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Publication numberUS3249682 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 3, 1966
Filing dateAug 13, 1962
Priority dateAug 18, 1961
Publication numberUS 3249682 A, US 3249682A, US-A-3249682, US3249682 A, US3249682A
InventorsNikolaus Laing
Original AssigneeNikolaus Laing
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wall structure with adjustable radiation transmissivity
US 3249682 A
Abstract  available in
Images(9)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

N. LAING WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. l5, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 1 FlG.1a

FlG.1b

Flejzb INVENTOR Mmla Ln' BY Mnhm Rem A Mmm N. LAING May 3, 1966 WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY 9 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 15, 1962 FIG. 3 b

FIGAD INVENTOR Nikolaus Law BY Huh; Ross all Muhm N. LAING May 3, 1966 WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. 13, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG. 5a

FIG.7b

INVENTOR Mum Lm BY bhvu. R055 M4 Nuhm N. LAING May 3, 1966 WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. 13, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR Nikola-us LQ'H! BY Huh. no :1 Huh"! y 1966 N. LAlNG 3,249,682

WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. 13, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG.8c1

INVENTOR M has L 6 n3 May 3, 1966 WALL STRUCTURE Filed Aug. 13, 1962 N. LAlNG 3,249,682

WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 F I (5.10 b

Fl (5.10 c

4o; FIGLH) d mvFNTOR N; 1mm A,

BY Madam, R055 Md Nashua y 66 N. LAING 3,249,682

WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. 13, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 7 INVENTOR Minus L61 BY Kuhn RI Ml Misha N. LAlNG May 3, 1966 WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. .13, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 FIG.15

FIG.16

INVENTOR M kalms Laiu N. LAlNG May 3, 1966 WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Filed Aug. 13, 1962 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 Fl 6.18 b

INVENTOR Ni [(o/aus a]? BY Med-mo, R099 A! Mail"! nited States Patent Office 3.24am Patented May 3, 1966 3,249,682 WALL STRUCTURE WITH ADJUSTABLE RADIATION TRANSMISSIVITY Nikolaus Laing, Rosenbergstrasse 24a,

Stuttgart, Germany Filed Aug. 13, 1962, Ser. No. 216,575 Claims priority, application Germany, Aug. 18, 1961, L 39,807, L 39,808, L 39,814; Switzerland, June 2, 1962, 6,619/62 26 Claims. (Cl. 174-35) This invention relates to a wall structure which can be used for the construction of ceilings, fioorings, partitions, windows, tents, clothing, protective coverings, hoods,

- or the like.

One general object contemplated by the invention is Y to provide a wall structure which is wholly or partly controllably transparent to incident sunlight, or more generally to an electromagnetic radiation impinging upon its surface from one or both sides.

Another object of this invention is to design such a structure in the form of a homogeneous layer capable of being produced in any size and used in any position and in any dimensions for forming a ceiling, a wall, a dome or the like, to enclose a space which exchanges energy with the outside environment in a controllable manner.

The wall structure according to the invention, designed to achieve these objects, consists of a sheet-like rigid or flexible carrier layer provided with adjustable devices which are attached thereto, and which by their particular position in relation to the direction of the electromagnetic radiation impinging upon the surface of this car* rier layer are wholly or partly permeable to and/or reflect and/or absorb said radiation.

The flexible, elastic or rigid carrier layer may be a plastic, a ceramic building material such as concrete, metal, or any other material suitable for attachment thereto of the hereinafter described adjustably radiationcontrolling devices. The sheet-like carrier layer may be transparent to light, or it may absorb incident light if it is required to function as an energy-storage means.

The adjustable control devices which are partly ,or wholly secured to the carrier layer may comprise strips which have a high coeflicient of reflection and/or absorption for a particular electromagnetic radiation, and which may consist of a flexible, elastic or rigid material, being adapted to be deflected into positions parallel or transverse to the incident electromagnetic radiation or into any intermediate angular position so that radiation arriving at any angle of incidence will be either completely or partly allowed to pass through or be reflected and/or absorbed by an effective radiation barrier or shield, according to the particular position of said strips.

Other means for varying the transparency of a wall structure according to the invention may be provided, e.g., a system of parallel channels attached to the carrier layer and adapted to be filled with a light-absorbing medium, such as smoke, or a liquid dispersion or solution.

The structure according to the invention may be used for instance for the construction of a pressurized air supported hangar or bubble dome. Such a bubble dome may be used for maintaining desirable conditions within an area of considerable size, for instance for growing vegetables or for maintaining seed beds, for housing animals, for industrial plants, as dwellings and so forth under controlled climatic conditions.

