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Publication numberUS3762108 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 2, 1973
Filing dateDec 16, 1971
Priority dateAug 18, 1969
Publication numberUS 3762108 A, US 3762108A, US-A-3762108, US3762108 A, US3762108A
InventorsR Pierson
Original AssigneeEnvironmental Structures Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable building with reinforced seam
US 3762108 A
Abstract
An inflatable building having reinforced seams for joining together the marginal edges of sheets of flexible material, such as plastic or fabric, which form the cover envelope of the building, in which the edges are wrapped around a cable or other reinforcing member and clamped in the wrapped position to provide a leak-proof seam without the use of adhesives, sewing, heat sealing or other conventional fastening means. The sheets may, as an alternative, be wrapped around a filler member, then clamped to a reinforcing member.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Pierson 1 1 Oct. 2, 1973 [54] INFLATABLE BUILDING WITH 2,213,912 9/1940 Hooper 160/395 REINFORCED SEAM 3,116,746 1/1964 Bird .I 52/2 3,473,272 10/1969 Hasselquist..... 52/63 Inventor: Robert Pierson, Hudson, Ohi 3,651,609 3/1972 Bird 52 2 [73] Assignee: Environmental Structures, Inc., FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Cleveland, Ohio 677,389 11/1964 Italy 24 243 K [22] Filed: 16 1971 1,437,179 3/1966 France 24/243 K [21] Appl. No.: 208,741 Primary ExaminerFrank L. Abbott Assistant Examiner-H. E. Raduazo R 1 t d t D t I e a e U S Apphca a a Atlorney-F. W. Brunner et a1. [62] D1v1s1on of Ser. No. 850,826, Aug. 18, 1969, Pat. No.

[57] ABSTRACT 52 us. (:1 52/2, 52/63, 52/83, An inflatable building having reihfereed Seams j 24/143 ing together the marginal edges of sheets of flexible ma- 51 1111. C1 E04b 1/345 ieriai, Sueh as Plesiie Or febrie, Whieh form the eever [58] Field of Search 52/2, 63, 222; envelope of the building, in whieh the edges are 2 4 60/395 150, 0 wrapped around a cable or other reinforcing member and clamped in the wrapped position to provide a leak- [56] References Cited proof seam without the use of adhesives, sewing, heat UNITED STATES PATENTS sealing or other conventional fastening means. The

sheets may, as an alternative, be wrapped around a 52,2 filler member, then clamped to a reinforcing member.

R27,232 11/1971 McLorg 52/2 4 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures Patented Oct. 2, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet l FIG.3'

FIG.

Patented Oct. 2, 1913 3,762,108

2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INFLATABLE BUILDING WITH REINFORCED SEAM This is a divisional of my co-pending application Ser. No. 850,826 filed Aug. 18, 1969 now issued US. Pat. No. 3,661,693.

This invention relates to an inflatable building having reinforced seams for joining together flexible sheets of material, such as plastic or fabric, forming a cover envelope without the use of adhesives or other conventional fastening means.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION A primary object of this invention is to provide an inflatable building having a simple and easily assembled reinforced seam for joining together sheets of flexible material along their marginal edges. Another object of this invention is to provide an inflatable building having a releasable seam for joining sheet material which will permit the sheet material to be easily assembled and disassembled for replacement of sheet material or for other purposes. A still further object of this invention is to provide an inflatable building having a reinforced seam which does not require the use of adhesives, heat sealing, sewing or other conventional means of joining sheet material together. These and other objects of the invention will become more fully apparent as the description proceeds in the following specification and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a'fragmentary perspective view showing a cross-section through the seam of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side view through the seam shown in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3 through 6 show the'various steps in the assembly of the seam shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view showing a grooved pressure strip with a spring clip engaging the groove;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 shows a view similar to FIG. 9 but with the folds of the sheets reversed;

FIG. 11 shows another embodiment of the invention in which a filler is encased in the sheets and the cable is clamped to the sheets adjacent the filler; and

