Title:
Concrete block system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides an insulator for use in combination with a structural block having top and bottom surfaces that are connect by side surfaces. The side surfaces and the top and bottom surfaces define a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a mortar joint with adjacent blocks. The periphery has a generally vertical height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces. The insulator has a pre-formed portion of insulating material having top, bottom and side surfaces. The top and bottom surfaces define a height greater than the generally vertical height of the periphery of the block. The side surfaces define a width greater than the periphery of the block, so that the insulator extends into and insulates, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the block periphery, the mortar joint between the block and adjacent blocks.



Inventors:
Roehrig, Robert C. (Fond du Lac, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/789614
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
04/25/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/309.4, 52/561
International Classes:
E04C1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulator for use in combination with a structural block, the block having generally horizontal top and bottom surfaces, and side surfaces connecting the top and bottom surfaces, the side surfaces together with the top and bottom surfaces defining a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a mortar joint with adjacent blocks, the periphery having a generally vertical height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces, the insulator comprising: a pre-formed portion of insulating material, the portion including top, bottom and side surfaces, the top and bottom surfaces defining a height greater than the generally vertical height of the periphery of the block, and the side surfaces defining a width greater than the width of the periphery of the block, so that the insulator extends into and insulates, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the periphery of the block, the mortar joint formed between the block and adjacent blocks.

2. The insulator of claim 1, wherein at least one of the top and bottom surfaces of the insulator is inclined with respect to horizontal.

3. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the top and bottom surfaces of the insulator are positioned at an incline with respect to the top and bottom surfaces of the block

4. The insulator of claim 3, wherein a portion of the inclined surface extends beyond the top and bottom edges of the block, such that the inclined surface is positioned to generally engage the profile of an inclined surface of an adjacent insulator associated with an adjacent block.

5. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the insulating material extends beyond the periphery of the top and bottom surfaces of the block such that it is configured to inhibit passage of heat through the block by inhibiting air flow through the block and mortar joints.

6. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the insulator generally engages the block such that insulator is positioned between the block front and back surfaces.

7. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the insulator comprises a material having a compressive strength of at least 25 pounds per square inch.

8. The insulator of claim 1, wherein the insulator is formed from extruded polystyrene foam.

9. A structural element comprising: a structural block, the block having generally horizontal top and bottom surfaces, and side surfaces connecting the top and bottom surfaces and together with the top and bottom surfaces defining a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a mortar joint with adjacent blocks, the periphery having a height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces; and an insulating portion, the portion including top, bottom and side surfaces, the top and bottom surfaces defining a height greater than the height of the periphery of the block, and the side surfaces defining a width greater than the width of the periphery of the block, so that the insulator extends into and insulates, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the periphery of the block, the mortar joint formed between the block and adjacent blocks.

10. The structural element of claim 9, further comprising front and rear generally planar surfaces on the block and front and rear surfaces on the insulating portion and, wherein the front and rear surfaces of the block are positioned generally parallel to the front and rear surfaces of the insulating portion.

11. The structural element of claim 9, wherein at least one of the side surfaces of the insulator is at least partially in contact with an insulator of an adjacent block.

12. The structural element of claim 9, wherein at least one of the top and bottom surfaces of the insulating portion is positioned at an incline with respect to horizontal.

13. The structural element of claim 12, wherein a portion of the inclined top and bottom surfaces extend beyond the top and bottom surfaces of the block, such that the inclined surfaces are positioned to generally engage the profile of the top and bottom surfaces of insulating portions associated with adjacent blocks.

14. The structural element of claim 9, wherein the insulating portion comprises a material having a compressive strength of at least 25 pounds per square inch.

15. The structural element of claim 9, wherein the insulating portion is configured to inhibit passage of heat through the block by inhibiting air flow through the block and mortar joints.

16. The structural element of claim 9, wherein the insulator is formed from extruded polystyrene foam.

17. A structure comprising: a plurality of structural elements operable to form a wall, the plurality of structural elements comprising at least first and second structural blocks, the blocks each having generally horizontal top and bottom surfaces, and side surfaces connecting the top and bottom surfaces and together with the top and bottom surfaces defining a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a first mortar joint between the adjacent side surfaces of the first and second blocks, the periphery having a height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces; at least first and second insulators, the insulators each including top, bottom and side surfaces, the top and bottom surfaces defining a height greater than the height of the periphery of the block, and the side surfaces defining a width greater than the width of the periphery of the block, so that the first and second insulators extends into and insulate, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the periphery of the respective first and second blocks.

