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Publication numberUS20070163732 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/332,440
Publication dateJul 19, 2007
Filing dateJan 13, 2006
Priority dateJan 13, 2006
Also published asUS20090151878, WO2007084393A2, WO2007084393A3
Publication number11332440, 332440, US 2007/0163732 A1, US 2007/163732 A1, US 20070163732 A1, US 20070163732A1, US 2007163732 A1, US 2007163732A1, US-A1-20070163732, US-A1-2007163732, US2007/0163732A1, US2007/163732A1, US20070163732 A1, US20070163732A1, US2007163732 A1, US2007163732A1
InventorsMoshe Konstantin, Eitan Konstantino
Original AssigneeKonvin Associates Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and device for controlling the passage of radiant energy into architectural structures
US 20070163732 A1
Abstract
An assembly for controlling the passage of radiant energy through a skylight, a roof or a wall including at least two linked control members positioned across the defined region mounted for generally parallel linked movement relative to each other between a closed position and an open position. The control members have a plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas arranged so that the respective transmitting areas and blocking areas of the control members are aligned when the members are in the closed position and the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the transmitting areas of the second control member when the panels are in the open position. A motorized motion unit may be used for producing relative movement between the control members. The assembly is particularly well-adapted to be used with a series of adjacent dual panel glazing units where assemblies associated with each adjacent dual panel glazing unit are linked to and controlled by a single motion control device.
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Claims(59)
1. An assembly for controlling the passage of radiant energy through a defined region consisting of a portion of a skylight, a roof or a wall, the assembly comprising:
at least two control members positioned across the defined region,
the control members being mounted for generally parallel movement relative to each other between a closed position and an open position; and
a first plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a first control member and a second plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a second control member, the respective transmitting areas and blocking areas of the first and second control members being sized, shaped and positioned so that the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the blocking areas of the second control member when the members are in the closed position and the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the transmitting areas of the second control member when the panels are in the open position.
2. The assembly of claim 1 in which the portion is planar.
3. The assembly of claim 1 in which the portion is curved.
4. The assembly of claim 1 in which the relative positions of the control members are continuously variable between the open and closed positions to continuously vary the amount of radiant energy passing through the assembly.
5. The assembly of claim 1 in which the first and second control members have abutting corresponding faces
6. The assembly of claim 1 in which the first and second control members have corresponding faces and intervening means disposed between the abutting faces to minimize friction between the abutting faces.
7. The assembly of claim 6 in which the intervening means comprises at least two separate bands.
8. The assembly of claim 6 in which the intervening means comprises a lubricant surface on at least one of the corresponding faces.
9. The assembly of claim 7 in which the intervening means comprises a transparent or translucent reduced coefficient of friction member.
10. The assembly of claim 1 in which the first and second control members have corresponding faces and the faces are spaced from each other.
11. The assembly of claim 1 in which the first and second control members are generally rigid and planar and include guiding surface shapes to ensure generally parallel relative movement between the first and second control members.
12. The assembly of claim 1 including more than two control members with blocking and transmitting areas and the blocking and transmitting areas are sized, shaped and positioned so that the respective blocking and transmitting areas of the control members are aligned when the control members are in the open position and the blocking areas of all of the control members are aligned when the control members are in the closed position.
13. The assembly of claim 1 including a series of laterally disposed pairs of control members.
14. The assembly of claim 13 in which the pairs of control members are confined in separate adjacent cells.
15. The assembly of claim 1 in which the first and second control members are planar.
16. The assembly of claim 1 wherein at least one of the control members is rigid.
17. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the control members are made of a material chosen from the group consisting of plastic, fiberglass, fabric, metal or glass.
18. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the control members are made of a fabric chosen from the group consisting of vinyl-coated polyester yarn and polytetrafluoroethylene fabric.
19. The assembly of claim 1 wherein at least one of the control members is flexible.
20. The assembly of claim 1 wherein at least one of the control members is made of plastic chosen from the group consisting of polycarbonate, acrylic, PVC, thermoplastic, and nylon.
21. The assembly of claim 1 wherein at least one of the control members is made of metal.
22. The assembly of claim 1 wherein at least one of the control members is less than 1 mm in thickness.
23. The assembly of claim 1 wherein at least one of the control members is made of a non-combustible material.
24. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the first and second control members are mounted for movement in opposite generally parallel directions.
25. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the first control member is stationary and the second control member is mounted for movement with respect to the first control member.
26. The assembly of claim 1 including a motorized motion unit for imparting relative movement between the first and second control members.
27. The assembly of claim 26 in which means for sensing sunlight is provided and the movement of the motion control is controlled by the sunlight-sensing means.
28. The assembly of claim 1 in which the control members are interconnected so that movement of a first control member is imparted by the first control member to the other control member or members.
29. The assembly of claim 1 in which greater than two control members are provided and all of the control members are interconnected so that movement of the first control member by the motion control is imparted by the first control member to all of the interconnected control members.
30. The assembly of claim 1 in which the transmitting areas and blocking areas comprise a series of contiguous parallel strips oriented generally perpendicularly to the direction of the relative movement of the planar control members.
31. The assembly of claim 30 in which the strips each comprise a series of laterally staggered segments.
32. The assembly of claim 30 in which the strips are from about 5 mm to about 50 mm wide.
33. The assembly of claim 30 in which the blocking strips are wider than the transmitting strips to ensure complete coverage of the transmitting strips in the closed position.
34. The assembly of claim 1 in which the blocking areas have blocking characteristics chosen from the group consisting of opaque, light-reflecting, translucent, selective spectrum transmitting, 3D grating, and photochromic.
35. The assembly of claim 34 in which the light-blocking areas prepared by coating the planar members with the appropriate light-blocking materials.
