Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR USE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A structure for supporting loads includes a composite envelope filled with a filler material. The envelope may comprise a mesh or non-mesh material and may have a high tensile strength. The filler material may comprise a loose or coarse material and may be enclosed within an enclosed in a semi-permeable envelope on all sides. The resulting structure may permit an applied compressive force to result in a tensile force applied in the envelope material.



Inventors:
Sultan, Javed (Cambridge, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/707782
Publication Date:
08/05/2010
Filing Date:
02/18/2010
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/309.17, 52/741.41, 52/742.14
International Classes:
E04B1/66; E04B1/34; E04C2/22; E04C2/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DEMUREN, BABAJIDE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOLF GREENFIELD & SACKS, P.C. (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A structure adapted to support a load, the structure comprising: a first skin surface formed of a flexible material and second skin surface formed of a flexible material, the first and second skin surfaces cooperating to define an envelope therebetween, the first skin surface and the second skin surface defining an envelope height, the first skin surface being spaced from the second skin surface and thereby defining an envelope width; filler material disposed within the envelope, wherein an applied compressive force on the filler material results in a tensile force applied to the first and second skin; and a slenderness ratio being defined as a ratio of the height to the width, wherein the slenderness ratio is greater than 1:1.

2. The structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the slenderness ratio is greater than 2:1.

3. The structure as claimed in claim 2, wherein the slenderness ratio is greater than 5:1.

4. The structure as claimed in claim 3, wherein the slenderness ratio is approximately 10:1.

5. The structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first and second skin surfaces cooperate to retain the filler material within the envelope and wherein the first and second skin surfaces are adapted to facilitate structural integrity to the structure.

6. The structure as claimed in claim 1, further comprising at least one cross-member coupling the first skin surface and the second skin surface together.

7. The structure as claimed in claim 6, wherein the cross-member is placed in tension by the filler material disposed within the envelope.

8. The structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second skin surfaces comprises a mesh material.

9. The structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second skin surfaces comprises one of metal, Teflon®, nylon, polyvinylchloride, carbon-epoxy, Kevlar®, Tyvek®, and combinations thereof.

10. The structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the envelope defines an external envelope, and wherein the structure further comprises an internal envelope disposed within the external envelope, the internal envelope having a first and second skin surface.

11. The structure as claimed in claim 10, wherein the first and second skin surfaces of the internal envelope are formed of a material having a relatively loose mesh and wherein the first and second skin surfaces of the external envelope are formed of a material having a relatively tight mesh.

12. An apparatus for use in a support structure, the apparatus comprising an envelope comprising a first skin surface and a second skin surface, wherein each of the first and second skin surfaces are initially flexible, until a plastic cementitious paste such as stucco is applied to the flexible material rendering it rigid and increasing the composite's elastic limit and thereby increasing itstensile strength; and, at least one cross-member disposed inward of an outer periphery of the skin surfaces coupling the first skin surface and the second skin surface together.

13. The apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein at least one of the first and second skin surfaces comprises a mesh material integrated with a cementitious stucco material co-joined separately to create a composite skin.

14. The apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein at least one of the first and second skin surfaces comprises one of metal, Teflon®, nylon, polyvinylchloride, carbon-epoxy, Kevlar®, Tyvek®, and combinations thereof.

15. The apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the envelope defines an external envelope, and wherein the apparatus further comprises an internal envelope disposed within the external envelope, the internal envelope having a first and second skin surface, wherein the two envelopes are rendered as a composite envelope one elastic and the other plastic in nature and the resulting mesh has significant strength in compression, tension and torsion; wherein the skin surfaces conjoined across the filler material help dissipate the energy of the filler material through the entire composite surface thereby creating a seismically dampened wall element; wherein the cementitious material although plastic in the initial stage once applied to the first mesh envelope renders the skin elastic and significantly increase its strength in shear, tension, compression and torsion.

16. The apparatus as claimed in claim 15, wherein the first and second skin surfaces of the internal envelope are formed of a material having a relatively loose mesh and wherein the first and second skin surfaces of the external envelope are formed of a material having a relatively tight mesh.

17. A method of construction, comprising: providing a first envelope defined by first and second flexible skins, wherein the first and second skins have high tensile strength; providing a cross-member to couple the first and second skin together at at least one location inward of an outer periphery of the skin surfaces; and surrounding the envelope with a filler material.

