Title:
Insulated concrete form apparatus and method of manufacturing the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insulated concrete form (ICF) is disclosed having a body. The body has a front wall and an opposing rear wall. The body includes at least one vertical passageway disposed therein that extends from the top and bottom surfaces of the body. The front, rear and side walls have an outer shell and an inner core, and the outer shell has an insert which extends from the outer shell to the inner core. A male interlock is located on the one wall and a female interlock is located on a second wall. The insulated concrete form is produced by using an insert molding process. Alternatively, the insulated concrete form may be produced by using a multiple density molding process.



Inventors:
Straub, Richard F. (Mason, OH, US)
Latza, John M. (Howell, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/511135
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/28/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/426
International Classes:
E04C1/00; E04B2/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KWIECINSKI, RYAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cozen O'Connor (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulated concrete form comprising: a body formed of a material, the body having a first wall, a second wall, and a plurality of inner walls extending from an inner surface of the first wall to the inner surface of the second wall, the second wall spaced from the first wall in a substantially parallel orientation; a plurality of passageways for receiving concrete extending vertically through the body, the passageways separated from one another by the inner walls; and a plate-like structure disposed within one or more of the inner walls, the plate-like structure constructed of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness than the material of the body.

2. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 wherein the plate-like structure is disposed within the one or more inner walls in a substantially vertical orientation.

3. The insulated concrete form of claim 2 wherein the plate-like structure is disposed within the one or more inner walls so that a portion of the plate-like structure protrudes from a top surface of the inner wall and a portion of the plate-like structure protrudes from the bottom surface of the inner wall; and wherein the plate-like structure comprises one or more indentations in a top edge of the plate-like structure for receiving rebar and one or more indentations in a bottom edge of the plate-like structure for receiving rebar.

4. The insulated concrete form of claim 3 wherein the one or more indentations are semi-circular in shape.

5. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 further comprising: a first channel extending the length of the body between the first and second walls, the first channel being located at the top of the body and above the inner walls; a second channel extending the length of the body between the first and second walls, the second channel being located at the bottom of the body and below the inner walls; wherein the plate-like structure is disposed within the one or more inner walls in a substantially vertical orientation so that a portion of the plate-like structure protrudes from a top surface of the inner wall into the first channel and a portion of the plate-like structure protrudes from the bottom surface of the inner wall into the second channel; and wherein when two of the insulated concrete forms are arranged in a stacked assembly, the first channel of one of the insulated concrete forms is in spatial communication with the second channel of the other of the insulated concrete forms so as to form a substantially horizontal passageway for receiving concrete.

6. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 wherein one of the plate-like structures is disposed within each inner wall of the body.

7. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 wherein one of the plate-like structures is disposed within every second or third of the inner walls of the body.

8. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 wherein the plate-like structure comprises a central plate, a first end plate and a second end plate, the first and second end plates connected to opposing lateral edges of the central plate so as to be substantially parallel to one another and substantially perpendicular to the central plate, wherein the central plate is disposed within the inner wall of the body and the first and second end plates are disposed within the first and second walls of the body respectively.

9. The insulated concrete form of claim 8 wherein the first and second end plates have a major planar surface, the major planar surfaces of the first and second end plates being substantially parallel to the outer surfaces of the first and second walls respectively.

10. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 further comprising: a first channel extending the length of the body between the first and second walls, the first channel being located at the top of the body and above the inner walls; and a second channel extending the length of the body between the first and second walls, the second channel being located at the bottom of the body and below the inner walls.

11. The insulated concrete form of claim 10 wherein when two of the insulated concrete forms are arranged in a stacked assembly, the first channel of one of the insulated concrete forms is in spatial communication with the second channel of the other one of the insulated concrete forms so as to form a substantially horizontal passageway for receiving concrete.

12. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 wherein the body comprises a core portion and a shell portion, the core portion constructed of a foam having a first density and the shell constructed of a foam having a second density, wherein the first density is greater than the second density.