36. The assembly of claim 1 in which the blocking areas are impenetrable to visible light and other forms of radiant energy.
37. The assembly of claim 1 in which the blocking areas are of varying opaqueness.
38. The assembly of claim 1 in which at least some of the blocking areas include cold mirrors that reflect visible light and transmit infrared energy.
39. The assembly of claim 1 in which the control members are made of plastic and the light-blocking areas are prepared by extruding the appropriate light-blocking materials into the light-blocking areas.
40. The assembly of claim 1 in which at least some of the light-blocking surfaces block UV and visible light and transmit infrared energy.
41. The assembly of claim 1 in which the transmitting areas block UV light while transmitting visible light.
42. The assembly of claim 1 in which the blocking areas transmit UV radiation while reflecting visible light and infrared radiation.
43. The assembly of claim 1 in which the blocking areas absorb UV radiation while reflecting visible light and infrared radiation.
44. The assembly of claim 1 including generally flat transparent or translucent interior and exterior panels spaced from each other with the first and second control members being generally planar and mounted for generally parallel movement between the interior and exterior panels.
45. The assembly of claim 44 in which the exterior and/or the interior panels are made of light transmitting plastic.
46. The assembly of claim 44 in which the exterior and/or the interior panels are made of extruded cellular polycarbonate.
47. The assembly of claim 45 in which the cells of the cellular extruded polycarbonate have a honeycomb or rectangular cross section.
48. The assembly of claim 45 in which the exterior and interior panels are made of glass.
49. The assembly of claim 45 in which at least one of the interior or the exterior panels serves as a control member with transmitting and blocking areas.
50. The assembly of claim 1 in which the light-blocking areas are prepared by a process chosen of the group consisting of silk screening, painting, lamination, and co-extrusion.
51. The assembly of claim 1 in which the control members comprise thin metal sheets or opaque plastic sheets.
52. The assembly of claim 51 in which the transmitting areas comprise a plurality of perforations in the first and second planar control members.
53. The assembly of claim 52 in which the perforations have a geometric shape chosen from the group consisting of circular, square, rectangular, triangular, and polygonal.
54. An assembly for controlling the passage of radiant energy through a skylight, a roof or a wall comprising:
at least two linked planar control members positioned across the defined region,
the control members being mounted for generally parallel linked movement relative to each other between a closed position and an open position; and
a first plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a first control member and a second plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a second control member, the respective transmitting areas and blocking areas of the first and second control members being sized, shaped and positioned so that the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the blocking areas of the second control member when the members are in the closed position and the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the transmitting areas of the second control member when the panels are in the open position; and
a motorized motion unit for imparting relative movement between the control members.
55. A method for controlling the passage of radiant energy through a defined region comprising:
providing at least two linked control members positioned across the defined region,
the control members being mounted for generally parallel linked movement relative to each other between a closed position and an open position;
a first plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a first control member and a second plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a second control member, the respective transmitting areas and blocking areas of the first and second control members being sized, shaped and positioned so that the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the blocking areas of the second control member when the members are in the closed position and the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the transmitting areas of the second control member when the panels are in the open position, and
a motorized motion unit for imparting relative movement between the control members;
adjusting the relative position of all of the control members by imparting movement through the motion unit to one of the control members to thereby vary the passage of radiant energy through the defined region.
56. The method of claim 55 in which the control members are planar, in which there are only two control members and in which the movement of a first control member in a first direction by the motion unit imparts a generally parallel movement in the opposite direction of the second control member.
57. A panel system capable of controlling the passage of radiant energy comprising:
a plurality of glazing panel system units, each unit having interior and exterior glazing panels;
at least two control members associated with each glazing panel system unit, where at least one control member is movable,
the control members being mounted for generally parallel movement relative to each other between a closed position and an open position;
a first plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a first control member and a second plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas in a second control member, the respective transmitting areas and blocking areas of the first and second control members being sized, shaped and positioned so that the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the blocking areas of the second control member when the members are in the closed position and the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the transmitting areas of the second control member when the panels are in the open position;
a motion control device; and
a linkage between a movable control member associated with each of the glazing panel system units and the motion control device.
58. The panel system of claim 57 in which one of the glazing panels comprises a control member.
59. The panel system of claim 57 in which the glazing panel system units include a series of adjacent elongated cells and the control members are disposed in the cells.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention pertains to devices for controlling the passage of radiant energy into architectural structures and, more particularly, to systems using two or more generally parallel members for controlling the passage of radiant energy through a defined region and into an architectural structure.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Prior approaches to controlling the level of solar radiation passing into architectural structures have been unduly complex and expensive, and of only limited usefulness. For example, louver blind assemblies using pivoting flexible members operable within a double-glazed window unit have been suggested for this purpose. Such louver blinds require substantial support of the flexible members which, additionally, are typically controlled from both their distal and their proximal ends. Furthermore, louver blinds cannot achieve complete light block-out, are difficult and expensive to assemble, apply, operate, maintain and replace, and cannot be readily adapted for use in non-vertical applications or in large glazed roofing areas.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is an assembly for controlling the passage of radiant energy through a defined region. It includes at least two control members positioned across the defined region and mounted for generally parallel movement relative to each other between a closed position and an open position. The defined region may be, for example, a portion or the entirety of a skylight, a roof or a wall.

