Title:
Rebar Support Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed toward a rebar support assembly utilized in structural construction beams. The assembly may include a frame having chair portion, a cage portion, an intermediate portion, and/or a header portion. Each portion may include one or more rebar receptacles designed to support a segment of reinforcement bar in a predetermined location and orientation. For example, the receptacles may be configured to orient the rebar in a generally horizontal and/or a generally vertical position. The assembly may be configured as a unitary structure, or may be modular to customize the rebar support for a job site. In use, the assembly is positioned on the supporting surface of the concrete pour area and rebar segments are coupled to the receptacles. Concrete is then poured over/around the assembly.



Inventors:
Garza, Francisco L. (McAllen, TX, US)
Verdi, Mario (Mission, TX, US)
Galal, Khaled Elmandooh (Verdun, CA)
Application Number:
12/105522
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
04/18/2008
Assignee:
3GM PRODUCTS (McAllen, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/649.2, 52/745.17
International Classes:
E04C5/16
View Patent Images:
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20080236058Roof panel systems for building constructionOctober, 2008Antonie
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20070011974Supporting framework for a facadeJanuary, 2007Ebert et al.
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Primary Examiner:
AHMAD, CHARISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EDELL, SHAPIRO & FINNAN, LLC (Gaithersburg, MD, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A rebar support assembly for a reinforced concrete element, the assembly comprising: a chair portion operable to support the frame on a supporting surface; a cage portion oriented above the chair portion; a first receptacle operable to support a first reinforcement bar in a first orientation; and a second receptacle operable to support a second reinforcement bar in a second orientation different form the first orientation, wherein the assembly positions and supports the reinforcement bars during the formation and curing of a concrete structural element.

2. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein: the first receptacle orients the first reinforcement bar generally parallel to the supporting surface; and the second receptacle orients the second reinforcement bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface.

3. The support assembly of claim 2, wherein the cage portion comprises a plurality of the first receptacles; and the chair portion comprises a plurality of the second receptacles.

4. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein: the chair portion comprises a chair frame including: a pair of exterior chair support members, and an interior chair support member extending between the pair of exterior chair support members; the cage portion comprises a cage frame including: a pair of exterior cage support members, and an interior cage support member extending between the pair of exterior cage support members; the first receptacle is disposed on the interior chair support member; and the second receptacle is disposed on the exterior cage support members.

5. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein: at least one of the receptacles comprises a resilient clip including a receiving portion configured to flex from a first, normal position to a second, expanded position; and the receiving portion is biased toward the normal position.

6. The support assembly of claim 1 further comprising a header portion oriented above the cage portion, the header portion including a first header receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally parallel to the supporting surface.

7. The support assembly of claim 6, wherein the header portion further comprises a second header receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface.

8. The support assembly of claim 6 further comprising an intermediate portion disposed between the header portion and the cage portion, the intermediate portion including a an intermediate receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally parallel to the supporting surface.

9. The support assembly of claim 1 further comprising an intermediate portion disposed between the chair portion and the cage portion, the intermediate portion including a intermediate receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally parallel to the supporting surface.

10. The support assembly of claim 1 further comprising a fastener socket operable to receive a fastener that couples the assembly to a concrete form.

11. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein: the assembly further comprises: a first fastener socket disposed on the chair portion, and a second fastener socket disposed on the cage portion; and the fastener sockets receive a fastener capable of securing the assembly to a concrete form.

12. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein: the second receptacle is disposed on the chair portion, the second receptacle being operable to support the second reinforcement bar in a generally perpendicular to the supporting surface; the assembly further comprises a header portion oriented above the cage portion, the header portion including a header receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface, a reinforcement bar extending from the second receptacle to the header receptacle.

13. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein the chair portion releasably engages the cage portion.

14. The support assembly of claim 1, wherein the frame is formed from thermoplastic material.

15. A concrete beam rebar support assembly comprising: a chair portion operable to support the assembly over a supporting surface; a cage portion in communication with the chair portion, the cage portion comprising an open web to permit the flow of concrete therethough; and a receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and couple the bar to the assembly, wherein the support assembly is adapted to support and position one or more reinforcement bars during the pouring and curing of a concrete beam.

16. The rebar support assembly of claim 15, wherein the assembly comprises a unitary structure formed from a thermoplastic material.

