Title:
Screed Panels Using Fiber Reinforced concrete
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A construction panel for use with fiber reinforced concrete finish is disclosed. The panel includes a core member comprising a composite of wire trusses and foam blocks secured in a compressed shape. The core member also incorporates wire mesh strips having screed ridges for receiving and smoothing fiber reinforced concrete applied to the composite.



Inventors:
Farrell Jr., William J. (Anniston, AL, US)
Application Number:
11/734652
Publication Date:
12/13/2007
Filing Date:
04/12/2007
Assignee:
MET-ROCK, LLC (Anniston, AL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C1/41; E04B2/84; E04C2/04; E04C2/288; E04C2/42; E04C5/04; E04F15/06; E04F19/10; E04H12/00; E04C
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHILCOT, RICHARD E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CAHN & SAMUELS LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A construction panel comprising: a core member comprising a sandwich of trusses and foam blocks, at least two wire mesh strips secured to an outside face of said core member leading, said wire mesh strips being secured to said outside face by attachment to leading wires of trusses adjacent left and right edges of said mesh strips, and wherein said wire mesh strips include an outwardly extending ridge that serves as a screed for finishing materials applied to said core.

2. The construction panel of claim 1, wherein said panel has fiber reinforced concrete applied to at least its outer face to a depth equivalent to a height of said screed ridge.

3. The construction panel of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of braces securing two trusses of said core member together to hold foam disposed between said trusses in a compressed condition.

4. The construction panel of claim 3, wherein said braces comprise length of wire including a leg portion on each end, wherein said leg portions are welded to said trusses in areas where a zig-zag wire of said tresses intersects a bottom or top stay wire of said trusses.

5. The construction panel of claim 4, wherein a brace is located every 16 inches.

6. The construction panel of claim 5, wherein said braces comprise 3/16 inch metal wire.

7. The construction panel of claim 1, wherein said wire mesh strips comprise 1″ by 1″ 9-guage welded wire mesh.

8. The construction panel of claim 7, wherein said wire mesh strips include an 11-guage screed wire at the apex of said screed ridges.

9. The construction panel of claim 8, wherein said trusses comprise 9-guage trusses having top and bottom stay wires secured to a zig-zag central wire at points where said zig-zag wire intersects with said top and bottom stay wires.

10. The construction panel of claim 9, wherein said core comprises nine trusses and eight polystyrene blocks.

Description:

This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. Ser. No. 10/696,583, filed Oct. 30, 2003, which is a non-provisional of U.S. Ser. No. 60/422,089 filed on Oct. 30, 2002.

I. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to construction materials. More particularly, this invention relates to wire mesh panel screeds, screed panel systems and novel methods of constructing panels using fiber reinforced concrete for use in construction.

II. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Screed systems are known in the art. For example, in a traditional method of plastering a wall product, ceiling, or floor, without the placing of tiles on the wall product thereafter, wooden float strips are used to guide a straight edge across an area forming the wall product being plastered, while raking off excess mud, etc. left in the application of the mud. The float strips, or “screeds” are tapped into the prepared or wet mud, such as mortar, cement, or other suitable materials, with a separate level held against one or more of them to obtain a horizontal, vertical, or other orientation or plum. The float strips, straight edge, and the board carrying the mud itself, are usually wet before use so that they will not draw moisture out of the prepared mud. It is plumbed as much as possible, for the purpose of keeping the finished wall product or ceiling surfaces as straight as possible, however, a true planar wall surface is not generated with the traditional tools, and much is left up to the individual craftsman or novice.

As will be appreciated, the difficulties with prior art screed systems are particularly acute with respect to preparing walls, such as foundation walls for buildings. In many prior art techniques, a craftsman looking to plaster a wall would have to prepare initial mud columns by hand on the wall. These columns would be erected for accepting a screed which would be used to allow the wall to be filled and cut to a uniform depth. However, mud columns crafted by hand were never truly uniform and difficult and time consuming to construct. Other artisans have tried to overcome these difficulties by fabricating pre-formed screeds for attachment to building materials, thereby by-passing the need for hand made screed columns. However, these prior art methods still suffered from the drawbacks that they were labor intensive and had to be preformed on site. For example, the screeds could not be put into place until the building materials were in place and ready for finishing.

The foregoing underscores some of the problems associated with conventional building and finishing techniques and devices. Furthermore, the foregoing highlights the long-felt, yet unresolved need in the art for a screed system which allows for building materials, such as walls or wall panels or roof or floor panels, to be prefabricated and prepared for immediate finishing.

