Title:
Patterned Panel System with Integrated Decorative Surfaces
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An insulating concrete form can be used to form the walls of a structure when filled with concrete. An outer surface of the insulating concrete form can be formed into one or more patterns. The patterns may simulate popular finishes such as brick, natural stone, and stucco. In some cases, the exterior of the insulating concrete form is coated with a protective, conformal coating, such as a rubberized acrylic coating or an elastomeric paint.



Inventors:
Shockey, Brian (Surprise, AZ, US)
Armijo, Duane (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Shockey, Christopher (Applegate, OR, US)
Application Number:
12/139377
Publication Date:
12/17/2009
Filing Date:
06/13/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/274, 52/742.13
International Classes:
E04C2/20; E04B1/00; E04B1/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050284099Veneering wooden door and a method for veneering an inner veneer strip of a door frameDecember, 2005Yu
20060112653Drainage apparatus and methods for installingJune, 2006Hogenson
20070271869CORNER FRAMING MEMBERNovember, 2007Andrikanich et al.
20060000164Wall port, and methods of use and systems thereofJanuary, 2006Raeburn
20050016097Moisture-resistant floor tile covering system for concrete floorsJanuary, 2005Janesky
20060266001Composite steel-wood floor structureNovember, 2006Barker et al.
20070262040Overhead gantry for use in building panel constructionNovember, 2007Mifsud et al.
20060059827Structure reinforcement systemMarch, 2006Wheatley
20080222968Multifunctional Urban ComplexSeptember, 2008Petkov et al.
20080282633Structural Insulated HeaderNovember, 2008Buckholt
20050005569Unidirectional fiber reinforced sheets in a thermoplastic matrixJanuary, 2005Tigchelaar



Primary Examiner:
MICHENER, JOSHUA J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Parsons Behle & Latimer (Boise, ID, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulating concrete form comprising: an exterior outer surface; an interior outer surface, substantially parallel to the exterior outer surface; and a cavity between the exterior outer surface and the interior outer surface, the cavity being configured to receive a volume of a concrete mixture, wherein the exterior outer surface of the insulating concrete form has an applied pattern with a plurality of pattern features having a feature depth of at least about ⅛ inch, and wherein the applied pattern can be reproduced on a plurality of surfaces in a repeatable manner.

2. The insulating concrete form of claim 1, wherein the insulating concrete form further comprises: an exterior panel having an inner surface and the exterior outer surface; an interior panel having an inner surface and the interior outer surface; one or more connecting members connected to the inner surfaces of the exterior and interior panels.

3. The insulating concrete form of claim 1, wherein the insulating concrete form is manufactured as a single piece.

4. The insulating concrete form of claim 1, wherein the insulating concrete form further comprises a pattern on the interior outer surface.

5. The insulating concrete form of claim 1, wherein an outer surface of the insulating concrete form is coated with a conformal rubberized acrylic coating or an elastomeric paint.

6. The insulating concrete form of claim 1, wherein the insulated concrete form comprises expanded polystyrene or extruded polystyrene.

7. The insulating concrete form of claim 1, wherein the applied pattern is a 4″×8″ standard brick pattern, a Monterrey texture, a 8″×16″ standard brick pattern, a 8″×8″ standard block pattern, a 8″×16″ standard stacked block pattern, a lace texture pattern, a standard split-face pattern, or a fluted pattern.

8. A structure comprising: a foundation; a plurality of interconnected walls resting on the foundation; and a roof covering the plurality of interconnected walls, wherein at least one of the plurality of interconnected walls is an exterior wall having a panel comprising styrenic material, the panel having an applied, reproducible pattern on an outer surface with a plurality of pattern features, and wherein the applied pattern is visible from an exterior of the structure after the structure is complete.

9. The structure of claim 8, wherein the exterior wall further comprises a conformal, protective coating having a thickness of no more than about ½ inch.

