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Publication numberUS1221067 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 3, 1917
Filing dateMar 15, 1916
Priority dateMar 15, 1916
Publication numberUS 1221067 A, US 1221067A, US-A-1221067, US1221067 A, US1221067A
InventorsDuncan D Mcbean
Original AssigneeDuncan D Mcbean
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tunnel and method of building same.
US 1221067 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)




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Patented Apr. 3, 1917.


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eat er.

Specification of Letters Patent.

Patented am. a, 119W.

Application filed March 15, 1916. Serial No. 84,289.

To all whom it may concern: I

Be it known that I, DUNCAN D. McBnAN, a citizen of the United States, residing at New York, in the county and State of New York, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Tunnels and Methods of Building Same, of which the following is a full, clear, and exact description.

The invention for which by these presents I now seek protection by Letters Patent, relates to and is an improvement in tunnels and in methods of constructing and installing upon subaqueous foundations, masonry or composite structures of the general nature of tunnels, piers and the like.

Among the chief features of novelty of my present invention, the most prominent and important are the following:

First, the provision of means whereby massive tubular masonry or composite structures of this character may be progressively and upwardly built from basic portions of the same while floating in a vertical position in water; second, the provision of means to permit the building in this manner of sections of such structures, the individual lengths of which are practically limited only by the depth of water available, and yet, so that all the work may be done in open air and above the Water level; third, a procedure by which all piers, docks, launching apparatus and the like, such as are usually required in building and launching such structures are dispensed with; fourth, the provision of means to permit the structure when built in accordance with my invention to be shifted into prone floating position, without danger of being subjected to breaking or distorting stresses; fifth, the provision of a method of construction which in large degree is self determining as to the proper minimum amount and weight of structural material necessary tomake the finished device non-buoyant when submerged and un- Watered, while at the same time insuring, or at least permitting, a uniform or any other desired circumferential distribution of structural material; sixth, the provision of a plan of construction which avoids the necessity of admitting water to the structure at any stage of its construction and finally, the provision of a speedy, economical and efficient method of construction which lends itself to the carrying out of many structures and plants at a greatly reduced cost and which is characterized by the entire absence of hazardous work throughout.

In its broader aspects my new method is applicable to the construction and handling of a wide variety of structures, and while the illustrations herein given are more or less specific in their nature the claims are intended to cover the improvements not only in their more limited forms and applications, but in all others for which they are adapted. The special application of the fundamental principles underlying my invention which is described in detail herein is merely typical and illustrative, although it represents one of the most important and useful applications of the same.

I may state the nature of my improvement in general terms as involving the following procedure. I first build a bulkheaded or closed end section of the tunnel or other like tubular structure, so proportioning the weight of material that it shall be less than the water displacement, and then float the same. I then build up the walls progressively, or in other words, practically in courses, so that as each course is added, these walls become waterproof to that height, and in so building the walls I preferably make them of such thickness and weight as approximately to equal the water displacement of a like length of the structure. Accordingly, as the walls are built up the structure sinks an equal amount so that the building may proceed with the utmost convenience and there is neither danger of the structure foundering on the one hand, or becoming top heavy and unstable on the other.

Finally, when in this manner a section of the structure has been completed to the desired length, the upper or open end, as well as the bottom, is bulkheaded, when this is required in its subsequent handling and use, as in the case of tunnels which are placed in a substantially horizontal position, and it is then tilted over into a horizontal floatmg position, in which it may be towed to any desired point or floated to position over its foundation, sunk to the latter and joined, if need be, to previously laid sections in any proper and known manner.

In the detailed description of the drawings which follows I shall point out all of the novel features which I have devised and found necessary in carrying out the process above described, and while it will be understood that such specific features are not to be regarded as essential to the invention considered broadly, they or equivalents for them must be used in order to successfully carry out the plan which I recommend and which may be more specifically defined'as involving the following steps.

I erect a suitable platform preferably over the water, which has a perfectly level or flat surface, and upon this I erect a form for building a subsection of a tubular structure of concrete or of concrete combined with other materials such as a wooden sheathing and a temporarily closed bottom.

