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Publication numberUS3161229 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 15, 1964
Filing dateJun 19, 1963
Priority dateJun 19, 1963
Publication numberUS 3161229 A, US 3161229A, US-A-3161229, US3161229 A, US3161229A
InventorsSanders Guy J
Original AssigneeKoppers Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Seal configuration for folding partition
US 3161229 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 15, 1964- Filed June 19, 1963 G. J. SANDERS SEAL CONFIGURATION FOR FOLDING PARTITION 3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR. GUY J. sgA/oszs 1964 G. J. SANDERS 3,


GUY J- SANDERS United States Patent Ofitice 3,161,229 Patented Dec. 15, 1964 3,161,229 SEAL CONFIGURATION FOR FOLDENG PARTITION Guy J. Sanders, Severna Park, Md., assignor to Hoppers Company, Inc, a corporation of Delaware Filed June 19, 1963, Ser. No. 289,121 6 Claims. (Cl. 169-40) This invention relates to soundproof folding partitions and, more particularly, to the prevention of sound leakage around the periphery of the panels comprising the folding partition.

In the ballrooms of hotels, in dining rooms and in other such areas, folding partitions are commonly used to provide means for readily subdividing a large room into smaller areas in a manner permitting the smaller areas to be just as readily re-converted to the large room by folding the plurality of hinged panel sections into stored position.

Unfortunately, in those situations in which it is desirable to effectively reduce sound transmission between areas which have been separated temporarily by the interposition of a movable partition, one of the difficult problems confronting designers has been that of securing adequate acoustical sealing between the partition in its extended position and the surfaces adjacent thereto. Although a partition may be composed of individual panels having a moderate or even a high degree of sound transmission loss, such performance is readily comprised in the event of inadequate sealing allowing even small cracks to remain between the outer edges of the partition and the room surfaces adjacent thereto forming a frame about such extended partition.

These small cracks are extremely important to the acoustical integrity of the structure because a good acoustical seal cannot be obtained as long as such gaps are present in the structure. This factis referred to in many acoustical texts, for example, in Chapter 20 (pages 20-13 and 20-14) of the Handbook of Noise Control edited by Cyril N. Harris, published by McGraw-Hill (copyright 1957). The chapter of which the aforementioned pages form a part was written by Richard K. Cook and Peter Chrzanowski of the National Bureau of Standards. The authors describe the propensity of small slits to short circuit an otherwise good sealing system. To quote from the opening paragraph of Small Openings on page 20l3, The sound insulation of a well-designed wall, for example, one having a transmission loss of 50 db, can be vitiated easily by an Openingin it even though the opening may be so small as to escape notice.

The problem is particularly severe along the base of the partition, because of the separation of the partition into individual panels, which are reoriented relative to each other during the extension and folding of the partition, since the conventional foot gasket is a solid block of rubber or similar resilient material extending from end to end along the bottom of each separate panel, thereby at best providing a discontinuous seal with periodic gaps between the individual lengths of foot gasket.

Further, in order to permit ready transport of the door panels from the extended to the folded position and vice versa, clearance must be provided between the underside of the conventional foot gasket and the floor. When the door has been moved to its extended position wherein a seal is required along the underside thereof, means must be provided to bias downwardly at least that portion of each panel housing the foot gasket until the gasket is compressed against the floor.

Consequently, it is an object of this invention to provide a truly continuous seal along the underside of a folding partition.

Another object of this invention is to provide an inflatable seal for the periphery of a folding partition which is completely protectively housed during the transport of the folding partition and during the folding or extending thereof and which seal upon the admission of air pressure to the interior thereof is made to protrude from its'protective housing to seal against the surface in juxtaposition therewith without requiring further movement of the door panels or of any other portion of the door structure to complete the sealing action.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a continuous seal actuable to sealing position as a single unit along the lower and leading edge of a sectional folding wall.

These objects and others are attained with this invention by employing a collapsible seal configuration of molded resilient material, such as rubber, neoprene or silicone (with or without fiber reinforcement) extending the full length of the lower edge of the folding partition bridging the gaps between adjacent interconnected panels comprising the partition and, if desired, continuing vertically upward along the extent of the height of the leading edge of the folding partition. The particular seal configuration'to be employed depends on (a) the area of sealing surface required, (1;) the facility with which the outwardly directed portion of the seal may be moved out of storage position or returned completely within its storage recess and (c) the capacity of the seal to adjust to the stacking of the several panels as the door is folded and each panel is backed face-to-face with the panel or panels with which it is interconnected.

