Title:
Retaining wall system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A construction element, mold assemblies and a method of casting the construction element are described. The construction element, comprises a wall panel having a base, front and rear walls, two side walls, a top wall, and an integral footing member extending rearwardly from the rear wall of the wall panel to increase the effective width of the retaining wall construction element and wherein, the footing member is of a width such that the front wall of the wall panel is prevented from sliding or tipping forward.



Inventors:
Collet, Bruce (Centerville, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/999860
Publication Date:
06/11/2009
Filing Date:
12/10/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/742.14, 249/34
International Classes:
E02D29/02; E02D31/08; E04G11/06; E04G21/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050002741Apparatus and method for dock support or composite pilingJanuary, 2005Brensinger et al.
20090103983LOW-IMPACT DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR IN SITU TREATMENT OF CONTAMINATED SEDIMENTApril, 2009Ghosh et al.
20080245433LATERAL LINER WITH SEALOctober, 2008Warren
20070286680GEOMORPHOLOGY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS INCLUDING SEDIMENT SURVEYDecember, 2007Simon et al.
20080101862Scour Protection SystemMay, 2008Mountain
20030118405Method of construction for draining the ground and the likeJune, 2003Sakamoto
20050201831Landfill structure using concept of multi-layered reactors and method for operating the sameSeptember, 2005Lee et al.
20080092411Compact padding attachmentsApril, 2008Guth et al.
20050100417Method of deep soil compacting from a surfaceMay, 2005Bylica
20100003085MATINGJanuary, 2010Westre
20030194277No-lock pneumatic couplerOctober, 2003Courtney



Primary Examiner:
FIORELLO, BENJAMIN F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bruce Collet (Centerville, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A construction element, comprising: a wall panel having a base, front and rear walls, two side walls, a top wall, and an integral footing member extending rearwardly from the rear wall of the wall panel to increase the effective width of the construction element; and wherein, the footing member is of a width such that the front wall of the wall panel is prevented from sliding or tipping forward.

2. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the wall panel and the footing member are precast concrete, and the quality is variable by each customer casting the construction element.

3. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the footing member is laterally centered at the bottom of the rear wall of the wall panel.

4. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the footing member comprises a throat at its end proximate to the wall panel to strength the integration to the wall panel.

5. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the base of the wall panel includes a recess for interlocking with the top of the wall panel of a construction element of a subsequent lower tier.

6. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the base of the wall panel includes a recess for providing space between the construction elements of subsequent lower tier for creating active earth conditions.

7. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the footing member comprises flanges/ears to enable further anchoring.

8. The construction element according to claim 1, further comprising a plurality of rebar to prevent fracturing of the concrete.

9. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the wall panel edges are rounded.

10. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the front wall surface is irregular.

11. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the footing member includes a rib extending rearwardly from the wall panel to form a ridge and further extending along a tail of the footing member.

12. The construction element according to claim 1, wherein the footing member is provided far enough below the top wall of the wall panel to allow cultivating of the top soil without striking the footing member.

13. A mold assembly for casting a construction element, comprising: a vertical member having a back panel, containment side walls, a bottom containment wall and a removably mountable front panel comprising a containment side wall, defining a concrete receiving cavity, wherein the back panel comprises a recess to receive concrete; a horizontal tail member defining a concrete receiving cavity such that the cavity extends to the recess in the back panel of the vertical member; and a support to maintain the tail member horizontal, during pouring of concrete, at a predetermined height above the ground.

14. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein said support is a wooden support.

15. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the vertical member and the horizontal member edges are encased in steel and said support is a member attached as an integral part of the mold assembly.

16. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the removably mountable front panel is fastened to the back panel using a plurality of bolts.

17. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the removably mountable front panel is fastened to the back panel using a ā€œUā€ channel as part of the steel encasing the bottom of the back panel and two hook clamps provided on the top edges of the steel encasing the back panel that, when closed, secure the front panel and facilitate quick release of the front panel and easy removal of the construction element.

18. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the removably mountable front panel comprises customer specific inserts to inscribe initials or designs on a front face of the construction element.

19. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the removably mountable front panel is adapted to provide a plurality of patterns on the front face of the construction element.

20. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the back and front panels are replaceable with panels of different size or shape providing a construction element of another size or shape.

21. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the cavity defined by the horizontal member receives concrete such that the bottom of the construction element to be casted is open so that additional anchoring rebar can remain sticking out of the bottom of the construction element.

22. The mold assembly as claimed in claim 13, wherein the vertical member and the horizontal member are light weighted so that the mold assembly can be transported to the construction site with ease.

23. A method of casting a construction element, the method comprising: obtaining a mold assembly to cast the construction element; inserting pre-cut and pre-bent rebar strategically into cavities defined by the mold assembly; pouring concrete into the cavities defined by the mold assembly; and curing the concrete to obtain the construction element.

24. The method as claimed in claim 23, wherein obtaining the mold includes purchasing the mold.

25. The method as claimed in claim 23, wherein obtaining the mold includes renting the mold.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates in general to soil engineering, and, in particular, to retaining wall systems. More specifically, but without restriction to the particular embodiments hereinafter described, in accordance with the best mode of practice, this invention relates to a construction element, mold assemblies and a method for casting the construction element.

2. General Discussion and Related Art

Retaining wall construction elements have been used traditionally to construct retaining wall systems to retain soil, rock or any type of earthen material. Retaining wall construction elements are made of various materials such as plain or reinforced concrete, solid masonry, wood ties, bricks, and blocks of stone and concrete. One of the techniques used in constructing the retaining wall is to stabilize the weight and batter of the retaining wall to resist the loads imposed on the structure by the retaining soil.

Typically, construction elements are placed in rows and subsequent rows are stacked upon one another to build the wall height.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to construction element, comprising a wall panel having a base, front and rear walls, two side walls, a top wall, and an integral footing member extending rearwardly from the rear wall of the wall panel to increase the effective width of the retaining wall construction element and wherein, the footing member is of a width such that the front wall of the wall panel is prevented from sliding or tipping forward.

The invention also describes mold assemblies for casting a construction element, comprising a vertical member having a back panel, containment side walls, a bottom containment wall and a removably mountable front panel comprising a containment side wall, defining a concrete receiving cavity, wherein the back panel comprises a recess to receive concrete, a horizontal tail member defining a concrete receiving cavity such that the cavity extends to the recess in the back panel of the vertical member and a support to maintain the tail member horizontal, during pouring of concrete, at a pre-determined height above the ground.

Further the invention is also directed to a method of casting a construction element, comprising, obtaining a mold assembly to cast the construction element, inserting pre-cut and pre-bent rebar strategically into cavities defined by the mold assembly, pouring concrete into the cavities defined by the mold assembly and curing the concrete to obtain the construction element.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further objects of the present invention, together with additional features contributing thereto and advantages accruing therefrom, will be apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention which is shown in the accompanying drawing (with like reference numerals indicating like components throughout), wherein:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a poured concrete construction element in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view showing the rebar placement within the poured concrete constituting the construction element of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a typical single tier retaining wall system.

FIG. 4 is an isometric view of a typical multi tier retaining wall system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a side view of a typical multi tier retaining wall system in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 6A and 6B depict a mold assembly for manufacturing the construction element 100 of FIG. 1, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 7A and 7B depict a mold assembly for manufacturing the construction element 100 of FIG. 1, in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a landscape of a retaining wall constructed in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Various embodiments are described with reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals are used to refer to like elements, throughout. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of one or more embodiments. It may be evident, however, that such embodiments may be practiced without these specific details.

FIG. 1 illustrates a construction element 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The construction element 100 comprises a precast wall panel 110 and a footing member 125 laterally centered on the bottom rear of the panel 110, wherein the footing member 125 is an integral component of panel 110.