Vhen such structure has been built to a certain height with water proof walls it is floated off into the water, preferably by sinking the platform, and being properly secured and steadied it is then finished by the addition ofconcrete and extended by the addition of one or more similar sub-sections until a complete section is obtained of the desired length or as long as the depth of the water may permit. When this has been done the top is temporarily closed, the whole structure tipped over, floated and sunk onto foundations previously prepared for it preferably in accordance with the methods. set forth by, me in an application heretofore filed on February 21, 1916, Serial No. 7 9,594.

In many respects the improvements above generally outlined constitute a very important contribution to this art. The structure is one which under all imaginable conditions of use is indestructible and much cheaper to build than those heretofore used. The plan which I follow in building and laying the sections is also a marked advance, inasmuch as it requires little or no complicated mechanism, involves few dangers to the workmen engaged in its construction and may be carried on rapidly and easily under almost all conditions of wind and weather.

In order that my invention may be understood I have appended" hereto drawings, showing a tunnel in some of the forms in which it may be built and one means of carrying out its construction.

Figure 1 is a cross sectional view of a tunnel of circular form complete and laid upon its foundation.

Fig. 2 is a similarview of a double tunnel of substantially oval cross section built and laid in the same way.

Fig. 3 is an enlarged detail view in section showing the manner of joining two sections of my improved tunnel.

Fig. 4 is a similar view of the joint after its completion,

-Fig. 5 is an enlarged sectional view of the means employed for forming the joints between the planks or timbers constituting the sheathing of the tunnel.

Fig. 6 is a sectional view of several subsections of a double tunnel joined and ready for laying and showing the means for temporarily closing the ends of the same.

Fig. 7 is a view, mainly in section showing one form of platform for use in starting1 the construction of a tunnel sub-section an Fig. 8 is a similar view showing the platform sunk so as to permit the tunnel subsections to be floated oil".

Referring to Fig. 1. The tunnel as a whole is composed of units or sub-sections and main sections joined together in any proper manner and each built up of a body of reinforced concrete 1, and an outer sheathing or envelop of wooden timbers or planks 2. The character of the reinforcements may greatly vary, but I have shown circumferential bands or tubes 3 and longitudinal rods 4 which in the construction of the tunnel may be placed and embedded within the concrete in any ordinary or well known manner.

The planking surrounding the tunnel has tongue and groove joints, and in order to make it perfectly water tight I employ the form of joint shown in Fig. 5. That is to say, the groove is made of somewhat greater depth than the height of the tongue so that under the latter a recess is formed which is filled through holes 5 drilled into it at intervals with pitch or similar substance 6.

The wooden sheathing is secured in place and positioned by steel or other bands 7,

shown in Figs. 6 and 8, and when the sections or sub-sections, as shown in Fig. 6, are united the ends of the planks are similarly joined by tongues and grooves and a filling of pitch poured in between them.

Although I prefer the special method hereinafter set forth for laying the completed sections, any other may be followed if desired, and preferably, the sections rest upon and by bolts 8 are secured to caps on the tops of piles 9, previously driven and cut off at the proper levels to form a solid foundation for the tunnel whatever its cross section may be.

The special form or character of the tunnel constructed as above described, is not material and may be greatly varied. I have shown for example, a double tunnel which is substantially oval in cross section. This tunnel is divided longitudinally by a partition of concrete 10 in which are embedded at close intervals steel supporting columns 11, and along its sides in the inner concrete walls are formed chambers 12 to serve as ventilating passages, conduits for wires or pipes or the like.

The number of foundation piles for such a structure as last described is, of course, greater than for a circular tunnel, but they are driven and out off in a similar manner, and the outside piles bolted to the tunnel. The space, if it exist, between the tunnel and the bottom may in all cases be filled in with a bed of concrete 13 if sodesired or found necessary.