The exact nature of this invention as well as other objects and advantages thereof will be readily apparent from consideration of the following specification relating to the annexed drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a soundproof partition in a partially extended position,

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken on line 2--2 of FIG. 1 showing the relative positions of the leading edge of the door panel, side jamb and the preferred embodiment of this invention disposed in the unsealed position,

FIG. 2a is a sectional view taken on line 22 of FIG. 1 showing the relative positions of the door panel, side jamb and the preferred embodiment of this invention disposed in sealing position,

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 1 showing the relative positions of the lower edge of any door panel, the floor and the preferred embodiment of this invention disposed in the unsealed position,

FIG. 3a is a sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 1 showing the interrelationship of the lower edge of any door panel, the floor and the preferred embodiment of this invention disposed in sealing position,

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 1 a short distance above the top side of the preferred seal construction showing the disposition of the length of the bottom-edge seal when the panels are arranged in stacked position,

FIG. 5 is a section taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4.showing the lateral accordion-like folding. of the preferred seal construction which occurs at this position as the seal reorients itself during movement of the doorpanels to the stacked position,

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 66 of FIG. 4 similar to FIG. 5 in that the lateral accordion-like folding of the seal prevailing at this position isshown,

FIG. 7 is an elevational view partially cut away showing the construction at the bottom of the door jamb to provide optimum sealing at the lower corner of the leading edge of thefolding partition in the optional sealing arrangement wherein the seal configuration extends vertically upward along the leading edge as well as along the full length of the lower edge of the folding partition,

r FIG. 8 is a section taken online 3-3 of FIG. 1 showing the relative positions'of the lower edge of any panel," the floor and a second embodiment of a seal configuration suitable in the practice of this invention wherein solid lines represent the position assumed by the seal in the' uninflated state and dotted lines represent the configurationassumed by the seal inflated tothe; sealing position, FIG. 9 is a sectional viewtaken on line 5 of FIG. 4

showing the configuration assumed by the second embodiment of the sealing elementafter self-reorientation thereof bythe lateral accordiondikefolding occasioned during movement of the door panels tothe stacked position and FIG. 10 is a liine diagram showing a pneumatic arrangement for actuating the seal. I e a 7 Referring now to the: drawings, wherein like reference.

therewith wa1l22 will be forced from-its initial position,

wherein it is entirely within recess'17, until it protrudes past lips 33 of storage recess 17. As sufiicient air under pressure is introduced into theinterior'of seal 16, wall 22 will be biased outwardly until it spans the gap 34 between lips 33 and the face 36 of door jamb 37 and also spans the gap 38 between lips 33and the surface of floor 39.

. Thus, after panels 12 of folding partition 11 have been moved to theirgextended position tosubstantially close the opening for, which partition 11 has been fitted, un-

der pressure maybe admitted to space 31 to inflate seal,

. 16 thereby causing the configuration thereof to change characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, there is'shown in FIG. 1 a folding partition 11 comprising a plurality of hinge-interconnected panel sections'12 some of which are shown in the stacked or storage position and others of which are shown in the partially or completely extended position.

in the manner described above toefiect a positive seal between door panels 12 and each of floor .39 anddoor 'jamb 37.

Since space 31 extends through'substantially the entire length of seal 16, only one "air'inlet 41 (FIG. .10) need Every other panel 12 depends from the overhead track system 13 (shown schematically). by "means of roller trucks (not shown); Those panels arranged between'the which connect adjoining panels.

to reorient the panels 12 in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the overhead track system 13 causing the several panels 12 to fold or unfold relative to each other-depending upon the direction of movement.

In the particular arrangement disclosed byway of example, inflatable seal 16 is shown disposed in storage re-j cess 17.. Storage recess 17,' which is in the. shape ofia box be furnished. This'air inlet 41 war be advantageously located in the portion of seal 16 in that panel12 closest to; the abutment against which the folding partition 11 is stocked. By locating air inlet 41 in this end panel, tube 42 which connected. to air-inlet 41 canbe disposed in this end panel 12 extending upward through the means employed to dependthi'send panel '12 from the overhead channel extends along the length of the leading and, lower j edges of' the folding partition 11. The approximate con-' figuration assumed by seal 16 whentdeflated and disposed in storage recess 17 in any panel ;1 2 arrangedinits extended position is shown FIGS. 2 and 3. The con- Seal 16 is formedof molded resilientmaterial'such as rubberfneoprene or silicone in the deflated configuration thereof shown'inFIGS. 2' and 3. c If required, additional strengthening of the seal construction may be supplied by Q reset solenoid valve 44 to cutoff thepassage of pressurized lair to1space31 while retaining the desired sealing pressure.

the use of fiber reinforcement. The several integrated I sections comprising seal 16 are the pair of side flanges 18,

19 adjacent theside walls of recess 17' andjthepair of spaced-apart walls 21, 22.7 'For convenience, wallj21 will be referredlto as the inner wall and wall 22 the outer-or sealing wall. A portion neareach end of each of walls' 23, 24 and 26, 27 of the walls 21 and22 respectively arethe inner, more flexible diaphragm sections28, 29 respec track systernillt;v and thence into a wall housing (not, shown) to connect witha source of pressurized fluid 43.-

