Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3728831 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 24, 1973
Filing dateMay 12, 1971
Priority dateMay 12, 1971
Also published asCA952395A1
Publication numberUS 3728831 A, US 3728831A, US-A-3728831, US3728831 A, US3728831A
InventorsBird W
Original AssigneeBirdair Structures
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Square ended air inflated structures
US 3728831 A
Abstract
An air inflated structure having generally squared end sections when viewed in plan. Each end section includes an end portion having a partial generally cylindrically shaped surface and a pair of corner portions having partial generally spherically shaped surfaces. Each end portion includes an air inflated envelope portion formed of a plurality of horizontally elongated panels, which are edge joined to vertically adjacent panels; and a cable system comprising a series of widely spaced, flexible tension devices. The tension devices are anchored adjacent their lower ends, connected adjacent their upper ends to tension transmitting cables arranged within and extending lengthwise of the central section, and fixed intermediate their respective ends one to each of the envelope panels. Support columns may be arranged within the structure in engagement with the fittings connecting the tension devices and transmitting cables to prevent collapse of the structure in the event of sudden loss of inflating air.
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Bird [451 Apr. 24, 973

[ SQUARE ENDED AIR INFLATED Primary Examiner.lohn E. Murtagh STRUCTURES Assistant ExaminerCarl D. Friedman 75 Inventor: Walter w. Bird, Williamsville, NY.

[73] Assignee: Birdair Structures, Inc., Buffalo, [57] ABSTRACT An air inflated structure having generally squared end 1 Filed: y 12,1971 sections when viewed in plan. Each end section in- [21] APPL Nu: 142,445 eludes an end portion having a partial generally cylindncally shaped surface and a pair of corner portions having partial generally spherically shaped surfaces. [52] 1.1.5. Cl ..52/2 Each nd portion includes an air inflated envelope [51 ..E04b 1/345 portion formed of a plurality of horizontally elongated [58] Field Of Search ..287/75, 77, 20 P, panels which are edge joined to vertically adjacent 287/20 R, 6 103 36 panels; and a cable system comprising a series of widely spaced, flexible tension devices. The tension devices References Cited are anchored adjacent their lower ends, connected adjacent their upper ends to tension transmitting cables UNITED STATES PATENTS arranged within and extending lengthwise of the cen- 1,302,182 4/1919 Lanchester ..52/2 ral s ti n, an fi d interm diate their respective 2,292,078 8/1942 lnman et al.... .....52/86X ends one to each of the envelope panels. Support 3,412,509 11/1968 Popil ..52/2 columns may be arranged within the structure in en- 2,4971596 2/1950 f e1 "135/1 R gagement with the fittings connecting the tension 3'l50'67O 9/1964 Bmi a] "52/2 devices and transmitting cables to prevent collapse of 2,783,297 2/1957 Badeau ..287/77 X the structure in the event pf sudden loss of inflating air.

17 Claims, 1 1 Drawing Figures Patented April 24, 1973 Sheets-Sheet 1 l-NVENTOR. WHL 76'? 1/1/. B/RD 03w; mgm.

Patented April 24, 1973 3,728,831

,4 S h eets-Sheet 2 I N VEN'IOR. WHLTER WEIRD ATTORNEYS Patented April 24, 1973 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 0 Rm m y WM NE T wwwm A T TOR/VEYS Patented April 24, 1973 4 Sheets-Sheet 4.

m g T. Nw y WT m w SQUARE ENDED AIR INFLATED STRUCTURES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION My co-pending application, Ser. No. 12,177, filed Feb. 18, 1970 now U.S. Pat. No. 3,651,609, is directed to a large air inflated structure having a generally cylindrical central section and generally spherical end sections. The central section includes an air inflated envelope formed by a plurality of relatively narrow, horizontally elongated panels having horizontally extending adjacent edge portions thereof joined together; and a cable system having a series of widely spaced parallel cables, which are attached to the envelope panels, and anchored at their opposite ends to the ground. Circular elements of the central and end section envelopes are patterned such that they assume a toroidal shaped configuration and transfer substantially all envelope loads transversely thereof into the cabling system for subsequent transfer to the ground. Thus, the maximum fabric stresses in the envelope material are reduced and the patterning cooperates with the cable system to limit propogation of rips or tears occurring in the envelope panels.

