US 2411902 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 3, 1946. J. J. sKELLY v FLEXIBLE WALL S TRUC TURE IIIA Il,
INVENTOR dames d. Ske//y T TORNEY Patented Dec. 3, 1946 UNITED STATES .PATENT OFFICE JamesJ. Skelly, Cleveland Heights, Ollio vApplication,July 14, 1944,Serial No. 544,909
, 1 My invention relates to structures particularly useful Where greater` vrigidity is desired in one dimension than in another. Y(An object of my invention is to provide a construction and a method 'of assembly for aksheet, wall, or other structural element which is relatively rigid uwith respect to one'dimension and relatively exible with respect to a'transversel dimension in a, plane, or which may be Warped into various shapes while retaining lstiff straight-line elements.V Another objectis to provide astrupturefwhich islightin relation to its area and in relationto its strength, which is readily fabricated and is adapted to ornamentation or to the use of ornamental finishes,
' other object-,is to provide an imprcveddisappearing door or panel. t
A further object is to provide an embodiment adapted equally well to bending in reverse directions and capable of having the same appearance on'opposite sides. Y Y
Still another object or my invention is to provide space-saving closures 'for rooms, cabinet,
` garages,and the like.
Another objectA is to provide an improved construction for light duty conveyor belts, window I shutters, blinds, panels,r or the like which must be flexible yet watertight.
Other and further objects, features and advantages or the invention will become apparent as thedescription proceeds.
In accordance with a preferred form of my invention, channel members or channel-shaped slats, y and strips of yresilient material such as natural Yor synthetic rubber or rubber-like material are tted in interlocking relation or bonded. The slats may be composed of sheet-metal, plastice material, perforated metal, screening or other suitable material according to the purpose inv tended.
` A better understanding of the invention will be aorded by the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawing vand those features of the invention'which are believed to be novel and patentable will be pointed out in the claims appended hereto.
In the drawing:
Fig. 1 is a cross-section view .of a structure formingone embodiment of my invention.
Figs. 2 and 3 are cross-section views of interlocked structures in accordance with my invention. Fig. lr is a diagram illustrating the manner of clinching' the assembly illustrated in Fig. 3.
Fig.v 5.' is a cross-section view Vof a reversible 10 Claims. (Cl. 160-v-229) 2 structure presenting ornamental appearance on both sides. f Y
Fig, 6 is a longitudinal section View of the structure of Fig. 5 represented as cut by a plane 6'6.
Fig.7 is a cross-section view of a cabinet employing an overhead disappearing door or front panel in accordance with my invention, and,
Fig. 8 is a view of a flexible screen constructed in 'accordance With my invention.
Like reference characters are utilized throughout the drawing to designate like parts.
Asr illustrated in Fig. 1, a plurality of relatively stiff pieces II are arranged side by side alternating with strips I2 of eXible, preferably resilient material. `As indicated by the crosssectional shapes shown in Fig. l, the elements Il and l2L are'both channel-shaped or formed with flat 'U, shaped cross-section and are 'interconnected to provide tensile strength in a direction transverse. to thelength of the elements II and I2. As shown, the pieces! I have edge portions I 3 making right-angle bends with the web portion I4. The bent edges I3 overhang corresponding portions I5 of the resilient strips I2. In addition the contacting surface of the elements rII and I2 are rcemented together.
` Where an impervious wall or panel is desired ther pieces II may b-e'composed of sheet metal, transparent plastic, or the like, which lend themselves to decorative finishes or color effects. Owingfto the channel shape, stiffness is obtained with respect to the dimension parallel to the elements H` and I2, while preserving lightness of construction. On the other hand nexibility is provided With respect to the dimension perpendicular totheV elements II and I2. This permits the structure to be bent into the'form of ay circular cylinder or an irregular cylinder, 0r to be warped Vinto a warped plane, or other shape containing straight line elements.
The strips I2 may be composed of natural or synthetic rubber `or rubber-like material such as represented, for example, by Neoprene, Koroseal; Thiokol, Vinylite andthe like.
According to the effect desired, thepieces I I, may also bev composed of transparent plastic, such as certain synthetic resins or condensation products, or they may be composed of perforated metal or screening.
Rubber cement of the rubber-to-metal type may be employed for bonding the strips I2 to the pieces I I. For example, I may use a cement of the type sold by the' B, F. Goodrich Company, undel` the nameVulcalock. Preferably care is taken to obtainV intimate `Contact between the cemented o d surfaces when the cement is applied, and a tight bond may be assured by the application of pressure when the union is made.
For interlocking the members II and I2, the channel members I I may be formed so that their cross-sections have reentrant po-rtions I6 fitting corresponding grooves in the resilient strips I2, as shown in Fig. 2.
For providing additional strength in the union between the strips i2 and the channel member I l, the re-entrant portions I5 of the members I I may be bent back toward the web portions I4 to put a portion of the rubber under pressure and to clinch the joint.
