Title:
Dimensionally compatible stone fabrication system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for manufacturing stones for use in construction such that the manufactured stones may be easily used in conjunction and alongside compressed earth blocks. The manufactured stones have a plurality of surfaces, wherein at least one of the surfaces includes a simulated-stone appearance and a length and/or height which are determined based on dimension equations derived at least in part from compatibility factors, which may be based on the dimensions of a compressed earth block.



Inventors:
Brown, Dustin (Knoxville, TN, US)
Brown, Robert (Knoxville, TN, US)
Application Number:
11/595580
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
11/10/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/596, 52/747.12
International Classes:
E04C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAESTRI, PATRICK J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LUEDEKA NEELY GROUP, P.C. (KNOXVILLE, TN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A manufactured stone for use in building a wall, the stone having a plurality of surfaces, wherein at least one of the surfaces includes a natural stone appearance, the stone having a length and a height, at least one of which is determined based on a compatibility factor to insure dimensional compatibility of the stone in relation to contiguous stones of substantially different lengths and/or heights for being fittingly arranged in relation to one another and/or to non-stone building materials used in the construction of a wall therefrom.

2. The manufactured stone of claim 1 wherein the compatibility factor is used to derive at least one equation which substantially determines the dimension of at least one of the length or height.

3. The manufactured stone of claim 1 wherein the length dimension is substantially determined based on the following equation:
L(N)=(N/2)(CFL)+[(N/2)−1][MW] wherein L is the length of the manufactured stone and is a function of N, an integer variable ranging from one to about eight, CFL is the compatibility factor for the length, and MW is a mortar width.

4. The manufactured stone of claim 3 wherein the compatibility factor for the length is substantially equal to a length of a compressed earth block.

5. The manufactured stone of claim 3 wherein the compatibility factor for the length is substantially equal to eight inches.

6. The manufactured stone of claim 1 wherein the height dimension is substantially determined based on the following equation:
H(N)=(N/2)(CFH)+[(N/2)−1][MW] wherein H is the length of the manufactured stone and is a function of N, an integer variable ranging from one to about eight, CFH is the compatibility factor for the height, and MW is a mortar width.

7. The manufactured stone of claim 3 wherein the compatibility factor for the height is substantially equal to a height of a compressed earth block.

8. The manufactured stone of claim 3 wherein the compatibility factor for the height is substantially equal to 2.25 inches.

9. The manufactured stone of claim 1 wherein the manufactured stone comprises a crushed stone material, such that the manufactured stone has a substantially constant color and consistency throughout.

10. A wall comprising a plurality of manufactured stone blocks each having a plurality of surfaces, wherein at least one of the surfaces includes a natural stone appearance, and a plurality of non-stone building units, wherein the plurality of manufactured stones are dimensionally compatible with and substantially adjacent to the plurality of non-stone building units.

11. The wall of claim 10, wherein the manufactured stone blocks have a plurality of length and/or height dimensions, and further wherein the length and/or height dimensions are determined based on a compatibility factor which is derived from at least one of a length or a height of the non-stone building units.

12. The wall of claim 11 wherein the height dimensions of the manufactured stone blocks are substantially determined based on the following equation:
H(N)=(N/2)(CFH)+[(N/2)−1][MW] wherein H is the length of the manufactured stone blocks and is a function of N, an integer variable ranging from one to about eight, CFH is the compatibility factor for the height, and MW is a mortar width.

13. The wall of claim 11 wherein the length dimensions of the manufactured stone blocks are substantially determined based on the following equation:
L(N)=(N/2)(CFL)+[(N/2)−1][MW] wherein L is the length of the manufactured stone blocks and is a function of N, an integer variable ranging from one to about eight, CFL is the compatibility factor for the length, and MW is a mortar width.

14. The wall of claim 10, wherein a portion of the plurality of manufactured stone blocks are interleaved with the non-stone building units.

15. The wall of claim 10, wherein sections of manufactured stone blocks are interspersed with sections of non-stone building units to provide a variegated appearance to the wall.

16. A method for building a wall using a plurality of manufactured stones the method comprising: (a) choosing at least one compatibility factor corresponding to at least one of a length or a height of a compressed earth block; (b) deriving at least one dimension equation based at least in part on the compatibility factor; (c) manufacturing a plurality of manufactured stones based at least in part on the derived dimension equation; and (d) building a wall using the plurality of manufactured stones.

