FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to connective systems. More specifically, the invention relates to a system that supportively positions vertical reinforcement bars by connecting them to horizontal reinforcement bars.
Reinforcing bar (rebar) is typically placed in concrete structures, such as concrete foundation blocks and solid concrete stem walls, during construction to provide tensile strength and rigidity. This is accomplished by suspending rebar in coplanar grid-like patterns within forms before filling the forms with cement. In order to maintain a stationary rebar configuration as concrete is poured, it is common practice to manually bind reinforcing bars together with wire ties where they intersect. This means of connecting rebar, while functionally adequate, is costly due to the time consuming nature of tying each intersection of rebar by band.
A footing typically incorporates pairs of horizontal reinforcing bars, lying parallel to the form walls, to which additional cross-pieces of rebar are connected. It is common practice for the bases of vertical reinforcing bars to be anchored by lashing them with wire ties at the intersections of the parallel reinforcing bars with their connecting crosspieces. The vertical bars have a high center of gravity relative to the joinder point with a horizontal bar. Thus, any joinder mechanism for this purpose must be sturdy, tight and secure. It is critical that the proper vertical orientation of the reinforcing bars be maintained as cement is poured into the forms. Fastening overlapping rebar with wire lashing in coplanar grids is undesirable because it is time consuming, and labor and skill intensive.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In recent years, preformed rebar connectors have been used to hold overlapping reinforcing bars in coplanar configurations. For example, see U.S. Pat. No. 5,371,991 and No. 5,878,546. However, these patents fail to provide satisfactory way of securing vertical rebar supports for a vertical cement wall.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention provides a connective system, and related methods for supportively positioning a rebar configuration for a vertical cement wall. A vertical piece of rebar is connected to at least one horizontal reinforcing bar via a preformed junction device. The preformed junction device may include multiple tube-like clamps rigidly connected to each other in a mutually perpendicular orientation.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rebar system for a vertical wall.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a preformed junction device, including open-ended clamps for supporting rebar.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the junction device shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another rebar support system of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a preformed junction device used in the support system shown in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a rebar system anchored in solid rock.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIGS. 7 and 8 show alternative uses of coupling devices in which only two of three clamp members are used.
The present invention enables supportive placement of a vertical reinforcing bar within a footing or other upright construct. An embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 1. Reinforcement bar configuration 20 used preformed junction devices 22 to secure pieces of rebar in the desired configuration. As shown in FIG. 1, junction device 22 fixedly connects vertical reinforcing bar 24 with two horizontal reinforcing bars, 26 and 28, in a mutually perpendicular relationship, thereby providing stationary support for vertical reinforcing bar 24 within a footing form 30 prior to its being filled with cement.
Junction device 22, is shown in FIG. 2, including three elongate members 32, 34, and 36, each member having a C-shaped cross-section and forming an open-ended, tube-like clamp. Additional embodiments of the invention may also adopt alternatively configured cross-sections to accommodate square- or otherwise-shaped bars in place of traditional, substantially circular, reinforcing bars. The longitudinal axes associated with clamps 32, 34, and 36 are mutually perpendicular. The crossing region of junction device 22 may be referred to as an “intersection”. A receiving aperture 38 extends along the full length of each clamp 32, 34, and 36, running parallel to its respective longitudinal axis, which is responsible for each clamp's C-shaped cross-section.
FIG. 3 shows a side view of the junction device shown in FIG. 2. Each of the elongate members is situated against a corner structure formed by the other two elongate members. For example, in FIG. 3 clamp 34 is situated in corner 44 formed by clamps 32 and 36. Opening 38 of clamp 34 is situated so that a plane AA bisecting clamp 34 through the middle of opening 38 goes through corner 44 formed by clamps 32 and 36. Each of the other clamps has a similar orientation relative to the other clamps. This orients the clamp openings so that they are most accessible for engaging pieces of rebar.
The clamps may be joined with any suitable bonding material such as glue, adhesive, putty, or mechanical attachment mechanisms such as screws, tacks, rivets, etc.
As shown in FIG. 3, the arc defined by each aperture 38 is less than 180 degrees. The width of each aperture 38 is less than the inner diameter of each clamp 32, 34, and 36. Receiving aperture 38 of clamp 34 has a beveled edge or lip configured for easy “snap-on” engagement of a piece of rebar. Each edge 45 of aperture 38 has an inner corner 46 that is obtuse.