An important feature of the invention disclosed by the above-mentioned application is that the envelope panels are fabricated from relatively low cost envelope material characterized as being appreciably more elastic or extensible in the fill or transverse direction than in the warp or machine direction. By use of this method of patterning, non-contoured envelope panels may be employed in forming the circular elements, while permitting such elements when inflated, to assume the desired toroidal shaped configuration.

SUMMARY OF THE lNVENTlON The present invention relates to air inflated structures, and more particularly to structures having substantially square end sections joined to a central or intermediate cylindrical section.

An object of the present invention is to provide squared end sections for air inflated structures, which have maximum resistance to failure due to tear propogation.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an arrangement by which complete collapse of the structure is prevented in the event of failure of the supply of inflating air. or other sudden loss of inflating air.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a squared end section construction, which may be removably interconnected to a central section of an air inflated structure, so as to permit the structure to be readily disassembled for storage purposes.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided an air inflated structure having a partial generally cylindrical central section and partial generally squared end sections; each end section including a partial generally cylindrically shaped end portion and a pair of partial generally spherically shaped corner portions. Each end portion includes an air portion inflated envelope formed of a plurality of horizontally elongated panels, which are edge joined to vertically adjacent panels, and a cable system comprising a series of widely spaced, vertically extending, flexible tension devices. The tension devices are ground anchored adjacent their lower ends, removably connected adjacent their upper ends by tension transmitting devices to tension transmitting cables carried within and extending lengthwise of the central section, and fixed intermediate-their respective ends to each of the end portion envelope panels. The end portion envelope panels are patterned to permit the circular elements formed thereby to assume a toroidal shaped configuration and transfer essentially all loads transversely into their bounding tension devices.

Preferably, the end portion envelope panels are formed of low cost, commercially available envelope material, which is characterized as possessing a substantially greater degree of extensibility in a fill or transverse direction than in a warp or machine direction thereof. When such panels are assembled and joined to the tension devices, they cooperate to produce envelope elements having a transverse width and a degree of elasticity in a hoopwise direction sufficient to permit such envelope elements when inflated to assume a toroidal shaped configuration and be ineffective to transfer loads in a hoopwise direction. Thus, the panels forming the envelope elements serve to transfer substantially all element loadings transversely into'the tension devices without need for contouring the individual panels. Further, rips or tears occurring in any end portion envelope panel are prevented from propogation lengthwise thereof or into a vertically adjacent panel.

The partial spherically shaped corner portions, which are inherently stable due to their configuration, are formed with relatively small radii of curvature so as to minimize the stress loadings on the panel elements forming same and negate the necessity for providing a complex corner cabling system. The corner portion panels are preferably patterned so as to minimize the likelihood of substantial air loss from the inflated structure should any one of such panels be damaged.

In the present end section construction, the partial spherically shaped corner portions and the partial generally cylindrical shaped end portions cooperate to maximize usable corner space for any given overall length of an air inflated structure. I

Preferably, the partial cylindrical central or intermediate section of the air inflated structure with which the squared end sections of the present invention are to be employed is formed in accordance with the invention disclosed in my above mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,651,609.

When employing this type of central section, the cables arranged adjacent the ends thereof are interconnected to the end section tension devices and the tension transmitting cables arranged interiorly of the central section by means of the tension transmitting device. This arrangement permits the sections to be removably interconnected, while insuring proper transfer of loadings between such sections.

The tension transmitting devices of the present inv vention also serve as a convenient device for quickly joining the entire cabling system of the air inflated structure to two or more columns arranged within each of the end sections for the purpose of preventing complete collapse of the structure in the event of failure in the supply of inflating air.

