Title:
Building blocks with integrated assembling design
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A new building material made of chopped straw, cement, mortar cement or lime combined together with a bonding agent is pressed into building blocks of different sizes and shapes. The blocks come in different sizes and shapes to serve different building needs and/or to fit an integrated assembly system. The blocks are interlocked or fitted to correspond to specific requirements. Depending on the proportions of the elements and the pressure exercised to make the blocks, the density can be controlled to increase either the insulation value or the structural value. The grooves, which are part of the interlocking system, can also be filled with concrete either vertically or horizontally or both to create a stronger structure calibrated according to additional structural needs. The resulting concrete structure can also be reinforced with steel rod to further increase its strength. This building material is highly adaptable and environmentally friendly.



Inventors:
Gagne, Louis (Masham, CA)
Application Number:
11/364461
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
03/01/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B5/04
View Patent Images:
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Other References:
http://www.simetric.co.uk/si_materials.htm
Primary Examiner:
CAJILIG, CHRISTINE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Louis Gagne (Masham, QC, CA)
Claims:
1. A building material for the construction of building blocks, the building material comprising: chopped straw; Portland cement; mortar cement or lime; and a bonding agent comprising a polymer emulsion, wherein the straw comprises the hulk of the volume of the building material.

2. A building material as claimed in claim 1, wherein the straw is chopped in lengths substantially between 50 mm and 100 mm.

3. A building material as claimed in claim 2, wherein the straw comprises cereal straw.

4. A building material as claimed in claim 3, wherein the cereal straw is selected from the group of wheat, rye, barley, oats and rice.

5. A building material as claimed in claim 2, wherein the bonding agent further comprises at least one of: mortar cement and lime.

6. A building block formed of the building material as claimed in claim 1, the building block having a generally solid rectangular exterior configuration.

7. A building block as claimed in claim 6, the building block comprising: a front face; a rear face opposite the front face; a top surface adjacent to the front face arid the rear face, the top surface having a horizontal groove substantially parallel to the front face; a bottom surface adjacent to the front face and the rear face, and opposite the top surface; a first end face adjacent to: the front face; the rear face; the top surface; and the bottom surface, the first end face having a vertical groove substantially parallel to the front face; and a second end face adjacent to: the front face; the rear face; the top surface; and the bottom surface, the second end facing being opposite the first end face.

8. A building block as claimed in claim 7, wherein the second end face has a vertical groove, substantially parallel to the front face.

9. A building block as claimed in claim 7, wherein the second end face has a vertical tongue, substantially parallel to the front face, the vertical tongue configured to mate with a corresponding vertical groove of an adjacent similar building block.

10. A building block as claimed in claim 8, wherein the bottom surface is substantially flat.

11. A building block as claimed in claim 8, wherein the bottom surface has a horizontal tongue substantially parallel to the front face, the horizontal tongue configured to mate with a corresponding horizontal groove of an adjacent similar building block below.

12. A building block system comprising a plurality of building blocks of claim 7, the building blocks selected from one or more of: a first block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a second block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue; a third block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a fourth block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue, the system permitting building of a wall by stacking courses of blocks selected from the first block, second block, third block and fourth block such that blocks can be selected to mate vertical tongues with corresponding vertical grooves or to arrange facing vertical grooves of adjacent blocks to allow for filling the resulting cavity with reinforcing concrete, as required.

13. A building block system as claimed in claim 12, wherein the blocks can be selected to mate horizontal tongues of blocks in a second course with corresponding horizontal grooves of blocks in a first course or to allow filling the continuous horizontal groove formed by the horizontal grooves of adjacent blocks in the first course with reinforcing concrete and subsequently stacking a second course of blocks with flat bottom surfaces, as required.

14. A method of constructing a wall of a plurality of courses of building blocks of claim 7, the blocks selected from a set of blocks wherein: a fit block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a second block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue; a third block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a fourth block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue, the method comprising steps of: laying a first course of blocks having a flat bottom surface, end-to-end such that where a reinforcing column is not required, adjacent blocks arm selected to mate a vertical groove of one block with a corresponding vertical tongue of an adjacent block; or where a reinforcing column is required, adjacent blocks are selected to present facing vertical grooves to form a vertical cavity between the adjacent blocks; filling any vertical cavity in the first course with reinforcing concrete; where horizontal reinforcement is not required, laying a subsequent course of blocks having horizontal tongues to mate with the horizontal grooves of the preceding course below; or where horizontal reinforcement is required, filling we continuous horizontal groove formed by the horizontal grooves of adjacent blocks of the preceding course below with reinforcing concrete and laying a subsequent course of blocks with flat bottom surfaces, end to end; and filling any vertical cavities in the subsequent course with reinforcing concrete.