17. The method of claim 16 further comprising providing a plurality of compressed earth blocks, and wherein the step of building the wall comprises assembling the plurality of compressed earth blocks adjacent the manufactured stones.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein the lengths of the plurality of manufactured stones are substantially determined based on the following equation:
L(N)=(N/2)(CFL)+[(N/2)−1][MW] wherein L is the length of the manufactured stone and is a function of N, an integer variable ranging from one to about eight, CFL is the compatibility factor for the length, and MW is a mortar width.

19. The method of claim 16 wherein the heights of the plurality of manufactured stones are substantially determined based on the following equation:
H(N)=(N/2)(CFH)+[(N/2)−1][MW] wherein H is the length of the manufactured stone and is a function of N, an integer variable ranging from one to about eight, CFH is the compatibility factor for the height, and MW is a mortar width.

20. The method of claim 16 further comprising providing a plurality of compressed earth blocks, and wherein the step of building the wall comprises assembling the a portion of the plurality the manufactured stones interspersed among the plurality of compressed earth blocks.

Description:

FIELD

This invention relates to the field of building materials. More particularly, this invention relates to crushed stone building systems.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

Historically, construction of walls, interior and exterior, has implemented numerous building methods and materials. Ancient societies such as the Ancient Egyptians and the Sumarians are believed to have initiated large-scale manufacture of bricks with a systematic approach using engineered dimensions for wall construction and other types of building.

Conventional bricks, also called compressed earth blocks (CEBs), in use today are typically ceramic blocks made of kiln-fired materials, such as clay. On a small scale, clay bricks are formed in a mold, which is called the soft mud method, and on a large, commercial scale, clay bricks are made by extruding clay through a die and wire-cutting the bricks, which is called the stiff mud process. Sometimes the clay is mixed with water and these dampened clay bricks are subjected to high pressures. Such bricks are highly resistant to weathering and therefore well-suited for construction of exterior walls. The shaped clay is dried and fired to achieve the final brick shape with the desired strength. The firing process is usually done by a continuously fired kiln, in which the bricks move slowly through the firing on a conveyor belt or the like. This enables production of an essentially indefinite number of bricks which exhibit consistent physical characteristics.

Other types of building materials are sometimes used for wall construction, including wood, vinyl, stucco, and/or stones. For many years stones or natural rocks were thought by many in the building trade to be superior to bricks both functionally and aesthetically. However, stones for use in wall construction are typically heavier than bricks and must normally be sculpted into the proper shape. Some prefer stone walls because the stones are shaped and colored more naturally and randomly, and provide less of an “assembly-line” look, and more aesthetically pleasing look. However, using such irregular shapes in construction of a wall introduces difficulties in addition to regular building considerations. For example, irregular shapes may require individual stones to be broken/sculpted in order to finish the corner or side of a wall or to fit with other stones in the construction of a wall. However, this is very difficult, time-consuming, and wasteful because stones and rocks tend to break and crack irregularly. For this and other reasons, the commercial success of “natural” stone walls remains limited, despite their aesthetic, functional, and other advantages.

Attempts have been made to produce manufactured stone walls which do not require the use of sculpted or reshaped stones. Such attempts have comprised cast stone “tiles” which are cast from aggregate and/or ground stone and are plastered to the sides of a building to provide the illusion of natural stone walls. However, such stone tiles are not easily used in conjunction with conventional bricks.

A recent trend in home building involves the use of varying external materials to build a single wall, such as areas of brick and areas of wood paneling and/or areas of brick and areas of stone all in one wall surface. However, there is no known method of effectively combining bricks and stones in the production of a wall. The regularity of bricks and the irregularity of stones makes it very difficult to integrate the two into a single wall structure, even with the use of the aforementioned manufactured stone tiles.

Further, unlike the stone tiles, conventional bricks are laid on top of each other a certain distance from the side of a building to create a brick wall. The space between the bricks and the side of the building has the advantage of acting as an insulating space. Such a space is not possible with stone tiles, which are plastered to the side of a building. Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a wall with a stone appearance which enjoys such insulating properties.