10. The structure of claim 8, wherein the styrenic material comprises expanded polystyrene or extruded polystyrene.

11. The structure of claim 8, wherein the panel is part of an insulating concrete form.

12. The structure of claim 8, wherein the panel is affixed to a pre-existing substrate.

13. The structure of claim 8, wherein the applied pattern has a feature depth of at least about ⅛ inch.

14. The structure of claim 8, wherein the applied pattern is a 4″×8″ standard brick pattern, a Monterrey texture, a 8″×16″ standard brick pattern, a 8″×8″ standard block pattern, a 8″×16″ standard stacked block pattern, a lace texture pattern, a standard split-face pattern, or a fluted pattern.

15. A method for manufacturing a styrenic panel comprising; moving a plurality of styrenic beads into a holding chamber; expanding the styrenic beads; moving the styrenic beads into a mold defining a reproducible pattern on a surface, the pattern having a feature depth of at least about ⅛ inch; expanding the styrenic beads to substantially fill the mold; and fusing the beads into a single structure of styrenic material, wherein the reproducible pattern of the mold is applied to surface of the styrenic structure.

16. The method for manufacturing a styrenic panel of claim 15, wherein the styrenic material comprises expanded polystyrene or extruded polystyrene.

17. The method for manufacturing a styrenic panel of claim 15, wherein the pattern is a 4″×8″ standard brick pattern, a Monterrey texture, a 8″×16″ standard brick pattern, a 8″×8″ standard block pattern, a 8″×16″ standard stacked block pattern, a lace texture pattern, a standard split-face pattern, or a fluted pattern.

18. The method for manufacturing a styrenic panel of claim 15, wherein a surface opposing the patterned surface is formed with one or more protrusions configured to be frictionally held.

19. The method for manufacturing a styrenic panel of claim 15, wherein the panel is configured to form a part of an insulating concrete form.

20. The method for manufacturing a styrenic panel of claim 15, wherein the panel is configured to form a part of a system for retrofitting a pre-existing structure.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present application relates generally to the molding and finish of insulating panels and Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs).

Concrete has been used as a structural building material for many years. The plain appearance of unfinished concrete is not generally desirable for use as a finish on the outside of a structure. Consumers tend to like the look of a house with a patterned or textured exterior, such as that of brick, stone, and other masonry products, as well as stucco. However, skilled craftsman are required for masonry and the price of skilled labor increases the cost of structures produced with these products. To reduce the costs of structures, but still incorporate the look of more expensive products, paneling structures and veneer materials have been employed as a means for finishing concrete structures.

ICF blocks are generally a hollow, modular form that can be pieced together with other corresponding ICF blocks to form the frame of a structure. Typically, ICF blocks are made up of two parallel panels, spaced apart, with multiple connectors in the center for rigidity. Normally, ICFs remain in place, as part of the final structure. Insulation values (R-values) of 50 or more have been claimed for ICFs, which compares favorably to typical stick framed buildings that may have an R-value of 12 or lower on exterior walls.

One example of creating a structure with the look and feel of masonry without using traditional methods is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,360,505, which teaches a system using ICF blocks to create a concrete structure with integrated masonry elements. In this example, brick, stone or other “motif components” are retained within recessed regions molded into the inner surface of the exterior panel of an ICF block. When the frame of a structure is built, concrete can be poured into the center of the ICF block frame, which adds strength and durability to the structure. After the concrete has cured, the exterior molded panel is removed to expose the “motif components” and does not remain as part of the final structure. This system can be use with unskilled labor, and has a reduced cost when compared with traditional masonry. However, the method still requires real brick and is labor intensive, requiring that a brick or “motif component” be placed into each recessed region. Additionally, the insulation advantage associated with ICF block is reduced by the removal of the exterior panel.

Aside from new construction, panels and veneer materials have also been used in retro-fit applications for non-concrete structures. For example, pre-fabricated panels with factory affixed thin (veneer) bricks may be connected to structural members on the exterior of a building. U.S. Pat. No. 3,908,326 discloses an example of a paneling system that creates the look of a brick structure. This system uses thin panels with brick veneer and can be installed quickly. After installation, mortar can be spread in the joints between the bricks, hiding joints and connecting means. When finished the panels give the look and feel of real masonry at a reduced cost and without the use of skilled craftsmen. On the other hand, because the panels are factory built, damage to the panels cannot be repaired on site. Also, transportation to and from the site is difficult and expensive.

