Lightweight Wall Structure For Building Construction
Kind Code:

The present invention is directed to prefabricated building wall sections that may be delivered to a building site and subsequently assembled and filled with a lightweight concrete so as to minimize the weight that has to be moved to create a building wall. In one form, the building wall is constructed of a pair of opposed lightweight wall panel members that are joined together by structural trusses with the space between the panel members being filled with a lightweight concrete at the building site. The wall panels are so constructed that they are easily cut to allow electricians and plumbers to have access into the walls for connection of pipes and wiring. In one form, a plurality of the wall units are connected together to form a wall and a pilaster of concrete is poured through a form positioned in the assembled wall sections to provide structural support for the wall.

Deans, Scott (Altamonte Springs, FL, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Terry M. Sanks (Winter Park, FL, US)
What is claimed is:

1. A method for constructing a wall unit comprising: cutting a pair of side panels from a low density composite sheet material; attaching a plurality of spaced brackets to a first side of each of the side panels and positioning the panels in a generally parallel orientation with the first sides facing each other; coupling a plurality of structural cross members between the pair of panels via connection to the corresponding ones of the brackets such that the panels are restrained with respect to each other, at least some of the cross members extending perpendicularly with respect to others of the cross members; and filling the space between the pair of side panels with a light weight cementitious material.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the cross members comprise a wire mesh product having at least a pair of spaced substantially straight wires interconnected by a plurality of angularly oriented wires, the method of coupling including attaching of the straight wires adjacent the brackets.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the method of attaching comprises clamping of the wire mesh product between a pair of wires extending between corresponding brackets on the pair of side panels.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein the brackets comprise a tee having a tubular top portion and a leg extending into the associated side panel, each of the pair of wires extending between the corresponding brackets having a generally straight segment and opposite end segments turned at a generally ninety degree angle to the straight segment, the method of attaching comprising inserting the opposite end segments of a pair of wires into the tubular top portion of the bracket and capturing the associated cross member between the pair of wires.

5. The method of claim 4 and including bonding the brackets into apertures formed in the side panels using an adhesive.

6. The method of claim 1 and including positioning a vapor barrier in juxtaposition with each of the side panels prior to filling the space with the cementitious material.

7. The method of claim 1 and including coating the outward facing surface of at least one of the side panels with an exterior protective material.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the protective material is stucco.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the protective coating is a sheet material.

10. The method of claim 9 and including attaching furring strips to the outward facing surface for receiving the sheet material.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein the side panels are cut from a styrofoam sheet.

12. The method of claim 1 and including forming a wall from a plurality of the wall panels wherein the wall is formed by positioning the connected side panels into a desired location prior to filling the space between the panels with the cementitious material.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the wall panels are assembled in end-to-end relationship defining a periphery of a building structure and a first level is filled with the cementitious material prior to positioning another level of wall panels on the first level.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the ends of the wall panels are joined by structural adhesive.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein the ends of the wall panels are joined by tie wires interconnecting the wire mesh product of one panel to the wire mesh product of an adjacent panel.

16. The method of claim 14 wherein the mating ends of the wall panels are formed with shaped mating grooves.

17. The method of claim 13 and including dowels interconnecting the ends of juxtaposed wall panels.

18. The method of claim 12 and including inserting a plurality of spaced pilaster forms into the formed wall, the pilaster forms interrupting the lateral flow of the cementitious material so as to create vertically oriented openings for receiving concrete to create spaced pilasters along the wall.

19. The method of claim 18 and including positioning wire mesh reinforcement along a top of each wall panel level prior to constructing a succeeding level.



This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/711,181, filed Aug. 25, 2005 and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/749,999 filed Dec. 13, 2005.

The present invention relates to building construction and, more particularly, to a prefabricated building wall section for use in replacing concrete block.


Typical building construction uses concrete blocks that are individually set in mortar to construct walls of a building. These blocks are nominally 8×8×16 inches when measured with the associated mortar joints. Each block weighs about 40 pounds and the laying of the blocks to create a wall is a labor intensive task. Various methods have been proposed to overcome the labor issues involved in laying block, including creating forms and pouring solid concrete walls. Other proposals have used prefabricated wall panels such as foam core panels that can be put in place and then sprayed with a concrete surface. It has also been proposed to prefabricate a foam core panel with outer concrete surfacing that can be lifted in place using lifting apparatus at the job site. However, recent changes in building codes have required that building walls have sufficient solid concrete segments to withstand hurricanes and tornadoes.


