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Publication numberUS3732653 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 15, 1973
Filing dateApr 10, 1970
Priority dateApr 10, 1970
Publication numberUS 3732653 A, US 3732653A, US-A-3732653, US3732653 A, US3732653A
InventorsW Pickett
Original AssigneeW Pickett
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Barrier structures and connectors in concrete assemblies
US 3732653 A
Abstract
Permanent individual outdoor barrier members have a height to width ratio greater than two and a width to thickness ratio greater than 10. For many applications members are of precast reinforced concrete, between 5 to 8 feet high, 1 and 3 feet wide and three-quarters and 2 inches thick, joined at vertical edges with load-transferring self-adjusting joints. Other features of barrier members shown are: rotatable connections for absorbing expansion and contraction forces; wide range rotation for placement at various self-supporting angles; curved snug fitting, non-grouted sight-tight and load-transferring joints; stress transfer between reinforcement rods embedded in adjacent members; long walls without upright bracing or horizontal stringers, resting upon freezable ground without footings; push together, one-way fastening with female fasteners cast in the barrier members; joints formed by the members themselves and by intervening joint cylinders. Connectors emabling barrier construction and useful in other concrete assemblies employ a connector support embedded directly in but rotatable relative to concrete. It can be rotatable on and transfer stress directly to concrete reinforcement and have its surface conform to curved decorative or joint surfaces of the concrete member. The support can define a receiving slot for locking with a male connector, e.g., an extension of a reinforcement rod of another concrete member, or it can carry a male connector. A female connector embedded in concrete provided with a yieldable void-producing member behind it receives male members, such as push-together male members of another concrete member.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1,1111% States Patent 1 Pickett 11 3,732,653 [451 May 15,1973

- [54] BARRIER STRUCTURES AND CONNECTORS IN CONCRETE ASSEMBLIES [76] Inventor: William H. Pickett, 44 Lake Road, Framingham, Mass.

22 Filed: Apr. 10,1970

21 Appl. No.: 27,319

[52] U.S. Cl. ..52/71, 52/285, 52/587,

256/19, 256/26 [51] Int. Cl. ..E04h 17/14 [58] Field of Search ..52/583, 586, 71,

Primary Examiner-John E. Murtagh Attorney-John Noel Williams [57] ABSTRACT Permanent individual outdoor barrier members have a height to width ratio greater than two and a width to thickness ratio greater than 10. For many applications members are of precast reinforced concrete, between 5 to 8 feet high, 1 and 3 feet wide and three-quarters and 2 inches thick, joined at vertical edges with loadtransferring self-adjusting joints. Other features of barrier members shown are: rotatable connections for absorbing expansion and contraction forces; wide range rotation for placement at various self-supporting angles; curved snug fitting, non-grouted sight-tight and load-transferring joints; stress transfer between reinforcement rods embedded in adjacent members; long walls without upright bracing or horizontal stringers, resting upon freezable ground without footings; push together, one-way fastening with female fasteners cast in the barrier members; joints formed by the members themselves and by intervening joint cylinders. Connectors emabling barrier construction and useful in other concrete assemblies employ a connector support embedded directly in but rotatable relative to concrete. It can be rotatable on and transfer stress directly to concrete reinforcement and have its surface conform to curved decorative or joint surfaces of the concrete member. The support can define a receiving slot for locking with a male connector, e.g., an extension of a reinforcement rod of another concrete member, or it can carry a male connector. A female connector em bedded in concrete provided with a yieldable voidproducing member behind it receives male members, such as push-together male members of another concrete member.

30 Claims, 28 Drawing Figures PAIENTEM $732353 SHEET 1 [1F 7 Hem 5 1 1 1: 2 new PATENTEU Y 975 SHEET 3 [1F 7 FIG 6 BARRIER STRUCTURES AND CONNECTORS IN CONCRETE ASSEMBLIES This invention relates to concrete constructions and connectors useful to form outdoor landscape barriers and the like.

A primary object of the invention is to resolve the many and to an extent apparently conflicting requirements for outdoor barriers, to provide a barrier of low cost (e.g., capable of perfabrication from inexpensive materials with low tooling costs, and suitable for installation with minimum manpower, in bad weather, with one visit to the site and little or no onsite erection equipment) and improved function (e.g., capable of serving as an effective barrier to intruding people, animals, reptiles, tunneling pests, vehicles, fire, wind, wind-blown substances, light, sound, heat, or the like and difficult to climb and resistant to attempts to being overturned or dismantled). Other objects are to provide a durable, maintenance-free barrier, in any of a wide variety of surface finishes (e.g., including a nonglare finish suitable for use as a headlight barrier on a highway and selected colors, textures and decorative formations), capable of being easily erected in desired configurations (e.g., in which the general line of extent of the barrier may be straight, curved, or angled) or on terrain of any contour (e.g., capable of erection in a configuration to follow sloping terrain), and capable of self-support, without massive construction, supporting posts, guy wires, horizontal rails or the like; to provide a rugged barrier not requiring footings, on-site stagings or forms, or deep excavation, yet highly stable, weather resistant (e.g., even despite the presence of frost heaves), and both sides aesthetically pleasing (e.g., without unattractive joints or exposed bracing); and to provide such a barrier also useful for erosion control, as a retaining wall or as a fire stop.