Attempts to create a masonry fascia without a pre-fabricated panel have also been made. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,373,676 discloses a panel system for use with thin bricks that is assembled on-site. This system still has the advantage of creating the look of masonry without the use of skilled labor and can be repaired on site. However, it does still require the use of brick and the associated cost of a laborer to install the brick, which adds a significant amount of finishing product and labor to the cost of a structure.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, an insulating concrete form comprises an exterior outer surface, an interior outer surface substantially parallel to the exterior outer surface, and a cavity between the exterior outer surface and the interior outer surface. The cavity is configured to receive a volume of a concrete mixture. The exterior outer surface of the insulating concrete form has an applied pattern with a plurality of pattern features having a feature depth of at least about ⅛ inch. The applied pattern can be reproduced on a plurality of surfaces in a repeatable manner.

In another embodiment, a structure comprises a foundation, a plurality of interconnected walls resting on the foundation, and a roof covering the plurality of interconnected walls. At least one of the plurality of interconnected walls is an exterior wall having a panel comprising styrenic material. The panel having an applied, reproducible pattern on an outer surface with a plurality of pattern features. The applied pattern is visible from an exterior of the structure after the structure is complete.

In another embodiment, a method is disclosed for manufacturing a styrenic panel. The method comprises moving a plurality of styrenic beads into a holding chamber, expanding the styrenic beads, and moving the styrenic beads into a mold defining a reproducible pattern on a surface The pattern has a feature depth of at least about ⅛ inch. The method further comprises expanding the styrenic beads to substantially fill the mold and fusing the beads into a single structure of styrenic material. The reproducible pattern of the mold is applied to surface of the styrenic structure.

These and other embodiments of the present application will be discussed more fully in the description. The features, functions, and advantages can be achieved independently in various embodiments of the claimed invention, or may be combined in yet other embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a cut away view of an insulating concrete form with a 4″×8″ standard brick pattern on the outer surface

FIG. 2A is a front view of the insulating concrete form of FIG. 1, showing the 4″×8″ standard brick pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 2B is a front view of an insulating concrete form with a Monterrey texture pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 2C is a front view of an insulating concrete form with a 8″×16″ standard brick pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 2D is a front view of an insulating concrete form with a 8″×16″ standard stacked block pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 2E is a front view of an insulating concrete form with a split-face pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 2F is a front view of an insulating concrete form with a lace pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 2G is a front view of an insulating concrete form with a fluted pattern on the outer surface.

FIG. 3 is a cut away view of a panel installed on an existing structure.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating one embodiment of a method for manufacturing a patterned styrenic panel.

Like reference numbers and designations in the various drawings indicate like elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part thereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific exemplary embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that modifications to the various disclosed embodiments may be made, and other embodiments may be utilized, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense.

In the past, ICFs have been used in many structural applications, however due to the low aesthetic appeal of the material typically used for making ICFs, the outer surface of the ICF has not been used as a part of a visible finished surface. The exterior panel of ICF blocks has typically been covered with veneers or thick stucco products. In the interior, a wall formed by ICF blocks is often finished with traditional drywall, textured, and then painted. The system described in this disclosure advantageously enables the outer surfaces of ICFs to be used as an aesthetically appealing finished surface without the use of additional finish structures and materials such as panels, and veneers.

FIG. 1 is a cut away view of a Faux Finish Insulating Concrete Form (FFICF) 100 according to an embodiment of the current disclosure. FFICFs 100 may be manufactured in single or multi-piece designs. In some embodiments, FFICF 100 has an exterior panel 110 with an inner surface 114 and an outer surface 112 and an interior panel 120 with an inner surface 124 and an outer surface 122. Typical thicknesses of the exterior panel 110 or the interior panel 120 used with FFICFs 100 may range from about one inch to about eight inches. For example, in some embodiments, the thickness of the panels 110, 120 may be within the range of about two inches to about three inches, or within the range of about four inches to about five inches, or within the range of about six inches to about seven inches. Those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the thickness of the panel(s) 110, 120 may vary from the stated thicknesses.