18. The method as claimed in claim 17, wherein surrounding the envelope with a filler material comprises filling the envelope with the filler material.

19. The method as claimed in claim 17, wherein surrounding the envelope with a filler material comprises mounting the envelope to a pre-existing structure.

20. The method as claimed in claim 18, further comprising providing a second envelope smaller than the first envelope, wherein the second envelope is formed by third and fourth flexible skins.

21. The method as claimed in claim 20, wherein the second envelope is formed of a material having a relatively loose mesh and the first envelope is formed of a material having a relatively tight mesh, and the second envelope is substantially encased within the first envelope; and wherein filling the envelope with the filler material comprises filling the second envelope with the first filler material.

22. The method as claimed in claim 20, further comprising: filling the second envelope with a second filler material; and placing the filled second envelope within the first envelope before the step of filling the first envelope with the first filler material.

23. A structure adapted to support a load, the structure comprising: a first skin surface formed of a flexible material and second skin surface formed of a flexible material, the first and second skin surfaces cooperating to define an envelope therebetween, the first skin surface and the second skin surface defining a height, the first skin surface being spaced from the second skin surface and thereby defining an envelope width; filler material disposed within the envelope, wherein an applied compressive force on the filler material results in a tensile force applied to the first and second skin; and at least one cross-member disposed inward of an outer periphery of the skin surfaces coupling the first skin surface and the second skin surface together.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part application and claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §120 of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/373,921, entitled “APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR USE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION” filed on Mar. 13, 2006 and which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

Aspects of the invention relate to apparatuses and methods employed in building structures.

2. Discussion of Related Art

Structures, such as walls, columns, supports, foundations, etc. are made using one or more of a variety of materials, such as wood, steel, cement, brick, and mud. Such structures are typically built to not only support the required loads, but oftentimes, such structures must withstand wind loads and loads from earthquakes or other natural disasters, common to many parts of the world. Aspects of this invention are directed to improved construction apparatuses and methods employed for such structures.

SUMMARY

In one illustrative embodiment, a structure adapted to support a load is disclosed. The structure includes a first skin surface formed of a flexible material and second skin surface formed of a flexible material. The first and second skin surfaces cooperate to define an envelope therebetween. The first skin surface and the second skin surface define an envelope height. The first skin surface is spaced from the second skin surface and thereby defining an envelope width. The first skin material is applied a coating of a cementitious binder such as stucco. Initially the binder is in a workable or plastic state. After curing either through contact with air or a chemical agent the plastic cementitious material hardens and forms a composite skin or envelope. This envelope has properties that give it significant strength in tension, compression, torsion. Filler material is disposed within the envelope. The filler material is enclosed in cell like formations with horizontal skin consisting of a mesh like material and a stucco application, similar to the vertical surfaces described earlier. The horizontal skin combined with the vertical surface allow the transfer of energy from enclosed filler material in multiple direction. This way as forces develop within the cavity of the envelope the energy is dissipated in multiple directions. An applied compressive force on the filler material results in a tensile force applied to the first and second skin. A slenderness ratio defined as a ratio of the height to the width is greater than 1:1.

In another illustrative embodiment, an apparatus for use in a support structure is disclosed. The apparatus includes an envelope including a first skin surface and a second skin surface. Each of the first and second skin surfaces are flexible and have high tensile strength. At least one cross-member is disposed inward of an outer periphery of the skin surfaces coupling the first skin surface and the second skin surface together.

In still another illustrative embodiment, a method of construction is disclosed. The method includes providing a first envelope defined by first and second flexible skins. The first and second skins have high tensile strength. The method also includes providing a cross-member to couple the first and second skin together at least one location inward of an outer periphery of the skin surfaces, and surrounding the envelope with a filler material.

In yet another illustrative embodiment, a structure adapted to support a load is disclosed. The structure includes a first skin surface formed of a flexible material and second skin surface formed of a flexible material. The first and second skin surfaces cooperate to define an envelope therebetween. The first skin surface and the second skin surface defining a height. The first skin surface is spaced from the second skin surface and thereby defining an envelope width. A filler material is disposed within the envelope. An applied compressive force on the filler material results in a tensile force applied to the first and second skin. At least one cross-member is disposed inward of an outer periphery of the skin surfaces coupling the first skin surface and the second skin surface together.

