US 3742658 A
An inflatable Geodesic structure comprising a plurality of triangular surfaces disposed in edge-to-edge relation and having air cells extending along the intersections between adjacent surfaces. Both structure and method of fabrication are disclosed.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 91 Meyer July 3, 1973 4] INFLATABLE GEODESIC TENT Domebook 2 May 1971 page 124.
 Inventor: Bruce F. Meyer, 828 So Windsor No. M th [M d l b L d &R n n 888 1A, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102 3 y y o e page cc  Filed: Oct. 8, 1971 Appl. No.: 187,706
 US. Cl 52/2, 52/81, 52/DIG. 10  Int. Cl E04b U345  Field of Search 52/2, 81, DIG. 10
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,938,526 5/1960 Harrison 52/2 2,946,337 7/1960 Wolshin 52/2 2,979,064 4/1961 Fischer 52/2 3,457,684 7/1969 Wood 52/2 OTHER PUBLICATIONS House & Home Sept. 1956 page 135.
Primary Examiner-Frank L. Abbott Assistant Examiner-Henry E. Raduazo An0rneyLynn G. Foster  ABSTRACT An inflatable Geodesic structure comprising a plurality of triangular surfaces disposed in edge-to-edge relation and having air cells extending along the intersections between adjacent surfaces. Both structure and method of fabrication are disclosed.
1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figures INFLATABLE GEODESIC TENT BACKGROUND 1. Field of Invention This invention relates to portable structures, such as tents, and is particularly directed to inflatable portable structures of Geodesic dome configuration.
2. Prior Art It has become widely known that the Geodesic dome configuration provides an extremely rugged and attractive structure which is relatively inexpensive to construct. It is also known that the Geodesic dome configuration lends itself to the construction of light weight, portable structures, such as tents, which may be rapidly erected at a desired location. It is further known that various structures can be erected quickly and effortlessly by inflation. Numerous attempts have been made heretofore to combine these teachings. However, none of the prior art designs have been entirely satisfactory. Typical of such prior art designs is that disclosed in US. Pat. No. 2,979,064, issued Apr. 11, 1961, to W. H. Fischer. However, this structure provides inflatable panels, which present large areas subject to puncture and requires a system of conduits to supply air to the various panels. This conduit system is external to the dome structure per se and involves additional labor and expense to construct and install. Moreover, such structures do not lend themselves readily to mass production.
BRIEF SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION These disadvantages of the prior art are overcome with the present invention and a novel inflatable structure of Geodesic configuration is provided which presents a minimum area subject to puncture and in which the air cells are integral with the dome structure, providing a design which is extremely simple to construct and erect and which is uniquely adapted to economical mass production.
The advantages of the present invention are preferably attained by providing an inflatable Geodesic struc ture formed of a plurality of triangular surfaces disposed in edge-to-edge relation with edge struts extending along the intersections of adjoining surfaces forming air cells, together with a method of constructing the same. Moreover, the design of the present invention in cludes a basic pattern which is repeated a plurality of times to provide a complete structure and which is uniquely adapted to mass production.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved structure.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved inflatable structure.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved inflatable structure of Geodesic configuration.
An additional object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable structure of Geodesic configuration which provides a minimum pressurized surface subject to puncture.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved inflatable structure of Geodesic configuration which is uniquely suited to mass production.
A specific object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable Geodesic structure fonn'ed of a plurality of triangular surfaces disposed in edgeto-edge relation with edge struts extending along at the intersections of adjoining surfaces forming air cells, together with a method of manufacturing said structure comprising the steps of disposing two sheets of flexible material in superposed planar relation, sealing said sheets together in air tight relation in a manner defining a plurality of triangular areas arranged in edge-to-edge relation but spaced from each other to form a predetermined pattern which is repeated a plurality of times, severing said sheets adjacent the peripheral seals formed in said sealing operation, and securing the edges of the severed sheets together to form an inflatable structure.
These and other objects and features of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, taken with reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an isometric view of an inflatable Geodesic structure embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a transverse section taken on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the structure of FIG. 1 during the initial stages of construction.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT In that form of the present invention chosen for purposes of illustration, FIG. I shows an inflatable Geodesic structure, indicated generally at 2, formed of a plurality of triangular panels 4 arranged in edge-to-edge relation and connected by tubes 6 extending along the edges of the triangular panels 4. The tubes 6 are hollow, as indicated at 8 in FIG. 2, and the interiors 8 of the tubes 6 are in communication with each other at the intersections 10. An air valve 12 is provided, preferably at one of the intersections 10 and serves to permit pressurized air from a suitable source, not shown, to be introduced into the interiors 8 of the tubes 6. The air serves to inflate the tubes 6 which, thereby, become relatively rigid and serve to erect and support the structure 2.