For a better understanding of the present invention, reference may be had to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a wall section constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a spacer and structural truss for use with the wall panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing one form of attaching the wall panel of FIG. 1 to a foundation;

FIG. 4 illustrates one form of water intrusion protection system using the panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 illustrates one form of incorporation of a roll-up storm shutter and window into a wall built using the wall section of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 illustrates one form used in the manufacture of one of the wall panels used in the construction of the wall section of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 illustrates one step in the production of the wall panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 illustrates another step in the manufacture of the wall panel of FIG. 1 in which the reinforcing bars and wire mesh are incorporated in the form;

FIG. 9 is an exploded elevation view of the wall panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is an elevation view of multiple sections of the wall panels of FIG. 1 assembled into a wall section;

FIG. 11 is a detailed illustration of the reinforcing spacer used in the wall panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 12 illustrates how the spacers are arranged in the wall panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 13 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the spacers used in the wall panel of FIG. 1;

FIG. 14 illustrates how the wall panel of FIG. 1 is used in a retention wall below grade;

FIG. 15 illustrates a further arrangement of the wall section of FIG. 14 in a below slab configuration;

FIG. 16 illustrates one use of the wall panel of FIG. 1 in connection to a roof support truss;

FIG. 17 illustrates a partial arrangement of a building constructed using wall panels of the present invention;

FIG. 18 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the wall panel of FIG. 1 using different outer panels and different support truss;

FIGS. 19A-19E illustrate an assembly process for the wall panels of FIG. 18;

FIGS. 20A-20D illustrate how the wall panels of FIG. 18 are assembled to create a wall;

FIGS. 21A-21C illustrate how the wall panels of FIG. 18 are arranged so as to create spacing for pilasters;

FIG. 22 illustrates construction of a corner using the wall panels of FIG. 18; and

FIG. 23 illustrates one embodiment of the wall panel of FIG. 18 showing how decorative surfaces can be attached to an outside of the panel.


Applicant has found that a prefabricated building wall section can be constructed of lightweight concrete and designed so as to meet building code requirements and yet have a size and weight that will allow the wall sections to be assembled in situ by an individual without the need for mechanical lifting apparatus. In one form as indicated in FIG. 1, the wall section 10 is shown in an edge view having an outer panel 12 and an inner panel 14. The inner and out panels are joined by a plurality of spaced cross-members 16, each cross-member having portions extending into the panels 12 and 14. FIG. 2 is a front view of one of the cross-members 16 showing the extending portions 16A that are embedded in the panels 12,14. Each of the panels 12 and 14 are formed from poured lightweight concrete, such as, for example, a Forton® or a Donalite® concrete mix. The cross-members 16 may be made from a fiber reinforced material or plastic material of sufficient strength to support the inner and outer panels in spaced apart relationship. As will become apparent, once a wall has been constructed from a plurality of the wall sections 10, the space between the panels may be filled with other lightweight concrete material that will provide structural integrity to the wall sections so that the cross-members 16 are then embedded in the fill material.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the wall section 10 may be 24 inches by 64 inches, which is equivalent to twelve conventional concrete blocks. However, the total weight of the wall section is only 110 pounds which makes it easy for two men to set into place. This advantageous result is obtained by using the lightweight concrete that is typically about one-third the weight of regular concrete and eliminating the lateral concrete connectors that are normally a part of a concrete block. It can also be seen that there is an insulation board 18 extending along and covering an inner face 20 of the inner panel 12. The inner panel 12 is identified as the panel which would be on the inside of a building being constructed while the outer panel 14 would form an outside face of the building. The board 18 provides additional insulation to increase the R factor of the wall section and can also be used as a support for the lightweight concrete when it is poured. An additional moisture barrier 22 may also be used in the wall section and is shown at 24 covering the inner surface of the outer panel 14. The barrier 22 may be a flat moisture resistant material such as plastic material but may also be a corrugated plastic material such as is shown in FIG. 1.

