Title:
FIRE RATED RADIUS WALL STRUCTURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A curved wall structure is disclosed herein that comprises a curved footer track; a curved header track confronting and vertically spaced apart from the curved footer track; a plurality of studs having upper and lower end portions (wherein the studs are vertically positioned between the spaced apart and confronting header and footer tracks such that the lower end portions are received into the footer track and the upper end portions are received into the curved header track); and a corrugated curved wall panel having a plurality of vertically spaced apart grooves. Mineral wool (or other suitable insulation material) may be positioned between the plurality of studs and adjacent to the corrugated curved wall panel. In addition, a heat-expandable intumescent material strip may be positioned along a top portion of at least one of the downwardly extending sidewalls of the curved header track and adjacent to the first curved wallboard.



Inventors:
Klein, James Alan (Bellevue, WA, US)
Application Number:
13/662314
Publication Date:
05/02/2013
Filing Date:
10/26/2012
Assignee:
KLEIN JAMES ALAN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/245
International Classes:
E04B1/78; E04B2/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, ANDREW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOOP IP (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A curved wall structure, comprising: a curved footer track defined by a pair of upwardly extending curved sidewalls connected to a curved footer web; a curved header track confronting and vertically spaced apart from the curved footer track, the curved header track being defined by a pair of downwardly extending curved sidewalls connected to a curved header web; a plurality of studs having upper and lower end portions, the studs being vertically positioned between the spaced apart and confronting header and footer tracks such that the lower end portions are received into the footer track and the upper end portions are received into the header track; a corrugated curved wall panel having a plurality of vertically spaced apart grooves, the corrugated curved wall panel being positioned along the curved header track and the curved footer track and adjacent to the plurality of studs; and a plurality of fasteners connecting the corrugated curved wall panel to the plurality of studs, the plurality of fasteners being positioned within the plurality of grooves and penetrating into the plurality of studs to thereby define the curved wall structure.

2. The curved wall structure of claim 1, further comprising a curved first wallboard positioned adjacent and conforming to the corrugated curved wall panel.

3. The curved wall structure of claim 2, further comprising a curved second wallboard positioned adjacent and conforming to the first curved wallboard.

4. The curved wall structure of claim 3 wherein the curved footer track, the curved header track, the plurality of studs, and the corrugated curved wall panel are all made of sheet-metal.

5. The curved wall structure of claim 4 wherein the first and second curved wallboard each contain gypsum.

6. The curved wall structure of claim 5, further comprising mineral wool positioned between the plurality of studs and adjacent to the corrugated curved wall panel.

7. The curved wall structure of claim 1 or 6 wherein the plurality of fasteners is a plurality of screws with each screw having a screw head connected to a ridged cylinder, and wherein the screw heads are within the plurality of grooves and the ridged cylinders are penetrating into the plurality of studs.

8. The curved wall structure of claim 7, further comprising a first heat-expandable intumescent material strip positioned along a top portion of at least one of the downwardly extending sidewalls of the curved header track and adjacent to the first curved wallboard.

9. The curved wall structure of claim 7, further comprising a second heat-expandable intumescent material strip positioned along a bottom portion of at least one of the upwardly extending sidewalls of the curved footer track and adjacent to the first curved wallboard.

10. The curved wall structure of claim 8 wherein the curved wall structure is fire retardant.

11. The curved wall structure of claim 1 wherein the plurality of grooves each has a generally U-shaped profile.

12. The curved wall structure of claim 1 wherein the plurality of grooves each has a generally V-shaped profile.

13. The curved wall structure of claim 1 wherein the plurality of grooves are uniformly spaced apart from one another.

14. The curved wall structure of claim 1 wherein the curved header track comprises a first inner header track section in a side-by-side cooperative relation with a second outer header track section.

15. The curved wall structure of claim 14 wherein the first inner header track section comprises an inner curved header wall having a plurality of outwardly extending first section header prongs, and wherein the second outer header track section comprises an outer curved header wall having a plurality of inwardly extending second section header prongs, and wherein the first section header prongs together with the second section header prongs define the curved header web.

16. The curved wall structure of claim 15 wherein the curved header track is selectively adjustable as to define a plurality of different curvatures of the curved header track.

17. The curved wall structure of claim 1 wherein the curved footer track comprises a first inner footer track section in a side-by-side cooperative relation with a second outer footer track section.

18. The curved wall structure of claim 17 wherein the first inner footer track section comprises a footer curved wall having a plurality of outwardly extending first section footer prongs, and wherein the second outer footer track section comprises an outer curved wall having a plurality of inwardly extending second section footer prongs, and wherein the first section footer prongs together with the second section footer prongs define the curved footer web.