Another object of the invention is to provide simple and economical concrete connectors and means of construction enabling the achievement of the objects of the foregoing paragraph, as well as being useful for other purposes.

The invention features individual prefabricated members, having a vertical profile, for wide range angled assembly to define a self-bracing outdoor landscape barrier. Each member defines a pair of oppositely facing, generally parallel broad surfaces, a pair of height-wise extending edges, a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and a width-to-thickness ratio of at least ten, whereby the member by itself is insufficiently selfsupporting to provide desired barrier qualities. Each member is constructed for joining to an adjacent member for mutual support at an effective member-tomember interconnection by connectors and edge formations providing freedom for movement to alter the angle between the adjacent members. Such members may be heavy, e.g., weigh more than 100 pounds, and are formed of precast reinforced concrete. Still they may have a weight concentration at the bottom less than e.g., psi, enabling placement on soil of a wide range of load bearing capabilities, without need of footings.

In another aspect the invention features a permanently installed outdoor landscape barrier made up of a plurality of such members that achieve coverage between about 50 and 85 percent of the aggregate area of the members.

Another feature is a barrier as described in which the members retain freedom to adjust to one another during the life of the barrier, thus absorbing expansion and contracting forces individually without disturbing the overall length of the barrier. Advantageously, stress is transferred between the reinforcement of successive members through rotatable joints, and the concrete mating surfaces are shaped in interfitting curves so that rotation does not disturb the appearance. Advantageously, each member has a recessed portion in which are located a plurality of first connectors, and another portion at which are located a plurality of second connectors arranged to mate respectively with the first connectors of an adjacent member to join adjacent members for mutual support at a sight-tight effective member-to-member interconnection that includes at least one edge surface, the connectors providing only one degree of freedom between the adjacent members, that being in the horizontal plane. In preferred embodiments the adjacent members are joined by a push together movement in which male connectors secured to reinforcing elements, are inserted into one-way female connectors cast into recesses in a surface of the adjacent panel curved to match the curved surface corresponding to the male members, to form a snug fitting joint with rotational freedom sufficient to take up expansion or contraction of the members, e.g., to enable emplacement above the frost line.

Vertical members formed as precast reinforced concrete members on the order of 5 to 8 feet high, between 1 and 3 feet wide and between three-fourths and 2 inches thick, joined along their vertical edges with laterally adjustable joints are featured as solving the need for a near-universal barrier wall having advantages exceeding in many aspects all other structure available on the market today.

Joints formed by the concrete members directly or by intervening joint cylinders can provide connectors at modular intervals permitting stepping of one barrier member higher or lower than its adjacent member.

Featured also are concrete connectors in which portions of the reinforcement of the cast members form or are secured to portions of the connectors, enabling transfer of load from reinforcement of one vertical member to reinforcement of the next. Supports directly embedded in but rotatable relative to concrete provide for transfer of loads directly to reinforcement while enabling adjustability with preservation of surface continuity. They can define slots receiving male members, e.g., reinforcement rod projections of another member with set-screw locking, or they can support male members for push-together one-way fastening. Female fastenersembedded in concrete, secured to reinforcement and backed by yieldable void producing members provide also for effective connection, the depth of these connections being variable when of the push-together one-way type.

These and numerous other objects and features will be understood from the preceding abstract, the drawings and the following specification and claims.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an outdoor barrier according to the invention;

FIGS. la and 1b are side and end views of an individual vertical member of the barrier, and

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of a portion of the barrier;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of connecting portions of adjacent members, the connecting member on the right having been rotated for viewing purposes;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of two members joined together;

FIG. 5 is an elevational view showing a member installed above the frost line;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the casting operation while FIGS. 6a and 6b are plan and crosssectional views showing the relationship of the reinforcement to the connectors;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a female connector used in the preferred embodiment, showing its relation to reinforcement;

FIG. 8 is a horizontal cross-sectional view of two vertical concrete members of the FIG. 1 embodiment, taken on line 88 in the region of a connection;

FIG. 9 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the connection shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the relationship of the reinforcement and connectors of adjacent vertical members;

FIGS. 11, 12 and 13 illustrate alternative joint constructions to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-10 as do FIGS. 13a and 13b;

FIGS. 14 and 15 illustrate another embodiment; and

FIGS. 16-l6fare diagrammatic plan views of barriers according to the invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 1a, 1b, 2, 3, 4, 5, l and 16, barrier 10 is made up of precast reinforced concrete units 12 arranged about 18 inches deep in the earth (FIG. 2), above the frost line 13, in zig-zag formation along a general line of extension 14 (FIG. 16). Adjacent units 12 make opposite angles (1 (FIGS. 1 and 16) with line 14 such that the projection A, of each unit has a width (equal to the product of the width of unit 12 and cosine a) between 50 and 85 percent of the width of the unit.