18. The structure of claim 17, wherein the top and bottom surfaces of the first and second insulators are inclined with respect to the top and bottom surfaces of the first and second structural blocks.

19. The structure of claim 17, further comprising a third structural block and a third insulator positioned on top of the second structural block and second insulator and forming a second mortar joint therebetween, such that the second and third insulators extend into at least a portion of the second mortar joint.

20. The structure of claim 19, wherein the top and bottom surfaces of the second and third insulators are inclined with respect to the top and bottom surfaces of the second and third blocks.

21. The structure of claim 20, wherein the top surface of the second insulator and the bottom surface of the third insulator being adjacent and generally parallel such that the adjacent surfaces engage to inhibit the passage of air through the mortar joint.

22. The structure of claim 17, wherein the insulators comprise a material having a compressive strength of at least 25 pounds per square inch.

23. The structure of claim 17, wherein the insulators are formed from extruded polystyrene foam.

24. The structure of claim 17, further comprising means for forming a barrier between adjacent insulators to reduce air flow and heat transfer through the structure.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of co-pending provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/904,085, filed Feb. 28, 2007 (attorney docket number 021448-9057-00), the subject matter of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to concrete blocks. More specifically, the present invention relates to concrete blocks having a foam insulator.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, the invention provides an insulator for use in combination with a structural block having top and bottom surfaces that are connected by side surfaces. The side surfaces and the top and bottom surfaces define a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a mortar joint with adjacent blocks. The periphery has a generally vertical height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces. The insulator is a pre-formed portion of insulating material having top, bottom and side surfaces. The top and bottom surfaces define a height greater than the generally vertical height of the periphery of the block. The side surfaces define a width greater than the periphery of the block, so that the insulator extends into and insulates, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the block periphery, the mortar joint between the block and adjacent blocks.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a structural element having a structural block with top and bottom surfaces, and side surfaces that connect the top and bottom surfaces to define a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a mortar joint with adjacent blocks. The periphery has a height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces. An insulating portion has top, bottom and side surfaces. The top and bottom surfaces define a height greater than the height of the periphery of the block, and the side surfaces define a width greater than the width of the periphery of the block. The insulator extends into and insulates, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the periphery of the block, the mortar joint formed between the block and adjacent blocks.

In yet another embodiment the invention provides structure comprised of a plurality of structural elements operable to form a wall. The plurality of structural elements include at least first and second structural blocks. The blocks each have top and bottom surfaces, and side surfaces that connecting the top and bottom surfaces to define a continuous periphery that at least partially forms a first mortar joint between the adjacent side surfaces of the first and second blocks. The periphery has a height bounded by the top and bottom surfaces, and a width bounded by the side surfaces. At least first and second insulators each include top, bottom and side surfaces. The top and bottom surfaces define a height greater than the height of the periphery of the block, and the side surfaces defining a width greater than the width of the periphery of the block. The first and second insulators extend into and insulates, on at least a portion of all surfaces forming the periphery of the respective first and second blocks.

Other aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an end view of a block and an insulator according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the block and insulator of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the block and insulator of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the block and insulator of FIGS. 1-3.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a plurality of blocks and insulators forming a wall of a structure.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the blocks each having an additional foam insulator.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms “mounted,” “connected,” “supported,” and “coupled” and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, “connected” and “coupled” are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings.

FIG. 1 shows a concrete block 10 and an insulator 15. The concrete block 10 has an end profile that is generally in the shape of a rectangle, having top and bottom surfaces, 20, 25, respectively and front and back surfaces, 30, 35, respectively. The insulator 15 end profile is generally in the shape of a parallelogram, having top and bottom inclined surfaces, 40, 45, respectively and front and back vertical surfaces, 50, 55, respectively. The top and bottom surfaces 40, 45 of the insulator 15 define two inner edges 60 that are positioned within the end profile of the concrete block, while two outer edges 65 extend beyond the end profile of the concrete block 10, in the illustrated embodiment. The insulator 15 is positioned between the front and back surfaces 30, 35 of the concrete block 10. In the illustrated embodiment, at least a portion of the inclined surfaces 40, 45 extends beyond the top and bottom surfaces 20, 25 of the concrete block 10. In some embodiments, slots 70 are included in a portion of the concrete block 10, such that a lower portion of the block 10 may be removed to form a cutout 75, as will be described in greater detail below.