The edges 26 and 28 are formed with an ogee shape such that the wall sections can be stacked and abutted to create a full wall. Other shapes could be used but the ogee configuration provides large contact surfaces and minimizes sharp edges. In assembling the wall sections, an adhesive can be spread along the edges to bond the wall sections to each other. However, the lower most wall section which sits on a foundation is preferably mounted using a mechanical connection such as shown in FIG. 3. A plurality of eye hooks 30 are embedded in the foundation 32, which is typically a poured concrete slab. The lower wall section 34, shown in cutaway form, is then positioned in place with the eye hooks 30 protruding upward into the cavity between the inner and outer panels 12, 14. A section of rebar 36 is next guided through the eyes of the eye hooks to create a longitudinal support for a plurality of vertical extending rebars 38. Each of the rebars 38 is formed with a hooked end 40 so that each can grab the rebar 36. The open cross-members or brackets 16 allow the rebar 36 to be easily inserted from an end of the wall section. The vertically extending rebar 38 is also hook shaped at an upper end to allow the rebar to grab another horizontally extending rebar at the lower edge of a next stacked wall section.

Considering FIG. 3 in conjunction with FIG. 4, there is shown one method of seating the first one of the wall sections on a foundation in a manner to minimize the entrapment of moisture in the wall section. Along the lower edge of the outer wall panel there is provided an L-shaped sheet metal flashing 42 extend lengthwise of the wall section. A strip of corrugated plastic 44 is placed on the flashing with the wall section seated on the strip 44. The corrugations of the strip 44 create a moisture weepage track so that any moisture entering into the space between the inner and outer panels will be able to exit the space.

One of the advantages of the present invention is the construction of the wall section with the spaced apart inner and outer panels. The open space between the panels allows electricians and plumbers to run wiring and pipes within the wall space. Since the wall panels are formed from lightweight concrete, the electricians and plumbers can readily cut openings in the material using conventional saws, such as saber saws, for installing electrical outlet boxes and faucets or other plumbing connections. Additionally, telephone lines may be run in the wall space. Once all of the wiring, plumbing and other items have been installed in the wall space, it is desirable to fill at least some portion of the wall space with either conventional concrete or with lightweight concrete. Applicant has found that the entire wall space area may be filled with lightweight concrete to form a solid core wall having sufficient strength to meet current code requirements in Florida for hurricanes. Further, the structural strength of the solid core wall is sufficient to provide a vertical support for additional structures above a first floor of a building.

Turning now to FIG. 5, there is shown one method for incorporating a roll-up storm shutter to protect a window opening using the wall sections of the present invention. A wall section 50 constructed in accordance with present invention forms a lintel over a window opening 52. The section 50 includes a filler 54 that extends longitudinally and defines a lower cavity 56 sized and adapted to receive a conventional rolled shutter 58. The wall section 50 may be specially formed to create the cavity 56. The window is framed in a conventional manner using metal or wood that is attached to the upper section 50 and to a lower wall section 60 that may be filled with lightweight concrete 62. Since the lightweight concrete can be sawn or drilled using conventional woodworking tools, the attachment of the window frame to the wall sections does not require any special considerations or tools.

Manufacturing of the wall sections of the above described embodiment can best be achieved by forming one of the panels, either inner or outer panel, in a face down position. As shown in FIG. 6, a form 70 having a base 72 and sidewalls 74 can be filled with lightweight concrete to form one of the panels. The base 72 can be patterned to create a desired finish on the formed panel. The sidewalls 74 have a height that defines the thickness of the panel, typically about 1.5 inches, and have the ogee configuration for forming the shaped edges of the panel. After pouring the one panel, such as the outer panel, a plastic moisture barrier such as barrier 22 is laid over and pressed onto the formed panel. The barrier is precut with openings aligned with the desired location of the cross-members 16 which are positioned in the openings and pressed in place so that the segments 16A are embedded into the concrete of the panel as shown in FIG. 7. A pair of rods 76 are inserted through holes in the cross-members 16 and extend the length of the form. The rods 76 are used to support the insulation board 18 that forms a base for pouring of the concrete for the other of the panels. FIG. 8 shows the form that is created for the upper panel. The base of the form is the insulation board 18 and the sides 78 of the form can be wood, metal or a polymer material having a depth sufficient to rest on the lower form 70. The segments 16a of the cross-members protrude through the board 18. Structural support is provided by a mesh screen member 80 and a pair of rebar 82. Note that the upper panel is poured with the outside surface being exposed so that any type of finish may be created on the surface. If the upper panel is to be an inner panel such as the inner panel 14, the surface could be finished by applying a plaster material. If the upper panel is to be the outer panel 12, the surface could be finished by applying stucco.