Another application of a structure according to the invention is to use the same as a ceiling in a hall or the like, the carrier layer in such a case consisting for instance of a black, reinforced concrete slab, whereas the adjustable devices which control the degree of irradia- 2 tion of and radiation from the concrete sheet may be aflixed to such a ceiling and at the same time form the skin of the roof.

Another object contemplated by the invention is the construction of a building, such as a dome, a hangar, a tent, a tunnel, a house or the like, with a collapsible wall which is partly or wholly transparent to light, and which at the same time provides the supporting structure of the building in question.

According to the invention such a building consists of a plurality of bladders filled with a gas, preferably air, each bladder being formed by at least one flexible outside skin and one flexible inside skin.

Preferably the outside skin will be the stronger one. One ofthe two skins of the bladder may be designed to carry the above-described adjustable control devices which in accordance with their position in relation to the incident light permit the latter to pass through partly or wholly or reflect and/ or absorb the same.

By suitably choosing the geometry of the several blad ders, the fully inflated bladders may form the supporting elements of a building structure of any kind.

The invention will be illustratively described by reference to a number of embodiments shown in the drawing in which FIGS. la to 12 are fragmentary cross sections of different structures according to the invention, having adjustable devices for controlling the permeability to radiation which are actuated pneumatically;

FIGS. 13 to 18b are fragmentary cross sections of structures according to the invention in which the adjustable devices are electrodynamically or electrostatically controlled;

FIG. 19 is a fragmentary section of an embodiment of a structure according to the invention inwhich the adjustable devices consist of bimetallic strips.

FIGS. 1a to 12 are fragmentary sections of wall struc tures according to the invention in which devices for varying the transparency of the structure to radiation are pneumatically or hydraulically operable. The filling medium is introduced into parallel channels 6 to modify the transparency of the wall to radiation in a manner that will be hereinafter described, according to the degree to which the channels are inflated or filled.

FIGS. la to 60 show different forms of construction according to the invention in which the devices for varying the transparency to radiation consist of a foil 2 firmly secured by narrow parallel seams 3 to a carrier layer 1. The width of the strips 2 of foil between the seams is preferably roughly twice the separation of neighboring seams. The portions 4 and 4' of strips 2 of foil have a width equal to roughly half the distance between neighboring seams 3, and these portions 4 and 4 are substantially impermeable to light rays so that light falling upon them will be absorbed and/or reflected, whereas the centralportion 5 of each strip 2 of foil is transparent to light. The carrier layer 1 in conjunction with the foil attached thereto in parallel strips, for instance by welding or with the aid of an adhesive, thus forms a plurality of parallel channels 6 which can be filled for instance with air or with a liquid, in which case the marginal portions 4 and 4 of each channel will be erected to stand perpendicularly on the carrier layer 1 and thus to permit the radiation to pass through the carrier layer 1 and the central sections 5 of the foil. When the channels 6 are evacuated' the marginal portions 4 and 4 of the strip collapse and apply themselves to the inside surface 7 of the carrier layer in a position generally perpendicular to the previous one so as to reflect and/or absorb any radiation which may fall on these portions 4 and 4' at any angle of incidence. When the channels 6 are evacuated, the central portions of the strips 2 of foil forming the channel collapse and fold as shown.

The inflation and evacuation of the several channels 6 may be controlled from a central point, all the channels being jointly served by a common pump means. However, groups of channels may be combined, for instance so that every second or fourth etc. channel belongs to one system and so forth, and the several systems may then be separately controlled. This permits the transparency of the overall Wall structure to be controlled in stages. Staged or progressive control is also possible by the partial evacuation of the channels 6.

The marginal strip portions 4 and 4 of each channel may be substantially opaque in a given frequency range or may be partly transparent. Such properties may be imparted to them. by pigmentation of a plastic which as such is transparent or by selecting a flexible material which is inherently opaque. On the other hand, the desired absorption or reflection properties may be provided by afiixing, for instance by cementing or vapor precipitation, a suitable material to the foil surface.

In some cases it may be desirable for the carrier layer to be only partially covered by the opaque or semi-transparent sections 4 and 4' when the channels 6 are completely evacuated. This can be easily achieved by suitably locating the junction line 8 between the transparent and opaque parts of the foil. The semi-transparent or opaque marginal portions 4 and 4' of the strips of foil may also be made slightly stiffer than the transparent central sections 5 in order to ensure that upon evacuation of the channels 6 the strips will collapse into folds in such a way that the portions 4 and 4' will in fact apply themselves flat to the surface 7 of the carrier layer 1.