DRAWINGS The present invention will now be more fully described with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an air inflated structure formed in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the air inflated structure shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the air inflated structure shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 4-4 in FIG. 2; I

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 5-5 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an attaching clip;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary, perspective view indicating the manner in which the respective central section panels deform for the purpose of transferring a load to the cabling system when the envelope is inflated;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 77 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 99 in FIG. 1, but showing an alternative form of the panel attaching arrangement illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 10 is an exploded view of the tension transmitting device of the present invention showing the manner of fixing same to the safety supporting column; and

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary perspective view indicating the manner in which the respective end portion envelope panels deform for the purpose of transferring a load to the end portion tension devices when the envelope'is inflated.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Now referring to FIGS. 1-3, it will be seen that the air inflated structure according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention is generally designated as l and includes a pair of squared end sections 10, which are joined to one of more partial generally cylindrical central sections 12, as by suitable joiners 14. While joiners 14 may be of any desired design, it is preferable to employ joiners of the types disclosed in my earlier U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,1 16,746 and 3, 103,050. It will be understood, however, that one of end sections 10 may be dispensed with when, for instance, central section 12 is to be employed as an extension ofa rigid building structure. Also, it will be understood that the placement of joiners 14 is a mere matter of choice and design convenience.

Preferably, central sections 12 are formed in the manner disclosed in my co-pending application, entitled Air Inflated Structure, Ser. No. 12,177, filed Feb. 18, 1970, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,651,609. More specifically, sections 12 are defined by an air inflatable envelope portion 16 formed by a plurality of relatively narrow, horizontally elongated panels 18 having edge portions 20 arranged in overlapping relationship with vertically adjacent panels, as best shown in FIG. 4. Sections 12 also include a cable system defined by a plurality of parallel, relatively widely spaced, flexible tension devices, such as cables 22, which are connected at their respective ends to ground anchors 24 of any suitable design. While the present structure is normally installed to extend upwardly from adjacent ground level, it will be understood that the term ground anchorage as used herein is meant to also include walls to which anchors 24 could be attached and about which the lower edge of the envelope is suitably air sealed. The structure is particularly adapted to cover large areas; the central section being over-about feet in width and of any desired length. The panels employed would have for instance a transverse width of about 4 feet and the spacing between cables would be on the order of about 20 feet.

Preferably, the overlapping edge portions of the panels 18 are interconnected by suitable attaching devices 25, such as stitching or adhesive, so that the envelope may be conveniently rolled up into compact form. The possibility of vertically adjacent panels being torn may be effectively prevented by joining the overlapping edges thereof so as to form unattached projecting edges, which prevent transfer of the load into the cut edge of the panel material. Also, the panel edge portions 20 may be interconnected as by taping or other conventional panel attachment means, not shown, such that they are arranged in a co-planar relationship.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, it will be understood that each of panels 18 is provided with a plurality of transversely extending attaching sleeves in the form of fabric strips 28, which are suitably affixed to the panels at spaced points lengthwise thereof, as by stitching 30. In the arrangement shown, each of strips 28 is formed with loops 32 and 34, which are arranged along spaced marginal edges thereof and adapted to receive rope edging or cable elements 36 and 38, respectively. Strips 28 are preferably continuously lengthwise of cables 22, such that they are attached one to each of panels 18. However, strips 28 may be formed in a plurality of segments which are aligned when the panels are joined together.

Panels 18 may be attached to cables 22 by a generally S-shaped clip 40, shown in FIG. 6, which is adapted to be deformed adjacent its opposite ends about rope edging 36 and 38, for the purpose of drawing the rope edging together and thus frictionally retaining cable 22 within strip 28. Any suitable tool, not shown, may be provided for deforming clips 40. Alternatively, the marginal edges of strips 28 may be drawn together by any suitable means, such as rope lacing.

Referring to FIG. 7, it will be understood that if a horizontal tear or rip 41a should occur in one of the panels of the central section, as for instance panel 18a intermediate cables 22a and 22b, the cables and the attachment strips will serve to effectively prevent propagation of the tear lengthwise of panel 18a beyond cables 22a and 22b. Also, it will be apparent that the double fabric thickness provided by attaching together overlapping edges 20 of panel 18a with vertically adjacent panels 18 will effectively act to help prevent the propagation of a vertical tear or rip 41b into such adjacent panels.