15. A method of constructing a wall as claimed in claim 14, further comprising a step of gluing adjacent blocks together with a mortar slurry.

16. A method of constructing a wail as claimed in claim 14, further comprising a step of gluing adjacent blocks together with grout.

17. A method of constructing a wall as claimed in claim 14, wherein the vertical spaces of each course align with the vertical spaces of the preceding course below.

18. A method of constructing a wall as claimed in claim 17, further comprising a step of placing reinforcing rods in reinforcing concrete in the aligned vertical spaces.

19. A method of constructing a wall as claimed in claim 14, further comprising a step of placing reinforcing rods in the reinforcing concrete in the continuous horizontal groove.

20. A method of constructing a wall as claimed in claim 14, further comprising a step of applying a finish coat directly to the wall, the finish coat selected from the group of mortar, stucco and plaster.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention is related to the field of building construction and more specifically to a new building material and building blocks.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In 1981, Louis Gagné built his first straw bales and mortar house. The objective was an affordable house which was well insulated, structurally sound, simple and easy to build. Louis Gagné received a CMHC grant to test this wall system, and published the results in the following report: GAGÉ, Louis, A Straw Bales And Mortar House Demonstration Project, CMHC, Ottawa, Canada, 1986. This report reveals the exceptional fire resistance, the structural soundness and the insulation value of this straw bales and mortar building method. It is generally known that straw is a hollow stem derived from agriculturally produced cereals, which is traditionally used for bedding in stables, thatching, stuffing, insulating, etc. Furthermore, straw is commonly available in the form of bales. In the following years, Louis Gagné went on building with straw bales, using concrete for the structure instead of mortar, perfecting the techniques used to erect the walls, refining the process and the results. In spite of these improvements, building with straw bales and concrete remains a method with limited commercial value, because it is a labour intensive process where individuals build singles houses, and where standards are hard to define since the bales from the field escape control as to size and density.

In the last few years, Louis Gagné stopped building with straw bales and concrete because the development of this building approach seems to have reached its full potential.

Accordingly, an improved building material and building method is highly desirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention provides a building material made of chopped straw mixed with Portland cement, mortar cement or lime and a polymer emulsion diluted in water which acts as the bonding agent.

In another aspect of the present invention, the resulting material is compressed into blocks of different sizes and shapes.

In another aspect of the present invention, the proportion and the combination of the elements (chopped straw, Portland cement, mortar cement or lime and polymer emulsion diluted in water) as well as the pressure exerted to make the blocks, can be modified to increase or decrease the density of the blocks.

In still another aspect of the present invention, the chopped straw (mainly cereal straw such as wheat, rye, barley, oats and rice where available) of ideal lengths comprise between 5 cm and 10 cm substantially (the straw lengths can be shorter or longer) is the filler element and represents the bulk of the block's volume. The cement surrounding each piece of straw gives it rigidity and strength. The gluing factor and the adherence of the cement to the pieces of straw is provided by a polymer emulsion diluted and water.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, this solution can be also mixed with mortar cement or lime or both in order to provide a better adherence of the cement to the pieces of straw.

In still another aspect of the present invention, while straw constitute the bulk of the volume of the building material, the proportion of straw, Portland cement, mortar cement or lime and the polymer emulsion diluted in water is one of the factors which determine the density of the blocks. Therefore, if the amount of cement is augmented in the mix, the density of the block will increase, and hence its structural value will also be increased. If the mix is made to be lighter by increasing the proportion of straw and using less cement, the blocks will have less structural value but a higher insulating value.

In another aspect of the present invention, the density of the blocks will vary with the compression force used to make the blocks. Increasing the pressure to form a block will increase its density and its structural value. Diminishing the pressure to form a block will reduce its structural value while increasing its insulating factor.

In another aspect of the present invention, the sizes of the blocks can be changed to suit different building needs. If the width of the block is increased, the structural value and the insulating factor are increased, and a larger volume of concrete could also be poured to increase the structural strength of the wall. If the length and the height of the block is increased it will take less time and fewer blocks to build a wall.