In the several views of the drawing, functionally equivalent members or parts are indicated by the same reference numbers. The opaque or semi-transparent portions of the adjustably controllable devices are indicated throughout by denser hatching. The pneumatically operable devices illustrated in FIGS. 1a to d are all shown in at least their two extreme positions. The view which in each case is identified by the letter a represents the state of maximum transparency of the wall, i.e. the state which is established when the channels 6 are fully inflated or filled, whereas the views which are identified by letters c and b represent states of reduced transparency to radiation or of greatest opacity.

certain arrangements, such as those illustrated in FIGS. 3a, 3b and 5a, 5b, this additional layer 9 may also consist of a stiff or relatively stiff type of material.

In the position according to FIGURE 3a the space enclosed between surface 7 of carrier layer 1 and foil 2 is filled with the inflating fluid and the transparency of the wall is a maximum, whereas in FIGURE 3b the space 10, enclosed between foil 2 and layer 9, is filled with the inflating fluid while the space between the carrier layer and foil 2 is evacuated. In this state of the struc ture its transparency is a minimum.

The embodiment according to FIGS. 4a and 4b also comprises a supplementary layer 9 in the form of a flexible foil which is here attached to foil 2 along a central seam 41. When the space 6 enclosed between the carrier layer and foil 2 is evacuated and the space between foil 2 and foil 9 is filled, foil 2 will be deformed as shown in FIGURE 4b in which the marginal portions 4 and 4' apply themselves closely to surface 7 of the carrier layer 1.

Yet another form of construction is shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b in which, upon evacuation of space 6 and inflation of space 10, the manner in which foil 2 folds in each channel is determined by a ledge 51 aflixed centrally in each channel to the surface 7 of the carrier layer by a longitudinal seam 52. The center sections 5 and layer 9 do not touch even when both are in their'extreme expanded positions in which the transparency of the wall to radiation is a maximum. This arrangement prevents the two layers 2 and 9 from sticking together. It will be readily understood that'the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 3a to 3b may be analogously arranged.

FIGS. 6a to 60 illustrate a form of construction of a wall according to the invention in which a second foil 62 is attached to foil 2 as a carrier layer along longitudinal seams 63 in the manner clearly shown in the drawing. This foil 62, like foil 2, has radiation-absorbing and/ or reflecting marginal portions 64 and 64. Foil 2 and foil 62 together form a system of channels 66. These channels 66 assume the cross-sectional shapes shown in FIG. 6a when both systems of channels are inflated. When the first tier of channels 6 are evacuated, then the second tier of channels 66 will be enlarged as shown in FIGURE 6b. On the other hand, the system The foils 2 are preferably made of a plastic. The

elasticity of such plastic foils deteriorates in the course of time because the plasticizer tends to diffuse out of the plastic. .According to the invention this tendency can be suppressed by adding a plasticizer to the medium used for filling or expanding the channels.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1a and 1b the center portion 5 of each strip between two neighboring seams 3 is stiffened by a reinforcing strip 11. These reinforcing strips 11 are of the same transparency to radiation as the center sections 5 of each foil. It will be understood from FIGURE 1b that the stiffening 11 of the center section ensures that the foil will fold in the manner desired when it collapses onto the surface 7 of the carrier layer 1. The folding edges are preferably formed in such a manner that in the state of evacuation of the channels 6 at all times the identical fold is produced, as shown in FIGURE lb in cross-section view.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2a and 2b a curved rod or rubber cord 21 or the like causes the marginal portions 4 and 4' of the plastic foil 2 to fold onto the surface 7 of the carrier layer in the manner shown in FIGURE 2b when the channel is evacuated, the central section 5 wrapping itself symmetrically around the rubber cord 21.

FIGS. 3a to 5b show embodiments of'the invention in which a further layer 9 is secured to the carrier layer 1 at the longitudinal seams 3 in addition to the primary foil 2. This layer 9 may likewise be a flexible foil, but in of channels 6 may be inflated and system 66 evacuated, as illustrated in FIG. 6c. The advantage of this arrangement is that the marginal portions 4, 4' and 64, 64' may differ in their spectral transparency so that in a wall so constructed the transparency, absorption and reflection of the wall can be varied according to the wave length of the incident radiation. When both systems 6 and 66 are evacuated (not illustrated), then the effects of sections 4 and 4 and of sections 64 and 64 can be superimposed. The described arrangement may be further extended by the provision of additional systems of channels. A further advantage of this system is that a high heat insulation is achieved when the channels 6 or 66 are filled with gas.

The embodiments depicted in FIGS. 70 to 12 are likewise adapted to be controlled either pneumatically or hydraulically.