Panel 110 is generally of rectangular shape and includes a base 112, a front wall 114, a rear wall 116, two side walls 118, 120, and atop wall 122. The panel 110 is of sufficient thickness and strength so that the load on the panel 110 due to the retained fill is transmitted to the footing member 125.

The footing member 125 generally is a flat bottom, having at its end proximate to the panel 110, a substantially wide trapezoidal throat 130 extending from the rear wall 116 of the panel 110, a central portion 135 and a tail 140 at the distal end. The throat 130 is tapered as it extends towards the central portion 135. A rib 150 extends rearwardly from the panel 110 towards the throat 130 to form a curved ridge 155 and then further extends along the central portion 135 to the tail 140 of the footing member 125. The width of the rib 150 increases as it extends towards the curved ridge 155 and then remains constant along the tail 140.

A recess 160 is formed at the base 112 of the wall panel 110, to provide means for interlocking in multiple tiered configuration retaining wall system construction. This, interlocking means enable the construction element of a particular tier to automatically interlock to the construction element below it.

In a preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. I the front wall 114 of the wall panel 110 is patterned and generally curved, wherein the wall panel 110 is comparatively wider at the center than its edges. Further, the surface of the front wall 114 of the wall panel 110 is irregular and may be of different patterns. The edges of the wall panel 110 are curved for a substantially good aesthetic view. Of course, the use of other designs and architectural requirements is well within the scope of the present invention.

The panel 110 and the footing member 125 are integrally cast from concrete with pre-cut and pre-bent rebar strategically inserted therein. The footing member 125 is substantially broader than the panel 110. This prevents the panel 110 from tipping forward. The raised formation of the rib 150 enables the upright panel 110 to be more securely integrated into the horizontal tail 140, creating a more robust construction element 100. The design of the tail 140 and associated flanges/ears 165 and 170 is to more securely lock the construction element 100 into the backfill material. Further, the tail is designed to be far enough below the surface of the fill to ensure minimum interference while cultivating or tilling, in case top soil is used to create plantable terraces.

FIG. 2 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the invention wherein a plurality of steel reinforcing bars, rods or rebar are used to reinforce the panel 110 and the footing member 125. As illustrated in the example of FIG. 2, a rebar 210 extends across the top of the panel 110, a set of rebar 215, 220 extend towards the base, from the top, on either side of the panel 110, and a pair of L-shaped rebar 225, 230 radiate out at about the center of the panel 110 and then slope along the throat 130 towards the tail 140. These rebar 210, 215, 220, 225, 230 are placed strategically to strengthen the wall panel 110 and thus prevent it from fracturing. To strengthen the footing member 125, a pair of C-shaped rebar 235, 240 extend from the base of the panel 110 to the tail 140 of the footing member 125 and flare out into the flanges/ears 165 and 170. A rebar 245 also extends from the tail 140 of the footing member 125 towards the panel 110, wherein the rebar 245 curves upwards through the center of the throat to reach the center top of the panel 110. To further strength the tail 140, a rebar 250 extends across the tail 140 of the footing member 125.

Further, an individual may strategically place rebar or other reinforcing materials, depending on the level of quality of the construction element required for a particular application.

FIG. 3 illustrates a retaining wall system 300 using the construction element of FIG. 1. The retaining wall system 300 is constructed in horizontal configuration involving a single tier 310. The components 315, 320 of the retaining wall system 300 are wall construction element 100 of FIG. 1. For illustration purposes only two components 315, 320 are shown in FIG. 3. The plurality of components 315, 320 are erected in a horizontal manner on an excavated base 340. As shown in FIG. 3, component 315 is erected on the excavated base 340. Component 320 is erected to the side of the component 315. Similarly further components may be erected to construct a retaining wall of horizontal configuration.