In another aspect of the present invention, the shapes of the blocks are designed to fit together as a four interlocking blocks system, in which a first block is shaped with a horizontal groove on top, a flat bottom, a vertical groove on one side and a vertical tongue on the opposite side; a second block shaped with an horizontal groove on top, a flat bottom and a vertical groove on each side; a third block shaped with an horizontal groove on top, an horizontal tongue on the bottom, a vertical groove on one side and a vertical tongue on the opposite side; and a fourth block shaped with an horizontal groove on top, an horizontal tongue on the bottom and a vertical groove on each side are used either to build a wall directly by interlocking the blocks together or to build a wall with a concrete structure by setting together the vertical and horizontal grooves at chosen intervals which can be filled with concrete that can be reinforced or not with steel rods.

In another aspect of the present invention, the surfaces of the wall can be finished by applying directly coats of mortar, stucco or plaster on those surfaces depending on the building requirements.

One broad aspect of the present invention provides a building material for the construction of building blocks, the building material comprising: chopped straw; Portland cement; mortar cement or lime; and a bonding agent comprising a polymer emulsion, wherein the straw is chopped in lengths substantially between 50 mm and 100 mm.

In some embodiments, the straw comprises the bulk of the volume of the building material.

In some embodiments, the straw comprises cereal straw.

In some embodiments, the cereal straw is selected from the group of wheat, rye, barley, oats and rice.

In some embodiments, the bonding agent further comprises at least one of: mortar cement and lime.

Other embodiments provide a building block formed of the building material, the building block having a generally solid rectangular exterior configuration.

In other embodiments the building block comprises a front face; a rear face opposite the front face; a top surface adjacent to the front face and the rear face, the top surface having a horizontal groove substantially parallel to the front face; a bottom surface adjacent to the front face and the rear face, and opposite the top surface; a first end face adjacent to: the front face; the rear face; the top surface; and the bottom surface, the first end face having a vertical groove substantially parallel to the front face; and a second end face adjacent to: the front face; the rear face; the top surface; and the bottom surface, the second end facing being opposite the first end face.

In some embodiments, the second end face has a vertical groove, substantially parallel to the front face.

In other embodiments, the second end face has a vertical tongue, substantially parallel to the front face, the vertical tongue configured to mate with a corresponding vertical groove of an adjacent similar building block.

In some embodiments, the bottom surface is substantially flat.

In other embodiments, the bottom surface has a horizontal tongue substantially parallel to the front face, the horizontal tongue configured to mate with a corresponding horizontal groove of an adjacent similar building block below.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides a building block system comprising a plurality of building blocks, the building blocks selected from one or more of: a first block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a second block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue; a third block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a fourth block having a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue, the system permitting building of a wall by stacking courses of blocks selected from the first block, second block, third block and fourth block such that blocks can be selected to mate vertical tongues with corresponding vertical grooves or to arrange facing vertical grooves of adjacent blocks to allow for filling the resulting vertical cavity with reinforcing concrete, as required.

In some embodiments the blocks can be selected to mate horizontal tongues of blocks in a second course with corresponding horizontal grooves of blocks in a first course or to allow filling the continuous horizontal groove formed by the horizontal grooves of adjacent blocks in the first course with reinforcing concrete, and subsequently stacking a second course of blocks with flat bottom surfaces, as required.

Yet another embodiment of the invention provides a method of constructing a wall of a plurality of courses of building blocks, the blocks selected from a set of blocks wherein: a first block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a second block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a flat bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue; a third block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical groove; a fourth block has a horizontal groove on a top surface, a horizontal tongue on a bottom surface, a first end face having a vertical groove and a second end face having a vertical tongue, the method comprising steps of: laying a first course of blocks having a flat bottom surface, end-to-end such that where a reinforcing column is not required, adjacent blocks are selected to mate a vertical groove of one block with a corresponding vertical tongue of an adjacent block; or where a reinforcing column is required, adjacent blocks are selected to present facing vertical grooves to form a vertical cavity between the adjacent blocks; filling any vertical cavities in the first course with reinforcing concrete; where horizontal reinforcement is not required, laying a subsequent course of blocks having horizontal tongues to mate with the horizontal grooves of the preceding course below; or where horizontal reinforcement is required, filling the continuous horizontal groove formed by the horizontal grooves of adjacent blocks of the preceding course below with reinforcing concrete and laying a subsequent course of blocks with flat bottom surfaces, end to end; and filling any vertical cavities in the subsequent course with reinforcing concrete.