The insulator 15 may be formed of any suitable insulating material. In one form, the insulator 15 is formed from extruded polystyrene foam having a density of at least 1.6 pounds per cubic foot. The insulator has a compressive strength within the range of 15-35 pounds per square inch, a more preferred compressive strength in a range of 20-30 pounds per square inch, and a density of 25 pounds per square inch. In another form, the insulator 15 has a density of about 1.3 pounds per cubit foot and a compressive strength of about 15 pounds per square inch. In a third form, the insulator 15 has a density of about 1.8 pounds per cubic foot and a compressive strength of about 40 pounds per square inch. In a fourth form, the insulator 15 has a density of about 2.2 pounds per cubic foot and a compressive strength of about 60 pounds per square inch. In yet another form, the insulator 15 has a density of about 3 pounds per cubic foot and a compressive strength of about 100 pounds per square inch. While the preceding examples have been given, it is to be understood that intermediate densities and compressive strength values are included within the scope of the invention. Further, densities and compressive strength values that are not within the range of examples can be attained by changing the material used to form the insulator 15.

FIG. 2 shows the concrete block 10 and the foam insulator 15 showing the bottom surfaces 25, 45, respectively. The illustrated concrete block 10 includes two side surfaces 80 that are parallel to each other. The concrete block 10 includes outer wall members 85 that form the front and back surfaces 30, 35. In the illustrated embodiment, the outer wall members 85 are connected by two inner cross-wall members 90 to form the concrete block 10. The cross-wall members 90 define a middle aperture 95 and first and second side apertures 100 between the front and back surfaces 30, 35 of the block 10. The middle aperture 95 is enclosed on four sides by the cross-wall members 90 and outer wall members 85, while the first and second side apertures 100 are partially enclosed by one of the cross-wall members 90 and the outer wall members 85.

FIG. 3 shows the relationship between the concrete block 10 and the insulator 15 looking toward the front surfaces 30, 50, respectively. The illustrated insulator 15 extends beyond the concrete block 10 along the top, bottom and side surfaces, 20, 25, 80. Each insulator 15 includes means for forming a barrier between adjacent insulators 15 to reduce air flow and heat transfer through the structure. In the illustrated embodiment, the top and bottom surfaces 40, 45 of the foam insulator 15 are inclined, to form angled planes having inner and outer edges 60, 65, respectively.

As discussed in more detail below, the angled surfaces 40, 45 abut with the angled surfaces 40, 45 of the adjacent insulators 15 to reduce air flow and heat transfer through the structure formed with the concrete blocks 10. Other surface configurations e.g. complementary and mating convolutions such as surfaces that have projections and complementary apertures that reduce air flow and heat transfer through the structure. In still other surface configurations, the concrete blocks 10 have combinations of interface surfaces, such as having a first column of concrete blocks 10 having a first interfacing surfaces and a second column of concrete blocks 10 having a second interfacing surfaces, e.g. the first column has planar angled surfaces that incline upward in the inward direction while the second column has planar angled surfaces that incline upward in the outward direction with respect to the inward and outward portions of the surface.

The inner edges 60 are positioned generally between the top and bottom surfaces 20, 25 of the concrete block 10, while the outer edges 65 are positioned beyond the top and bottom surfaces 20, 25. In the illustrated embodiment, the top surface 40 of the insulator 15 has two notches 105 adjacent to the cross-wall members 90, so that the insulator 15 is inserted into the concrete block 10 without interference between the cross-wall members 90 and the insulator 15. The side surfaces 108 of the insulator 15 extend beyond and are generally parallel to the side surfaces 80 of the concrete block 10.

FIG. 4 shows the insulator 15 having notches 105 and being exploded off of the concrete block 10 having cutouts 75 on the cross-wall members 90 that receive the notches 105. The illustrated insulator 15 is shaped generally like the letter “E” such that the insulator 15 includes a middle projection 110 and first and second side projections 115. The concrete block 10 receives the middle projection 110 into the middle aperture 95, and the first and second side projections 115 into the first and second side apertures 100. Dotted lines 120 are included on the illustrated insulator 15 to define horizontal, to demonstrate that the top and bottom surfaces 40, 45 of the insulator 15 are inclined with respect to horizontal. The slots 70 are also shown on the cross-wall members 90.

