Title:
FIRE-BARRIER SYSTEMS HAVING MALE AND FEMALE COUPLING ENDS PROVIDING FOR ONE-STEP DROP-IN INSTALLATION INTO STRAIGHT-LINE AND INTERSECTING EXPANSION-SPACES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Fire-barriers systems, including pre-assembled intersection and straight-line fire-barriers having either male-coupling ends, female-coupling ends or both types provide for the elimination of on-site cutting and construction for easy, rapid, and safe one-step, drop-in installation and coupling. Both the intersection and straight-line fire-barriers are constructed as single-piece continuous units for use in intersection spaces formed by intersection of expansion-joint-spaces and in straight-line architectural expansion-joint-spaces to prevent migration of gases, flame, and smoke throughout a building. Indirect attachment of the layers to each other and to their solid support brackets provides for no continuous opening throughout the barriers preventing passage of smoke, fire, and gases therethrough. Each style barrier is provided with an optional one-step, one-person, drop-in, reusable, width adjustable installation tool.



Inventors:
Shaw, Alan (Lockport, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/855639
Publication Date:
12/23/2010
Filing Date:
08/12/2010
Assignee:
FIRELINE 520, LLC (Buffalo, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/407.5
International Classes:
E04B1/94; E04B1/68
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
FONSECA, JESSIE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Patricia M. Costanzo (East Aurora, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fire-barrier for sealing a dynamic expansion-space between building units, comprising: a plurality of layers containing, at least one protective blanket (6) at least one insulation blanket (14, 24, and/or 34), and at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8), at least two support brackets (30, 32) each to be fastened to an opposing building unit, and at least one fastener (40a, 50a, 40b, or 50b) for attaching at least one of said layers to at least another one of said layers and to at least one support bracket (30, 32) providing that when the layers are all so attached no fastener penetrates all of the layers.

2. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, further comprising some of said plurality of layers stacked one on top of each other providing for at least a first stack of said layers positioned parallel and adjacent to each other and some other of said plurality of layers stacked one on top of each other providing for at least a second stack of some of said layers positioned parallel and adjacent to each other, said first stack and said second stack positioned parallel and adjacent to each other so that the long axis of each stack is aligned in the same plane and being lengthwise offset from each other providing for one lengthwise end to have a male projection coupling structure and for the other lengthwise end to have a female receiving coupling structure.

3. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, further comprising said plurality of layers being all of the same length.

4. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, wherein said fire-barrier is structured for sealing a straight-line dynamic expansion-space.

5. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, wherein said fire-barrier is structured for sealing an intersection dynamic expansion-space.

6. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, wherein said brackets are solid, rigid L-brackets.

7. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 6, wherein one of each of said L-brackets projects from each side of the expansion-space to maintain said layers within said expansion space.

8. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, wherein said at least one protective blanket (6) supports at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8).

9. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 1, wherein said at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8) supports at least one insulation blanket (14, 24, and/or 34).

10. A fire-barrier for sealing a dynamic expansion-space between building units, comprising: a plurality of layers containing, at least one protective blanket (6) supporting at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8) supporting at least one insulation blanket (14, 24, and/or 34), said plurality of layers stacked one on top of each other providing for at least a first stack of some of said layers positioned parallel and adjacent to each other and a second stack of some of said layers positioned parallel and adjacent to each other, said first stack and said second stack positioned parallel and adjacent to each other so that the long axis of each stack is aligned in the same plane, and are lengthwise offset from each other providing for one lengthwise end to have a male projection coupling structure and for the other lengthwise end to have a female receiving coupling structure, and at least one fastener (40a, 50a, 40b, or 50b) for attaching one of said layers to at least another one of said layers and to at least one support bracket (30, 32) providing that when the layers are all so attached no fastener penetrates all of the layers.

11. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 10, further comprising at least two support brackets (30, 32) each to be fastened to an opposing building unit.

12. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 11, further comprising at least one fastener (40a, 50a, 40b, or 50b) for attaching one of said layers to at least another one of said layers and to at least one support bracket (30, 32) providing that when the layers are all so attached no fastener penetrates all of the layers.

13. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 10, wherein said fire-barrier is structured for sealing a straight-line dynamic expansion-space.

14. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 10, wherein said fire-barrier is structured for sealing an intersection dynamic expansion-space.

15. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 10, wherein said brackets are solid, rigid L-brackets.

16. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 15, wherein one of each of said L-brackets projects from each side of the expansion-space to maintain said layers within said expansion space.

17. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 10, wherein said at least one protective blanket (6) supports at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8).

18. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 10, wherein said at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8) supports at least one insulation blanket (14, 24, and/or 34).

19. The fire-barrier, as recited in claim 12, wherein intumescent material is applied within the coupling area created when said male projection coupling structure of one of said fire-barriers is coupled with said female receiving coupling structure of another of said fire-barriers.