17. The rebar support assembly of claim 15, wherein: at least one of the receptacles comprises a resilient clip including a receiving portion configured to flex from a first, normal position to a second, expanded position; and the receiving portion is biased toward the normal position.

18. A method of forming a reinforced concrete beam, the method comprising: (a) providing a plurality of support assemblies, each support assembly including: a chair portion operable to support the frame on a supporting surface, the chair portion including a first chair rebar receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar such that it is oriented generally parallel to the supporting surface, and a cage portion oriented above the chair portion, the cage portion comprising: a pair of generally vertical support members oriented in spaced relation, a generally horizontal support member extending between the pair of generally vertical support members, and a cage rebar receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar such that it is oriented in generally parallel to the supporting surface; (b) orienting the support assemblies in spaced, parallel relation on a supporting surface; (c) inserting a first reinforcement bar into a plurality of chair rebar support members such that extends at least from a first assembly to a second assembly; (d) directing uncured concrete around the assembly.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein: the chair assembly further comprises a second chair rebar receptacle operable to receive an reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface; the assembly further comprises a header portion including: a first header rebar receptacle operable to receive an reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally parallel to the supporting surface, and a second header rebar receptacle operable to receive an reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface; the second chair rebar receptacle is generally aligned with the second header rebar receptacle; and the method further comprises (e) inserting a second reinforcement member into both the chair second receptacle and the header second receptacle.

20. A rebar support system for a reinforced concrete beam, the system comprising a plurality of rebar support assemblies, each system comprising: a chair portion operable to support the frame on a supporting surface, the chair portion including: a first chair receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally parallel to the supporting surface, a second chair receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface; and a cage portion oriented above the chair portion, the cage portion comprising a cage receptacle operable to receive a reinforcement bar and orient the bar generally parallel to the supporting surface.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a non-provisional application of provisional application No. 60/912,524, entitled “Rebar Support System” and filed on 18 Apr. 2007, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed toward a rebar support assembly and, in particular, to a rebar support assembly for reinforced concrete beams.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Concrete beams are structural elements typically utilized to transmit tributary loads from floor slabs to vertical supporting columns or walls, as well as to transmit the weight of a super-structure to the supporting soil. Concrete, while possessing strong compressive strength, is subject to tensile forces that, over the life of the beam, results in beam deflection or creep. Reinforcing the beam accommodates for tensile stresses, minimizing creep as well as minimizing the width of any cracks that develop during the life of the beam.

Typically, concrete beams are reinforced utilizing reinforcement bars (“rebars”). Rebars can be made of metal (e.g., steel, stainless steel, etc.) or nonmetals (e.g., fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP)). A typical system may include main bars running longitudinally (along the length of the beam) and transverse bars running across the beam. The bars are set at predetermined locations, e.g., toward the outer (top/bottom) surface of the beam. In addition, stirrups (closed, U-shaped, or C-shaped rebar segments) are often used to provide tensile strength to the beam. Stirrups may be oriented vertically, or may be inclined, slanting within the beam. For example, conventional rebar systems typically include a rebar segment formed into a U-shaped stirrup with angular returns along its top end (the top of the “U”). The stirrups are fastened to the main (longitudinal) reinforcing rebar with a winding wire and then placed onto a separate support chair to elevate the entire assembly above a supporting surface (e.g., the ground, trench, or concrete pour area, or formwork).

Conventional rebar support systems suffer from several drawbacks. For example, the systems require additional process steps—the stirrups must be formed on-site, and then assembled in the field by a construction worker. Metal wire must be utilized to secure the stirrup to the main bar. That is, the stirrup is secured to the main bar by winding metal wire in several places along the inner perimeter of a U-shaped stirrup. In addition, once the U-shaped rebar stirrup is fastened to the main reinforcing rebar, the entire assembly must be positioned onto the support chair placed within the concrete pour area. This process is very labor intensive.

Another problem with conventional rebar support systems is that when the main reinforcing rebar is wound onto the metal stirrup, the integrity of the wound rebar is completely dependent on the skill of the worker winding the binding wire, yielding a winding junction that is non-repeatable and lacking uniformity from job to job. In addition, the wound wire configuration risks the dislocation of rebar if the metal wires are unwound or broken during the process of pouring concrete.

Still another disadvantage of metal wire stirrups is the rusting/oxidation of the binding wire. Since the binding wire tends to extend from the resulting concrete beam, the wire is exposed to the environment, risking the oxidation of the wire over time.