In relation to the above and other needs, the present invention include a manufactured stone for use in building a wall, the manufactured stone having a plurality of surfaces, wherein at least one of the surfaces includes a simulated-stone appearance and having a length, a height, and a depth, and wherein at least one of the length, height, and depth are determined based at least on a compatibility factor. The compatibility factor is used to derive a dimension equation for the length, height, and depth and the dimension equations are used to fabricate the manufactured stone blocks.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further advantages of the invention will become known by reference to the detailed description when considered in conjunction with the figures, which are not to scale so as to more clearly show certain details, wherein like reference numbers indicate like elements throughout the several views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a block such as a compressed earth block or a manufactured stone.

FIG. 2A is a diagram of a manufactured aggregate stone.

FIG. 2B is a diagram of a manufactured aggregate stone having a broken corner illustrating a non-uniform aggregate stone consistency.

FIG. 3 shows a front view of an embodiment of a wall made with manufactured stones.

FIG. 4A and 4B a corner view and side view, respectively, of an embodiment of a wall made with manufactured stones.

FIGS. 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D are diagrams of comparisons of manufactured stones with compressed earth blocks.

FIGS. 6A and 6B show comparisons between manufactured stones and compressed earth blocks.

FIG. 7 shows a portion of a wall made with manufactured stones and compressed earth blocks.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating a method for using manufactured stones to build a wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, a diagram of a block such as a compressed earth brick or a manufactured stone block 14 is shown. It is helpful to define portions of a block 14 in order to discuss the use of the blocks 14 in the building of a wall. The length 26 is typically the longest of the three dimensions. The length, along with the height 28, define a front and rear face 38 of the block 14. The depth 30 and the height 28 define two side faces 40 of the block 14. Finally, the length 26 and the depth 30 define upper 42 and lower faces 44 of the block 14. The front and rear faces 38 and the side faces 40 are typically used on a face of a wall as discussed below. The two side faces 40 have substantially the same dimensions and the front and the rear faces 38 have substantially the same dimensions. Therefore, the phrase front face 38 refers to either the front face or the rear face, and the phrase side face 40 refers to either of the side faces.

Crushed stone or an aggregate mixture, or other material suitable for creating simulated-stone blocks, may be used for the manufactured stone blocks 22. Referring now to FIG. 2A, an aggregate stone block 10 is shown. The aggregate stone block 22 has pieces of stone 12 dispersed throughout the body of the aggregate stone block 22. These pieces of stone 12 are irregular in shape and are dispersed throughout the aggregate stone block 14 in varying consistencies. An unfinished face 16 of the aggregate stone block 22 is shown in FIG. 2A, which reveals the pieces of stone 12 used to construct the aggregate stone block 22. A finished face 18 of the aggregate stone block 22 is shown in FIG. 2B. The upper right-hand corner of the aggregate stone block 22 has been chipped from the brick and is referred to as a chipped surface 20. The coloration, texture, shape, and many other characteristics of the finished face 18 differ greatly from those of the chipped surface 20 or the unfinished face 16 (FIG. 2A). Thus, although either aggregate or crushed stone may be used for the present invention, aggregate stone blocks are less desirable than crushed stone blocks, which have a substantially constant coloration and texture throughout.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4A, and 4B, a wall 24 made from manufactured stone blocks 22 is shown. The manufactured stone blocks 22 each have a length 26, a height 28, and a depth 30. Typically, the depth 30 of the manufactured stone blocks 22 remains substantially constant. In the figures, the depth 30 of several manufactured stone blocks 22 may be seen at the corner 36 of the wall 24 between the front face 38 and the side face 40. As illustrated, in order to increase the stability of the wall 24, the manufactured stone blocks may alternately face the front face 38 and then the side face 40 as they proceed upward from the ground.

As shown, the manufactured stone blocks 22 making up the front face 38 of the wall 24 may vary in shape and dimensions. However, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, both the length 26 and the height 28 are based on compatibility factors. The compatibility factors allows the maker of the manufactured stone blocks 22 to fabricate numerous shapes and sizes of manufactured stone blocks 22 that may be used in conjunction with one another to build a stable, well organized wall 24. The dimensions of the manufactured stone blocks 22 are proportional so that various sizes of manufactured stone blocks 22 may be used in conjunction to build a wall 24. This provides improved structural integrity and support, but also a desired seemingly disorderly and more natural appearing organization of the manufactured stone blocks 22 on the wall 24.