19. The curved wall structure of claim 18 wherein the curved footer track is selectively adjustable as to define different curvatures of the curved footer track.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/628,184 filed on Oct. 26, 2011, all of which application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to building construction and, more particularly, to curved wall structures that are easy to construct/install on-site within a building and that may be fire rated to comply with ever stringent fire codes and regulations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the building construction industry, there is often a need to build a curved wall structure within a building. For example, in many hospitals and other like buildings, architects' designs frequently call for one or more curved walls that are required to comply with ever stringent fire codes. Builders, however, have few options for constructing such curved walls.

One solution is a curved track product manufactured and distributed by Priceless Steel Products Co. (Spokane, Wash. U.S.A.). The curved track products available from Priceless Steel Products are fabricated to have a specified curvature or radius and when assembled together with studs and wallboard define a curved wall structure. A problem with such curved wall products, however, is that it is often difficult and cumbersome to attach wallboard to the studs because the screw heads (associated with the sheet-metal screws used to attach the studs to the curved header/footer tracks) tend to protrude outwardly away from the exterior surface of the curved header/footer tracks such that they interfere with smooth attachment of the wallboard. Another problem is that such curved wall products (when assembled together with studs and wallboard so as to define a curved wall structure) are generally not sufficiently fire retardant to comply with modern fire codes.

Accordingly, and although some curved wall structures are known to exist, there is still a need in the art for new and improved curved wall structures that are easy to construct/install on-site within a building and that may be fire rated to comply with ever stringent fire codes. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides for further related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In brief, the present invention in one embodiment is directed to a curved (radius) wall structure that is easy to construct/install on-site within a building and that may be fire rated to comply with fire codes and regulations. The curved wall structure of the present invention comprises a curved footer track defined by a pair of upwardly extending sidewalls connected to a curved footer web; a curved header track confronting and vertically spaced apart from the footer track, wherein the curved header track is defined by a pair of downwardly extending sidewalls connected to a curved header web; a plurality of studs having upper and lower end portions, wherein the studs are vertically positioned between the spaced apart and confronting header and footer tracks such that the lower end portions are received into the footer track and the upper end portions are received into the header track; a corrugated curved wall panel having a plurality of vertically spaced apart grooves, wherein the corrugated curved wall panel is positioned along the curved header track and the curved footer track and adjacent to the plurality of studs; and a plurality of fasteners connecting the corrugated curved wall panel to the plurality of studs, wherein the plurality of fasteners are positioned within the plurality of grooves and penetrate into the plurality of studs to thereby define the curved wall structure.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become more evident upon reference to the following detailed description and attached drawings. It is to be understood, however, that various changes, alterations, and substitutions may be made to the specific embodiments disclosed herein without departing from their essential spirit and scope.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings like reference numerals are used to designate like features throughout the several views of the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a front perspective partial exploded view of a curved wall structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective partial exploded view of the curved wall structure shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a curved footer track in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention (noting that the curved header track of the present invention is of similar shape and construction).

FIG. 4 is an end profile view of a corrugated wall panel (before bending to shape) in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the corrugated wall panel shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is an end profile view of a corrugated wall panel (after bending to shape) in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a top (or bottom) partial view of a curved wall structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is another top (or bottom) partial curved view of a wall structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a top (or bottom) partial view of the curved wall structure shown in FIG. 8, but having wallboard (sheathing) attached.

FIG. 10 is a top (or bottom) partial view a curved wall structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention that better details how a fastener (e.g., screw) connects the corrugated wall panel to a stud.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals are used to designate like features and, more particularly, to FIGS. 1-10, the present invention in one embodiment is directed to a curved (radius) wall structure 10 that is easy to construct/install on-site within a building (not shown) and that may optionally be fire-rated to comply with applicable fire codes. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the curved wall structure 10 is an assembly that comprises a curved footer track 12; a curved header track 14 confronting and vertically spaced apart from the curved footer track 12; a plurality of studs 16 having upper and lower end portions 18, 20, (wherein the studs 16 are vertically positioned between the spaced apart and confronting header and footer tracks 12, 14 such that the lower end portions 20 are received into the footer track 12 and the upper end portions 18 are received into the curved header track 14); and a corrugated curved wall panel 22 having a plurality of vertically spaced apart grooves 24. As shown, the corrugated curved wall panel 22 is positioned along the curved header track 14 and the curved footer track 12 (so as to be adjacent to the plurality of studs 16). As further shown, a plurality of fasteners 26 connect the corrugated curved wall panel 22 to the plurality of studs 16. In this configuration, the plurality of fasteners 26 are positioned within the plurality of grooves 24 and penetrate into the plurality of studs 16 to thereby define the curved wall structure 10 (noting that is desirable that some of the vertical grooves 24 align with the studs 16).