Each unit 12 (FIGS. 1a, lb, 4 & is 7 as feet high (I), 2 feet wide (w), and 1 inch thick (t). In general, units 12 have a height-to-width ratio of at least 2 and a width-to-thickness ratio of at least (preferably 20). The thickness is preferably no more than 2 inches, nor less than inch, the width preferably no more than 3 feet, and the height preferably between 5 and 8 feet. In this way, even for a very tall fence or barrier, the units will usually be heavy enough, e.g., more than 100 pounds, to give stability and prevent vandalism and and yet be light enough to be manually handled and installed. Each will be wide enough, together with its angular mounting, to provide significant coverage along the line 14, (and to provide the mutual support one to another to be described). Still each will not be so wide as to crack due to sudden or gradual bending along its width, about a vertical axis. Furthermore, the units are narrow enough to resist cracking due to individual thermal expansion and contraction, or to frost heaves, and, with the stress relief effect of the successive jointsthe wall will not change in overall length. However, the units are too thin to be individually self-supporting.

A pair of broad, generally parallel surfaces 22 and 24 (FIGS. la, lb) provides most of the surface area of unit 12. These are generally transverse to lengthwise extending edge surfaces 26 and 28. Bottom surface 27 (FIG. 5) is in direct contact with the ground, there being no footing. Surface 26 is of cylindrical form and has projecting therefrom male projections 29 (of 3/16 inch diameter which are rotatably joined to vertical reinforcement rods, 33, to be explained). The combined effect of the units and their connectors (which permit shift in horizontal angle while transmitting stress in other directions) permits the units also to rise and fall with frost heaves or to withstand, partial loss of supporting soil or other change in environmental conditions while preserving both structural and visual integrity of the barrier. These connectors 29 are spaced about 18 inches apart, the top connector being 9 inches below the top of the unit. Surface 28 is concavely rounded to mate its edges with surface 26. In surface 28 are embedded push-together one-way type female connectors 32, (shown diagrammatically in FIG. 3 and in detail in FIGS. 69) positioned to receive male connectors 29 of an adjacent unit 12.

Connectors 32 are embedded in unit 12 when the unit is cast. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 6a, vibrating casting mold 40 has a series of adjustable mandrels 42 with tips 44 of diameter less than that ofa connector 32, and conical bases 46. A void-producing retainer 48 of deformable material, preferably of rubber-like material, is placed on each mandrel 42 and in turn positions a connector 32, at the desired location in the mold. The concrete is then poured, and the retainers remain in place as it sets. Accurate alignment of the connectors is thus obtained. The details of the connectors will be described later more fully.

To assemble the barrier, the precast units 12 are brought to the site, and an excavation is prepared which may be above the frost line, along the desired general line of extent of the barrier. Units 12 are set into the excavation at the alternately opposite angles a adjacent units are brought toward each other (FIG. 3), and male connectors 29 are forced into the corresponding female connectors 32, the connectors 29 entering the space behind connectors 32 and acting to deform rubber-like retainers 48 upon entrance. (The retainers form and occupy a void not filled with concrete, and, with deformation, accommodate various degrees of penetration of the male connectors as needed for the barrier units to seat against one another.) The connectors 32 can so grip the male connectors 29 that release is impossible, thus defeating attempts to dismantle the barrier without showing signs of physical force. A sighttight snug fitting joint with hidden connectors is thus produced (FIGS. 1 and 4). The excavation is then refilled with earth-like fill (FIG. 5).

As installed, adjacent units support each other and provide an effective barrier thickness (as determined by the barrier thickness P measured perpendicular to line of extent 14, FIGS. 1 and 16) much greater than the thickness of the individual unit, to resist overturn forces, so that footings or external support are generally not required. The members also mutually support each other along the vertical edges and thus resist bending of the units about horizontal axes, preventing excessive deflection as would cause the low-in-tensile strength concrete to fail. The connectors allow rotational freedom between adjacent units to accommodate, without cracking, thermal expansion and contraction, frost heaves and other stress conditions.

The varied nature of conditions and loadings that ordinarily are imposed upon a masonry wall and the way these are successfully resisted or avoided according to the present invention are as follows (referring to FIG. 4):

Thermal expansion E the chief effect is expansion of widthwise dimension w. Self-adjustment occurs by rotation of the unit itself, changing its angle to the line of extent 14, from a to 11,. For a 100 temperature differential, angular change will be on the order of 0.2" (a a 0.2). Forces are delivered to adjacent units by compression loading of matching surfaces 26,28 and with tongue and groove constraint of the matching surfaces. No change occurs in the overall length of the barrier nor does movement occur of any unit along the line of extent of the barrier. In other words thermal expansion and contraction is accommodated by change in the overall width p, not the overall length of the barrier, and the result is that no expansion joints or other such provisions are required.

Thermal contraction C the effects are opposite to expansion just given, angle a decreases, with no change in overall length of barrier, and with simultaneous movement of adjacent units. Such tension forces as occur are transmitted between adjacent units from reinforcement grid of one to reinforcement grid of the next through connectors, see FIG. 10.

Broadside force B undue deflection of the unit about the vertical axis is avoided because of limited width w of the unit. Undue deflections about horizontal axes are avoided by interaction of adjacent units. Adjacent unit 12 towards which force b acts, is placed under compression, and braces unit 12 against displacement through compression forces f delivered through mating concrete surfaces 26, 28. Adjacent unit 12,, away from which force b acts, is placed under tension, and resists displacement through tension forces delivered from its reinforcing grid through the connectors to the reinforcing grid of unit 12 (see FIG. Unit 12 will act like unit 12 and so on. Weight w of the units, vertical compression of the soil beneath unit edges (portions of units pressing down), compression of the soil laterally (portions pressing sideways) and friction effect of the soil (portions tending to rise) all have an effect. Minor incremental rotation both of the unit under stress and the immediately adjacent units may occur under extreme force conditions, attendant distortion of the filling soil serving to absorb energy.