In still another illustrative embodiment, a structure adapted to support a load is disclosed. The structure includes a skin defining an envelope and a core disposed within the envelope. Upon application of a compressive force on the core, the skin is placed in tension. In one embodiment, the core behaves as one of a rigid component or a fluid component, depending upon an amount of stress imparted on the core.

Various embodiments of the present invention provide certain advantages. Not all embodiments of the invention share the same advantages and those that do may not share them under all circumstances.

Further features and advantages of the present invention, as well as the structure of various embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings are not intended to be drawn to scale. In the drawings, each identical or nearly identical component that is illustrated in various figures is represented by a like numeral. For purposes of clarity, not every component may be labeled in every drawing. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side cutaway view of one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side cutaway view of one embodiment of a wall construction;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the wall construction of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a side cutaway view of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a front cutaway view of one embodiment of a wall construction;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, showing a schematic representation of a building;

FIG. 8 is a side view of a sloped wall according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, showing a schematic representation of house;

FIG. 10 is a side cutaway view of an embodiment of the invention used to retrofit an existing wall;

FIG. 11 is a schematic side cutaway view of another embodiment of the invention, showing a schematic representation of a building;

FIG. 12 is a schematic perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 11;

FIGS. 13 and 14 are an exemplary structures using the wall system of the current invention; and

FIG. 15 is an exemplary storm shelter using the system of the current invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” “having,” “containing,” “involving,” and/or variations thereof herein, is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items.

The apparatus and methods discussed herein may be used to form and/or adapt any load bearing structure in a manner such that normal live and dead loads, as well as seismic and wind loads, may be accommodated. Such structures may include, but are not limited to, walls, columns, posts, footings, supports, foundations retaining wall, and slurry walls. One aspect of the invention is directed to transmitting the compression loads acting on the structure to tensile loads at the skin of the structure. Broadly, the structure includes a skin that at least partially encloses filler material. Without being limited to the principles of operation, as the filler material compresses under compressive loads (whether typically encountered loads or seismic loads), there is a tendency for the filler material to bulge outward. This outward force results in a tensile load formed on the skin of the structure, counteracting the outward pressure and keeping the filler material from moving from a load bearing condition to a non-load bearing condition. The behavior of filler materials within the structure is akin to fluids and hence at least a portion of the load is carried over the skin surface. Without being limited in this regard, the behavior is similar in principle to the pneumatic tires where the load is carried by air and the walls of the tire are placed in tension to retain the air. As a result of this, in one embodiment, the structure may be formed with less filler material than would otherwise be required with conventionally built structures to carry the same load.

According to one aspect of the invention, an envelope is formed with at least two flexible skins. As used herein, “flexible” means having a property that allows the skin to bend, stretch to a certain degree (e.g., within the elastic range of the material), or otherwise be pliable. The envelope is filled with a filler material, which may be any suitable material, such as cement, concrete, stone, mud, sand, dirt, or any combination thereof, as the present invention is not limited in this regard. Also, the material may be solid throughout, tightly or loosely packed throughout, or any combination thereof, as the present invention is not limited in this regard. The skins cooperate with each other to become structurally integrated to support at least a portion of the loads applied (continuously or intermittently) to the structure. The skins cooperate such that they may become “activated,” that is, they may be placed in tension under certain conditions. In this regard, the skins will be placed in tension when the stress on the filler material exceeds a certain limit.

As is typical with conventionally constructed structures, a homogeneous structure is formed. That is, the core material and the skin experience the same loading—the load is applied homogeneously across the cross-section. According to an aspect of the invention, the core and skin material result in a non-homogeneous structure, whereby the skin is placed in tension and the core is placed in compression. The core material may be rigid or fluid-like depending upon the level and type of stress exerted on the core. Also, as the load on the core increases, more of the load is taken up by the skin. This may be beneficial during seismic loading conditions where the stress on the core exceeds a threshold causing more tensile loading to be placed on the skin so that the structure may maintain its structural integrity.

The envelope may be substantially two dimensional when it is unfilled. In one embodiment, the filled envelope has a slenderness ratio of the height to the width that is greater than 1:1.