The curved footer track 12, the curved header track 14, the plurality of studs 16, and the corrugated curved wall panel 22 may all made of sheet-metal. The plurality of grooves 24 may be uniformly spaced apart from one another. In some embodiments, the plurality of grooves 24 may each have a generally V-shaped profile, while in other embodiments they may each have a generally U-shaped profile. In either case, the plurality of grooves 24 facilitate the bending of the resilient and corrugated curved wall panel 22 so that it more readily conforms to the curvature of the curved wall structure 10.

As best shown in FIG. 3, the curved footer track 12 is defined by a pair of upwardly extending curved sidewalls 12a, 12b connected to a curved footer web 12c. Similarly, the curved header track 14 is defined by a pair of downwardly extending curved sidewalls 14a, 14b connected to a curved header web 14c.

In some embodiments and as shown, the curved footer track 12 may comprise a first inner footer track section 12′ in a side-by-side cooperative relation with a second outer footer track section 12″. The first inner footer track section 12′ includes a footer curved wall 12a having a plurality of outwardly extending first section footer prongs 12x, and the second outer footer track section 12″ includes an outer curved wall 12b having a plurality of inwardly extending second section footer prongs 12y. The first section footer prongs 12x together with the second section footer prongs 12y define the curved footer web 12c. In this configuration, the curved footer track 12 is selectively adjustable as to define different curvatures of the curved footer track 12.

Similarly, the curved header track 14 may comprise a first inner header track section 14′ in a side-by-side cooperative relation with a second outer header track section 14″. The first inner header track section 14′ includes an inner curved header wall 14a having a plurality of outwardly extending first section header prongs 14x, and the second outer header track section 14″ includes an outer curved header wall 14b having a plurality of inwardly extending second section header prongs 14y. The first section header prongs 14x together with the second section header prongs 14y define the curved header web 14c. In this configuration, the curved header track 14 is selectively adjustable as to define different curvatures of the curved header track 14.

As seen in FIG. 7-10, the plurality of fasteners 26 may be a plurality of screws with each screw having a screw head 26a connected to a ridged cylinder 26b. As best shown shown in FIG. 10, the screw heads 26a are within the plurality of grooves 24 and the ridged cylinders 26b are penetrating into the plurality of studs 16. In other words, the screw heads 26a reside within the plurality of grooves 24 (regardless of whether or not the grooves 24 are U-shaped or V-shaped) so as to not interfere with the attachment of subsequent wallboard 28, 30 or other sheathing.

As best shown in FIG. 1 and in further embodiments, the curved (radius) wall structure 10 of the present invention may further comprise a curved first wallboard 28 positioned adjacent and conforming to the corrugated curved wall panel 22. In addition, the curved (radius) wall structure 10 may further comprise a curved second wallboard 30 positioned adjacent and conforming to the first curved wallboard 28. In this way, the first and second curved wallboards 28, 30 (both which may contain gypsum) may be able to better “match-up” with thicker fire rated gypsum wallboard sheets positioned on the adjoining walls (not shown) (and that are generally flat as opposed to being curved in nature).

In still further embodiments that are even more fire retardant, mineral wool 32 (or other suitable insulation material) may be positioned between the plurality of studs 16 and adjacent to the corrugated curved wall panel 22. In addition, a heat-expandable intumescent material strip 34 may be positioned along a top portion of at least one of the downwardly extending sidewalls 14b of the curved header track 14 and adjacent to the first curved wallboard 28. Similarly, a second heat-expandable intumescent material strip 36 may be positioned along a bottom portion of at least one of the upwardly extending sidewalls 12b of the curved footer track 12 and adjacent to the first curved wallboard 28. The intumescent strip 36 is commercially available (e.g., 3M Company or The Rectorseal Corporation, U.S.A.) and preferably has an adhesive backing that allows it to be readily affixed onto the downwardly extending sidewalls 14b of the curved header track 14. Exemplary in this regard are the heat expandable compositions disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,207,085 to Ackerman (incorporated herein by reference), which discloses a composition that, when subjected to heat, expands to form a heat-insulating barrier. A preferred composition contains expandable graphite (˜10-40 wt %), a fire retardant (˜10-40 wt %), and an optional inorganic intumescent filler (<50 wt %), all of which are admixed together with a resinous emulsion (˜30-60 wt %). The expandable graphite is generally manufactured by the oxidation of graphite flake in sulfuric acid (with such intercalated graphite being swellable or expandable up to about 100 times of its original volume when heated at high temperature). The fire retardant generally includes amine/phosphorous containing salts such as, for example, amine salts of phosphoric acid or lower alkyl esters thereof. A preferred fire retardant is a C2-C8 alkyl diamine phosphate. Intumescent activation or expansion generally begins at about 392° F. In order to ensure that the intumescent strip 36 stays in place when exposed to heat, it has been found that a commercially available (e.g., 3M Company, U.S.A.) fire-retardant epoxy adhesive may preferably also be used.

While the present invention has been described in the context of the embodiments illustrated and described herein, the invention may be embodied in other specific ways or in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. Therefore, the described embodiments are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.