Longitudinal force L the effects are opposite to the broadside (force B) case, i.e., unit 12 resists with its joint under compression, and unit 12 resists with its joint under tension. Weight and soil effects are similar to those explained for broadside example.

Weight W the lateral load spreading effect in the soil gives a large effective base to a relatively narrow edge. The vertical stress transmitting capability of the connectors transfers stress to adjacent units in the event of loss of soil support at certain points, e.g., in case of erosion.

Frost heave H if the heaving is not uniform, the series of units responds by a combination of deflection or straining of the unitsthemselves, and incremental rotation in amounts corresponding to the amount of strain in the particular portion of the unit involved. The action is somewhat similar to that of bending an accordion. When thawing occurs, the various joints can guide the various units back into place.

Referring now to FIGS. 69 the connection system of the foregoing preferred embodiment employs male connectors 29 projecting from one edge 26 of the unit connected to vertical reinforcement rod 33 and female connectors 32 embedded adjacent the oppositely directed edge 28, connected to vertical reinforcement rod 35, the vertical rods 33, 35 being part of a welded reinforcement grid, which consists also of transverse rods 37 joining the vertical rods. It is through this reinforcement structure that certain loads, especially tension loads, are transmitted through the series of connected units 12.

In the preferred embodiment, as mating surfaces 26, 28 of adjacent units are brought together the male members 29 (FIGS. 3, 8 and 9) are guided into the female members 32, and are tightly gripped by fingers 39 of the push-together, one-way connectors. In this case the fingers are directed inwardly of the main plate 41 of the connector 32. Thus projection 29, when forced into the smaller opening 43 of the connector, elastically bends the fingers 39 inwardly, and projection 29 slides inwardly. As is known for this kind of fasteners, reverse movement is opposed by a strong resistance caused by the edges of the fingers which tend to dig into the body of the projection. Accordingly the connectors resist tension stresses without movement. Because the projection 29 is gripped almost entirely in one plane, a degree of tilting of the projection in any direction relative to the plane is permitted. However the seating of mating surfaces 26, 28 imposes definite limits against tendency of one unit to shift in its vertical plane relative to the adjacent unit. However because the edge surfaces 26, 28 are curved to permit rotation, a certain amount of change in the horizontal angle of one unit to another can be permitted, e.g., to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction. (And thus mere projections of the reinforcing grid steel can serve as male members inserted into stationary, embedded female members, with the deflectability of the steel as well as the type of male-female connection providing freedom of rotation sufficient to absorb thermal expansion and contraction effects.)

In the preferred embodiment, however, the male member 29 is made rotatable in the horizontal plane relative to its own unit, providing freedom for self-adjustability under thermal stress, and wider freedom of adjustment to various positions as well, (preferably on the order of 180, through a range of more than to either side of the plane of the unit). Referring especially to FIGS. 3, 6, 8 and 9 the connector 29 is an integral extension of metal disc 40. This disc has a central opening through which vertical reinforcement rod 33 extends, with a slightly loose fit so that disc 40 can rotate thereon. The outer periphery of the disc is of the same diameter as the concrete cylinder to which the edge surface 26 conforms (FIG. 3). Before casting, the disc 40 is coated on both sides with a release agent such as form oil and it is positioned in the casing mold in alignment with the cylindrical surfaces forming edge 26 and with its male projection 29 protruding through an opening in the mold, thus not exposed to the concrete. When the casting is removed, the periphery of the disc and the edge surface 26 are continuous and the disc is free to rotate, carrying the projection 29 from side to side, the peripheral surface of the disc maintaining continuity with the surface 26 in the various rotational positions.

The resultant connector transmits tensional force on the projection to the reinforcing grid of the concrete; and the surrounding concrete resists by compression any tendency for the projection to shift the disc from its plane.

(Apart from this particular embodiment and the general subject of barriers, it is also to be noted that this joint system a connector support member directly embedded in but rotatable relative to concrete; the same rotatable on a reinforcement rod; the same with the disc peripheral surface aligned with a curved surface of a cast member, and the same with threaded fastenings or the here preferred push together fastenings, etc., is useful in general for connecting members to concrete and the like, affording a means for adjustment while preserving visual and mechanical uniformity of the surfaces.)

In the preferred embodiment the connector 32 comprises one leg of a U-shaped stamping, shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 which is received upon vertical reinforcing rod 35. During casting, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 6b alignment of connector 32 is provided by a mandrel positioned by the casting mold. As shown in FIG. 6 this is accomplished by placing the U-shaped member on the mandrel. The mandrel has an outer end 44 smaller than the gripping hole formed by fingers 39 of the connector 32. This end which protrudes therethrough, and a shoulder of the mandrel bears on the inner face of connector leg 32. The connector is held in that position by rubber-like retainer 48 whose hole is smaller than the outer end, and thus grips it. The grid is positioned by the male connector assemblies so that the disc peripheries align with edge 26 of the finished product. The distance of the vertical rod 35 and thus the connector 32 is set by the dimensions of the welded reinforcing grid, which may be subject to variation. This is of no consequence since the male members are provided with excess length and the void produced in the casting by deformable retainer 48 (which remains embedded) will accept excess length beyond retainer 32. Thus, in casting, the position of mandrel 42 is variable, and is set by the location of rod 35 to which the U-shaped connector is attached.

