Title:
Extruded Structural Beam
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An extruded structural beam having a first member comprising rigid webbing interposed between a top flange and bottom flange. The top and bottom flanges of the first member each have a groove formed thereon for receiving a spline to secure screening material. Similarly, a second member having rigid webbing interposed between a top flange and bottom flange have a groove formed on the flanges for receiving a spline to secure screening material. The top and bottom flanges of both the first member and second member each further comprise opposing longitudinal channels for coupling the flanges so that a rectangular structural beam is formed. The outer surfaces of the flanges each further comprise a longitudinal slot so that a plurality of fasteners can be installed, through the longitudinal slots and flanges to secure the first member and second member together.



Inventors:
Hall, Brian (Orlando, FL, US)
Armstrong, Jim (Orlando, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/733291
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
04/10/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOLLOWAY, JASON R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Matthew G. McKinney (Winter Springs, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An extruded structural beam comprising: a first member having a first webbing interposed between a first top flange and a first bottom flange wherein said first top flange is disposed perpendicular to said first webbing and parallel to said first bottom flange: said first top flange having a longitudinal channel formed on a first lower surface of said first top flange; said top flange having a first upper surface further comprising a first upper groove formed, thereon for receiving a first upper spline; said first bottom flange having a longitudinal channel formed on a first lower surface of said first bottom flange; and said bottom flange further comprising a first lower groove for receiving a first lower spline; a second member having a second webbing interposed between a second top flange and a second bottom flange wherein said second top flange is disposed perpendicular to said second webbing and parallel to said second bottom flange; said second top flange further comprising a longitudinal channel formed on a second lower surface of said second top flange; said top flange having a second upper surface further comprising a second upper groove formed thereon for receiving a second upper spline; said second bottom flange having a longitudinal channel formed on a second lower surface of said second bottom flange; and said second bottom flange further comprising a second lower groove for receiving a second lower spline; said longitudinal channel of said first top flange removably coupled to said longitudinal channel of said second top flange and said, longitudinal channel of said first, bottom flange is removably coupled to said longitudinal channel of said second bottom flange so that a rectangular structural beam is farmed.

2. The structural beam of claim 1 wherein said first member and said second member are extruded through a die process to a pre-determined length.

3. The structural beam of claim 1, wherein said first upper surface of said top flange of said first member further comprising an upper longitudinal slot so that a plurality of fasteners can be installed through said upper longitudinal slot and through said top flange of said second member to secure said top flange of said first member and said fop flange of said second member.

4. The structural beam of claim 1, wherein said second lower surface of said bottom flange of said second member further comprising a lower longitudinal slot so that a plurality of fasteners can be installed through said lower longitudinal slot and through said bottom flange of said first member to secure said bottom flange of said first member and said bottom flange of said second member.

5. The structural beam of claim 1, wherein said first member and said second member are comprised of an aluminum alloy.

6. The structural beam of claim 1, wherein said structural beam is of hollow construction.

7. The structural beam of claim 1, wherein said first member and said second member form a standard beam shape that is commonly used in the construction of aluminum structures.

8. The structural beam of claim 1, further comprising a first planar strut wherein said first planar stmt having a first upper longitudinal strut projection adjacent to an outer surface of said first planar strut.

9. The structural beam of claim 8, wherein said first planar strut having a first lower longitudinal strut projection adjacent to said outer surface of said first planar strut.

10. The structural beam of claim 9, wherein said first planar strut further comprising a first track interposed between said first upper longitudinal strut projection and said first lower longitudinal strut projection on said outer surface of said first planar strut.

11. The structural beam of claim 10, wherein said first member further comprising a first upper longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said first member so that said first upper longitudinal projection engages said first upper longitudinal strut projection.

12. The structural beam of claim 11, wherein said first member further comprising a first lower longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said first member so that said first lower longitudinal projection engages said first lower longitudinal strut projection.

13. The structural beam of claim 12, wherein said first member farther comprising a first T-shaped projection interposed between said first upper longitudinal member projection and said lower longitudinal member projection so that said first T shaped projection engages said first track on said outer surface of said first planar strut.