20. A fire-barrier for sealing a dynamic expansion-space between building units, comprising: a plurality of layers containing, at least one protective blanket (6) supporting at least one fire-resistant support sheet (8) supporting at least one insulation blanket (14, 24, and/or 34), at least two support brackets (30, 32) each to be fastened to an opposing building unit, and at least one fastener (40a, 50a, 40b, or 50b) for attaching one of said layers to at least another one of said layers and to at least one support bracket (30, 32) providing that when the layers are all so attached no fastener penetrates all of the layers; said plurality of layers stacked one on top of each other providing for at least a first stack of some of said layers positioned parallel and adjacent to each other and a second stack of some of said layers positioned parallel and adjacent to each other, said first stack and said second stack positioned parallel and adjacent to each other so that the long axis of each stack is aligned in the same plane and being lengthwise offset from each other provide for one lengthwise end to have a male projection coupling structure and for the other lengthwise end to have a female receiving coupling structure.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This Application for patent claims the benefit of U.S. Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 11/863,932 that claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/847,951 filed Sep. 28, 2006.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to fire-barriers for installing in expansion-joint-spaces and more particularly to pre-assembled fire-barriers constructed with male and female coupling ends for one-step drop-in installation of the barriers into straight-line and intersection expansion-spaces.

The background information discussed below is presented to better illustrate the novelty and usefulness of the present invention. This background information is not admitted prior art. The particular versions of the invention as described below are provided, in part, as illustrative and exemplary. Thus, the described versions should not be taken as limiting. Additionally, the invention is not limited to the examples provided.

Buildings and other structures are known to experience stress from many sources, such as extreme and/or repetitive changes in temperature, the force of high impinging winds, compression and expansion forces due to seismic events, settling of subsoil, building remodels, and excavation on or near the site. To minimize the effect of these stresses on the buildings or other structures, building codes now require that all structures must be constructed with spaces between adjacent wall, floor, and ceiling building units. These spaces commonly referred to as “expansion-spaces,” “expansion-spaces” or “expansion-joint-spaces” allow differential building movement to take place without risking damage to the structure, and thus are frequently referred to as “dynamic expansion-spaces”.

While expansion-spaces improve the life-time integrity of structures, they present a major risk in the event of a fire because the channels created by the expansion-spaces act as chimney flues providing pathways for gases, flame, and smoke to spread rapidly throughout the structure. To counter the flue effect, building codes for commercial or public structures generally require fire-barriers to be installed in the expansion-spaces to reduce or prevent the spread of flames, smoke, and gas through the spaces into adjoining areas. Fire-barriers protect both the structure and those who are within the structure by extending the time available for inhabitants to leave and for fire fighters to get to the fire.

During a fire, buildings and their fire-barriers are subject to even greater stress than usual, making it essential that the fire-barriers are able to retain their integrity. Accordingly, fire-barriers are legally mandated to be tested, rated, and certified. There are two currently mandated tests. One measures the ability of a fire barrier to maintain its structural integrity under compressional and tensional motion. This test is referred to as the “cycle” test and its parameters are specified by ASTM 1399. The other test is referred to as the “fire” or “burn” test and its parameters are specified by UL 2079. The two tests are conducted in sequence. A fire barrier is first cycled 500 times between the compression forces and tension forces and then, if the barrier passes the cycle test, it is placed into a furnace where it is tested for its ability to resist and prevent flame, heat, and gases from passing through the barrier.

Two classes of fire-barriers are needed to have fire-stop protection in most structures. One class includes straight-line fire-barriers; the other class includes all of the variously shaped intersection-space barriers designed and built for fitting into the geometrically complex spaces created by the intersection of a two or more expansion-spaces. In the past, the only code tested and certified fire-barriers commercially available were the straight-line fire-barriers. These barriers were, and still are, made to be installed in the expansion spaces between the straight, continuous segments of walls, ceilings, or floor units. However, whenever expansion-joint-spaces intersect, multi-directional, multi-dimensional intersection-spaces are created. Examples of intersecting joint spaces include the “cross-shaped” intersection-space that results from the intersection of two straight-line expansion-joint-spaces that intersect at a 90 degree angle, or where the joint space between two spaced adjacent interior walls abuts the space between an exterior wall and the two spaced adjacent interior walls creating a “T”-shaped intersection-space.

SUMMARY

The present Inventor recognized that what is presently used to fill the intersection-spaces could likely not pass the cycle and fire tests. This is because barriers to fit into the intersection spaces are constructed on-site from parts of sectioned straight-line barriers. One problem with this is that when any tested and rated fire-barrier is modified, it immediately loses its rating, and because it is mandated to use only certified barriers, builders must have their engineers inspect the constructed on-site barriers so that these engineers can certify the barriers. That does not mean, however, that these on site constructions are capable of passing the extension/compression and fire-test, which could result in a building and its occupants being at a serious risk in the event of a fire. Moreover, during the installation process, one barrier is often shorter than the joint-space into which it is being installed. Thus, several barriers or sections of barriers need to be spliced together. The present Inventor feared that the spliced seams may or may not be air-tight and could allow hot air, smoke, toxic gases to travel throughout the expansion-joint-spaces of a building. Furthermore, as the connections formed during the requiring splicing procedures, are sometimes simply staples, and as spliced barriers have been known to be installed by non-specialists, they may not stand up to even relatively mild stresses of tension/compression and/or shear movements.