13. The insulated concrete form of claim 12 wherein the body is formed of a foam material.

14. The insulated concrete from of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of male interlocks protruding from a top surface of the first wall and a plurality of female depressions located in the top surface of the second wall, the female depressions corresponding to the male interlocks in size and shape.

15. The insulated concrete form of claim 14 wherein the top surface of the first wall is free of female depressions and the top surface of the second wall is free of protruding male interlocks.

16. The insulated concrete form of claim 14 further comprising: a plurality of the male interlocks protruding from the bottom surface of the second wall and a plurality of the female depressions located in the bottom surface of the first wall; and wherein when two of the insulated concrete forms are arranged in a stacked assembly: (i) the male interlocks on the top surface of the first wall of one of the insulated concrete forms slidably mates with the female depressions on the bottom surface of the first wall of the other of the insulated concrete forms; and (ii) the male interlocks on the bottom surface of the second wall of the other of the insulated concrete forms slidably mates with the female depressions on the top surface of the second wall of the one of the insulated concrete forms.

17. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 further comprising one or more grooves in an outer surface of the first and second walls.

18. The insulated concrete form of claim 17 wherein the groove has a cross-sectional profile that is a dove-tail shape, a substantially L shape, or a substantially T-shape.

19. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 further comprising a first end wall and a second end wall, the first end wall connecting the first and second walls at a first end of the body and the second end wall connecting the first and second walls at a second end of the body.

20. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 further comprising: a first channel extending the length of the body between the first and second walls, the first channel being located at the top of the body and above the inner walls; a second channel extending the length of the body between the first and second walls, the second channel being located at the bottom of the body and below the inner walls; wherein the plate-like structure comprises a central plate, a first end plate and a second end plate, the first and second end plates connected to opposing lateral edges of the central plate, wherein the central plate is disposed within the inner wall in a substantially vertical orientation and the first and second end plates are disposed within the first and second walls of the body respectively; and wherein a top portion of the central plate of the plate-like structure protrudes from a top surface of the inner wall into the first channel and a bottom portion of the central plate of the plate-like structure protrudes from the bottom surface of the inner wall into the second channel.

21. The insulted concrete form of claim 1 wherein the body is constructed of an expanded polystyrene and the plate-like insert is constructed of a plastic, a metal, an alloy or a combination thereof.

22. The insulated concrete form of claim 1 wherein the plate-like structure comprises a plurality of cutouts, the material of the body passing through the cutouts.

23. An insulated concrete form comprising: a body formed of a material, the body having a plurality of passageways for receiving concrete extending vertically through the body, the passageways separated from one another by inner walls; and a plate-like structure disposed within one or more of the inner walls, the plate-like structure constructed of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness than the material of the body.

24. An apparatus for incorporation into an insulated concrete form constructed of a material to provide added structural integrity, the plate-like apparatus comprising: a central plate having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first lateral edge and a second lateral edge; and a first end plate connected to the first lateral edge of the central plate so as to be oriented substantially perpendicular to the central plate.

38. An insulated concrete form comprising: a body having a first wall, a second wall, and a plurality of inner walls extending from an inner surface of the first wall to the inner surface of the second wall, the second wall spaced from the first wall in a substantially parallel orientation; a plurality of passageways for receiving concrete extending vertically through the body, the passageways separated from one another by the inner walls; and wherein the body comprises a core portion and shell portion, the core portion constructed of a material having a first density and the shell constructed of a material having a second density, wherein the first density is greater than the second density.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE FOR RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/711,617 filed on Aug. 26, 2005, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/759,904 filed on Jan. 17, 2006, the entireties of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to construction and specifically to insulated concrete forms that are used in the construction of buildings and methods of manufacturing the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When constructing homes and buildings, insulated concrete forms (ICFs) comprising cavities for receiving concrete for the formation of pillars and crossbeams are often used. ICFs are generally made of lightweight medium density material, such as a type of foam. ICFs are typically stacked and/or connected together for forming the desired structure. Cavities are present in the ICFs for receiving and directing the flow of concrete. Concrete is poured into the ICFs' cavities/passageways forming the pillars and crossbeams that are used in constructing the building. After the concrete is poured into the cavities, the ICFs generally are left in place in order to provide insulation to the building or home.