In Applicant's co-pending application, U.S. Ser. No. 10/696,583, filed Oct. 30, 2003, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety, there is disclosed novel construction panels comprising wire mesh members having built-in screeds that sandwich a middle member of building materials. The built-in screeds serve as visual and mechanical screeds for cutting and finishing materials deposited onto the outside faces of the panels. As disclosed in Applicant's co-pending application, the wire mesh members are designed to receive concrete, shotcrete, or the like in an amount sufficient to provide structural rigidity and strength to the panel member. To achieve this end, the panels include a screed ridge that extends about ½ inch or so from the rest of the mesh which is also spaced about ½ inch from the middle member. Thus, as will be appreciated, when cut using the screed, one inch of material covers the middle member with a metal skeletal matrix imbedded therein such that the material will harden when dry to form a strong wall that can support the weights normally encountered in construction applications.

Recently, fiber reinforced concrete materials have been developed which purport to do away with the need of rebar or other metal skeletal materials to aid the strength of the concrete. One such example of a fiber reinforced concrete is Helix™ manufactured by Polytorx LLC of Ann Arbor, Mich. Helix™ is described as being toothpick sized, coated metallic wire which has been twisted so it locks like a screw and when mixed into concrete forms a matrix of strength, durability and crack resistance that nothing else can provide. Applicant has determined that reinforced concrete materials may be suitable for use with the novel built-in screed panels described in its co-pending application and may be used with less or no wire mesh material.

III. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention makes use of fiber reinforced concrete or the like which do not require rebar or metal skeletal materials for strength in built-in screed panels. One object of the invention is to provide a building panel ready for attachment and finishing. According to this object of the invention, one aspect of the invention is to provide a construction panel comprising a core member comprised of polystyrene blocks and trusses clipped together and having a screed integral therewith.

An advantage of the invention lies in that the panels require little of no wire mesh sandwiching the core member. Another advantage of the invention lies in that a screed member or members may be attached to one or both sides of the core member to serve as a visual and mechanical built-in screed. According to another aspect of the invention, the core member may include a plurality of mesh strips having screed ridges attached thereto for providing a suitable screed means for cutting and finishing reinforced concrete applied to the core member.

According to another object of the invention, the middle member comprises a sandwich of wire trusses and polystyrene blocks held in compression using clips. In accordance with this object of the invention, the wire trusses and polystyrene materials are compressed by compression means, such as a jig, and secured in the compressed state by clips welded to adjacent trusses in a number and manner sufficient to hold the core member as a compressed panel.

Another object of the invention is to provide methods of making the aforementioned construction panels and methods for finishing the aforementioned panels.

Another object of the invention is to provide novel methods of installing the aforementioned construction panels and joining the panels to other panels or other construction components.

The invention as described and claimed herein should become evident to a person of ordinary skill in the art given the following enabling description and drawings. The aspects and features of the invention believed to be novel and other elements characteristic of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The drawings are for illustration purposes only and are not drawn to scale unless otherwise indicated. The drawings are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. The following enabling disclosure is directed to one of ordinary skill in the art and presupposes that those aspects of the invention within the ability of the ordinarily skilled artisan are understood and appreciated.

IV. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numbers indicate identical or functionally similar elements.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a fiber reinforced concrete panel member according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a close-up perspective view of a portion of the top of the panel of FIG. 1 indicated by the circle A where a pair of wire mesh strips are attached.

FIG. 3 is a close-up perspective view of a portion of the front of the middle of the panel of FIG. 1 indicated by the circle B where a metal clip is included to hold a pair of trusses in compression.

While the invention will be described and disclosed in connection with certain preferred embodiments and procedures, it is not intended to limit the invention to those specific embodiments and procedures. Rather it is intended to cover all such alternative embodiments and modifications as fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.

V. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Generally, the present invention relates to novel screed devices and methods, and in particular the use of built-in or integral screeds with fiber reinforced concrete applications. While the present invention is described in connection with a construction panel having wire mesh strips with screed ridges, it will be readily appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art that the teachings of the present invention can be applied to a variety of construction needs in a variety of fields. In addition, while the present invention will be described in connection with prefabricated panels constructed according to the teaching herein, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the novel tools and methods described herein can be applied to a variety of construction needs in a variety of fields. For example, the panels of the present invention could be used in form and pour applications, such as setting up steel forms for a basement wall then dropping the panels inside the steel form.

A preferred embodiment of the invention is a construction panel for building a load bearing wall of a building. In its simplest form, as depicted in FIG. 1, construction panel 10 according to the invention comprises a rectangular core member 100. The core member 100 may comprise any suitable material for the intended use of the panel 10. For example, in some embodiments the core member 100 comprises of a plurality of metal trusses 101 separated by intervening polystyrene blocks 111. In a presently preferred embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, core member 100 comprises a composite of nine wire trusses 101 and eight elongated blocks of polystyrene 111. The trusses 101 are common wire trusses which include top and bottom stay wires 102, 103 held parallel to one another by a zig-zag central wire 104 welded to one of the respective stay wires at each crest and valley intersection point 105.