It will be seen that, with the structure of the present invention, puncture of the panels 4 will not affect the structural integrity. Hence, the area subject to damage by puncture is minimized. Moreover, the use of a single air valve 12 permits quick and easy erection of the structure.
FIG. 3 shows the pattern employed for constructing the structure of the present invention and it will be seen that this pattern is uniquely suited to mass production. As shown, the pattern has a basic unit, indicated generally at 14, composed of six equilateral triangular panels 4 and two smaller right triangular panels 16. The two right triangular panels 16 are arranged in opposing relation and four of the equilateral triangular panels 4 are arranged in edge-to-edge relation so that their apexes define a common intersection 10 with the adjacent points of the right triangular panels 16 and their bases define four sides of a hexagon. The two remaining equilateral panels 4 are disposed in edge-to-edge relation to form a parallelogram having one edge thereof joined to the base of one of the four equilateral panels 4. This basic unit pattern is repeated five times to make up the complete pattern indicated generally at 17. To produce the structure of FIG. 1, two sheets of material which is impervious to air, such as polyvinyl chloride, rubberized canvas or the like, are placed in superposed relation, as seen at 19 and 21 in FIG. 2, and are bonded together along the dotted lines 18 of FIG. 3. Thereafter, the two sheets are severed along the solid lines 20. Finally, the edges are bonded together to form the complete structure. Thus, edge 22 is bonded to edge 24, edge 26 is bonded to edge 28, edge 30 is bonded to edge 32, edge 34 is bonded to edge 36, edge 38 is bonded to edge 40, etc. Because the complete pattern 17 is two dimensional and is comprised of five repetitions of the basic unit pattern 14, it will be seen that the complete pattern 17 may readily be bonded and severed automatically. Moreover, the complete pattern '17 may be inverted, as indicated by broken line 42, to permit a plurality of complete patterns 17 to be produced from an elongated web of material, with virtually no waste.
Obviously, the type of bonding employed will depend upon the type of material used. Moreover, it will be apparent that sheet 19 need not be coextensive with sheet 21 over the entire area thereof. Instead, if desired, one of the sheets 19 or 21 could be replaced by a plurality of strips corresponding to the tubes 6. As a further alternative, where the sheets 19 and 21 are coextensive and where thermal insulation is desired, means may be provided to permit inflation of the panels 4. Moreover, if desired, bonding of the edges 22-40 etc. could be omitted and manual fastening means, such as buttons, snaps or slide fasteners could be provided for joining the edges to convert the complete pattern 17 into a structure. Furthermore, if desired, the basic unit patterns 14 could be produced independently and provided with manual fastening means to permit joining a plurality of the basic units 14 to form the complete pattern 17.
Obviously, numerous other variations and modifications may be made without departing from the present invention. Accordingly, it should be clearly understood that the form of the present invention described above and shown in the accompanying drawing is illustrative only and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An inflatable Geodesic structure, comprising: two superposed sheets of flat, air impervious material bonded together to form a pattern having a plurality of triangular surfaces disposed in edge-to-edge relation with air cells extending along the intersections between adjoining surfaces, said air cells being in fluid communication with one another, said pattern consisting of five basic unit patterns, each including a pair of right triangles arranged in opposing relation with their shortest sides mutually adjacent, and six equilateral triangles having four of said equilateral triangles arranged in edge-toedge relation with their apexes defining a common intersection with the adjacent right triangles, and with the bases of said four equilateral triangles defining four'sides of a hexagon, and having the other two of said equilateral triangles arranged in edgeto-edge relation defining a parallelogram having one edge of said parallelogram joined to the base of a first one of said four equilateral triangles and another edge aligned with the intersection of the mutually adjacent shortest sides of said right triangles, the other two edges of sid parallelogram having no air cells formed therealong, each of said right triangles equal to substantially one-half of one of said equilateral triangles, said basic unit patterns being joined at the bases of second and third ones of said four equilateral triangles which comprise parallel ones of said four sides of a hexagon in a manner so that the bases of all of the right triangles in said pattern are aligned in a row and form the base edge of said structure;
said sheets being severed along the unjoined base of the fourth one of said four equilateral triangles and along the three unjoined edges of said parallelogram of each of said basic patterns to complete the periphery of said pattern;
an air valve disposed in one of said sheets to permit introduction of pressurized air into said air cells; and
all of the edges along the periphery of said pattern,
except said base edge, being secured together in the manner of a Geodesic structure.
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