For producing the clinched joint shown in Fig. 3, a suitable tool comprising mating dies I'I and I8 may be employed as shown in Fig. 4. If the assembled strip in the form shown in Fig. 2 is placed between the dies I and I8 and the dies are moved towards each other and released, the re-entrant portions i6 will be bent downy or clinched as shown. Since the rubber strips are joined to the metal or plastic channel members in intimate contact, a structure is provided which is completely impervious to water although highly flexible with respect to one dimension. The stiffness in the other dimension provides obvious advantages when using the structure for conveyor belts, window shutters, blinds or disappearing panels, or the like.
If the same appearance or nish is desired on both sides a double set of channel members may be provided. For example, as illustrated in Fig. 5, pairs of channels II such as those of Fig. 1 may be employed with resilient strips I2' of modiiied form, shown as having I-shaped crosssection. The I-strips have the base portions.I9
of the I locked between pairs of channels II within the bent edges thereof. Preferably the I-strips also have relatively Wide webs 2I to provide full flexibility of the structure in either direction and to permit accordion folding, if
The portion I9 of the strip I2' may be bonded to the inner surfaces of the corners of the channels II by applying rubber cement to the surface and pressing the cemented surfaces together. This may be done by inserting an expansible mandrel between a pair of opposite channels arranged to compress the rubber portions I9, and removing the mandrel after the bond has been made. However, bonding of the strips I2 to the channels Il is unnecessary if means are provided for holding the channels of each pair together. For example, blocks 22 may be inserted at intervals within each pair of channels II and the bonding of such blocks to the inner surface of the channels is a relatively simple operation as pressure may very readily be applied. The blocks 22 may be composed 0f rubber or other suitable materials.
Although the flexible structure described is by no means limited to certain uses which have been indicated by way of example, one of these uses has been shown in Fig. 7 for the sake of illustration. In this case a cabinet 23, shown in vertical cross-section, has a front opening 24, the edges of which are formed by a Casement adapted to receive a flexible sliding panel 25 for closing the opening 24.
The easement includes grooves 26 at each end for slidably retaining and guiding the ends of slats II of structures such as shown in Figs, 1, 2, .3, or 5. For opening the cabinet 23 suitable 4 means are provided for withdrawing the panel 2,5 and bending it out of the plane of the opening 24, preferably into a disappearing position.
For example, a knob or handle 21 may be provided for sliding the flexible panel 25 upward. Suitable means such as a drum or the like may be provided for causing the panel to follow a bend 28 and may be used for winding up the panel when the handle21 is raised. However, my invention is not limited thereto. In the arrangement illustrated the groove 26 is continued along the portion 26 at the top and back of the cabinet 23 for causing the panel 25 to bend out of the plane of the opening 24 when the handle 21 is raised.
The type of structure thus -far described is especially useful where watertight flexible walls are desired. However, it may also be employed for flexible open lattice-work or screening as illustrated in Fig. 8, where spaced slats II, as previously described, are employed in conjunction with resilient strips 29 which are relatively short instead of running the length of the slats II. The cross-sectional shapes of the elements II and 29 may correspond to those of the elements II and I2 or II and I2 shown in Figs. 1-5.
I have herein shown and particularly described certain embodiments of my invention and certain methods of operation embraced therein for the purpose of explaining its principle of operation and showing its application, but it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that many modications and variations are possible and I aim, therefore, to cover all such modifications and variations as fall within the scope of my invention which is defined in the appended claims.
What I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States, is:
l. A flexible structural element comprising a plurality of relatively rigid strips, and a plurality of strips of resilient material joining successive relatively rigid strips and bonded thereto.
2. A flexible wall comprising a plurality of relatively rigid channel members arranged side by side and a plurality oi strips of resilient material inter-leaved with successive channel members and bonded thereto.
3. In combination a plurality of channel members with re-entrant cross-sectionsV and a plurality of strips of flexible material, each interlocked with' a pair of channel members by the re-entrant sections to form a sheet relatively rigid in one direction and flexible in another.
Li. The combination of claim 3 in which the strips are under compressive strain in the reentrant portion of the channel members whereby the re-entrant portions are in binding relation with the flexible strips.
5. In combination a plurality of strips of resilient material with substantially I-shaped crosssection, and a plurality of pairs of channel members with substantially flat U-shaped cross-section, e'ach I-shaped strip having a pair of base portions, each of which is enclosed by a pair of said channel members to lock the resilient strips and channel members together,
6. The .combination of claim 5 in which blocks fitted into said channel members at intervals therealong and cemented to inner surfaces thereof secure said members together.
7. A flexible screen comprising a plurality of relatively rigid channel members arranged successively side by side and a plurality of strips of'resilie'nt material, short in length compared 5 with the channel members, placed at intervals between pairs of channel members and connected thereto for resiliently joining them and spacing successive channel members apart.
8. A method of forming a flexible Wall which 5 comprises forming channel members with substantially re-entrant C-sections, moulding resilient strips to intert said 3-section members, interleaving said members and strips in alternating succession, and bending the re-entrant l0 portion of the channel members to compress the adjacent portions of the resilient members to bind them in place. j
9. In combination a plurality of strips ofy re- JAMES J. SKELLY.