The control members each have a plurality of transmitting areas and blocking areas. When two control members are used, the respective transmitting areas and blocking areas of the first and second control members are sized, shaped and positioned so that the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the blocking areas of the second control member when the two members are in a fully closed position. When the two members are in a fully open position, the transmitting areas of the first control member are aligned with the transmitting areas of the second control member. In a preferred embodiment, the control members are continuously variable between the fully open and fully closed positions to continuously vary the amount of radiant energy passing through the assembly. Also, the defined region may be planar or curved, and rectangular or of any other desired geometric shape such as triangular or circular. Finally, when the control members are positioned across a defined region comprising a portion or the entirety of a wall, the wall may be vertical or angled.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features of this invention that are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention, together with its objects and advantages, may be best understood by reference to the following description, taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which like reference numerals identify like elements in the Figures, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic top view of a control assembly in accordance with the present invention mounted in a defined region of a roof;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic representation of a curved control assembly in accordance with the present invention mounted across a curved defined region;

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate two control members for use in the practice of the present invention in the form of planar rigid rectangular panels of generally the same shape and dimensions;

FIGS. 3C-3E illustrate the panels of FIGS. 3A and 3B viewed from the top of the upper panel of the pair and mounted for generally parallel movement relative to each other in a series of different relative positions;

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic end view of two panels in accordance with the present invention spaced from each other;

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic end view of two panels in accordance with the present invention and an intervening member of a reduced coefficient of friction positioned between the corresponding faces of the panels;

FIGS. 6A-6C are diagrammatic side views of panels in accordance with the present invention in varying relative positions in which the light blocking strips are slightly wider than the light transmitting strips to ensure full overlap in the fully closed position (FIG. 6C);

FIG. 7 is a top view of portions of two panels in accordance with the present invention, with columns of alternating light blocking and light transmitting areas;

FIG. 8 is a top view of portions of two panels as in FIG. 7 where the columns of alternating light blocking and light transmitting areas are differently arranged;