As in the preferred embodiment of the invention disclosed by my U.S. Pat. No. 3,651,609, panels 18 are preferably fabricated from conventional low cost envelope forming fabric, which is characterized as being elastic or extensible substantially only in its fill or transverse direction. When employing panels of this type, a circular element of the central section envelope, that is, the segment of the envelope between a pair of adjacent cables 22a and 22b is free to stretch vertically, that is, lengthwise of the envelope element into a toroidal shaped configuration. When thus configured, the radius of curvature of any given panel forming the element is less in the direction indicated by arrow 42 than in the direction indicated by arrow 44. In that the material is designed and the envelope patterning developed to provide stretch in the vertical direction and to resist stretch in the horizontal direction substantially all of the panel load will be transferred equally to adjacent cables 22a and 22b, as indicated by arrows 46, which in turn directly transfer the applied loads through anchors 24 to the ground anchorage. As will be apparent, with this arrangement there is little tendency for rip 41a to open up, since substantially all loads are disposed parallel to the edges thereof.

As the primary loading in the vertical or hoopwise direction is carried almost entirely by cables 22, the maximum vertical load in the envelope material between adjacent cables is very small and there is no need to employ a conventional catenary system therefor. However, in order to keep the envelope material smooth and wrinkle free, to carry localized aerodynamic loadings which may develop, and to uniformly position the lower edge of the envelope adjacent the ground anchorage, cable 48 is placed in a sleeve along the bottom edge of the lowermost panel and anchored by adjacent ground anchors 24. Intermediate anchors, not shown, may be employed to insure proper positioning of cable 48 between adjacent ground anchors 24 and to insure against any panel distortion, which might result in leakage of air through the envelope-ground seal.

It will be understood that strips 28 are spaced lengthwise of panels 18 through a distance in excess of the final spacing between cables 22 when structure 1 is inflated. This arrangement permits the circular elements to stretch in a hoopwise direction and to assume their final toroidal shaped configuration while permitting cables 22 to be maintained in a parallel relationship. Of course the circular elements should not be permitted to stretch hoopwise to an extent where they would begin to carry loadings in a hoopwise direction. If panels 18 are formed with a required slight degree of stretch in their warp direction, the spacing between strips 28 may be made to correspond to the final cable spacing.

The design of central section 12 departs from that shown in my above mentioned patent in that the end or bounding cables 22' are shorter than intermediate cables 22, such that the end circular elements are slightly deformed or tapered downwardly in a direction lengthwise of the section. This arrangement facilitates attachment of the end sections to be hereinafter described.

Again referring to FIGS. 1 through 3, it will be understood that in accordance with the present invention, end sections are each formed with a partial generally cylindrical end portion 60 and a pair of partial generally spherical corner portions 61.

Preferably, as will be seen by referring to FIGS. 8, 9 and 11, the fabrication of end portions 60 is substantially similar to that of central section 12, except that the patterning must be modified to conform to the radius of curvature at the upper end thereof. In this respect, end portions 60 include an air inflated envelope portion 66 formed by a plurality of relatively narrow, horizontally elongated panels 68 having edge portions 70 arranged in overlapping relationship with vertically adjacent panels. End portions 60 also include a cable system defined by a plurality of parallel, relatively widely spaced, flexible tension devices, such as cables 72, which are fixed to the ground anchorage adjacent their lower ends by suitable anchor devices 74. Panel sizes and cable spacings would correspond to that of the central section.

As in the case of central section panels 18, end portion panels 68 are preferably formed of material characterized as being elastic or extensible only in a fill or transverse direction, so as to permit the circular elements of envelope 66 to assume a desired toroidal configuration with little or no special patterning. Panels 68 may be interconnected by suitable attaching device 75, and be provided with suitable attaching means for cables 72, such as a plurality of transversely extending attaching sleeves in the form of fabric strips 78, which are suitably affixed to the panels, as by stitching 80. Each of strips 78 is formed with loops 82 and 84, which are arranged along spaced marginal edges thereof and adapted to receive rope edging or cable elements 86 and 88, respectively.

By again referring to FIGS. 8, 9 and 11, it will be understood that panels 68 may be attached to cables 72 by generally S-shaped clips 90, which are of identical construction to clips 40, or by rope lacing, or by a U- shaped channel device shown only in FIG. 9 and designated as Channel device 90' may be applied to rope edgings 86 and 88 by means of two procedures. In a first procedure, channel device 90' would be in the form of a metal channel and crimped by a suitable tool, not shown, such as to grip about the rope edgings. In a second procedure, channel device 90 would be formed of relatively short lengths of plastic or metal channel elements; the rope edgings being slit at points hoopwise of cables 72 to define points at which the channel elements may be slip-fitted lengthwise of rope edgings. The utilization of channel device 90' affords a smooth appearance to the outer surface of the structure, and if desired may be of a constrasting color so as to produce a very decorative appearance. Of course, the channel device may be applied, if desired, to both the central and end sections.