Thus, the present Inventor recognized that without a better fire-barrier system, life and property would continue to be at increased risk whenever there was a fire. He contemplated that to be able to have code-tested and rated geometrically complex intersection-space fitting fire-barriers, each barrier should be designed and constructed to have a one-continuous piece construction, and have no openings through the thickness of the barrier so as to prevent providing a pathway for the travel of smoke, fire, or gases. Additionally, the barriers should be constructed and pre-assembled in a certified facility according to the specifications required for barriers that have passed both the expansion/construction and the fire test. He also believed that there could be better ways to connect adjacent barriers to each other than the procedures currently used.

Furthermore, the present Inventor realized that on-site assemblage and splicing of fire-barriers for intersecting spaces is not only inherently an unsafe practice, it is time consuming and often requires more than one installation person, which adds significantly to the total construction cost. Moreover, he realized that on-site assembling could and likely did expose workers hands and arms to being cut by the thin sheets of stainless steel that are often a part of a fire barrier, and that whenever the installers would cut the fiber glass (or similar material) blankets breathable sized fibers are introduced into the workplace atmosphere resulting in increased worker's insurance. The present inventor recognized how beneficial to the worker, the contractor, and the building owner it would be to have fire-barriers, both those for fitting into straight-line expansion spaces and those for fitting into intersecting-expansion-spaces, pre-assembled with male and female coupling ends that provide not only for one-step drop-in installation of all of the styles of barriers into their respective expansion spaces, but for self-coupling of each barrier to its adjacent barrier as part of the drop-in installation. Such an improved product would greatly reduce both the time it takes to install the barriers and the health risks, thus cutting the cost of construction and worker's liability insurance.

Accordingly, the present Inventor designed and made both straight-line and intersection-space fire-barriers according to the following inventive principles. All fire-barriers described herein are pre-fabricated in a certified facility following a certified procedure that is mandated by the specifications of the fire and cycle tests. Fire-barrier systems following the principles of the present invention include: (1) fire-barriers, having male and female coupling ends, that designed as one-piece contiguous units to be installed in a one-step, drop-in process into intersection-joint-spaces, and (2) fire-barriers of the straight-line style also designed as one-piece contiguous units having male and female coupling ends, that can be installed in a one-step, drop-in process into straight-line expansion joint spaces, with both types of barriers having the same male/female coupling capability providing for one person, one-step, drop-in installation that saves installation time and improves worker safety. The male and female ended barriers are designed to be delivered to the work site ready to install. The male/female coupling ended fire-barriers of the present invention do not cost anymore to manufacture than do those that do not have male/female coupling abilities. Moreover, if installed with optional, fire-barrier specific, installation tools, even more time and cost is saved, work-site safety is greatly improved, and the general fire safety risk that is created when a contractor doesn't understand the detailed requirements of fire barrier installation is reduced, especially when the fire-barriers are being installed in intersecting expansion-joint-spaces.

The fire-barriers of the present invention are unique in several ways. One point of novelty is the variety of intersection-space barriers that are pre-assembled, as well as straight-line barriers, both styles having female/male coupling ends. One example, provided herein as a favored embodiment, is an L-shaped (also referred to as a horizontal/vertical L) fire barrier that is installed in a one-step, drop-in process into a L-shaped intersecting-expansion-joint-space created by the convergence of the expansion spaces between two building structures, such as a floor and a wall or a wall and a ceiling. The L-shape, as illustrated, is only one of a large number of possible configurations that are embodied with the principles of the present invention. The invention contemplates one-piece male/female coupling ended cross-shaped, T-shaped, and L-shaped barriers. It should be noted that L-shaped barriers may also be manufactured having horizontal/horizontal arms. All of the barriers are available having female connections, male connections, or both, depending on the specific configuration of the expansion spaces requiring fire-barriers that provide not only for one-step, drop-in installation, but also provide for interdigitating coupling ends that require only a bead of fire-resistant caulk to be applied over the seams between the two coupled barriers. No cutting or stapling of the overlapping coupling ends is required. Each style of male and female ended fire barrier is supplied with its own optional reusable installation tool that provides for even quicker, easier, and safer one-step, drop-in installation of both the pre-assembled, female and male ended multi-directional/multi-dimensional and straight-line fire-barriers. The installation tools are not only reusable, but also easily and rapidly size-adjustable for use with differently sized versions of the same style barriers. The fire-barriers illustrated in the present invention have passed the test referred to as the “cycle” test (ASTM 1399) and the “fire” or “burn” test (UL 2079).

