Title:
Fire Components
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A surround for a fire comprises a body fabricated at least in part from a relatively low density material to which is secured a relatively high density fascia material.



Inventors:
Kennedy, Jonathon Lars (London, GB)
Application Number:
11/911012
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
11/14/2006
Assignee:
ACQUISITIONS (FIREPLACES) LIMITED (London, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/596, 52/747.12
International Classes:
F24B1/198
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
GB2465616A2010-06-02
Primary Examiner:
CHAPMAN, JEANETTE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CAESAR RIVISE, PC (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-45. (canceled)

46. A fire surround comprising a body fabricated at least in part from a relatively low density aluminium structure to which is secured by securing means a relatively high density fascia material, the fascia material comprising a 4-20 mm thick ceramic or stone material, wherein the securing means is arranged to withstand the stresses exerted thereon, in use, when subjected to thermal cycling regimes, the body providing a picture frame to define an aperture for a fire.

47. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the body comprises a core which comprises cells and to a surface of which an aluminium facing is secured.

48. A surround according to claim 47, wherein the fascia is secured to the facing of the body.

49. A surround according to claim 47, wherein the core is a flat structure with the facing bonded or otherwise secured to one or both major surfaces to form a panel.

50. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the fascia material is a natural material.

51. A surround according to claim 50, wherein the natural material is selected from limestone, marble, granite or slate.

52. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the fascia is from 4 to 10 mm thick.

53. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the low density material is porous.

54. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the body is fabricated, at least in part, from an aluminium honeycomb material.

55. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the body is fabricated, at least in part from a material comprising an array of regular and/or irregular cells.

56. A surround according to claim 55, wherein at least some of the cells are interconnected to provide fluid communication therebetween.

57. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the relatively low density material may comprise wiring, tubing or ancillary fixings.

58. A surround according to claim 46, wherein the fascia material is bonded to the body by an adhesive which remains thermally stable in use.

59. A method of forming a fire surround, the method comprising providing a relatively low density aluminium structure and a relatively high density ceramic or stone material, securing the relatively low density material to a first major surface of the relatively high density material and subsequently cutting the high density material to a thickness of 4-20 mm in a direction parallel to the first major surface to form a member, wherein the means used to secure the low density material to the high density material is capable of withstanding the stresses exerted thereon, in use, when subjected to thermal cycling regimes and joining the member to other members to form a picture frame to define an aperture for a fire.

60. A method according to claim 59 further comprising securing a facing to the core and securing the facing to the first major surface of the relatively high density material.

61. A method according to claim 59, wherein said cutting comprises sawing the relatively high density material.

62. A method according to claim 59 comprising the step of subsequently finishing the cut surface of the high density material.

63. A method according to claim 62, wherein said finishing comprises polishing, honing or painting.

64. A method of forming two fire surround panels, the method comprising providing first and second relatively low density aluminium structures and a relatively high density ceramic or stone material, securing the first relatively low density material to a first major surface of the relatively high density material and securing the second relatively low density material to a second major surface of the relatively high density material and subsequently cutting the high density material to form two members, each having a high density material of thickness 4-20 mm, wherein the means used to secure the low density materials to the high density material is capable of withstanding the stresses exerted thereon, in use, when subjected to thermal cycling regimes, and joining the or one of the members to other members to form a picture frame to define an aperture for a fire.

65. A method according to claim 64 further comprising securing a facing to the core and securing the facing to the first major surface of the relatively high density material.

66. A method according to claim 64, wherein said cutting comprises sawing the relatively high density material.

67. A method according to claim 64 comprising the step of subsequently finishing the cut surface of the high density material.

68. A method according to claim 67, wherein said finishing comprises polishing, honing or painting.

69. A fire comprising a surround having a body fabricated at least in part from a relatively low density aluminium structure to which is secured by securing means a relatively high density fascia material, the fascia material comprising a 4-20 mm thick ceramic or stone material, wherein the securing means is arranged to withstand the stresses exerted thereon, in use, when subjected to thermal cycling regimes, the body providing a picture frame to define an aperture for a fire.

70. A flueless fire comprising a surround having a body fabricated at least in part from a relatively low density aluminium structure to which is secured by securing means a relatively high density fascia material, the fascia material comprising a 4-20 mm thick ceramic or stone material, wherein the securing means is arranged to withstand the stresses exerted thereon, in use, when subjected to thermal cycling regimes, the body providing a picture frame to define an aperture for a fire.

Description:

The present invention relates to a component for a fire, for example a surround and particularly, although not exclusively, to a surround for a fire, as well as a back panel, hearth and the like.

Gas fires are well known for use in the home. One particular type of gas fire which is of increasing popularity is the flueless, flame effect gas fire.

These fires are attractive because they do not have a flue and so can be relatively shallow. Examples of such fires are sold under the trademarks Burley Elan 4111, Plasma Platinum and others.