Some embodiments further comprise a step of gluing adjacent blocks together with a mortar slurry.

Other embodiments further comprise a step of gluing adjacent blocks together with grout.

In some embodiments the vertical spaces of each course align with the vertical spaces of the preceding course below.

Some embodiments further comprise a step of placing reinforcing rods in reinforcing concrete in the aligned vertical cavities.

Some embodiments further comprising a step of placing reinforcing rods in the reinforcing concrete in the continuous horizontal groove.

Other embodiments of the present invention further comprise a step of applying a finish coat directly to the wall, the finish coat selected from the group of mortar, stucco and plaster.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in combination with the appended drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a first block of the present invention,

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a second block of the present invention,

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a first and second block interlocked together horizontally in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention,

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a third block of the present invention,

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a fourth block of the present invention,

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of third and fourth block interlocked together horizontally in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention,

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a fourth block interlocked vertically with a preceding course of second blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a step of method to build a reinforced wall in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein a first course of blocks is laid with resulting vertical channels,

FIG. 9 illustrates a step of method to build a reinforced wall in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the vertical channels are filled with concrete,

FIG. 10 illustrates a step of method to build a reinforced wall in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the continuous horizontal groove formed by the horizontal grooves of adjacent blocks in the first course are filled with reinforcing concrete,

FIG. 11 illustrates a step of method to build a reinforced wall in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein a second course of blocks is laid, in alignment with the preceding course of blocks,

FIG. 12 illustrates a step of method to build a reinforced wall in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein an additional block is laid on the second course,

FIG. 13 illustrates a step of method to build a reinforced wall in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the vertical channels and the continuous horizontal groove of the second course is filled with concrete,

FIG. 14 illustrates a step of method to build a partially reinforced wall using a combination of blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein a first course of blocks is laid,

FIG. 15 illustrates a step of method to build a partially reinforced wall using a combination of blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein a vertical channel is filled with concrete,

FIG. 16 illustrates a step of method to build a partially reinforced wall using a combination of blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein a second course of blocks is laid, interlocking with the preceding course,

FIG. 17 illustrates a step of method to build a partially reinforced wall using a combination of blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein an additional block is laid on the second course, defining a vertical space,

FIG. 18 illustrates a step of method to build a partially reinforced wall using a combination of blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the vertical channel is filled with concrete, and

FIG. 19 illustrates a step of method to build a partially reinforced wall using a combination of blocks in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the continuous horizontal groove of the second course is filled with concrete.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The building material is made of straw chopped in lengths of between 5 cm and 10 cm substantially (These are ideal lengths but it can be shorter or longer.) mixed with Portland cement, mortar cement or lime and a polymer emulsion diluted in water which acts as a bonding agent. These different ingredients are well mixed together and then pressed into blocks of different sizes and shapes. The density of the blocks depends on the proportions by which the different ingredients are combined together as well as on the pressure exerted to compress the blocks. The density of the blocks also determines the structural value and the insulation value. Increased density provides more structural value while decreased density provides more insulation value.

The blocks are fabricated in four different shapes that can be used in a building system and method to be either stacked and interlocked or assembled to allow for concrete structural reinforcement.

In an embodiment of the present invention, there are four different shapes of blocks. As shown in FIG. 1, a first block 1 has a horizontal groove 5 on a top surface, a flat bottom 6 and a vertical groove 7 on each end face. As shown in FIG. 2 a second block 2 has a horizontal groove 5 on a top surface, a flat bottom 6, a vertical groove 7 on a first end face and a vertical tongue 8 on a second end face.

FIG. 3 shows how block 2 and block 1 are interlocked together at 10 with respective vertical tongue and groove and how the two aligned blocks produce a continuous horizontal groove 13 on top and a vertical groove 7 on each external end face.

FIG. 4 illustrates a third block 3 which has a horizontal groove 5 on the top surface, a horizontal tongue 11 on the bottom surface and a vertical groove 7 on each end face.

FIG. 5 illustrates a fourth block 4 which has a horizontal groove 5 on the top surface, a horizontal tongue 11 on the bottom surface, a vertical groove 7 on a first end face and a vertical tongue 8 on a second end face.

