US 3353472 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 2l, 1967 -J w, LEE ET Al. 3,353,472
DROPPED CEILING VENTILATOR APPARATUS Filed May 13, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 1. JUN WLEB, ,-9- Ii 1 fh BY JAUKTFEID.
'I 'E51 l INVENTORS.-
Nov. 21, 1967 J. W. L EE ET AL.
DROPPED CEILING VENTILATOR APPARATUS 4 Sheets-*Sheet 5 Filed May 13, 1965 NvENToRs: J0 N W. LBL',
JA 0K T F5117 AALT T Ts.
NOV. 21, 1967 J, W, LEE ET AL.
DROPPED CEILING VENTILATOR APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed May l5, 1965 INVENTORS: J0 N W LEE. JACK T FMD.
ATT ys United States Patent C) 3,353,472 DRGPPED CEILING VENTILATOR APPARATUS .Ion W. Lee, Campbell, Calif., and Jack 'I'. Feid, Granville, (lhio, assignors to GWens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed May 13, 1965, ser. No. 455,476 7 Claims. (Cl. 98-40) ABSTRACT F THE DISCLSURE A dropped ceiling construction having a rectilinear supporting grid for ceiling modules. Conditioned air is supplied to the room from ductwork through some of the supporting grid elements. Return air flows through others of the supporting grid elements to the plenum space above the dropped ceiling, from which it is exhausted. The modules are subdivided with elongated, inverted, T-shaped grid elements. The ceiling modules comprise ceiling boards and lighting fixtures all supported by the grid elements.
This invention relates to dropped ceiling constructions and, more particularly, to the supporting members for such a dropped ceiling construction, by which the ceiling is supported in position beneath the structural ceiling of the building in which it is located, in such a fashion as to form modular areas in the ceiling with support elements for the ceiling boards such as acoustical tile or the like, and also for lighting components and air-flow ducts by which conditioned air may be brought into and taken away from the inhabited space located beneath the dropped ceiling.
The use of inverted T-shaped support bars having opposed horizontal f'langes for the support of ceiling boards Such as acoustical tile is well known. These T-bars are suspended from the structural ceiling of a building and extend across the spaces therein, usually running parallel to each other and being intersected by transversely extending bars to form small squares, diamonds, triangles and the like sometimes measuring one foot by one foot, one foot by two feet, etc. Ceiling boards of acoustical material are laid on the flanges of the T-bars to constitute the dropped ceiling.
It has also been suggested that, in some cases, the conventional inverted T-bars should be replaced by air-flow bars which are of the same general configuration but which have air passageways extending through the central portions of their bodies by which air may be delivered into the space beneath the ceiling from related air supply ducts. Such ducts sometimes extend along the full lengths of these air-flow bars, from end to end, and are open to the air-flow passages throughout their lengths so that a controlled supply of conditioned air may be fed into the space beneath the ceiling.
The present invention consists of a dropped ceiling construction which comprises an arrangement of elongated, inverted, generally T-shaped elements providing vthe outwardly turned horizontal flanges for the support of ceiling boards, lighting components, and the like, with some of the inverted T-shaped elements actually having hollow air passages through their vertical portions and all of the elements being arranged and assembled to provide for modular ceiling areas. Each of the modular ceiling areas, in a construction according to the present invention, is defined by at least two of the T-shaped elements and at least one of those two is an air-flow element by which air is fed into the space beneath the ceiling or returned from the space beneath the ceiling to the so-called plenum space above the ceiling or to a return air duct. For example, if the modular areas of the ceiling are triangular in ICC shape, then a modular area adjacent a wall of the room is formed by supporting structure extending along the Wall and two of the T-shaped elements one of which would be an air-flow bar. In such a ceiling modular areas remote from the walls are defined by three T-shaped elements at least two of which are air-flow elements, one supplying air to the space beneath the ceiling and one providing for the return of air from the space beneath the ceiling to the plenum space above the ceiling. Similarly if the modular areas are square or rectangular, modular areas adjacent the walls of the room are defined by three T-shaped elements at least two of which are airflow elements to supply and return air and modular areas remote from the walls are defined by four T-shaped elements, again two of the elements functioning to supply air to or return air from the space beneath the ceiling. In some arrangements according to the invention, the airflow elements extend parallel to each other, for example across the room, and alternate elements function to supply air to and return air from the occupied space. In these instances the transverse elements may be simple T-bars without air-fiow passages or they may be air-flow bars with the air-fiow passages sealed, as for example by strips of metal which close off the air passages or by other means.