In the example shown in FIGS. 7a and 7b tubes 72 are attached by longitudinal seams 73 to the carrier layer 1. Secured to these tubes along seams 75 is afoil of transparent material. Upon the alternately filling of the channel system 76 formed by the tubes 72 and of the channel system 77 formed between the tubes 72, foil 74 and the carrier layer 1, the foils and tubes will assume the illustrated shapes when in their extreme positions. The tubes 72, as shown in FIGS. 7a and 7b on the left, may be arranged to reflect-and/or absorb the incident radiation around the whole of their peripheral surface, or, as illustrated in FIGS. 70 and 7b on the right, opposite quadrants 78 and 78 of the periphery may be transparent to the light and the other two quadrants 79.

79 may be opaque, in such manner that in the position shown in FIG. 7b, where channel system 76 is fully inflated, the light can pass through the wall only when incident from one side (as indicated by arrows L), whereas light arriving obliquely from the other side (arrows in discontinuous lines I) is reflected and/or absorbed. An interior covered by such a wall can thus be screened from the sun during the hotter parts of the day without preventing adequate access of daylight.

FIG. 7a exemplifies yet another alternative of screening against direct insulation. This is indicated by dotted lines. By pulling foil 74 sideways, the evacuated tubes 72 can be laterally tilted in relation to their normal collapsed positions in planes perpendicular to the carrier layer 1. Another alternative to the possible forms of construction shown in FIGS. 71; and 7b consists in providing controllable barrier elements exclusively in the form of tubes 72 and omitting foil 74.

FIGS. 8a and 8b show an arrangement in which tubes 82 of an elastically stretchable material are attached to the carrier layer 1 along seams 83. When fully depressurized or deflated, these tubes cover only a fraction of the carrier layer 1 (FIG. 8a), but when filled and expanded they can cover the surface of the carrier layer completely (FIG. 8b). The material from which the tubes are made may be chosen to reflect and/ or absorb the incident radiation. Alternatively the tubes may be filled with a medium which absorbs light. The inflating fluids may have selected different coefficients of extinction. In order to reduce the degree towhich the material of the tubes must be stretched, the latter may be oval in cross section, as indicated at 82'.

FIGS. 9a and 9b show an arrangement which is similar to that illustrated in FIGS. 5a and 5b, except that the outer layer 9 is omitted. The strips of foil 2 absorb and/ or reflect the radiation impinging upon their central portions95, whereas the marginal portions 94 and 94 are transparent to light. The greatest transparency of the wall therefore arises when the channels 6 are evacuated (FIG. 9a), whereas maximum opacity of the wall is obtained when the channels are fully inflated (FIG. 9b). In order to intercept light which is obliquely incident from one side, either completely or partly, as already described with reference'to FIGS 7a and 7b, the central ledges 51 may be set at an angle a to the carrier layer 1 less than 90 (right-hand side in FIGS. 9a and 9b).

FIGS. 10a to 10d relate to a form of construction of the invention in which use can .be made of rigid strips 102. One of the longitudinal edges 101 of each strip 102 is held in a socket 103 attached to a flexible tubular member 104, a plurality of such tubular members being attached in spaced relationship to the rear face of the carrier layer 1. According to the degree of inflation of the hollow interiors 106 of the tubular members 104, the strip 102 can be deflected, as shown in FIGS. 10a to 100, into positions which range from the perpendicular (FIG. 10a) to a position parallel FIG. 10c) to the carrier layer 1. For reasons of strength the strips may be corrugated in the manner indicated in the drawing. FIGURE 10d is a view of the arrangement form underneath.

The interiors 106 of the tubular members 104 may all be inflated to the same extent. The angles the strips 102 will then make with the carrier layer 1 will all be equal. If the carrier layer 1 defines a plane surface, the position of the strips 102 in relation to parallel incident rays will then be the same; On the other hand, the degree of inflation of the several tubular members 106 in different regions of the carrier wall may be different, causing the strips 102 to be deflected into positions of different angularity with respect to parallel incident rays. For instance, if the surface of the strips is arranged to reflect a considerable proportion of the incident radiation, then it is possible by suitably deflecting the individual i6 strips to appropriate angles to focus the incident rays because of the consequent difference in the angles of reflection. In other words, by varying the degree of inflation of the several tubular members 104 different desired effects can be obtained by using the known optical laws of reflections.