In one embodiment, secondary structures providing additional structural stability to the envelope may be employed. For example, in one embodiment, the skins are coupled together with at least one cross-member disposed inward of an outer periphery of the skin. The cross-members may be any suitable material, as the present invention is not limited in this respect. The cross-members tack the skins of the envelope together at certain locations on the envelope. The cross-members may also be formed of a flexible material, and may be formed with the same material used to form the skins. Alternatively or additionally, rigid or semi-rigid rods or beam-like structures may extend between the sides of the envelope. These secondary structures may be located throughout the wall construction or be strategically located at areas of high stress on the wall, such as at a corner or doorway.

To impart additional structural integrity to the structure, a second envelope may be disposed within the outer envelope. This second structure may also be located throughout the wall construction or be strategically located at areas of high stress on the in the structure. Additional inner and/or outer envelopes may be employed, as the present invention is not limited in this respect. Further, the inner and outer envelopes may be formed of the same or different materials and constructs (e.g., porous or non-porous), as the present invention is not limited in this respect.

It should be appreciated that the resulting structure may be shaped in a number of configurations, depending on the purpose of the structure. For example, the structure may be sloped, wider at its base than at its top, or used only in the foundation of a building.

As briefly mentioned above, existing structures may be adapted to include aspects of the invention. For example, aspects of the invention may be used for retrofitting existing walls. In this regard, a flexible skin with high tensile strength may be placed on both sides of an existing wall and tacked to each other through the existing wall. The skins thus form an envelope around the existing wall. In this manner, although the present invention is not limited in this regard, should the existing wall experience a seismic load that would otherwise cause a relatively solid wall to crumble, the resulting rubble in effect acts as filler material in the envelope and, as explained, the outward movement of the rubble is contained within the envelope by the skins and the wall may still be used to support loads. Accordingly, the building to which the wall is part of can retain its function. It should be appreciated that retrofitting existing structures is not limited to retrofitting walls, as other structures may also be retrofitted.

Illustrative embodiments of the invention will now be described, with reference to the figures. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, an envelope 2 having a plurality of skins 2a, 2b, each of which may comprise a single piece of material or a plurality of pieces of material attached together is disclosed. The material may be flexible and have little or no ability to resist a force applied normal to its surface. In other words, a relatively small force FN may deform or deflect the skin 2a. However, the skin 2a may have high tensile strength. Thus, the material may have the ability to withstand significant force in the direction FT without failing.

The envelope 2 may have a relatively narrow width compared to its height. In other words, the width w may be relatively small compared to the height h. The slenderness ratio, which is the ratio of the height to the width, may be at least 1:1. In one embodiment of the invention, the slenderness ratio is greater than 2:1, and may be greater than 5:1. In one embodiment, the slenderness ratio may be about 10:1. For example, an to envelope 2 may be 10 feet high and 1 foot wide.

In one embodiment, the envelope 2 comprises a mesh-like material. As used herein, “mesh” shall mean any arrangement of wires, fibers or strands of the skin arranged in a manner to form openings between fibers or strands. As such, a mesh may be formed in any suitable manner, including, but not limited to weaving, knitting, molding, forming a solid structure and thereafter forming holes therethrough, and forming a component with preformed openings. A “tight mesh” or “small mesh” has fewer and/or smaller holes, and a “loose mesh” or “large mesh” has larger and/or more numerous holes. The materials chosen for the envelope may be determined by the desired strength and filler material as described below. For example, a stronger envelope can be constructed out of a material with a tight mesh.

Alternatively or additionally, the envelope 2 may comprise a plurality of layers, placed on top of each other to create a thicker skin 2a, 2b. The layers may have the same size mesh, or a different size mesh. A solid material may be used for at least one layer as well. If a plurality of layers is formed as a mesh, the mesh of the layers may be aligned with each other or they may be placed askew with respect to each other.

In one embodiment, the layers are strategically arranged to provide the desired strength characteristics for the envelope 2. For example, the envelope 2 may have multiple layers at areas of high stress, such as at the edges of the wall. The wall may additionally or alternatively utilize an envelope with a smaller mesh in areas of high load such as the foundation of a building. It should be appreciated that the mesh results in the skin being permeable, although non-permeable skins may be employed. Further, the skins may be formed or a relatively thin and flexible material.

In one embodiment, the envelope 2 may comprise any number of materials that provide the desired tensile strength and/or weather resistance. Although one embodiment comprises a mesh material, other materials may also be used. The skins 2a, 2b may comprise a non-mesh material, and can be made of synthetic and/or natural materials. Some exemplary materials, which may be used alone or in combination in the skins 2a, 2b, include metals (such as steel or aluminum), polymers, rubber, nylon, polyvinylchloride, and carbon-epoxy and combinations thereof. Other, non-limiting examples of a suitable material include, Kevlar®, Tyvek®, and Teflon® (each available from DuPont of Wilmington, Del.). Fabrics and/or textiles may also be employed.