It is therefore the principal object of the present invention to provide a ceiling construction which defines modular areas of a dropped ceiling, each of the areas being defined by support means for ceiling boards, lighting components and the like, as well as by air supply and return means.
This and other more specic objects and advantages of the instant invention will be better understood from the specification which follows and from the drawings in which:
FIG. l is a fragmentary View in perspective of a portion of an enclosed space in a building provided with a dropped ceiling construction embodying the invention and illustrating one arrangement of the elements makin y up the construction;
FIG. 2 is a View similar to FIG. 1, but on a smaller scale, and illustrating another construction embodying the invention;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view in perspective taken from a position above a dropped ceiling construction embodying the invention and illustrating how the elements of the construction are assembled one to the other and function to provide support for ceiling boards, lighting components, air supply means and air return means;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, vertical, sectional view on an enlarged scale illustrating a junction of structural elements and showing an air supply duct assembled therewith; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, horizontal, sectional view taken along the line 5 5 of FIG. 4.
A dropped ceiling construction according to the invention comprises a support grid consisting of various arrangements and assemblies of elongated, inverted, generally T-shaped elements of several types. Among these are simple T-bars such as .the T-bars indicated by the reference number 20 (FIG. 3) and more complex T-shaped elements such as the air-flow elements indicated by the reference number 21. All of the inverted T-shaped elements have outwardly turned flanges 22, on the simple T-bars 20, or 23 on the air-flow elements 21. The flanges 22 and 23 cooperate to support the edges of ceiling boards 24 which may be of any conventional type such as compressed glass fiber boards, wood fiber boards and the like. The entire ceiling construction formed by the T-shaped elements 20 and 21 is suspended beneath a structural ceiling, generally indicated by the reference number 25, of the building in which the dropped ceiling is to be positioned to form the apparent ceiling for the J occupied portion of the space in the building and to provide a plenum space above the dropped ceiling between the dropped ceiling and the structural ceiling 25.
In modern building constructions dropped ceilings of this general type lfinish oli the occupied portions of the building and the plenum spaces there above are utilized for the supply of various utilities such as electric power and conditioned air, as the location of main heating ducts or water supply lines, and the like. In a construction according to the invention the plenum space above the dropped ceiling is utilized for both the supply of conditioned air to the occupied spaces `beneath the dropped ceiling, and the return of air from those spaces.
In FIG. l there is shown a dropped ceiling construction according to the invention and there are fragmentarily illustrated two air ducts 26, extending parallel to each other across the room, and shown as being connected to a main conditioned air supply duct 27. Air at selected temperature and humidity is fed from a central source through the main supply ducts 27 and then to the air ducts 26 and into the space lbeneath the ceiling. In the embodiment of the dropped ceiling construction illustrated in FIG. l the individual air ducts 26 are associated with supply air-flow elements 21S through which the conditioned air is fed into the space beneath the dropped ceiling. Air is returned from the space beneath the dropped ceiling in this arrangement through return airflow elements 21R which are illustrated as running perpendicularly to the air-liow elements 21S by which the air is supplied. Return air fiowing through the return airow elements 21R into the plenum space above the dropped ceiling is exhausted therefrom through a main exhaust duct 28 fragmentarily illustrated in FIG. l which would return such air to the central air conditioning system.
In general, in the arrangement of FIG. 1, each of the modular areas of the ceiling is defined by a pair of airflow supply elements 21S which are spaced from and extend parallel to each other on opposite sides of a module and by a pair of air-fiow return elements 21R which are similarly spaced from each other and extend perpendicularly to the supply air-flow elements 21S to define the other two sides of the module. In the arrangement of FIG. l a modular area is defined on all four sides by similar appearing, air-flow elements 21R or 21S so that the modular area of the ceiling extends over the area indicated in FIG. 1 by the brackets labeled Modular Area. The ceiling of a large room would consist of a plurality of these modular areas defined in the same fashion as that just descri-bed to give the ceiling an overall uniformity of pattern.