In some embodiments, the exterior panel 110 and the interior panel 120 of the FFICF 100 are held apart and substantially parallel by a connector 130, forming a cavity 140 into which a concrete mixture (e.g., regular concrete, pervious concrete, asphalt concrete, polymer concrete, etc.) may be poured. Typically, the cavity 140 has a width within the range of about three inches to about nineteen inches. For example, in some embodiments, the cavity 140 may range from about four inches to about six inches, or within the range of about seven inches to about eight inches, or within the range of about nine inches to about twelve inches, or within the range of about fourteen inches to about eighteen inches. Those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the width may vary from the stated values. In the illustrated embodiment, the connector 130 comprises one or more plastic web members. In other embodiments, the connector 130 may comprise a wide variety of other suitable components such as, for example, metal or polystyrene rods.

The exterior panel 110 and interior panel 120 of an FFICF 100, as well as the connector 130, may be made from a wide variety of well-known materials, such as materials that are suitable for patterning, for example, materials comprising styrene or polystyrene. In some embodiments, the FFICF 100 may comprise material such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS). Alternatively, part or all of an FFICF 100 may be made with mixtures of materials, such as with a mixture comprising cement and insulative materials (e.g., synthetic bead material, polystyrene material).

As described above, in some embodiments an FFICF 100 is manufactured as a single piece. In single piece designs, the FFICF 100 may have a cavity 140 configured to receive a concrete mixture. Alternatively, in some embodiments, an FFICF 100 may not have a cavity, but may be combined with a concrete mixture in another way, such as, for example, when an FFICF 100 comprises one or more members formed from a mixture of concrete and styrenic material.

Many materials used to make ICFs are not traditionally seen as durable materials. Therefore, in some cases, it is desirable to apply a protective, conformal coating to the FFICF 100 to increase the durability of the coated material. In some embodiments, the conformal coating may comprise, for example, an elastomeric paint, a rubberized acrylic, or another suitably conformal material. Such conformal coatings advantageously allow external features patterned into the FFICF 100 to stand out as if the wall was made of block, brick, stone, or other materials, greatly reducing the cost of producing an aesthetically appealing structure. One example of a suitable rubberized acrylic coating that can be used to coat FFICFs 100 is the “Errth Flex Coating System” marketed by Errth Flex in Scottsdale, Arizona. Additional information about the Errth Flex Coating System is available at http://errthflex.com/. The information on this website existing as of the filing date of the present application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

Stucco and conformal coatings have been used with ICFs in the past, but the ICF itself has not been a visible part of the decorative exterior. Previously coatings, panels, and veneers have entirely obscured the ICF, hiding it from view. Due to these finishes, the outer surface of an ICF has typically been used as a structural component or substrate only and has not had an influence on the visible finish. When a conformal coating is used with a patterned FFICF 100, the outer surface of the FFICF 100 may be protected from damage such as ultra violet radiation (sun) damage, fire damage, water damage, and pest damage. Compounds that make up the conformal coating can be modified to create coatings that will provide extra protection from a specific damage. For example, in especially sunny regions, an additional component or an additional amount of a component may be added to provide extra protection against ultra-violet damage. Further, when damage does occur, coatings are generally easily repaired with an additional application of the conformal coating to the damaged area.

When applied according to the manufacturers' instructions, the thickness of a conformal coating applied to the patterned outer surface 112 of and FFICF 100 may typically range from about ⅛ inch to about ½ inch. For example, in some embodiments the coating may have a thickness within the range of about ¼ inch to about ⅜ inch. The texture of the coating itself may be a feature of the finished outer surface of a coated exterior panel 110. Typically, the texture of the surface finish of a coating can be smooth or rough, but it is conceived that it may have other, complementary patterns or textures in addition to the pattern supplied by the FFICF 100. For example, in some embodiments, the exterior panel 110 may be patterned with a rough, natural stone finish, for which a rough, natural stone textured coating may be complementarily applied.

