 100 of floor panel 10 is configured with a notch 102 to accommodate locking member 64. Notch 102 in reinforcement 100 provides a first transverse portion 104 that extends toward and abuts against locking member 64, and a second transverse portion 106 extends toward and abuts against interior edge 76 of floor panel 10. By placing notch 102 in reinforcement 100, the mid-section of reinforcement 100 can be spaced at equal distance from adjacent reinforcements 14 and at the same separation distance as remaining reinforcements 14 in floor panel 10. As illustrated in FIG. 3, corresponding reinforcement 44 includes notches at both ends to accommodate locking members adjacent to interior edges 78 and 94 of floor panel 40. Accordingly, in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention, at least one of the floor reinforcements has an axis that is aligned with and configured to accommodate a corresponding locking member.

A partial perspective view of portion 108 of floor panel 10 and a portion 110 of floor panel 40 is illustrated in FIG. 4. Interior edge 76 of portion 108 and interior edge 78 of portion 110 fit together in a tongue-and-groove joint. Interior edge 78 includes a tongue 112 that fits into a groove 114 of portion 108. An opening 115 in the top surface of portion 110 permits a tool to be inserted to activate the cam within portion 118, as illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B.

FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate the cam mechanism of locking member 64 and 70 that is operated to lock portions 108 and 110 together. The rotational operation of bolt 116, accessed through opening 115 of portion 110, extends a cam 118 that engages a pin 120 mounted within locking member 70. As illustrated in FIG. 5B, continued rotation of bolt 116 retracts cam 118 toward locking member 64 and urges portion 108 into tight contact with portion 110.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that the locking members can be provided in different sizes depending upon the desired pull strength. For example, where greater pull strength is desired, a deeper strike panel fastener can be used. Conversely, where less pull strength is necessary, a shorter strike panel fastener can be used. A panel fastener having a deeper strike will also have a larger casing dimension. Accordingly, as will subsequently be described, it is contemplated within the present invention that the reinforcements can adjusted to accommodate different sized locking members.

A cross-sectional view of the joint between floor panels 10 and 40 is shown in FIG. 6. The floor panels abut together in a tongue and groove seam and have contoured features such that the decking members can be tightly fitted together. As shown in the cross-sectional view, decking member 16 of floor panel 10 has a substantially straight side edge 119 and decking member 16A of floor panel 40 has a beveled edge 119A. The beveled edge of decking member 16A generally follows the contour interior edge 76 of floor panel 10. Tread surfaces 18 and 18A descend at the interface and separate decking members 16 and 16A to provide a tight seam 121 between tread surfaces 18 and 18A. A ledge protrudes from interior edge 78 of floor panel 40 below the point where tread surface 18 terminates. Also, floor panels 12 and 12A ascend for a distance along interior edges 78 and 76, respectively, before diverging toward the interior of their respective floor panels. A ledge extends from interior edge 78 immediately above the point where floor panels 12 and 12A diverge.

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a floor panel 122 having the decking and tread surface removed. Floor panel 122 is configured to engage with a similar floor panel to create a floor that is wider than the width of a single floor panel. Floor panel 122 includes a reinforcement 123 that has several short reinforcements 124 abutted thereto. Short reinforcements 124 extend at right angles from reinforcement 123 and are positioned on opposite sides of several locking members 126 positioned on a narrow side 127 of floor panel 122. Floor panel 118 is configured to interlock with the narrow side of another floor panel (not shown) to provide a floor containment structure having a width that is longer than a single floor panel.

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a floor panel 128 that includes a screed 130 extending laterally from one partition edge screed to the opposite partition edge screed. Floor panel 128 is configured to support an interior partition wall within the containment structure. Reinforcements 132 are substantially equally spaced within floor panel 128 and abut against screed 130. Reinforcement 134 is configured to accommodate locking members 136 and 138 such that a uniform separation distance is maintained between all the mid-sections of the reinforcements within floor panel 128.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a reinforcement 140 for use in the inventive flooring structure. Reinforcement 140 includes a first elongated flat span 142 and a second elongated flat span 144. A series of vertical members 146 are positioned at regular intervals to form a series of transverse openings 148 between first and second spans 142 and 144. When reinforcement 140 is in position within a floor panel, vertical members 146 rest upon the bottom panel sheet such that transverse openings 149 are created between the panel sheet and second elongated span 144.

Traverse openings 148 permits insulation material to be injected or inserted into the interior space of the floor panels and through the reinforcements to substantially fill the interior space of the floor panel. As described above, in one embodiment, polyurethane foam insulation is injected into the interior space of the floor panels.

In a preferred embodiment, reinforcement 140 is a molded fiberglass material. Preferably the fiberglass material has a low thermal conductivity, such that an insulated floor panel will not readily conduct heat. This is particularly advantageous where the inventive floor system forms the floor of a refrigerated containment structure, such as a walk-in cooler, freezer, and the like.

FIGS. 10-12 illustrate perspective views of reinforcement configurations that enable the uniform spacing of reinforcements across the span of a floor panel, while accommodating locking members positioned along interior edges of the floor panel. In particular, FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of a reinforcement 150 in which a first flat span 152 has a notch 154. As described above, a notch, such as notch 154, permits a portion 156 of first panel 152 to extend past a locking member towards an edge of the floor panel. The size of notch 154 can be changed depending upon the particular dimensions of the locking member that is to be accommodated. As described above, when high pull strength is required, the size of the locking member casing increases. To compensate for different sized locking members, the length portion 156 can be made longer or shorter depending upon the particular dimensions of the locking member. Also, the width of portion 156 can be adjusted as necessary to accommodate the locking member casing.