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an inflatable building which can use theseam structures shown in FIGS. 1 through 11.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the seam assembly is designated as a whole by the numeral 1. A pair of sheets 2 and 3 of plastic film are shown joined together by the seam assembly 1. It will be understood that although plastic film is shown in the preferred embodiment of the invention, this scam assembly is equally applicable to other flexible sheet material, such as fabric and the like, and it is immaterial whether the material be transparent or opaque. The main characteristic of the sheet material is that it must be sufficiently flexible to permit it to be folded around a reinforcing member as will be described in further detail herein. The partieular sheet material illustrated by FIGS. 2 and 3 is a clear plastic film material of the type used on inflatable buildings such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,035,590 issued to E N I-Ielmers or US. Pat. No. 3,353,309 issued to J P Kwake or the building illustrated in FIG. 12 of this application. The overall config uration of the building in FIG. 12 is quite similar to prior art structures and has a flexible envelope 14 comprised of elongated sheets 2 and 3 joined by seam assemblies 1 having a cable 4 therein as will be described later. The opposite ends of the cables 4 and the sheets 2 and 3 are sealingly attached to the periphery of the base 15 by any well-knownmeans to form an airtight enclosure. The building has a typical access door 16 and an inflation blower 17. As best shown in FIG. 1, the marginal edge of the sheet 2 passes around the reinforcing cable 4 and after passing around the cable, extends a short distance in face-to-face relationship with the main portion of the sheet 2. The sheet 3 passes around the outside of the portion of the sheet 2 surrounding the cable 4 and extends a short distance in overlapping relationship to the sheet 2. Thus, it may be seen that at a portion immediately adjacent the reinforcing cable 4, the sheets 2 and 3 are folded over in overlapping relationship so that there is a thickness of four layers of sheet material forming a gripping or pressure area indicated by the numeral 5. A pair of pressure strips 6 and 7 is placed on each side of the pressure area 5 and are held in position by a plurality of spring clips 8 which pass around the film encased cable 4 and bear against the pressure strips 6 and 7 to hold them firmly against each side of the pressure area'S and thereby clamp together the four thicknesses of material so that they will be securely held in the wrapped or folded position around the cable 4 and will not only retain the cable within the wrapped film, but will provide a leakproof seam between the sheets 2 and 3 without the need of adhesive or other conventional sealant and securing means. One of the primary advantages of this type of seam is that it can be disassembled as readily as it is assembled. This is particularly useful in an inflatable building which is moved from place to place and which must be dismantled periodically for such moves. This type of seam is also advantageous if it becomes necessary to replace part or all of the sheet material on the structure. Referring now to FIGS. 3 through 6, it may be seen how easily this scam may be assembled. In FIG. 3, the sheets 2 and 3' are placed with their marginal edges in overlapping relationship and the cable-4 is placed immediately above the overlapping portion, preferably near the center of the overlap and running longitudinally of the overlapped portion. In FIG. 4, the overlapped portion is folded around the cable. In FIG. 5, a pair of pressure strips are placed on each side of the overlapped portion after it has been passed around the cable. In FIG. 6, a spring clamp is attached to the seam extending around the wrapped cable and bearing against both of the pressure strips oneach side of the fold to tightly grip the folded material and hold it in position around the cable.

FIG. 7 is a variation of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 but with both sheets folded in the same direction around the cable instead of being folded in opposite directions. For simplicity, identical parts to those shown in FIG. 1 will bear identical numerals. In assembling FIG. 7, the edges of sheets 2 and 3 are placed side by side and then folded around the cable 4. The pressure strips 6 and 7 are placed on each side of the pressure area formed by the folded sheets 2 and 3, and a plurality of spring clips 8 are clamped around the sheetencased cable andbear against the pressure strips 6 and 7 to hold them in position and to hold together the folded sheets 2 and 3 and the cable 4.

FIG. 8 shows a fragmentary view of a portion of the assembly similar to FIG. 7, but with a groove 9 along the outer face of the pressure strip 7. One end of the spring clip 8 is in contact with the groove 9 which aids in preventing the clip 8 from slipping off the pressure strip 7. Of course, any of the pressure strips shown in any of the embodiments in this application may be grooved similar to that illustrated in FIG. 8.