Existing forms of ICFs generally exhibit structural deficiencies and are prone to high rates of failure. This rate of failure often is due to manufacturing deficiencies and/or design flaws. For example, existing designs may experience breakage at critical interlocks of the ICFs thereby causing leakage of the concrete when the ICF is being filled. These manufacturing deficiencies and/or design flaws can cause catastrophic failure of the ICF through separation of the ICF walls.

Furthermore, excess effort usually is required at the work site for proper installation of ICFs. ICF structures generally require use of steel reinforcement bars (rebar) to be placed in a critical location within the pillar and/or cross beam structure. A secondary installation component (e.g. a holder) is often used in order to maintain the positioning of the steel rebar. Placement of the holder is frequently carried out by hand during the process of building the home or building. As each layer is built, the holder is subject to vibrations and movement. This can cause dislocation of the holder and the rebar, which in turn results in decreased integrity of the structure.

As mentioned above, design deficiencies in existing ICFs can cause manufacturing difficulties and structures that are not suitable for use when building residential and commercial structures. The production of structurally sound ICFs can be achieved by the use of a higher density material to form the ICF. However, higher density material in the ICF requires more material by weight, and material costs subsequently increase. Higher density material will also require longer molding cycles for the ICF, thereby reducing productivity.

Furthermore, current designs of the interlocking structures of existing ICFs also cause difficulty during the manufacturing process. The interlocks themselves often are damaged or broken during shipment and/or installation. High quantities of interlocks as well as thickness and location prove difficult to adequately fill with material. Additional filling apparatuses utilizing expensive utilities increases the cost of production, which in turn, increases the costs for equipment and maintenance.

Therefore there is a need in the field for improved ICFs that are able to alleviate the those problems discussed above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an ICF that has improved durability and/or is less susceptible to failure during concrete filling procedures, and is further improved over current ICFs once construction is complete.

In one aspect, the invention can be an ICF having a body formed of a material. The body has a first wall, a second wall, and a plurality of inner walls extending from an inner surface of the first wall to the inner surface of the second wall. The second wall is spaced from the first wall in a substantially parallel orientation. A plurality of passageways for receiving concrete are provided that extend vertically through the body. The passageways are separated from one another by the inner walls. A plate-like structure is disposed within one or more of the inner walls. The plate-like structure is constructed of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness than the material of the body.

In another aspect, the invention can be an ICF having a body formed of a material, the body having a plurality of passageways for receiving concrete extending vertically through the body. The passageways are separated from one another by inner walls. A plate-like structure is disposed within one or more of the inner walls, the plate-like structure is constructed of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness than the material of the body.

In yet another aspect, the invention can be an apparatus for incorporation into an ICF body. The apparatus is constructed of a material that provides added structural integrity. The apparatus is plate-like and has a central plate having a top edge, a bottom edge, a first lateral edge and a second lateral edge. The first end plate is connected to the first lateral edge of the central plate so as to be oriented substantially perpendicular to the central plate.

In still another aspect, the invention can be an ICF having a body having a first wall, a second wall, and a plurality of inner walls extending from an inner surface of the first wall to the inner surface of the second wall. The second wall is spaced from the first wall in a substantially parallel orientation. A plurality of passageways for receiving concrete that extend vertically through the body are provided. The passageways are separated from one another by the inner walls. The body comprises a core portion and shell portion, the core portion is constructed of a material having a first density and the shell portion is constructed of a material having a second density, wherein the first density is greater than the second density.

In a further aspect, the invention can be a multi-density ICF. The multi-density ICF has a body having a plurality of vertically oriented passageways for receiving concrete. The body has a core portion and shell portion. The core portion is constructed of a material having a first density and the shell portion is constructed of a material having a second density, wherein the first density is greater than the second density.