14. The structural, beam of claim 13, further comprising a second planar strut wherein said second planar strut having a second upper longitudinal, strut projection adjacent to an outer surface of said second planar strut.

15. The structural beam of claim 14, wherein said second planar strut having a second lower longitudinal, strut projection, adjacent to said, outer surface of said second planar strut.

16. The structural beam, of claim 15, wherein said second planar strut farther comprising a second track interposed between said second upper longitudinal strut projection and said second lower longitudinal strut projection on said outer surface of said second planar strut.

17. The structural beam of claim 16, wherein said second member further comprising a second upper longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said second member so that said second upper longitudinal projection engages said second upper longitudinal strut projection.

18. The structural beam of claim 17, wherein said second member further comprising a second lower longitudinal member projection, adjacent to an inner surface of said second member so that said second lower longitudinal projection engages said second lower longitudinal strut projection.

19. The structural beam of claim 18, wherein said second member further comprising a second T-shaped projection interposed between said second upper longitudinal member projection and said lower longitudinal member projection so that said second T-shaped projection engages said second track on said outer surface of said second planar strut.

20. The structural beam of claim 1, further comprising a first planar strut wherein, said first planar strut having a first upper strut track adjacent to an outer surface of said first planar strut.

21. The structural beam of claim 20, wherein said first planar stmt having a first lower strut track adjacent to said outer surface of said first planar strut.

22. The structural beam of claim 21, wherein said first planar strut further comprising an intermediate strut track interposed between said first upper strut track and said first lower strut track on said outer surface of said first, planar strut.

23. The structural beam of claim 22, wherein said first member further comprising a first upper T-shaped projection adjacent to an inner surface of said first member so that said first upper T-shaped projection engages said first upper strut back.

24. The structural beam of claim 23, wherein said first member further comprising a first lower T-shaped projection adjacent to an inner surface of said first member so that said first lower T-shaped projection engages said first lower strut track.

25. The structural beam of claim 24, wherein said first member further comprising an intermediate T-shaped, projection interposed between said first upper T-shaped projection and said first lower T-shaped projection so that said intermediate T-shaped projection engages said first intermediate strut track on said outer surface of said, first planar strut.

26. The structural beam of claim 25, further comprising a second planar strut wherein said second planar strut having a second upper strut track adjacent to an outer surface of said second planar strut.

27. The structural beam of claim 20, wherein said second planar strut having a second lower strut track adjacent to said outer surface of said second planar strut.

28. The structural beam of claim 21, wherein said second planar strut further comprising an intermediate strut track interposed between said second upper strut track and said second lower strut track on said outer surface of said second planar strut.

29. The structural beam of claim 22, wherein said second member further comprising a second upper T-shaped projection adjacent to an inner surface of said second member so that said second upper T-shaped projection engages said second upper strut track.

30. The structural beam of claim 23, wherein said second member further comprising a second lower T-shaped projection adjacent to an inner surface of said second member so that said second lower T-shaped projection engages said second lower strut track.

31. The structural beam of claim 24, wherein said second member further comprising an intermediate T-shaped projection interposed between said second upper T-shaped projection and said second lower T-shaped projection so that said intermediate T-shaped projection engages said, second intermediate strut track on said outer surface of said second planar strut.

32. The structural beam of claim 1, further comprising a first planar strut wherein said first planar stmt having a first upper longitudinal strut projection adjacent to an outer surface of said first planar strut.

33. The structural beam of claim 32, wherein said first planar strut having a first lower longitudinal strut projection adjacent to said outer surface of said first planar strut.

34. The structural beam of claim 33, wherein said first member further comprising a first upper longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said first member so that said first upper longitudinal projection engages said first upper longitudinal strut projection.

35. The structural beam of claim 34, wherein said first member further comprising a first lower longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said first member so that said first lower longitudinal projection engages said first lower longitudinal strut projection.

36. The structural beam of claim 35, further comprising a second planar strut wherein said second planar strut having a second upper longitudinal strut projection adjacent to an outer surface of said second planar strut.

37. The structural beam of claim 36, wherein said second planar strut having a second lower longitudinal strut projection adjacent to said outer surface of said second planar strut.

38. The structural beam of claim 37, wherein said second member further comprising a second upper longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said second member so that said second upper longitudinal projection engages said second upper longitudinal strut projection.