Another advantage provided by the principles of the present invention include the fact that there is no opening or gap that penetrates through the layers as compared to some other systems, such as those that use loosely woven screening as innermost and outermost layers to provide support for the inner insulation layers. The loosely woven screening combined with the fact that the insulation layers supported by the screening are not as long as the bounding screen layers provides for gaps through which fire, gases, and smoke can penetrate. The attachment support brackets of the present invention include solid, rigid, fire resistant flanges (L-brackets are used in the illustrated examples) that support the layers of the fire-barriers of the present invention which layers are all attached to each other and to the brackets, but which layers are attached indirectly. That is, some of the layers are attached to an outmost solid support bracket while other layers are attached to an inner solid bracket with the brackets being attached to each other leaving no opportunity for gaps. Additionally, because the layers are attached indirectly, no opening is created through the total thickness of the fire barriers of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that these and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention may be more fully comprehended, the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters indicate like parts throughout the several figures, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic cross-section view of a fire barrier constructed according to the principles of the present invention installed in an expansion joint.

FIG. 2a is a perspective view of a partial section of the fire barrier, as illustrated in FIG. 1, to more clearly illustrate an attachment means for attaching the first layer sheets of the fire barrier to each other and to an L-bracket 30a to form a first layer, and another attachment means 50a and 53a for attaching the L-bracket to a second layer section and how pins 50a are used to provide attachment means for an installation tool when the barrier is ready to install.

FIG. 2b is a side plan view of the partial section of the straight-line fire barrier, as illustrated in FIG. 2, illustrating the addition of another layer of fire barrier material.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a partial section of the L-bracket to more clearly illustrate an example of attachment means that may be used to attach an installation tool to the L-bracket.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional cartoon of the straight-line fire barrier, as illustrated in FIG. 1, to more clearly illustrate the layer construction of the straight-line barrier having one male coupling end and one female coupling end.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view to illustrate how straight-line fire-barriers having one male coupling end and one female coupling end interdigitate with each other to provide a complete fire barrier system with no on-site fire barrier construction or trimming required.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a horizontal/vertical, 90° L-shaped fire barrier with one male and one female end, for interdigitated coupling with, for example the complementary ends of an abutting straight-line fire barrier illustrated in FIG. 9.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a straight-line fire barrier with a male and female coupling end for coupling this barrier with the horizontal/vertical, 90° L-shaped fire barrier, as illustrated in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view illustrating how the installation tool of the present invention provides for easy the drop-in installation of a ten foot section of the straight-line fire barrier.

DEFINITIONS

Building units, as used herein, refers to structures such as walls, floors, ceilings, and the like, and may be referred to as structural units.
Expansion-space, as used herein, refers to the spaces between adjacent wall, floor, and ceiling building units that are mandated by present day building codes to prevent the stresses suffered by buildings and other structures from temperature changes, earthquake motions, and wind, for example do not compromise the integrity of the buildings or other structures. These spaces are commonly referred to as “expansion-spaces” or “expansion-joint-spaces” and allow differential building movement to take place without risking damage to the structure, and are, thus, often referred to as dynamic expansion-spaces. Included under the term of expansion-space are the spaces created when two or more expansion-spaces intersect, creating an intersection-space that is much more geometrically complex; also see the definition for “Intersecting-spaces” below.
High-temperature thread, as used herein, refers to any thread that is fire resistant or any thread that will not support combustion, such as a ceramic thread.
Insulation blanket, as used herein, refers to any number of insulation materials, including fiber blankets made from alumina, zirconia, and silica spun ceramic fibers, fiberglass, and the like.
Interdigitate, as used herein, refers to the action of interlocking, coupling, connecting, interweaving, or commingling.
Interdigitatingly, as used herein, is the adverb that refers to the action of interlocking, coupling, connecting, interweaving, or commingling.
Interdigitation, as used herein, refers to the act of interlocking or the condition of being interlocked, coupled, connected, or interpenetrated, as is male-female coupling.
Intersecting-spaces, architectural expansion-joint-spaces, as used herein, refers to expansion-joint-spaces that intersect into each other from different spatial orientations to form multi-directional or multi-directional/multi-dimensional expansion-joint-spaces also referred to as “intersection-spaces,” as opposed to a straight line expansion joint space. V fire-barriers sized and shaped for installation into accepting intersection-spaces formed by the spaced intersection of at least two expansion-joint spaces that each occur between different sets of two adjacent spaced structural building units, each of said expansion-joint spaces defined by a plane, said plane defined by a set of three non-colinear points with each point defined by a set of x, y, z coordinates from the same coordinate system with no two of said coordinate sets being identical,
Intersection architectural-expansion join or joint, as used herein refers to any joint that is formed by the convergence of two or more expansion-joint-spaces, such as when the expansion spaces between wall units intersect and are also referred to as “intersection-spaces”. These spaces between building units may act like chimney flues carrying gases, hot air, flame, and smoke throughout a structure.
Intersection fire resistant barrier, as used herein, refers to any fire barrier that is shaped to functionally fit into a multi-directional and/or multi-dimensional architectural expansion joint space.
Intumescent as used herein, refers to those materials having properties that cause them to expand (or intumesce) to several times their original size when activated by high temperatures to prevent the spread of flames and smoke to other parts of a building, for example passive fire-seals contain intumescent compounds.
Male-Female Connections, as used herein, refers to connection in the mechanical and electrical trades and manufacturing where each of a pair of mating connectors is conventionally assigned the designation male or female. The “female” connector, or female coupling end, is generally a receptacle that connects to and holds the “male” connector, or male coupling end, to provide for a coupling of two parts. The assignment is by direct analogy with genitalia and sexual intercourse; the part bearing one or more protrusions, or which fits inside the other, being designated male and the part containing the corresponding indentations or fitting outside the other being female. Thus, the verb to mate being is used to describe connecting two ends together, as an extension of this analogy.
Metallic backing layer, as used herein, refers to fire resistant metal or metallicized foil, such as stainless steel, or the like.
Protective cloth, as used herein, refers to a flexible, strong, protective, fire-resistant material that is designed to mechanically support the insulation material and to protect the insulation material from mechanical damage, as the insulation is mechanically weak and can be easily damaged by tearing or ripping either accidentally or intentionally during or after installation thus largely compromising the integrity of the fire resistant barrier. The fire resistant layers, such as a layer of insulation material together with a layer of intumescent material, can freely move with respect to the one or more protective layers or they may be attached together via threads or other attaching means. Protective cloths may be manufactured from continuous filament amorphous silica yarns, polymeric material, fiber reinforced polymeric material, high-temperature resistant woven textiles, or a metalized, fiberglass cloth, among others. Metalized cloth may include fibers of stainless steel, aluminum, or copper, for example. Protective materials may also include metal foils or metal screens. Protective cloths also include cloths that are woven to provide for shear, including lateral, motion.
Seaming, as used herein, refers to connecting one part to another part, for example where a cloth is folded and the two parts of the cloth that have been brought together by the folding are subsequently “seamed” together along a predetermined line. The seaming may utilize stitching, using an adhesive, stapling, pinning, or any other means that will connect the two parts to each other.
Structural unit, as used herein, refers to such constructs as a wall, floor, ceiling, or the like and may be referred to as building units.
Tri-dimensional, as used herein, refers to either an expansion joint that has three intersecting extension joint spaces, such as a T-shaped expansion joint intersection or to a fire barrier that is functionally shaped to accommodate a T-shaped joint.