The core member composite is compressed prior to being secured in its panel form. Although any suitable means for compressing the composite may be utilized, it is presently preferred to utilize the novel methods and tools for compressing the composite described in Applicant's co-pending application U.S. Ser. No. 10/696,583, filed Oct. 30, 2003.

In contrast to Applicant's co-pending application wherein the core composite is sandwiched and secured between two sheets of wire mesh via hog rings on the trusses, the panel 10 of the present invention utilizes a plurality of clips or braces 120 to secure the core member 100 in its compressed panel form. While it is well within the skill of the ordinary artisan to devise suitable clips or braces for holding the composite, a presently preferred embodiment utilizes wire braces 120 that are secured between two trusses 101. In particular, according to a presently preferred embodiment, 6 inch long braces of 3/16 inch diameter wire having a ¾ inch leg on each end is used. As best shown in FIG. 3, this configuration allows for the leg 121 on each end to be used such that the brace 120 can be secured between two trusses 101, attached every 16 inches, in a location where the zig-zag wire 104 of a truss 101 is welded to the top and bottom stay wires 102, 103 of the truss 101.

While it is possible to use the leading edge of the truss as a screed for cutting fiber reinforced concrete or other material deposited on the core 100, a presently preferred embodiment contemplates use of wire mesh strips 150. Wire mesh strips 150 are preferably used because the leading edges of the trusses may not be straight enough to allow proper cutting and smoothing of the concrete or other finishing material. As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 3, wire mesh strips 150 of about 6 inches in length are used. Preferably, a strip of mesh 120 is used every 36 inches off-enter to provide the advantageous features of the built-in screeds as described in co-pending application U.S. Ser. No. 10/696,583. To this end, the wire mesh strips 150 also include a screed ridge 151 defined therein. The screed ridge 151 is preferably defined in the mesh strip 120 as a V-shaped impression with an outwardly extending apex akin to that described in Applicant's co-pending application. As best shown in FIG. 2, the wire mesh strips 150 are preferably disposed on both sides of the core member 100 to allow for receipt and cutting of fiber reinforced concrete or the like. The wire mesh strips 150 are also preferably secured to the core 100 by welding each outer edge wire to the adjacent stay wire of the trusses on the left and right edges of the strip. However, any suitable means for securing the wire mesh strips 150 to the core 100 should be deemed within the scope of the invention.

According to this embodiment of the invention, the wire mesh strips 150 may be of any suitable wire mesh or like material. Typically, wire mesh is manufactured as a grid of vertical and horizontal welded wire strands, such as a 4 foot by 8 foot piece of 1″×1″ wire mesh. According to a presently preferred embodiment, the wire mesh strips comprise a 1″×1″ 9-guage welded wire mesh configured into 6 inch strips having a central screed ridge formed therein and including an 11-guage screed wire at the apex of the screed ridge. This configuration is particularly preferred when 9-guage wire trusses are used. However, it should be understood that other configurations are possible, for example, in an alternate embodiment the wire mesh strip comprises a 14-gauge galvanized 1″×1″ wire mesh with a welded 9-gauge wire as the lead wire at the apex of each screed ridge.

As alluded to above, the panels using wire mesh strips having screed ridges or panels using the leading edge of the trusses as screeds may be used in conjunction with a fiber reinforced concrete or like material that does not require rebar or other metal skeletal substructure to ensure adequate strength to support the weights and environments the panel is expected to encounter. A presently preferred material for use with the present invention is HeliX™ manufactured by Polytorx LLC of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Neither the distance between the screed ridges nor the number of screed ridges is critical to the invention and all such variations should be deemed to be within the scope of the invention. However, it is preferred in this embodiment to provide two screed ridges at no more than 40 inches apart, such as when a 6 inch strip of mesh is incorporated into an 8 foot panel ever 36 inches off center.

One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the materials of construction for each of the component parts may be varied to take advantage of certain properties or to fit an intended use.

Additionally, as will be appreciated, the exact configuration and height of the screed ridges is not critical and can be varied according the skill of one in the art to suit the intended purpose of the panel and the depth of finishing materials to be applied. Presently preferred heights for the ridges are about that of the depth of the finishing material that is to be applied to the wire mesh or panel.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adaptations and modifications of the above-described preferred embodiments can be configured without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Therefore, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described herein.