FIGS. 9 and show an embodiment of the invention in which each of the sheets is individually folded around a separate cable and then pressure strips are ap plied to each side of the folds and then clamped together by spring clips. In FIG. 9, sheet 2 is folded around a cable 10 and sheet 3 is folded around a cable 1 1. The ends of the sheets 2 and 3 are folded outwardly from each other around the cables and then pressure strips 6 and 7 are placed on each side of the folds and the usual spring clips 8 are clamped in position around the sheet-encased cables and the ends of the clips 8 bear against the pressure strips 6 and 7 to hold the entire assembly in position.

FIG. 10 is similar to FIG. 9 except that the sheets 2 and 3 have their ends folded inwardly around the cables instead of outwardly. Identical numerals will be used to identify the parts in FIG. 10 which are identical to those in FIG. 9. Since the assembly of FIG. 10 is similar to FIG. 9 in all other respects, no further detailed description will be given.

FIG. 11 shows a different embodiment in which the sheets 2 and 3 are both folded around a filler member 12, preferably made of plastic or other suitable material, instead of being folded around a cable or reinforcing member as shown in all the previous figures. A reinforcing cable 13 is placed adjacent to and parallel with the tiller member 12 and the pressure strips 6 and 7 are placed in position similar to that described in the previous embodiments and the spring clips 8 are clamped around the sheet-encased filler strip 12, the cable 13 and bearing against the pressure strips 6 and 7 to hold the entire assembly together. The advantage of the embodiment shown in FIG. 11 is of particular advantage when this seam structure is used on an inflatable building. In such a structure, the cable is completely inside the cover of the building and is more protected from any moisture which might accumulate on the roof of the building and work its way in between the sheets to reach the cable when the cable is encased within the sheets. Another advantage is that it is possible to clamp together all of the assembly shown in FIG. 11, with the exception of the cable, with one set of clamps and then to clamp the cable to the rest of the assembly by a separate set of clamps. In some instances, this may have advantages in ease of assembly. In other instances, however, it may be preferred to assemble the entire seam along with the filler strip and the cable before applying the spring clips. It will, of course, be understood that the reinforcing member 4 can be made of any material, such as a metallic cable as illustrated or a fibrous rope or any other suitable material. The pressure strips 6 and 7 can be made of wood, plastic, metal or any suitable material. The clips 8 are made preferably of spring steel or other similar resilient metal; however, any other suitable material may, of course, be used. It will be understood that the number of clips used, the length of the clips and the length of the pressure strips 6 and 7 is a matter of design choice and can be varied as needed, depending upon the particular size of the structure being produced. Since the embodiments shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 are more susceptible to leakage due to some separation of the sheets 2 and 3 under some stress conditions it may be necessary to supplement the sealing action of the two clamped sheets by addition of a strip of tape to the outside of the seam or other suitable sealing means. These and various other modifications may be made without departing from the invention.

I claim: 1

1. An inflatable building having its lower peripheral edges attached to a base comprising:

A. a plurality of flexible elongated reinforcing members; and

B. a flexible cover envelope comprising elongated sheets of flexible material attached between the reinforcing members to completely cover the entire area to be enclosed by the building;

C. the ends of the sheets of material and the reinforcing members being sealingly attached to the periphery of the base to form an airtight enclosure;

D. the adjacent marginal side edges of each adjacent pair of sheets being connected to one of the flexible reinforcing members to form an airtight reinforced flexible seam wherein:

l. the marginal edge of each sheet is positioned contiguous to the adjacent marginal edge of the other,

2. the reinforcing member is positioned in the area of contiguity and running longitudinally therewith,

3. both said sheets are folded around the reinforcing member to encase the member therein,

4. elongated flexible pressure strips are placed on each side of the folded portion of the sheets, and

5. resilient gripping means extend around the reinforcing member and the folded portion of the sheets and bear laterally inwardly against the pressure strips to hold the sheets in the folded position around the reinforcing members.

6. the flexibility of the combined seam components permits bending of the seam in any direction when the cover envelope is subjected to deflection.