FIG. 4 illustrates a multi tier retaining wall system 400 using the construction element of FIG. I in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The retaining wall system 400 is constructed in a vertical tiered configuration comprising multiple tiers 405, 410, 415 and 420. The components of the retaining wall system comprise construction elements 425, 430, 435, 440. To construct the retaining wall 400, it is necessary to excavate a base 445 and then erect tier one 405 component 425. Backfill 450 is placed to the level of the next higher tier 410 and compacted. Tier 410 component 430 is then erected on the wall panel of the component 425 of tier 410. As illustrated, the component 430 of tier 410 may interlock its wall panel on the wall panel of the component 420 of tier 1, thus interlocking the panels to create an integral retaining wall. Interlocking and offsetting subsequent layers like bricks produce an interconnected retaining wall. Backfill 450 is placed to the level of the next higher tier 415 and compacted. Component 435 of tier 415, component 440 of tier 420 are then erected in a similar manner. At the end the construction of multiple tiers, backfill 450 is placed for the component 440 of tier 420 and compacted to the final grade level. Accordingly multiple construction elements 100 as described in FIG. 1, comprising wall panel 110, and footing member 125 may be used to construct multiple tier configuration retaining wall system.

According to another aspect of the invention, tieback elements 460, 465, 470, 475 may be used to further anchor the components of the multiple tiers 405, 410, 415, and 420. According to this aspect, the tie back elements 460, 465, 470, 475 are connected to the flanges/ears 165, 170 provided on the components 425, 430, 435, 440. This enables further anchoring of the components 425, 430, 435, 440, and, thus increasing the retention capability.

FIG. 5 illustrates a side view of a multi tier retaining wall system 500 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. In the example of FIG. 5 it is shown that the construction elements 510, 515, 520, 525 do not overlap. Thus, the construction element 515 does not interlock with the construction element 510 of the subsequent lower tier. The recesses 530, 535, 540, 545 provide space between construction elements of each subsequent lower tier. This space facilitates independent movement of the construction elements 510, 515, 520, 525 to create active earth conditions, in order to ride out ground shaking, excessive weight, or pounding. Thus, stresses are redistributed to the backfill preventing the fracturing of the construction elements 510, 515, 520, 525. Alternately, subsequent higher retaining wall tiers can be set rearward to create terraces between each tier.

FIGS. 6A and 6B depict a mold assembly for manufacturing the construction element 100 of FIG. 1, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 6A, the mold assembly 600 defines concrete receiving cavities for manufacturing the construction element 100 of FIG. 1. The mold assembly 600 comprises a vertical member 610, a horizontal member 620 and a support member 630. The vertical member 610 comprises a back panel 635 with containment side walls 640, 645 and bottom containment wall 650, and a removably mountable front panel 655 comprising a containment side wall 665. The front panel 655 is mounted to the back panel 635 and fastened to the panel 635 using bolts. Having the front panel 655 as a separate piece of the mold, facilitates creating construction elements with varying designs on the face (for example chiseled granite, cobble stone, river rock, etc.). Additionally, a mold owner can make different patterned construction elements (such as construction element 100 of FIG. 1) by changing the mold front panel 655.

The vertical member 610 defines a cavity 670 to receive the concrete to form the wall panel 110 of the construction element 100 of FIG. 1. A recess 675 is also defined by the vertical member 610, wherein the recess 675 receives concrete to form the ridge 150 on the rear wall 116 of the wall panel 110 (as shown in FIG. 1). The horizontal member 620 defines a concrete receiving cavity 680 for forming the footing member 125 of the construction element 100 of FIG. 1. The cavity 680 defined by the horizontal member 620 extends to the recess 675 defined by the vertical member 610. In an example, the support member 630 for maintaining the horizontal member 620 at a pre-determined height above the ground such that the horizontal member 620 is aligned to the vertical member 610 is a wood cross.

Plastic straps 682, 684, 686 extend from the rear of the back panel 635 to the horizontal member 620, to provide additional strength to the mold 600. This simple construction of the mold assembly 600 enables it to be cost effective and therefore ideal for residential use.