In a yet further aspect, the invention can be a method of manufacturing an ICF having a body having a plurality of vertically oriented passageways for receiving concrete. The method involves the steps of providing a mold having an internal cavity corresponding to the body. The method further comprises the step of injecting a material having a first density into the internal cavity of the mold in order to form a core portion of the block-like body, and leaving a portion of the cavity unfilled. The method further involves the step of injecting a material having a second density into the unfilled portion of the internal cavity in order to form a shell portion about the core portion, wherein the first density is greater than the second density.

In a still further aspect, the invention can be a method of manufacturing an ICF having a body having a plurality of vertically oriented passageways for receiving concrete. The method involves the steps of: providing a first mold having an internal cavity; and injecting a material having a first density into the internal cavity of the first mold in order to form a core portion of the body. The method further involves providing a second mold having an internal cavity that corresponds to the body of the insulated concrete form and positioning the core portion of the body within the internal cavity of the second mold. The method further involves injecting a material having a second density into the internal cavity of the second mold in order to form a shell portion about the core portion, wherein the first density is greater than the second density.

In another aspect, the invention can be a method of manufacturing an ICF having a body having a plurality of passageways extending vertically through the body wherein the passageways are separated from one another by inner walls. The method comprises providing a mold having an internal cavity corresponding to the body; positioning a plate-like structure within the cavity at a location that corresponds to a location within an inner wall of the body; and injecting a material into the mold so as to encompass the plate-like structure so that the plate-like structure is disposed within the inner wall, wherein the plate-like structure is constructed of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness than the injected material.

In still another aspect, the invention can be an ICF having a body formed of a material, the body having a first wall, a second wall, and a plurality of inner walls extending from an inner surface of the first wall to the inner surface of the second wall, the second wall spaced from the first wall in a substantially parallel orientation. A plurality of passageways are provided for receiving concrete. The passageways extend vertically through the body and are separated from one another by the inner walls. A plurality of male interlocks that protrude from a top surface of the first wall and from the bottom surface of the second wall are provided. A plurality of female depressions are located in the top surface of the second wall and in the bottom surface of the first walls. The female depressions correspond to the male interlocks in size and shape.

These and various other advantages and features of novelty that characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part hereof. However, for a better understanding of the invention, its advantages, and the objects obtained by its use, reference should be made to the drawings which form a further part hereof, and to the accompanying descriptive matter, in which there is illustrated and described a preferred embodiment of the invention

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of an ICF according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the ICF of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cut away view of the top perspective of the ICF shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a cut away view of the top perspective of the ICF shown in FIG. 1 along the first wall illustrating the end plates of the plate-like structure of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cut away view of the top perspective of the ICF shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the placement of the plate-like structure within the inner wall.

FIG. 6 is an a perspective of a plate-like structure according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the plate-like structure of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a top view of the plate-like structure of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a side view of an embodiment of a plate-like structure when embedded in an inner wall of an ICF body according to a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the ICF of FIG. 1 illustrating the plate-like structure of FIG. 3 disposed therein.

FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view of the ICF FIG. 1 illustrating the plate-like structure disposed within an inner wall of the ICF of FIG. 1.

FIG. 13 shows an assembled concrete structure created from a stacked assembly of ICFs according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter that is regarded as the invention, the invention will now be further described by reference to the following detailed description of embodiments of the invention taken in conjunction with the drawings.

Referring to FIG. 1, an insulated concrete form (ICF) 100 according to one embodiment of the invention is illustrated. The ICF 100 is a lightweight, insulated stay-in-place concrete form that can be used to replace conventional concrete form work or masonry block in residential and commercial applications. The ICF 100 comprises a body 20 that is made of low-density expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is a type of foam. However it should be understood that other materials may be used in place of the EPS, such as plastics, woods, fiber glass, metals and alloys. Other types of foams and materials may be used as well, such as phenolic foam, polyisocyanurate, polyisocyanurate composite, various forms of polystyrene, and combinations thereof.

