US 3399915 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
STRUCTURAL MEMBER INTERCONNEGTING ARRANGEMENT Filed Nov. 7, 1966 Sept. 3, 1968 w. w. T. STANZAK 2 Sheets-Sheet l Sept. 3, 1968 W. W. T. STANZAK STRUCTURAL MEMBER INTERCONNECTING ARRANGEMENT Filed Nov. 7,-1966 2 Sheets-Sheet z United States Patent ()1 ice.
3,399,915 STRUCTURAL MEMBER INTERCONNECTING ARRANGEMENT William W. T. Stanzak, 2135 Rice Ave., Ottawa 13, Ontario, Canada Filed Nov. 7, 1966, Ser. No. 592,376 Claims priority, applic;\5ti0n2Canada, Apr. 19, 1966,
8,3 7 5 Claims. (Cl. 287189.36)
ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A connector for use in interconnecting a longitudinal structural member and a pair of directly opposed transverse structural members, such as those used in forming a grid work in a suspended ceiling, one of said connectors being normally provided on each of the adjacent ends of the transverse members and each connector having a tongue portion formed to fit snugly in a shared aperture in the longitudinal member, the depth of penetration of the tongues through the aperture being limited by shoulders located on each connector at the root of its tongue which includes a barb formed on the tongue so as to have its shoulder facing the root of the tongue and being so positioned that when the tongue has penetrated the aperture to its maximum depth, the shoulder on the barb engages with the longitudinal member to prevent its ready withdrawal.
This invention relates to a structural member interconnecting arrangement and in particular to a mechanical locking arrangement for interconnecting transverse structural members with longitudinal structural members. More particularly this invention relates to an arrangement for interconnecting transverse and longitudinal beams used for forming a grid work in a suspended ceiling arrangement.
Suspended ceilings are used today in many forms of buildings and there are certain characteristics which such ceilings must have in order to be acceptable. For example, in the event of a fire it is desirable to have the ceiling panels in a suspended ceiling remain in place for as long a time as possible to protect the structure above the ceiling, thereby to reduce damage to the structure and to aid in reducing the spread of fire through the building until it is brought under control.
It has been found that metallic structural members, such as are used in suspended ceilings, when exposed to the high temperatures resulting from a fire, sag and the transverse members tend to pull out from the supporting longitudinal members with the result that the suspended ceiling will cease to form a continuous fire barrier. Also severe twists may occur in the structural members which will permit the ceiling panels supported by the members to become disengaged from the members and fall out.
It is therefore desirable to provide a suspended ceiling structure which is capable of providing a continuous fire barrier for as long a period as possible when subjected to the heat from a fire. Even a few minutes extension in the length of time during which a suspended ceiling will remain operative as a fire barrier can be of great signaficance as damage to the building can be minimized and firemen will be given a longer time within which to endeavour to control the fire.
The members forming a grid work for a suspended ceiling should be so constructed as to make it possible to install the ceiling with a minimum amount of labour, preferably unskilled. Additionally as the trend today is to reduce the structural ceiling height in buildings, it is desirable that a suspended ceiling be constructed to permit Patented Sept. 3, 1968 its installation where there is a minimum amount of ceilmg space above the false suspended ceiling.
A grid work for a suspended ceiling should be pleasing and unobtrusive to the eye, which effect can be achieved by providing neat and tight joints between the transverse and longitudinal structural members. To achieve this it is preferable that the lowermost surface of the structural members all lie in the same horizontal plane when installed.
The present invention provides an arrangement for interconnecting transverse and longitudinal structural members which results in a positive interlocking of adjacent ends of transverse members, which such ends being rigidly held against twisting, in a longitudinal member 'so as to prevent, or reduce to a substantial extent, the possibility of the transverse members becoming disengaged from the longitudinal members when subjected to the extreme heat of a fire. Thus the structure of the present invention will be capable of functioning as a fire stop or barrier for .a longer period of time than known prior art structures of a similar nature. The fact that the transverse members cannot readily be pulled out of engagement and the fact that twisting of the transverse members is restrained by the structure of the present invention means that the ceiling panels supported by the structural members will remain in position for a longer time during a fire than was normally previously possible.