A LIST OF THE REFERENCE NUMBERS AND RELATED PARTS OF THE INVENTION

  • F Female coupling end.
  • M Male coupling end.
  • 2 Intumescent strip material.
  • 4 Caulk.
  • 6 Protective cloth.
  • 8 Fire resistant sheet, metal foil, for example, adhered to 6.
  • 10 A straight-line fire barrier.
  • 14 A first insulation blanket.
  • 24 A second insulation blanket.
  • 30 Inner L-bracket.
  • 30a First leg of inner L-bracket 30.
  • 30b Second leg of inner L-bracket 30.
  • 32 Outer L-bracket.
  • 32a First leg of outer L-bracket 32.
  • 32b Second leg of outer L-bracket 32.
  • 34 Third insulation blanket.
  • 36 Attachment means for attaching fire barrier to building unit 90 through L-bracket 30.
  • 40a Pin fastener and friction-fit washer set providing for attachment of first insulation blanket 14 and second insulation blanket 24 to each other and to L-bracket 30a.
  • 40b Pin fastener and friction-fit washer set providing for attachment of first insulation blanket 14 and second insulation blanket 24 to each other and to L-bracket 30b.
  • 42a Friction-fit washer.
  • 42b Friction-fit washer.
  • 44a Friction fit washer.
  • 44b Friction fit washer.
  • 45a Pin fastener with friction-fit washer to provide means to detachably attach an installation tool to the fire barrier.
  • 45b Pin fastener with friction-fit washer to provide means to detachably attach an installation tool to the fire barrier.
  • 46 Spacer.
  • 48 Friction fit washer.
  • 50a Pin fastener with friction-fit washer providing for attachment of third insulation blanket 34 to L-bracket 30a.
  • 50b Pin fastener with friction-fit washer providing for attachment of third insulation blanket 34 to L-bracket 30b.
  • 52a Friction fit washer.
  • 52b Friction fit washer.

53a Friction fit washer.

  • 70 A horizontal L-shape corner intersection fire barrier with a male and a female coupling end.
  • 72 Metal channel.
  • 73 Pins
  • 75 A straight line fire barrier with male and female type coupling ends.
  • 90 A generic building unit.
  • 90a First building unit.
  • 90b Second building unit.
  • 100 Installation tool.
  • 102 Tool grasping means.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings which show views of exemplary versions of the barriers and their related installation tools contemplated by this invention. The drawings also illustrate how the above discussed disadvantages have been overcome. It should be noted that the disclosed invention is disposed to versions in various sizes, such as lengths, widths, depths, in addition to variation in shapes, contents, layers, materials, and attachment means. Therefore, the versions described herein are provided with the understanding that the present disclosure is intended as illustrative and is not intended to limit the invention to the versions described.