As mentioned previously, in the current art, the frame of a structure can be built with ICF blocks which may be configured to receive a volume of a concrete mixture. However, unlike current systems, when FFICFs 100 are used in the frame of a structure, the exterior surface 112 of the FFICF 100 can be patterned to provide the decorative exterior finish.

As used herein, the term “pattern” refers to any reproducible pattern having a plurality of pattern elements or features that can be applied to a plurality of surfaces in a repeatable manner. Thus, the term “pattern” does not encompass a truly random surface texture, such as a random, unreproduced texture made by polystyrene beads on the surface of a traditional expanded polystyrene ICF.

For example, in some embodiments, a suitable pattern may emulate, for example, natural stone, river rock, sandstone, or other non-uniform masonry. Suitable patterns may also be repeatable or uniform patterns such as for example, patterns that emulate brick, block, or other uniform masonry patterns. Additionally, suitable patterns may be decorative patterns such as, for example patterns that emulate stucco, monterrey texture, or lace texture. Suitable patterns may also be random or pseudo random patterns which are reproducible in a plurality of FFICFs 100 or FFICF panels 110, 120.

As illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2A, some embodiments of the FFICF 100 have patterned features 118 that resemble brick. FIG. 1 shows a blow up of a patterned feature 118 on an FFICF 100 with a marked distance “d.” In some embodiments of an FFICF 100 where the patterned feature 118 on the outer surface 112 comprises an emulated brick pattern with an emulated mortar line in between the brick patterned features 118, the distance “d” refers to the depth of the mortar line when compared to the tallest part of the brick patterned features 118. This distance “d” is referred to as the feature depth.

For example, in an embodiment of an FFICF 100 having a pattern such as a fluted pattern as may be illustrated by FIG. 2H, the feature depth is the distance “d” from the deepest part of the semi-circular pattern to the tallest part of the plateau. In some embodiments of an FFICF 100 having a reproduced random pattern such as a reproducible emulated monterrey texture pattern, the feature depth may be a distance “d” from the deepest impression on the exterior surface 112 of the FFICF 100 to the highest point of a patterned feature 118.

In some embodiments, the minimum feature depth on the exterior surface 112 of an FFICF 100 may range from a distance “d” of about ⅛ inch to about 2 inches. For example, in some embodiments the minimum feature depth may be a distance within the range of about ¼ inch to about ⅜ inch, or within the range of about ½ inch to about ⅝ inch, or within the range of about ¾ inch to about ⅞ inch, or within the range of about 1 inch to about 1⅛ inches, or within the range of about 1 ¼ inches to about 1⅜ inches, or within the range of about 1½ inches to about 2 inches. Those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the feature depth may vary from the stated values.

FIG. 2 shows several examples illustrating how the outer surface 112 of the exterior panel 110 can be advantageously patterned to resemble a wide variety of aesthetically pleasing patterns. Specifically, FIG. 2A shows a 4″×8″ standard brick pattern, FIG. 2B shows a Monterrey texture, FIG. 2C shows a 8″×16″ standard brick pattern, FIG. 2D shows a 8″×8″ standard block pattern, FIG. 2E shows a 8″×16″ standard stacked block pattern, FIG. 2F shows a lace texture pattern, FIG. 2G shows a standard split-face pattern, and FIG. 2H shows a 2″ fluted pattern. It will be appreciated that other patterns can be used with the surfaces of the FFICF panels 110 and 120, including natural and unnatural patterns, mosaics, or motifs, and patterns that are predictable or pseudo-random.

In some embodiments, the FFICFs 100 are molded, expanded, or extruded with the desired pattern(s) at the time of manufacture. In some multi piece embodiment of an FFICF 100, the pattern may be integrated into FFICF panels 110 and 120 before they are used to assemble a finished FFICF 100. In this way, the panels 110 and 120 can be mixed and matched to create a custom FFICF 100, which will enable a user to choose one or more interior or exterior patterns for the structure.

In other embodiments, standard polystyrene panels may be utilized as a base for panels 110 and 120 of a multi-piece FFICF 100, which may be manufactured and installed using conventional techniques. Such standard panels can be shaped after manufacture using heating elements or other well-known methods, such as that described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,238,312, to create the desired pattern(s) in the surface of the FFICF panels 110 and 120.