Corner portions 61, which are inherently stable due to their partial spherically shaped surface configurations, are formed with relatively small radii of curvature bearing a fixed relationship to the radius of the envelope between adjacent cables, so as to minimize the stress loadings on their individual panel elements 61 and thus negate the necessity for providing a complex corner cabling system. Preferably, panel elements 61 are patterned so as to minimize the likelihood of propagation of a tear should any one of such panel elements be damaged. Any suitable arrangement may be employed to edge join panel elements 61 to each other and to envelopes l6 and 66. The corner portions are suitably anchored to ground anchorage, as by a conventional catenary system, since as with other spherical structures they are designed to carry loads in two directions.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 1, 8, l and 11, it will be understood that the upper ends of end portion cables 72 are removably interconnected by tension transmitting devices 92 one to each of a plurality of tension transmitting cables 94, which are disposed inwardly of central section envelope l6 and extend lengthwise thereof. Cables 94 pick up loading on end cables 72, which would otherwise impose excessive load on panels 18 adjacent to the points at which cables 72 are attached to cable 22' and thereby distort the shape of both the central and end sections. Preferably, a suitable number of hanger devices 96 are fixed to central section cables 22 and extend downwardly through envelope 16 for attachment to cables 94 in order to prevent excessive sagging of the latter on long structures.

Devices 92 are best shown in FIGS. 8 and 10 as including an outer plate member 98, which is preferably releasably secured to a fitting 100 carried on the upper end of a cable 72, as by bolt device 102; an inner plate member 104, which is preferably releasably secured to a fitting 106 carried on the end of a tension transmitting cable 94, as by a bolt device 108; and a pair of generally U-shaped threaded fastener devices 110, which are secured in place by nuts 112. Plates 98 and 104, are preferably of identical configuration and bent slightly intermediate their ends so as to define clamping end plate portions 98a and 104a and attached plate end portions 98b and l04b. Thus, when the device is assembled by passing fastener devices 110 through end plate portions 98a and 1040, end plate portions 98b and 104b form straight line continuations of cables 72 and 94, respectively, in order to minimize bending moments.

While cables 22' are considered to be included as a part of central section 12, it is desirable to attach them to end sections 10 in order to facilitate assembly and disassembly of the present air inflated structure. Thus, by reference to FIG. 8, it will be seen that strip 28 is in fact connected to the uppermost of panels 68 at a point closely adjacent the connection formed by joiners 14 between the upper edge of panel 68 and the ends of panels 18. Corner portions 61 would of course be connected to central section 12 in the same manner, thereby permitting the end and central sections to be disassembled by merely uncoupling joiners l4 and removing bolt device 108. While not shown, it will be understood that if it is desired to removably attach end portions 60 and 6l,joiner devices would be arranged to extend transversely of panels 68 and the endmost of cables 72 would be carried by sleeves fixed to thecorner portions.

Again referring to FIG. 8, it will be seen that when device 92 is assembled, envelope 66 is clamped between plate portions 98a and 104a, and cable 22 is clampingly secured against plate 98 by fastener devices 110. Of course, strip 28 would be cut away to accommodate plate 98, and strip 28, and envelope 66 would be apertured, as required to accommodate fastener devices 1 10. This arrangement orients cables 72 and 94 with respect to the central section, and insures proper transfer of loadings between the end portions 60.

Referring to FIG. 1 1, it will be apparent that should a horizontal tear a occur in one of panels 68, as for instance panel 680 intermediate cables 72a and 72b, the cables and the attachment strips will be effective in preventing propagation of the tear beyond cables 72a and 72b. Further, the double fabric thickness provided by attaching together overlapping edges 70 of panel 68a with vertically adjacent panels 68 will help prevent propagation of avertical tear l20b into such adjacent panels. Tears occurring in corner panel elements 61 will of course be contained either by the joint between adjacent panel elements or by the double fabric thickness afforded by strips 28 or 78. Additional protection could be provided in the small corner areas by special patterning to introduce additional rip stops or by using a more tear resistant material.