In one embodiment, at least one material in the envelope 2 is impregnated with an agent that is activated by heat or light of a certain wavelength. The envelope 2 may thus be stiffened by applying heat and/or light to the skin(s) 2a, 2b. In another embodiment, at least one material in the envelope 2 comprises a phase change material.

The two skins 2a, 2b may not be simply two continuous pieces of material. For example, each face of the wall (front, back, sides, and bottom) may be formed from its own piece of material. Alternatively, a single material sheet may be folded in half to form the envelope 2. Alternatively or additionally, many materials may be pieced together to create a larger skin or layered to create a thicker material. Thus any number of materials may be used to form the envelope 2, as the invention is not limited in this respect.

As shown in FIG. 2, the structure, which in this example is a wall 1, comprises a filler material in the envelope 2. The filler material 3 may be loose, granular and/or coarse. The filler material 3 may comprise any material that can fill the envelope 2. As mentioned, examples of suitable filler material 3 include soil, sand, pebbles, concrete, plastic, fabrics, composites, Styrofoam™ (Available from DOW, Midland, Mich.) and natural or synthetic materials.

In one embodiment, as in FIG. 2, the wall construction 1 may comprise a plurality of filler materials 3 in different areas of the envelope 2. For example, the base end of the envelope 2 (shown in FIG. 2 as the portion of the wall construction 1 below ground level G) may comprise one filler material whereas the portion of the envelope 2 above ground level G may comprise a second filler material In one embodiment, the filler material below ground level 30 comprises concrete, whereas the filler material above ground level 31 comprises sand. As stated above, the envelope material may likewise be different above and below ground. Although the embodiment shown in FIG. 2 utilizes two different filler materials 3, any number of filler materials may be used. The filler materials may differ according to location (for example as described above, different filler materials may form horizontal layers), or the filler materials may be mixed together (such as pebbles and sand) to form a composite filler material. The filler materials may differ in other ways as well (such as along the length of the wall), as the invention is not limited in this respect. As mentioned above, the filler material may influence the material chosen for the envelope. For example, if a very fine material such as sand is used as a filler material, it may be desirable to use a material with a tight mesh for the envelope. If stones are used, it may be desirable to use a thicker material for greater puncture resistance.

In one embodiment and as shown in FIG. 2, the wall construction 1 comprises at least one cross-member 4. The cross-member 4 may be a tie 5 which spans the width of the envelope 2. The ties 5 may keep the skins 2a, 2b from spreading too far apart when filler material 3 is in the envelope 2. The ties 5 may be fabricated from any material, as long as the material is strong enough to withstand the applied forces from the envelope 2 and filler material 3. Some examples of suitable material for the ties 5 include polymers and/or fabric. The cross-members may be attached to the skins in any suitable manner, as the present invention is not limited in this regard. In one embodiment, the tie 5 may comprise a body 50 and two heads 51, 52. The heads 51, 52 are larger than the mesh size of the envelope 2, thus preventing the heads 51, 52 from slipping through the mesh openings of the envelope 2. In another embodiment, the cross-members may be stitched to the skins. In additional or alternatively, the cross-members may be heat-staked to the skins, if both are formed of suitable materials.

As shown in FIG. 3, the ties 5 may be spaced throughout the envelope 2 to provide support to the wall construction 1. The horizontal, vertical, and diagonal spacing between ties (sh, sv, and sd, respectively) may be determined by the size of the wall, desired strength characteristics, envelope material, filler material, tie material, and other considerations. Although the ties 5 shown in FIG. 3 have a regular spacing, the invention is not limited in this respect. The ties 5 may have an irregular spacing, may be preferentially located at areas of high stress, may be randomly placed, or any other configuration as the invention is not limited in this respect.

As shown in FIG. 2, the wall construction 1 may alternatively or additionally comprise a different type of cross-member 4. For example, the wall construction 1 may comprise a beam 6 that spans at least a substantial part of the width w of the envelope 2. In one embodiment, the beam 6 spans the entire width w. The beam 6 may provide additional structural stability to the wall construction 1, and may be substantially rigid or semi-rigid. The beam 6 may span a substantial portion of the length/of the wall construction 1 (see FIG. 3) or may have a relatively small horizontal dimension. The beam height hb may provide rigidity, and may depend on the material used in the beam 6. For example, the beam 6 may comprise concrete and be approximately six inches high.