The joint structure of the present invention is such as will permit ready and inexpensive fabrication of the members so that they may be sold for a competitive price. Additionally the structure is such that the members can be readily interconnected by a relatively unskilled person to thereby render their installation competitively economical. A minimum amount of ceiling space is required above the structural members and when installed and the ceiling panels are in place, the structural members will provide a pleasing and unobtrusive appearance as there will be a minimum amount of visual discontinuity at the junctions of the transverse and longitudinal structural members, the lowermost surfaces of the panel-supporting flanges on these structural members normally lying substantially in the same plane with such positioning being automatically obtained without any adjustment after assembly by means of the novel member interconnecting structure of the present invention.
According to a broad aspect of the present invention, there is provided a connector for use in interconnecting a longitudinal structural member and a pair of directly opposed transverse structural members, one extending substantially perpendicularly from each of the sides of said longitudinal member, one of said connectors normally being provided on each of the adjacent ends of said transverse members with a portion of each connector being adapted to pass through a shared aperture in said longitudinal member, said connectors when positioned in said aperture cooperating to prevent withdrawal of either connector from said aperture, said connector comprising a resilient substantially fiat body provided with a tongue portion adapted to pass through said aperture and having a width sufficient to permit a snug fit of said tongue between top and bottom edges of said aperture, shoulders at the root of said tongue adapted to abut against one side of said longitudinal structural members, a barb on said tongue having its shoulder facing the root of said tongue, said barb being positioned so that when said shoulders abut against one side of said longitudinal structural member, the shoulder on said barb lockingly engages the other side of said structural member, and a boss on the opposite side of said body from said bar-b, said boss being positioned to urge the other of said connectors away from that one on which it is provided when both connectors are positioned in said aperture.
In the attached drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view with parts broken away of a longitudinal structural member and a pair of opposed, transverse structural members positioned as they would be immediately prior to interconnection;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged view in elevation of a connector located on one end of one of the transverse structural members of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a plan view with parts broken away of the members of FIGURE 1 partially interconnected; and
FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 3 but showing the structural members and connectors in their final interconnected position.
Referring to FIGURE 1, there is shown a longitudinal structural member generally referred to at 5 and a pair of opposed transverse structural members generally referred to at 6 and 7 respectively. Members 5, 6 and 7 will normally have identical cross sections which, in this embodiment, as illustrated, are substantially in the shape of an inverted T, and the members will normally be formed from light gauge zinc coated steel which has been roll-formed to the desired shape. Each of the members 5, 6 and 7 includes a normally vertical double web portion 9 having a normally horizontal panel-supporting flange portion 10 located along its lower edge, the flange portion being capped by capping 12 formed from painted steel, for example. A tubular reinforcing portion 11 is provided on the upper edge of the web portion 9. Members 5, 6 and 7 might also be formed from aluminum by extrusion.
At the location of each joint between the transverse and longitudinal structural members there is provided in the longitudinal structural member 5 a transversely extending, rectangular aperture 14 (only one shown) which is all that is required in the longitudinal extending member to provide a suitable interconnection between the structural members in accordance with the present invention.
Each end of each of the transverse structural members will normally be provided with a connector 15 formed in accordance with the present invention and this connector 15 may be formed either as an integral part of a transverse structural member or may be formed separately and secured to the transverse structural member by means such as rivets.
Referring now to FIGURE 2, the flat bodied connector 15 is contoured so as to provide a tongue portion 16 having a height which permits the tongue to fit through a slot 14 in member 5 and be a snug fit between the top and bottom edges of the slot 14. Connector 15 also includes opposed shoulders 17 positioned so as to abut against flange portion 10 on member 5 when the members are in their interconnected position. A cut-out 19 is provided in the lower edge of the connector 15 to accommodate the flange portion 10 on member 5 and a cut-out 20 is provided in the upper edge of the connector 15 to accommodate reinforcing member 11 on member 5 when the members are interconnected. Also as clearly shown in FIGURE 3, connector 15 is substantially flat but lies in a plane which is ofiset approximately one-half of its thickness to one side of the plane in which the flange portion 10, to which it is integrally connected, lies.
Referring back to FIGURE 2 as well as to FIGURE 3, there is provided on each connector a pair of spaced bosses 21 which project to one side of the connector body and are located on a line which is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the transverse member 7. A pair of spaced barbs 22 which project from the side of the connector 15 opposite to that side from which bosses 21 project are provided on the tongue portion 16; the barbs having shoulders 23 facing the root of the tongue portion 16. Barbs 22 are also located along a line which is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the structural member 7. While two bosses 21 and two barbs 22 are shown as the preferred arrangement, it is possible to utilize only one boss and one barb which could be of the same size as those illustrated in FIGURE 2 or in the alternative could be shaped so as to extend the same distance as that between the outer edges of the pair of barbs 22 and bosses 21 shown in FIGURE 2. Also, it will normally be preferable, but not necessary, that each boss be located on a common longitudinal centre line with its related, horizontally opposed barb.