After casting, the mandrel is withdrawn, leaving the rubber-like retainer 48 and connector 32 embedded in the concrete. The conical portion 45 of the mandrel enables easy withdrawal and leaves a conical opening in the concrete beyond the U-shaped member in proper alignment.

The resultant joint system is suitable for positioning units in any of the patterns FIGS. 16-16f. For 3 or 4 unit connections, for instance, as suggested in FIGS. 16d and 162, the multiple projection connectors as shown in FIG. 11 are useful. In their stead stacked discs can be employed face to face (c.f. FIG. 12), having the advantage of adjustability for attachment of each unit.

Referring to FIG. 3, attachment proceeds simply by bringing the male and female connectors together. Pushing together first, e.g., at the top and then at the bottom, will cause the respective male projections to be lead by the conical surfaces to the female connectors, which they will enter.

As the male members protrude through connectors 32 they will enter and enlarge the holes of the yieldable, void-producing retainers. Such movement will continue until the respective surfaces 26 and 28 seat or closely approach each other.

The resultingjoint is sight-tight and load-transmitting due to interfitting of the curvatures of the surfaces, and the visible surfaces may be smooth and pleasing in appearance, without regard to the particular angular relationship selected for the units. The resulting joint is also adapted to rotate incrementally from time to time as environmental conditions change.

Referring to FIG. 11 extra connectors 32 are shown in concave surface 28a. These allow an incremental offset vertically of one unit 12 relative to another, for placement of the units on a slope, as shown on the right hand side of FIG. 1.

Referring to FIG. 12, in this embodiment a joint cylinder 60 separate from barrier units 62, 64, but of the same height and preferably coextensive therewith, is employed to form the joint. The corresponding edges 63, 65 of both units 62, 64 are concave, matching the curvature ofjoint cylinder 60, and each unit 62, 64 has embedded in it female connectors 32, which may be formed and positioned in the manner described above. (Each unit has along both of its vertical edges concave surfaces and female fasteners.)

The joint cylinder as shown comprises a vertical central rod 65 on which are alternately threaded (or cast in place) spools 66 of concrete and connectors 68, comprising discs 69 and integral protruding male connectors 70. In this case the discs for the respective units are stacked face to face, and provide freedeom for adjustment of each unit 62, 64 without disturbing the remainder of the joint.

As suggested by dotted lines, spools 66a of shorter length can be employed to offset one series of connectors, for unit 62 say, relative to the connectors for the other unit, thus permitting one unit to be stepped relative to the next, for use on hilly terrain.

Referring to FIG. 13 a connector support disc 40a is shown in which a slot 70 is formed in the disc adjacent to the male projection 72. The purpose of slot 70 is to permit assembly of the disc 40a onto concrete reinforcement rod 33 without need of threading. The slot then may be filled, e.g., by plastic plug 74 and a barrier unit FIGS. l-10, or a joint cylinder, FIG. 12, may be cast as previously described. The main purpose of such connectors is to transfer tension forces from male connector 72 to rod 33 and it will be noted that the slot 70 does not interfere with this function. In the instance of cast barrier units the concrete surrounding the back portion of disc 40a will prevent its removal. In the case of joint cylinders the slot may be closed by a set screw or other means to prevent accidental removal of the disc from its mounting rod.

In this embodiment the male projection 72 is shown of rectangular cross section, adapted for use with female push together connectors of similar form.

Referring to FIG. 13a, the male projection 75 in this embodiment is formed by two half-round heavy wire portions 75a and 75b, these being end portions of a wire which also forms a ring 77. Projection 75 is useful in the manner of the various foregoing projections for insertion into female connectors. The ring 77 is not rotatable directly on a vertical reinforcement rod, but still it is in load-transferring relation transferring stress to the rod 33 through concrete that enters into the hollow space of the ring.

Casting of the ring as an integral part of the barrier unit 12 is illustrated in FIG. 13b. As in the embodiment of FIB. 6, the casting mold or form 83 that defines the shape of the cylindrical edge portion of the unit also positions the ring and its male projection, the latter protruding through a suitable hole in the form (note the upper part of this form may be hinged, to release the unit after casting). The reinforcement rod 33 enters the ring through the space 73 between projections 75a, 75b, and may be positioned by other means in the form. When the concrete is set, ring 77 will rotate about the circular mass of concrete 79, and is confined in the axial direction by concrete in the manner that the discs described above are confined.

In an alternative forming procedure grooves are provided in the casting form for receiving the outer portions of ring 77, to aid in the positioning of it. The middle portion of ring 77 extends through the thickness of the barrier unit. Here again, in use the middle portion of ring 77, will transfer tension on projection 75 to rod 33 by compression stress applied to the concrete that lies between the middle portion of the ring 77 and rod 33.

in still another embodiment, the ring is not cast in place at the time of forming the barrier unit. Either an appropriate hole is east through the thickness of the unit, or holes are drilled through the concrete unit at a later time. Then a half-round wire may be passed through each hole, and is wrapped about the cylindrical edge surface, with end portions brought together (e.g., by a threaded nut) to form the male projection. As with the other embodiments this connector can be rotated about the concrete that effectively fills its center and can transfer tension stress on projection 75 to rod 33 by compression of the concrete filling.