39. The structural beam of claim 38, wherein said second member further comprising a second lower longitudinal member projection adjacent to an inner surface of said second member so that said second lower longitudinal projection engages said second lower longitudinal strut projection.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to structural beams, and more specifically to using a novel means of assembly and flange design to increase the strength, of a structural beam.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It is common for lightweight aluminum alloy beams to be used to construct the framework for a screened pool enclosure. The beams are typically assembled in the field from two separate members to form a hollow box beam. The distance that the aluminum beam can span over an open space without additional support is determined by the thickness, or gauge, of the aluminum. Another factor is dimensions of the beam. Although a beam with a larger cross section provides additional, strength and can span larger distances, a disadvantage to a larger beam is that it is not aesthetically pleasing, is heavy in weight making it more difficult to work with in the field and more expensive.

There have been attempts to improve the prior art aluminum alloy beams to increase the strength without increasing the size and weight of the beams. However, one shortcoming of the prior art is that there is no interlocking relationship between the two separate members. Therefore, a weakness of the prior art beams is that the fasteners securing the flanges of the two members together are subject to high tension, which may cause the beam to fell under load. Accordingly, what is needed in the art is a beam that has interlocking flanges to increase the strength of the beam and to reduce the tension on the fasteners and possibility of local buckling.

Another need exists in the art for the two separate members of the beam to act as one unit and to decrease the likelihood of local buckling under design loads.

Another need exists in the art for a beam that increases span distances over the standard legacy beam shape in the industry.

Another need exists in the art for a structural beam that that is lightweight and easy to assemble in the field.

Another need exists in the art for an improved structural beam wherein the wall thickness of the beam is variable to meet deflection criteria in foe local, and state building codes.

It is, therefore, to the effective resolution, of the aforementioned problems and shortcomings of the prior art that the present invention is directed.

However, in view of the prior art at the time the present invention was made, it was not obvious to those of ordinary skill in the pertinent art how the identified needs could be fulfilled.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is an extruded structural beam comprising a first member having a first webbing interposed between a first top flange and a first bottom flange wherein said first top flange is disposed perpendicular to said first webbing and parallel to said first bottom flange; said first top flange having a longitudinal channel formed on a first lower surface of said first fop flange; said top flange having a first upper surface further comprising a first upper groove formed thereon for receiving a first upper spline; said first bottom flange having a longitudinal channel formed on a first lower surface of said first bottom flange; and said bottom flange further comprising a first lower groove for receiving a first lower spline; a second member having a second webbing interposed between a second top flange and a second bottom flange wherein said second top flange is disposed perpendicular to said second webbing and parallel to said second bottom flange; said second top flange further comprising a longitudinal channel formed on a second lower surface of said second top flange; said top flange having a second upper surface further comprising a second upper groove formed thereon for receiving a second upper spline; said second bottom flange having a longitudinal channel formed on a second lower surface of said second bottom flange; and said second bottom flange further comprising a second lower groove for receiving a second lower spline; said longitudinal channel of said first top flange removably coupled to said longitudinal channel of said second top flange and said longitudinal channel of said first bottom flange is removably coupled to said longitudinal channel of said second bottom flange so that a rectangular structural beam is formed; said first upper surface of said fop flange of said first member further comprising an upper longitudinal slot so that a plurality of fasteners can be installed through said upper longitudinal slot and through said top flange of said second member to secure said top flange of said first member and said top flange of said, second member.

The improved structural beam provides increased strength of the beam through a novel means of assembly and flange design that when assembled has three overlying flange layers. The invention allows for greater spans to be bridged by the new beam using the assembly of two separate members with the new flange configuration that can be easily cut and joined together in the field thereby improving ease of installation and reducing costs. The trademark name for this invention is suggested to be the “Triple Flange Beam.”

It is therefore a primary object of the invention to provide an improved structural beam that will be used in the construction of aluminum screen enclosures.