Referring to FIGURES 3 and 4, the structural member interconnecting arrangement is essentially a malefemale one wherein the two male members enter slot 14 from opposite directions, one male member being in practise fully inserted before the other male member is inserted. It will be noted that as the second male member 7 is moved into position its boss 21 engages one side of the other connector on member 6 thereby forcing the connectors away from one another and against respective sides of slot 14. However, the resiliency of the connectors 15 is such as to permit bending of the connectors to an extent suflicient to permit barb 22 on member 7 to pass through slot 14 and engage with the opposite side of flange portion 10 of longitudinal structural member 5 thereby positively interlocking the members together as shown in FIGURE 4. It will be appreciated that the positioning of the barb 22 on the connector 15 is critical if a neat and tight connection is to result in that they must be so positioned that when barb 22 is in its locked position as shown in FIGURE 4, the transverse members 6 and 7 will be positioned snug up against the longitudinal member 5 with the flange portions 10 of the members 5, 6 and 7 all lying in the same plane. Of course, the location of slot 14 and the snugness of fit between the tongues 16 and slot 14 will determine the positions of the flange portions 10 on the transverse members 6 and 7 relative to the flange portion 10 on the longitudinal member 5. Thus, the positioning of slot 14 is also critical where it is important that an unobtrusively appearing joint be provided.
Once the members have been interconnected as shown in FIGURE 4 it is very diflicult to disconnect the members. Also, the interconnection of the members is quite readily carried out and once the members have been interconnected there is no necessity to secure the joints with bolts, rivets or other types of fastenings. In other words, the connection is self-contained and all the means required to achieve the final connection are included on the structural members.
There is thus provided in accordance with the present invention, a very simple means for interconnecting longitudinal and transverse structural members in a simple and inexpensive yet reliable manner and with a positive interconnection which substantially minimizes the possibility of disengagement of the members from one another as a result of expansion and sag of the members caused by heat as would be experienced when the members formed a grid work in a suspended ceiling in a room in which there was a fire. Also, the interconnection prevents, to a substantial extent, the twisting of the structural members thereby minimizing the possibility of the panels resting on the structural members falling out of position prematurely during a fire.
1. A framework comprising a longitudinal structural member and a pair of directly opposed, transverse structural members; one of said transverse members extending substantially perpendicularly from each of the sides of said longitudinal member with which they are interconnected, a transversely extending elongated aperture in said longitudinal member, a resilient flat bodied connector on the adjacent ends of each of said transverse members, said connectors being identical and each including a flat body having a tongue portion projecting through said aperture to an extent limited by shoulders on said connector at the base of said tongue portion, at
least one resilient barb including a shoulder projecting from the side of said tongue remote from the tongue on the other transverse member and having its shoulder facing the base of said tongue, at least one boss on said body located further from the free end of said tongue than are said shoulders at said base, said boss projecting from the side of said connector opposite to that side from which said barb projects and engaging the tongue on said other transverse member, said shoulders abutting one side of said longitudinal member, and said shoulder on said barb lockingly engaging with the other side of said longitudinal member, the boss on the other of said connectors resiliently maintaining said engagement.
2. The framework of claim 1 wherein said aperture is rectangular, its length being only slightly greater than the width of said tongue portion.
3. The framework of claim 2 wherein members of identical cross-section are employed, each member having the shape of perpendicular and including a vertical web portion, a panel suporting flange portion projecting on the bottom edge of said web portion and a reinforcing portion on the upper edge of said web portion, said aperture being in said web portion of the longitudinal member.
4. The framework of claim 1 wherein a pair of transversely aligned barbs are provided.
5. The framework of claim 1 wherein a pair of transversely aligned bosses are provided.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,084,401 4/1963 Findlay 287-18936 3,221,466 12/1965 Downing et a1. 287-18936 3,221,846 12/1965 Brown et a1 287-18936 CARL W. TOMLIN, Primary Examiner.
R. S. BRITTS, Assistant Examiner.