Further, it will be apparent that by permitting each of the circular elements of envelope 66 to assume atoroidal shaped configuration, effectively all loads are transferred from panels 68 to cables 72 in the manner discussed above in connection with central sections 12; the loads being subsequently transferred between end portions 60 and to ground by tension transmitting devices 92 and tension transmitting cables 94. Due to the partial generally spherically shape surface configuration of corner portions 61, which are patterned to assume a spherical radius approximately two times that of the toroidal panels, as measured between adjacent cables, loads imposed thereon by the horizontal component of loads in side panels 18 and end panels 68 are readily transferred to the bounding cables 22' and 72, and the corner portion ground anchorage. Equilabrium conditions are thus established to maintain the bounding cables arranged to lie along essentially great circles of a sphere.

In accordance with a preferred form of the present invention, two or more ground anchored columns are provided in association with each of end sections 10 in order to prevent complete collapse of the overall structure in the event of a failure in the supply of inflating air. Conveniently, each of columns 130 is releasably connected into the central and end section cabling system by means of a generally T-shaped mounting bracket 140, which is releasably connected to one of tension transmitting devices 92. Bracket is best shown in FIGS. 8 and 10 as including a base plate portion 142, which is fixed as by welding within column mounting slot 144; and a mounting plate portion 146, which is arranged to be inclined downwardly in a direction away from central section 12 such as to be substantially parallel to plate portions 980 and 104a in the position they tend to normally assume when the structure is inflated. As will be apparent from viewing FIGS. 8 and I0, mounting plate portion 146 may be clampingly secured to device 92 by threading nuts 148 onto the ends of fastener devices 110.

As will be apparent from the foregoing, I have devised an improved air inflated structure characterized as having essentially square end sections offering maximum resistance to failure due to tear propagation, and which are interconnected for effectively transferring loadings therebetween.

Further, by providing the present tension transmitting device, the end sections are permitted to be removably connected to the central section of the structure in such a manner as to insure accurate relative positioning of the respective section cabling systems, and both cabling systems permitted to be removably connected to columns serving to prevent total collapse of the overall structure.

While the present invention has been described relative to an arrangement wherein both cables 22 and 72 lie on the outer surface of the envelope, it would be possible to arrange one or the other sets of cables inwardly of such envelope. In an arrangement where both the central and end section cables are disposed within the envelope, the tension transmitting means described hereinabove may be modified, as long as the means employed permits both the end section cables and tension transmitting cables to be fixed to the bounding cables of the central section.

I claim:

1. An air inflated structure adapted to overlie a ground anchorage, which comprises in combination:

a central section of partial generally cylindrically shaped surface configuration fixed to the ground anchorage;

a pair of end means joined to said central section for closing opposite endsthereof,

at least one of said end means being an air inflated end section including an end portion arranged perpendicular to said central section and a pair of corner portions arranged adjacent opposite ends of said end portion, each said corner portion including an air inflated envelope portion of partial generally spherically shaped surface configuration, each said end portion including an air inflated envelope portion of partial generally cylindrically shaped surface configuration and a series of generally parallel flexible tension devices, each said corner portion envelope portion being marginally joined to said central section and an end of said end portion envelope portion and attached in fluid sealed relationship to the ground anchorage, said end portion envelope portion being marginally joined to said central. section and each of said corner portion envelope portions as aforesaid and fluid sealed relative to the ground anchorage, said tension devices having lower ends thereof fixed to the ground anchorage and being spaced apart lengthwise of said end portion and extending vertically thereof;

means to attach said tension devices to said end portion envelope portion, said end portion envelope portion defining between adjacent tension devices generally toroidal shaped envelope elements extending vertically of said end portion thereby permitting transfer of essentially all loads imposed on said end portion envelope portion horizontally into said tension devices; plurality of parallel tension transmitting cables disposed inwardly and running lengthwise of said central section; and

tension transmitting means, said tension transmitting means interconnecting ends of said tension transmitting cables one to each of the upper ends of said tension devices of said end portion and the other of said end means.