In view of the above disadvantages, it is desirable to provide an rebar support assembly that can be set up quickly on site, can adequately and uniformly secure the rebar segments within the assembly, and can eliminate the need for additional process steps (and, in particular, the extensive winding of field/binding wire).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed toward a rebar support assembly utilized in the formation of cast-in-situ and precast structural elements and, in particular, in the formation concrete beams. The support assembly may include a frame having chair portion, a stirrup portion, an intermediate portion, and/or a header portion. Each portion may include one or more rebar receptacles designed to support a segment of reinforcement bar in a predetermined location and orientation. For example, the receptacles may be configured to support the rebar in a generally horizontal and/or a generally vertical orientation. The assembly may be configured as a unitary structure, or may be modular, enabling its customization at a job site. In use, the assembly is positioned on the supporting surface of the concrete pour area and the rebar segments are coupled to the receptacles. Concrete is then poured over/around the assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a rebar support assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 1B illustrates a perspective view of the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 illustrates a close-up view of the chair portion of the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 1

FIG. 3A illustrates a close-up view of a reinforcement bar receptacle for the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3B illustrates reinforcement bar receptacles in accordance with other embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 4A-4C illustrate rebar support assemblies in accordance with other embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates the operation of the assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6A illustrates a front view of a rebar support assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6B illustrates a front exploded view of segments forming the rebar support assembly of FIG. 6A.

FIG. 6C illustrates a close-up view of the connection system that connects segments of the rebar support illustrated in FIG. 6B.

FIGS. 6D and 6E illustrate segments of the rebar support assembly in accordance with other embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a close-up view of a fastener connecting adjacent portions of the assembly of FIG. 6A together.

FIG. 8A illustrates a close-up view of the chair portion of the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 8B illustrates a close-up view of the cage portion of the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 8C illustrates a close-up view of the header portion of the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 8D illustrates a close-up view of the intermediate portion of the rebar support assembly shown in FIG. 6A.

FIG. 9A illustrates the rebar assembly of FIG. 6A in operation, showing the assembly coupled to a concrete form.

FIG. 9B illustrates a top view of the assembly shown in FIG. 6, showing the positioning of a vertical reinforcement bar segment within the assembly.

FIG. 10 illustrates the operation of the rebar support assembly of FIG. 6A.

Like reference numerals have been used to identify like elements throughout this disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate a rebar support assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As illustrated, the support assembly 100 may be in the form of a frame having a unitary structure including a chair portion 110, a body or cage portion 120, and one or more receptacles 130. The chair portion 110 engages a supporting surface S (e.g., the ground, concrete pour area, formwork, etc.), elevating the cage portion 120 and receptacles 130 above the surface. The chair portion 110 includes at least one aperture to permit the flow of concrete therethrough. As seen best in FIG. 2, the chair portion 110 may include an exterior wall 200 defining an open area that is divided by an interior wall 210 to create a first flow-through or channel 220 and second flow-through or channel 230. The chair walls 200, 210 may be reinforced with multiple radii, cross-, and T-shaped junctions to maximize strength and yield necessary stability while snapping in the main reinforcement bar during a concrete pour.

The cage portion 120 is configured to support one or more receptacles 130 in predetermined positions, orienting the reinforcement bars in spaced, generally parallel relation (vertically and horizontally). As with the chair portion 110, the cage portion 120 includes an open structure to permit the flow of concrete therethrough. Referring back to FIG. 1B, the cage portion 120 includes an exterior wall 140 defining a central space that may be further divided by interior walls (e.g., a generally horizontal support wall 150 and a generally vertical support wall 160) to define flow-though areas 170 for concrete. The interior walls 150, 160 may selectively intersect to provide a desired number of flow-through areas 170, as well as to provide a desired amount of rigidity and support load capability. As with the chair portion 110, the walls of the cage portion 120 may include multiple radii, cross-, and T-shaped junctions to maximize strength performance and the ample cored sections allow for maximum concrete and aggregate flow during a concrete pour.