Suflicient extra length of flexible tube 42 must be permitted to compensate for the movement of the end panel l I 12 during the extension and folding of partition 11.

t a Air inlet 41 may be placed into or out of communica-. tion with source43 by means of'a conventiional solenoidactuated valve44 located in the length of tube 42., A

second solenoid valve 46 maybe disposed in tube 42 between valve 44 and inlet 41' either torplace solenoid valve 44into'communicaltion air inlet 41 or to place air inlet 41in communication with'jthe atmosphere. 7

Thus, with solenoidvalves 44 and 46properly positioned, under pressure will pass from source 43 through tube 42 via'valves 44 and 46 into space 31 to inflate seal 16; Oncesealing wall 22 h as been biased into sealing position the pressure in. space 31' will rise sharply figuration assumed by seal 16 wheniin the inflated state 4 actuating a pressureswitch ,47, whichswiteh will in turn and moved into sealing position'is approximated in FIGS.

already therein.

When foldingpartition 11 is to be-withdrawn from its extended position and moved into stacked position, it is simply necessary to actuate solenoid'valve 46 as by a conventionalcontrol button (not'shown) at: some accessible position whereby valve 46 will be positioned'so as to vent space 31 to the atmosphere. As airleaves'space 31 the 1 several portions of walls 21 and 22 retract to the. deflated configuration shown in,FIG S 2 and '3', thisbeing theunstressed positionof the elements comprising seal 16.

sections 2,8:and 29. to the; defiatedco nfiguration] wherein,

preferably, no portion of seal 16 protrudesfromstorage tively. These diaphragm sections 2 8,29 are arrangedin Q spaced, substantially parallel arrangement defining a; space 31 extendingf'the length of seal l 6. Provision for intro? I ducing air under. pressure into space,31,to.eflect inflation W of seal 16 will be described in detail below.

When pressurized airi s introduced into seal 16, walls 21 and 22 are repositioned relative to each other under the moved inwardly of recess 17 until diaphragrn section 28 presses with thewidth, or substantially all the width, there- V of against rear wall 32 of recess 17. Simultaneously recess17 and air is eif ectually urgedfout, of space 31.,'

When seal 16 has returned toits deflated condition and gap 38" is providedgiving thenecessary clearance between} the underside ofpartitidn 11. and floorv 42- to enable, un-. encumbered movement of panel sections 12,'the panels 12 may be moved to the stackedpositionmanually. or by mechanicalaetuation." I e As thepanels 1'2 arerepositione tofthe. closely stacked vis-a-vis position, the continuous flexible scal1 6 in its deflated condition, which extends along, the lower edge 'of partition.- 11, adjusts to this new set; of-conditions. by

assuming'th e position relative tolthe side walls of recess 17, wherein itis shown in FIG. 4. Therein it may be seen that seal 16 in traversingfromgone end of any given panel 12;to the other. end thereof/extends diagonally along that length of recess 17 embodied in that particular panel. Seal 1 6 is continuousirorn panel to panel and The rigid portions 23, 24, 26. and 27 of these walls by. their very nature fu'rther u'rgethe' return of diaphragm this seal must fold around hinges 14 at each end of panels 12. However, the distance along the centerline of recess 17 from the top of the leading edge of partition 11, down the full height thereof and along the length of the lower edge of partition 11 in its extended position is less than the distance along the centerline of recess 17 similarly measured with the panels 12 in stacked position and allowing for connecting arcs at the ends of the stacked panels to make this centerline continuous along the lower edge thereof. Thus, if seal 16 were to be formed in a configuration retaining a constant, or substantially constant, width the centerline of such a seal would coincide by and large with the two positions of the centerline of recess 17 described above, first, in the extended position and second, in the stacked position. Since any continuous seal installed along the underside of partition 11 would have to be restricted in the extent of its movement lengthwise relative to recess 17, a seal with the aforementioned limitation would soon rupture when partition 11 is extended and folded repeatedly because of the taxing degree of elongation and deformation imposed thereupon.

With the novel configuration shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, however, the problem of rupture has been obviated as is best illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, this seal construction is provided with the unique ability to move laterally within recess 17 folding in an accordion-like fashion into a compact width of less than half the width of recess 17. Coupled with this facility of seal 16 to fold and extend in the horizontal direction (as well as to fold and expand out of and into recess 17) has been the necessity of recognizing the fact that seal 16 can be housed in recess 17 provided with lips 33 without attaching seal 16 in the individual panels yet without encountering the problem of dropout of seal 16 from recess 17. As has been stated above, all that is necessary is to restrain the extreme far ends of continuous seal 16, preferably in a resilient manner, and as the panels 12 are folded and tension begins to be exerted thereon, seal 16 folds laterally to one side or the other diminishing its width by over 50% and extending diagonally of panels 12 as shown in FIG. 4 in the shortest zizzag path from the lower corner at the leading edge of the foremost panel to the lower corner at the trailing edge of the rearmost panel when panels 12 are finally arranged in the stacked position. Because of the reduced width of the laterally folded seal 16, the turning radius required around each hinge 14 is minimized as well.