In one embodiment, the wall construction 1 comprises an internal element, which may act as an additional strengthening element. As shown in FIG. 4, a wall construction 1 may comprise an internal envelope 7. The internal envelope 7 is smaller than the external envelope 2 forming the outer surface of the structure 1. The internal envelope 7 may be constructed of any material, whether mesh or non-mesh, synthetic or natural or combinations thereof. The internal envelope 7 may also be layered or constructed of a single layer as described above in conjunction with the construction of the external envelope 2. In one embodiment, the internal envelope 7 comprises a mesh material which has a larger mesh size than the external envelope 2. Alternatively, the internal envelope 7 may comprise a material with the same size mesh as the external envelope 2, or even a smaller mesh size than the external envelope 2.

If an internal envelope 7 is used, the internal envelope 7 may be placed where additional strength is desired. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, internal envelopes 7 may be placed near the doorways 8 (such as 7c) or corners (such as 7a, 7b) of a structure, where the wall construction 1 may experience higher stress. As shown in FIG. 5, the internal envelopes 7 may be oriented horizontally, vertically, or any other direction, as the invention is not limited in that respect. Additionally, the internal envelopes may cover a significant portion of the structure 1 (such as the internal envelopes 7a, 7b extend through a significant portion of the height of the structure 1), or may be smaller (such as the internal envelope 7c, which is smaller than both the length and height of the structure 1).

As shown in FIG. 4, if an internal envelope 7 is used, it has a filler material 70. The filler material 70 may be the same as the filler material 3 in the external envelope 2, or it may be different. If the filler material 70 in the internal envelope 7 is different than the filler material 3 in the external envelope 2, the internal and external envelopes 7, 2 will have to be filled separately as described below. However, if the same filler material is used for both the external and internal envelopes, the envelopes 7, 2 may be filled simultaneously. Also, in some embodiments, the filler material in the envelopes may be able to move between them.

Although the structures 1 depicted in FIGS. 1 to 5 have a substantially rectangular shape, other configurations are also possible and contemplated by the invention. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, a structure 10 may have a base that is wider than the top. In other words, the width of the base bw is greater than the width of the top tw. Although the structure 10 shown in FIG. 6 has substantially straight sides s, the sides s may be curved such that the structure 10 has concave or convex sides s as the invention is not limited in this respect.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a building 11 may be formed from substantially concentric fabric sleeves 110, 111. The fabric sleeves 110, 111 act as the skins and may be a mesh or any other material as described above. In this embodiment, each sleeve 110, 111 forms an extruded polygon, and the sleeves are connected together at the base of the building 112 to form an envelope. As shown in FIG. 7, the sleeves 110, 111 may be shaped such that the resulting building 11 has a larger base than top. In this embodiment, the filler material 113 is located between the two sleeves 110, 111. Additional members 114 may be provided to ensure structural stability of the building 11. The reinforcement members 114 may comprise internal envelopes as described above, or may be another material such as rebar. Tall multi-story buildings may be constructed in this way.

As shown in FIG. 8, another possible configuration is a sloped support, such as a sloped wall. The wall 12 comprises an envelope 120 and filler material 121 as described above. One end of the wall 12 may be propped up with a support 122. The support 122 may be a pole, a plurality of poles, a wall, or any other structure which can stably support one end of the filled envelope. Also, the support 122 may be formed as the structure described with reference to the other Figures shown herein.

As shown in FIG. 9, in another embodiment, the structure may be used only for the foundation 91 of a house 90. In this embodiment, the construction method described above using an envelope and filler material can form at least a substantial portion of the foundation 91. Suitable construction methods can be used to build the remainder of the house 90 out of conventional building materials such as wood. Other areas of a house may also be built using this method, such as the roof.

As shown in FIG. 10, as described above, a similar construction can be used to retrofit existing structures. For example, skins 141, 142 may be added to an existing wall 140 to create a stronger wall construction 14. The skins 141, 142 may be tacked to the top of the wall 140 in any manner and stretched to cover the length of the wall 140. When the skins 141, 142 are in place, the bottom of the skins 141, 142 may be tacked to the base of the wall 140 and/or the ground. As shown, the skins 141, 142 may be anchored below ground level G by anchor blocks 144. The skins 141, 142 may be tacked together through the wall 140 by ties 143 similar to those described above.