FIG. 4 shows another rebar support configuration 50. Rebar intersection 52 is secured by junction device 54. Junction device 54 connects horizontal rebar piece 56 to vertical rebar piece 58 and a second horizontal rebar piece 60 so that the rebar pieces are mutually perpendicular to each other. Rebar piece 60 has one end fit into a socket portion of junction device 54. The opposite end of rebar piece 60 extends over and rests on top of horizontal rebar piece 62 near adjacent intersection 64. Rebar intersection 64 is supported by junction device 66. Junction device 66 connects horizontal rebar piece 62 with vertical rebar piece 68 and a second horizontal rebar piece 70 which spans to the next rebar intersection analogous to horizontal rebar piece 60. Rebar intersection 74 is supported by junction device 76 which connects horizontal rebar piece 72 with vertical rebar piece 78 and a second horizontal rebar piece 80 that spans intersections 74 and 82. Intersection 82 is analogously configured. The rebar support system shown in FIG. 4 differs from the one shown in FIG. 1 in that separate horizontal rebar sections span adjacent rebar intersections. Whereas, in FIG. 1 a single horizontal rebar structure spans all or at least more than two of the rebar intersections.
FIG. 5 shows a close up perspective view of junction device 54. Three elongate tube members 90, 92, and 94 are bonded rigidly together in a mutually perpendicular orientation. Tube members 90 and 92 have a pass-through configuration for connecting to an intermediate rebar section. In contrast, tube member 94 has a socket configuration which is open at one end and closed at the opposite end against the dorsal side of tube member 90. Each of tube members 90, 92, and 94 have an opening 96 similar to the openings previously described and shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
FIG. 6 shows rebar configuration 100 that is used to anchor a concrete foundation to solid rock 102. Forms 104 are supported by braces 106 for holding concrete when it is poured over rock 102. Holes are drilled in rock 102. Vertical rebar pieces 112 are mounted in the rock holes. Vertical rebar pieces 112 are connected to horizontal rebar pieces 114 and 116 by coupling devices 118 which are the same or similar to coupler 22 in FIG. 2. Another coupling device 124 is used to connect horizontal rebar pieces 114 and 126 with vertical rebar piece 128, in mutually perpendicular orientations.
FIG. 7 shows coupling mechanism 130 in which coupling device 131 is used to connect horizontal rebar pieces 132 and 134, for example, to support a concrete floor. In this application, clamps 136 a and 136 b are used while clamp 136 c remains open and unused. In FIG. 8, coupling system 140 is used, for example, to secure rebar in a vertical wall. Coupling device 141 connects horizontal rebar piece 142 to vertical rebar piece 144 in a perpendicular orientation. Clamp members 146 a and 146 b are used while clamp member 146 c remains open and unused. FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate that coupling devices of the present invention, for example, such as the coupling device 22 in FIG. 2, may be used in a variety of different rebar configurations in which all or less than all of the clamp members are used.
In preferred embodiments of the invention, the inner diameter of each tube-like clamp is sized to tightly encompass a rebar shaft. Junction devices may be formed so that each clamp portion engages the same size of rebar, such as standard 12 mm diameter rod. Alternatively, junction devices may incorporate differently sized clamps in order to connect rebar of different sizes. Each tube-like clamp is preferably about two inches in length, although the clamp length of alternate embodiments may be increased or decreased as needed to provide optimal clamping performance as the diameter and length of rebar, as well as the context of each individual application, varies.
Each of the tube-like clamps should be formed of a resilient material. This characteristic allows the receiving edges of the aperture to bend and flex around the shaft of the rebar as it is pressed into the clamp and to also constrict around the shaft after it is engaged. In preferred embodiments of the invention, a molded plastic such as PVC, polystyrene, polyethylene or flexible metal material may be used.
While the present invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the foregoing preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will understand that many variations may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims. The description of the invention should be understood to include all novel and non-obvious combinations of elements described herein, and claims may be presented in this or a later application to any novel and non-obvious combination of these elements. Where the claims recite “a” or “a first” element or the equivalent thereof, such claims should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.