FIGS. 11 and 12 show an embodiment in which the devices for varying the transparency of the wall to radiation are themselves arranged to be deflectable. Elastically deflectable strips of transparent material are attached along one of their edges by means of a longitudinal seam 113 to the carrier layer 1. Strips of flexible foil 111 in conjunction with the carrier layer 1 and strips 110 enclose a channel space 117. Aflixed to the strips 110 are systems of a kind similar to those already shown in FIGS. 1, 3, 4, and 5. Foil 2 comprises a plurality of strips of which each-forms a channel 6 in conjunction with an associated strip 110 and each strip of foil 2 has marginal portions 4 and 4 adapted partly or wholly to absorb and/or reflect the incident rays. The channels 6 can be deflected by inflation of channels 117 in such manner that the radiation-impermeable portions 4 and 4, which absorb and/ or reflect the incident rays, are deflectable into different angular positions, for in-' stance parallel to the incident rays, thus permitting maximum entry of light. For instance, their relative position may be continuously varied by reference to the position of the sun in the sky, whereby the opposite effect is posisible, which is that the sunlight may be kept off the interior entirely by changing the position of the strips 110 so thatthey are aligned -parallel to the suns rays.

FIGS. 13 to 18b show examples of electrically controllable arrangements for adjustably varying the transparency of a structure according to the invention. Electrostatic or electromagnetic forces maybe used for deflecting the ray-absorbing and/or reflecting strips 44 or 444 and 444'. These strips may consist of an electrically conductive material or of a non-conductive material provided with a conductive coating, such as a conductive varnish or a metal coating formed by metal deposition from the vapor phase. Since the strips may be as thin as desired, the forces. needed for deflecting the same need not be great. Electrical charges generated on the strips may therefore be very small. The strips may be sectionalized or they may be continuous. FIG. 13 shows an arrangement in which a transparent carrier layer 1 sup ports a layer 2 of stiff or flexible material attached thereto along longitudinal scams 3 in such a way as to form a system of channels 6 between layer 2 and the carrier layer in the manner shown in the drawing. A deflectable strip 44 is located inside each channel and one edge of this strip is attached either to the carrier layer 1 or to layer 2 close to seam 3. The said strips 44 consist of elastic material and the attachment of their edges 130 to the carrier layer 1 or to layer 2 elastically urges them into a position in which these strips 44 and their edges 130 lie in the same plane. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 13 the strips tend to place themselves in positions in which they cause the wall to be of maximum transparency to perpendicularly incident rays.

Aflixed to the face of carrier layer 1 is either a strip 131 of transparent conductive varnish or a linear conductor 131 extending lengthwise in alignment with the center line of each channel 6. If the strips 44 and the conductive strips 131 or conductors 131 are electroside 7 of carrier layer 1 as soon as the electrostatic forces overcome the elastic forces generated at the joint of the edges 130. This is indicated in FIG. 13 in dotted lines.

Instead of using electrostatic forces, the deflection of the strips 44 may be effected by forces of an electromagnetic kind. If an electric current is arranged to flow 7 through the strips in a direction contrary to the direction of flow of a current in the conductive strips 131 or the conductors 131', then the strips will likewise be induced, when the fields are sufiiciently strong, to move into the positions indicated by dotted lines in the drawing.

Instead of providing an elastic restoring force, the same function may be performed by gravity if this is arranged to act counter to the electrostatic or electromagnetic attraction. Moreover, the polarity of the field may be changed to produce repulsion instead of attraction. The current-conducting strips 131 may alternatively be located on that side of the carrier layer 1 which faces the channels. However, in such a case they should be provided with a coating of insulating material. For charging and discharging the conductors, known sources of current or sources of electrical charges may be used.

In the embodiment according to FIG. 14 a conductor 141 is provided on the inside of each channel 6 facing the carrier layer 1. When a current flows in the same direction through all these conductors 141, a magnetic field parallel to the carrier layer 1 and the conductors arises. If the strips 44 consist of a paramagnetic or ferro magnetic material they will tend to assume a position parallel to the field, that is to say they will assume the position indicated in dotted lines. On the other hand, if like currents in neighboring conductors 141 flow in opposite directions, then the strips 44 will assume the positions shown in full lines. Hence, by a passing of unlike currents through neighboring conductors 141 in alternately opposite directions the strips 44 of ferromagnetic material may be induced to assume any intermediate positions between the two extreme positions illustrated in FIG. 14.

Alternatively the strips 44 may consist of a permanently magnetic material which is magnetized across the thickness of the strips. When current flows through the conductors 141 the strips will then tend to move into positions parallel to the magnetic field. According to the magnitude of the elastic forces or of gravity or the intensity of the magnetic field the strips will move into positions normal, oblique or parallel to the carrier layer.

. All the described features may be combined in any desired manner according to the requirements of the particular application taken in view.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 15 the strips 444 and 444 are attached to the outside of layer 2. They may consist of conductive material or they may be provided with a conductive coating. Inside the channels 6 formed by layer 2 are electrical conductors 151. These may be cemented or welded to layer 2. By charging the strips 444 and 444 and the electrical conductors 151 or, assuming that the strips 444 and 444' are permanently cross-magnetized, by sending a current of arbitrary direction and magnitude through conductors 151, the strips 444 and 444' can be induced to assume any position intermediate between the position shown in full lines in the drawingand the position indicated in chain lines in which they are in contact with layer 2. Moreover, the strips 444 and 444' may be provided with charges of like polarity which repel one another and urge the strips into contact with layer 2. In the latter case the presence of conductors inside channels 6 is unnecessary.