FIG. 5 shows a portion of a wall 125 being formed by concrete blocks 10 and insulators 15. The front surfaces 30 of the blocks 10 form a front wall surface 130. The first and second side apertures 100 in the concrete blocks 10 are enclosed on four sides when the concrete blocks 10 are positioned adjacent one another. A portion of mortar 135 is positioned on the adjoining portions of the top, bottom and side surfaces, 20, 25, 80, respectively, thereby forming a mortar joint 140. The mortar joint 140 affixes the concrete blocks 10 with respect to one another. The concrete block 10 receives the insulator 15 in an interlocking relationship, such that the insulator 15 is generally affixed to the concrete block 10 when positioned adjacent to other concrete blocks 10 and insulators 15. Movement of the insulator 15 with respect to the concrete block 10 is inhibited because of the relationship between the cutouts 75 and notches 105 and also because of the insulators 15 in adjacent concrete blocks 10.

A first concrete block 10a and a first insulator 15a are positioned adjacent a second concrete block 10b and a second insulator 15b, such that the side surfaces 80 of the first and second concrete blocks, 10a, 10b, respectively form a first mortar joint 140a. The illustrated first mortar joint 140a is generally vertical. The first and second insulators 15a, 15b, respectively extend into the space between the first and second concrete blocks 10a, 10b, respectively, that is defined by the first mortar joint 140a. In some embodiments, the first and second insulators 15a, 15b, are in contact with each other. In the illustrated embodiment, a third concrete block 10c and insulator 15c are placed on top of the second concrete block 10b and insulator 15b to form a second mortar joint 140b therebetween. The top and bottom surfaces 40, 45, of the insulators 15b, 15c, are inclined to form inner and outer edges 60, 65. The outer edges 65 extend beyond the top and bottom surfaces 30, 35 of the concrete blocks 10b 10c, while the inner edges 60 of the illustrated embodiment do not extend beyond the top and bottom surfaces 20, 25 of the concrete blocks, 10b, 10c. In some embodiments, the inclined surfaces 40, 45 of the insulators 15b, 15c are in contact with one another.

The remaining slots 70 are included in the concrete block 10 such that another cutout 75 can be made in each of the concrete block cross-wall members 90 to receive a second insulator 15′, as is illustrated in FIG. 6. Two insulators 15, 15′ are inserted into each concrete block 10 in the embodiment shown in FIG. 6. The top and bottom surfaces 40, 45 of the insulators 15, 15′ are inclined with respect to the top and bottom surfaces 20, 25 of the concrete blocks 10 to form the interlocking relationship with the concrete block 10 and the adjacent insulators 15, 15′ as was described for a single insulator 15, above. Although two cross-wall members 90 and two mating cutouts 75 are illustrated, it is envisioned that more cross-wall members 90, and thus, more mating cutouts 75 could be included for larger concrete blocks 10 to increase the stability and strength of the concrete blocks 10.

The wall 125 may have a variety of thermal resistance values, depending on the thickness of the insulator 15, the number of insulators 15 per block 10, the density of the insulator 15, and the relative dimensions of the block 10 and insulator 15. One example includes a first wall having one 2″ wide insulator per block. The first wall has a thermal resistance within the range of 4-17 (hr sq.ft ° F./Btu inch). A second example includes a second wall having two 2″ wide insulators per block. The second wall has a thermal resistance within the range of 6-30 (hr sq.ft ° F./Btu inch). A third example includes a third wall having one 1″ wide insulator per block. The third wall has a thermal resistance within the range of 3-12 (hr sq.ft ° F./Btu inch). The block 10 used in these examples has dimensions of 15.69″×11.64″×3.72″, although this dimensions are not critical and the block 10 could be nearly any size or shape. The insulator(s) 15 used in these examples has length of about 16″ and a width of about 12″. Thus, the insulator dimensions are slightly larger than the block 10. In some embodiments, the insulator 15 can be as much as ⅜″ greater in length and height than the block 10. In some embodiments, the insulator 15 is more than ⅜″ wider and taller than the block 10. The width of the insulator 15 has been shown in examples to range from 1-2 inches, but can range from as narrow at ¾″ to as wide as 4″.

Various features and advantages of the invention are set forth in the following claims.