FIG. 9 illustrates an end view of a modified form of the panel of FIG. 1 with the outside surfaces shown in an exploded form. In the illustrated form, the cross members 100 are constructed of a plastic resin similar to the cross member 16 but include upper and lower square sections that provide additional rigidity while at the same time enable the cross members to be shaped in order to join panels at different angles. Further, the cross members 100 include the outwardly extended flanges 102 that are arranged so that a reinforcing rod may be inserted vertically through these flanges and be embedded in lightweight concrete panels 104 and 106. The vertically extending reinforcing rods are indicated by phantom lines 108 in each of the panels 104 and 106. In the construction of FIG. 9, the outer surfaces of the completed panel are covered by an insulation layer 110 which may be Donolite® or a plastic foam product such as a polystyrene. A final surface finish 112 formed of Forton lightweight concrete is then placed over the insulation panel 112.

In the actual manufacture of the panel illustrated in exploded form in FIG. 9, the panel is produced similar to the method described with regards to FIGS. 6, 7 and 8. In particular, the initial form is filled with approximately a half-inch layer of Forton lightweight concrete to form the surface 114. The insulation layer is then placed over this half-inch layer and the space around the edges of the insulation layer 112 is then filled with additional Forton lightweight concrete to create the shaped edges that allow the panels to be attached one to another. Thereafter, the cross members 100 are lowered on to the panels 112 with the reinforcing bars 108 in place and a further layer of concrete 106 is then poured to fill up the area around the flanges 102. While having a concrete outer surface of approximately half-inch thick has been determined to be a preferred thickness, it will be recognized that the outer surface 114 could have any desired thickness that would be suitable for creating a wall structure. The opposite wall surface is formed in a reverse process with respect to the first wall surface. In other words, in forming the second wall surface, the wall structure is left in the mold and a plurality of panels are placed over the cross members 100 so that the layer of concrete 104 can then be poured on top of those members to cover the flanges 102. Once the concrete material at 104 has been put in place, the insulation layer 112 is placed over the concrete layer and the second wall surface 114 is formed onto the insulation layer. A separate form is lowered onto the panel to create the form for the outer surface 114. As with the panels described previously, the forms can be designed to have any particular texture for the outer finish on the external panels 114.

Turning now to FIG. 10, there is shown an arrangement of the panels of FIG. 9 in a stacked formation. It can be seen that a bottom portion of the panels may be filled with concrete in at least some of the spaces between the cross members 100. Typically, selected sections of each wall are filled with a concrete product as each panel is put in place so each panel is supported. The filled section is separated from the section having reinforcing bars. This provides some structural integrity as the wall sections are stacked since the wall sections are intentionally made to be lightweight to allow large sections such as 4 by 8 feet to be assembled by no more than two people. Once a plurality of these wall sections have been stacked to the desired height, an extended reinforcing bar 116 having a loop at each end is positioned within the aligned cavities in the wall section so that the loops are captured by horizontally extending reinforcing bars 118. At the bottom of a wall, the bar 118 is held in position by embedded looped bar 120 which is formed in conventional manner within a slab 122. After the panels are inspected, the sections in which the extended reinforcing bar 116 is found may be then filled with a conventional 3000 PSI concrete product from bottom to top of the panels.

Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12, there is shown a method in which the cross members 100 are joined to form a continuous connection within one of the panels. Each cross member 100 as shown in FIG. 11 has four openings 126, with each opening being formed at an extension of the x-shaped cross shaped section in the center of the members 100. The cross members 100 are then positioned in a separate mold as shown in FIG. 12 so that the mold forms an area to allow a continuous plastic reinforcing bar to be molded in situ between the holes 126 in each of a plurality of the members 100. In this manner, at least four reinforcing bars extend through the holes 126 and connect a plurality of the members 100 into a continuous set. The number of the members 100 in any set can be adjusted to allow panels of different lengths to be created. While a 4 foot by 8 foot panel has been contemplated, particularly due to the widespread adoption of 4 by 8 as a dimension for plywood sheets, it is anticipated that the wall sections may be formed of many different lengths and widths depending upon the particular application. The form shown in FIG. 12 allows the members 100 to be constructed in whatever length is necessary and yet form a continuous bonded set of the connecting members 100.

Referring to FIG. 13, the inner and outer sections of the wall are formed separately with independent cross members 100 attached to a respective inner and outer walls. As shown in FIG. 13, the inner wall 130 is attached to one of the cross members 100 while the outer wall 132 is attached to another of the cross members 100. The two sections can then be brought together and aligned to create the completed wall as shown in FIG. 9. The two sections can be held together by means of rebar passed through the holes 126 and each of the cross members 100.