Because of their size, and the fact that a chimney is not required, it is possible to install these fires in an elevated condition, for example mounted to a wall.

Modern internal walls used in many houses are fabricated from plasterboard which is skimmed with plaster. Clearly the weight-bearing characteristics of such walls is less than that of a cavity or solid wall.

It is usual to provide a surround around a gas fire for the purposes of aesthetics. In many cases it is desirous to have a stone surround. Conventional stone surrounds are heavy due to the density of stone.

It will be appreciated that there is a limit to the weight which can be borne by a dry lined or timber framed construction wall. Alternatively, a large number of fixings and/or reinforcements can be used to spread the load. The price of failure of a fixing when a fire is installed, for example, in an elevated position, may be catastrophic both in terms of damage to property and personal injury.

Moreover, heavy surrounds are cumbersome. Manufacture, transport and installation such heavy surrounds may be problematic. For example, maneuvering such items at all stages of the supply chain can be difficult and installation may require large labour costs, especially when installing at an elevated location.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a solution to, or at least partially mitigate, one or more of the above-identified problems. Additionally or alternatively, it is an object of the invention to provide a new surround which is attractive and/or which satisfies contemporary design issues and/or which has a flexibility of use.

Accordingly, a first aspect of the invention provides a fire surround, the surround comprising a body fabricated from a light weight material to which is secured a fascia material.

Preferably the fascia material is a natural material which may be selected from ceramics, stone, minerals or metal. The stone is preferably selected from limestone, marble, granite, slate and so on.

Typically, the fascia may be 2-35 mm thick, say 2 to 20 mm and preferably 4 to 10 mm, e.g. 5 mm thick.

Preferably the light weight material is porous. In this specification the term ‘light weight’ refers to a material having a density less than that of the fascia material. For example, if the fascia material say, stone, (e.g. granite having a density of 2600 kg m−3), the light weight material will have a lower density, preferably over 50% less than that of the fascia, (e.g. a density of less than 1300 kg m−3), and most preferably significantly less than 50% of the density of the fascia material.

The porous material may comprise an aluminium honeycomb material, preferably provided with an array of regular or irregular cells of which at least some may be interconnected to provide fluid communication therebetween.

Preferably a core comprising cells has a facing bonded to a surface thereof. The core may be a flat structure with a facing bonded or otherwise secured to one or both major surfaces to form a panel.

Preferably the fascia material is bonded to the light weight, e.g. porous material, for example, bonded to a facing of a core of a porous material.

In all cases, it is preferred that the component, especially when used as a surround for a fire, will have a total weight of less than 40 kg, preferable less than 30 kg and preferably less than 25 kg when provided as an article in the form of a picture frame having external dimensions 1002×642 mm with a depth of 76 mm and an aperture of 538×286 mm. The low weight will ensure that the article can be elevated, preferably with ease, by two people.

Preferably, the light weight material, e.g. the aluminium honeycomb panel, will be from 8 to 30 mm thick, preferably 10 to 20 mm thick and most preferably 11 to 18, say 15 mm thick.

In order that the invention may be more fully understood, it will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a surround according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the rear of a surround according to the invention.

FIG. 3A is an elevation of the surround of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3B is a view along line A-A of FIG. 3A;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a section through a surround according to the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view indicating temperatures during operation.

Turning to FIG. 1 there is shown a flueless gas effect fire FF which is provided with a surround 1 made in accordance with the invention. As can be seen, the fire FF is mounted on a wall W in an elevated position. The wall W may be, for example, a solid cavity, dry lined or timber frame construction wall.

Turning to FIGS. 2, 3A and 3B the surround 1 provides a frame 2, having a front 21 and sides 22, which defines an aperture 3 to accept, a fire FF. The surround 1 includes a body 4 of an aluminium honeycomb material 4 to which is bonded, on all exposed surfaces which are visible when installed, a stone fascia 5. Support blocks 6 are provided to improve the rigidity of the frame 2.

FIG. 4 shows an exploded and exaggerated view of a section through a surround 1 wherein the fascia 5 and honeycomb structure 4 are shown.

The honeycomb structure 4 comprises a panel 40 formed of a pair of aluminium facings 41 bonded to core 42 comprising a plurality of cells 43. It will be appreciated that in the specific example shown the principal axis of the cells 43 is orthogonal to the principal axis of each facing 41. The panel 40 will typically be 15 mm thick although other thicknesses may be used.

For ease of packing, the cells 43 will typically have a hexagonal cross section.

The physical data of a panel 40 fabricated from 3003 commercial grade aluminium is as follows:

TABLE 1
Physical parameters of panel.
Cell Size/Compressivea
mmStrength/kg m−2Density/kg m−3Gauge/mmb
6.443590383.30.08
9.522849757.70.08
12.711600640.00.08
19.17733728.80.08
25.45273019.20.08
ain the axial direction of the cells.
bthe gauge of the aluminium used in construction of all parts.