FIG. 9 illustrates portions of two metallic or opaque plastic panels in accordance with the present invention where perforations are arranged in the panels so that they may be aligned in a fully open position, partially overlapping in intermediate positions, and fully blocked by unperforated metal or plastic areas in a fully closed position;

FIG. 10 illustrates portions of panels in accordance with the present invention generally as described with respect to FIG. 9 except that the perforations are in the form of elongated slots;

FIGS. 11A-11C are diagrammatic representations of a series of four panels in accordance with the present invention in a fully open position (FIG. 11A), in an intermediate partially-opened position (FIG. 11B), and a fully closed position (FIG. 11C);

FIGS. 11D and 11E are top views of the topmost two panels illustrated in the diagrammatic representations of FIGS. 11A-11C;

FIGS. 11F-11H are top views of the system of panels as represented respectively in FIGS. 11A, 11B and 11C;

FIG. 12 illustrates two panels attached to a motorized motion control device;

FIG. 13 shows a panel system unit comprising interior and exterior glazing panels and a light controlling assembly generally as described with respect to FIG. 12 positioned therein;

FIG. 14 is a top view of a series of laterally-positioned pairs of glazing panels in accordance with FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an alternate embodiment to that of FIG. 12 in which the light controlling assembly includes only one movable control panel provided with light blocking and light transmitting areas and corresponding light blocking and transmitting areas in the bottom stationary glazing panel of the panel system unit;

FIGS. 15A-15C show respectively linked control panels in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 16A shows an embodiment of the invention in which intersecting guides are provided in the adjacent surfaces of adjacent panels;

FIG. 16B is a side view taken along line 16B-16B in which the intersecting guides are in the form of corresponding saw patterns;

FIG. 16C is a side view taken along line 16B-16B in which the intersecting guides are in the form of corresponding longitudinal undercut notches;

FIG. 17 illustrates a panel in accordance with the present invention in which the light blocking areas are of varying density;

FIG. 18 illustrates a panel in accordance with the present invention in which the blocking areas comprise 3D gratings;

FIGS. 19A and 19B illustrate translucent glazing panels having elongated cells and narrow light controlling panels positioned within the cells;

FIG. 20 illustrates an alternative embodiment to the system as described with respect to FIG. 19, where an additional retaining wall is provided in the cells to create narrow subchambers to confine the narrow sliding light blocking panels;

FIG. 21 is an alternative embodiment of the system of FIGS. 19A, 19B and 20 in which each of the sliding light controlling members are confined in their own elongated cells within the translucent glazing panels; and

FIG. 22 is a graph of the infrared transmission performance of Acrylic Sheet 2711.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following examples further illustrate the invention but should not be construed as in any way limiting its scope.

In one embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in FIG. 1, a control assembly 10 is shown mounted in a defined region 12 in a roof 14 to control the passage of radiant energy through the defined region. Although this embodiment illustrates the mounting of the control assembly across a generally planar defined region, a curved control assembly 16 may also be mounted across a curved defined region 18, such as the curved skylight 20 of roof 22 as illustrated in FIG. 2.

Turning now to FIGS. 3A-3E, on assembly 30 in accordance with the invention is illustrated in an embodiment including two control members in the form of planar rigid rectangular panels 32 and 34 of generally the same shape and dimensions. These panels are mounted for generally parallel movement relative to each other (in direction A) between a fully closed position (FIG. 3E) and a fully open position (FIG. 3C). The relative positions of the control members are continuously variable between the fully open and closed positions to continuously vary the amount of radiant energy passing through the assembly. For example, a half-open intermediate position is illustrated in FIG. 3D.

The parallel relative movement can be accomplished, for example, by positioning opposite edges of the panels 32A, 32B and 34A, 34B in parallel tracks for sliding movement, using sliding mechanisms known in the art. Alternatively, the panels can be laterally confined as desired and moved longitudinally (direction A). Also, the panels can be generally confined in individual cells laterally and optionally on their top and bottom surfaces. Such arrangements are described below in the discussions of the embodiments of FIGS. 19A, 19B, 20 and 21. Finally, one of panels 32 or 34 may be fixed in place (e.g. panel 32A) and the other panel (e.g. panel 34A) mounted in its own cell or not as desire and arranged for generally parallel sliding movement with respect to the fixed panel.