While the wall sections such as that shown in FIG. 9 have been primarily intended for creating wall sections of buildings, as shown in FIG. 14, the sections can also be used to establish retaining walls or below grade applications. In this respect, the walls can be attached to the below grade footers 140 by means of conventional rebar 142. The top end of the wall section 144 can be adjusted to receive the retaining rebar 146 used to capture the horizontally extending reinforcing bar before attaching the above grade wall sections onto the poured floor 148.

FIGS. 15 and 16 show alternate methods of providing above level connections to the wall sections of FIG. 9. In FIG. 15, a portion of the wall section is removed at 150 to allow a hollow core slab 152 to be seated on the wall sections. This particular construction as shown could be adapted to a multi-story building where the hollow core slab would represent a support in one upper floor of a building. In FIG. 16, is shown an alternative embodiment in which the intermediate floor is supported on a steel truss 160 and a lightweight concrete floor is formed on top of the truss 160. In both the embodiments of FIGS. 15 and 16, the advantages that the wall structure has sufficient strength when selected cavities are filled with concrete to support floors above a first level.

In the wall panel system thus far described, the inner and outer side panels are formed from a lightweight cementitious material such as that sold under the brand names Donolite® or Forton®. Applicants have found that a lighter weight panel can be constructed using side panels of high density plastic foam such as, for example, polystyrene, that is commercially available. Before describing an embodiment using such lighter panels, reference is first made to FIG. 17 which illustrates a partial construction of a wall system for a building using the lightweight wall panels of the present invention. In the construction as indicated in FIG. 17, the inventive panels are illustrated at 200 and are reinforced by periodic vertical pilasters 202 and a horizontal tie beam 204. The tie beam 204 and pilasters 202 are typically solid poured concrete and may be, for example, 3000 psi pumped concrete. A doorway 206 and a window opening 208 are each capped by a solid concrete lentil 210. Thus, while the lightweight wall panels of the present invention have substantial structural strength, the additional concrete pilasters and concrete tie beams provide the extra strength required to meet conventional building codes.

Turning now to FIG. 18, there is shown an alternate embodiment of the present invention using plastic foam panels in which the wall panels may be delivered to a job site in an unassembled configuration so as to minimize weight and the attendant handling problems. In this embodiment, the wall panel 212 comprises a pair of side panels 214 and 216 that are spaced apart and held in position by a plurality of structural cross members 218. The cross members 218 are wire mesh type products or trusses commonly available under the brand name Durawire®. The wire truss 218 is attached to an inside face of each of the two side panels by means of a plurality of brackets 220 that are fixed to the side panels. The brackets 220 are tees having a leg 222 pressed into a respective one of the side panels 214 or 216 and epoxyied into place. The side panels 214, 216 are preferably a relatively high density polystyrene or other plastic foam material that is commercially available in 4×8 or larger sheets. Each of the tees 220 has a tubular top portion 224. The wire truss 218 is held into position by a plurality of wire members 226 that are arranged in pairs between corresponding ones of the tees 220. The wire members 226 each have a straight section and end sections that are turned at 900 to the straight section so that the end sections can be inserted into the tubular portions 224 of the brackets 220. As will be described later, the wire members 226 may be inserted from the same side of the tubular member or from opposite sides of the tubular member.

FIG. 18 also illustrates that the wall section 212 may include a vapor barrier or high rib lathe that is positioned against each of the intersections of the side walls 214 and 216. In addition, the outer surface of each of the side panels 214, 216 may be finished with a coating such as stucco for an outer surface or a light plaster layer for an inner surface. In addition, the outer surface may be finished with furring strips for attachment of an outer sheeting such as aluminum or plastic siding, simulated log cabin siding, lap siding or tongue and groove siding, for example. Alternatively, the outer surface may be finished with an attached wire lathe to allow brick or stone to be adhered to the outer surface of the wall panel. In FIG. 18, it is shown that the wall panel may be positioned on a slab 228 and that the vapor barrier material 218 may extend across the base of the slab. Flashing 230 may be added to control moisture entry between the wall panel and the slab 228.