As shown in FIG. 1, the ICF 100 is comprised of a body 20 having a first wall 21, a second wall 22, and a plurality of inner walls 29. The inner walls 29 extend from an inner surface 32 of the first wall 21 to the inner surface 33 of the second wall 22. The second wall 22 is spaced from the first wall 21 in a substantially parallel orientation. The invention, however, is no so limited. A plurality of vertical passageways 52 are provided for receiving and retaining concrete. The vertical passageways 52 extend through the entirety of the body 20. The passageways 52 are separated from one another by inner walls 29. Each ICF 100 also has end walls 35.

The standard size of the body 20 is about 48″ (1220 mm) long, about 12″ (300 mm) high and about 8″ (200 mm) wide. When used, the ICF 100 will create about a 5″, 75% solid concrete wall. Typically the body 20 is a rectangular block-like structure. Other dimensions for ICF 100 may be used depending upon the needs of the building being constructed. One skilled in the art will readily manufacture different dimensions as desired.

The ICF 100 is used to make a configuration of concrete column and beam structures in order to meet structural demands. The approximate weight of the ICF 100 is 2.7 to 2.9 pounds when using the specifications discussed above. However, the weight may vary depending on the specifications of the builder or manufacturer. In one embodiment the relatively low weight makes the ICF 100 easy to handle and maneuver.

The body 20 of the ICF 100 has a first wall 21 and a second wall 22. The first and second walls 21, 22 oppose one another in a generally parallel relation. The first and second walls 21, 22 comprise outer surfaces 23 that are generally vertically planar surfaces. A plurality of vertical grooves 24 having a generally dovetail-shaped horizontal cross-sectional profile are formed in outer surfaces 23 of walls 21, 22. The grooves 24 extend from the top surfaces 25, 26 of the first and second walls 21, 22 to bottom surfaces 27, 28 of the first and second walls 21,22. The grooves may be anywhere from 0.005″ to 2.0″ in width.

The grooves 24 can act as stucco retention areas. When the grooves 24 are accessible from the outer surfaces 23 of the first and second walls 21,22, superior adhesion of concrete or stucco to the ICF 100 can be achieved. The grooves 24 are located on both the first and second walls 21, 22 in order that flexibility in positioning of the ICF blocks 100 can be maintained while retaining the ability to provide improved stucco retention areas. In alternative embodiments, dovetail cross-sectional profiles for the grooves 24 do not have to be used. Instead, other cross-sectional profiles can be used, such as a T Slot, L shaped and/or V groove design. Furthermore, it is possible to have these alternative profiles used in conjunction with the dovetail cross-sectional profile.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the ICF 100 comprises an interlock system that comprises a plurality of male protrusions 41 extending from the top surface 26 of the second wall 22 and a plurality of corresponding female depressions 31 located on top surface 25 of the first wall 21. The interlock system provides improved stability when stacking the ICFs. As shown in FIGS. 9-12, a set of male protrusions 41 also extend from the bottom surface 27 of the first wall 21 while a corresponding set of female depressions 31 also exist in the bottom surface 28 of the second wall 22. The male protrusions 41 are sized and shaped so as to be slidably insertable into the corresponding female depressions 31 on another ICF 100.

Referring back to FIG. 1, the male protrusions 41 are designed as slightly angled ridges that correspond to the slightly angled female depression 31 in order to form a tight fit. The male protrusion 41 may take the form of a variety of shapes so long as the female depression 31 takes on the corresponding depression shape. When the male protrusions 41 and the female depressions 31 are arranged on the surfaces 25-28 of the first and second walls 21, 22 of a number of the ICFs 100, a mating engagement occurs that is used to stack the ICFs 100 in sliding engagement.