In any of the above described and other embodiments, the skins may be finished in any suitable manner. In one embodiment, a layer of stucco 145 or other material may be spread over the surface of the wall construction 14 on one or both sides if desired.

In use, the envelope 2 is fabricated from a plurality of skins. The material type, mesh size, thickness, size, and number of layers used in the skins may be determined at least in part by the requirements of the desired structure. The skins 2a, 2b of the envelope 2 are sewn, bonded, sealed, or otherwise attached to create the envelope form, leaving at least a portion at the top open. The envelope 2 may be fitted with ties 5, although the ties 5 may also be placed through the envelope 2 after it is filled with filler material 3. The envelope 2 is placed in a form, such as a wood form, at a factory or a building site. Filler material 3 is then poured or otherwise placed into the envelope 2 within the form.

If internal envelopes 7 are used, they may be filled first or simultaneously with the external envelope 2. For example, if the internal envelope 7 has a mesh size large enough for the filler material to go through (thus larger than that of the external envelope 2), and the internal and external envelopes are to be filled with the same filler material, the filler material may be poured through the internal envelope to the external envelope and both can thereby be filled simultaneously. However, if the mesh size of the internal envelope is too small for the filler material to pass through, or if it is to be filled with a different material, the internal envelope 7 may be filled first.

If cross beams 6 are used (such as a concrete beam), the wall construction 1 can be filled with filler material 3 to the desired level of the cross beam 6. Then the cross beam 6 is put or poured into place.

Once the envelope(s) are filled, the top of the wall construction 1 may be closed off. The envelope may be tied, sewn, glued, sealed, or closed by any other means. The wood form is then removed, leaving the wall. Multiple walls may be affixed together by bands, mesh, braces, or any other means in order to form a complete building. As mentioned above in conjunction with FIG. 7, a complete building may also be formed from concentric sleeves. If concentric sleeves are used, it may not be necessary to wrap the building walls with a brace.

As mentioned, structures so constructed transform a compressive load Fc (see FIG. 2) into a tensile load FT along the face of the wall. As the compressive load Fc pushes against the filler material 3, the wall tends to bulge outward, stretching the envelope 2. Thus, the envelope 2 experiences the bulging force as a tensile force FT. Because the envelope material has high tensile strength, the envelope 2 is likely not to not fail. Because the skins of the envelope cooperate to retain the filler material within the envelope, the structure likely does not collapse.

As described above, in one embodiment, the structure may be formed as a multi-story building. As shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, one example of a multi-story building is shown. In this embodiment, the internal envelope 7 may be used to form an internal structure and external envelope 2 may be used to form the exterior of the wall. The entire structure may sit on a foundation 91. As described above, the internal envelope 7 is smaller than the external envelope 2 forming the outer surface of the structure 1. The internal envelope 7 may be constructed of any material, whether mesh or non-mesh, synthetic or natural or combinations thereof. The internal envelope 7 may also be layered or constructed of a single layer as described above in conjunction with the construction of the external envelope 2. In one embodiment, the internal envelope 7 comprises a mesh material which has a larger mesh size than the external envelope 2. Alternatively, the internal envelope 7 may comprise a material with the same size mesh as the external envelope 2, or even a smaller mesh size than the external envelope 2. Using this arrangement, high rise towers (such as 50 stories, 100, stories, 120 stories or more) may be constructed.

The Heselden's Wall—U.S. Pat. No. 5,472,297 (HW) is described below. Heselden himself claims that theirs is a shoring structure, similar to an elongated gabion system.

Heselden divides a space into discrete areas, and is essentially an elongated Gabion system with the two opposing skins acting as baskets holding the filler material, stones, rocks etc, within the envelope. It is designed strictly to take lateral loads acting perpendicular to the wall surface, either from wind forces or the weight of infill ballast material contained within its mesh wire walls. The external skin surfaces primarily act in tension and offer negligible resistance to shear, bending and are not able to sustain lateral loads exerted by a roof diaphragm. The walls themselves are limited in height, single story, not anchored to the ground so demountable, and open to the sky so material can be removed and filled as ballast properties are required.