Turning now to FIGS. 19A-19E that are shown a sequence of steps in assembling the side panels 214 and 216 into a wall unit or wall panel 212. The panels 214 and 216 are processed through some initial construction steps in which the brackets 220 are inserted in predefined locations on each of the wall panels so that when the two panels are positioned as shown in FIG. 19A, the brackets are properly aligned. In one form, a portion of the foam material of the panel is removed, the tee pressed into the space and the space is filled with a quick set polymer such as Liquid 60®. In addition, what will become the outer surface of each of the wall units 212 may be finished by either a stucco coating such as indicated at 232 or a plaster wall finish such as indicated at 234. The two panels 214 and 216 are oriented in general parallel arrangement and the wires 226 are inserted in the respective ones of the brackets 220 to hold the panels in the generally parallel configuration. In a next step, as shown in FIG. 19B, the structural wire truss 218 is positioned against the initially inserted cross wires 226. The top ends of the wire truss may be bent so that the wire truss hangs on the top one of the cross wires 226. It can also be seen that the structural wire truss is formed of two substantially straight wire pieces 218A and 218B that are interconnected by a plurality of angularly oriented wires 218C. The wire truss material may be quarter inch diameter steel wire with the cross members 218C welded to the straight members 218A and 218B to create a structural assembly. It should also be noted that each of the side panels 214 and 216 are preferably formed with grooves 236 which create receptacles for receiving an adhesive so that multiple wall units may be adhesively bonded to each other to create the curtain wall illustrated at 200 in FIG. 17.

Turning now to FIG. 19C, a second set of the cross wires 226 are installed into the brackets 220 in order to lock the structural wire truss assembly 218 in place. Preferably, the top one of the cross members indicated at 226A is inserted from the bottom side of the bracket 220. The remaining cross wires 226 may be inserted from the same side as the prior inserted wire but on an opposite side of the wire truss so that the wire truss is captured between the two cross wires 226 in each pair of brackets. As will become apparent, the rationale for inserting the cross wire 226A from the bottom side of the pair of brackets 220 in FIG. 19C is to allow a connection to a panel on top of the illustrated panel to be fastened to the lower panel without the cross wire pulling out of its position in the brackets. While it is only necessary to use one cross wire 226A in the assembly as shown in FIG. 19C, it is also possible to position each of the pair of cross wires 226 in the same manner as shown in FIG. 19E. In FIG. 19E, each of the pair of cross wires may then be pulled together by use of a tie wire 238. The disadvantage of the arrangement of FIG. 19E is the extra step necessary to install the tie wire to hold the two cross wires 226 together. Accordingly, there may be applications where the tie wire 238 is unnecessary and the cross wires may be installed as shown in FIG. 19E without additional labor involved. FIG. 19D shows the final assembly of the cross wires 226 and wire truss 218 between each of the pair of side panels 214 and 216.

Turning now to FIGS. 20A-20D, there is shown an arrangement of the wall panels 212 in constructing a complete wall such as the curtain wall 200 of FIG. 17. In FIG. 20A, the first or lower wall unit 212 is shown positioned on a slab 228 and held in place by means of a twist wire or other type of fastener that is at least partially embedded in the slab so that a connection can be made to the lowermost cross wire 226. The wire fastener is illustrated at 240 as a twist-type fastener but could be other types of fasteners that are well known in the construction industry. Once the first level wall unit 212 has been attached to the slab 228, the location of the pilasters 202 can be defined by inserting mesh forms (see FIG. 21) through the wall unit 212 at the desired locations. Thereafter, the remaining portions of the wall unit 212 may be filled with a lightweight cementitious material such as previously described. The inserted mesh forms defining the pilaster locations will block the cementitious material so that the area of the pilasters can be subsequently filled with a conventional high density concrete. It should also be noted that the wall units 212 may be further reinforced by additional sections of the wire truss 218 extending horizontally through and along the length of each of the wall panels. These horizontally extending sections are shown in FIG. 20A, for example, at 242 and 244. The segment at 242 is preferably positioned on the wall unit after the initial pouring of the lightweight cementitious mixture into the space between the sidewalls 214 and 216.