FIG. 1, a cross-sectional, diagrammatic view, illustrates an example of the various layers a fire barrier made according to the principles of the present invention might have. Note that the construction of all fire-barriers made according to the principles of the present invention requires that while one or more layers are attached to one or more other layers in the barrier, there is no instance where all of the layers are attached to each other at one particular point. That is, there is no attachment that penetrates all of the layers from one outer side of the barrier to the other outer side of the barrier. This is essential, because if there were to be an opening from one outer side of the barrier to the other outer side of the barrier, a route would be provided for the passage of fire, smoke, or gases. Thus, this exemplar multi-layered barrier consists of several full-length layers that in this example are all of the same length and include protective cloth 6 forming the bottom or outside layer of the barrier, which is the side that faces the surfaces of the building units 90a and 90b making up the expansion joint space into which the barrier is installed and the space, itself. Positioned on the upper surface of protective cloth 6 is flexible fire-resistant support sheet 8 that could be a stainless steel foil sheet, for example, upon which is first insulation blanket 14. Positioned on the upper surface blanket 14 is second insulation blanket 24. Pin fastener 40a and friction-fit washer 42a provide for attachment of a first end of protective cloth 6, flexible stainless steel sheet 8, first insulation blanket 14 and a first end of second insulation blanket 24 to each other and to second leg 33a of L-bracket 30a. Pin fastener 40b and friction-fit washer 42b provide for attachment of a second end of protective cloth 6, flexible stainless steel sheet 8, first insulation blanket 14 and a second end of second insulation blanket 24 to each other and to and between second leg 32b of L-bracket 32 and second leg 30b of L-bracket 30. Positioned on the upper surface blanket 24 is third insulation blanket 34. Pin fastener 50a and friction-fit washer 52a provide for attachment of a first end of third insulation blanket 34 to second leg 30b of L-bracket 30. Pin fastener 50b and friction-fit washer 52b provide for attachment of a second end of third insulation blanket 34 to second leg 30b of L-bracket 30. Working together, the attachment set made up of pin 40a and friction-fit washer 42a and the attachment set made up of pin fastener 50a and friction-fit washer 52a provide for indirect attachment of one end of all of the layers to each other and to one set L-brackets 30 and 32. Similarly, the attachment set made up of pin fastener 40b and friction-fit washer 42b and the attachment set made up of pin fastener 50b and friction-fit washer 52b provide for indirect attachment of the other end of all of the layers to each other and to the other set of L-bracket 30 and 32. The attachment pin fasteners may be inserted into a select number of cloth and foil layers by either using the pins to pierce the cloth and foil layers, or by providing the cloth and foil layers with pre-formed apertures for the insertion of the pins. L-brackets are provided with pre-formed apertures for the insertion of the pins. It is important to note that the indirect attachment of the layers to each other and to the L-brackets ensures that there is no opening that penetrates through the entire structure. This provides another safeguard against leakage of smoke, fire, or gases through the barrier. This structure also provides added strength to the barrier. It should be understood that while the number of layers might increase or decrease, according to the principles of the present invention the layers are always attached to each other and to and between the L-brackets in a way that ensures that there is never a continuous opening created, that is, there is never any one attachment\ that penetrates through all of the layers, including brackets. The attachment penetration is always offset, regardless of the number of layers. Attachment 36 provides for attachment of leg 32a of L-bracket 32 and of leg 30a of L-bracket 30 to building unit 90a. Another attachment means 36 provides for attachment of first leg 32a of L-bracket 32 and of leg 30a of L-bracket 30 to building unit 90b. If the contractor plans on using the installation tool of the present invention to install the barrier into its accepting expansion joint space, before the barrier is attached to upper L-bracket 30, pin fasteners 45a and 45b are inserted into a receiving aperture (not shown) from the bottom of the first legs 30a and 30a and brackets 30 to protrude entirely through and up out of the first legs of the L-brackets to provide attachment means for an installation tool that is discussed below. Attachment means 44a and 44b, which in this example are each a friction fit washer, hold pin fasteners 45a and 45b secure to the L-bracket.

FIG. 2a, a perspective view, illustrates a partial section of the fire barrier illustrated in FIG. 1 to more clearly show how pin fastener 40a and friction-fit washer 42a may be utilized to provide for securing protective blanket 6, metallic sheet 8, and the two insulation blanket layers 14 and 24 to each other and to and between the second legs 32b and 30b of L-brackets 30 and 32. Pin fastener 50a is positioned to protrude through and extend some distance from the surface of second leg 30b of L-bracket 30, so that with friction-fit washer 52a, in this example, the attachment of third insulation blanket 34 to second leg 30b of L-bracket 30 is achieved, as shown in FIG. 2b, which is a side elevation view of the partial section of the fire barrier that is illustrated in FIG. 2a. As discussed above, if the installation tool of the present invention is to be used to install the fire barrier, pins 45a are inserted into and through first leg 30a of L-bracket 30 before it is attached to the barrier, so that a length of the pin protrudes upwards from the outer surface of first leg 30a to extend some distance from that outer surface to provide for attachment of an installation tool to the barrier for installation of the barrier into a joint space. It should be understood that the number of layers required by the fire-barriers manufactured according to the principles of the present invention is not limited by this, or any other, example given herein. The number of layers required per fire barrier is determined by many factors, such as the composition and thickness of the material comprising each layer, the width and depth of the expansion space into which the barrier is to be installed, and the degree of fire-protection that is specified for the building. Again, depending on such factors as the thickness of the various material layers, the total barrier thickness, and the composition of the layers, various other configurations of pins and washers, 53a and 50a may be utilized and various distances between the attachment means may be employed without departing from the scope of the invention.