Panels 32 and 34 have corresponding adjacent faces 32C and 34C, are illustrated in FIG. 4. The corresponding faces may be spaced from each other (as shown in FIG. 4) or they may abut. In another embodiment, that intervening means may be disposed between the abutting faces. For example, one or both the abutting faces may have a low coefficient of friction surface such as would be provided by a polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon®) coating or a separate intervening transparent or translucent member 36 with a reduced coefficient of friction may be positioned between the abutting faces as illustrated in FIG. 5. This transparent or translucent member may be fixed in place with one or both of the panels moving relative to the transparent or translucent member or the transparent or translucent member may be fixed to one of the panels. Also, it may comprise a single sheet or two or more separate preferably narrow bands. The transparent or translucent member may be made, for example, of polycarbonate.

The control members (e.g. panels 32 and 34) may be generally rigid and planar, or one or both of the control members may be flexible. Whether rigid or flexible, at least one of the panels may be mounted to insure the generally parallel relative slideable movement between the control members. The control members may be made, for example, from plastic, fiberglass, fabric, metal or glass or other appropriate material. If fabric is used, it may be vinyl-coated polyester yarn and polytetrafluoroethylene fabric. If plastic is used, it may be polycarbonate, acrylic, PVC, thermoplastic, or nylon. These panels may vary in width from about two inches to as wide as desired and may be of any desired length. It is currently preferred that the panels be about 2 to 5 feet wide and 10 to 50 feet long. The control members should be a desired thickness acceptable for the application chosen. In preferred embodiments, the control members will be less than about 1 mm in thickness. Thus, in the embodiments illustrated in the figures discussed above (not shown to scale), panels 32 and 34 are made of polycarbonate sheets 1 mm in thickness and are about 60 cm or 120 cm wide by 1200 cm long.

In a particularly preferred embodiment the control members will be made of a non-combustible material such as a metal like aluminum at least about 1 mm thick. For this purpose, the term “non-combustible” may be defined as set forth in International Building Code 2003 and elsewhere in the Code.

The use of control members made of a non-combustible material will delay the movement of flame and heat across the defined region and the passage of oxygen therethrough. This helps limit and control combustion thereby improving the fire safety of any structure using a control assembly of the invention fitted with control members made of a non-combustible material. Thus, it will improve the light transmitting panel's fire performance to achieve a Class A, B or C roof construction rating per International Building Code 2003, and ASTM E-108.

Panels 32 and 34 are provided with a series of alternating radiation or light transmitting areas and blocking areas represented by blocking strips 38A and 40A and transmitting strips 38B and 40B. The light blocking areas can be created by, for example, silk screening, painting, lamination, or co-extrusion of light blocking and light transmission areas. For purposes of illustration particularly in FIGS. 3A-3E and 11A-11H, the blocking strips on one panel are shown with acutely angled hatch lines and blocking strips on the other panel are shown with obtusely angled hatch lines. In FIGS. 3A-3E, the light blocking strips can be, for example, from about 5 mm to about 50 mm wide.

Additionally, the light blocking strips maybe made slightly wider than the light transmitting strips (FIGS. 6A-6C), to produce overlap particularly in the fully closed position of FIG. 6C where blocking strips 42 are wider than light transmitting area 44 in panels 46 and 48.

The term “light blocking area” is intended to refer to an area that may be opaque, light reflecting, translucent, or selective spectrum transmitting. The light blocking areas may be provided with photovoltaic solar cells on their outside facing surfaces if desired. Also, the light blocking areas may be characterized as ranging from zero light transmission through translucent (letting light pass but diffusing it so that objects on one side cannot be clearly distinguished from the other side). Additionally, the light blocking and/or the light transmitting areas may be tinted. Typical tinting colors include white, bronze, green, blue, and gray, although other tinting colors may be used.

Opaque blocking areas are generally impenetrable by visible light and preferably impenetrable by other forms of radiant energy. Light reflecting blocking areas may also be either “cold mirror” surfaces or other selective reflectance and/or transmittance surfaces. Cold mirror surfaces reflect visible light. Cold mirrors have at least one substantially solar-controlling surface wherein the visible energy is reflected and infrared energy is transmitted through the light controlling member. The solar-controlling surface may be achieved by coating or extrusion techniques. Coating can be performed using vacuum deposition or other methods known in the industry for the construction of cold mirrors. Extrusion can be performed by co-extrusion (from, for example acrylic or polycarbonate of a filter layer with selective properties to spectral transmittance). The cold mirror surface will reflect or block -out visible light in the range of about 380 nm-780 nm (or portions of this range) and will transmit solar radiation above about 780 nm, as reflected, for example, in FIG. 22, which shows the infrared transmission performance of Acrylic Sheet 2711.