The embodiment according to FIG. 16 resembles that shown in FIG. 15. Narrower strips 444 and 444' are attached to the carrier layer 1 on each side of the channels 6 formed by layer 2. If charges of like polarity are applied to the strips (which in this case, of course, must be of dielectric material), they will be deflected in the directions of arrows 160 and 160 into the chain-line positions. If devoid of a charge or if given charges of unlike polarity they will be deflected in the converse direction.

FIG. 17 illustrates an arrangementwhich lacks the layer or foil 2 altogether. The manner in which this embodiment functions corresponds to that already described with reference to FIG. 16. The strips 444 and 444' may be integral with each other and may be secured to the carrier layer 1 along the seams marked 33. They may be electrically charged and discharged by electrical conductors located along the seams at 33. Additional electrical conductors 171 extending parallel tothe seams 33 may be provided midway between two neighboring seams on the outside of the carrier layer 1. These conductors 171 permit an additional electrical or magnetic force to be applied to the strips 444 and 444. In this example the strips may consist of a magnetized material. They will then function as has above been described.

FIGS. 18:; and 18b represent an embodiment in which each channel 6 contains a plurality of thin laminae 184 which are secured to strips 185 along lines of attachment marked 183. When electrically charged these laminae 184 will fan out as illustrated in FIG. 18b. The generation of a convection current inside the channels 6 which may contain a gas or a liquid is thus suppressed. The illustrated arrangement will inhibit for instance the transfer of heat from the interior to the exterior through the carrier layer and conversely. If the laminae 184 are endowed with diflerent electrical, magnetic or bimetallic properties, they may also be individually deflected by corresponding electrical, magnetic or thermal effects. The reflecting or absorbing action of the strips can thus be controllably varied. The deflection of radiation-impermeable strips, which absorb and/ or reflect the light, can be controlled by a photoelectric cell dependent on the intensity of the incident radiation.

FIG. 19 shows an embodiment in which the strips 194 and 194 are composite elements which bend according to temperature attached to the carrier layer along lines 193. According to the composition and elastic bias of the strips 194 and 194 these will be deflected when heated or cooled in the directions indicated by arrows 195 and 195. For deflecting the strips special sources of heat may be provided or they may be controlled by the interior or exterior ambient temperatures or by temperature rises due to irradiation.

.The carrier layer employed in the several examples shown in FIGS. 1 to 19 maylikewise consist of a material which absorbs the incident light. Controllably variable devices in such arrangements are then provided to regulate and vary the absorption and/ or back radiation of the carrier layer. They may therefore be provided on both sides of the carrier layer or only on one. An illustrative application of such a covering or wall structure according to the invention is a carrier layer arranged to form a supporting ceiling consisting of, say, black concrete, the upper face of the concrete being provided wit-h adjustable devices of the kind shown in FIGS. 1 to 19, for instance for letting in the incoming radiation but preventing radiation in the opposite-direction in the manner of a radiation trap. The underface of such a radiation-absorbing ceiling may likewise be provided with adjustable devices as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 19 to prevent radiation by the ceiling in the downward direction for controlling the energy turnover in the space under ceiling. Another use of the structures according to the invention is the covering of open-air waters, such as swimming pools.

FIGS. 20 to 24 show structures which, according to the invention, consist of a plurality of chambers or bladders filled with gas, preferably air, each comprising at least one flexible outer and one flexible inner skin or wall. The outer and-inner skin that may each consist of a single-layer or multiply material which, as required, may be transparent to light or opaque. Alternatively, either the outside or the inside skin may be arranged in the manner of a wall according to the invention as described with reference to the preceding FIGURES 1 to 19;

I claim:

1. A wall structure comprising a plurality of inflatable elements juxtaposed with one another, each of said elements having at least one portion-of substantially radiation-impermeable material occupying a first position in the deflated state of the element and a second position generally perpendicular to said first position in the inflated state thereof, said portions forming an effective radiation barrier in one of said states of said elements while permitting radiation to pass more freely therebetween in the other of said states.

2. A wall structure comprising a plurality of inflatable elements juxtaposed with one another, each of said elements having at least one portion of substantially radiation-impermeable material occupying a first position in the deflated state of the element and a second position generally perpendicular to said first position in the inflated state thereof, said portions forming a substantially continuous radiation shield in one of said states of said elements while permitting nearly unhindered passage of radiation therebetween in the other of said states.

