US 3779847 A
A compacted assembly of folded fiberglass fabric secured in a multiple pleated truss formation sewed between flat sheets of like material for inflation forming a building of predetermined volume. The interstices in the fabric contain uniform distribution of uncured plastic resin. The assembly is covered with sheet plastic secured thereto for inflation. Following inflation of the voids within the assembly, the uncured resin is responsive to the introduction of a curing agent to all inner surfaces for curing the resin into a solid, resulting in a rigid high-strength self-supporting building or housing resistant to external stresses in any direction.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Turner Dec. 18, 1973  PROCESS OF ASSEMBLING FABRIC N 3,538,957 11 1970 Rheaume 52 2 PLASTIC o FORM A BUILDING 3,557,5[5 l/l97l MacCracken 52/80 STRUCTURE WHICH MAY BE INFLATED FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS AND CHEMICALLY RI I I 250,032 1 l/l962 Australia 52/618  Inventor: Arthur A. Turner, 5500 SW. 77
Ct., Miami, Fla. 33155  Filed: Dec. 20, 1971  Appl. No.: 209,604
 US. Cl 156/156, 156/197, 156/285,
 Int. Cl E04b 1/345  Field of Search 52/2, 63, 618; l56/l56, I97, 227, 285, 305
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,030,640 4/1962 Gosman 52/2 3,247,627 4/l966 Bird 3,304,665 2/1967 Lee 3,341,395 9/1967 Weber....
3,388,509 6/l-968 Mora 52/2 Primary Examiner-Frank L. Abbott Assistant ExaminerH. E. Raduazo Att0rney-Lloyd J. Andres 5 7] ABSTRACT A compacted assembly of folded fiberglass fabric secured in a multiple pleated truss formation sewed between flat sheets of like material for inflation forming a building of predetermined volume. The interstices in the fabric contain uniform distribution of uncured plastic resin. The assembly is covered with sheet plastic secured thereto for inflation. Following inflation of the voids within the assembly, the uncured resin is responsive to the introduction of a curing agent to all inner surfaces for curing the resin into a solid, resulting in a rigid high-strength self-supporting building or housing resistant to external stresses in any direction.
7 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTEUUEB 18 m5 SHEEI 1 [if 5 INVENTOR.
PAIENIEDMC 1 8 0975 SHEET 3 BF 5 INVENTOR ARTHUR A. TURNER PAIENTEDnEc 18 ms SHEET 3 OF 5 N w mT WA R U H m A PATENIEDHEB 18 I975 SHEET 5 [1f 5 INVENTOR. ARTHUR A. TURNER PAIENIEn DEE 1mm SHEET 5 DP 5 INVENTOR. ARTHUR A. TURNER BY M%W I PROCESS OF ASSEMBLING FABRIC AND PLASTIC TO FORM A BUILDING STRUCTURE WHICH MAY lBE INFLATEI) AND CHEMI CALLY RIGIDIZED This invention relates in general to portable quickerect building structures and more particularly a unitary preassembled durable fabric structure of light weight, which is first inflated and then chemically rigidized. 7
Prior portable structures required complicated assembly of heavy materials requiring expensive transport and assembly and consumed considerable erection time as well as rapid deterioration.
The present invention overcomes the above objections and disadvantages by the provision of an uncured resin impregnated fiberglass or other fabric structure pre-fabricated by sewing or adhesive bonding and both compact and light for transport. The erection is exceedingly fast since the entire structure is inflated to assume its normal building size by simple compressed air means followed by or including the injection of a vapor curing agent which cures the impregnated particulate resin into a solid between all of the yarn or rovings and junctions thereof with the interstices of the fabric sufficiently open for the continued passage of the curving vapor.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a building structure having longitudinal resin impregnated fabric pleats or truss members sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass resin impregnated sheet fabric with one type thereof in semi-cylindrical shape.
Another object of the invention is the enclosure of the entire fiberglass truss structure into intimate contact with a cover of sheet plastic material forming a hermetic enclosure for air and resin curing gas inflation to transform the complicated assembly into its final shape.
A further object of the invention provides for the introduction of one of several well known gas catalysts within the pleated truss members and their respective cover sheets for converting the uncured resin impregnation into solid cured material for rigidizing all fiberglass members.
These and other objects and advantages in two embodiments of the invention are described and shown in the following specification and drawings, in which:
FIG. I is a perspective view in reduced scale of an inflated semi-cylindrical building structure including inflation and chemical treatment apparatus attached.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view in reduced scale of the structure shown in FIG. I folded on a pallet for shipping prior to inflation.
FIG. 3 is enlarged fragmentary cross sectional view taken through section line 3-3, FIG. 1, showing the fabric stress members and the external plastic covers.