FIGS. 7A and 7B depict a mold assembly 700 for manufacturing the construction element 100 of FIG. 1, in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 7A, the mold assembly 700 defines a mold and concrete receiving cavities identical to the mold assembly 600 of FIG. 6A and 6B, except that it is ruggedized by surrounding the edges of the back panel 635 and front panel 655 of FIGS. 6A and 6B with steel 702, 704, 706, 708.

In the example shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, the support member 630 is a vertical iron angle plate attached to the horizontal member 620. Further, the edges at the rear of the back panel 635 of the vertical member 610 are rimmed with steel bracings 705, 710. The bracing at the rear of the other containment side wall 640 is not visible in this view, but is identical to the visible side. The edges of the front panel 655 are also rimmed with steel bracings 706, 708. The bracings at the rear of the other two sides of the front panel 655 are not visible in the present view, but are identical to the bracing at the visible sides. Further, metal strips 720, 730, 740, 750 extend from the rear of the back panel 635 to the support member 630 to provide additional strength to the mold assembly 700. The strips 720, 730, 740, 750 are fastened to the vertical member 610 and the support member 630 using bolts.

This protects the mold assembly 700 from abuses and further makes the mold rigid for commercial applications.

The front panel 655 is fastened to the back panel 635 using a hook (not shown) protruding from the steel bracing 704 on the back panel 635. Alignment pins (not shown) are provided protruding from the bracings at the rear of the containment side walls 640, 645 to guide and fasten the front panel 655. Two over-center toggle hook clamps (not shown) are provided at the top of the steel bracing 702, and the counterpart on the other side, of the back panel 635 to clamp the front panel 655 to the back panel 635, when preparing to pour concrete into the mold 700. After the concrete is cured, the hook is unlatched to open the front panel 655 quickly and easily remove the casting.

The mold assemblies 600 (as shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B) and 700 (as shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B) facilitate manufacturing of the construction element 100 of FIG. I at the construction site, if desired. This eliminates the need of transporting the construction element 100 from the manufacturing or purchase site to the construction site. Further, different levels of quality may be defined by each user or customer and the construction element 100 can be prepared accordingly. This makes the construction element 100 more flexible and cost effective than purchased products that are normally made to the highest quality level demanded by any customer of the manufacturer. With a mold, each individual can make construction elements of varying quality as required for their particular application or construction project.

Instructions on how to cut, bend, and place the reinforcing bars, rods, or rebar shall be provided to the individual at the time of purchasing or renting the mold. After the concrete hardens, the construction element (such as the construction element of 100 of FIG. 1) can be installed by the individual, without the need of any special equipment. Further the individual can customize the quality of the construction element 100 according to his requirements. For example, by placing the rebar differently, the strength of the construction element 100 can be varied; fillers/strengtheners may be added to the concrete; accelerants may be added to the concrete to decrease the cure time; short rebar pieces may be vertically inserted into the mold with short pieces left sticking out that would securely grab geo grid when the construction element 100 is placed; and different shapes can be adapted for the construction element 100 by adding materials to the concrete or by blocking the cavities defined by the mold assembly 600 of FIGS. 6A and 6B or the mold assembly 700 of FIGS. 7A and 7B.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the landscape of a retaining wall 800 constructed using the construction elements 100 of FIG. 7. The construction elements (such as the construction element 100 of FIG. 1) of one tier interlocks with the element subsequently below it to provide proper support to the retaining wall 800 and a patterned face. As illustrated, the construction elements are arranged in a manner such that each construction element offsets about half the construction element of a subsequent lower tier.

While this invention has been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, it should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to those precise embodiments. Rather, in view of the present disclosure which describes the current best mode for practicing the invention, many modifications and variations would present themselves to those of skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of this invention. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the following claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes, modifications, and variations coming within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be considered with in their scope.





 
Previous Patent: REMOVAL OF PLATFORMS AT SEA

Next Patent: Controlling Sediment