As shown in FIG. 20B, once the initial level of wall unit 212 has been installed and the cementitious poured between the side panels 214 and 216, a next level may be installed on top of the first level. The second level indicated at 246 is preferably bonded to the lower level by means of an adhesive spread in the grooves 236 along the edges of the side panels 214 and 216. As shown in FIG. 20C, the lowermost cross wires 226 of the upper wall unit 212A may be attached to the lower wall unit 212 by means of a tie wire 246. Additional wall units may then be attached to the next level after pouring the cementitious material into the second level to create the complete curtain wall. FIG. 20D is provided to illustrate how flashing and a weep cavity for additional waterproofing may be used with the wall unit 212. Turning now to FIGS. 21A, 21B and 21C, there is shown a top view of one level of the inventive wall panels illustrating different methods for installing a wire mesh form 240 into the wall panel to create an area for receipt of the concrete to form the pilasters. In FIG. 21A, a preformed wire mesh form 250 is pushed down between the inner and outer side panels 214 and 216. A horizontally oriented structural wire truss 218 extends across the top of the panel and overlays the form 250. In this embodiment, the concrete that will be poured into the form 250 will also encompass the structural wire truss 218. In FIG. 21B, the wire truss 218 has ends protruding into the formed wire mesh 250 and then bent so as to maintain the ends within the form where they will be embedded into the concrete that is poured. In FIG. 21C, the horizontal wire truss 218 terminates adjacent the form 250 rather than penetrating into it. In all three embodiments, there is provided reinforcement bar 252 running vertically through the concrete pilaster.

FIG. 22 is a top plan view of a corner construction of a building using the wall panels of the present invention. In this embodiment, the preformed wire mesh 250 used to contain the conventional concrete pilaster is fitted into a corner defined by the intersection of two of the wall panels. At each level, the top horizontal reinforcing truss 218 is allowed to continue fully across the wall panel and extend into the area that will receive the normal concrete for the pilaster. Since the inner and outer styrofoam panels 214 and 216 extend beyond the end of the area in which the lightweight concrete 254 is poured, these ends are attached to the conventional concrete in the pilaster by means of plastic inserts extending through the styrofoam and into the area of the pilaster. Conventional plastic inserts such as shown at 256 are plastic inserts commonly sold under the brand name Winlocks®. FIG. 22A is a perspective view of a corner showing how the Winlocks® inserts penetrate through the outer foam layer or wall 216 so as to hold the wall panel to the concrete pilaster 202. The vertical rebar that provides reinforcing for the pilaster is also indicated at 252. It should also be noted that furring strips 258 may be adhesively attached to the exposed surface of the inner wall panel for building construction so that conventional gypsum board or similar finishing can be attached to the foam panels.

Turning now to FIG. 23, there is shown an exemplary embodiment of a wall panel in accordance with the present invention in which the outer panel 216 is formed of a foam material and an external surface finish such as a brick face veneer is attached to the outside surface of the panel. The brick face veneer indicated at 260 is attached to a lathe strip 262 which is adhesively bonded to the foam panel. In addition, the lathe strip may include fasteners extending into the panel with a cut-out area on the opposite side of the panel so that the cut-out area can be filled with an epoxy to bond the fasteners to the panel. An expoxy such as EasyFlow 60 Plastic® may be used to bond the fasteners on the reverse side of the panel. In addition, the brackets 220 may be bonded to the panel using the same brand of plastic adhesive. Similarly, the exposed surface of the inside panel 214 may also be finished by attaching lathe strips or a lathe mesh on the surface and then coating the surface with a concrete finish in preparation for receiving a drywall material. Further, while the preferred embodiment of the invention uses a high density plastic foam for the panels 214 and 216, as previously discussed, the panels could be made of a lightweight concrete material such as that sold under the brand name Donolite®.

In the embodiment of the invention as described beginning with FIG. 18, it will be recognized that the inner and outer wall panels are formed of a plastic foam material and may have different coating materials on the exposed surfaces to provide a much simpler way of delivering wall panels to a building site. Once the wall panels have been delivered to the building site, they can be quickly assembled by means of the connecting wires and insertion of the structural truss members 218 to create a wall that is ready to be poured with a lightweight cementitious material such as Donolite® or Smartcon®. Both of these materials are commercially available and suitable for constructing lightweight concrete wall panels. In addition, the panels may be provided with additional vapor barriers or water barriers already attached to their inner surfaces and thereby provide a way for increasing the R factor for building construction. Still further, the wall panels are provided with grooves that are adapted to receive an adhesive to allow joining of adjacent panels to create a wall without leaks and which will withstand normal lateral forces. Additionally, the adjacent wall panels may be joined using dowels to add further strength.

While the invention has been described in what is presently considered to be a preferred embodiment, various modifications and adaptations will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is intended therefore that the invention not be limited to the specific disclosed embodiment but be interpreted within the full spirit and scope of the appended claims.