The reinforcement bar receptacle 130 is configured to receive a portion of a reinforcing bar segment, selectively positioning the bar at a predetermined location and in a predetermined orientation within the beam. FIG. 3A illustrates a close-up view of a receptacle 130 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As shown, the rebar receptacle 130 may be a spring clip including a base section 300 and a U-shaped receiving section 310 defined by a first wall or pincer 320A and a second wall or pincer 320B. The clip is resilient—the base 300 may flex, permitting the selective expansion of the receiving section 310. The base 300, while flexible, biases the pincers 320A, 320B toward their normal position. With this configuration, the clip is adjustable, accommodating reinforcement bar segments having diameters of various sizes. Preferably, the pincers 320A, 320B may be sized to cover at least about 50% of the perimeter of the reinforcement bar. In operation, the pincers 320A, 320B move from a first, normal position to a second, expanded position to accommodate a reinforcement bar. Once the bar is inserted into the receptacle, the pincers 320A, 320B are drawn back to their normal position, engaging the bar and securing it within the receptacle 130. Alternatively in addition to, the receptacles 130 may a closed channel through which the reinforcement bar slides.

The receptacles 130 may be disposed at any suitable location along the chair portion 110 and/or cage portion 120. For example, a first set of receptacles 130 may be disposed in spaced relation along the exterior wall 140 of the cage portion 120. The receptacles 130 may extend distally from the exterior wall, with the receiving section 310 oriented upwards to support the reinforcement bar generally parallel to the supporting surface (i.e., horizontally). Alternatively or in addition to, a second set of receptacles 135 may extend distally from generally vertical support wall 160, with the receiving portions oriented outward to support the reinforcement bar generally perpendicular to the supporting surface (i.e., vertically). In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, the cage portion 120 has three receptacles 130 on each side to permit the use of three pairs of longitudinal reinforcement bars (one pair located at the top of the cage portion, one located at the bottom of the cage, and one located proximate the cage mid-height). In addition, the vertical wall 160 includes a pair of receptacles 135 operable to support a reinforcement bar vertically.

The receptacles 130, 135 may possess any shape suitable for its intended purpose. Referring to FIG. 3B, instead of having a U-shape, the receiving portion 310 may possess a V-shape. In addition, the pincers 320A, 320B may include one or more inward-extending tabs 340. The tabs 340 serve as a stop shoulder, helping to retain the reinforcing bar within the receptacle 130, 135.

While a generally rectangular rebar support assembly 100 is illustrated, the assembly—and in particular, each of the chair portion 110 and cage portion 120—may possess any desired shape or have any dimensions suitable for its described purpose. FIGS. 4A-4C illustrate other configurations suitable to support a plurality of reinforcement bars. As illustrated, each chair portion 110 and cage portion 120 includes an open web structure to permit the flow of concrete through and around the assembly 100.

The assembly 100 may be formed from any suitable materials. By way of example, the assembly 100 is formed from a moldable material such as a thermoplastic resin including, but not limited to, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene; polyvinyl chloride; polypropylene (e.g., polypropylene, talc-filled polypropylene, calcium filled polypropylene, and polypropylene copolymers); polyethylene (low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), ultra high molecular weigh polyethylene (UHMWPE)); polyamide, polyester; and polycarbonate. The assembly 100 may be formed utilizing injection molding, co-injection molding, profile extrusion, ram extrusion versus injection molding or co-injection molding, or computer controller cutting or building process such as machines using computer numerical control (CNC), and selective laser sintering (SLS), stereolithography (SLA). When molding processes are utilized, the assembly 100 may be formed into a unitary structure in which each of the chair portion 110, the cage portion 120, and the receptacles 130 being integrated into a single piece unit.

In addition, the assembly 100 may be formed from other, metallic and nonmetallic materials. When metal is used to form the assembly 100, furthermore, the metal may be coated with a thermoplastic resin to provide a layer to inhibit oxidation of the metal.

Operation of the assembly is illustrated with respect to FIG. 5. One or more rebar support assemblies 100 are placed at desired locations along the supporting surface of the concrete pour area (e.g., in the wooden form, in a trench, etc.). The chair portion 110 of each assembly 100 rests on the supporting surface S at the desired location. The main reinforcement bar segments 500A, 500B, 500C, 500D are snapped into appropriate receptacles 130 as explained above. Similarly, a vertical reinforcement bar 505 may be inserted into corresponding receptacles 135. The receptacles 130, 135 retain the reinforcement bars in it place such that, when the concrete is poured, the concrete and aggregate flow easily through the openings of the cage 120 and chair 110 portions to provide a uniform distribution of concrete. In addition, the reinforcement bars are uniformly disposed along the inside of the concrete for maximum reinforcing support.