2. An air inflated structure according to claim 1,

wherein said end portion envelope portion is defined by a plurality of relatively narrow, horizontally elongated envelope panels extending lengthwise of said end portion, said envelope panels being joined to vertically adjacent envelope panels, and said tension devices extending transversely of said envelope panels.

3. An air inflated structure according to claim 2, wherein said envelope panels are characterized as possessing a substantially greater degree of extensibility in a direction transversely thereof than in a direction lengthwise thereof.

4. An air inflated structure according to claim 2, wherein said tension devices lie along the outer surface of said end portion envelope portion, and said attaching means includes sleeve devices fixed to and extending transversely of the outer surface of said envelope panels, said tension devices being frictionally engaged within said sleeve devices.

5. An air inflated structure according to claim 1, wherein said tension devices lie along the outer surface of said end portion envelope portion, and each of said tension transmitting means includes outer and inner members and fastener means adapted to removably secure said members together with said end portion envelope portion clamped therebetween, said outer members being secured to upper ends of said tension devices and said inner members being secured to said tension transmitting cables, and said fastener means extending through said envelope portion of said end portion.

6. An air inflated structure according to claim 5, wherein said outer and inner members are of like configuration and in the form of elongated plates bent along a line extending transversely thereof to define angularly disposed clamping plate end portions and attaching plate end portions, said fastener means extending through said clamping plate end portions to secure said members together, said attaching plate end portions when said members are secured together extending in opposite directions for attachment to said tension devices and said tension transmitting cables.

7. An air inflated structure according to claim 1, wherein there is further provided in combination at least two. columns arranged within at least said one end section, said columns extending vertically from adjacent said ground anchorage and being connected to tension transmitting means of said one end section.

8. An air inflated structure according to claim 1, wherein each of said tension transmitting means includes a pair of members joined one to eachof said tension devices and tension transmitting cables, and fastener means to removably interconnect said members.

9. An air inflated structure according to claim 8, wherein there is further provided in combination at least two columns arranged within at least said one end section, said columns extending vertically from adjacent said ground anchorage and being connected to said tension transmitting means of said one end section by said fastener means thereof.

10. An air inflated structure according to claim 9, wherein said tension devices lie along the outer surface of said end portion envelope portion, said members joined to said tension devices and said members joined to said tension transmitting cables are arranged outwardly and inwardly of said end portion envelope, respectively, and said fastener means extends through said end portion envelope portion.

11. An air inflated structure according to claim 10, wherein said column includes a mounting plate fixed adjacent the upper end thereof, said mounting plate being inclined downwardly in a direction away from said central section, said members each including angularly disposed clamping plate end portions and attaching plate end portions, said fastener means extending through said clamping plate end portions and said mounting plate to secure same together in stacked relationship, said attaching plate end portions when said members are secured together extending in opposite directions for attachment to said tension devices and said tension transmitting cables.

12. An air inflated structure according to claim 1, wherein said central section includes an air inflated envelope portion of partial generally cylindrically shaped surface configuration and at least a pair of parallel flexible tension devices fixed at their opposite ends to the ground anchorage and bounding opposite ends of said central section, said tension transmitting means being secured to said bounding central section tension devices.

13. An air inflated structure according to claim 12, wherein said central section tension devices lie along the outer surface of said central section envelope portion, said end portion tension devices lie along the outer surface of said end portion envelope portion, and said tension transmitting means includes outer and inner members and fastener means adapted to clampingly secure said members one with respect to the other, said outer members being secured to upper ends of said end portion tension devices and said inner members being secured to ends of said tension transmitting cables, said fastener means additionally securing said bounding central section tension devices to said tension transmitting means and extending through said end portion envelope portion.

14. An air inflated structure according to claim 13, wherein there is further provided in combination at least two columns arranged within at least said one end section, said columns extending vertically from adjacent the ground anchorage, said columns include mounting plates, fixed adjacent upper ends thereof, said mounting plates being inclined downwardly in a direction away from said central section, said members each including angularly disposed clamping plate end portions and attaching plate end portions, said fastener means extending through said clamping plate end portions and said mounting plate to secure same together in stacked relationship, said attaching plate end portions when said members are secured together extending in opposite directions for attachment to said tension devices and said tension transmitting cables.