Heselden does not designed to take any roof loads. Roof loads not only generate gravity loads but have to resist significant wind loads, such as in storms, tornados and cyclones, and these forces get transferred to the wall assembly. Heselden's wall systems will offer literally no resistance to roof loads under high wind conditions and will most likely collapse. HW barrier has been shown to take roof loads. Assuming it will is not a correct basis for evaluation.

The barrier skin is not designed as a waterproof barrier preventing natural elements such as flood water or rain from permeating the wall core. The skin is simply a physical barrier, similar to Gabions, Gabions are discrete cages, while HESCO is an elongated form of a Gabion cage system. Along with Gabion it utilizes a concept of clothes basket holding material within an external restraining membrane. This much Heselden acknowledges.

It is not designed to prevent deformation of wall surface, as utilized currently as a product, and it is not designed to resist uplift forces without deformation.

HESCO barriers cannot resist horizontal projections from its wall surfaces, such as balcony etc. as they are not designed to resist bending and torsional threes.

It is a temporary, deployable wall partition, meant to provide essentially temporary visual and barrier from projectiles—and to be able to take impact loads and not necessarily prevent penetration of projectiles through the barrier. It is a kind of a sandbag, but instead of being enclosed in individual bags the material is contained in an elongated Gabion wall system.

HESCO however is a low wall partition, less than a single story (usually 6 to 7 feet in height, and its lateral stability is dependent on its width as the walls are not anchored to the ground.

They are similar to folding partition, in case of HESCO hinged at sides only no track or restraint at top or bottom.

The similarity between MASS wall of the present invention and HESCO stops at that.

The MASS wall of the present invention is a wall system is not a temporary deployable wall system but is ancored to the ground and derives significant strength by being anchored to the ground or base. It designed to take forces from multi-direction, including roof loads, upward thrust, lateral thrust, an internal wall pressure. It is also designed to take torsional loads on the skin surface from perpendicular projections acting on its skin.

MASS wall skin is a composite skin of mesh and a plastic cementitious bonding material such as stucco or concrete, that subsequently hardens after curing, and creates a composite skin which can take loads in compression, tension, shear, torsion thus enabling creation of multistory structures. See attached pictures of homes built some four years ago in an earthquake zone. See FIG. 13.

Also see examples of multistory home under construction using the MASS wall system—FIG. 14. FIG. 14 also shows ability of wall to project balcony etc. perpendicular to the wall surface. HW walls cannot be utilized to build multi-floor buildings cannot resist bending and torsional forces.

MASS wall system does not depend on its stability because of its width such as HW. MASS wall unlike is anchored to the ground, cantilevers from it and the width of the wall is determined by the gravity loads acting on the top of the wall as well as other forces, including shear, tension and torsion, acting across its wall surface.

MASS walls have been designed to take significant storm water surges of up to 20 feet in height by US based engineers with pressure in the range of 1000 pound per square feet (psf) for Bangladesh. HESCO barriers cannot even take a water surge of 20 psf without failure. MASS wall shave been designed to take wind loads on roof of close to 300 km/hour without collapse. See FIG. 15.

HW barrier walls do not have the capacity to take roof load let alone wind loads acting on the roof. HW barriers are not designed to take forces acting on it from multiple directions simultaneously such as in storm surge combined with high winds and seismic event. MASS tech walls can resist multiple forces acting on it simultaneously.

It should be appreciated that various combinations of the above-described embodiments can be employed together, but several aspects of the invention are not limited in this respect. Therefore, although the specific embodiments disclosed in the figures and described in detail employ particular combinations of features, it should be appreciated that the present invention is not limited in this respect, as the various aspects of the present invention can be employed separately, or in different combinations. Thus, the particular embodiments described in detail are provided for illustrative purposes only.

It should also be appreciated that a variety of features employed in the art of construction may be used in combination with or to modify the above-described features and embodiments.

The foregoing written specification is to be considered to be sufficient to enable one skilled in the art to practice the invention. While the best mode for carrying out the invention has been described in detail, those skilled in the art to which this invention relates will recognize various alternative embodiments including those mentioned above as defined by the following claims. The examples disclosed herein are not to be construed as limiting of the invention as they are intended merely as illustrative of particular embodiments of the invention as enabled herein. Therefore, systems and methods that are functionally equivalent to those described herein are within the spirit and scope of the claims appended hereto. Indeed, various modifications of the invention in addition to those shown and described herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description and fall within the scope of the appended claims.