With this configuration, the rebar support assembly 100 provides a single-piece rebar support that locates the main reinforcing bar in the same location across the spanned rebar, maximizing the reinforcement performance of the concrete poured slab, floor, wall, etc. This configuration further does not require the use of winding to secure the vertical and horizontal rebar segments together/in position.

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate a rebar support assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. The rebar assembly 600 is modular, including a frame having portions that are selectively coupled together. As illustrated, the rebar support assembly 600 includes a footer or chair portion 610, a cage or body portion 620, and header portion 630. The assembly 600 may further include one or more intermediate portions 640 positioned between the chair portion 610 and the cage portion 620 (as illustrated) and/or the cage and header portions. The portions 610, 620, 630, 640 are reconfigurable and interchangeable; consequently, the assembly 600 can be customized to accommodate the parameters of a job site.

In the embodiment illustrated, each portion 610, 620, 630, 640 includes a plurality of generally vertical support members or walls 650 intersected by generally horizontal support members or walls 655. The portions 610, 620, 630, 640 may further include a fastener socket 660 operable to guide a fastener toward its corresponding assembly portion. With this configuration, the assembly 600 may be fastened to the walls of a concrete form via the sockets 660 (shown in FIG. 9A). The fastener may include nails, bolts (e.g., a self-tapping bolt), etc. The sockets 660, moreover, may be threaded or unthreaded.

Each portion 610, 620, 630, 640 is adapted to mate with a corresponding portion. By way of example, the generally vertical support members 650 of the header portion 630 is adapted to mate with the generally vertical support members of the cage portion 620, which, in turn, is adapted to mate with the generally vertical support members of the chair portion 610. Referring to the embodiment of FIG. 7, the bottom ends of the vertical support members 650 may include a female connection 700 that mates with a complementary male connection 710 formed into the top ends of an adjacent portion. In operation, the male connection 710 is inserted into the female connection 700, securing the assembly portions together. Each connection 700, 710, moreover, may include serrations 720 to prevent the unintentional separation of the portions. It should be understood, however, that the illustrated connection system is exemplary, and that other connection systems may be utilized.

Each portion 610, 620, 630, 640 may be single-piece units; alternatively, each portion may be adapted to connect with other segments, making the assembly reconfigurable. Referring to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6B, each portion of the assembly 600 includes a first segment 670A and a second segment 670B configured to connect to each other via a connection mechanism. As shown in FIG. 6C, the first segment 670A may include a male connector 675 (e.g., tab) that is received by a female connector 680 (e.g., a slot) disposed on the second segment 670B. Other connection mechanism may be utilized. It is worth noting that the segments 670A, 670B of the portions 610, 620, 630, 640 may be standardized for different beam widths, e.g., 10″, 12″, 14″, or could be customized according to predetermined beam dimensions. Dividing the portions 610, 620, 630, 640 into segments 670A, 670B permits standardization of the assembly 600 for different beam widths. Additional exemplary segments 670C and 670D are illustrated in FIG. 6D and FIG. 6E, respectively.

FIGS. 8A-8D illustrate close-up, isolated views of the assembly portions 610, 620, 630, 640 shown in FIG. 6A. Referring first to FIG. 8A, the vertical support members 650 of the chair portion 610 may include a plurality of feet 800 configured to elevate the chair portion 610 above a supporting surface, while forming flow areas that permit the flow of concrete around the chair portion 610.

The chair portion 610 further includes receptacles operable to support and orient reinforcement bar segments in predetermined positions. Preferably, the chair portion 610 includes a first set of receptacles configured to simultaneously position the reinforcement bar in a first orientation (e.g., generally horizontally) and second reinforcement bar in a second orientation (e.g., generally vertically). By way of specific example, as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 8A, the outer vertical support members 650 include a vertical receptacle 810 configured to orient a reinforcement bar vertically (i.e., generally perpendicular to the support surface). Orienting a reinforcement bar vertically improves the strength of the concrete beam against shear stresses. In addition, the generally horizontal support member 655 may include one or more horizontal receptacles 820 configured to orient a reinforcement bar generally horizontally (i.e., generally parallel to the supporting surface). By way of example, the chair receptacles 810, 820 may be resilient clips similar to those described above (FIG. 3A).