This embodiment can be of use for alterations in the field, permitting workmen to install the male connectors at any desired place (using a jig to obtain proper spacing between connectors). Thus in going over hilly terrain offset between adjacent units can be varied at will.

Referring to the embodiment of FIGS. 14 and 15 a slot 70a provided in the support disc 40b of a connector serves as a slot to receive a male connector, as well as serving as a means for affixing the disc 40b to reinforcement rod 33 of either a barrier unit, as shown, or a joint cylinder. in this embodiment the male connector 80 comprises an extension of a horizontal reinforcing rod 37 which forms part of the reinforcement grid of an adjacent barrier unit. It is inserted into connector slot 70a and set screw 75 is then tightened, so that male connector 80 is tightly gripped, thus establishing a tension connection between the units.

It will be understood that numerous variations in the specific details will occur and are within the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

ll. A vertically extending, monolithic pre-cast concrete member for use in adjacent relation with other such members to comprise an exterior, self-supported barrier, said member comprising a body incorporating reinforcement and defining a pair of oppositely facing, generally parallel broad surfaces, a pair of height-wise extending edge surfaces, a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and a width-to-thickness ratio of at least 10, said member by itself being insufficiently selfsupporting to provide desired barrier qualities; and connectors for joining said member together with an adjacent member at an effective vertical load transferring inter-connection, said connectors constructed to enable emplacement of said concrete member at an angle in the horizontal plane with respect to said adjacent member, and said connectors providing freedom for rotary movement of said concrete member to alter said angle to enable self adjustment of said member under the influence of changing conditions to which said member is exposed, said connectors disposed along a height-wise extending edge surface of said member and defining the axis of said rotary movement aligned substantially with the mid-plane between said broad faces of said member, said height-wise edge being of convex cylindrical cross-section throughout, adapted to be mated with a surface of opposite curvature of said adjacent member, the arc of said cross section extending substantially more than from the mid-plane of said member on each side to a point substantially beyond the normal thereto through the center of said arc, said are and said connectors enabling wide-range rotation of said member relative to said adjacent member, said connectors comprising a plurality of discrete horizontally extending projections shaped to interfit with receiver portions of an adjacent member, said projections being in load transferring relation to the reinforcement of and being rotatably movable in the horizontal plane only relative to said concrete member upon which they are mounted to enable said rotary movement of said member.

2. The pre-cast concrete member of claim 1 wherein said member is on the order of 5 to 8 feet high, between 1 and 3 feet wide, and between and 2 inches thick.

3. A plurality of vertically extending, monolithic precast concrete members for use in adjacent relation to comprise an exterior self-supported barrier, each member comprising a body incorporating reinforcement and defining a pair of oppositely facing, generally parallel broad surfaces, a pair of height-wise extending edge surfaces, a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and a width-to-thickness ratio of at least 10, each said member by itself being insufficiently self-supporting to provide desired barrier qualities; and connectors for joining adjacent members of said plurality together at an effective vertical load transferring interconnection, said connectors constructed to enable emplacement of said adjacent concrete members at an angle in the horizontal plane with respect to each other, and said connectors providing freedom for rotary movement of said concrete members to alter said angle to enable selfadjustment of said members under the influence of changing conditions to which said members are exposed, said connectors defined by projections of one of said members shaped to interfit with receiver portions of the other of said members, the projections and receiver portions being in load transferring relation to the reinforcement of the respective members, the surfaces of said adjacent members at said connectors being of relatively rotatable complementary form, one fitting into the other, providing a sight-tight joint over a range of angular relative positions of said adjacent members, one connector of each interfitting pair of connectors being rotatably movable in the horizontal plane relative to a respective concrete member upon which it is mounted to enable said self-adjustment, a said movable connector being disposed on a horizontally arranged member embedded in concrete of said respective precast member, said movable member being free to turn relative to said concrete.

4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said movable member is a round element, a rod extending through a hole in said element, portions of said rod embedded in said concrete, and said element being free to rotate about said rod.

5. The combination of claim 3 wherein said movable member is a round element, the portion of said concrete in the region of said round element is substantially of the form of a segment of a vertical cylinder and said round element has a peripheral portion exposed, aligned with said cylinder.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein said male projection is disposed on the periphery of said round element and is rotatable therewith.

7. The combination of claim 5 wherein a connector space is disposed within the body of said round element, there being an access opening thereto in the periphery of said round element.

8. The combination of claim 5 wherein, for mounting adjacent to said concrete cylinder segment, the other member is of concrete and has a concave portion of matching curvature for fitting to said segment, said portions positioned to produce a horizontally adjustable sight-tight joint.

9. The combination of claim 8 wherein said concrete segment forms an edge surface of said member forming said barrier.

10. In combination, a cast concrete member for connection with another member and a connector carried on a round element, said round element being confined directly by the concrete and free to rotate about its axis relative to the concrete, said round element having an axial hole and is rotatably mounted about a rod extending through said concrete, said element having a portion of its curved periphery exposed, said connector being disposed on said element and movable therewith.