FIG. 6 shows how block 4 and block 3 are interlocked together at 10 with respective vertical tongue and groove and how the two aligned blocks produce a continuous horizontal groove 13 on top, a continuous tongue 14 on the bottom and a vertical groove 7 on each external end face.

FIG. 7 shows how block 4 interlocks horizontally at 11 by overlapping the top of the vertical interlock junction 10 (shown in FIG. 6) between the two blocks 2 of the preceding. The present invention provides the possibility to build a wall by using a combination of blocks 2 to start the base course of the wall and then blocks 4 to lay additional courses to the wall by interlocking the horizontal bottom tongue 14 (shown in FIG. 6) of a block 4 with the horizontal top continuous groove 13 (shown in FIG. 6) of the preceding row of blocks. The blocks are interlocked vertically 10 by assembling the vertical tongue 8 of a block 2 or 4 with the vertical groove 7 of a following block 2 or 4. The blocks are set in place with a fluid mortar or grout, and even if not necessary, it is better to overlap a block 4 on top of the mid vertical interlocking junction 10 between two blocks of a preceding row of blocks 2 or 4.

FIG. 8 to 13 illustrate a method of building a reinforcing concrete structure around each block which permits building a wall with an aligned concrete structure between each vertical row of blocks and a horizontal concrete structure between each horizontal row of blocks. Referring to FIG. 8, in a first step of the method, a course of flat bottom blocks 1 are laid end-to-end to create vertical cavities 12, a continuous horizontal groove 13 and vertical grooves 7 on the external end faces. The vertical cavities 12 of FIG. 8 are then filled with concrete 15 as shown in FIG. 9. The continuous horizontal groove 13 and the vertical grooves 7 are filled with concrete 15 as shown in FIG. 10. FIG. 11 shows how a second course of flat bottom blocks 1 is set on top of the concrete-filled course shown in FIG. 10. Even if not necessary, it is better to glue the blocks together with a fluid mortar or a grout. FIG. 12 shows the second course of blocks 1 with the continuous horizontal groove 13, the vertical cavities 12 and the vertical grooves 7. FIG. 13 shows the concrete 15 filling all the grooves and cavities shown in FIG. 12.

The flexibility to the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 14 to 19 which show how, by selecting between blocks 2 and blocks 1 and between blocks 4 and blocks 3, render it possible to create at any interval, either vertically or horizontally, a concrete reinforcing structure in a wall. FIG. 14 shows how the vertical tongue of a block 2 is interlocked at 10 with the vertical groove of a block 1 (or block 2) where no vertical reinforcing structure is required and when a vertical reinforcing structure is required then the second groove of the block 1 is positioned adjacent to the groove of a following block 2 to create a vertical cavity 12. As can be seen from FIG. 14, one can assemble as many blocks 2 or 4 as needed structurally before inserting a block 1 or 3 to create a cavity 12 which can be filled with concrete 15 as shown in FIG. 15. As shown in FIG. 16, if no horizontal reinforcing structure is required, a subsequent course of blocks 4 and 3 is horizontally interlocked at 14 with the horizontal groove of the preceding course. As can be seen from FIG. 16 and FIG. 17, one can assemble as many rows of horizontally interlocking blocks as needed, and where horizontal concrete reinforcement is required structurally, the continuous horizontal groove 13 shown in FIG. 18 is filled with concrete 15 as shown in FIG. 19. The building versatility provided by the shapes of the four-block system of the present invention provides the ability to adjust the structural capacity of a wall to correspond to specific load bearing needs. With the integrated interlocking block system of this invention a wall can be assembled by using blocks 2 and 4 glued together with a fluid mortar or grout, or a wall can be assembled with a concrete structure between each vertical row and each horizontal row of blocks by using blocks 1 only, or the vertical and horizontal concrete reinforcing structure can be introduced at any interval needed when assembling the wall, by using a combination of blocks 1, 2, 3 and 4. Steel rods can be used to reinforce the vertical or horizontal concrete structure as required. Once the wall is raised, it can be finished with a few coats of mortar or a coat of mortar and a coat of stucco on the outside, and the wall can be finished on the inside with a coat of mortar and coat of plaster.

The embodiments of the invention described above are intended to be exemplary only. The scope of the invention is therefore intended to be limited solely by the scope of the appended claims.