The compatibility factors are preferably determined based on the dimensions of the classic clay brick, sometimes referred to as a compressed earth block (“CEB”). The dimensions of a compressed earth block in the United States typically include a length 26 of about eight (8) inches, a height 28 of about two and one quarter (2.25) inches, and a depth 30 of about four (4) inches. Thus, the compatibility factor for the length 26 is eight (8) inches in a preferred embodiment. Also, the compatibility factor for the height 28 is two and a quarter (2.25) inches and the compatibility factor for the depth 30 is four (4) inches and remains constant, that is, the manufactured stones 22 are preferably manufactured with dimensions at multiples of the compatibility factors for length 26 and height 28, but are manufactured at substantially the compatibility factor for depth 30, which is substantially equal to the depth 30 of a compressed earth block.

One motivation and advantage behind sizing manufactured stone blocks 22 based on their CEB counterparts is that the manufactured stone blocks 22 and the CEBs may be easily used in conjunction if their shapes are proportional. With reference to FIG. 7, a wall 24 built from both manufactured stone blocks 22 and CEBs 50 is shown, which was previously unfeasible.

Mathematical relationships discussed below relate the dimensions of the CEBs 50 to the dimensions of the manufactured stone blocks (MB) 22 and may be used in the manufacture of manufactured stone blocks 22. The manufactured stone block 22 dimensions are represented by the functions L(N), H(N) and D for length as a function of N, height as a function of N, and depth, respectively. The relationships between the dimensions of the manufactured stone blocks 22 and the CEBs 50 may be understood with reference to FIGS. 5A, 5B, 5C, and 5D. With references to these figures, “N” represents an integer variable indicating the relative size of the MB 22. For example, regarding length, for an N=1, two of the resulting MB 22 match one CEB 50 or in other words, one MB 22 matches one-half a CEB 50. For an N=2, one of the resulting MBs 22 match one CEB 50. For an N=3, one of the MBs 22 matches about one and a half CEBs 50. This is demonstrated with reference to FIG. 5A, which illustrates two CEBs 50 and four MBs 22. The lengths of the CEBs 50 are referred to as CEBL and are represented by 52. The lengths 58 of the manufactured stone blocks 22 are represented by L(N=1).

The lengths 58 of the MBs 22 are not simply half of the length 52 of the CEB. One must account for the mortar or similar substance used for setting the CEBs 50 and MBs 22 in place. The width of the mortar (MW) is represented by 54 and is preferably about half an inch. Thus, the length 58 of an MB 22 in order to fit two MBs for every one CEB (also referred to as the first size of MBs) is represented by the equation as follows:


L=(½)(CEBL)−(½)(MW).

Referring now to FIG. 5B, the second size of MBs 22 is compared to CEBs 50. The length 58 of the MBs 22 in this figure may be represented by the equation as follows:


L=CEBL.

Referring now to FIG. 5C, the third size of MBs 22 is compared to CEBs 50. The length 58 of the MBs 22 in this figure may be represented by the equation as follows:


L=( 3/2)(CEBL)−(½)(MW).

Referring now to FIG. 5D, the fourth size of MBs 22 is compared to CEBs 50. The length 58 of the MBs 22 in this figure may be represented by the equation as follows:


L=(2)(CEBL)+MW.

The lengths 58 of the above sizes and the remaining sizes of MBs may be represented by the equations compiled in TABLE 1 below.

TABLE 1
Lengths of MBs for a Given Value of N
NL
N = 1L = (1/2)(CEBL) − (1/2)(MW)
N = 2L = CEBL
N = 3L = (3/2)(CEBL) + (1/2)(MW)
N = 4L = (2)(CEBL) + MW
N = 5L = (5/2)(CEBL) + (3/2)(MW)
N = 6L = (3)(CEBL) + (2)(MW)
N = 7L = (7/2)(CEBL) + (5/2)(MW)
N = 8L = (4)(CEBL) + (3)(MW)

TABLE 1 compiles the various equations representing the lengths 58 of MBs 22 corresponding to a particular value of the integer variable N. These various equations, however, may be represented by a simplified equation including N as a variable and not a number as follows:


L(N)=(N/2)(CEBL)+[(N/2)−1][MW],

wherein L is a function of N and L is the length 58 of the MB 22, N is an integer variable, CEBL is the compatibility factor for length, which is preferably the length 52 of the CEB 50, and MW is the mortar width, which represents the preferred width of any mortar-like substance used to build the wall.