FIG. 4 is a partially enlarged cross sectional view, taken through section line 4-4, FIG. 1, following inflation thereof and resting on a foundation.
FIG. 5 is a further enlarged fragmentary view of the fabric stress members and inner and outer plastic covers following inflation.
FIG. 6 is fragmentary cross sectional view taken through section line 6-6, FIG. 1.
FIG. 7 illustrates the stress members after the plastic rigidizing and the deflation of the structure.
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a modified rectangular structure including the inflation and chemical treatment apparatus.
FIG. 9 is a partially enlarged cross sectional view taken through section line 3-9, FIG. I, resting on a foundation and including a wall closure in one open end thereof.
FIG. 10 is a side elevation of the structure shown in FIG. 8 showing the rigidized end wall thereof.
FIG 1 I is a fragmentary perspective view of the stress members and the inner and outer plastic covers with the angular stress members having a uniform distribution of holes therein for the passage of activated catalyst vapor for rigidizing resin carried by the fabric members.
FIG. 1 illustrates on embodiment in the form of a quonset type structure I, made from fiberglass fabric, rovings, or mats, which are rigidized by a diffused uncured resin treatment and including a sheet plastic inside and outside cover for the purpose of inflation and weatherproofing.
FIG. 2 shows the structure shown in FIG. 1 prior to erection and in compacted form resting on a pallet 2 for transport.
FIG. 3 illustrates the longitudinal planar pleated truss members 3 which are secured in their final truss position between the planar inner fiberglass sheet 4 and the planar outer fiberglass sheet 5, forming a plurality of parallel truss members firmly secured between flat bodies of cyindrical shape. FIG. 3 also illustrates a plasticized sheet plastic inner enclosure 6 covering the entire inner side of the structure and the larger plasticized plastic outer enclosure 7 and 7e covering the entire outer surface thereof including the coplanar parallel spaced base ends of the structure. The figure also shows a typical valve connection 8 entering the outer enclosure 7 for inflation purposes, to be hereinafter described.
FIG. 4 illustrates a slightly enlarged cross sectional view taken through section line 4-4, FIG. 1, showing the structure mounted on a concrete base 9 by one of many well known means, not shown, and also illustrat ing the smaller inner side angle 10 with respect to the outer angle 11 between adjacent pleated stress members 3 forming the semi-cylindrical cross sectional shape.
The fragmentary view, FIG. 5, shows the multiple pleated fiberglass truss members 3 with the radius of each fold of the pleats 3r in a sewed or adhesive bonded ridge junction with the inner fiberglass sheet 4, and the outer fiberglass sheet 5. The inner enclosure 6 also has radiused junctions 6r on the outside of the fiberglass sheet 4 opposite the junction 3r. The outer enclosure 7 has a radiused ridge junction 7r on the opposite side of the outer fiberglass sheet 5 cemented by adhesive means adjacent the junctions 3r. The front and rear ends of the enclosure are hermetically sealed closed by semi-circular plastic sheet end members 7e, by adhesive means, as illustrated in FIG. 1.
Referring to FIG. 8, an approximately rectangular form 12 of building construction is shown which utilizes the same general features as applied to the structure shown in FIG. 1, except, referring to FIG. 9, the roof section 13 and the wall sections 14 R and L form a junction with the roof using a similar pleated truss system with different angles adjacent to the pleated truss members 3R. This structure again is positioned on a planar concrete base and secured thereon by well known means, not shown, and includes an end wall 16 having a side view shown in FIG. 10, the curvature of which provides added stress resistance.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 8, a source of high pressure catalyst gas on air 17 is connected by conduit 19 to another type of catalyst or curing agent container 18, which in turn is carried by conduit 20 to valve connection 8 for distribution into the voids between the inner and outer plastic enclosures 6 and 7. Thus it is to be seen that with air only the entire inner void may be inflated to check for construction errors or leaks, but without providing stress resistance until the resultant curing of the impregnated resin.
It is apparent that a number of valve connections 8 may be positioned in spaced relation along both sides of the building to provide for faster and better distribution of the curing process.
Referring to FIG. 11 and to provide for a rapid and thorough distribution of any catalyst or curing agent used, a plurality of equi-spaced holes 21 are provided through the said truss members as shown and through inner and outer sheets if required, to permit the transverse passage of air and/or catalyst or other curing agents particularly when close weave or two ply fiberglass fabric is used. The holes 21, shown in FIG. 11, may also be applied to members 4 and 5 in the construction of the building shown in cross section in FIG. 4.