In one embodiment, the surfaces 26, 27 which contain the male protrusions 41 are free of the female depressions 31 and the surfaces 25, 28 which contain the female depressions 31 are free of the male protrusions 41. This allows mating engagement of the stacked ICFs 100 to occur without being concerned as to which surface of the ICF 100 is positioned as the top or the bottom. In other words, the orientation of the ICF 100 will not matter. It should be understood that it is possible to have both the male protrusions 41 and the female depressions 31 alternate on each of the surfaces 25-28. This is accomplished by having, for example, a male protrusion 41 placed on a first top surface followed by a female depression 31 and subsequently followed by a male protrusion 41. On the opposing second top surface there would be a female depression 31 followed by a male protrusion 41 followed by a female depression 31. This sequence would be repeated on the opposite bottom surfaces of the ICF 100. In this way the flexibility of positioning would still be maintained as well as the interlock capability.

As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the body 20 of ICF 100 further comprises a plurality of inner walls 29 that extend between and connect the inner surfaces of first and second walls 21, 22. Inner walls 29 are spaced from one another and form vertical passages 52 there between as shown in FIGS. 1-5. As shown in more detail in FIG. 3, inner walls 29 have angled top and bottom surfaces 43 that cooperate with planar walls 44 in order to facilitate the flow of concrete into vertical passages 52. The slopes and angles of top and bottom surfaces 43 of inner walls 29 may be altered in order to provide different shapes and forms to the resulting concrete structures.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-5, In addition to assisting in the formation of vertical passage 52, inner walls 29 additionally assist in the formation of top channel 49 and bottom channel 47. Placed within these respective channels are reinforcing bars commonly known as rebar and held in place by plate-like structure 40, which is discussed in greater detail below. The reinforcing bars are typically solid cylindrical metal bars, approximately ½″-¾″ in diameter and made in varying lengths. Top channel 49 and bottom channel 47, as shown, form an octagonal shape when ICF 100 is mated with a corresponding ICF 100. The channels may take on various other shapes depending on the desired shaped of the finished product.

As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the ICF 100 further comprises a plurality of plate-like structures 40 disposed within the interior of the inner walls 29. FIG. 5 in particular illustrates how a plate-like structure 40 is placed within an inner wall 29. As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the edge 17 of plate-like structure 40 has a series of semi-circular indentations 12. When rebar is placed within the top channel 49 and the bottom channel 47 it is positioned within the indentations 12.

Now turning to FIGS. 6-8, where a more detailed view of the plate-like structure 40 is shown, the plate-like structures 40 are constructed of a material, such as high density EPS, that typically has a higher density than body 20. However it is possible to construct the plate-like structure 40 out of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness, or a combination thereof. The plate-like structure 40 can function as a rigid substructure that withstands the pressure exerted during the concrete fill. The plate-like structure 40 may further provide a high tensile strength that improves the structural portion of the ICF 100.

Still referring to FIGS. 6-8, each plate-like structure 40 comprises at least one semi-circular indentation 12 formed in the edge 17. The edge 17 may be made of molded plastic, or another material suitable for providing support and reinforcement for the ICF 100 and rebar. The indentations 12 are formed on each end of the plate-like structure 40 and are designed to receive and hold rebar in place. The semi-circular indentations 12 are preferably aligned along the axes of the ICF 100.

Three indentations 12 are shown formed in each edge 17 shown in FIGS. 6-8. More or less indentations 12 may be formed, space permitting. Additionally, the shape of the indentation 12 is not limited to being semi-circular but may be shaped to correspond to the structure of the rebar that is going to placed within the ICF 100. Although semi-circular may be used it is envisioned that half-rectangular, half-square, half-hexagonal, half-octagonal, or any other various polygonal shape may be used. The indentations 12 are designed to provide accurate arrangement for the rebar in order to insure accurate positioning inside upper channel 49 and lower channel 47 when concrete is poured through. This arrangement provides improved tensile strength due to the cross-sectional area as well as facilitating placement of rebar during the construction process.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of a plate-like structure 40 situated within an inner wall 29 wherein only one semi-circular indentation 12 is formed. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the semi-circular indentation 12 is arranged so as to be centrally located within the interlocked upper channel 49 and the lower channel 47.