11. The combination of claim 10 wherein portions of said rod comprise reinforcement embedded in said concrete.

12. The combination of claim 10 wherein said element has a slot extending from said hole to said periphery adapted to fit over said rod during assembly.

13. The combination of claim 12 wherein said male and female connectors are of the push together, oneway type, and the rotation provided by said male member assists in aligning said connectors as they are pushed together.

14. In combination, a cast concrete member for connection with another member and a connector carried on a round element, said round element being confined directly by the concrete and free to rotate about its axis relative to the concrete, said element having a portion of its curved periphery exposed, said connector being disposed on said element and movable therewith and wherein said cast concrete member has a rounded cast surface, said element shaped such that its curved periphery generally conforms to said rounded cast surface.

15. In combination two cast concrete members, a connector carried on a round element, said round element embedded in the body of a first of said concrete members and free to rotate about its axis relative to the concrete, said element having a portion of its curved periphery exposed, said connector being disposed on said element and movable therewith, said first concrete member having a rounded cast surface, said element shaped such that its curved periphery generally aligns with said rounded cast surface, said second concrete member having a rounded surface complementary in form and adapted to fit with said rounded cast surface and said curved periphery, said second concrete member carrying a connector for joining with the first mentioned connector.

16. The combination of claim 15 wherein said connector on said element comprises a male connector member and said connector carried by said second concrete member comprises a female connector embedded in said second concrete member and adapted to receive and secure said male connector.

17. First and second concrete members, said first concrete member including male connectors, said second concrete member including female connectors embedded therein, positioned to receive said male connectors, said female connectors being of the push together, one-way type and being disposed in load transferring relation to reinforcement structure embedded in said concrete member, said male connectors being rotatable relative to said second concrete member permitting relative movement in one direction only, and said female connectors having portions transferring loads to said male connectors in all lateral directions as well as the withdrawal direction.

18. The combination of claim 17 including means providing conically shaped pilot holes leading to said embedded female connectors and said male members are deflectable relative to the concrete member to which they are attached as they pass through said pilot holes.

19. A pre-cast reinforced concrete member for connection with other members, one portion of said member defining a joint surface having male members protruding therefrom, and an opposite portion of said member defining a second joint surface having female connectors, a reinforcing structure extending through said member between and connected to said male and female members, said male members each having a reference portion aligned with said respective joint surface and said female members being disposed at varying distances from their respective joint surface in accordance with variations in the dimensions of said reinforcing structure, said male members carried on round horizontal elements having outer surfaces aligned with a vertical cylindrical surface of said concrete member.

20. A permanently installed outdoor barrier structure comprising a plurality of preformed individual vertical members, said barrier structure resting for its full support directly on the earth, each vertical member having a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and a width-tothickness ratio greater than ten, each of said members defining oppositely directed broad surfaces and straight, height wise extending parallel narrow edges extending throughout the height of said members, said members including connectors arranged to join together edge portions of members, each of said membersjoined at an angle of at least 60 and not more than 150 included angle to another of said members, and the various angles taken together providing coverage along the general line of extent of said barrier of between about 50 and 85 percent the aggregate width of the members forming said barrier, said connectors defined by a plurality of projections extending horizontally from one of said members from a said vertical straight edge thereof, the projections interfitting with receiver portions of the other of said members, the projections and receiver portions being of the push together, one-way type and being disposed in load transferring relation to the reinforcement of the respective members, one of each projection and receiver portion pair being rotatable in the horizontal plane relative to the member on which it is mounted permitting relative rotation of adjacent members about the vertical axis only, the surfaces of said adjacent members at said connectors being of relatively rotatable complementary form, one fitting into the other throughout the height of the member, providing a sight-tight joint over a range of angular relative positions of said adjacent members, said connectors defining the axis of said rotary movement aligned substantially with the mid-plane between said broad faces of said member.

21. A permanently installed outdoor barrier structure comprising a plurality of preformed individual vertical members set edge to edge at angles in an extended zigzag pattern, each having a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and a width-to-thickness ratio greater than 10, each of said members thereby defining oppositely directed broad surfaces and straight, height-wise extending parallel narrow edges, said members including connectors arranged to join together edge portions of members, said members comprising reinforced concrete and said connectors providing freedom for environmental movement during the life of said barrier of said members to enable change of the angles of said members relative to each other without altering the overall length of said barrier, the joint between adjacent members being rotatable, providing concrete-toconcrete contact over an extended are between said members over a range of rotated positions, said connectors defined by projections of one of said members interfitting with receiver portions of the other of said members, the projections and receiver portions being in load transferring relation to the reinforcement of the respective members, the surfaces of said adjacent members at said connectors being of relatively rotatable complementary form, one fitting into the other, one being of convex form and the other being of com plementary concave form providing a sight-tight joint over a range of angular relative positions of said adjacent members, the projection of each interfitting pair extending across the interface formed between the respective complementary convex and concave surfaces and that connector of each inter-fitting pair of connectors which is mounted on the member having the respective convex surface being rotatably movable in the horizontal plane relative to the respective concrete member to enable said self-adjustment.

22. A landscape barrier having the structure of claim 21 wherein each vertical member comprises a reinforced precast concrete member on the order of to 8 feet high, between 1 and 3 feet wide and between three-fourths and 2 inches thick, the members joined at their vertical edges with laterally flexible joints.