The specific manner which I have devised and illustrated for building this tunnel is shown in Figs. 7 and 8. In these figures 1-l1l indicate a series of piles which are driven in comparatively shallow water and capped at a given level above the surface. Through these caps 15'extend steel bolts 16 which are threaded and carry nuts 17 by means of which they are adjusted in the caps 15. At their lower ends the rods are provided with hangers which support cross beams 18 upon which is built a level platform 19 with a central raised portion 21.

A sheathing of planks 2, for a tunnel unit or sub-section of any desired length, ordinarily fifteen to twenty feet long, is then built up upon the platform and inside of the same at the bottom is placed a short sheet metal cylinder 22 of greater diameter than that designed for the interior of the tunnel mainly designed as a form for the end of the section.

The bottom of this structure if then closed by a cover 25 secured to reinforcing cross beams 26 upon which rests an annular wooden plank 23, having a raised portion or corrugation 27 and an annular chamber is then formed by letting into the wooden cylinder an inner cylinder 24 completing a form for the concrete, the lower edge of which rests upon the annular plate 23.

\Vhen these parts have been thus associated the reinforcing rods and bands are introduced and the annular space between the outer sheathing and the inner form is packed with concrete for about one fourth of its height, thus forming a closed reinforced concrete cylinder, the temporary sheet metal bottom 25 of which braced by cross beams 26 rests upon the raised portion 21 of the platform.

The nuts 17 are then turned to lower the platform until the whole section floats, whereupon the latter is worked off from over the platform and carried into deeper water by scows or other means and supported in a vertical position. The concrete filling of the sub-section is then completed and as this work progresses the added weight of the structure which should be proportioned to the displacement of the water causes it to sink, so as to bring its upper end to a convenient distance above the Water level.

quite finished another is built onto it, the whole structure gradually sinklng under the When this first sub-section is nearly or increased weight, so that a third sub-section may be added before the device may be regarded as finished. The completed structure will then appear as shown in Fig. 6 where three sub-sections of tunnel are shown as superimposed and made integral with one another.

When the structure has been thus far completed the top is closed with a beam-reinforced cover 25 like that at the bottom, making a completely water tight structure which is then tilted over on its side, partially filled with water and sunk down on its foundations where it is joined in any well known manner with a previously laid section.

In order that the tunnel as a whole should be perfectly water tight certain precautions in forming the joints between the main sections each of which is composed of two or more units or sub-sections, should be observed. One means of accomplishing this is shown in Figs. 3 and 4.

When the bottom of a sub-section is formed the platform upon which its ends rest should contain raised portions which will leave indentations 28 in the concrete, and corresponding indentations will be formed in the top or end of the last laid section, thus forming chambers at the line of union of the concrete faces around the entire joints. Into these chambers lead passage ways 29 formed through the concrete so that when the ends of two sections are brought together, the chambers 28 may be filled from the inside with grout, pitch or other similar composition, to complete the 'oint.

1 As a still further precaution I may lay at a short distance from the ends of each section between the outer wooden sheathing and the metal cylinders 22, partitions 30 composed of vitrified brick laid in asphalt, which being embedded in the concrete form an effective barrier to the passage of any water.

When the ends 25 are removed, after two sections of the tunnel are joined, recesses 31 are left in the ends of the sections from which project the longitudinal reinforcing rods 4. These rods are then united by short couplings 32 and the space inside the two abutting cylinders 22, up to the level of the inside wall surface of the tunnel is filled in with concrete or cement to complete the joint, which then appears as shown in Flg. 4. A band of metal 33 over the joint between the two sections of wooden sheathing is drawn or clamped tightly around the structure after its ends are joined.

It will be understood that in completing the joints above described the work is mainly done on the inside of the tunnel from which the water may be expelled or pumped out, and that little remains for the 130 divers or others who work upon the outside of the structure to do.

The form of the tunnel and the specific manner of combining the concrete and reinforcements with the outside sheathing of wooden planks, may, as above indicated be greatly varied within the limits of my invention. So far also as concerns the building of the sections, the means employed may be modified to an equally wide extent, it being only necessary to have at the start a stable and level platform which is capable of being sunk with a tunnel section thereon until the latter may be floated off, or in general, such a platform as will permit the removal from it into the water of a partially completed section which may subsequently be finished and extended to any desired degree.