Similarly, the height 28 of the MBs 22 may be represented a simplified equation as follows:


H(N)=(N/2)(CEBH)+[(N/2)−1][MW],

wherein H is a function of N and H is the height 28 of the MB 22, N is an integer variable, CEBH is the compatibility factor for height, which is preferably the height 28 of a CEB 50, and MW is the mortar width, which represents the preferred width of any mortar-like substance used to build the wall.

As discussed above, the depth of the MBs is preferably constant and is represented by the equation as follows:


D=CEBD,

wherein D is a constant and represents the depth 30 of the MB 22 and CEBD,is the depth of the CEB 50.

In other embodiments, different compatibility factors may be chosen and equations representing those compatibility factors may be derived. For example, if CEBs from the United Kingdom were being used in conjunction with MBs 22, the compatibility factors may be CEBL=215 millimeters, CEBH=65 millimeters, and CEBD=102.5 millimeters, which are the standard dimensions of CEBs in the United Kingdom. Thus, MBs could be manufactured according to the derived equations and used in conjunction with United Kingdom CEBs without the need for time consuming modification of MBs 22.

Referring now to FIGS. 6A and 6B MBs 22 are compared to CEBs 50 in various configurations. In comparison 62, a CEB 50, which is broken in half length-wise, is compared to MBs 22. This comparison represents L(N=1) as discussed regarding FIG. 5A above. Comparison 64 has a MB 22 placed above a CEB 50. This comparison represents L(N=2) as discussed regarding FIG. 5B above. Also in comparison 64, the MB 22 is compared to three CEBs 50, which is represented by H(N=6) in the above equation. Comparison 66 shows a half-CEB and a full CEB 50 underneath a MB 22, which is represented by L(N=3) above. Comparison 68 shows a lengthwise comparison represented by L(N=2) and a height-wise comparison represented by H(N=4). Comparison 70 shows a height-wise comparison represented by H(N=8). Comparison 72 shows a length-wise comparison of L(N=4). Comparison 72 also demonstrates the space left in between the CEBs 50, which corresponds to the mortar width 54 as discussed regarding FIG. 5D above. Comparison 74 shows a height-wise comparison where H(N=6).

Referring now to FIG. 7, a wall 24 constructed from both CEBs 50 and MBs 22 is shown. As illustrated, the MBs 22 are manufactured such that their dimensions are compatible with the dimensions of the CEBs 50. This is because the dimensions of the MBs 22 are determined based on the dimensions of the CEBs 50 as discussed above. A wall constructed from both CEBs 50 and MBs may comprise two distinct sections, where one section consists entirely of CEBs and the other section consists entirely of MBs, with a transition between the two sections which is either straight, interleaved, or otherwise uneven. However, in other alternate embodiments, such as the wall shown in FIG. 7, a wall constructed from both CEBs and MBs may be variegated, with individual MBs and/or continuous or discontinuous sections of MBs interspersed amongst individual CEBs and/or continuous or discontinuous sections of CEBs; and having straight, interleaved, or otherwise uneven transitions between the sections of blocks.

Further, in other alternate embodiments of the invention, MBs may be used to construct a wall in conjunction with other building materials, such as wood paneling or vinyl siding, where certain dimensions of the building materials are used to derive the compatibility factors and related equations for determining the dimensions of MBs.

Referring now to FIG. 8, a flowchart of a method for using MBs for building a wall with increased structural stability and aesthetic design 100 is shown. First, compatibility factors are chosen 46. Once the compatibility factors are chosen 46 for length and height, and potentially depth, which are preferably based on the dimensions of a CEB, equations representing the dimensions of the MBs are derived 102. Next, the desired quantity of MBs is manufactured with dimensions based on the derived equations 104. The MBs are preferably crushed stone manufactured blocks but may be aggregate stone blocks or other brick made from various stone substitutes. Finally, the MBs are used to build a wall such as those shown in FIG. 3 or FIG. 7, which includes both MBs and CEBs.

The foregoing description of embodiments for this invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Obvious modifications or variations are possible in light of the above teachings. The embodiments are chosen and described in an effort to provide the best illustrations of the principles of the invention and its practical application, and to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as is suited to the particular use contemplated. All such modifications and variations are within the scope of the invention as determined by the appended claims when interpreted in accordance with the breadth to which they are fairly, legally, and equitably entitled.