The cage portion 620 is disposed above the chair portion 610. Referring to FIG. 8B, the outer vertical support members 650 may include one or more cage receptacles 830 configured to capture and orient a reinforcement bar generally horizontally (i.e., generally parallel to the supporting surface), positioning the reinforcement bar near the perimeter of the resulting concrete beam (near the skin of the beam). The cage receptacles 830 may be resilient clips similar to the clips 130 described above. The intersecting vertical 650 and horizontal 655 support members create a series of flow areas that permit the flow of concrete around the portion 620.

The header portion 630 is disposed at the top of the assembly 600. Referring to FIG. 8C, the header portion 630 may include a first set of receptacles configured to simultaneously position the reinforcement bar in a first orientation (e.g., generally horizontally) and second reinforcement bar in a second orientation (e.g., generally vertically). By way of specific example, the outer vertical support members 650 include a vertical receptacle 810 configured to orient a reinforcement bar vertically (i.e., generally perpendicular to the support surface). In addition, the generally horizontal support member 655 may include one or more horizontal receptacles 820 configured to orient a reinforcement bar generally horizontally (i.e., generally parallel to the supporting surface).

The rebar support assembly 600 may further include one or more intermediate portions 640 that are selectively positioned within the assembly. In the embodiment of FIG. 6A, the intermediate portion 640 is disposed between the chair portion 610 and cage portion 620. Alternatively or in addition to, the intermediate portion 640 may be disposed between the header portion 630 and cage portion 620. Additional intermediate portions 640 may be added as desired. That is, the intermediate portions 640 may be added selectively to the assembly, providing the desired level of support and positioning the reinforcement bars near the upper skin of the concrete beam. The intersecting vertical 650 and horizontal 655 support members create a series of flow areas that permit the flow of concrete around the portion 640.

The intermediate portion 640 may include receptacles configured to position the reinforcement bar in a desired orientation. By way of example, the generally horizontal support member 655 may include one or more horizontal receptacles 820 configured to orient a reinforcement bar generally horizontally (i.e., generally parallel to the supporting surface). While not illustrated, it should be understood the intermediate portions may further include vertical receptacles 810 operable to support a reinforcement bar vertically. Furthermore, the intermediate portions 640 may be formed with no receptacles 810, 820 830.

Operation of the device is explained with reference to FIGS. 9A and 9B. In the embodiment illustrated, the chair portion 610 is connected to an intermediate portion 640, which, in turn, is connected to the lower end of the cage portion 620. Finally, the header portion 630 is connected to the upper end of the cage portion. A first set of horizontal reinforcement bars 900 may be selectively placed into the desired horizontal receptacles 820. Similarly, a second set of horizontal reinforcement bars 905 having a diameter that differs from that of the first set of reinforcement bars 900 may be inserted into receptacles 830.

In addition, a vertical reinforcement bar 910 may be inserted into the vertical receptacles 810. The vertical reinforcement bar 910 may be configured such that it includes an elongated rod having hooks or bends 930 formed into its terminal ends. The hook 930 may possess an angle of about 90°. Referring to FIG. 9B, showing a top view of the header portion 630, the vertical reinforcement bar 910 is urged into the vertical receptacle 810 and the hook 930 is positioned generally parallel to the generally horizontal support member 655 of the header portion 630. By way of specific example, the vertical reinforcement bar 910 may be rotated (indicated by arrow R) such that the hook 930 is positioned over a horizontal receptacle 820 in which a horizontal reinforcement bar 900 is disposed. With this configuration, the vertical reinforcement bar 910 not only captures the horizontal bar 900 within the adjacent receptacle 820, but also prevents the slippage of the vertical bar along the plane of the assembly 600.

The vertical reinforcement bars 910, moreover, strengthen the finished concrete beam against shear forces. Utilizing two vertical reinforcement bars 910 (instead of one bar) provides better shear resistance of the concrete beam, increasing the beam's resistance to any accidental torsion that might be applied to the beam (e.g., due to the grid action resulting from any differential settlement). In that case, the torsion can be resisted by the coupling force in the two bars. The hook 930 decreases the probability of anchorage failure. In addition, the hooks 930 permit the reinforcement bars to reach their ultimate tensile strength before having bar slippage. The hook 930 also improves the effectiveness of the reinforcement bar should a shear crack form near the end of the reinforcement bar (the receptacle alone may not be suitable). In operation, the vertical reinforcement bars 910 should be carried as close to the beam face as possible, and the bar may have an extension of at least 6 db after the hook for No. 5 and smaller, and 12 db for No. 8 and smaller.