2. An inflatable building as claimed in claim 1 wherein the gripping means for the seam is a plurality of spring clamps.

3. An inflatable building as claimed in claim 1 wherein the reinforcing member is a metallic cable.

4. An inflatable building as claimed in claim 1 wherein the reinforcing material is a fibrous rope.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3839832 *Oct 19, 1972Oct 8, 1974Kastner LInstallation panel for an inflatable dome
US3950906 *Mar 26, 1974Apr 20, 1976Sebastian MollingerFlexible curtain wall
US4088362 *Sep 16, 1976May 9, 1978Mollura Carlos AInflatable aerodynamic nose cone
US4144622 *Jul 15, 1977Mar 20, 1979Hirota YoshinariFlexible-sheet fixing device
US4641400 *Aug 15, 1983Feb 10, 1987Mpc Containment Systems, Ltd.Airtight, watertight mechanical seam for joining panels of industrial strength fabrics
US4881665 *Mar 22, 1988Nov 21, 1989Mcguire Michael LSuspended flexible membrane storage silo and article dispenser
US4987657 *Jul 16, 1986Jan 29, 1991Mpc Containment Systems, Ltd.Airtight, watertight mechanical seam for joining panels of industrial strength fabrics
US5150510 *Dec 27, 1990Sep 29, 1992Mpc Containment Systems, Ltd.Method of manufacturing large scale membranes for covering extremely large areas
US5160105 *Apr 23, 1991Nov 3, 1992Nu-Zip Dee Mfg., Inc.Protective foot device for mounting on furniture
US5351371 *May 26, 1993Oct 4, 1994At&T Bell LaboratoriesRod-securing clip for use in optical fiber three-rod connectors
US6070366 *Jan 4, 1999Jun 6, 2000Pierson; Robert MAir supported enclosure and method of assembly
US6192642Apr 10, 2000Feb 27, 2001Hunter Douglas Inc.Cladding system and panel for use in such system
US6199337 *Nov 20, 1996Mar 13, 2001Hunter Douglas Inc.Cladding system and panel for use in such system
US6360490Jun 15, 2001Mar 26, 2002Richard J CotrissContainment system
US6427409Feb 14, 2001Aug 6, 2002Hunter Douglas Inc.Cladding system and panel for use in such system
US6675734Jul 18, 2001Jan 13, 2004Albany International Corp.Spiral formed flexible fluid containment vessel
US6718896Oct 30, 2001Apr 13, 2004Albany International Corp.Fabric structure for a flexible fluid containment vessel
US6739274Aug 3, 2001May 25, 2004Albany International Corp.End portions for a flexible fluid containment vessel and a method of making the same
US6832571Oct 30, 2001Dec 21, 2004Albany International Corp.Segment formed flexible fluid containment vessel
US6860218Apr 11, 2001Mar 1, 2005Albany International Corp.Flexible fluid containment vessel
US7024748Nov 11, 2004Apr 11, 2006Albany International Corp.Segment formed flexible fluid containment vessel
US7107921Oct 30, 2001Sep 19, 2006Albany International Corp.End portion for a flexible fluid containment vessel and a method of making the same
US7308862Aug 7, 2001Dec 18, 2007Albany International Corp.Coating for a flexible fluid containment vessel and a method of making the same
US7775171Jan 21, 2003Aug 17, 2010Albany International Corp.Flexible fluid containment vessel featuring a keel-like seam
US9173458 *Jun 7, 2013Nov 3, 2015Lien-Chou WangWaterproof, anti-split, high transverse tensile strength double-layer zipper and its fabrication method
US20030081861 *Oct 30, 2001May 1, 2003Davis Trent W.End portion for a flexible fluid containment vessel and a method of making the same
US20080196221 *Feb 15, 2007Aug 21, 2008Oscar Merlin MadrigalFastening device for securing flexible sheet material
US20140359978 *Jun 7, 2013Dec 11, 2014Lien-Chou WangWaterproof, Anti-Split, High Transverse Tensile Strength Double-Layer Zipper and its Fabrication Method
WO2003037707A1 *Oct 25, 2002May 8, 2003Albany International Corp.Segment formed flexible fluid containment vessel
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/2.23, 52/63, 52/83, 24/555, D25/18
International ClassificationE04H15/22, B29C65/56
Cooperative ClassificationB29C66/43, B29C66/1122, E04H15/22, B29C65/565
European ClassificationB29C66/1122, B29C66/43, B29C65/56F, E04H15/22