In operation and under the assumption that the pleated truss members 3-3 and the inner and outer fiberglass sheets 4 and 5 contain uniformly dispersed particulate or semi-cured resin of the polyester or epoxy powder type, such as retention between the weave or layer type of fiberglass truss members 3 and sheets 4 and 5, and under the assumption that the device is inflated with a catalyst gas for curing the polyester or epoxy resin introduced to the void between the plastic enclosures 6 and 7, then by well known chemical action the powdered or semi-cured resin will liquify and permeate the fiberglass fabric of the members 3 and sheets 4 and 5 and upon the resulting curing to a solid all the sheet members except the cover members 6, 7, and 7e will develop high rigidity and thus the multi-truss building structure will be self supporting and able to resist stress forces of high magnitude in all directions.
The preparation of the building or housing begins with the impregnation of an uncured plastic resin, such as a polyester or resin, into a fabric member of desired length and standard loom width. This fabric member is formed into a number of longitudinal pleats and joined by sewing or other bonding means to another like width of impregnated fabric and likewise pleated, which procedure is continued until a predetermined rectangle of desired width and predetermined outer angle between each pair of pleats is completed.
A further step is the preparation of an outer planar sheet of uncured resin-impregnated fabric which has the same length and a width as the total dimensions of the pleated members including the half pleat ends which represents the outside periphery of the building or housing. This outer sheet is secured along the outer apex of each pair of pleats and the opposite half pleats by sewing or other bonding means, which maintains a predetermined angle between each outer apex of the pleats.
A further step is the preparation of an inner planar sheet of resin impregnated fabric, which has the same length as above and a width representing the inside periphery of the building or housing. This sheet is secured along the inside apex of each pair of pleats and the two opposite half ends by sewing or other bonding means forming a predetermined smaller angle between the inside apex of the pleats.
The above resin impregnated structure is completely encased in a water and weather resistant plastic enclosure 6 and 7 formed from one of several flexible sheet plastic materials, such as plasticized polyethylene, and having a lapped junction along opposite coplanar base ends and secured by a compatible adhesive, as illustrated in FIG. 3, as well as an arcuate front and rear edge enclosure 7E secured to enlosures 6 and 7 by adhesive means, which enclosure is secured by sealed stitching or compatible adhesive bonding against the enclosures 6 and 7 at each apex of the stress members 3, as illustrated in FIG. 5. It is now apparent that the stress members 33 and sheets 4 and 5 are hermetically sealed within the plastic enclosure and subject to inflation.
Thus it is apparent that prior to the curing process and when non-inflated, the entire structure may be folded and formed into a compact relatively light unit I for economical rapid transport, as illustrated in FIG. 2.
It is to be noted, as shown in FIG. 1 1, that when rapid curing is desirable that the pleated truss members 3 as well as sheets 4 and 5 may also include holes 21 to provide for the free passage dispersion of the catalyst or curing agent, under pressure.
The structure shown in FIG. 1 may be inflated with a mixture of compressed air and a catalyst for curing the resin, or by a curing vapor alone through the use of simplified illustrations of air and curing gas assemblies 17 and 18. When the structure is fully inflated, as shown, the catalyst will cure the uncured resin trapped in the members 3-3 and 4-5 into forming a rigid multi-truss assembly into a semi-cylindrical housing. It is apparent that when the inflation pressure is eliminated, the outer portions of the enclosure 7 will deflate, as illustrated in FIG. 7 as the catalyst gas becomes part of the chemically cured resin.
It is apparent that well known materials and methods may be used to provide partitions and closures including doors or windows for the opposite ends of the structure by fitting them within the confines of the inner periphery of the structure.
It is also to be noted that openings may be made in the sides of the structure in which concrete or other loading material may be introduced to fill the lower portions of the void between the members 3-3 and sheets 4 and 5 to provide stabilizing means for locating the housing for permanent use, or the use of insulation to aid control of weather conditions.
FIG. 8 illustrates a modified form of the building or housing in which one end closure is provided by the same generic structure as previously described. The modified rectangular cross section, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, is constructed generally in the same manner as that previously described, except the pleated stress members 3R are revised to provide a roof-like structure supported by near vertical walls which may be covered by a hermetically sealed revised plastic enclosure 14R. This version illustrates in FIGS. 9 and 10 an enclosure for one end of the building in which pleated members 3W-3W, 4W-5W form the structural members of the end wall 16, which include an extension of the closure members 114 L and 14R, shown in FIG. 9, for completing the hermetic seal around all of the resin impregnated elements. 7
It is now apparent that buildings of many shapes, such as L or T shape fall within the province of the above described structures, which are light and compact for shipping and yet exhibit great strength upon simple erection.