FIG. 11 is a perspective assembly view of a reinforcement 158. Reinforcement 158 includes a first segment 160 at right angles to a name span 162. Segments 164 and 166 are adjacent to segment 160 and are parallel to segment 162. As illustrated in FIG. 11, segment 162 is off-set with respect to a center line 168 of segment 160. In this way, reinforcement 158 is adjusted to accommodate a locking member while placing segment 162 at an equal distance from adjacent reinforcements within the floor panel.

A perspective assembly view of a reinforcement 170 is illustrated in FIG. 12. Reinforcement 170 includes transverse segment 172, and parallel segments 174 and 176 that are arranged to accommodate a locking member at a first end 178 of reinforcement 170. A similar arrangement of transverse segment 180, parallel segments 182 and 184 is provided at a second end 186 of reinforcement 170. Accordingly, reinforcement 170 has bifurcated ends to accommodate locking members located on opposite sides of a floor panel.

As described above, the casing size of the locking members can change depending upon the pull strength of the locking member. The perimeter dimensions of the locking member casing will necessarily increase when the size of the locking member increases. To accommodate different sized locking members, the relative dimensions and assembly of the components of reinforcement 170 can be changed. For example, the length of parallel segments 174, 176, 182, and 184 can be increased or decreased depending upon the casing size of the locking members. Also, the overall length of the member connecting segments 172 and 180 can be changed. Further, the attachment position of transverse segments 172 and 180 can be changed. For example, rather than attaching transverse segment 180 to the ends of parallel segments 182 and 184 as shown in FIG. 12, transverse segment 180 can be offset from the ends of parallel segments 182 and 184 to increase or decrease the size of the space defined by segments 180, 182, and 184. Similar adjustments can be made with segments 172, 174, and 176. Accordingly, the segment dimensions and relative positioning can be adjusted to accommodate varying perimeter dimensions of a locking member.

As illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, the segments joined to reinforcements 158 and 170 also include openings that will permit insulation to traverse therethrough in order to permit insulation to substantially fill the space of the floor panel.

EXAMPLES

To illustrate the load bearing capability of floor panels constructed in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, two floor panels having a length of 70 inches, a width of 46.5 inches, and a thickness of 4 inches were constructed. The floor panels were constructed using 26 gauge Galvalume® panel sheets and sidewalls, ¾ inch thick plywood decking members, and a 0.1 inch thick aluminum tread surfaces. The interior space of the floor panel was filled with polyurethane foam insulation and reinforcements were spaced on 12 inch centers across the long dimension of the floor panel.

One of the two floor panels was subjected to compression load testing and a second floor panel was subjected to concentrated load testing. To carry out the compressive load testing five 18-inch wide by 24-inch long sections were cut from the first floor panel. The five panel sections were sequentially tested. Each panel section was placed in a horizontal position and force was applied over a 1-square foot area with a Baldwin universal test machine. Deflection readings were measured with a liner voltage deflection transducer attached to the test machine and an electronic load cell was used to measure the applied force. Compression force was gradually increased until the panel section exhibited a compressive load failure. The measured compressive load data is illustrated in Table 1.

TABLE 1
COMPRESSION LOAD TEST
Specimen No.Ultimate Load (lbf.)
161,037
254,955
345,614
448,574
540,271
Average50,090

Table 1 above shows the ultimate load supported by five floor sections from the first floor panel up to the point of compressive load failure, and the average load of the five sections.

The second floor panel was used to evulate the inventive floor panel's ability to with stand concentrated loads. The concentrated load bearing ability was evulated with both a 3-inch diameter and a 1-inch diameter disk. The 3-inch diameter disk was positioned near the panel edge and also in the center of the panel. A load was applied with a universal test machine at a uniform rate of 0.2 inches per minute. The loading disk was also placed near the edge of the panel. A linear voltage deflection tansducer was mounted across the width of the panel at the mid-span to monitor the deflections of the loading disk. The test was repeated with the loading disk moved to the center of the panel span. The same procedure was repeated using a 1-inch disk. The concentrated load testing was performed up to the point of failure of the floor panel. The results of the concentrated load test are shown in Table 2.

TABLE 2
CONCENTRATED LOAD TEST
Location
Load(lbf.)Load@ PDeflection@ P Max
1-in dia disk at center of16750.311
panel 4183
1-in dia disk at edge of8830.379
panel 2210
3-in dia disk at center26090.230
of panel 6543
3-in dia disk at edge22430.262
of panel 5661

In Table 2, “Load @ P” is the load applied at the point of contact with the panel, “Deflection@ P” is the defection measured at the point of contact with the panel and “Max Load (lbf.)” is the pounds of force applied to the panel at the measurement point.

The test results show that for both the 1-inch diameter disk and the 3-inch diameter disk, the maximum concentrated load bearing ability of the panel was higher at the center of the panel then at the edge of the panel. Further, the testing showed that the panel was able to bear a larger concentrated load over a 3-inch diameter area than a 2-inch diameter area. The test results generally showed the substantial load bearing ability of floor panels constructed and arranged in accordance with the various embodiments of the invention.

Thus it is apparent that there has been described a high-strength composite floor that fully provides the advantages set forth above. Although the invention has been described and illustrated with reference with specific illustrative embodiments thereof, it is not intended that the invention be limited to those illustrative embodiment. Those skilled in the art will recognize that variations and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, the materials of construction can be varied to include high-strength composite materials, various metal alloys, high-density plastics, and the like. It is therefore intended to include within the invention all such variations and modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims and equivalents thereof.