15. An air inflated structure according to claim 1, wherein said central section includes an envelope portion comprising a plurality of relatively narrow, horizontally elongated envelope panels extending lengthwise of said central section and having marginal edges thereof connected to vertically adjacent panels, a series of parallel flexible tension devices fixed at their opposite ends thereof the ground anchorage and arranged in a spaced apart relationship lengthwise of said central section so as to extend transversely of the envelope panels thereof and means to attach said central section tension devices one to each of said central envelope panels, said end portion envelope portion comprising a plurality of relatively narrow, horizontally elongated envelope panels marginally connected with vertically adjacent panels thereof and extending transversely of said structure, said end portion tension devices extending transversely of said end portion panels, said end portion envelope panels carrying means to affix said end portion tension devices thereto, said end portions and said central section tension devices lying along the outer surface of said envelope panels, and said tension transmitting means includes inner and outer members and fastener means extending through said end portion envelope portion for clampingly securing said members one with respect to the other, said outer members being secured to upper ends of said end portion tension devices and said inner members being secured to said tension transmitting cables, said fastener means additionally securing said tension transmitting means to said central section tension devices disposed adjacent said end portions.

16. An air inflated structure according to claim 15, wherein said central section and end portion envelope panels are characterized as possessing a substantially greater degree of extensibility in a direction transversely thereof than a direction lengthwise thereof.

17. In an air inflated structure characterized as including a partial generally cylindrically shaped surface portion having an air inflatable envelope portion, a plurality of essentially parallel hoopwise extending flexible tension devices and attaching means for attaching said envelope portion to said tension devices thereby to permit said tension devices to transmit loads on said envelope portion out of said surface portion, the improvement wherein:

said envelope portion is formed of a plurality of horizontally elongated panels arranged to extend transversely of said tension devices, said panels being marginally joined to vertically adjacent panels and forming between adjacent tension devices hoopwise extending envelope elements of toroidal shaped configuration thereby to transmit substantially all loads on said envelope horizontally lengthwise of said panels into said tension devices, and Y said attaching means for each said tension device includes sleeve means fixed to and extending hoopwise of said panels and a generally U-shaped channel means for maintaining said sleeve means wrapped about its associated tension device, said sleeve means including strip means having reinforcing means extending along a pair of spaced lengthwise extending marginal edges thereof and being fixed intermediate said marginal edges to said panels to permit said strip means to be wrapped about its associated tension device and thereby arrange said reinforcing means in a closely spaced parallel relationship, and said channel means extending lengthwise of said tension device and frictionally retaining said reinforcing means therewithin, whereby said tension device is frictionally retained within said strip means by said channel means.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1302182 *Feb 11, 1919Apr 29, 1919Frederick William LanchesterConstruction of tents for field-hospitals, depots, and like purposes.
US2292078 *Dec 7, 1940Aug 4, 1942Inman William CharlesHangar or like shelter, more particularly for aircraft
US2497596 *Jun 11, 1946Feb 14, 1950FriederTent
US2783297 *Oct 23, 1953Feb 26, 1957Thomas & Betts CorpClevis-forming electrical connector
US3150670 *May 2, 1960Sep 29, 1964Baschmann Anson TQuickly strikable air supported building structure
US3412509 *Mar 17, 1966Nov 26, 1968Nicholas B PopilRetractable roof
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3893268 *Aug 27, 1973Jul 8, 1975Birdair StructuresSquared end section for air supported structure
US4121389 *Feb 2, 1977Oct 24, 1978Waldemar PtaszekPortable, collapsible storage bins
US4183184 *Aug 18, 1978Jan 15, 1980Clarence SargentAir-supported shelter system
US4550533 *Sep 30, 1982Nov 5, 1985Fraioli Donato MAir-supported structure for sport activities
US4723751 *Jul 21, 1986Feb 9, 1988Hale Loren EInflatable form for concrete structures
WO1981000872A1 *Sep 28, 1979Apr 2, 1981Sargent CAir-supported shelter system
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/2.17, 52/2.25
International ClassificationE04H15/20, E04H15/22
Cooperative ClassificationE04H15/22
European ClassificationE04H15/22