In the construction illustrated in FIG. 1 it will also be observed that each of the modular areas includes within its borders and individual lighting fixture 29 having a glass pane. While the light fixture 29 is shown as being centrally located in each of the modular areas in the construction illustrated in FIG. l it will be appreciated, of course, that the number of lighting fixtures to be installed in the modular areas in any given room is determined by the quantity of light necessary to properly illuminate the room and it may thus be that lighting fixtures will be located not in every modular area of the ceiling of such a room but only in alternate modular areas or that more than one lighting component might be located in each modular area. As will be better understood as this description continues, the ceiling construction embodying the invention possesses flexibility of arrangement of the inverted T-shaped elements of both types, i.e., not only may the sizes and shapes of the modular areas themselves be changed, but also the division of each modular area by the simple T-bars may be changed at will to accommodate larger or smaller ceiling boards 24 and larger or smaller lighting components, such as the xtures 29 or the presence or absence of such lighting components. In the construction of FIG. 1 each modular area might measure six feet long by four and one-half feet wide, utilizing a lighting fixture three feet long by one and onehalf -feet wide and yceiling boards one and one-half feet square at the ends of the fixture 29 and one and one-half feet by two feet at its sides.
In the ceiling construction illustrated in FIG. 2 each of the modular ceiling areas is defined yby only a pair of air-liow elements comprising one supply air-iiow element 21S -which defines one side of the modular area and one return air-liow element 21R which is parallel thereto and defines the opposite side of the modular area. In this arrangement the two other sides of each modular area are defined by simple T-bar elements 20 which extend perpendicularly to the air-liow elements 21S and 21R. In such an arrangement, of course, the identical appearing air-flow elements 21S and 21R provide a parallel pattern and the sli-ghtly different appearing, simple T-bar elements 20 extend in a pattern at ri-ght angles thereto. As in the case of the construction illustrated in FIG. l, however, each of the modular areas is defined by at least two of the air-flow elements and, even at the sides of the room adjacent the walls, each modular area is defined by several of the inverted T-shaped elements including at least one air-liow element. A modular area thus defined, is indicated by the brackets labeled Modular Area. In this case, the area might be ten feet by seven and one-half feet wide and containing two lighting fixtures, the fixtures each measuring six feet long by one and one-half feet wide and all the ceiling lboards measuring one and onehalf feet -by two feet. Again as in the construction illustrated in FIG. l, each of the air-flow supply elements 21S has an associated air duct 26a which supplies conditioned air to the associated air-flow supply element 21S and which are provided with conditioned air from a main air supply duct 27a. Air returned through the return air-fiow elements 21R from the occupied space beneath the dropped ceiling to the plenum space above the dropped ceiling beneath the main structural ceiling 25a, is exhausted from the plenum space by a main exhaust duct 28a.
While the precise details of the size, shape and configurations of the elements forming a dropped ceiling construction according to the invention do not constitute the heart of the present invention, illustrative details are disclosed in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. Each of the air-ow elements 21S (supply) and 21R (return) consists of a pair of identical extruded bars 30. Each of the bars 30 comprises a vertically extending body 31, at the lower end of which is located the outwardly extending support flange 23, and a pair of outwardly extending vertically spaced lips 32. Near their upper ends each of the bars 30 has a groove 33 in its inner surface. The two bars 30 are assembled to each other to form an air-flow element 21S or 21R by a plurality of cross clips 34 (FIGS. 4 'and 5). Each of the cross clips 34 has oppositely extending pairs of shorter and longer tabs 35 and 36 which extend through vertical slots cut in the bodies 31 of the bars 30, the longer tabs 36 being crimped over tightly against the outer surfaces of the bodies 31 to retain the two bars 30 in their spaced parallel relationship as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5.
Hangers 37 (see also FIG. 3) are slid into the grooves 33 and spaced from each other along the lengths of the elements 21S and 21R, being engaged by the hook ends of hanger wires 38, the upper ends of which are engaged with eyes 39 set into the main structural ceiling 25 or 25a for supporting the entire gridwork at the selected level beneath the structural ceiling 25 or 25a.