Another object of the present invention is to employ similar aluminum alloys that are used in the construction of aluminum screen enclosures.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved structural beam wherein, the wall thickness of the beam is variable to meet deflection criteria in the local and state building codes.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved structural beam that has interlocking flanges to increase the strength of the beam.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved structural beam with two separate members that act as one unit and to decrease the likelihood of local buckling under design loads.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved structural beam that increases span distances over the standard legacy beam shape in the industry.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved structural beam that is lightweight and easy to assemble in the field.

These and other important objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become clear as this description proceeds.

The present invention, accordingly, comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts that will be exemplified in the description set forth hereinafter and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description, taken in connection with, the accompanying drawings, in which;

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view showing a first embodiment of the beam of the present invention as assembled;

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view showing a first embodiment of the beam of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view showing a first member of the beam, in the first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view showing a second embodiment of the beam of the present invention as assembled;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view showing a second embodiment of the beam of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an exploded cross sectional, view showing a first member and strut of the beam in a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view showing a third embodiment of the beam of the present invention as assembled;

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view showing a third embodiment of the beam of the present invention as assembled;

FIG. 9 is an exploded cross sectional view showing a first member and strut of the beam in the third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a partial perspective view showing a fourth embodiment of the beam of the present invention as assembled;

FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view showing a fourth embodiment of the present invention as assembled; and

FIG. 12 is an exploded cross sectional view showing a first member and strut of the beam in the fourth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows the new beam 100 is comprised of a first member 130 and a second member 120. The beam 100 is shown assembled to form a rectangular hollow shape. Each member is a standard beam shape that is used in construction, of screen enclosures and extruded through a die process to various lengths. First member 130 and second member 120 are assembled in the field to form the new structural beam 100. The materials used to make beam 100 are the same aluminum alloys that are used in the construction of aluminum, screen enclosures. The wall thickness of first member 130 and second member 120 will vary between each size change and are dependant on code requirements to meet deflection criteria in the local and state building codes.

Referring now to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, a cross section of the beam 100 is shown including the coupling of the flanges. A longitudinal slot 125 on top flange 150 and longitudinal slot 127 on bottom, flange of second member 120 show where screws are used to secure first member 130 and second member 120 together. An architectural groove 129 is provided on bottom, flange of second member 120 and an architectural groove 132 is provided on the top flange of first member 130 that mirrors the groove that is formed when the top flanges and bottom flanges are assembled together.

A rigid webbing 135 interconnects upper flange 150 and lower flange 140. In cross sectional view, the first member is generally C-shaped. A longitudinal channel 142 is formed on the lower surface of the bottom flange 140. Channel 142 allows for the opposing lower flange of the second member 120 to be inserted therein and be coupled together. Similarly, channel 152 is adaptable so that top flange of second member 120 is coupled to top flange 150 of first member 130. As beam 100 is manufactured, for the aluminum screen enclosure industry, groove 154 is formed in top flange 150 to receive a spline (not shown) used, to secure screening material therein.

In the preferred embodiment the structural beam is screwed together with fasteners on the top flange 150 and bottom flange 140 using sheet metal screws. A longitudinal slot is provided on the top flange 150 of first member 130 and on the bottom flange of second member 120 for the location of the fasteners. A key difference between the prior art and the present invention is that the tension load on the screws is greatly reduced by the novel design of the flanges of the present invention. Accordingly, the screws have higher efficacy in preventing the first member and second member from being pulled apart under a load. When beam 100 is assembled, the flanges of first member 130 and second member 120 are overlying one another and form three layers for superior strength quality of beam 100.

Referring now to FIG. 4 shows a second embodiment of beam 400 assembled with first member 430 and second member 420. A first planar strut 510 is inserted to first member 430 and a second planar strut 520 is inserted to second member 420. FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 show the cross section of beam 400. A rigid webbing 435 interconnects upper flange 450 and lower flange 440. Top flange 450 and bottom flange 440 of first member 430 are identical to top flange 150 and bottom flange 140 of beam 100. The difference is the addition of planar struts 510, 520, which provide additional strength and resistance to the buckling of beam 400 under loads. FIG. 6 shows how planar strut 510 is inserted to first member 430, which is identical to die procedure to insert planar strut 520 to second member 420. Planar strut 510 includes a small top flange 550 mat is positioned adjacent to the lower surface of top flange 450 of first member 430. A small bottom flange 540 of planar strut 510 is positioned adjacent to the upper surface of bottom flange 440 of first member 430. An upper protrusion 555 and lower protrusion 575 on planar strut 510 engages an opposing upper protrusion 455 and lower protrusion 475 on the inside surface of first member 430. In addition, a track is interposed on planar stmt 510 between upper protrusion 555 and lower protrusion 575 to engage a T-shape projection on first member 430. Once planar strut 510 is secured to first member 430, the procedure is repeated to insert planar strut 520 to second member 420. First member 430 and second member 420 are then assembled using top flange 450 and bottom flange 440, which comprise longitudinal channels 452, 442, respectively, and grooves 454, 444 for receiving a spline to secure screening material.

Referring now to FIG. 7 shows a third embodiment of beam 700 assembled with first member 730 and second member 720. Similar to the second, embodiment described above, a first planar strut 810 is inserted to first member 730 and a second planar strut 820 is inserted to second member 720. FIG. 8 and FIG. 9 show the cross section of beam 700. A rigid webbing 735 interconnects upper flange 750 and lower flange 740. Top flange 750 and bottom flange 740 of first member 730 are identical to top flange 150 and bottom flange 140 of beam 100. The difference is the addition of planar struts 810, 820, which provide additional strength and resistance to the buckling of beam 700 under loads. The difference between the second embodiment and the present embodiment is the attachment means of planar struts 810, 820 to first member 730 and second member 720, respectively. FIG. 9 shows how planar strut 810 is inserted to first member 730, which is identical to the procedure to insert planar strut 820 to second member 720. Planar strut 810 includes a small top flange 850 that is positioned adjacent to the lower surface of tap flange 750 of first member 730, A small bottom flange 840 of planar strut 810 is positioned adjacent to the upper surface of bottom flange 740 of first member 730. An upper track 855 and lower track 875 on planar strut 810 engages an opposing upper T-shape protrusion 755 and lower protrusion 775 on the inside surface of first member 730. In addition, a track is interposed on planar stmt 810 between upper track 855 and lower track 875 to engage an opposing shape protrusion on first member 730. Once planar strut 810 is secured to first member 730, the procedure is repeated to insert planar strut 820 to second member 720. First member 730 and second member 720 are then, assembled using top flange 750 and bottom flange 740, which comprise longitudinal channels 752, 742, respectively, and grooves 754, 744 for receiving a spline to secure screening material.

Referring now to FIG. 10 shows a fourth embodiment of beam 900 assembled with first member 930 and second, member 920. Similar to die second and third embodiments described above, a first planar strut 910 is inserted to first member 930 and a second planar strut 915 is inserted to second member 920. FIG. 11 and FIG. 12 show the cross section of beam 900. A rigid webbing 935 interconnects upper flange 950 and lower flange 940. Top flange 950 and bottom flange 940 of first member 930 are identical to top flange 150 and bottom flange 140 of beam 100. The difference is the addition of planar struts 910, 915, which provide additional strength, and resistance to the buckling of beam 900 under loads. The difference between the second and third embodiment and the present embodiment is the attachment means of planar struts 910, 915 to first member 930 and second member 920, respectively. FIG. 12 shows how planar stmt 910 is inserted to first member 930, which is identical to the procedure to insert planar strut 915 to second member 920. Planar stmt 910 includes a small top flange 980 that is positioned adjacent to the lower surface of top flange 950 of first member 930. A small bottom flange 990 of planar strut 910 is positioned adjacent to the upper surface of bottom flange 940 of first member 930. An upper protrusion 957 and lower protrusion 977 on planar strut 910 engages an opposing upper protrusion 955 and lower protrusion 975 on the inside surface of first member 930. Once planar strut 910 is secured to first member 930, the procedure is repeated to insert planar strut 915 to second member 920. First member 930 and second member 920 are then assembled using top flange 950 and bottom flange 940, which comprise longitudinal channels 952, 942, respectively, and grooves 954, 944 for receiving a spline to secure screening material.

The particular embodiments disclosed above and in the drawings are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown. It is therefore evident that die particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered, or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention, which as a matter of language, might be said to tall there between.

Now that the invention has been described,