Although many different fabrics can be used, the weather resistance of fiberglass fabric, formed of relatively coarse weave, is desired for the relatively equal dispensing of catalyst gas therethrough. Furthermore, it is a relatively simple matter from a production viewpoint to laminate uncured non-viscous polyester or epoxy between layers of fiberglass sheets and obtain excellent dispersion through the foraminated mesh of the material to provide a weather resistant high tensile and compressive strength material for the use outlined above. Under certain conditions, pressurized catalyst gas may be injected directly under pressure into the voids without the use of a separate source of compressed air.
It is to be understood that certain other modifications in the construction are intended to come within the teachings and scope of the above specification.
Having described my invention, I claim: 1. A process for fabricating an inflatable building of predetermined dimensions and uniform cross section adapted for mounting on the surface of a substantially horizontal planar base and having a first step of impregnating a quantity of predetermined woven sheet fabric with a partially cured non-viscous plastic material,
and a second step of forming a first portion of said impregnated fabric of predetermined lengthand width into a plurality of V shaped parallel pleats and forming a predetermined outer angle between the outer apexes of said pleats and a predetermined smaller inner angle between the inner apexes of said pleats for providing a curved multiple truss member of substantially uniform cross section,
and a third step of forming a second portion of said impregnated fabric of said length over each outer side of said truss member and securing same along the said outer apexes thereof for providing an outer stress member and forming a third portion of said impregnated fabric of said length over each said inner side of said truss member and securing same along the said inner apexes thereof for providing an inner stress member including a marginal extension of each opposite side of said second and third sheet portions of predetermined width extending from each of the lowermost opposite said apexes for completing a truss assembly by forming each said marginal extension in a substantially co-planar base relation along each opposite base end of said truss member,
and a fourth step consisting of placing a portion of flexible thermo-plastic sheet as a spaced outer cover over the outer surface of said outer stress member and securing same adjacent each of said outer apexes by well known means with an opposite lower side margin thereof parallel each of said apexes and folded inward over each said base end of said truss member respectively,
and a fifth step of placing a second portion of said thermoplastic sheet as a spaced cover over the inner surface of said inner stress members and securing same thereto adjacent each of said inner apexes by well known means with the opposite marginal sides thereof parallel said apexes and over said opposite base ends and overlapping each said marginal end portions of said outer cover and sealed thereto by adhesive means,
and a sixth step of hermetically securing a third and a fourth portion of said thermo-plastic sheet over each opposite open end of said truss assembly respectively by securing same with adhesive means to marginal opposite end portions of said first and second portions of said thermo-plastic inner and outer sheets for forming a hermetically sealed enclosure over said truss assembly,
and a seventh step of sealing at least one inflation valve means through said enclosure whereby the connection of said valve means to a source of pressurized air containing a gas catalyst for curing said uncured resin will inflate said enclosure and form said building of said predetermined dimensions and simultaneously cure said uncured plastic resin to a final solid and rigidize said truss member and said outer and inner stress members to form a noncompactable stress-resistant building having open ends.
2. The process recited in claim 1 wherein said fabric is relatively coarse woven from fiberglass yarn with particulate resin impregnated therein for final curing by a gas catalyst diffused into and through the interstices of said fabric.
3. The process recited in claim 1 wherein said fabric is a coarse weave of fiberglass spun rovings provided with an impregnation of uncured particulate resin and foraminated therethrough for the passage of gas to cure said resin by the diffusion of a'gas catalyst in said rovings and providing for said gas to cure uncured resin in other fabric within said enclosure. 7
4. The process recited in claim 1 wherein the three said sheet fabric members in said truss assembly are formed from a pair of laminated fiberglass sheets with said uncured resin distributed therebetween with said laminated sheet having a plurality of spaced holes therethrough for the dispersion of a gas catalyst therein and therethrough for curing said sandwiched resin and other uncured resin in adjacent fiberglass members.
5. The process recited in claim 1 wherein each said flexible thermo-plastic sheet is made from polyethylene material of predetermined thickness and secured adjacent said apex by compatible adhesive means.
6. The process recited in claim 1 wherein each said flexible thermo-plastic sheet is made from a vinyl copolymer thermo-plastic sheet of predetermined thickness and secured adjacent said apexes by a compatible adhesive means.
7. The process recitedin claim 1 used to produce an elongated inverted U shaped building having an outward curved roof portion and outwardcurved side portions for mounting on the surface of a substantially planar base,
said truss assembly including longitudinal pleats with inner and outer angles from the apexes'of the said roof and said inner and all truss members corresponding to the outward curvature of said roof and said side portions including appropriate different 8 said assembly and including means for the introduction of catalyst gas within the voids within the said thermoplastic covering for curing the un-cured resin in all fiberglass members.