It is important to note that, in addition to capturing and support sections of reinforcement bar, the receptacles 810, 820 830 may be utilized to support other, non-rebar sections. By way of example, the horizontal receptacles 820, 830 may be configured to support other, non-rebar components such as cables, as well as plumbing and electrical conduits (pipes, wires, etc.). This feature is particularly useful during the formation of precast structural elements, where the element is formed off-site and delivered to the work site. Thus, the assembly 600 may support various rebar and non-rebar components, properly supporting the components within the in-situ environment and, consequently, within the finished structural element.

The assembly 600 may be formed from any suitable materials. Preferably, the assembly 600 is formed from a thermoplastic resin including, but not limited to acrylonitrile butadiene styrene; polyvinyl chloride; polypropylene (e.g., polypropylene, talc-filled polypropylene, calcium filled polypropylene, and polypropylene copolymers); polyethylene (low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), ultra high molecular weigh polyethylene (UHMWPE)); polyamide, polyester; and polycarbonate. The assembly 600 may be formed utilizing injection molding, co-injection molding, profile extrusion, ram extrusion versus injection molding or co-injection molding, or computer controller cutting or building process such as machines using computer numerical control (CNC), and selective laser sintering (SLS), stereolithography (SLA). When molding processes are utilized, each portion 610, 620, 630, 640 of the assembly 600 may be formed into single piece units, wherein the receptacles 810, 820, 830, the fastener sockets 660, and support members 650, 655 are part of an integrated frame structure.

In addition, the assembly 600 may be formed from other, metallic and nonmetallic materials. When metal is used to form the assembly 600, furthermore, the metal may be coated with a thermoplastic resin to provide a layer to inhibit oxidation of the metal.

Thus, the present invention provides a rebar support assembly 100, 600 that is able to carry two rows or more of longitudinal flexural reinforcement (top or bottom), as well as the skin reinforcement. The above-described modular configuration enables the use of hooked shear reinforcement bars that would enclose the flexural reinforcement.

Thus, the above-described configurations provide a single piece integrated rebar support system that will overcome the shortcomings of the prior art devices by forming an integrated rebar support system formed from, structurally sound thermoplastic parts, eliminating the need for any field wire winding by construction workers. The described configurations further provide a rebar support system that locates the main reinforcing rebar in the same location across the latitudinal spanned rebar of the assembly to maximize the reinforcement performance of the concrete poured slab, floor, wall, etc. Finally, the described configurations provide a single piece integrated rebar support system that is simple, cost effective and eliminates the possibility of human error from workers' experience and techniques, or lack thereof.

While the invention has been described in detail and with reference to specific embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, the assembly 100, 600 may be of any suitable shape and possess any suitable dimensions. Similarly, the portions 610, 620, 630, 640 may possess any suitable shape or have any suitable dimensions. The portions may comprise any number of segments 670A, 670B, 670C, 670D to accommodate wide concrete beams.

The receptacles 130, 810, 820, 830 may be disposed at any suitable locations within the assemblies 100, 600. For example, the receptacles may be disposed within the interior of the cage and/or chair portions. While shown as supporting reinforcement bar segments vertically and horizontally, the receptacles may be configured to support reinforcement bars at any desired angle (e.g., latitudinally or longitudinally inclined with respect to the supporting surface). The positioning of the receptacles 820, 830 along the horizontal bar 655 of a portion 610, 630, 640 may be such that the clear spacing between the longitudinal reinforcement bars in a single row (e.g., at the bottom and at the top) is larger than about 1.4 times the diameter of the reinforcement bar, and not less than about 30 mm.

The above-described rebar support system can be used for cast-in-situ (i.e., on site) concrete, or can be used in precast and/or pre-stressed concrete applications. Precast concrete is performed in a factory. Pre-stressing is a process where internal cables are stretch inside the concrete, such that when the concrete hardens, the cables compress the beams, thus closing the cracks and the tension forces. The resulting beams formed in the precast/prestressed processes may not possess rectangular shapes. For example, the resulting beams may have a bulge along its bottom surface to accommodate more reinforcement bars along the tension side.

It is to be understood that terms such as “top”, “bottom”, “front”, “rear”, “side”, “height”, “length”, “width”, “upper”, “lower”, “interior”, “exterior”, “inner”, “outer” and the like as may be used herein, merely describe points of reference and do not limit the present invention to any particular orientation or configuration. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention that come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.





 
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