FFICFs 100 may be manufactured using steam chest molding or with extrusion and thermoforming techniques, or by using other suitable methods. An early step in making steam chest molded products is impregnating small beads of styrenic material with an expansion agent which may be pentane. As shown in block 420 of FIG. 4, the molding process may begin by moving a plurality of styrenic beads into a pre-expander holding chamber. At block 430, the styrenic beads are expanded. Limited expansion of the styrenic beads may occur by exposing the beads to steam. At block 440, the styrenic beads are moved to a mold having a pattern, as discussed previously. The mold may be used to further expand and fuse the expanded styrenic beads to a final shape and density as illustrated in block 450. This final expansion may be attained by further exposing the sytrenic beads to steam while in the mold. At block 460, the styrenic beads, having been fused into a styrenic structure, are removed from the mold and may be used in the construction of a structure, such as, for example, the structure 200 of FIG. 3.

Alternatively, FFICFs 100 may be made from an extrusion and/or thermoforming process. Patterned FFICFs 100 or FFICF panels 110, 120 may be formed through an extrusion process such as a direct injection foam process that involves an expansion or blowing agent added to the styrenic material during extrusion. An FFICF 100 made from this process has both strength and good insulation properties. Further, FFICFs 100 may also be manufactured using a traditional precast mold with a mixture of material, such as a mixture comprising concrete and insulative material. It is conceived that other methods of patterning an FFICF 100, such as branded and cutting, may be used and would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art given the benefit of this disclosure.

The ability to pattern the outer surface of an FFICF 100 is especially advantageous when multiple separate finishes are designed into a structure. For example, if a structure were to be finished with multiple exterior finishes, such as slump block, smooth sand stucco, and 8″×8″ standard block, using traditional methods, the costs would be very high in comparison to the cost of using three separate types of patterned FFICFs 100 to simulate three separate finishes. Even when compared with traditional ICF blocks used with finishes such as clad attachments or patterned epoxy painting systems like Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), patterned FFICFs 100 are much more cost effective. Further, FFICFs 100 do not carry the risk of water damage that is associated with conventional EIFS systems.

While FIGS. 2A-2H show patterns that may be applied to the outer surface 112 of the exterior panel 110, the outer surface 122 of the interior panel 120 may also have a pattern. Such interior patterns create an aesthetically pleasing finished surface for the interior of the structure that can also greatly reduce the cost of labor. Like the exterior outer surface 112, the interior outer surface 122 may need a coating to further seal and protect the FFICF 100.

It is also contemplated that an exterior panel 110 could be used independently of an FFICF 100 in a system for retrofitting a pre-existing structure. For example, in some embodiments, a plurality of exterior panels 110 can be affixed to the outer surfaces of a preexisting structure using components and techniques well-known to those of ordinary skill in the art to create a new exterior surface that is both useful and aesthetically pleasing. In such cases, the preexisting structure will gain some of the advantages of FFICFs 100 described above, such as aesthetic appeal and an increased insulation value.

FIG. 3 is a cut away view of a structure 200 having foundation upon which rests a plurality of interconnected walls and a roof covering the walls. As shown in the blown up portion of FIG. 3, an exterior panel 110 is installed on an exterior interconnected wall comprising a pre-existing exterior wall system 240. As shown in FIG. 3, the existing wall system 240 comprises an attached existing substrate 250 and rests on an existing foundation 230. In some embodiments, a system used to install the exterior panel 110 to the existing wall system 240 may comprise guide tracks 210 that can be connected or affixed to the existing substrate 250. After connecting the exterior panel 110 to the guide tracks 210, there may be a space formed between the existing substrate 250 and the exterior panel 110, which may be filled with a compound 220. In some embodiments, the compound 220 may comprise a polyurethane adhesive or an expanding foam.

Although this invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments that are apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, including embodiments that do not provide all of the features and advantages set forth herein, are also within the scope of this invention. Therefore, the scope of the present invention is defined only by reference to the appended claims and equivalents thereof.