As the result of the invention of these novel aspects, relatively little stretching, not over 20%, is imposed upon seal 16 during stacking and while in the stacked position, an amount which is easily accommodated by ordinary resilient materials. Rupture of seals so designed is reduced to a minor maintenance problem and, in the event replacement of the seal should be required, it is but a simple matter to thread the replacement seal along the length of recess 17 without major disassembly of the panel arrangement.

In order to assure positive sealing contact in the region where continuous seal 16 extends around a corner in the plane of panel 12 as in the present illustrative construction, an arrangement such as is shown in FIG. 7 may be employed. The box channel forming recess 17 is curved on a moderately short smooth radius and thereby seal 16 is housed on a curve in this region. As seal 16 is inflated, the wall 22 exits from recess 17 and meets the curved block 48 producing an airtight joint therewith completing the airtight joint formed thereby along the lower and leading edges of partition 11. Block 48 can be made relatively small so as to be inconspicuous and may either be nailed or glued in place against jamb 37 and floor 39 or may be formed of solid rubber and glued to the seal 16 whereby block 48 will be retracted with seal 16 upon deflation thereof.

A second embodiment of seal configuration is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The same shape recess 17 is employed being provided within box channel 51 and seal 52 housed therein performs substantially in the same manner as seal 16. FIG. 8 shows the displacement of seal 52 from its retracted position entirely within recess 17 (solid lines) outwardly in the plane of the panel 12 upon inflation (dotted lines). As in the case of seal 16, seal 52 is not attached to the several panels 12 intermediate the far ends of seal 52 and the configuration of seal 52 is such that when the seal is folded around hinges 14 in the stacking operation and tension begins to be exerted along the length of seal 52, the seal folds laterally in accordion-like pleats to one side or the other of recess 17 (FIG. 9) thereby greatly reducing the degree of deformation imposed upon the seal.

It should be understood that the continuous seal has been disclosed herein by way of example as extending up the leading edge of the folding partition, but that the use of the continuous seal may, if desired, be restricted to the lower edge of the folding panels whereinthe benefits of this novel development are most completely employed.

Further, folding partitions the individual panels of which fold up into or emerge from suspended ceiling construction on a suitable track construction have been proposed and this invention is equally applicable thereto. In such installations, of course, the hinge-connection is horizontally, rather than vertically, disposed, but problem of sealing of peripheral cracks along the sides and lower edge remains the same.

Obviously modifications and variations of this invention as disclosed are possible in the light of the teachings provided herein. It is thus to be understood, that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated.

What is claimed is:

1. A folding partition comprising a plurality of soundproof panels adapted to be supported on a horizontal track assembly, hinges connecting said panels such that the plurality of panels can selectively be extended along said track assembly so that said panels extend parallel to the track assembly to form a substantially uninterrupted barrier to close an opening with the surfaces of the panels approximating a single plane surface and be folded along the hinge connections so that the panels are normal to the track assembly to remove the panels from the opening, a recess extending along the lower edge of each of said panels, a continuous inflatable resilient sealing means spanning at least the length of said barrier and housed in said recess, said sealing means having a portion capable of being expanded out of said recess in the inflated state and being autogenously collapsible laterally within said recess in the deflated state and means for expanding said sealing means out of said recess.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said sealing means can be folded laterally within the recess to an overall width of about 50% of the width of said sealing means in the substantially unstressed state.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein in a cross-section thereof in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of said seal, each of the walls and the space defined thereby appears substantially M-shaped in cross-section.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein enlargements in the cross-section of each wall'occur at the high points of each M to facilitate the autogenous return of the seal to the uninfiated state.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein in a cross-section thereof in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of said seal, each of the walls and the space defined thereby appears substantially W-shaped in cross-section.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein enlargements in the cross-section of each wall occur at the points of changes in direction of the several portions of each W-shaped wall.

(References on following page) References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Robson 20,-69

4/63 Styra 20-69 .7/63 Myers et a1. 16040 5 V V FOREIGN PATENTS 7 1,235,413 5/60 France. HARRISON R. MQSELEY, Primary Eq mmi ner.

Redmond 20; 69 Ross 20-69 Haws 20- -69 Lapof 160 40 9/63 Vallet Q 160-40

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U.S. Classification160/40, 160/199, 277/646, 49/477.1
International ClassificationE06B7/23, E06B7/22
Cooperative ClassificationE06B7/2318
European ClassificationE06B7/23E