“Hot mirror” surfaces may be used for the light transmitting portions. Hot mirror surfaces reflect infrared energy and transmit visible light. As a result, the amount of heat transferred across the blocking areas is limited and the interior space can be illuminated by sunlight while being kept cool and reducing the air conditioning demand, thus reducing electrical power costs. Hot mirror surfaces transmit light in the range of about 380 nm-780 nm (or portions of this range) and can reflect radiation with wavelengths greater than about 780 nm. In some cases the reflected radiation will be in the range of about 750 nm-1100 nm. This can be achieved by applying existing hot mirrors or by coating the panels with solar-controlling materials in such a way that the desired transmission-reflection curve is achieved along the blocking strips.

The hot and cold mirror coatings may be multi-layer optical coatings prepared by deposition, dipping, spraying or other known techniques. Extrusion technology is another option whereby an extrusion of a filter layer with selective spectral transmittance is formed. Another option is a “UV hot mirror” that reflects UV and IR radiation while transmitting the visible range (or portions of this range).

In another embodiment the transmitting areas may be substantially solar-controlling to block UV light while transmitting visible light. This can be achieved by using polycarbonate material or a UV dichroic filter that blocks radiation with wavelengths shorter than 400 nm and transmits visible light and/or higher spectrum radiation. In another embodiment the solar-controlling portion transmits the UV radiation while reflecting the visible light and/or the IR radiation. In another preferred embodiment the solar controlling portion absorbs UV radiation while reflecting light and infrared radiation.

In light control assembly 30 of FIGS. 3A-3E panels 32 and 34 are mounted for slideable generally parallel movement with panel 32 on top and panel 34 is on the bottom and a mechanism for sliding the panels with respect to each other (not shown). Thus, in FIG. 3C, the two panels are positioned with their respective light blocking strips collinear with each other. This is the “fully open” position of the assembly, in which the transmitting strips 38B and 40B are also aligned, so that the maximum amount of light can pass through the pair of panels.

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate two alternative embodiments of the invention in which the light blocking and light transmitting areas are broken up into a series of columns. Thus, FIG. 7 shows panels 50 and 52 with respective columns 50A and 52A where each of the columns is made up of alternating light blocking and light transmitting areas 54 and 56 and light blocking and transmitting areas in each adjacent column are staggered with respect to each other to produce an interesting visual effect which will enhance the value of control assembly. In FIG. 8, panels 58 and 60 are provided with columns 58A and 60A of alternating light blocking and light transmitting areas 62 and 64, but the alternating light blocking and light transmitting areas are aligned with each other to produce another interesting visual effect.

Turning now to FIG. 9, panels 66 and 68 are shown. These panels are metallic or opaque plastic and therefore do not pass light through their surface except through corresponding perforations 66A and 68A. The perforations are arranged in panels 66 and 68 so that they may be aligned or fully intersecting in a fully-open position, fully blocked or fully intersecting by unperforated metal or plastic areas in a fully-closed position and only partially overlapping or intersecting in intermediate positions. Thus, partial hole pattern alignment makes it possible to achieve variable light transmission. Also, it is noted that in this embodiment of the invention, in order to ensure the complete blocking of radiation in the full closed position, the holes must be sized and positioned so that there is sufficient opaque material area between holes to ensure complete intersection of holes and opaque areas in the fully closed position.

FIG. 10 illustrates another pair of perforated panels 70 and 72 where the perforations 70A and 72A are a series of slots that can be aligned and blocked as described above in connection with the embodiment of FIG. 9. As indicated above, when (perforated) metal panels are used the fire resistance of the overall system will be enhanced. For example, when plastic glazing systems as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,437,129 and below are used, the penetration of heat and fire across the glazing system will be substantially delayed by the metal.

Also, where a perforated configuration is used, the shape of the perforations or holes may of course vary so long as the ability to align the openings in the fully open position is maintained. For example, the perforations may be circular, square, rectangular, triangular, polygonal or any other regular or irregular shape.