Returning to FIGS. 6-8, running perpendicular to edges 17 and central piece 18 are the planar surfaces that form the end plates 30. The end plate 30 runs parallel to the vertical length of the inner wall 29. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 6-8, more than one end plate 30 is attached to the plate-like structure 40. It should be understood that it is possible to use only one end plate 30. Furthermore, the end plate 30 may be shaped in a different manner from that which is shown, such as being sloped and/or angled with respect to the vertical length of the inner wall 29.

The end plates 30 of the plate-like structure 40 shown in FIGS. 6-8 are placed within first and second walls 21, 22 in order to provide a structure in which screws used to hold other materials to the ICF 100, such as dry wall, can be secured and to further provide additional anchoring for plate-like structure 40. This can be seen in detail in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5. In the embodiment shown, the end plate 30 may be located relatively proximate to groove 24. FIG. 4 illustrates the placement of end plate 30 within the sidewall 22. The end plates 30 may be made of a variety of materials such as plastic, foam, metal, alloys, wood or whatever material is used in the construction of the plate-like structure 40.

Preferably the end plates 30 are accessible regardless of which of the first or second wall 21, 22 is facing the exterior. It is possible that the end plates 30 are placed within only one of the walls. In embodiments where there is only one end plate 30 the wall having the end plates 30 embedded within should be the wall that is accessible for use in hanging materials. The end plates 30 are shown as being unitarily formed, however it is possible that the end plates 30 be formed as a series of structures attached to plate-like structure 40 and are not limited to being a planar surface.

Referring to FIGS. 6-8, the edges 17 have circular holes 16 formed at various locations. These may be the result of the production process used in making the plate-like structures 40. These holes 16 may also be located on the central piece 18 of the plate-like structure 40. The holes 16 may also assist in providing structural integrity to the plate-like structure 40 while also reducing the overall amount of material needed in order to form the plate-like structure 40. The central piece 18 also can provide structural reinforcement for the first and second walls 21, 22 by becoming an integral part of the finished composite. The central piece 18 may also be able to retain sufficient strength while reducing material expenditure. This can reduce overall costs.

Now turning to FIG. 10, a side view of the inner wall 29 illustrating the plate-like structure 40 placed within is shown. The edges 17 extend above and below a top and bottom surface of the inner wall 29. The top and bottom surface of inner wall 29 is generally shaped in order to correspond to the shape and size of the upper channel 49 and the lower channel 47. The semi-circular indentations 12 are shown positioned at the location that would correspond to the centers of the upper channel 49 and the lower channel 47 when two ICFs 100 are joined together in an interlocking position. During construction of a building, concrete is poured into these channels and will eventually solidify around the rebar placed within the indentations 12.

FIG. 11 illustrates the placement of the plate-like structure 40 within the first wall 21 and the second wall 22. As discussed above, the end plate 30 is embedded into the first and second walls 21, 22 as well as being integrally placed within the inner wall 29. The placement of the plate-like structure 40 within both the inner wall 29 and the first and second walls 21, 22 operates to provide additional reinforcement and structural integrity.

FIG. 12 illustrates the interior of the vertical passage 52, which is formed by the surfaces of two opposing inner walls 29. The planar walls 44 are provided within the vertical passage 52 and formed from the inner walls 29. The top and bottom surfaces 43 are also formed from the inner wall 29. The top and bottom surfaces 43 are sloped in order to facilitate the flow of concrete into the vertical passages 52. During the pouring of concrete mix into the ICFs 100 the shape and positioning of the various slopes that help form the vertical passage 52 as well as the upper channel 49 and the lower channel 47 provide improved flow and better mold shape for when the concrete mix solidifies.