23. The structure of claim 21 wherein the connection between adjacent vertical members are permanent and are constructed to prevent disconnection without defacing a said vertical member.

2d. The structure of claim 21 wherein the edge portions of adjacent vertical members are ungrouted one to another and free to rotate laterally relative to one another to accommodate environmental change without cracking.

25.. A wall of claim 21 installed on ground in localities where the frost line is below the surface of said ground and the lower edges of said vertical members are disposed above said frost line and rest directly upon the ground without a formed footing thereunder.

26. A concrete connector comprising a round hollow ring partially extending through concrete and having its center fixed with respect to with concrete, said ring having a peripheral portion exposed and carrying connector means, said ring being rotatable about said center to provide adjustment of the positions of said connector means.

27. The connector of claim 26 wherein said connector means is cast in place and comprises a male member defined by two protrusions from said ring, said protrusions being separable, and a reinforcement rod extending through said ring, said rod inserted prior to casting into said ring through the space between said protrusions.

28. A plurality of vertically extending monolithic precast concrete members for use in adjacent relation to comprise an exterior, self-supported barrier, each member comprising a body incorporating reinforcement and defining a pair of oppositely facing, generally parallel broad surfaces, a pair of height-wise extending edge surfaces, a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and a width-to-thickness ratio of at least 10, each said member by itself being insufficiently self-supporting to provide desired barrier qualities; and connectors for joining adjacent members of said plurality together at an effective vertical load transferring interconnection, said connectors constructed to enable emplacement of said adjacent concrete members at an angle in the horizontal plane with respect to each other, and said connectors providing freedom for rotary movement of said concrete members to alter said angle to enable self adjustment of said members under the influence of changing conditions to which said members are exposed, said connectors comprising male projections shaped for insertion into female connectors of the push-together one-way type, and female connectors of the pushtogether, one-way type adapted to receive said male projections, said female connectors having laterally extending portions extending above and below the opening for said projections, simultaneously restraining said projections vertically enabling transfer of vertical loads in both up and down directions, one connector of each interfitting pair of connectors being rotatably movable in the horizontal plane relative to a respective concrete member upon which it is mounted to enable said selfadjustment.

29. A plurality of vertically extending, monolithic pre-cast concrete members for use in adjacent relation to comprise an exterior self-supported barrier, each member comprising a body incorporating reinforcement and defining a pair of oppositely facing, generally parallel broad surfaces, a pair of height-wise extending edge surfaces, a height-to-width ratio of at least two, and width-to-thickness ratio of at least 10, each said member by itself being insufficiently self-supporting to provide desired barrier qualities; and connectors for joining adjacent members of said plurality together at an effective vertical load transferring interconnection, said connectors constructed to enable emplacement of said adjacent concrete members at an angle in the horizontal plane with respect to each other, and said connectors providing freedom for rotary movement of said concrete members to alter said angle to enable selfadjustment of said members under the influence of changing conditions to which said members are exposed, said connectors defined by projections of one of said members shaped to interfit with receiver portions of the other of said members, the projections and receiver portions being in load transferring relation to the reinforcement of the respective members, the surfaces of said adjacent members at said connectors being of relatively rotatable complementary form, one fitting into the other, one being of convex cylindrical form of arc distance greater than 180 and the other being of concave cylindrical form of arc distance less than 180 providing a sight-tight joint over a range of angular relative positions of said adjacent members and wherein one connector of each interfitting pair of connectors is rotatably movable in the horizontal plane relative to a respective concrete member upon which it is mounted to enable said self-adjustment.

30. A vertically extending, monolithic pre-cast concrete member in adjacent relation with a vertically extending joint cylinder, said member comprising a body incorporating reinforcement and defining a pair of oppositely facing, generally parallel broad surfaces, a pair of height-wise extending edge surfaces, a height-towidth ratio of at least two, and a width-to-thickness ratio of at least 10, and connectors for joining said member together with said joint cylinder at an effective vertical load transferring interconnection, said connectors constructed to enable emplacement of said concrete member at an angle in the horizontal plane with respect to said joint cylinder, and said connectors providing freedom for rotary movement of said concrete member to alter said angle to enable self adjustment of said member under the influence of changing conditions to which said member is exposed, said connectors being in the form of pairs, one comprising a male projection adapted to interfit with the other connector, one of each pair of connectors being rotatable in the horizontal plane to enable said self-adjustment, the movable connector being disposed on a round element forming part of the vertical surface of said joint cylinder, said precast member having an edge surface of matching curvature for rotatably fitting to said cylinder to provide a horizontally adjustable sight-tight joint.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification52/71, 256/26, 256/19, D08/323, 52/583.1, 52/285.1
International ClassificationE04H17/16
Cooperative ClassificationE04H17/16
European ClassificationE04H17/16
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 12, 1982AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: FANWALL CORPORATION, THE
Effective date: 19821008
Owner name: REINFORCED EARTH COMPANY,THE, 1700 NORTH MOORE ST.
Oct 12, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: REINFORCED EARTH COMPANY,THE, 1700 NORTH MOORE ST.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:FANWALL CORPORATION, THE;REEL/FRAME:004054/0771
Effective date: 19821008