Turning now to FIGS. 11A-H, a light controlling assembly 80 is shown made up of four panels 82, 84, 86 and 88 with respective light blocking areas 82A, 84A, 86A and 88A and respective light transmitting areas 82B, 84B, 86B and 88B. This system is shown in the fully-open position in FIGS. 11A and 11F, in the fully-closed position in FIGS. 11C and 11H, and in an intermediate partially-open position in FIGS. 11B and 11G. It is noted in this connection, that when two panels are used, each is able to block 50% of the incoming light, and the light transmitting range of the assembly is from about 0 to 50%. When three panels are used, each with light blocking areas able to block one-third of the light, the light transmission range of the assembly will run from 0 to 66.6%. When four panels are used, each with light blocking areas able to block 25% of the incoming light, the system of four panels will allow a light blocking range from about 0 to 75%. This pattern, of course, will extend to ever-increasing maximum light transmission capability as the number of panels is increased and the width of their respective light blocking areas decreased.

Also, the panels can be interconnected or linked so that direct manual or automatic motion control of one panel will be imparted to the other panels. For example, a series of four control members in the form of panels 91A, 91B, 91C and 91D may be linked as shown in FIG. 15A. Panel 91A in this arrangement acts as the master panel and panels 91B-91D act as the slave panels in an array of control members. Thus, the force B applied longitudinally to panel 90A moved that panel to the right in the figure until pin 93A contacted the right edge of slot 94B in panel 91B whereupon the longitudinal force moved pin 93B in slot 95C and then pin 93C in slot 95D. As a result, the force B applied to a single panel (panel 91A) was transmitted to all linked panels to move the assembly between fully opened and fully closed positions. A longitudinal force applied oppositely to force B will of course move the assembly in the opposite direction to close an open assembly or to open a closed assembly depending on the arrangement of the light transmitting and light blocking areas of the control members. Also, the panels may be linked in other ways known in the art including, for example, with pivoting linkages between panels or with gearing. In preferred embodiments, it is anticipated that up to 6 to 10 slave panels will be linked to a single motor driven master panel.

FIG. 15B shows another embodiment of the invention in which panels 97A and 97B are attached by a link 99, mounted for rotation over an intermediate pivot point 101. The link is rotatably attached to panels 97A and 97B at points 103A and 103B. This arrangement ensures any movement of panel 97A due to the application of force in direction C to that panel will produce movement in the opposite direction of panel 97B. Thus, a movement of, for example, 1 cm in direction C of panel 97A will produce a like corresponding movement in the opposite direction of panel 97B for a total relative movement of the panels of 2 cm. More than two panels may be linked in this way as shown in FIG. 15C.

FIG. 12 shows panels 32 and 34 attached to a motorized motion control device 90 by way of a linking member 92. The linking member is attached to edge 94 of panel 32 while panel 34 is fixed in place at its edge 96. The motion control device 90 moves the panels back and forth along axis A to vary the light passing through the light controlling assembly 30 as described earlier. The motion control device 90 may be controlled by using sunlight sensing control means known in the art such as the Sun Tracking Automated ControLite® available from CPI Daylighting of 28662 Ballard Drive, Lake Forest, Ill. 60045. With this device a user sets the desired light levels at an electronic control unit, and the system uses sensors to monitor the position of the sun and interior light levels. An intelligent controller with motorized operators can then automatically adjust the light controlling assembly to maintain the desired light level throughout the day.

Turning now to FIG. 13, the panels and associated motion control of FIG. 12 are shown mounted in a dual glazing panel system unit 100 comprising two glazing panels: interior panel 104 and exterior panel 102. Examples of such dual glazing panel systems are described in the following U.S. patents and publication, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference: 2004/0256000; U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,164,024; 5,437,129; and 4,573,300.

Glazing panels 102 and 104 can be made of plastic or glass, and may be transparent or translucent. They also may be made from cellular extruded polycarbonate or as described for example in U.S. Pat. No. 5,895,701. Panels 102 and 104 are generally parallel and are separated by elongated spacer rails 106. While panels 102 and 104 may be of any desired width, currently preferred widths are 24, 36, 48 and 60 inches. Also, while the panels may also be any desired length, it is currently preferred that panels about 2 feet to 60 feet in length.