To form a panel 40, a two-part epoxy resin is used to bond the facings 41 to the core 42. Typically the adhesive is pre-mixed and sprayed onto a surface of the facing 41 using a computer controlled spray booth. The facing 41 is brought into intimate contact with the core 42 and the adhesive wicks onto the walls of the cells 43. The panel 40 is then passed to a roller table to press to effect compression of the panel 40. The rollers or press may be heated to aid in the cure of the adhesive.

The panel 40 may be formed with rebates or recesses for the reception of wiring, tubing or ancillary fixings to provide, for example, concealed connection points, if required. The wiring, tubing or ancillary fixings may be incorporated during manufacture of the panel 40 or may be located in the panel 40 subsequent to manufacture.

The panel 40 may then be cut to size to provide a substrate from which the frame 2 can be constructed. The sides will typically be adhered to the front using a similar two part epoxy adhesive.

At this point, the support blocks 6 are joined to the frame to help rigidify the structure.

The fascia material 5 is then bonded to the facing 41 to cover all surfaces which are exposed in use. The adhesive is selected so that it will not degrade at the temperatures experienced during use and will not fail when exposed to thermal cycling regimes during use.

As an alternative, a panel 40, formed as above, is bonded to either side of a sheet of fascia material, for example 10-12 mm thick stone. The stone can then be cut (e.g. sawed) in a direction orthogonal to the principal axis to provide two panels each comprising a honeycomb panel 40 and a stone fascia 5, e.g. the stone having a thickness of 5 to 6 mm. The fascia material will then be applied to the sides and around the central aperture 3.

Whilst this does introduce a further cutting stage it also reduces the likelihood of damage occurring to the relatively thin stone material before it is adhered to the panel 40.

In either or both cases stone may then be finished, e.g. polished, honed, decorated or painted, as appropriate.

A typical surround, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B may be, say 1002×642 mm with a depth of 76 mm and an aperture 3 of 538×286 mm. Other sizes may be used.

For a surround 1 having a 15 mm thick body 4 of 3003 aluminium honeycomb panels 40 and a form as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, it has been found that when a 5 mm thick fascia of granite is used, a surround 1 has a total weight of 19.4 kg m−2, compared to 60 kg m−2 for an equivalent surround fabricated from granite.

Clearly, this represents a significant weight saving which will reduce shipping and installation costs, it may reduce material costs and the amount of natural materials which are used. It will also reduce the likelihood of damage to the surround 1 during transit.

Moreover because of the reduction in weight, the surround 1 can be installed using fewer or lower duty fixings, fewer man hours and the risk of a catastrophic failure is correspondingly reduced.

Other honeycomb materials which may be used include fibreglass, Kevlar, reinforced or unreinforced plastics and so on.

The porous material need not be aluminium and/or a honeycomb structure. For example, porous ceramics can be used. It is known that porous ceramics can have very low theoretical densities whilst maintaining structural strength.

A porous ceramic material may be provided as a monolithic block or as several components joined together.

Other low mass weight saving materials may be used, for example, pumice. In most cases it will be preferably that the volume of free-space (e.g. air) in the body is significant (e.g. a major contributor) so that the overall mass is low.

Means other than adhesives may be used to secure the body to the fascia, for example mechanical fixings, friction fits or snap fit arrangements.

It will be appreciated that when adhesives are used they are chosen to effect a good adhesion between the components over the entire temperature range of operation.

As will be seen in FIG. 5, the surface temperature of the surround 1 is significantly less than the surface temperature of the glass of the fire FF. This shows that, even though there is much less mass of stone to absorb convected and/or conducted heat than would be the case with a solid surround, the temperature at the surface does not exceed 57° C. and, in most locations the surround 1 may be touched without risk of burning.

It will also be appreciated that should the fascia and body have widely different coefficients of thermal expansion the means used to secure the two components together (e.g. the adhesive) must be capable of withstanding the stresses exerted thereon during use of the component which will, in use with a fire, be subjected to thermal cycling regimes (e.g. when the fire is in use and switched off). A two-part epoxy resin has been found to be suitable in this regard.

In some cases mechanical fixings as well as, or in place of, adhesives may be used.

The support blocks 6 may be replaced by aluminium brackets which may be screwed or riveted in place.

An article made in accordance with the invention could be fabricated to provide a hearth or back panel for a fire. It could also be used to provide low weight picture frames or panels, e.g. fascia panels with a stone effect finish which would have the look and feel of solid stone but not the weight.

The component could be used with electric fires, solid fuel fires, stoves, ovens and so on as well as Class 1 and Class 2 gas fires, all of which are to be considered ‘fires’ for the purposes of this invention.

In this specification the term ‘panel’ is intended to mean an article which is self-supporting, that is an article which may bend but which can support its own weight when supported on an edge.