3. A wall structure comprising a plurality of substantially parallel and inflatable tubular elements juxtaposed with one another, each of said elements having at least one longitudinally extending portion of substantially radiation-impermeable material occupying a first position in the deflated state of the element and a second position generally perpendicular to said first position in the inflated state thereof, said portions forming an effective radiation barrier in one of said states of said elements while permitting radiation to pass more freely therebetween in the other of said states.

4. A wall structure comprising a plurality of substantially parallel and inflatable tubular elements juxtaposed with one another, each of said elements having at least one longitudinally extending portion of. substantially radiation-impermeable material occupying a first position in the deflated state of the element and a second position generally perpendicular to said first position in the inflated state thereof, said portions forming a substantially continuous radiation shield in one of said states of said elements while permitting nearly unhindered passage of radiation therebetween in the other of said states.

5. A wall structure comprising a plurality of substantially parallel and inflatable tubular elements juxtaposed with one another, each of said elements including two lateral strip portions of relatively low radiation transmissivity separated by longitudinally extending zones of relatively high radiation transmissivity, said elements con-' tacting one another along edges of their respective strip portions, the latter being so dimensioned as to create an effective radiation barrier in the deflated position of said elements while permitting radiation to pass more freely therebetween in the inflated position of said elements of all tiers.

6. A wall structure comprising a plurality of sets of substantially parallel and inflatable tubular elements juxtaposed with one another in a plurality of adjoining tiers, each of said elements including two lateral strip portions of relatively low radiation transmissivity separated by longitudinally extending zones of relatively high radiation transmissivity, the elements of each set contacting one another along edges of their respective strip portions, the latter being so dimensioned as to create an effective radiation barrier in the deflated position of the elements of at least one tier While permitting radiation to pass more freely therebetween in the inflated position of the elements of all tiers. i

'7. A structure as defined in claim 6 wherein the elements of adjoining tiers are relatively staggered.

8. A structure as defined in claim 6 wherein the elements of different tiers have strip portions discriminating substantially the entire area thereof where-by the overall transmissivity of the structure is controllable by the degree of inflation of said elements.

10. A wall structure comprising a carrier sheet and a plurality of substantially parallel inflatable tubular elements juxtaposed with one another throughout the surface of said sheet, said elements consisting at least in part of longitudinally extending portions havingv a radiation transmissivity different from that of said carrier sheet which in one state of inflation overlie only a limited area of said sheet and in another state of inflation overlie substantially the entire area thereof whereby the overall transmissivity of the structure is controllable by the degree of inflation of said elements.

11. A wall structure comprising a carrier sheet of relatively high radiation transmissivity and a plurality of inflatable elements distributed at closely spaced locations over the surface of said sheet, said elements consisting at least in part of portions of relatively low radiation transmissivity which in one state of inflation overlie only a limited area of said sheet and in another state of inflation overlie substantially the entire area thereof Whereby the overall transmissivity of the structure is controllable by the degree of inflation of said elements.

12. A Wall structure comprising a carrier sheet of relatively high radiation transmissivity and a plurality of substantially parallel inflatable tubular elements juxaposed with one another throughout the surface of said sheet, saidelements consisting at least in part of longitudinally extending portions of relatively low radiation transmissivity which in one state of inflation overlie only a limited area of said sheet and in another state of inflation overlie substantially the entire area thereof whereby the overall transmissivity of the structure is controllable by the degree of inflation of said elements.

1-3. A structure as defined in claim 12, further comprising support means spaced from said surface and positioned for engagement by said portions in the deflated state of said elements.

14. A structure as defined in claim 13 wherein said elements are arrayed in a tier, said support means being constituted by an adjoining .tier of inflatable tubular elements.

15. A structure as defined in claim 14 wherein said support means comprises an elongated member extending longitudinally within each of said elements.

16. A wall structure comprising a relatively radiationpermeable carrier sheet, a plurality of foil-shaped flexible thermally deformable members of relatively radiation-impermeable material individually hinged along longitudinally extending flexible portions thereof to said carrier sheet at closely spaced locations with freedom of displacement into a first position substantially parallel to the surface of said carrier sheet and 'a second position generally perpendicular thereto whereby the overall radiation transmissivity of the structure depends upon the position of said members, and control means including a source of heat for selectively moving said members from one of said positions into the other.

17. A wall structure comprising an array of juxtaposed v strip members of substantially radiation-impenrnealble material rotatable about individual longitudinal axes thereof between a position of substantial parallelism, permitting the free passage of radiation therebetween, and

an alternate position in which said members form an effective radiation barrier, and fluid-responsive control means carrying said members for rotating them into a selected angular position.

18. A Wall structurecomprising a relatively radiationimpermeable carrier sheet, an array of juxtaposed strip members of substantially radiation-impermeable material supported on said sheet adjacent a surface thereof for rotation about individual longitudinal axes thereof between a position of substantial parallelism transverse to said surface, permitting the free passage of radiation therebetween, and an alternate position in which said members rform an elfective radiation barrier next to said surface, and fluid-responsive control means connected with said sheet and members and carrying said members on said sheet for rotating said members into a selected angular position.

19. A wall structure comprising a relatively radiation permeable carrier sheet, a plurality of foil-shaped members of relatively radiation impermeable material individually hinged to said carrier sheet at closely spaced locations with freedom of displacement into a first position substantially parallel to a surface of said carrier sheet and a second position generally perpendicular thereto whereby the overall radiation transmissivity of the structure depends upon the position of saidmembers, said members comprising electrically conductive layers, and control means including a source of current connectable to said layers for producing an electromagnetic fleld thereat for selectively moving said members from one of said positions into the other.

20. A wall structure comprising a relatively radiation permeable carrier sheet, a plurality of foil-shaped members of relatively radiation impermeable material individually hinged to said carrier sheet at closely spaced locations with freedom of'displa'cement into a first position substantially parallel to a surface of said carrier sheet and a second position generally perpendicular thereto whereby the overall radiation transmissivity of the structure depends upon the position of said members, said members comprising magnetically permeable layers, and control means including a source of magnetic field :for selectively moving said members from one of said positions into the other. V

21. A wall structure comprising an array of juxtaposed strip members of substantially radiation impermeable material rotatable about individual longitudinal axes thereof between a position of substantial parallelism, permitting the free passage of radiation therebetween, and an alternateposition in which said members form an effective radiation barrier, and fluid responsive control means comprising .an array of inflatable tubes each integral with one of said members for rotating said members into a selected angular position.

22. A wall structure comprising an array of closely arranged elongated inflatable channel means each formed by at least one pair of thin, flexible and elongated members, one of said members having at least in parts thereof a radiation transmissivity smaller than the other of said members, said members being connected along longitudinally extending portions to each other in such a manner so that during inflation of said channel means on one side of said one member an etfe'ctive radiation barrier is created while permitting radiation to pass more freely through said wall structure during inflation of said channel means on the other side of said one member.

23. A wall structure comprising a carrier sheet, and

a plurality of inflatable elongated channel means distributed at closely spaced locations over one surface of said sheet, each of said channel means being formed by a pair of thin, flexible and elongated members one arranged within the other, said one member having at least in part thereof a radiation transmissivity smaller than the other member, said members being connected to each other and to said carrier sheet along longitudinally extending portions so that during inflation of said channel means on the inside of said one member radiation is permitted to pass freely through said wall structure. and so that during deflation of said one member and inflation of said channel means on the outside of said one member in effective radiation barrier is created.

24. A structure as defined in claim 23 wherein said members form part of the wall of the associated tubes.

25. A structure as defined in claim 24 wherein said members project outwardly from the wall of the associated tubes.

26. A wall structure comprising a carrier sheet, and a plurality of inflatable elongated channel means distributed at'closely spaced locations over one surface of said sheet, each of said channel means being formed by an inflatable tubular member connected along a longitudinally extending portion thereof to said carrier sheet and a flexible sheet member connected along longitudinally extending portions thereof to adjacent tubular members, said tubular member having a radiation transnfissivity greater than said sheet member, said channel means being inflatable by inflating the tubular members and by deflating said tubular members and inflating the space defined by two adjacent tubular members and the flexible sheet member connected thereto, said members being arranged with respect to each other in such a manner so that during inflation of said tubular members an effective radiation barrier is created, while radiation is permitted to move more freely through said wall structure during deflation of said tubular members and inflation of said space.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,789,655 1/ 1931 Iwata.

2,227,360 12/1940 Nelson 189-62 2,651,085 9/1953 Kopp 2056.5

2,689,387 9/1954 Carr 2056.5

2,812,769 11/1957 Schaefer et al l351 2,854,102 9/1958 Peoples 18962 2,934,075 4/1960 Richardson et al -1 3,068,971 12,1962 Ringler 18962 3,123,831 3/1964 Wells et al. 250-10 8 ROBERT K. SCHAEFER, Primary Examiner.

HARRISON R. MOSELEY, DARRELL L. CLAY,

T. BLUMENSTOCK, Assistant Examiners.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification174/384, 126/658, 160/61, 52/515, 126/672, 52/2.19, 47/17, 174/364, 52/27
International ClassificationH05K9/00
Cooperative ClassificationH05K9/0003
European ClassificationH05K9/00A2