FIG. 14 shows a series of laterally-positioned pairs of dual glazing panels 100A, 100B, 100C, 100D and 100E each fitted in accordance with the present invention (light blocking and light transmitting areas of control members not shown). The separate assemblies for controlling radiant energy may be in the form of “cartridges” that are designed and dimensioned to be “loaded” easily into laterally-positioned pairs of dual glazing panels as described in connection with FIG. 13. These cartridges may comprise pairs of control members or panels as described, for example, in connection with FIGS. 3A-3E, or more than two control members as described in connection with FIGS. 11A-11H. They may also comprise a single control member with light blocking and transmitting areas designed to cooperate with corresponding light blocking and transmitting areas in one of the pair of stationary glazing panels as described below in connection with FIG. 15. Where two or more control members are used they preferably will be linked, as described for example in connection with FIG. 15A. In all cases one control member edge will include a linking member like linking member 92 of FIG. 12 to enable the light controlling system to be opened and closed by the application of force at that edge. While the individual cartridges may each have their own motion control device (like motorized motion control device 90 of FIG. 12), preferably the linking members of groupings of cartridges or of all of the cartridges will be attached to a common linkage (e.g. 101 in FIG. 14) which is in turn connected to a single motion control device (e.g. 103 in FIG. 14). The single motion control device will thereby be able to control the passage of radiation through a multitude of panel system units. Finally, a series of control members may be associated with adjacent elongated cells, as described below for example in connection with FIGS. 19A, 19B, 20 or 21, and the control members (or “cartridges”) associated with a plurality of cells may be linked to and controlled by a common motion control device as described in connection with FIG. 14.

FIG. 15 shows an alternate glazing panel arrangement similar to that of FIG. 13, having interior and exterior panels 152 and 154 in which only one movable control panel 150 is provided with light blocking and light transmitting areas as described earlier and corresponding light blocking and transmitting areas in the bottom stationary glazing panel 154.

In yet another embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 16A intersecting guides are provided in adjacent surfaces 164 and 166 of control members or panels 160 and 162. Thus, FIG. 16B represents one configuration of intersecting guides in the form of corresponding saw patterns 168 and 170 which ensure consistent parallel movement of the control members. FIG. 16C represents another configuration of intersecting guides in the form of corresponding longitudinal undercut notches 170 in control member 160 and corresponding upstanding undercut bars 172 in control member 162. Other intersecting guide configurations could of course be used. The views of 16B and 16C are enlarged relative to the panel system as shown in FIG. 16A.

FIG. 17 shows a panel 180 with light blocking areas of varying density. Thus, light blocking area 182 is 100% opaque, light blocking area 184 is 75% opaque and light blocking area 186 is 25% opaque. This produces a unique variable lighting visual effect that will be desirable in selected applications.

FIG. 18 shows panels 190 and 192 with corresponding 3D grating blocking areas 194 and 196 which will produce another custom lighting effect. In this case the visual effect will continuously vary.

FIGS. 19A and 19B show translucent glazing panels 200 and 202 as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,499,255, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference. In FIG. 19A, narrow light controlling panels 204 and 206 are positioned within elongated cells 208 in lieu of the rotatable radiation blocking members of the '255 patent. In FIG. 19B, a single moveable panel 210 is provided with light blocking and light transmitting areas as described earlier and corresponding light blocking and transmitting areas are provided in the bottom wall 212 of each elongated cell. Sliding motion is applied to the panels to vary the light passing therethrough as described above in connection with the earlier embodiments of the invention. In FIG. 20, an additional retaining wall 214 is provided in the cells to create narrow subchambers 216 that confine the narrow sliding light blocking panels 218 and 220. Finally, in FIG. 21, narrow sliding light blocking panels 222 and 224 are confined at both of at their lateral edges 222A, 222B, 224A and 224B and at their top and bottom surfaces 222C, 222D, 224C and 224D in a series of separate elongated cells 226 and 228.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. It should be understood that the illustrated embodiments are exemplary only, and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7736014Jun 18, 2008Jun 15, 2010Blomberg Jerome OHybrid lighting system
US7954281 *Nov 8, 2006Jun 7, 2011Solatube International, Inc.Skylight tube with infrared heat transfer
US8083363Aug 20, 2009Dec 27, 2011Solatube International, Inc.Daylighting devices and methods with auxiliary lighting fixtures
Classifications
U.S. Classification160/237
International ClassificationA47H23/00
Cooperative ClassificationE06B9/386, E04C2/543, A47H23/06, E04D3/06
European ClassificationE04C2/54B, E04D3/06, A47H23/06, E06B9/386
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 23, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: KONVIN ASSOCIATES LTD, ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:KONSTANTIN, MOSHE;KONSTANTINO, EITAN;REEL/FRAME:017357/0192;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060115 TO 20060226