Each of the supply air-flow elements 21S has an associated air supply duct 26 or 26a illustrated in some detail in FIGS. 4 and 5. An air supply duct 26 is shown as being fabricated with an inner layer 40 of an insulating material, such as compressed glass fiber wool, folded into a rectangular cross section and encased with a thin sheet 41 of plastic material, Other materials may be used for 5 the ducts and circular, square or oval ducts, as desired, may be employed.
The bottom of the air supply duct 26 has a central slot throughout itslength into which protrudes the upper end of the respective supply air-fiow element 21S, as is best illustrated in FIG. 4. Each edge of the glass fiber wool layer 40 is illustrated as being protected by a bent sheet metal channel 42 for protection against damage and to provide a means for assembly and retention of the air supply duct 26 with its respective air-flow element 21S. The channel 42 has a downwardly turned lip 43 which recesses in an upwardly open groove 44 formed in the outer side of the respective bar 30 of the air-flow element 21S. By this arrangement the glass fiber wool 40 with its protective covering 41 may be shipped fiat to the place of installation and folded into rectangular shape by a workman, one of the channels 42 being first inserted into the respective groove 44 at the outer side of the associated supply air-fiow element 21S; the duct 26 being then folded around over the upper end of the element 21S and its opposite channel 42 being inserted in the groove 43 at the opposite side of the air-flow element 21S. Of course, if the duct 26 or the outer sheath 41 is fabricated from sheet metal that metal itself may be bent to form the assembly channels 42.
Assembly of all of the inverted generally T-shaped elements which form a dropped ceiling construction according to the invention is accomplished through the use of assembly clips 45. Each of the clips 45 has a base leg 46 of such width as to fit between the lips 32 at the outer sides of the bars 30 and can be slid along the respective bar 30 to the selected position for joining with an abutting T-bar 20 or air-flow element 21S or 21R, depending upon the particular arrangement being installed. Each of the assembly clips 45 also has an engaging leg 47 which extends perpendicularly to its base leg 46 and is inserted through a vertical slot 48 punched at an appropriate distance from the end of the vertical element of the simple T-bars 20 (see FIG. 3) or through the respective bar 30 of an air-iiow element 21S or 21R. When the engaging legs 47 of the respective assembly clips 45 have been bent over and inserted through the respective cooperating slots 48 of the other T-shaped elements being assembled, their ends are bent around to retain the gridwork thus formed in its assembled relationship.
In any arrangement where a supply air-flow element 21S crosses a return air-flow element 21R it is necessary that the upper portions of the bars 30 of the return airow element 21R be cut away to accommodate the duct 26. Such a situation is illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. In FIG. 3 the general arrangement of the construction comprises a supply air-flow element 21S and a parallel spaced return air-fiow element..21R with dummy air-flow elements extending perpendicularly thereto and forming the other two sides of any modular area. Such an arrangement might be designed to particularly control the fiow of air through the room according to the desires of the particular heat or air conditioning engineer designing the system. When it is desired that an air-flow element 21 shall be a dummy, in the sense that no air is to flow therethrough, the otherwise open air-flow space through its center may be closed off by inserting a sealing plate 49 into the grooves 33 which are otherwise utilized for mounting of the hangers 37. Such a sealing plate 49 is illustrated in position in FIG. 3.
When the supply air-flow element 21S intersects a return air-flow element 21R the necessity for cutting away the uppermost parts of the bars 30 of the return air-flow element 21R does not interfere with the ow of return air therethrough because, as can be seen in FIG. 4, the passageway in the element 21R is open into the plenum space above the dropped ceiling throughout the length of the return air-fiow element 21R and remains open even where cut away to accommodate the duct 26.
When desired the supply air-iiow elements 21S may be provided with diverter bars 50 retained in their throats by suitable resilient clips 51 engaged in horizont-al grooves 52 formed in the inner surfaces of the bars 30.