FIG. 3, is an exploded perspective view of a partial section of an L-bracket to more clearly illustrate an example of one of the installation tool attachment devices of the present invention that may be used to install the pre-assembled fire barrier in either a straight-line expansion joint space or an intersection-space. To temporarily, but securely, attach an installation tool to the fire barrier for installation purposes, one part of an installation tool is attached to one of the L-brackets of a barrier and another part of the tool is attached to the complementary L-bracket of the fire barrier. To do this, there must be some preparation before the barrier is fully assembled. That is, when an installation tool is to be used to install the barrier, before the barrier is attached to its L-brackets 30, a pin 45a is inserted through leg 30a of each L-bracket 30. The pin is held in place by friction fit washer 44a. When the fire barrier's construction is complete, installation tool 60 is temporarily attached to leg 30a of L-bracket 30 by inserting pin 45a through aperture 62 of a connecting plate of installation tool 60. Spacer 46 is placed over pin 45a so that it rests on the outer surface of the connecting plate of installation tool 60. Spacer 46 ensures the space needed when it is time to cut pin 45a for the removal of the installation tool from the fire barrier. Friction fit washer 48 is positioned over pin 45a to rest on spacer 46 to secure attachment of the tool to the barrier. When the installation tool is no longer needed, it is easily and rapidly removed from the fire barrier by cutting through pin 45a, thus breaking the connection between the fire barrier and the installation tool. If the installation tool is not to be used in the installation of the barrier, this step does not take place.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional cartoon view of a fire barrier to more clearly illustrate the female end and male end construction of a layered barrier. For the sake of clarity, L-brackets are removed from this view. The male and female coupling ends of the barrier are made by the off-set positioning of the various layers of the fire barrier. All of the full-length layers, as shown in this example and as mentioned with respect to the barrier shown in FIG. 1, are of the same length and include an outer layer of protective cloth, a layer of metal foil, and one or more layers of insulation blanket. Offsetting stacks that each contain some number of these layers of the same length provides for a projecting male end and a receiving female end. In this example, protective cloth 6 forms the bottom outer layer. Positioned on the upper surface of protective cloth 6 is fire resistant layer 8, which in this example is a flexible stainless steel foil, but could be any desired fire resistant supporting material. As mentioned, full-length protective cloth 6 and fire resistant layer 8 have the same length. Thus, each of these two layers extends the length of its adjacent layer and can not extend past the ends of its adjacent layer. This means that there is no extension of one layer over the end surfaces of another layer to prevent gaps from forming by the folding up, or down, of one layer to cover the ends of its adjacent layer, or additional, layers. Such gaps would provide for penetration of fire, smoke, and gases, which is exactly what fire-barriers are made to prevent. This would cause the barrier to fail the fire test it is mandated to pass before it can be used for its intended purpose. In this illustration, fire resistant sheet 8 is attached to the upper surface of protective cloth 6 using adhesive. The method of attachment is dictated by the needs of the user of the fire-barrier. In addition to adhesive, the fire resistant sheet may be attached to the protective by sewing, stapling, bolting, or any other known or yet to be known means for attaching the two sheets. Alternatively, if desired, the two sheets do not have to be attached before installation. The next full-length layer, positioned on the upper surface of layer 8, is insulation blanket 14, which as seen from FIG. 4 has the same length as layers 6 and 8. To form the male/female connecting ends, the next full-length layer, insulation blanket 24, is positioned on the upper surface of blanket 14 in an offset manner. The offset positioning of blanket 24 over blanket 14 provides for the barrier to have female, receiving end F and male projecting end M. In this example, caulking 4 is applied between insulation blanket 14 and insulation blanket 24 for extra secure attachment of the two blankets to each other to ensure that there is no possible way for fire, smoke, or gas to penetrate through the barrier. Caulking 4 may also be used between insulation blanket 24 and insulation blanket 34. On the exposed, under-surface of the overlapped male end M of blanket 24 is a partial-length sheet of metal foil 8 that extends from the end of blanket 24 a desired distance between blanket 24 and blanket 14. Covering the exposed, under-surface, section of metal foil 8 is a partial-length layer of protective cloth 6 with the exposed edges of cloth 6 lined with intumescent strips 2. In the embodiment illustrated, the intumescent strip is attached to protective cloth 6 using staples, it is, however, to be understood that stapling is not a required attachment means, as the attachment is just as well accomplished using pins, caulking, sewing or any other known or yet to be know means for attaching two such sheets. During installation the male end of one barrier is simply, quickly interdigitated with the female end of a second barrier providing for, precise, custom-contoured, snug overlapping coupling of the male end and the female end requiring no on-site splicing operations. Caulking is used to provide an extra level of security for the attachment of the male and female ends. Other means for securing the attachment, such as adhesive or staples, among others may be used, if desired.