In uniting the finished sections I have de-' vised and I prescribe the special means above set forth but it will be understood that this part of the process is not broadly new and that various other plans have been followed or proposed heretofore for this part of the work.

By building structures of this kind in the manner described, I am enabled to accomplish economically and satisfactorily a number of important and valuable results which I do not gointo here in detail although I shall in other applications elaborate some of the results secured by the use of this invention.

What I claim is:

1. The method of constructing tunnels which consists in building a partial section of the tunnel with a closed bottom, floating said section in the water in an upright position in its partially completed state, building up and finishing the walls of the completed section while floating and when finished turning the section over onto its intended bottom and sinking it onto its prepared foundation.

2. The method of constructing tunnels, which consists in building a portion of a tunnel section with a closed bottom, floating such partially completed section in an upright position in the water, building up its walls to finish the section while thus floating, temporarily closing its upper end, turning it on its side and sinking it to its foundation.

3. The method of constructing reinforced concrete tunnels which consists in building a portion of a section of the tunnel on a movable platform with a closed end, sinkin the platform in the water and floating the partially completed section off from the same in an upright position, then extending and finishing the section as far as desired While thus floating in the Water, and when finished turning it over onto its intended bottom and sinking it to its prepared foundation.

4. The method of constructing reinforced concrete tunnels, which consists in building portions of each section of the same on a movable platform and temporarily closing its lower end, sinking the platform in the water until the partially completed section floats off in an upright position, then finishing and extending the section as far as desired while thus floating, closing its upper end, turning it on its side and sinking it to a prepared foundation.

5. The. method of constructing reinfoircd concrete tunnels, which consists in building a unit or sub-section of wooden sheathing upon a movable platform and temporarily closing its lower end, lining the wooden sheathing with reinforced concrete to a given height, then lowering the platform in the water until the partially completed section floats off in an upright position, then finishing and extending the section to such degree as may be desired while thus floating, closing its upper end, turning it on its side, and sinking it to a prepared foundation.

6. The method of constructing reinforced hollow concrete structures suitable for use as tunnel sections and the like, which consists in building a portion of a section of the same upon a movable platform and with a temporarily closed bottom, sinking the platform and floating olf the partially completed structure in an upright position into deep water, finishing and extending the structure as far as may be desired while thus floating, then floating the same in an upright position to the desired point, turning it to a horizontal position and sinking the finished structure onto a suitable and previously prepared foundation.

7. The method of constructing and placing a section of a tunnel, which consists in building a bulkheaded end portion of such section and floating the same in the water with its longitudinal axis upright, progressively building up the walls of the section and allowing it to sink in the water until the desired length has been formed. then bulkheading the upper end of the structure, tilting it on its side and depositing it in place on its foundation. 7

8. The method of constructing and placing a section of tunnel which consists in partially building the section and floating it in water with its longitudinal axis upright, completing the section while floating, temporarily closing its upper end, tipping it over while floating onto its side, moving it to position above its foundation and then sinking itto place.

9. The method of constructing and placing a section of tunnel which consists in partially building the section and tempo rarily closing its end, then floating it in the water with 'its longitudinal axis upright, building up progressively the tubular side wall of the section and in so doing proportioning the Weight of building material to approximately equal the water displacement of the length of the structure thereby added, temporarily closing the end of the finished section, tipping it onto its side and sinking it to its place on a foundation.

In testimony whereof I eflix my sigmiture.




Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3886752 *Nov 29, 1973Jun 3, 1975SbvPrefabricated element for wall construction
US4657435 *Dec 27, 1985Apr 14, 1987Chang Ming YUnderwater tunnel construction
DE1223407B *Jul 22, 1961Aug 25, 1966Dyckerhoff & Widmann AgVerfahren zum Dichten der Fugen bei Stollen- und Tunnelauskleidungen aus Stahlbetonfertigteilen
U.S. Classification405/135, 405/136
Cooperative ClassificationE02D29/073