FIG. 3 also illustrates the manner of arrangement of what has been called simple T-bar elements of the ceiling construction within any one of the modular areas. In this illustration the modular area is divided into nine smaller rectangular areas, eight of the areas forming a border around a central rectangular area in which there is shown a lighting fixture 29. Depending upon the particular size of the lighting fixture 29, inverted T-bars 20 extend between the T-shaped elements which define the modular area and support ceiling boards 24 of proper sizes as well as supporting the lighting fixture 29. As earlier mentioned, the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 3 is merely illustrative of arrangements which can be provided for by constructions according to the invention and is not intended to limit the invention or to constitute any part of the invention.
1. A dropped ceiling construction having a rectilinear support grid for ceiling elements, air supply means, air return means and lighting fixtures and suspension means for supporting said grid at a selected level beneath the structural ceiling of a building, in which said support grid consists of (l) a plurality of elongated, inverted, generally T-shaped elements, each of said elongated elements having an outwardly turned flange at each side of its bottom edge, said elongated elements being spaced to define rectilinear modular areas of s-aid dropped ceiling, some of said elongated elements being air-ow elements and having vertically extending air-flow passageways through the central portions thereof, each of said modular areas adjacent one of the walls of the ceiled room being defined by structure adjacent such wall and at least two of said elongated elements at least one of which is an air-fiow element and each of said modular areas remote from such walls being defined by at least three of said elongated elements at least two of which are air-flow elements, at least one of said air-flow elements defining each of said modules having a continuous air duct extending therealong above the level of said flanges and communicating along its length with the vertical passageway in the associated airfiow element for the flow of air between the space below said ceiling structure and said air duct, (2) additional elongated, inverted, T-shaped elements extending between and generally transverse to said module defining elements for cooperation therewith in supporting ceiling panel boards, light fixtures and the like within each of said modules, and (3) retaining means for connecting said elongated elements to each other.
2. A ceiling construction according to claim 1, in which each of the modular areas of the ceiling remote from the walls is at least in part defined by two air-flow elements, one of which is a supply air-fiow element which includes a continuous supply air duct extending therealong and thereabove for supplying air to the space beneath said ceiling and the other of which is a return air-flow element which is open for the return of air from such space beneath said ceiling to the space above said ceiling.
3. A ceiling construction according to claim 2, comprising additional, simple, elongated, inverted T-shaped elements arranged in minor rectangular patterns within the modular area and spaced from each other for supporting ceiling boards and the like on the flanges thereof, and cooperating assembly means on the sides of said airflow elements and the ends of said simple T-shaped elements for assembling said elements in selected spacing within the modular area.
4. A ceiling construction according to claim 3, in which the air-flow elements are perpendicular to each other and the return air-fiow element is cut away at the intersections of the two air-flow elements for accommodating the air ducts of the supply air-flow elements.
5. A ceiling construction according to claim 3, in which the air-ow elements are parallel to each other and dene opposite sides of the modular lareas.
6. A ceiling construction according to claim 5, and sealed-off nominal air flow elements extending between the supply air-ilow elements and the return air-ow elements for dening opposite sides of the modular areas.
7. A dropped ceiling construction for a room having a rectilinear support grid for ceiling panels and air supply and return means and suspension means for supporting said grid at a level beneath the structural ceiling of a building, in which said support grid comprises a plurality of elongated, inverted, generally T-shaped elements Iall of generally the same form, said elements being arranged to define polygonal modular areas of said dropped ceiling, some of said elements being air-ow elements and having vertically extending air-ow passageways through the central portions thereof, at least one of said air-flow elements having an air duct extending continuously therealong and above the level of said panels and communicating along its length with the vertic-al passageway in the associated o air-ow element for the flow of air between the air duct and the space below said dropped ceiling, the other of said air-ow elements having openings for the return of air for reconditioning from the space beneath said dropped ceiling to the space above said dropped ceiling, sound absorbing ceiling panels within each of said modular areas and supported by said elements, and retaining means for connecting said elongated elements to each other.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 25,352 3/1963 Rachlin 98-40 3,031,944 -5/1962 Davidson 98-40 3,106,146 10/1963 LaVigne 98-40 X 3,177,796 4/1965 Lee et al 98-40 3,187,661 6/1965 Dail 98-40 3,202,077 8/ 1965 Lee 98-40 3,204,547 9/ 1965 Ericson 98'-40 ROBERT A. OLEARY, Primary Examiner.
M. A. ANTONAKAS, Assistant Examiner.