FIG. 5, a schematic, top plan view, is presented to illustrate how straight-line barriers 10 having male/female type coupling end structures, M and F referred to as overlap areas of the fire-barriers in the drawing, couple with adjacent straight-line barriers 10, and with the horizontal/horizontal-armed, 90° corner intersection-space fire-barriers 70 that also having mating male/female type coupling ends, M and F. It should be noted that in FIG. 5 the coupling is shown to be accomplished sideways to show how the coupling is accomplished. This is done so that the coupling method for an entire room may be understood using only one figure. It should also be noted in FIG. 5 that for each pair of straight-line fire-barriers that have coupling straight-line barriers, there is a space between the two fire-barriers coupled to each other, which space is provided to accentuate the male/female coupling of the barriers and that this space does not exist in a real system. In fact, when fire-barriers are constructed according to the principles of the present invention, all potential for space or openings within the coupling areas is eliminated as discussed above. Thus, looking at FIG. 5 it is obvious how easily and rapidly a fire barrier system of the present invention may be installed in expansion-joint-spaces about the entire perimeter of a room without requiring any on-site construction or trimming significantly reduces the time required for installation and the person power required for installation, thus reducing the cost of the fire barrier protection part of the job, while simultaneously decreasing the risk to workers by decreasing, if not eliminating, respirable particles in the working atmosphere and reducing the danger to workers of being cut by the sharp edged metal foil that is frequently used in the construction of the fire-barriers. Accordingly, as protection is increased by the pre-assembled, one piece barriers and their over-lapping coupling ends, the cost of fire hazard insurance should be reduced as should worker's compensation insurance.

FIG. 6, a perspective view, illustrates a horizontal/vertical, L-shaped, 90° corner intersection fire barrier with a male M and a female F coupling end. This barrier, as are all the barriers of the present invention, is provided to the job site as a pre-assembled, one-piece unit ready for one-step, drop-in installation. The drawing shown in FIG. 6 demonstrates how this particular barrier, and, in fact, how any corner barrier having two coupling ends, is constructed with a male end and a female end for interdigitization of, in this case, a 90° corner horizontal arm/vertical arm intersection barrier with, most likely, a straight-line barrier. The male coupling end, as illustrated in FIG. 6, is to be interdigitated with the female coupling end of the straight-line fire barrier, such as the one, illustrated in FIG. 7. Alternatively, the female coupling end, as illustrated in FIG. 6, is to be interdigitated with the male coupling end of the straight line fire barrier illustrated in FIG. 7. Of course, if required, all styles of coupling ended barriers may be provided with two, or more, ends as male coupling ends or both ends as female coupling ends. Similarly, corner fire-barriers that have more than two coupling ends, such as T-shaped and cross-shaped barriers may be provided with all female, all male, or a variety of female and male ends. In the example illustrated in FIG. 6, only protective cloth 6 with attached intumescent stripping 2, fire resistant metal channel 72, and pins 73 that provide means for attaching the barrier layers to each other are shown.

FIG. 7, a perspective view, illustrates straight line fire barrier 75 according to the principles of the present invention provided with a male coupling end and a female coupling end, one of which may be used for interdigitation with the female or male coupling end, respectively, of the horizontal/vertical corner intersection fire barrier illustrated in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 shows exemplary straight line fire barrier 10 with two installation tools 100 detachably attached to it. Each tool's frame is constructed of a first set of two elongate strips 110 of a sturdy and light-weight material, such as aluminum or plastic, with the long axis of the strips oriented in the same direction as the long axis of the barrier to which they is attached and arranged parallel to and spaced from one another, and a second set of two elongate strips arranged parallel to and spaced from one another and positioned over the second set of strips and in this position the two sets are attached to each other, so that the two sets form a construct similar to a number sign “#” but where the angles between all crossing strips are all at approximately right angles. The lower set of strips has means for being detachably attached to the fire barrier, as is explained in more detail above. The upper set of strips has a grasping means, such as handle 102 for easy lifting of the tool and the barrier to which it is connected. FIG. 8 shows how the installation tool just described provides for easy one-step, drop-in installation of a ten foot section of the straight-line fire barrier.

The structural configuration of a tool may vary considerably without departing from the spirit of the invention to provide for tools that provide for easy, one-step, lifting, and installing of a fire barrier of any of the shapes that are possible following the principles of the present invention . The tool may be piece constructed or may be molded. There are as many tool styles as there are differently shaped fire-barriers, so that the tool fits over each of variously shaped barriers, such as the T-shaped installation tool that is shaped for installing a T-shaped intersection fire barrier.

Thus it has been shown that the present invention comprises male and female ended intersection and straight line fire-barriers for easy and rapid interdigitated coupling of the straight-line barriers with straight-line barriers, straight-line barriers with intersection barriers, and intersection barriers with intersection barriers providing rapid, safe installation of the barriers while requiring no on-site cutting or construction; that all of the variously styled barriers are constructed as pre-assembled single-piece male/female coupling ended units for use in intersection and straight architectural expansion-joint-spaces to prevent the migration of gases, flame, and smoke through a structure; and that each style barrier is provided with a one-step, one-person, drop-in, reusable, width adjustable installation tool.