FIG. 13 illustrates what the solidified concrete structure 60 is shaped like after being placed with a fully interlocked assembly of the ICFs 100. Not shown is the surrounding material from the ICF 100, which as discussed in more detail below would preferably be a material, such as foam, that would have a relatively high R value. As discussed below the surrounding ICF material provides insulation and additional structural integrity to the building constructed with it.

Now turning to the manufacturing and construction of the ICF 100. The ICF 100 may be constructed so that the body 20 comprises a core portion and shell portion. This is part of the multi-density manufacturing process and may be used in both the total mold manufacturing process and the insert manufacturing process. The core portion is preferably constructed of a material having a first density and the shell portion is preferably constructed of a material having a second density. The first density is greater than the second density. The shell portion and the core portion may be constructed with the materials disclosed above with respect to forming the body 20. The shell portion is composed primarily of that portion of the ICF 100 that forms body 20, as well as outer surface 23 and the first and second walls 21, 22. While the core portion is typically composed of those portions of the ICF 100 that is surrounded by the shell portion and may include the interior of the walls, although it is possible to have some portions of the core material not be surrounded by the shell material, for example when the core portion comprises the inner walls 29. The size of the core and the shell may varying depending upon the needs of the projects.

During manufacture of the ICF 100 the usage of the plate-like structure 40 allows the body 20 to be molded into a block form with a material for the shell that has a density that is lower than what is commonly used. By using a material with a lower density a higher R-value may be achieved. A material's R-value is the measure of its resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the more the material insulates. Thus, an optimum R-value density material may be used for the body 20. This results in energy saving for cooling and heating.

It is possible to have the plate-like structures 40 formed integral to the body 20 via a molding process. Alternatively, integral insert molding may also be used to produce the ICF 100. The integral insert molding process is accomplished by using a mold designed to allow the plate-like structures 40 to be set in the mold prior to being filled with lower density material. The mold is designed to allow material to flow around and encapsulate portions of the plastic or metal insert.

In the integral insert molding process an internal cavity corresponding to the body 20 may be provided. The plate-like structure 40 is positioned within the internal cavity at a location that corresponds to a location that would be within one of the inner walls 29 that is within the body 20. A material is then injected into the mold so as to encompass the plate-like structure 40 so that the plate-like structure 40 is then disposed within the inner wall 29. When using this process it is intended that the plate-like structure 40 is constructed of a material that has a greater rigidity, density and/or hardness than the material that is used to form the remainder of the body 20.

When using the multiple density molding in conjunction with integral insert molding, higher density EPS, or another foam material, may be molded into the ICF where required. This further assists in preventing form failure. It also allows for lower density material to fill the remainder of the block form, thereby providing higher insulation value of the block form by providing a higher R value.

Two alternative embodiments of the ICF 100 are end blocks and corner blocks. End blocks are formed much in the same way that ICF 100 is formed, however in order to permit it to be placed at specific locations within a building at least one end of the ICF 100 must have an end wall 35 that is flush with the top surfaces 25, 26 and bottom surfaces 27, 28 of the ICF 100. By having one end wall 35 flush with the surfaces, upper channel 49 and lower channel 47 are blocked.

The corner block is also constructed so as to be positioned in designated locations within a building. In making the corner block an end block is molded by means of a changeable tooling insert within a mold. The corner block is designed to be used for either the right hand or left hand corner or alternatively as a T or pilaster section in a finished wall section. A method used for manufacturing the corner block is that of a heated bent wire in the form of the shape of the material matching that of the cavity formed within the horizontal length section of the top and bottom of the block. A corner block takes an end block and places a channel within an outer surface 23.

The heated bent wire fixture has two wires which form the top and bottom core of the block. This fixture is made to allow insertion of the corner block in a fixed position that is proper for the bent wires. A lever working within this fixture releases and moves by means of a spring mechanism and dampening device the bent wires at a fixed rate of speed for proper melting of the EPS material which makes up the block. The fixture also allows for the corner block to be inverted thereby allowing the corner block to become a right or left hand corner block.

It is to be understood, however, that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of the invention, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size and arrangement of parts within the principles of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed