Title:
PLUG FOR CONCRETE FLOOR PENETRATIONS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plug includes a conformable element and a structural cover or top plate for plugging a hole in a concrete floor slab. This permits a workman to plug the hole; unplug the hole; and, in some embodiments, fit a pipe through the hole. Moreover, the conformable element may be swapped-out on site, allowing a workman to adjust a diameter and outer surface of the plug to meet on-site conditions.



Inventors:
Dayton, Douglas C. (Harvard, MA, US)
Cannistraro, Vincent F. (Lincoln, MA, US)
Duncanson, David (West Newbury, MA, US)
Kosik, Thomas J. (Pelham, NH, US)
Mccaffrey, Robert (Hillsboro, NH, US)
Application Number:
12/122134
Publication Date:
12/25/2008
Filing Date:
05/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIGUEROA, LUZ ADRIANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STRATEGIC PATENTS P.C. (NEEDHAM, MA, US)
Claims:
1. A plug, comprising: a conformable element having a top orifice, a bottom orifice, and a tubular hole, the top orifice and the bottom orifice being connected by a sidewall of the tubular hole; a structural top plate having a core portion, the core portion disposed inside the tubular hole; and a locking plate having an interlocking component, the interlocking component disposed inside of the tubular hole, the interlocking component locked to the core portion.

2. The plug of claim 1, wherein the conformable element is tapered.

3. The plug of claim 1, wherein the conformable element has a textured outer surface.

4. The plug of claim 1, wherein the conformable element has at least one fin.

5. The plug of claim 1, wherein the interlocking component and the core portion form a Morse taper.

6. The plug of claim 1, wherein the structural top plate contains a notch adapted to receive a tool.

7. The plug of claim 1, wherein the conformable element includes a tapered lead-in.

8. The plug of claim 1, wherein the core portion is ribbed.

9. A kit for plugging a hole in a floor, the kit comprising: a conformable element having a top orifice, a bottom orifice, and a tubular hole, the top orifice and the bottom orifice being connected by a sidewall of the tubular hole; a structural top plate having a core portion, the core portion suitable for insertion into the tubular hole through the top orifice; and a locking plate having an interlocking component, the interlocking component suitable for insertion into the tubular hole through the bottom orifice, wherein the interlocking component and the core portion are adapted to connect to one another when both are inside the tubular hole.

10. The kit of claim 9, wherein the conformable element is tapered.

11. The kit of claim 9, wherein the conformable element has a textured outer surface.

12. The kit of claim 9, wherein the conformable element has at least one fin.

13. The plug of claim 9, wherein the interlocking component and the core portion form a Morse taper.

14. The plug of claim 9, wherein the structural top plate contains a notch adapted to receive a tool.

15. The plug of claim 9, wherein the conformable element includes a tapered lead-in.

16. The plug of claim 9, wherein the core portion is ribbed.

17. 17-28. (canceled)

29. A plug for stopping smoke and fire from passing through a hole in a floor, the plug adapted to allow a pipe to pass through it, the plug comprising: a removable upper portion having an attachment feature, the attachment feature adapted to attach to a remote tool; and a lower portion having an outward facing surface and a lower wall, the lower wall having at least one stress ring, wherein at least part of the lower portion forms a well adapted to receive an intumescent material and the upper portion is removably attached to the lower portion.

30. The plug of claim 29, further comprising fins disposed on the outward facing surface.

31. The plug of claim 29, further comprising a tab disposed on the lower wall.

32. The plug of claim 29, wherein the removable upper portion is substantially rigid.

33. The plug of claim 29, wherein the well is adapted to receive an intumescent material.

34. A kit containing components of a plug, the plug capable of stopping smoke and fire from passing through a hole in a floor, the plug adapted to allow a pipe to pass through it, the kit comprising: an upper portion having a first catch and an attachment feature, the attachment feature adapted to attach to a remote tool; and a lower portion having a second catch, an outward facing surface, and a lower wall, wherein the lower wall has at least one stress ring, at least part of the lower portion forms a well, and the first catch is adapted to substantially fit together with the second catch.

35. The kit of claim 34, further comprising fins disposed on the outward facing surface.

36. The kit of claim 34, further comprising a tab disposed on the lower wall.

37. The kit of claim 34, wherein the upper portion is substantially rigid.

38. The kit of claim 34, wherein the well is adapted to receive an intumescent material.

39. A plug for stopping water from flowing through a hole, the plug comprising: a conformable element having an outward facing surface; a plurality of fins disposed on the outward facing surface; and a structural plate mounted on top of the conformable element.

40. The plug of claim 39, wherein the fins are compliant.

41. The plug of claim 39, wherein the plate is removable.

42. The plug of claim 39, wherein the plate contains a notch adapted to receive a tool.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of the following provisional application, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety: U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/930,582 filed May 16, 2007.

This application is a continuation-in-part of the following U.S. patent applications, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety: United States Non-Provisional application Ser. No. 12/028,858 filed Feb. 11, 2008.

BACKGROUND

This application relates to plugging penetrations in floors. There remains a need for a plug including a conformable element and a structural cover or top plate for plugging a hole in a concrete slab.

SUMMARY

A plug includes a conformable element and a structural cover or top plate for plugging a hole in a concrete floor slab. This permits a workman to plug the hole; unplug the hole; and, in some embodiments, fit a pipe through the hole. Moreover, the conformable element may be swapped-out on site, allowing a workman to adjust a diameter and outer surface of the plug to meet on-site conditions. In one aspect, a plug that is disclosed herein includes a conformable element having a top orifice, a bottom orifice, and a tubular hole, the top orifice and the bottom orifice being connected by a sidewall of the tubular hole; a structural top plate having a core portion, the core portion disposed inside the tubular hole; and a locking plate having an interlocking component, the interlocking component disposed inside of the tubular hole, the interlocking component locked to the core portion. The conformable element may be tapered. The conformable element may have a textured outer surface. The conformable element may have at least one fin. The interlocking component and the core portion may form a Morse taper. The structural top plate may contain a notch adapted to receive a tool. The conformable element may include a tapered lead-in. The core portion may be ribbed.

In one aspect, a kit for plugging a hole in a floor that is disclosed herein includes a conformable element having a top orifice, a bottom orifice, and a tubular hole, the top orifice and the bottom orifice being connected by a sidewall of the tubular hole; a structural top plate having a core portion, the core portion suitable for insertion into the tubular hole through the top orifice; and a locking plate having an interlocking component, the interlocking component suitable for insertion into the tubular hole through the bottom orifice, wherein the interlocking component and the core portion are adapted to connect to one another when both are inside the tubular hole. The conformable element may be tapered. The conformable element may have a textured outer surface. The conformable element may have at least one fin. The interlocking component and the core portion may form a Morse taper. The structural top plate may contain a notch adapted to receive a tool. The conformable element may include a tapered lead-in. The core portion may be ribbed.

In one aspect, a plug that is disclosed herein includes a conformable element having a top orifice; and a structural top plate having a toothed core, the toothed core disposed into the conformable element through the top orifice, the toothed core attaching the structural top plate to the conformable element. The conformable element may be tapered. The conformable element may have a textured outer surface. The conformable element may have a least one fin. The structural top plate may contain a notch adapted to receive a tool. The toothed core may have a lead-in ramp. In one aspect, a kit containing components of a plug that is disclosed herein includes a conformable element having a top orifice; and a structural top plate having a toothed core. The conformable element may be tapered. The conformable element may have a textured outer surface. The conformable element may have a least one fin. The structural top plate may contain a notch adapted to receive a tool. The toothed core may have a lead-in ramp.

In one aspect, a plug for stopping smoke and fire from passing through a hole in a floor that is disclosed herein includes a removable upper portion having an attachment feature, the attachment feature adapted to attach to a remote tool; and a lower portion having an outward facing surface and a lower wall, the lower wall having at least one stress ring, wherein at least part of the lower portion forms a well adapted to receive an intumescent material and the upper portion is removably attached to the lower portion. The plug for stopping smoke and fire from passing through a hole in a floor may include fins disposed on the outward facing surface. The plug for stopping smoke and fire from passing through a hole in a floor may include a tab disposed on the lower wall. The removable upper portion may be substantially rigid. The well may be adapted to receive an intumescent material.

In one aspect, a kit containing components of a plug that is disclosed herein includes an upper portion having a first catch and an attachment feature, the attachment feature adapted to attach to a remote tool; and a lower portion having a second catch, an outward facing surface, and a lower wall, wherein the lower wall has at least one stress ring; at least part of the lower portion forms a well, and the first catch is adapted to substantially fit together with the second catch. The kit containing components of a plug may include fins disposed on the outward facing surface. The kit containing components of a plug may include a tab disposed on the lower wall. The upper portion may be substantially rigid. The well may be adapted to receive an intumescent material. In one aspect, a plug for stopping water from flowing through a hole that is disclosed herein includes a conformable element having an outward facing surface; a plurality of fins disposed on the outward facing surface; and a structural plate mounted on top of the conformable element. The fins may be compliant. The plate may be removable. The plate may contain a notch adapted to receive a tool.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The invention and the following detailed description of certain embodiments thereof may be understood by reference to the following figures:

FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, and 1E depict sectional views of a process for drilling a hole in a concrete floor slab and installing a pipe through the hole.

FIG. 2A depicts a perspective view of a plug.

FIG. 2B depicts a sectional view of a plug.

FIGS. 3A, 3B, and 3C depict sectional views of steps for securing a plug.

FIG. 4A depicts a perspective view of a plug.

FIG. 4B depicts a sectional view of a plug.

FIGS. 5A, 5B, and 5C depict sectional views of steps for securing a deformable plug.

FIG. 6 depicts a sectional view of a plug.

FIG. 6A depicts a sectional view of a plug installed in a hole.

FIG. 7 depicts an exploded perspective view of a plug.

FIGS. 8A, 8B, and 8C depict sectional views of steps for securing a plug.

FIG. 9 depicts an exploded perspective view of a plug.

FIGS. 10A, 10B, and 10C depict sectional views of steps for securing a plug.

FIG. 11A depicts a sectional view of a lower portion of a plug seated in a hole.

FIG. 11B depicts a sectional view of a step in a process for installing a pipe through a plug.

FIG. 11C depicts a sectional view of a plug acting as a smoke-and-fire-stop during a blaze.

FIG. 12A depicts a perspective view of a plug.

FIG. 12B depicts a perspective view of a plug.

FIGS. 13A, 13B, 13C, and 13D depict sectional views of floors having holes of various sizes, and plugs sized for the holes.

FIG. 14A depicts an exploded sectional view of a plug.

FIG. 14B depicts a perspective view of a plug.

FIG. 15 depicts a sectional view of a plug having a toothed core.

FIGS. 16A, 16B, 16C, 16D depict sectional views of a conformable element.

FIG. 17 depicts a perspective view of a plug.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While the specification concludes with the claims defining the features of the invention that are regarded as novel, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following description in conjunction with the drawings figures, in which like reference numerals are carried forward.

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely presently preferred embodiments of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting but rather to provide an understandable description of the invention.

The terms “a” or “an”, as used herein, are defied as one or more than one. The term “another”, as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms “including” and/or “having” as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e. open transition). The term “coupled” or “operatively coupled” as used herein, is defined as connected, although not necessarily directly, and not necessarily mechanically.

FIG. 1 depicts processes for drilling a hole in a floor and passing a pipe through the hole. In some embodiments, the floor may be a concrete floor slab 102. The sequence of steps, as shown in FIG. 1, may presently be used in the construction industry to core drill through the concrete floor slab 102 in a construction project, and to fit and fire-proof the plumbing pipes and electrical conduit installed on the construction project.

Pipe fitting on a construction project may begin with drilling out a core 110 from the concrete floor slab 102, as shown in FIG. 1A. During this step, a mechanical construction crew may drill out the core 110 required by the plumbing design. This may be accomplished with a special machine utilizing a diamond coring bit 104 that accurately and repeatedly cores holes that are normally in one inch increments, i.e., 2″, 3″, 4″, 5″, and so on. The machine may cut through concrete, steel reinforcing, corrugated steel floor pans 108, and the like, which normally support the poured concrete slab. The core 110 may fall to the floor below. Referring to FIG. 1B, after the holes are drilled, the hole may be covered to protect people from stepping into the holes and from tools or other objects from falling through the hole and injuring someone beneath. The job site carpenters may fabricate a plywood and lumber hole cover 112 for each hole at a job site. Some job sites may have tens of thousands of holes or more. In any case, these covers stay in place, sometimes for as long as ten months or more, until pipe fitters are ready to install pipes through the hole.

When the pipe fitters are ready to install a pipe 114 through the hole, the cover 112 may be removed and discarded. The pipe 114 may be positioned though the hole and connected to adjoining fittings, as shown in FIG. 1C. In some embodiments, the hole may be several pipe diameters wide to provide good clearance around the pipe.

Referring to FIG. 1D, building codes may require fire retardant caulking to be placed in the perimeter hole around the pipe 114. In the event of a fire, the caulking and the pipe may prevent the fire's spread between floors through the hole. In some embodiments, the caulking may be more or less one inch in thickness. In any case, the pipe fitters may pack mineral wool 118 around the perimeter of the pipe 114 in order to support the caulking.

In some embodiments, the mineral wool 118 may create a toroidal or donut-shaped mass around the pipe 114, as shown in FIG. 1E. This may seal the mineral wool 118 against the concrete sidewall of the hole to permit application of the fire retardant caulking 120. In some embodiments, the fire retardant caulking 120 may be manually-applied with a caulking gun. The caulking may be one to two inches thick.

FIGS. 2A and 2B depict a presently preferred embodiment of the present invention, the embodiment including plug 202 having a top portion and a bottom portion, both of which are adapted to mate with one another. The top portion includes a cover 204, an attachment feature 208, and a thread 214. The lower portion includes a first ring 210 having an adhesive outer surface and a threaded inner surface 222; and a second ring 212 serving a smoke-stop and/or fire-stop function.

The cover 204 may be flexible with one or more gasket ridges 220. These gasket ridges 220 of the cover 204 may deform to provide a watertight seal when the plug is installed in a hole and the top portion is mated to the bottom portion. The watertight seal may be between the top portion and a remote surface of a floor in which the plug is seated. In some embodiments, the cover 204 may be rigid, elastomeric, deformable, any and all combinations of the foregoing, or the like. The attachment feature 208 may allow for attachment of a remote tool to top portion of the plug 202. When attached, the remote tool may apply a mechanical rotational and/or translational force to the top portion of the plug 202. In some embodiments, the attachment feature 208 may be molded into or affixed to the cover 204. In some embodiments, the attachment feature 208 may include a protrusion, a hole, a slot, a catch, any and all combinations of the foregoing, or the like. In some embodiments, the attachment feature 208 may include a standard size hex nut, a fastening component, a combination of the two, or the like.

The top portion may be mated to the bottom portion by a rotational action causing the thread 214 to progressively engage with the threaded inner surface 222. Alternatively, the top portion may be mated to the bottom portion by a translational action causing the thread 214 to substantially snap or pop into engagement with the threaded inner surface 222. It will be understood that the top portion may be mated to the bottom portion in a variety of ways.

The first ring 210 may have an outward-facing surface 224 on which a microencapsulated adhesive, a peel-away protected adhesive, a combination of the foregoing, or the like is disposed. When the bottom portion is inserted into a remote hole, the outward facing surface (and, thus, the adhesive) of the first ring 210 may contact a sidewall of the hole. This contact may cause the first ring 210 (and, thus, the bottom portion) to more or less adhere to the sidewall.

The second ring 212 may be attached to first ring by one or more attachments 218. In some embodiments, the second ring may be sandwiched between the top portion and the bottom portion when these two portions are mated. In some embodiments, the second ring may include an intumescent material, a fire retardant material or sealant, or the like. In some embodiments, the second ring may be conformable so as to fit more or less snugly against a sidewall of a remote hole when the bottom portion of the plug 202 is seated in said remote hole.

FIG. 3 depicts presently preferred steps of securing the plug 202 in a hole and then removing the top portion of the plug 202 from the bottom portion. In some embodiments, the plug 202 may provide safety protection for a cored hole in a concrete slab. Further, in some embodiments, the plug 202 may seal a hole in a watertight manner when the plug 202 is seated in the hole.

In some embodiments, peeling a peel-away protection layer off of the adhesive may activate the peel-away protected adhesive on the outward-facing surface 224. This may activate a time-delay adhesive or simply expose an adhesive. In such embodiments, the peel-away protection layer may be peeled off before inserting the plug 202 in the hole.

The plug 202 may be positioned into the hole by a pressure having a downward component that is applied to the cover 204 portion of the plug 210. In some embodiments and as depicted in FIG. 3A, a workman's foot 304 may apply the pressure to a plug 210. In some embodiments, the plug 202 may be inserted in the hole by applying pressure 304 using a hammer, a weight, a hand, or the like. In any case, the pressure may first push the lower portion of the plug 210 into the hole and then engage the cover 204, deforming the gasket ridges 220 as they contact the sidewall of the hole and/or a top surface 312 of the floor. When pressed against the sidewall of the hole, the gasket ridges 220 may provide a water tight and/or fire-retardant seal.

Upon substantially complete insertion of the plug 202 into a hole in a floor, a flange 310 of the cover 204 may be substantially flush with the upper surface 312 of the floor, as shown in FIG. 3B and elsewhere. Here, the flange 310 may be substantially flush with the upper concrete floor surface and the attachment feature 208 may be below the upper surface. In any case, the adhesive may act over time to bond the plug 202 to the concrete sidewall of the hole.

The plug 202 may be dismantled with a wrench or other tool. In some embodiments, dismantling the plug may involve unscrewing the cover 204 from the lower portion of the plug 202. As shown in FIG. 3C, dismantling of the plug 202 may occur after the lower portion of the plug 202 is adhered to the sidewall of the hole. Once the cover 204 is removed, a pipe may be inserted in the hole and made to pass through the lower portion of the plug 202. In some embodiments, the threaded inner surface 222 of the first ring 210 may be compliant and may adapt to the diameter of the pipe to provide a close fit. In some embodiments, the second ring 212 may form an orifice that is larger than the diameter of the pipe and through which the pipe may pass. In some embodiments, the second ring 212 may be pliable, allowing it to be tamped into firm contact with the pipe.

FIGS. 4A and 4B depict a presently preferred embodiment of the plug 202. The portion of the cover 204 containing the thread 214 may be tapered. As the cover 204 is screwed into the first ring 210, the tapered portion of the thread may pressurize the first ring 210. In response to this, the first ring 210 may expand. When the plug 202 is installed in a hole, this expansion may force the first ring 210 against a sidewall of the hole, creating a more or less watertight seal between the first ring 210 and the sidewall. The top of the cover 204 may be more or less convex, providing a surface over which remote objects may slide or roll when the plug 202 is installed in a hole in a floor.

In some embodiments, the plug 202 may seal a hole in a watertight manner using an expandable and/or compliant material. The first ring 210 may incorporate the expandable and/or compliant material.

In some embodiments, installation of the plug 202 into a hole may set a fire-resistant seal, which may be required by code. The fire-resistant seal may include or form a caulk pipe perimeter. The second ring 212 may include or provide the fire-resistant seal.

FIG. 5 depicts presently preferred steps of securing the plug 202 in a hole and then removing the top portion of the plug 202 from the bottom portion. The plug 202 may be positioned into a hole and then a tool 504 may be used to screw the cover 204 into the lower portion of the plug 202, as shown in FIG. 5A. As the cover 204 is screwed into the lower portion of the plug 202, the lower portion of the plug 202 may expand against the sidewall of the hole. As a result of this, the lower portion of the plug 202 may be in an expanded state and the adhesive (if any) on the first ring 210 may be pressed against the wall. This pressing action may bond or aid in bonding the first ring 210 to the sidewall. This pressing action may also provide or aid in providing a watertight seal between the sidewall of the hole and the lower portion of the plug 202.

FIG. 5B shows the plug 202, installed in a hole, with the top portion more or less fully mated to the bottom portion. As depicted, the first ring 210 of the lower portion of the plug 202 may be in an expanded state. In other embodiments, both the first ring 210 and the second ring 212 may be in an expanded state when the plug is installed in the hole and the top portion is mated to the bottom portion.

FIG. 5C shows the bottom portion of the plug 202 remaining in the hole after the top portion is unscrewed and removed. The thread 214 of the upper portion is illustrated, as is its mate: a threaded inner surface 222 of the lower portion. With the top portion removed, a pipe may be passed through the bottom portion of the plug 202. It will be understood that various modifications to the design of the plug 202 are possible without deviating from the scope of the invention. For example and without limitation, in some embodiments the adhesive may be replaced by any and all other facilities for providing a bond and/or friction between the lower portion of the plug 202 and a sidewall of a hole. A variety of such embodiments are described hereinafter and elsewhere.

FIG. 6 depicts a presently preferred embodiment of the plug 202. The plug 202 may include an upper portion 604 and a lower portion 608. The upper portion may include the attachment feature 208.

The upper portion 604 and the lower portion 608 may be attached by a catch 624 having a component on the upper portion 604 and a component on the lower portion 608. In some embodiments, the catch 624 may be a partial thread, i.e. a quarter thread or a half thread. In any case, the catch 624 may keep the upper portion 604 and lower portion 608 joined together until a workman needs to open the hole. It will be understood that a variety of embodiments of the catch 624 are possible.

The lower portion 608 may include multiple fins 610 along the circumference of the outer surface 224. Upon insertion of the plug 202 into a hole, the fins 610 may deform or deflect to allow the plug to slide along a sidewall of the hole, into the hole. Upon attempted removal of the plug 202 from the hole, these fins 610 may deform or deflect to cause increased friction between the sidewall of the hole and the plug 202, thus inhibiting or preventing removal of the plug 202 from the hole. In embodiments, the fins 610 may be constructed of one or more materials having compliant properties, permitting deformation or deflection of the fins 610. For example and without limitation, the fins 610 may be constructed of one or more elastomeric materials. In some embodiments, the fins 610 may be structural ridges.

The lower portion 608 of the plug 202 may include one or more stress rings 618. In some embodiments, the stress rings 618 may include one or more creases, dents, mechanically stamped thin outlines 618, or the like. In some embodiments, the stress rings 618 may be incised. In some embodiments, the stress rings 618 may be provided in a variety of diameters. For example and without limitation, in some embodiments the stress rings 618 may have diameters of 1.5″, 2″, and 2.25″. The stress rings 618 may facilitate tearing-out part of the lower portion 608. In some embodiments, such tearing action may form an orifice or the like in the lower portion 608. In some embodiments, the orifice may accommodate a pipe during fittings. For example and without limitation, when a pipe of 3-inch diameter is to be inserted in the hole, a user may punch out a substantially circular piece, measuring 3 inches or less in diameter, from the lower portion 608.

In some embodiments, the lower wall 614 may be fabricated from rubber, plastic, thin metal material, any and all combinations of the foregoing, or the like. In some embodiments, the lower portion 608 of the plug may be flexible or elastomeric. In some embodiments, the lower portion 608 may stretch to allow passage of a relatively wide pipe through a relatively narrow punched-out hole, while maintaining a substantially snug fit about the pipe.

The lower portion 608 of the plug 202 may include a convolute path 628. The convolute path 628 may rise above a remote floor's surface when the plug 202 is installed in a hole in the floor. In some embodiments, the convolute path 628 may prevent or inhibit water on the floor's surface from flowing into the lower portion 608. In some embodiments, the lower portion 608 may define a well 622. In some embodiments, the well 622 may hold fire-resistant material to form a perimeter seal on the installed pipe. In some embodiments, the fire resistant material may include a caulk, an intumescent material, a sealant, any and all combinations of the foregoing, or the like.

FIG. 6A may depict a sectional view of a plug 202 in a hole. The plug includes the upper portion 604 and the lower portion 608. The fins 610 may be in contact with a sidewall of the hole. The plug 202 may be acting as a structural safety cover, a watertight seal, a smoke-and-fire stop, any and all combinations of the foregoing, or the like.

FIG. 7 depicts an exploded perspective view of a presently preferred embodiment of the plug 202. The plug 202 includes the upper portion 604 and the lower portion 608. The upper portion 604 includes the cover 204, the attachment feature 208, the thread 214, and a detent 704 in the thread 214. The lower portion 608 includes the threaded inner surface 222, the fins 610, and at least one receptacle 702. In some embodiments, the thread 214 may be a quarter-turn thread and the threaded inner surface 222 may be adapted to mate with the quarter-turn thread. In some embodiments, the threaded inner surface 222 may include one or more recesses that are configured and sized to receive at least a portion of the thread 214. In any case, mating the upper portion 604 to the lower portion 608 may form a watertight seal between the two portions 604, 608.

The at least one receptacle 702 may be adapted to receive at least a portion of a smoke-stop/fire-stop module. Without limitation, that portion of said module may include a fastener. The smoke-stop/fire-stop module may be described in detail hereinafter with reference to FIG. 11 and elsewhere.

The attachment feature 208 may be a hole that is adapted to receive a portion of a tool. The tool may be described in detail hereinafter with reference to FIG. 8C and elsewhere.

The fins 610 may provide a substantially watertight seal between the lower portion 608 and the sidewall of a hole in which the plug 202 is seated. For example and without limitation, the fins 610 may flex as a result of the plug 202 being inserted into a hole. When flexed, the fins 610 may apply pressure against the sidewall of the hole, thus providing the substantially watertight seal. Although two fins 610 are depicted, it will be understood that any number of fins 610 may be present in some embodiments.

The detent 704 may provide a locking function between the upper portion 604 and the lower portion 608. In some embodiments, the detent 704 may be defined along the tight end of the thread 214. In some embodiments, the threaded inner surface 222 may include a projection that substantially mates with the detent 704 to more or less inhibit rotation of the upper portion 604 relative to the lower portion 608.

The plug 202 may be forced into a hole by a workman's foot 304 or the like, as shown in FIG. 8A. The plug 202 may have the flange 310.

Once seated in the hole, the plug 202 may provide a watertight seal that prevents water from seeping past the plug 202 and into the hole, as shown in FIG. 8B.

In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 8C, a tool 504 may remove the plug 202 (or a portion thereof) from the hole. The tool 504 may include a tang 804 that is configured and sized such that at least a portion of the tang 804 can be inserted into the attachment feature 208. The tang 804 may substantially couple the tool 504 to the attachment feature 208.

The tool 504 may include a lever 810 having a handle 814 and a fulcrum 808. A workman's hand 812 may apply a downward force to the lever 810, which in turn applies an upward force to the plug 202. These forces may disengage a frictional grip between the fins 610 and the sidewall of the hole. In any case, a downward force applied to the lever 810 may cause the plug 202 (or a portion thereof) to be removed from the hole.

FIG. 9 depicts an exploded perspective view of a presently preferred embodiment of the plug 202. The plug includes the upper portion 604 and the lower portion 604. The upper portion 604 includes the cover 204, the attachment features 208, the flange 310, and the thread 214. The lower portion 608 includes the threaded inner surface 222, the fins 610, the at least one receptacle 702, and a smoke-and-fire-stop module 924. The smoke-and-fire-stop module 924 includes a membrane 902, one or more holes 904 in the membrane, an aperture 908, a connection ring 910, at least one hole 914 in the connection ring 910, at least one tab 918 on the connection ring 910, a fastener 920, and an intumescent ring 922.

The membrane 902 may include the aperture 908. In some embodiments, the aperture 908 may have a diameter that measures somewhat less than the smallest diameter of a pipe to be mounted through the aperture 908. The elasticity of the membrane 902 may allow a pipe to more or less stretch the aperture 908. This stretching action may allow the aperture 908 to accommodate a range of pipe diameters while also maintaining a constriction around pipes having diameters in said range. Once a pipe is installed through the membrane 902, the membrane 902 may substantially prohibit smoke from flowing upward through a hole in which the lower portion 608 of the plug 202 is installed.

The membrane 902 may be constructed of a material that provides it with elasticity and tear strength suitable for use on a construction site. Without limitation, the material may be an elastomeric material. It will be understood that a variety of embodiments of the membrane 902 are possible.

The membrane 902 may be sandwiched against the lower portion 608 by the connection ring 910. The connection ring may include a pattern of holes that includes the at least one hole 914. The connection ring 910 may be more or less rigid and may have sufficient structure to dispose the membrane 902 against the lower portion 608. In some embodiments, the connection ring 910 may include a metal or a metal alloy.

The smoke-and-fire-stop module 924 may be attached to the lower portion 608 of the plug 202. At least some of the holes 904 in the membrane may be complementary to at least some of the receptacles 702. In addition, at least some of the holes 914 in the connection ring 910 may be complementary to at least some of the receptacles 702. The configuration and the location of the holes 904, 914 may help to facilitate joining or clamping of the connection ring 910 and the membrane 902 to the lower portion 608 of the plug 202. For example and without limitation, a fastener 920 may pass through a hole 914 in the connection ring 910 and a hole 904 in the membrane before finally joining to the lower portion 608 at the receptacle 702. In some embodiments, the fastener 920 may include a screw, a clamp, or the like. It will be understood that a variety of fasteners 920 are possible. Likewise, it will be understood that a variety of methods for attaching the smoke-and-fire-stop module 924 to the lower portion 608 of the plug 202 are possible.

In some embodiments, the connection ring 910 may include a plurality of connection tangs 912 that are configured to provide the ring 910 with a diameter that is slightly larger than a hole's diameter. In such embodiments, insertion of the ring 910 into the hole may cause the connection tangs 912 to flex, allowing the connection ring 910 to slide into the hole but substantially preventing the connection ring 910 from being pulled back out of the hole.

The intumescent ring 922 may be attached to the connection ring 910. In some embodiments, the intumescent ring 922 may be attached to the connection ring 910 by crimping one or more of the tabs 918 over and/or against the intumescent ring 922. It will be understood that a variety of fastening systems and methods may be employed to attach the intumescent ring 922 to the connection ring 910.

The intumescent ring 922 may include a type of intumescent material used in building construction for fire-stop purposes. In some embodiments, the intumescent material may expand 30 to 50 times or more its original volume when exposed to heat and/or fire. This expanding action may substantially fill a gap between a hole's sidewall and an outer surface of a pipe disposed through the intumescent ring 922.

FIG. 10A may illustrate a method for installing the plug in a hole, the method being analogous or identical to the method described hereinabove with reference to FIG. 3A and elsewhere. The plug 202 may include the smoke-and-fire-stop module 924 having the intumescent ring 922.

FIG. 10B may illustrate how, upon substantially complete insertion of the plug 202 into a hole in a floor, the flange 310 may be substantially flush with an upper surface of the floor. Once seated in the hole, the plug 202 may provide a watertight seal that prevents water from seeping past the plug 202 and into the hole. The flange 310 may be a structural flange that provides the plug 202 with a load carrying ability when the plug is installed in the hole. Deformation of one or more of the fins 610 may occur in response to pressure applied to the plug 202 and resulting in movement of the plug 202 into the hole.

FIG. 10C may illustrate how, after the plug 202 is installed in the hole, a workman may remove the upper portion 604 from the lower portion 608. The tool 504 may be configured to engage with the attachment feature 208. In some embodiments, the tool 504 may be a wrench. In some embodiments, the attachment feature 208 may be an aperture, hole, nut, protrusion, any and all combinations of the foregoing, and the like. In any case, the tool 504 may be constructed and arranged such that, when the connected to the cover 204 via the attachment feature 208, a workman's hand 812 may apply a torque to the top portion 604. The torque may loosen the top portion 604 from the bottom portion 608. The tool 504 and the attachment feature 208 may lock or stick together so that the workman's hand 812 may apply an upward force that removes the loosened top portion 604 from the bottom portion 608.

As shown in FIG. 11A and as described hereinabove and elsewhere, the lower portion 608 may remain in the hole. Holding the lower portion 608 in place may be friction between the lower portion 608 and a sidewall of the hole, adhesive disposed on the outer surface of the lower portion 608, interference between the connection tangs 912 and the sidewall, any and all combinations of the foregoing, and the like.

FIG. 11B illustrates workman's hands 812 fitting a pipe 114 through the aperture 908 of the membrane 902. In some embodiments, properties of the membrane 902 may allow the pipe to pass through the aperture 908 with minimal force. As described hereinabove and elsewhere, the membrane 902 may constrict around the outer diameter of the pipe 114.

FIG. 11C illustrates the pipe 114 installed in the lower portion 608 of the plug 202 and a blaze 1102 with smoke 1104 below the lower portion 608. The lower portion 608 of the plug 202 may act as a smoke-stop barrier through and around which the smoke 1104 cannot pass. This barrier action may be provided in part by a tight fit between the lower portion 608 and a sidewall of the hole; in part by a smoke-impermeable nature of the lower portion 608; and in part by constriction of the membrane 902 around the pipe 114.

If and when sufficient heat from the blaze 1102 reaches the intumescent ring 922, the intumescent ring 922 may activate. Once activated, the intumescent ring 922 may expand and/or effervesce, for example and without limitation as illustrated. This action of expanding and/or effervescing may fill a void and/or space between the sidewall of the hole and the pipe 114.

In some cases, heat from the blaze 1102 may negatively affect the integrity of the friction and/or adhesive holding the lower portion 608 in place. If that happens, the interference between the connection tangs 912 and the sidewall may hold the connection ring 910 in place long enough for the intumescent ring 922 to fully expand and/or effervesce. Having more or less fully expanded and/or effervesced, the intumescent ring 922 may substantially hold itself in position.

FIG. 12A depicts a perspective view of the plug 202. In some embodiments, the plug 202 includes a structural top plate 1202 having a notch 1204, a conformable element 1208 having a bevel lead-in 1212, and a locking plate 1210. As depicted, the plug may be assembled and ready for insertion into a hole in a floor.

The structural top plate 1202 may include a cover-like portion and a core portion. The cover-like portion may be visible above the conformable element 1208. The core portion, however, may be inside the conformable element 1208 and, therefore, not visible.

The cover-like portion of the top plate 1202 may be substantially rigid and may provide a load carrying ability.

The notch 1204 may be disposed on the lower side of the cover-like portion of the top plate 1202. The notch 1204 may allow a tool (such as and without limitation, a pry bar) to engage and facilitate lifting of the plug 202 from a hole. Alternatively or additionally, the cover-like portion may include the attachment feature 208, which may allow a tool 504 first to attach to the plug 202 and then pull the plug 202 up and out of a hole.

The conformable element 1208 may have a top and bottom orifice connected by a sidewall of a tubular hole. The conformable element 1208 may be substantially tubular, conical, or the like. The core portion of the top plate 1202 may be inserted through the top orifice and into the tubular hole. Once inserted into the tubular hole, the core portion may lock together with a portion of the locking plate 1210 disposed at, in, or adjacent to the bottom orifice.

The conformable element 1208 may be tapered and may include the beveled lead-in 1212. Both the tapering and the beveled lead-in 1212 may ease installation of the plug 202 into a hole. In any case, when inserted into a hole, the conformable element 1208 of the plug 202 may compress to form a watertight seal between itself and a sidewall of the hole. In some embodiments, the conformable element 1208 may include an elastomeric material, a foam material, a polymer, any and all combinations of the foregoing, or the like.

In some embodiments, one conformable element 1208 may be interchangeable for another. For example and without limitation, one conformable element 1208 may differ from another in diameter, taper, outer surface, any and all combinations of the foregoing, and the like. In some embodiments, the plug 202 may first be disassembled; then one conformable element 1208 may be replaced for another; and finally the plug 202 may be reassembled. In some embodiments, the plug 202 may be provided as a kit of components. The kit may include a variety of conformable elements 1208. In this case, a user may select an appropriate conformable element 1208 and assemble the plug 202 at a work site.

FIG. 12B depicts a perspective view of the plug 202. Here the underside of both the structural top plate 1202 and the locking plate 1210 are shown. In some embodiments, the structural top plate 1202 and/or the locking plate 1210 may include ribs. It will be understood that the ribs may provide strength, reduce weight, and so on.

FIGS. 13A, 13B, 13C, and 13D depict sectional views of floors having holes of various sizes, and plugs sized for the holes.

In FIGS. 13A and 13B, the conformable element 1208 may have a diameter of D1, which may be larger than diameter D−n. The tubular element 1208 having a diameter larger than that of a hole may conform to such a hole.

Conversely, a conformable element 1208 having a diameter smaller than that of a hole may not conform to such a hole. When this is the case, the conformable element 1208 may not snugly fit into said hole and, therefore, may not provide a watertight seal when inserted into it. To remedy this, as shown in FIGS. 13C and 13D, a conformable element 1208 having a diameter of D2 may be included as part of the plug 202. D2 may be larger than D+n and, therefore, the tubular element 1208 of diameter D2 may conform to a hole of diameter D+n.

In some embodiments, plugs 202 of both D1 and D2 may be provided. In some embodiments, a kit may include a conformable element 1208 of diameter D1 and a conformable element 1208 of diameter D2. In such cases, a workman may select the appropriate conformable element 1208 and then assemble the plug 202 as described herein and elsewhere.

FIG. 14A depicts an exploded view of a plug. The structural top plate 1202 and the locking plate 1210 are shown as a perspective view. The conformable element 1208 is shown in a sectional view.

The structural top plate 1202 includes the core portion 1402. In some embodiments, the core portion 1402 may be a ribbed.

The locking plate 1210 may include an interlocking component 1404.

The conformable element 1208 may include the top orifice 1412, the bottom orifice 1414, and the tubular hole 1410. In some embodiments the tubular hole 1410 may be somewhat smaller in diameter than the core portion 1402.

When the core portion 1402 is inserted into the tubular hole 1410, the tubular hole 1410 may conform to it. In some embodiments, ribs on the core portion 1402 may mechanically engage the conformable element 1208. In some embodiments, this may substantially lock the core portion 1402 to the conformable element 1208.

In some embodiments, the bottom orifice 1414 may receive the interlocking component 1404. The interlocking component 1404 may engage the core portion 1402, causing the two elements 1404 and 1402 to lock together. For example and without limitation, in some embodiments the interlocking component 1404 may include a trunnion and the core portion 1402 may include a bore. Respectively, the trunnion and the bore may form a male portion and a female portion of a Morse taper. It will be understood that a variety of structures for locking the structural top plate 1202 to the locking plate 1210 are possible.

FIG. 14B depicts a perspective view of the plug 202. The plug may include the bevel lead-in 1212 and the taper 1408.

FIG. 15 depicts a sectional view of a plug 202 including the structural top plate, the conformable element 1208, and a toothed core 1502 having a lead-in ramp 1504.

In some embodiments, such as and without limitation the embodiment shown here, the conformable element 1208 may have a substantially solid bottom 1508 instead of the bottom orifice 1414.

The toothed core 1502 may be a variation of the core portion 1402. The toothed core 1502 may mechanically engage the conformable element 1208. In some embodiments, the lead-in ramp 1504 may seal against a bottom surface of the conformable element 1208. In some embodiments, the lead-in ramp 1504 may ease installation of the toothed core 1502 into the tubular hole 1410.

FIGS. 16A, 16B, 16C, 16D depict sectional views of a variety of conformable elements 1208.

The conformable element 1208 variant of FIG. 16A includes an outer wall 1604 having a substantially smooth outer surface. The portion of the conformable element 1208 forming the tubular hole 1410 may, in part, be separated from the outer wall 1604 by a space 1602. In some embodiments, the space 1602 may be empty or at least partially filled with a solid, liquid, gas, any and all combinations of the foregoing, and the like.

The conformable element 1208 variant of FIG. 16B includes an outer wall 1604 having a substantially textured outer surface. The portion of the conformable element 1208 forming the tubular hole 1410 may, in part, be separated from the outer wall 1604 by a space 1602. In some embodiments, the space 1602 may be empty or at least partially filled with a solid, liquid, gas, any and all combinations of the foregoing, and the like.

The conformable element 1208 variants of FIG. 16C and FIG. 16D have different outer diameters 1608, 1610.

In some embodiments, any and all number of conformable elements 1208 may be provided. In some embodiments, the conformable elements 1208 may have any and all combinations of outer diameters and outer surfaces. In some embodiments, some or all of the conformable tabular elements 1208 may have the space 1602. In some embodiments, some or all of the conformable elements 1208 may have the bottom 1508 instead of the bottom orifice 1414.

FIG. 17 depicts a perspective view of the plug 202. The conformable element 1208 may include any and all number of fins 610. The structural top plate 1202 may include ridges 1702. The ridges 1702 may enhance load-carrying ability of the structural top plate 1202. In some embodiments, as shown, the ridges 1702 may be notched. This may allow a portion of the ridge to fit within a remote hole when the plug 202 is installed in the hole. In some embodiments, a portion of the structural top plate 1202 may rest on a remote floor's surface when the plug 202 is installed in a hole in the floor.

The specific embodiments provided and illustrated herein are meant only by way of description and are not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive of all possible embodiments thereof. For example and without limitation, in some embodiments the cover 204 may additionally or alternatively include a securing mechanism that prevents unauthorized disengagement of the upper portion of the plug 202 from the lower portion of the plug 202. For another example and also without limitation, in some embodiments the cover 204 may additionally or alternatively include a tether connecting the upper portion of the plug 202 to the lower portion of the plug 202. In some embodiments, the attachment feature 208 may be adapted so that only a specialized custom tool can attach to and operate the plug 202. In some embodiments, the attachment feature 208 may include a nut of standard or non-standard sizes. It will be understood that a variety of materials and techniques may be employed in the construction of embodiments of the present invention.

The plugs can furthermore be easily constructed to be color-coded or include written symbols, words, or other indicia of their use (e.g., red plugs designating fuel line penetrations). Additionally, the plugs can include auxiliary attachments and features to enhance their operation. For example, including a lanyard or cord or chain that is attached at one end to the upper portion of the plug and the other end being attached to another portion such as a lower portion of the plug. The lanyard being of finite length, such as and without limitation eight-inches long, may prevent accidental loss of a cover.

Other embodiments and modifications of the present disclosure are comprehended within the scope of the present invention and disclosure and can be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

It will be appreciated that any and all embodiments of the plug may provide safety protection for a cored hole in a concrete slab per building-code requirements. Moreover, it will be appreciated that any and all embodiments of the plug may provide a smoke-stop and/or fire-stop capability. It will further be appreciated that the capability may be provided when the top portion is mated to the bottom portion and the plug 202 is seated in a hole. It will still further be appreciated that the capability may be provided after the plug 202 has been seated in a hole; the top portion has been removed; and a pipe has been fitted through the bottom portion. Finally, it will be understood that various embodiments of the plug 202 are possible and that embodiments of the present invention are not limited to those disclosed herein and elsewhere.

Many other systems, methods, objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will be appreciated. All such systems, methods, object, features, and advantages are within the scope of the present disclosure.

While the invention has been disclosed in connection with certain preferred embodiments, those of ordinary skill in the art may recognize other embodiments, and all such variations, modifications, and substitutions may be intended to fall within the scope of this disclosure. Thus, the invention may be to be understood in the broadest sense allowable by law.